NEW YORK: November 18, 2009
Metropolitan Hilarion Meets With the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America
On Monday, November 16, 2009, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion met with His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah at the Syosset, NY, headquarters of the Orthodox Church in America. Greeting the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia at the main entrance, His Beatitude invited His Eminence to St Sergius of Radonezh church for a joint funerary litiya to commemorate His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia, who had died the day before. At the end of the service, His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah noted that the entire Orthodox world considered the newly-reposed hierarch “a living saint,” and “a great spiritual leader of the 20th century.”
His Beatitude then gave a warm welcome to His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, wishing him Divine assistance in his difficult archpastoral labors. In response, His Eminence Vladyka Hilarion expressed his joy at the joint prayer for His Holiness, the Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which in the last century had provided safe harbor for the Russian emigre bishops, blessing their service to God and mankind in the difficult circumstances of the Russian diaspora, and tended for their unity. Since then, the Russian Church Abroad and Serbian Orthodox Church have shared fraternal bonds, said the President of the Synod of Bishops.
After venerating the cross, the two Primates discussed questions relating to establishing official dialog between the two Churches to study the origins of their division and correcting the problems which hinder the fullness of ecclesiastical communion. Also participating on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America were Archpriest Alexander Garklavs, Chancellor of the OCA; Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations, and Archpriest Eric Tosi, Secretary of the OCA. Representing the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia were also Archimandrite John (Magramm) and Protopriest Serafim Gan, Chancellor of the Synod of Bishops and Personal Secretary of the First Hierarch.
During its September session, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad decided to appeal to His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah with the proposal to enter into official dialog on the aforementioned questions. There had already been a Synodal Commission established with this goal, which has met twice and is chaired by His Grace Bishop George of Mayfield. During the meeting of November 16, Metropolitan Jonah reported that a similar commission would be established by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America.