NEW YORK: October 7, 2010
Communique of the Commissions of the Russian Church Abroad and the Orthodox Church in America
On October 5, 2010, the first joint meeting of the Commissions of the Orthodox Church in America and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was held at St Seraphim Church in Sea Cliff, NY. The Commissions’ members prayed during a moleben “invoking the aid of the Holy Spirit upon commencing a good work,” after which they began their meeting at the parish rectory.
The main goal of these meetings was to discuss and resolve issues that have in the past stood in the way of full Eucharistic communion and to come to an understanding of how we can pray and work together in the future.
The representatives of the Orthodox Church in America were the Commission Chairman, His Grace Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania; Archpriest Alexander Garklavs; Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky; Archpriest John Erickson; Hegumen Alexander (Pihach) and Alexis Liberovsky, consultant.
Representing the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia were the Commission Chairman, His Grace Bishop George of Mayfield, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese; Archimandrite Luke (Murianka); Commission Secretary Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff; Archpriest David Moser and Priest Peter Jackson. Archpriest Serafim Gan participated as a consultant.
Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff presented his paper “The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Orthodox Church in America Relations – Past, Present and Future”. Alexis Liberovsky, OCA archivist, then gave a presentation on the history of the Orthodox Church in America. These presentations were followed by fruitful and wide-ranging discussions among the members of these commissions.
After praying at Great Vespers, celebrated by clergy of St Seraphim Church, the participants shared a fraternal meal with the clergy and choir of the parish.
On October 6, the feast of St Innocent of Moscow, Enlightener of America, the meetings began following the Divine Liturgy at the Church of Our Lady of Kazan in Sea Cliff (OCA), celebrated by Bishop Tikhon assisted by Deacon Nicholas Olhovsky (ROCOR), at which clergy of both Churches communed.
The commissions then reconvened to continue discussions which resulted in a draft joint statement to be submitted for approval to their respective Synods of Bishops regarding the history and present relations of the two Churches and proposals for the future.
The Commissions are very grateful to St Seraphim’s choir and Ladies’ Auxiliary headed by Alla Ryl and singers at Our of Lady of Kazan Church, along with Matushka Alexandra Kishkovsky for facilitating all practical aspects for the meetings.
The meeting concluded with a moleben of thanksgiving at which all the participants gave thanks to God for ability to work together in the spirit of brotherly love for the good of Christ’s Holy Church.