Salt Lake City, UT, October 27, 2010
On October 15-16, 2010, at the invitation of the President of Orthodox Christian Laity, Mitred Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff participated in the group’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City, UT.
The gathering began with a meeting of the organization’s administration, at which the results from last year were summarized and future plans set. At 6 pm, all the participants gathered at SS Peter and Paul Cathedral of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, where matins was performed by priests and deacons of various jurisdictions (Greek, Serbian, Antiochian and the Orthodox Church in America). His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, attended vespers, as did His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel, who heads the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of the OCA. At the end of the service, Metropolitan Jonah read an archpastoral address to the worshipers, in which he stressed the need for Orthodox Christians to contribute of themselves for the sake of the common good.
After services and a trapeza organized by the local sisterhood, Metropolitan Jonah and Archbishop Nathaniel shared their impressions of the first Assembly of Bishops of the Holy Orthodox Church in the Americas, which was held in New York in May of this year. The hierarchs emphasized that they were very happy that the first such meeting of its kind took place, and expressed their hope that the work of these Assemblies would lay the foundations for unity within Orthodoxy on the North American continent.
The following morning, the event continued at the St Elias the Prophet Greek Orthodox Church. Mitred Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff, Secretary of the Department of Inter-Orthodox Relations of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, spoke on the topic “Canon Law for Today: Towards the Goal of Administrative Unity in the Orthodox Church in North America.” Archpriest John H. Erickson, Professor of Canon Law and former Dean of St Vladimir Seminary, read a lecture on “The Episcopal Assemblies: Hopes and Realities.” Following these was a lively discussion on the topic of the day, with Archbishop Nathaniel acting as moderator. Also participating in the meeting was the Rector of the neighboring parish of the Russian Church Abroad, Priest Michael van Opstall.
Fr Alexander expressed profound gratitude to the Assembly for giving him an opportunity to speak at the lay gathering of various jurisdictions in America, noting that it was the first time that a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia had the opportunity to participate in such an important forum.
A photo-report of the event can be seen on the home page of the Orthodox Christian Laity: http://ocl.org/ , where more information on its mission and work can be found.