Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America
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The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America (formerly the Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America and later the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America) is an organization of church hierarchs of Eastern Orthodox Churches in United States.
The assembly began when delegates from the 14 autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches met at the Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, Switzerland, on June 6–12, 2009. At that time, the conference decided to sanction the establishment of episcopal assemblies in 12 regions of the so-called Eastern Orthodox diaspora which are beyond the boundaries of the autocephalous churches. Such assemblies have the authority to propose future administrative structures for the Church in their respective regions.
The first conference of the Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America was held at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel in New York on May 27–28, 2010 under the chairmanship of Archbishop Demetrios of America.
One of the major decisions reached at the Episcopal Assembly's first meeting was the dissolution of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, and to assume all of SCOBA's functions, agencies and ministries.
Other issues discussed included requests to partition the present region of the Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America into two distinct regions of the United States and Canada, as well as to merge Mexico and Central America with the Episcopal Assembly of South America. As a result, some of the bishops of Mexico and Central America do not attend the North American Assembly, anticipating their joining with the South American Assembly.
Although autonomy is an issue for North and Central American churches, there was no direct statement from the assembly regarding autonomy for the Church in North or Central America.
Shortly after the May 2010 meeting the name of the assembly was changed to Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America to avoid possible confusion with the Episcopal Church of the United States.
In April 2014, the Canadian and US bishops decided to form separate assemblies in order to best respond to the cultural diversity and pastoral needs in the region. The assembly was renamed to Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. The Canadian bishops formed the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of Canada and the Central American bishops joined the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of Latin America.
Members of the Assembly
These jurisdictions' bishops are members of the Assembly, according to canonical order:
- Ecumenical Patriarchate
- Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
- Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada
- Romanian Orthodox Metropolis of the Americas
- Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia
- Orthodox Church in America
As of 14 September 2018, the Moscow Patriarchate and the churches belonging to them are not participating in the Assembly as part of the 2018 Moscow–Constantinople schism.
The Assembly of Bishops and its members represents the largest single Orthodox group in United States.
There may be as many as 7,000,000 people who may have been baptized as children and may be married in the church and have their children baptize, though they don't participate in church life, and may be unknown to local churches, though they self-identify as Orthodox. This also includes immigrants to North America who identify themselves as Orthodox, but don't participate in church life. Most studies of religious adherence includes those who self-identify with a religion, but the Assembly of Bishops only recognizes the numbers according to the study by Alexei Krindatch in 2010.
In the United States, the members of the Assembly have 800,000 faithful, representing over 95% of all the Eastern Orthodox groups in the United States. Previous estimates suggested this was in the millions, but those estimates were counting ethnic groups rather than baptized members. In reality, there are 800,000 faithful who are in good standing with the church, and who participate in church life at least once a year. There are about 210,000 faithful who regularly attend services.
There are a currently unknown number of faithful in Canada, as previous estimates for Canada were like to the United States, counting ethnic groups rather than participants in good standing. Central America currently has over 500,000 members of the Orthodox Church, though Central America is expected to be merged with the Assembly of South America.
In the United States, there are also a total of 70 monasteries and 1,860 parishes with an average membership of 430 people.
On May 9, 2019 Archbishop Demetrios of America, who was criticized for leading the Archdiocese of America into "financial, administrative and spiritual bankruptcy," submitted his letter of resignation as Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of the America and Bishop Andonios of Phasiane submitted his letter of resignation as Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America as well. On May 11, 2019, the same day Demetrios' resignation went into effect, a meeting was held to unanimously elect Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa as the new Archbishop of America.
Meetings of the Assembly of Bishops
Assemblies are held annually. Members may abstain due to extraneous circumstances including illness, or distance. Many members live outside the United States and some outside of North America. Some jurisdictions in Central America do not participate in these Assemblies, as the Assembly of Bishops in North America and the Assembly in South America have petitioned to join Central America to the South American Assembly. Members from Canada also may not attend as this Assembly and their Bishops have applied to create a separate Assembly for Canada.
Attendees of the Inaugural Assembly (2010)
- Archbishop Demetrios (Trakatellis) of America, Chairman
- Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) of New York, Vice Chairman
- Archbishop Justinian (Ovchinnikov) of Naro-Fominsk, Vice Chairman
- Bishop Basil (Essey) of Wichita, Secretary
- Archbishop Anthony (Scherba) of Hierapolis, Treasurer
- Metropolitan Iakovos (Garmatis) of Chicago
- Metropolitan Athenagoras (Aneste) of Mexico
- Metropolitan Methodios (Tournas) of Boston
- Metropolitan Isaiah (Chronopoulos) of Denver
- Metropolitan Alexios (Panagiotopoulos) of Atlanta
- Metropolitan Nikitas (Lulias) of Dardanellia
- Metropolitan Nicholas (Pissare) of Detroit
- Metropolitan Gerasimos (Michaleas) of San Francisco
- Metropolitan Evangelos (Kourounis) of New Jersey
- Metropolitan Paisios (Loulourgas) of Tyana
- Archbishop Yurij (Kalistchuk) of Toronto
- Bishop Christophoros (Rakintzakis) of Andida
- Bishop Vikentios (Malamatenios) of Apameia
- Bishop Savas (Zembillas) of Troas
- Bishop Andonios (Paropoulos) of Phasiane
- Bishop Ilia (Katre) of Philomelion
- Bishop Hiarion (Rudnyk) of Edmonton
- Bishop Andriy (Peshko) of York
- Bishop Demetrios (Kantzavelos) of Mokissos
- Bishop Daniel (Zelinskyy) of Pamphilon
- Bishop Antoun (Khouri) of Miami
- Bishop Joseph (Al-Zehlaoui) of Los Angeles
- Bishop Thomas (Joseph) of Charleston and Oakland
- Bishop Mark (Maymon) of Toledo
- Bishop Alexander (Mufarrij) of Ottawa
- Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of New York
- Bishop Job (Smakouz) of Kashira
- Bishop Gabriel (Chemodakov) of Montreal
- Bishop Peter (Loukianoff) of Cleveland
- Bishop Theodosius (Ivashchenko) of Seattle
- Bishop George (Schaefer) of Mayfield
- Bishop Jerome (Shaw) of Manhattan
- Metropolitan Christopher (Kovacevich) of Midwestern America
- Bishop Maxim (Vasilijevic) of Western America
- Archbishop Nicolae (Condrea) of Chicago
- Bishop Ioan Casian (Tunaru) of Vicina
- Metropolitan Joseph (Bosakov) of America and Australia
- Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) of Washington
- Archbishop Nathaniel (Popp) of Detroit
- Archbishop Seraphim (Storheim) of Ottawa
- Bishop Nikon (Liolin) of Boston
- Bishop Tikhon (Mollard) of Philadelphia
- Bishop Benjamin (Peterson) of San Francisco
- Bishop Melchisedek (Pleska) of Pittsburgh
- Bishop Alejo (Pacheco y Vera) of Mexico City
- Bishop Irineu (Duvlea) of Dearborn Heights
- Bishop Irénée (Rochon) of Quebec City
- Bishop Michael (Dahulich) of New York
- List of Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions in North America
- List of American and Canadian Orthodox bishops
- History of the Eastern Orthodox Church in North America
- "About the Assembly of Bishops". www.assemblyofbishops.org. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
- Kalmoukos, Theodore (6 May 2019). "Archbishop Demetrios of America Resigns".
- "Resolution of Thanks and Appreciation for His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America - 2019 - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America". www.goarch.org.
- "Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa Elected Unanimously Archbishop of America - 2019 - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America". www.goarch.org.
- "Elpidophoros selected new archbishop of America - Kathimerini". www.ekathimerini.com.
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Message of the Episcopal Assembly Of the Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs of North and Central America May 26-28, 2010. May 28, 2010.