THE MEETING OF THE PRIESTS OF THE PACIFIC COAST DEANERY
For the Bishop’s visit in the Deanery – click here
Tuesday, March 25, 2003 – The Annunciation Feast-Day, at the end of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, and following the meal, His Grace Bishop Irineu and the clergy proceeded to the annual meeting of the West Coast Deanery. The meeting secretary was Subdeacon Liviu Constantinescu.
After the beginning prayer, the Dean (Fr. Constantin Alecse) welcomed the Hierarch and the participating clergy, and explained the difficult geographical circumstances which prevented some of the West Coast priests from attending. He also asked the Bishop for a word of teaching an encouragement.
His Grace began by conveying the blessings of Archbishop Nathaniel, and by expressing his joy and happiness at being the Auxiliary Bishop of our Episcopate. He made a short presentation of the pastoral visits he made, and of the various activities and problems he encountered.
The clergy discussed many of the pressing pastoral problem of today, including adult and youth catechesis, mixed marriages, preaching the Word of God, the necessity of concelebrating with fellow Orthodox Priests, legal matters, etc.
One of the debated subjects was the relation between our diocese and the Romanian Orthodox Archepiscopate in America and Canada (under the Bucharest Patriarchate), and the possibility of canonical union.
It was proposed:
- That our Episcopate be made an Archepiscopate.
- That the Dialogue Committee should intensify their efforts, and keep everyone posted of the results through the Herald.
- That the Hierarchs become more involved in the Dialogue Committee, which would eliminate the tarrying and confusion present.
- That our Episcopate specifies its position regarding the unification of the two Romanian Dioceses.
- It was emphasized that the clergy and laity of the West Coast Deanery wish for the union of the two dioceses into a Romanian Metropolia, TOTALLY autonomous from the Romanian Patriarchate, who together with the other Orthodox bodies in North America would play an important role in the growth of the faith in North America, and, when God finds it proper, form an American Orthodox Patriarchate.
- That receiving the appropriate blessings, both from the OCA and from the Romanian Patriarchate are matters of detail, as is the problem of where the new Metropolia would receive the Holy Chrism.
- That after the union the present hierarchs should form a Holy Synod, who together with the congress of the Metropolia should decide about administrative problems, choosing new hierarchs, starting a theological seminary, and reviving the publications center.
The Clergy Meeting also discussed Archbishop Nathaniel's proposal to organize a clergy retreat at the beginning of November (3-6) 2003 in Southern California. Fr. Constantin Alecse and Fr. Andrew Lesko are working on the details of this retreat.
Fr. Cornel Avramescu mentioned he was studying the possibility of forming a Romanian Orthodox Monastery in Southern California, and promised to report his findings at the next Deanery meeting.
Fr. Bill Clark, from the English chapel of the Holy Trinity Church discussed the possibility and necessity to open our gates to the Orthodox Romanian-Americans who only speak English, as well as to the Americans interested in becoming Orthodox.
Fr. Virgil Anton, the priest of the new San Diego mission "Elevation of the Holy Cross" discussed the effort and hardships in establishing this mission, and in maintaining its spiritual and material growth.
Fr. Cornel Avramescu, from the "Virgin Mary" Church in Anaheim shared some of the pastoral methods he used very successfully in his parish:
- making the faithful aware of the cure prescribed by the Holy Fathers for the healing of sins.
- publishing (in the parish bulletin) writings of the Spiritual Fathers of Romania.
- pilgrimages to holy places
- discipline in serving
- preaching after every service, and posting the sermons on the internet
Fr. Constantin Alecse discussed the situation of parishes where most of the official parish "members" are not communicants of the Holy Mysteries, and attend services rather sporadically.
He also encouraged the priests to become more involved in the administration of the parishes and missions, and not become marginalized by the laity in this aspect. The priest is responsible for the parish, both before the law and before God.
It was also reminded that the West Coast Deanery maintains the deanery web site: www.ViataCrestina.net as well as the website of the Department of Missions: www.OrthodoxAmerica.net. After the end of the meeting (4.30) the clergy were served another meal, prepared by the Ladies auxiliary.