ROEA: The 74th Episcopate Congress
June 29-July 2, 2006
The 74th Episcopate Congress
June 29-July 2, 2006
Clergy Conference: At the invitation of His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel, Episcopate clergy met at the Vatra the day prior to the Episcopate Congress, June 29, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. His Eminence, Nathaniel and His Grace, Irineu presided over the Divine Liturgy. After breakfast, the clergy met in the Valerian D. Trifa Romanian Heritage Center. His Eminence read his prepared Speech to the 74th Episcopate Congress: "Set y our hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well" (Mt. 6:33).
The major points the Archbishop touched on were: seeking the kingdom of God; repentance; the complexity of the Episcopate; its four purposes; the uniqueness of the Church as not secular nor democratic but powered by God; good order in the Church; his Pastoral Letter (on the relationship of the ROEA and OCA); the resumption of the JDC work; peace through repentance; By-Law revision; on-going need for a second auxiliary bishop.
The Very Reverend Archimandrite Dr. Mihail (Filimon), Abbot of the Holy Ascension Monastery, Detroit, gave a presentation on monasticism, and in particular, on the monastery in Detroit. Abbot Mihail stated that he considered that the desire of Bishop Policarp Morusca to have monasteries was fulfilled in the presence of the Holy Dormition Monastery, Rives Junction and Holy Ascension in Detroit. Father Mihail reminded the clergy that it is one thing to encourage the establishment of a monastery and another to support it through prayer and financial support. He also exhorted the clergy to encourage young people to become interested in the monastic life and to speak to the faithful to also promote the vocation to monasticism.
A lively discussion followed. Very Reverend Archimandrite Roman (Braga) spoke on the outreach of the Church in the community, and on the experience of the Holy Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction. Some of the fathers stated that they were content to serve the spiritual needs of the Romanian community only. Others disagreed with this vision of the role of the local parish and of the Episcopate as Church in North America. Vespers were celebrated and then the fathers and guests partook of supper.
Episcopate Council Meeting: The Episcopate Council met in its annual pre-Congress session hosted by the Valerian D. Trifa Romanian Heritage Center. Among the issues discussed was the result of the Referendum on Clergy Accreditation which a committee had prepared in the view that there were many requests by clergy for accreditation as per the Episcopate By-Laws regarding un-assigned clergy and monastics. Under consideration was the number of deacons, mission clergy and monastics asking for accreditation. It was decided that the monasteries will be represented by the Abbess/Abbot; mission clergy if the mission had fulfilled its financial support to the Episcopate. The Council based its decision on the fact that the Congress is representational and that parishes are now properly represented according to the By-Laws.
The requests for parish status of the missions of Sts Constantine and Helen, Lilburn, GA and Three, Hierarchs, Seattle, WA were heard and accepted for presentation to Congress; the ROEA Employment Contract Committee gave its report; the Archbishop's letter to St. Mary Parish, Queens, New York was read and the threatening letter of Fr. Remus Bleahu was made know to Council.
Opening Congress Session: Following the Divine Liturgy on Friday morning, delegates met in the Upper Church, and led in prayer by His Eminence, Nathaniel, invoked the Holy Spirit on the Congress. The two mission communities were unanimously elevated as parishes of the Episcopate. Letters of congratulations were read from President and Mrs. Bush; Mayor Griffin of Jackson and other dignitaries. The opening session had 103 delegates present. The Archbishop read his Address to the 74 th Congress which was distributed in both Romanian and English copies.
At the invitation of His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel, Rev. Fr. Catalin Mitescu, Ph.D. chaired the Congress. Reports were given according to the distributed "Report to the Congress".
Concern was stated about the integrity of the minutes of the 2005 Congress; the minutes were accepted as presented.
In the afternoon session, the Department of Finance report was given along with the CPA Audit for the year 2005. Concern was expressed whether the liquid assets of the Episcopate were duly insured according to the FDIC. The purchase of the new acreage adjoining Vatra to the East was duly noted. The salaries of the Episcopate Chancery were distributed for review. Department reports were presented from the Congress Report booklet. Delegates attended the Vesper Service at which sermons in Romanian and English were given and confessions heard. Supper was served following the holy service.
Saturday Sessions: Father Catalin Mitescu opened the sessions with 112 delegates present. A report was given on external affairs. Members of the Joint Dialogue Commission (JDC) presented a statement on its present status and questions were fielded by the same.
After lunch, the delegates resumed their work. Delegates continued the discussion concerning the activities of the JDC. His Eminence requested the Congress to "encourage the continuation of the commission's work" and of the commission to "continue their work expeditiously." Auxiliary reports were presented as per the Congress Report booklet. All reports were accepted as were the proposed budgets.
The Chair thanked: the host parish, St. John the Baptizer, Glendale, Arizona; St. Mary Cathedral Ladies Auxiliary for hosting the ARFORA Coffee Shop; the "Ad Hoc" choral group which would give responses to the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy on Sunday. The Archbishop thanked His Grace, Irineu, for his activities; the Episcopate Chancery Staff and the Episcopate Council. Vespers were served, sermons given in Romanian and English and confessions heard. A musical program was presented during and following dinner.
Sunday Divine Liturgy: His Eminence, Nathaniel, and His Grace, Irineu, concelebrated the Divine Liturgy assisted by clergy and deacons of the Episcopate. The banquet was held in the Pavilion hall. Delegates and guests parted from Vatra thankful to God for his many blessings on the Episcopate, parishes and monasteries. ( Reproduced from: Solia Magazine, July 2006, p.3 )
Note : For objective reasons, urgent family matters, Fr. Constantin could not attend this Congress, but one of our parish delegates, Mr. Ion Anton, represented the Holy Trinity Church as lay delegate.
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