New York, NY - The Spring Session of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) was convened on May 23, 2007 at the St. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, New York. Metropolitan Herman of the Orthodox Church in America hosted the session and welcomed the assembly.
Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman of SCOBA, convened the session at 10:00 a.m. In addition to Metropolitan Herman of the OCA, other Hierarchs present were: Metropolitan Joseph of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church, Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese, Bishop Ilia of Philomelion of the Albanian Orthodox Diocese, Bishop Antoun of Miami representing Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, and His Grace Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos in his last official meeting of SCOBA as General Secretary.
Also present were Fr. Mark Arey, who succeeds Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos as SCOBA General Secretary, and members of the SCOBA Study and Planning Commission: Fr. Nicholas Apostola (Romanian), Fr. Frank Estocin (Ukrainian), Fr. Thomas FitzGerald (Greek), Fr. Jonathan Ivanoff (proxy for OCA), V. Rev. Fr. Kiprian Kazandzhiev (Bulgarian), Fr. Luke Mihaly (Carpatho-Russian), Fr. Robert Stephanopoulos (Greek), Fr. Patrick Tishel (Bulgarian), Fr. Bazyl Zawierucha (Ukrainian).
The Hierarchs adopted "A Pastoral Letter on Suicide" and a "Statement on Global Climate Change: A Moral and Spiritual Challenge" (issued separately and found at www.scoba.us). Both documents were presented by Fr. John Chryssavgis and Dr. Albert Rossi of the SCOBA Social and Moral Issues Commission.
Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou, President of Hellenic College and Holy Cross, made a presentation on an Orthodox Clergy Fellowship for all of North America. The Hierarchs encouraged the initiative and requested additional documentation and detailed analysis.
Fr. Kevin Scherer, the Director of OCF, a SCOBA Agency, made a preliminary presentation on widening the Antiochian Archdiocese program OYO (Orthodox Youth Outreach) to become a SCOBA Agency. The Hierarchs requested additional information on the concept.
Dr. Kyriaki FitzGerald presented the request for "St. Catherine's Vision" (an association of Orthodox women theologians from all Orthodox Seminaries in the Americas) for a "Second Level of Endorsement" of SCOBA as an Endorsed Group. The Hierarchs were pleased to grant the Endorsement.
Following the meeting, faculty and staff of St. Vladimir's Seminary hosted a luncheon for the Members of SCOBA who were joined by Members of SCOOCH, the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches. The Hierarchs who were present were the new Primate of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church in America, Archbishop Abune Kewostos, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian and Archbishop Vicken of the Armenian Church in America, and Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim of the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese.
Following the luncheon, the respective Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Hierarchs held a private discussion on issues of mutual interest and concern.