Statements from our Bishops
Statements from our Bishops

Metropolitan TIKHON

The Holy Synod of Bishops

Archbishop BENJAMIN 

Archbishop of Washington,

Metropolitan of All America and Canada

 

 

The Holy Synod of Bishops is the supreme canonical authority in the Church. It includes all the diocesan bishops of the Church as voting members. The Metropolitan is the ex officio Chairman of the Synod. In case of his absence, a Chairman is elected by the diocesan bishops present.

Archbishop of San Francisco and the West

 

 

 

 

 

“Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs Regarding Marriage”
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SYOSSET, NY [OCA]

On June 16, 2016, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America approved a statement entitled “Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs Regarding Marriage.” The purpose of that statement was to articulate the basic and fundamental beliefs of the Orthodox Church in America regarding marriage and to do so in terms which could be understood and applied by federal, state, and local governmental officials without the necessity of any probing inquiry or interpretation which might require them to transgress limitations imposed on them by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by related federal or state legislation such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The document is descriptive of marriage in the Orthodox understanding and also establishes guidelines regarding the usage of church property in related respects.

The text of the document has been posted here and is available in PDF format.

 

AOB Issues Common Statement on Sanctity of Life
January 21, 2016

To mark the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States of America, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA [AOB] and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops [USCCB] issued a common statement, titled “Seeking Life, Mercy, and Healing.”

The text of the statement, signed by His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, AOB Chairman; His Eminence, Metropolitan Savas, Chairman of the AOB’s Committee for Church and Society; Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, KY, USCCB President; and Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan of New York, Chairman of USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, appears here. (read more at oca.org)

 

The Ecclesiastical Year & The Day of Prayer for the Creation

The Archpastoral Message of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon
on The Beginning of the Ecclesiastical Year & The Day of Prayer for the Creation

August 28, 2015

 

To the Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America:

 

On September 1, 1989, the late Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios I issued the first message from the Ecumenical Throne on the environment. With his proclamation and the establishment of September 1, the first day of the Ecclesiastical New Year, as the Day of Prayer for the Creation, the Church again seeks to remind us, as Mary reminded Martha, of the one needful thing - life and unity with Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. In that statement Patriarch Demetrios I reminds us that the holy fathers of the Church teach that, “Man is the prince of creation, endowed with the privilege of freedom. Being partaker simultaneously of the material and the spiritual world, he was created in order to refer creation back to the Creator in order that the world may be saved from decay and death.”

 

In Saint Ephrem the Syrian’s work “Hymns on Paradise” we are given yet another guide to how we might come into that unity and life in Christ. Saint Ephrem tells us that God’s two witnesses, or pointers, are, “Nature, through man’s use of it, [and] Scripture, through his reading it.”

 

As the summer draws to a close and children go back to, or away to school for the first time, and begin again a new academic year ecclesiastical year, let us, being reminded by the pointers to Christ as mentioned by Saint Ephrem, take a moment to turn to the one needful thing in praise, worship and thanksgiving for the creation and all the blessing bestowed upon us by our merciful Creator.

 

It is my prayer that the parishes, Sunday Schools, Youth Groups and other organizations of the Orthodox Church in America will take up this time around September 1 to celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Creation. Our Department of Christian Education has prepared an excellent Study and Activity Guide for young people titled, “The Earth is the Lord’s”, which can be found at http://oca.org.

 

With my archpastoral blessings and love,

‡TIKHON
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada

 

Statement on Supreme Court Decision
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June 28, 2015

To the Venerable Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America:

Dearly Beloved,
The recent ruling by the US Supreme Court on the legality of “same-sex marriages” has received much press coverage and has already caused some consternation about its implications and ramifications. But we Orthodox Christians must rest assured that the teaching of our Holy Church on the Mystery of Marriage remains the same as it has been for millennia.

Over the past few years, the Holy Synod of Bishops of our Orthodox Church in America has issued a number of statements outlining, detailing and clarifying the teaching of our Holy Faith on this matter in light of challenges from our American society.  These teachings remain in effect, in spite of the Supreme Court’s decision.  Links to these statements are provided below.

As we reflect on the Supreme Court’s ruling, we should thank Almighty God that we live in a country that allows us the First Amendment rights to worship freely, practice what we believe as Orthodox Christians, and live as examples of Christ our Savior and His love for others.

The ruling does not change the teaching of the Church, but it does remind us of the need to be Christ-like in our dealings with everyone. The state has the responsibility to enact laws that protect the rights of each individual.  The Church, while it does not bless “same-sex marriages” or view them as sacramental, does see the image of Christ in every individual, and his or her worth in the eyes of the Lord Who died upon the Cross for our salvation.

As the Orthodox Church in America, it is our responsibility to care for those who are in need, help those who are victims of prejudice, racism or persecution of any kind, and to provide for those who are sick, destitute, homeless or imprisoned.

The Church’s mission continues, and we have a great responsibility to be “all things to all people,” so that we all may be “one in Christ,” and hear on the last day, “Well done, good and faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:21). (Download pdf version)

With love in the Lord,
TIKHON
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada


Statements of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America on the Mystery of Marriage

The Defense of Marriage & Right of Religious Freedom
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April 29, 2015

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon was among the numerous US religious leaders who signed an open letter “to all in positions of public service,” titled “The Defense of Marriage and the Right of Religious Freedom: Reaffirming a Shared Witness.”

Also signing the open letter, dated April 13, 2015, was His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.  Numerous other religious leaders representing a wide spectrum of US faith communities were also represented.

The letter, issued “at this significant time in our nation’s history with the institution of marriage before the United States Supreme Court,” reaffirms “our commitment to promote and defend marriage—the union of one man and one woman.” To view or download the complete text of this letter, click here.

 



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