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Ligonier Meeting

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[[Image:Ligonier Meeting.jpg|right|thumb|400px|[[SCOBA]] hierarchs at the Ligonier Meeting]]
{{orthodoxyinamerica}}
The '''Ligonier Meeting''' was a meeting of twenty-eight or twenty-nine Orthodox Christian [[bishop|hierarchs]] in North America, specifically those affiliated with [[SCOBA]], held [[November 30]] to [[December 2]], 1994, at the [[Antiochian Village]] in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. The bishops met together (many for the first time), held multiple sessions and presentations, and issued two statements, specifically on evangelism and on the notion of American Orthodox Christians being a "[[diaspora]]."
It was not strictly a council or [[synod]] ''per se'', but it had many of the characteristics of a synod, particularly the conciliarity or ''[[sobornost]]'' which results in the meeting of the Church's bishops together in collegiality, referring to itself as an "episcopal assembly." The conference was presided over by His Eminence Archbishop [[Iakovos (Coucouzis) of America]], then primate of the [[Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America]] and [[SCOBA]] chairman.
In November of 1994, the invited hierarchs assembled at the [[Antiochian Village]] in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, hosted by Metropolitan [[Philip (Saliba) of New York|Philip]] of the [[Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America|Antiochian Archdiocese]] and presided over by Archbishop [[Iakovos (Coucouzis) of America]], primate at that time of the [[Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America|Greek Archdiocese]] and SCOBA chairman (by custom, the chairman of SCOBA is elected by its members, but the one elected is always the primate of the representative of the [[Church of Constantinople]] in America).
Five months before, Metropolitan [[Spyridon (PapageorgiouPapageorge) of Chaldea|Spyridon (Papageorgiou) of Italy]] gave a speech at the 32nd Biennial Clergy-Laity Conference of the Greek Archdiocese, in which he plainly stated that both he and the Constantinopolitan Patriarch, [[Bartholomew I (Archontonis) of Constantinople|Bartholomew]], wanted an end to "ethnic ghettoes" which divided Orthodoxy in America. He denounced ethnic insularity at the expense of "our spiritual identity," and that it was time to cut the "Gordian knot of nationalism." Spyridon was generally regarded at the time to be the natural successor to the aged Iakovos, and his bold words for unity seemed the perfect cue for what transpired at Ligonier (Michalopoulos and Ham, 180-181).
Though Iakovos officially presided over the event, he "graciously receded into the background as Ligonier was under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Philip, who was thus the host and official prime mover behind the conference." Philip gave the address to the gathered bishops, and Archbishop [[Dmitri (Royster) of Dallas]] gave the official response. "By all accounts, unity and amity of purpose abounded. The assembled bishops came to an agreement and issued a statement declaring their intention of forming a united American Orthodox Church" (ibid., 181).
*[[Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia]]:
**Metropolitan [[Joseph (Bosakov) of America and Australia|Joseph]] of America, Canada and Australia
*[[Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America]]:
**Archbishop [[Herman (Swaiko) of Washington and New York|Herman (Swaiko) of Philadelphia]]
**Bishop [[Nathaniel (Popp) of Detroit]]
**Bishop [[Tikhon (Fitzgerald) of San Francisco and Los Angeles|Tikhon (Fitzgerald) of San Francisco]]
**Bishop [[Seraphim (Storheim) of Ottawa]]
**Bishop [[Mark (Forsberg) of Boston]]
:What we—the canonical Orthodox bishops—had done 10 years ago was good. But there are no results so far. It is only a good desire. That means—such is God’s will. Without Him we can do nothing.
:Therefore, I beseeched the Lord to teach me His statutes. After my prayer as usual I opened my Bible with closed eyes and put my finger on the right place. For the first time I opened Revelation 1:3—"Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." I asked the Lord: "O Lord! What about until then?" And again I opened the Bible, that time on [[First Epistle of Paul to Timothy|1 Timothy ]] 1:15—"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." And for the third time I tempted the Lord, saying: "O Lord! I am not an Abraham nor a Jew, I'm a sinner, but involve me to understand Your Will." And then I opened the Book of Sirah—Joshua 24:29-30, where I read in the new American Translation: "Said to myself, I will water my plants, my flower bed I will drench; and suddenly this rivulet of mine became a river, then this stream of mine, a sea. Thus do I send my teaching forth shining like a dawn, to become known afar off. Thus do I pour out instruction like prophecy and bestow it on generations to come."
:And now it is clear for me, that this prophecy should be fulfilled, but not during my life. I think that all of us, Orthodox bishops, who were born and came to America from the old countries, like me, and now control the jurisdictional eparchies, must die. The Holy Orthodox Church needs new generations of Americans to come after us, who shall fulfill the Lord's instructions and prophecy. Because now, as Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky writes: "Spiritually we are still drinking mother's milk, not yet ready for loftier and deeper experiences of the life reaching out to us from Christ and present through the Holy Spirit within our hearts."
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