Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Churches in Australia

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The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Churches in Australia (SCCOCA) was an organisation founded in 1979 under the leadership of Archbishop Stylianos (Harkianakis) of Australia and intended to help cooperation among the Orthodox jurisdictions in Australia, under the permanent chairmanship of the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Founding members

Membership-related Events

Regarding the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

According to Father Nicholas Gan, the ROCOR archbishop's official representative to SCCOCA at the time, there was disquiet within ROCOR about some of the ecumenical activities of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. But he said ROCOR was "driven out of SCCOCA after one too many screaming matches from the chief antagonist" in that organisation, and because of that hierarch's "invective" about ROCOR being "totally non-canonical" and "having no right to be in Australia, because it is a territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate".

Fr Nicholas Gan said the "Greek Archdiocese of Australia later put it about that ROCOR chose to depart in protest over the involvement of other jurisdictions in the ecumenical movement." [1]

Regarding the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand

According to the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand, SCCOCA's complete inactivity between early 1999 and early 2006, (except for a letter from Bp Seraphim in March 2000), justifies its view of SCCOCA as being dead.

There is an allegation from Greek Orthodox sources that "the acceptance by the Antiochian Archdiocese of schismatic Romanian communities run by defrocked priests has forced the exclusion of the Antiochian Archdiocese from SCCOCA". The Antiochian Archdiocese denies that any Romanian communities within its jurisdiction were schismatic or run by defrocked priests. Rather, the Romanian priest was released with the personal permission and blessing of Patriarch Teoctist. This priest subsequently established a worship community which has always been within the Antiochian Archdiocese. [2]

Regarding the Romanian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand

Although Fr Gabriel Popescu was present at the foundation of SCCOCA, the Romanian Orthodox Church was never an actual member of SCCOCA since, according to Patriarch Teoctist, the Romanian Patriarchate never sanctioned this move.

Current Events

According to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, SCCOCA member churches concelebrated on the Vespers of Orthodoxy and Bright Friday.

"In March 2006, Vespers of the Sunday of Orthodoxy was celebrated at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Marrickville with Archbishop Stylianos of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Bishop Milutin of the Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as clergy from the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Partriarchate) and the Romanian Orthodox Church. In total about 35 clergy were present surrounded by about 500 faithful. The event was powerful, sombre and moving as each of the jurisdictions read the testimony from the 7th Ecumenical council in their respective languages as well as English. The ceremony ended with exchanges of words of love and solidarity by the bishops. In similar spirit on the morning of Friday after Pascha (28 April 2006), SCOCCA again joined to concelebrate the Paschal Liturgy and to share a common Paschal meal at the Greek Orthodox Parish of St. Euphemia, Bankstown NSW."

Consistent with its earlier stated view, the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand says there cannot be current events in an organisation that "is dead" (Metropolitan Archbishop Paul).

Future Events

The Antiochian Archdiocese looks forward to the time when God wills for a cooperative meeting of all the Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions in Australia. Metropolitan Archbishop Paul prays for a gathering devoted to the stability and good relations between all the jurisdictions present in Australia, with a view to working harmoniously and in good faith towards that point when "they all may be one, as You Father and I are one" (Jn 17:21). Until that time comes, the primate and members of the Antiochian Archdiocese continue to pray for the unity of witness, worship, and loving kindness, which should be found in all true-believing churches throughout the world.

See also

External links

  • History of SCCOCA from the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia (covering the foundation of SCCOCA)
  • History of SCCOCA from the website of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand (including recent events regarding the Antiochian Archdiocese)