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.
- 1 Founding members
- 2 Membership-related Events
- 3 See also
- 4 External links
- Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Australasia: delegation consisting of V. Rev. Fr. Nicolas Mansour (Exarch), legate of Bishop Gibran.
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia: delegation consisting of Archbishop Stylianos, Archimandrite Stephanos (vicar-general of the archdiocese), and Mr James Samios (legal counsel and director of public relations for the archdiocese).
- Romanian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand: delegation consisting of V. Rev. Dr. Gabriel Popescu.
- ROCOR - Diocese of Australia and New Zealand: delegation consisting of Archbishop Theodosius and Fr Nicholas Gan.
- Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand (Metropolitanate of New Gracanica): delegation consisting of Bishop Vasilije and Fr Milorad Loncar.
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. The Antiochian Archdiocese looks forward to a time when it is possible for all Orthodox jurisdictions in Australia to come together co-operatively and with unity.
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, and subsequently established a worship community which has always been within the Antiochian Archdiocese and has therefore never been schismatic . Added to which, a chairman has no right or authority to exclude any jurisdiction on his own motion without a decision by SCCOCA itself.
Regarding the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
According to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, SCCOCA still exists because two of the member bishops, and visitors from other jurisdictions, concelebrated Vespers on the Sunday of Orthodoxy and Bright Friday in 2006:
- "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."
A report on the Bright Friday event from a Serbian source refers to this as a concelebration of a "Pan-Orthodox Holy Hierarchical Liturgy".
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.
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."