The 78th Congress of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas
The 78th Congress of our Archdiocese took place at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in
The work of this Congress was modeled along the lines of the 2010 Congress, which was seen as highly effective in structuring the discussions. The first part was organized around working groups constituted on the basis of the committees and auxiliary organizations of the Archdiocese; the second part was made up of the plenary working sessions of the Congress.
The Eparchial Council met on Thursday morning, June 28. Discussed were issues related to the working agenda of the Congress. In addition, a comprehensive review was conducted on the status of all the Missions within our Archdiocese. After lunch, the AROLA (Association of Romanian Orthodox Ladies Auxiliaries) and ROYA (Romanian Orthodox Youth in Americas) conferences took place.
This year’s AROLA Conference was a great success, with over 30 representatives present from the Ladies’ Auxiliaries of our parishes. The conference began with a lecture on the subject of “Sickness and Orthodox Therapy,” presented by Fr. Nicolai Buga of
Thursday evening Archbishop Nicolae and Bishop Ioan Casian met with over 48 priests who participated in the Congress. Discussions centered around the parish reports, the participation of the parishes in the work of various departments of the Archdiocese, as well as the publication of two long-awaited brochures on the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Matrimony, in addition to the bi-lingual Divine Liturgy book for the faithful. The Archdiocesan Secretary, Fr. Daniel Ene, highlighted some administrative concerns, including the need to continue to provide copies of parish legal documents for the Archdiocesan archives.
The Congress began on Friday morning with the concelebration of the Divine Liturgy in
At 3:00 p.m., the business sessions of the Congress began. Archbishop Nicolae opened with words of welcome. And, after the roll was called (96 delegates were present), the Agenda was approved and various committees formed (for evaluation of Parish Reports, a Nominating Committee, the Congress Secretariat, etc.). The Minutes of the 2010 Congress were presented and approved.
The Official Greetings were sent by the Congress to: His Beatitude, Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church; His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America; His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the delegates of the Greek Orthodox Clergy-Laity Congress; President of the United States of America Barack Obama; Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper; Governor General of Canada David Johnston; Prime Minister of Quebec Jean Charest; and Mayor of Montreal Gerald Tremblay.
The Congress also acknowledged with gratitude the messages received in honor of the 10th anniversary of the ordination and installation of Archbishop Nicolae. Congratulations were received from HB Patriarch Daniel, HE Metropolitan Teofan, HE Metropolitan Serafim, HE Archbishop Demetrios, HE Metropolitan Sotirios, HB Metropolitan John, HE Metropolitan Nicholas, HE Archbishop Nathaniel, and their Excellencies, Mrs. Elena Ştefoi, Romanian Ambassador to Canada, and Mr. Adrian Vieriţa, Romanian Ambassador to the U.S., as well as from Mr. Constantine M. Triantafilou, Executive Director of IOCC.
In his report to the Congress, Archbishop Nicolae presented a detailed account of his pastoral activities over the past ten years. These included: parish visits, deanery assemblies, clergy conferences, inter-orthodox and ecumenical meetings, and a large variety of special events, such as those with Archdiocesan youth. With regard to Archdiocesan programs, His Eminence mentioned charitable activities in collaboration with IOCC, ordinations of priests and deacons, and new parishes and missions. He drew attention to the admirable achievements of our parishes, including purchasing or constructing new churches, purchasing land, and the remodeling of some existing churches. He reported on meetings of the Holy Synod of the ROC and other events that have taken place in
In his report to the Congress, Bishop Ioan Casian summarized his pastoral activities over the past two years. He spoke of parish visits, deanery meetings, conferences and symposia in which he participated, as well as pan-Orthodox and ecumenical activities. His Grace then shared his vision for the growth of the Archdiocese, new parishes and missions. The delegates received these reports enthusiastically, not only because of their richness of substance, but also for the care and love shown by Archbishop Nicolae and Bishop Ioan Casian, through their tireless efforts on behalf of the faithful of the Archdiocese.
Both Archbishop Nicolae and Bishop Ioan Casian then shared their thoughts regarding the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and
The final session on Friday was devoted to a discussion of the special report of the Archdiocesan Education Committee. Fr. Daniel Ene and Anca Munteanu highlighted the Committee’s work over the three years of its existence since its establishment at the end of 2009. The Committee has focused on three major projects: (1) researching the state of religious education in our parishes and developing strategies for enrichment and support for the parishes working to establish and maintain religious education programs; (2) expanding the Religion Olympiads, now in their third year, held both at the local (parish) level and in metropolitan centers; and (3) the summer children’s camp in Emlenton, PA. A discussion took place regarding enlarging the Committee from 5 to 9 members, and also the need to energize the work of Christian education so that in the next two years all the parishes and missions of our Archdiocese will have a Sunday School and a special commitment to the education of our children.
The first session on Saturday morning was a presentation by Fr. Daniel Sandu of St. George Parish in Saint Hubert, QC, on the subject: The Care of the Sick in the Orthodox Church. Following the presentation and discussion, Archbishop Nicolae welcomed the newly arrived delegates, and then asked Fr. Nicholas Apostola to report on the ongoing Dialogue with the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America.
He drew the delegates’ attention to the Report of the Dialogue Commission, which had been distributed earlier. He said that the clergy had discussed the situation in their meeting on Thursday, and now the full Congress needed to express its opinion. In the debate that followed many ideas were presented, and finally condensed into a three-point resolution which the Congress adopted. The Congress: (1) felt the due diligence process had accomplished its intended purpose to verify the legal and financial representations made by both dioceses, and as such considered this process closed; (2) expressed its desire to open a new phase in the dialogue with the ROEA, that would be designed to build trust and confidence between and among the clergy and faithful of our dioceses based on accepted and proven confidence-building and dispute resolutions methodologies, and characterized by a process of openness and transparency, and including regular face to face joint meetings of the clergy and other governance bodies; and (3) asked the Archbishop to explore the ways and means to initiate this process with the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America.
In a related matter, the Congress voted to establish a Commission to explore the desire to establish a North American Romanian Orthodox Metropolia. The Commission would report to the 2014 Congress with its recommendations concerning the viability of the proposal, and the steps that would be necessary for its implementation.
Fr. Daniel Ene reported to the delegates on the work of the Department of Communication and Publications. He reminded them that the Archdiocese publishes the Credinţa Almanac, the Credinţa magazine, in addition to a monthly electronic Bulletin. He said that most of the special projects proposed at the 2010 Congress have been accomplished, including: the brochures on the Sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony, the bi-lingual Divine Liturgy, and the Archdiocese Monograph. The brochures on the Sacrament of Holy Anointing and the Care of the Sick, as well as the text on mixed marriages, are nearly finalized. With regard to the bi-lingual Divine Liturgy book, a final proof was presented to the clergy and lay delegates. This new edition is primarily intended for use by the faithful to assist in following and participating in the Liturgy. Comments and suggestions received at the Congress will be incorporated into the text that is slated for publication by the end of August, he said.
The Financial Reports for the 2010-2011 biennium were presented and reviewed along with the Financial Reports for the first 5 months of 2012. While the Archdiocese remained on budget, the settlement of the
In the final session of the 78th Archdiocesan Congress, short reports were given by each of the Deans with regard to their Deanery Assemblies, highlighting the positive impact these meetings have had on creating a homogenous and harmonious culture among our parishes.
Fathers Nicolai Buga and Daniel Sandu then presented the parish reports, along with several proposals. Elena Bront de Avila, President of AROLA, presented the report of our women’s auxiliary, including their goals for the future. She reported that a newly restructured executive committee has been elected: President, Elena Bront de Avila; Vice President, Psa. Mihaela Ţăpuc; Secretary,
The ROYA meeting at the 78th Archdiocesan Congress was a success. There were representatives from 12 parishes, from among whom two were chosen as vice presidents, and others for various administrative responsibilities, assisting Spiritual Advisor Fr. Nicolae Clempuş and President Ana Radu in organizing activities on the Archdiocesan level.
Following the recommendations of the nominating committee, the following people were elected by the Congress to the Eparchial Council for the next two years. Clergy: Fr. Daniel Adrian Ene, Fr. Călin Barbolovici, Fr. George Săndulescu, Fr. George Bâzgan. Lay members: US – Leonard von Rommel, Alexandru Suba, Constantin Alexandru, Anca Munteanu;
Before the close of the Congress, His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae thanked all the delegates for the sacrifices they made in order to participate at the Congress. The working session was adjourned and the delegates prepared for the Vespers Service. Sunday saw the gathering together of hierarchs, priests, delegates, and hundreds of faithful for the Divine Liturgy in
Photographs from the Congress can be seen at this link. At the time of our farewells and departure, all of us present during this time together felt the providence and the blessing of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Fr. Daniel Adrian Ene