Credinta Aprilie - Iunie 2014
Meeting of the Representatives of the Orthodox and Oriental Clergy of the Toronto Area
The Orthodox and Oriental (Non-Chalcedonian) clergy from the Toronto Area met on Wednesday, May 22, 2014. The meeting was hosted by the Greek Orthodox Metropolis in Toronto. Participating in the meeting from the Orthodox Church were H.E. Metropolitan Sotirios (Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Canada) and H.G. Bishop Ioan Casian de Vicina (Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas), and from the Oriental churches Bishop Minas (Orthodox Coptic Diocese of Mississauga, Vancouver and Western Canada). Clergy from the Serbian, Bulgarian, Greek and Coptic, Armenian and Syro-Jacobites were also in attendance.
The meeting started with the service of Matins in the St. John the Theologian Chapel at the Metropolis headquarters, followed by the actual meeting proceedings. According to the agenda prepared by the Permanent Committee, the meeting started with reviewing the main news from the different Christian jurisdictions. Among these were mentioned:
- the situation of the Coptic Christians and the political fragility in Egypt as well as the possibility of an official visit to Canada this fall by the Coptic Primate Tawadros II of Alexandria;
- the meeting on May 25, in Jerusalem, between Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew;
- the election of a new Armenian primate for Canada;
- the difficult situation of the people of Serbia and the Southern Balkans caused by destructive flooding; the possibility of offering efficient financial aid;
- the improvement of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church situation one year after the election of the new patriarch;
- the situation of the Christian churches in South India and the concern about the impact of the new political elections on the faithful of that area.
- The hierarchs present at the meeting emphasized:
- the need for a stronger and continuous coordination of the activities performed by the representatives of the churches gathered at the meeting by drawing up and pursuing an agenda with a substantial impact on ecclesiastical and social realities;
- the need to improve the missionary and catechetical activities for the youth;
- the possibility of an alternative organization of this meeting;
- the very difficult situation of the Christians in Sudan and Nigeria and the need of a coordinated answer of all the Christian churches in Canada;
- The following points were also discussed:
- the difficulties of an efficient and realistic representation in the Canadian Council of Churches;
- more effective awareness-raising among the representatives of the political parties about the concerns of the Orthodox and Oriental Churches on new developments in medical ethics in Canadian society and their impact on spiritual and social life.
At the end of the meeting the following decisions were made:
- to draft a statement presenting the common position of the Christian Churches against anti-Christian violence in the world and especially in Africa (Nigeria and Sudan);
- the proposal of a series of prayer vigils for this purpose;
Emphasis was placed on the need to make the common viewpoint and concern on these issues known to the Office for Religious Freedom in Canada and to His Excellency, Ambassador Andrew Bennett. The day ended with a fraternal dinner for all the meeting participants.