Dept. of Inter-Orthodox and Inter-Faith Relations News
The Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
51st General Convention—Houston, Texas, July 21-28, 2013
Christian Churches Together in the USA: Very Rev. Olof H. Scott
Our archdiocese continues in its participation as a member of Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A. (CCT). CCT is a coalition of five Church Families, Historic Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical/Pentecostal, and Historic Black along with Christian service organizations. The Orthodox representation in this organization continues to be the same six Orthodox jurisdictions, three Eastern (Antiochian, Greek, OCA) and three Oriental (Armenian, Coptic, Syrian). All proclamations and statements issued by CCT are the result of consensus by the member bodies.
Fr. Olof Scott serves on the Steering Committee which is charged with the planning and work of CCT in between annual meetings. He is currently one of three Orthodox members, one Eastern and two Oriental, on this committee.
Letter sent to President Obama
June 11, 2013
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We write you as leaders of Christian Churches Together in the USA, an organization comprised of 43 denominations and organizations representing the full spectrum of Christian faith - Catholic, historic Protestant, Evangelical/Pentecostal, Orthodox, and Historic Black churches. We wish to share with you our deepest concern over the kidnapping of two prominent archbishops in Syria, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi of Aleppo and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim of Aleppo. As you know, they have been missing since April 22, and the driver of their car, a deacon in the Syriac Orthodox Church, was killed.
The members of our churches and organizations deeply lament the ongoing and horrible tragedy in Syria, with the deaths of tens of thousands, the displacement of millions, and the bitter sectarian hostility which seems to grow daily. Our prayers for comfort are with all who suffer, and our prayers for wisdom and courage are with all who are working for peace.
But we are addressing you in particular about the fate of these two courageous and well-loved Archbishops in Syria because of what they mean to the Christian community in that country and around the world. While we understand that there may be limitations on what the U.S. government can do directly to secure their release, we also know that the U. S. and its allies have considerable influence with a number of governments and factions on the ground who could make a difference in the fate of these two kidnapped church leaders. The fact that they were traveling on a humanitarian mission makes this matter all the more tragic and horrific.
May 29, 2013
A World Council of Churches (WCC) conference, “Christian Presence and Witness in the Middle East,” has issued a joint statement calling churches and ecumenical actors to commit themselves to support one another in prayers and actions to support the Christian presence and witness in the Middle East. The statement was an outcome of discussions engaging representatives of the ecumenical organizations in the Arab world. Held at the Notre-Dame du Mont Monastery, the conference included patriarchs, heads of churches, and representatives of every Christian church in the Middle East, along with Christian churches and organizations from 34 countries.
In this context, the statement called the churches to “continue to be involved in the building of democratic civil societies, based on the rule of law, social justice and respect for human rights, including religious freedom....this is a time for action, for a new vision of Christian cooperation in the region, for recommitment to Christian Muslim engagement, for engagement with Jewish partners also working for peace and justice, expressing our Christian vocations by working together to express mutual support and solidarity.” The full text is available here.
On Monday, April 15, 2013, leaders of member churches and organizations of Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A. (CCT) gathered in Birmingham, AL to attend a symposium on racism. The Right Rev. Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn represented the Antiochian Archdiocese, and was joined by other Orthodox dignitaries, including His Beatitude The Most Blessed Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA).
The meeting date coincided with the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic Letter from Birmingham Jail. Dr. King’s letter was written in 1963 in response to eight Alabama clergyman who cautioned restraint regarding the civil rights demonstrations.
Memphis, TN (CCT)--Christian Churches Together in the USA has completed its sixth annual meeting (February 14-17, 2012) in Memphis, Tennessee. Some 85 church and organizational leaders (representing 36 African American, Catholic, Historic Protestant, Evangelical/Pentecostal and Orthodox churches and 6 Christian organizations: American Bible Society, Bread for the World, Evangelicals for Social Action, Habitat For Humanity, Sojourners and World Vision) met to discern together how CCT should respond to racism and poverty now.
V. Rev. Olof Scott, the Chair of the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Inter-Orthodox and Inter-Faith Relations and Dean of the St. George Orthodox Cathedral in Charleston, West Virginia, attended the 2012 Annual Meeting.
A joint statement released at the gathering's conclusion, "One in Christ for the Sake of All," responds to the question: How might the Holy Spirit use the witness of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, to help the church live the Gospel more fully and proclaim it more faithfully?
NEW YORK —The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation held its 81st meeting at St Paul’s College in Washington October 27-28. The meeting was chaired by Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans. The Orthodox co-chairman since 1987, Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, has retired, and a successor has not yet been named.
During this meeting the members heard reports about major events in the lives of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches and issued a brief statement, “On the Plight of Churches in the Middle East.”
“We are concerned for our fellow Christians who, in the face of daunting challenges, struggle to maintain a necessary witness to Christ in their homelands,” they wrote. “United with them in prayer and solidarity, we ask our fellow Christians living in the West to take time to develop a more realistic appreciation of their predicament. We ask our political leaders to exert more pressure where it can protect these Churches, many of which have survived centuries of hardship but now stand on the verge of disappearing completely.”
WASHINGTON—Representatives of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches have issued two new documents outlining immediate steps they can take to overcome their thousand-year separation. The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation finalized these agreed statements when it met at Georgetown University in Washington, September 30 to October 2. The Consultation is co-chaired by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans and Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh.
The first statement, “Steps Towards a Reunited Church: A Sketch of an Orthodox-Catholic Vision for the Future,” is an unprecedented effort to begin to visualize the shape of a reunited Catholic and Orthodox Church that would result from the reestablishment of full communion. The text acknowledges that the role of the Bishop of Rome in the Church is a central point of disagreement and outlines the history of this divergence between East and West. It goes on to summarize the many elements of the Christian faith and ecclesial life that the two churches share, and emphasizes the urgency of overcoming our divisions.
Read the rest of the SCOBA-issued report here.