The Diocese of the South
Orthodox Church in America
Diocesan Council Meeting Minutes

Metropolitan HILARION visits OCA Chancery in Syosset, NY

SYOSSET, NY [OCA] --

On March 15, 2011, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, visited the United States with the blessing of His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus.
 
During his stay in New York, Metropolitan Hilarion visited the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America at Syosset, where he met with their Graces, Bishop Nikon of Boston; Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia, Secretary of the Holy Synod of Bishops; Bishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh, Interim Chancellor; Bishop Michael of New York; and Bishop Mark of Baltimore.  Metropolitan Hilarion, who was accompanied by his deputy, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, also had the opportunity to meet with some senior representatives of the clergy from various dioceses of the Orthodox Church in America.  He informed those present about the recent meeting of the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission for the Great and Holy Council, which took place in Chambésy, Switzerland, February 21-26, 2011.
 
The main point of discussion was the current situation in the Orthodox Church in America.  During the discussion, Metropolitan Hilarion reaffirmed the position of the Russian Orthodox Church with regard to the autocephaly of the OCA, which, as he emphasized, has remained unchanged since 1970.  He also stressed that the Moscow Patriarchate will in no way intervene in the internal affairs of the Orthodox Church in America, and yet, as the Church which consistently and actively defends the autocephaly of the OCA on the inter-Orthodox level, the Russian Orthodox Church needed to be directly informed about the details of the current situation.
 
The conversations were honest and took place in a friendly and cordial atmosphere.  The hierarchs of the OCA express their gratitude to Patriarch Kirill for his love and concern for the OCA and to Metropolitan Hilarion for undertaking this visit and for his continued brotherly support.
 
On his trip to the United States, Metropolitan Hilarion also will meet with His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, at the request of Patriarch Kirill.
Sunday of Orthodoxy in Jupiter, FL

Father Philip Kontos, a member of the Treasure Coast community. This story is neither endorsed by nor affiliated with this site.

Originally published 10:53 a.m., March 14, 2011 Updated 10:53 a.m., March 14, 2011

JUPITER — From the largest Cathedral in Russia or Jerusalem to the smallest mission, throughout the Orthodox Christian world, this Sunday will see the celebration of the restoration of icons in the 9th Century undivided Church. St. Peter the Apostle Orthodox Mission in Jupiter will be among them adding her small voice to the choir of the over 250 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.

These days, when one hears the word icon one thinks of either the computer images that serve as shortcuts to programs or to Hollywood Celebrities. For the Orthodox Christian, though, icons serve as windows into heaven. In the same way that the flag of a country stands for that country, so the icons also serve as a symbol of that which it represents. If one burns or desecrates a flag, the citizens of that country rightly feel attacked or offended. When the flag is honored the people are honored; even so with the Orthodox icons. For the Orthodox Christian the honor given to the image passes on to the prototype. An icon of Christ is not Christ Himself, but by venerating His icon the veneration is shown to Christ Himself.

The celebration this Sunday, held on the first Sunday of Lent, was begun in the year 842 a.d. when the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empress Theodora restored their use ending a long period, over 100 years, of iconoclasm (image-smashing. “Icon” means “image.”). The 7th Ecumenical Council had long settled the theological arguments for the use of icons in worship. Some Byzantine Emperors, though, influenced by Islam and worried by military defeats, thought that their problems were due to the use of images and had them banned. Churches were looted, icons smashed, and many people lost their lives in defense of the icons. When Empress Theodora restored their use she did so by taking an icon of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos (Birth-giver of God) and of Christ with her son the Emperor Michael and held a procession with the clergy and people of Constantinople (now modern day Istanbul) around the city and adorned the Church Agia Sophia with Icons once more. The Church declared this Sunday the Sunday of Orthodoxy and has become a universal celebration in the Orthodox Churches throughout the world. Parishioners young and old will walk in procession around their Churches with their favorite icons, many of them antiques passed on from generation to generation.

In their evening, Vespers, worship they will sing:

As the Ark of the Covenant did hold the presence of God,

so now the icons reveal the presence of the One we adore.

By honoring them we will never go astray.

It is our glory to fall down and worship Christ in the flesh.

Come, O faithful, venerate His image and cry out://

“O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance!”

St. Peter the Apostle Orthodox Mission meets at 10am for Divine Liturgy on Sundays at Lighthouse Elementary School, 4750 Dakota Drive, Jupiter Florida. For other services places and times, please call Father Philip Kontos at 561-452-4876 or e-mail him at FrPhilip@StPeterJupiter.org.

http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2011/mar/14/local-church-celebrates-sunday-of-orthodoxy-11901/#