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Complete Media and Press Facilities will be available during the 37th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to be held July 25-30th at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel. Press Credentials will be available beginning Saturday, July 24th in the Brecht Room, 4th floor. A daily schedule will be posted. Contacts: Nikki Stephanopoulos, (917) 903-1255; Stavros Papagermanos, (718) 415-5850 or above until July 23rd.

THIRTY-SEVENTH BIENNIAL CLERGY-LAITY CONGRESS OF THE GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE TO CONVENE IN NEW YORK CITY JULY 25-JULY 30

New York, NY - Plans have neared completion for the 37th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress and National Philoptochos Convention of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to be held Sunday, July 25th through Friday, July 30th, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.  The National Young Adult League (YAL) Conference will be held in conjunction with the Congress from July 23rd to July 25th. The Congress is expected to attract over 2,000 total participants, including observers, guests and over 1,000 delegates from 550 parishes.

“Building Communities of Faith and Love: Orthodox Parishes in Worship and Ministry” is the theme of this year’s Congress. On Monday July 26th, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, spiritual leader of 1.5 million Greek Orthodox faithful in America, will share his vision for the Church at the Congress’  Opening Ceremonies. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will welcome the delegates to New York City.
 
The Clergy-Laity Congress is the highest legislative body of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and is convened biennially and presided over by the Archbishop. It is concerned with all matters, other than doctrinal or canonical, affecting the life, growth and unity of the Church, her institutions, her finances, her administration, educational and philanthropic concerns and her growing role in the religious life of the nation.

SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS

On Sunday, July 25th, beginning with the Matins at 8:30 a.m. and proceeding with the Eucharistic Service at 10:00 a.m., Archbishop Demetrios of America and the Metropolitans of the Holy Eparchial Synod will concelebrate the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the Ballroom of the Marriott Marquis. Leah Pappas will conduct the choir, comprised of members of the Direct Archdiocesan District Choir Federation and of members of the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians from metropolises across the country, and Dr. Nicholas Rallis will lead the chanters in the Matins service. At 3:30 p.m. that afternoon, the Archbishop will preside at the official exhibit opening and will attend the opening of the Philoptochos General Assembly at 4:00 pm.
 
On Monday, July 26th, the Congress will officially open with the Archbishop’s Keynote Address. Mayor Michael Bloomberg will attend and welcome the delegates to New York City. The program will begin with a Prayer Service officially opening the Congress.
      
"A Call to Faith", a book of the major addresses and lectures of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, will be released at the Clergy-Laity Congress, highlighted by a book signing by His Eminence on Monday afternoon from 5:00-6:00 p.m. in the Majestic/Music Box Room.

The book includes 16 addresses and lectures offered by Archbishop Demetrios, beginning with his Enthronement Address in 1999, together with presentations offered at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Richard Stockton College, Queens College, Harvard University, Columbia University, Yale University, Aristotelian University in Thessaloniki, and the Academy of Athens.  The book also includes his address at the 2001 Conference of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), the keynote of the 36th Clergy-Laity Congress, his 2002 Indiction address at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and a presentation delivered in Bucharest, Romania on the impact of September 11.

Mrs. Kofi Annan, the wife of the Secretary General of the United Nations will be the keynote speaker at the National Philoptochos Society dinner with the theme: Offering Love As Witness, on Monday, July 26th at 6:30 p.m.

Meetings of the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council, National Sisterhood of Presvyteres, The National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians, the Order of St. Andrew and other auxiliary organizations, will take place during the Congress.
 
Throughout the Congress, the rich Education Program will offer participants the opportunity to attend a wide variety of sessions on topics related to the Congress theme. The more than 50 sessions will include workshops offered by various departments and ministries, as well as special seminars on unique parish ministry programs. With an emphasis on the importance of equipping and training for ministry in and through the local parish, all sessions will be open to all Congress participants.

Also during the Congress, the Department of Internet Ministries will provide a daily computer lab and computer training seminars. The seminars will focus on how to use parish administration software, the Internet, and Microsoft Office. After hours, the computer lab will be open to attendees to apply what they learned in the classes, surf the Internet, and check e-mail. A clergy-only computer forum will also be offered for the first time.

The First Plenary Session will be held Wednesday, July 28th from 2:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m. In the evening the Congress participants will enjoy a cultural event with an Evening at the Met from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. The program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will include a video presentation of the recent Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557) exhibition, a reception and an opportunity to visit the Byzantine and Greek Galleries.

Thursday July 29th will begin with the second, and final, Plenary Session to convene from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Both Plenary Sessions will include reports from the Congress Committees on Greek Education, Religious Education, Finance, Communications, Administration which will report on the proposed Uniform Parish Regulations.

The Grand Banquet will be held on Thursday evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. and will be attended by members of the religious, diplomatic, and government communities, as well as some 2,000 delegates and guests.

The Congress will conclude on Friday morning, July 30th, when Archbishop Demetrios of America will meet with all the clergy attending the Congress.
 
The official 37th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress Program Guide is now available on the Congress web site at www.goarch.org

Contact: Nikki Stephanopoulos   
Tel: (212) 570-3530, Fax: (212) 774-0215