Archbishop's Letter Accompanying the New Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
July 11, 2003 To the Reverend Clergy, the Esteemed Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils, and all the Faithful of the Greek Orthodox Communities in America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On behalf of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, we are distributing to the Holy Metropolises and the Parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America the official text of the Charter of the Archdiocese granted by the Synod of the Patriarchate on January 18, 2003, and its official English translation.
This Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is the product of intensive work over several years by the representatives of the Joint Archdiocesan/Patriarchal Committee, our Holy Eparchial Synod, our Archdiocesan Council, our Clergy-Laity Congresses, and the clergy and lay leadership and membership of the parishes of the Church in America. All have had the opportunity to contribute to a process that has affirmed the level of maturity of our Archdiocese, as our discussions and deliberations have been characterized by respect, honesty, moderated concern, Christian dignity, and deep commitment to the Church and Her mission and function.
This Charter affirms first and foremost the unity of our “one and indivisible Archdiocese,” a unity that has been and will continue to be crucial to mission and ministry at all levels. United in our vision, and in our programs and activities, we will meet the needs of our contemporary world in ways that will bring healing, transformation, salvation, and life.
Furthermore, this Charter honors our Archdiocese by elevating our Dioceses into Metropolises of the Archdiocese, and by enhancing our participation in the process of the election of the Archbishop and the Metropolitans. In addition, the cooperation between clergy and laity and their harmonious function within the Church is clearly affirmed throughout the various articles of the new Charter.
I should like to draw your attention to the important letter of His All Holiness, our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, accompanying this Charter. This letter constitutes an inspiring introduction to the new Charter and offers precious and insightful guidelines for a proper understanding of it and for the wide and bright perspectives opened to our Archdiocese by its implementation. We respectfully offer our gratitude to His All Holiness and the members of the Holy and Sacred Synod for their commitment to the continued growth of the Archdiocese and for their recognition of the service that the Greek Orthodox Church in America offers to this country and throughout the world for the growth and edification of the Body of Christ and for the glory of God.
Further, we call upon all of the faithful of our Holy Archdiocese to give thanks to God for guiding us through this process with the wisdom and love which can only come from above and are befitting His people. It is through the divine work of the Holy Spirit that we know and affirm our potential for offering faith, quality ministry, and true life in Christ.
May the presence of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ continue to strengthen you in your sacred offerings of love and service, and as the Holy Archdiocese of America may we always seek to further the work of His Church until His great and glorious return.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America
Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate