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Archdiocesan Council Convened in Philadelphia

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May 14, 2012

NEW YORK – The Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America convened for its regular spring meeting May 10-11 in Philadelphia, under the chairmanship of Archbishop Demetrios of America. Present at the meeting were six Metropolitans of the Holy Eparchial Synod, including Iakovos of Chicago, Methodios of Boston, Alexios of Atlanta, Nicholas of Detroit, Savas of Pittsburgh and Evangelos of New Jersey.

The two-day Archdiocesan Council meeting, held at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriot Hotel was attended by more than 80 members and began with the individual committee work on Thursday, May 10. In preparation for the 41st Clergy-Laity Congress, which will take place in Phoenix July 1-5, the committees assessed the progress, new initiatives and proposals in the various fields of ministry of the Church and prepared their reports for the whole body.

The next morning, Thursday May 11, the Archdiocesan Council began its work with prayer and Archbishop Demetrios, in his opening remarks, thanked all the members of the Council for their diligent work in the committees and in their respective communities. He also thanked the host Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey for the hospitality, as well all the members of the Holy Eparchial Synod. His Eminence talked about his participation in the sanctification of the Holy Myrrh during Holy Week in Constantinople and conveyed the “loving blessing and greeting of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,” saying that the Patriarch always has the flock in America in his thoughts and prayers. The Archbishop also conveyed to the Council the events of his visit to the Archdiocese of Athens and his meeting with Archbishop Ieronymos to whom he presented a check for $500,000, proceeds from the Relief Fund for the People of Greece. Archbishop Demetrios said that this amount is to be used for the methodical programs of the Archdiocese of Athens feeding people in need. He also noted that an additional $300,000 was collected since his trip and further said that he had the personal assurance of Archbishop Ieronymos for transparency and accountability on the use of funds to assist the people of Greece.

Archbishop Demetrios addressed issues relating to the Youth of our Church, the various youth programs and the vigor in participation, which is a characteristic of most of these programs. The Archbishop said that the work of the Council and the upcoming Clergy-Laity Congress is work of “mission and love,” and this kind of work is reflected in the theme of the 41st Congress “Chosen and Appointed by God to go and bear fruit.”

Mr. Michael Jaharis, the vice-president of the Archdiocesan Council, shared his thoughts and observations on the progress of the Archdiocese. He noted “incredible progress” during the last twelve years in all aspects and spoke about the organization needs of the Church especially as they pertain to maintaining the leadership role of our Archdiocese. Mr. Jaharis also referred to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is facing tough times especially with the present economic condition of Greece. He said that the Council should present the Clergy-Laity Congress with a plan for growth and programs for the Youth are a very important part of this.

A total of 10 reports on the National Ministries of the Archdiocese were presented to the Council and discussed: Communications, Youth (including Ionian Village), Stewardship, Administration, Technology, Finance, Marriage and Family, Religious Education, Archdiocesan Presbyters Council and Outreach and Evangelism.

There was extensive discussion on issues affecting the youth and young adults and the efforts to support and maintain their connection with the Church throughout their student and young-professional years. There was also a long discussion on issues presented by the Administration Committee, including a proposal, which came from three Metropolises for the National Clergy Laity Congress to be convened every three years instead of every two. This proposal will be presented to the 2012 Congress for deliberation. Many of the members advocated the importance of participation to the Congress of all the parishes of the Archdiocese.

Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, on behalf of Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago and the Metropolis of Chicago, presented a check for $50,000 for the Relief Fund for the People of Greece from Metropolis funds, in addition to the individual offerings of the parishes of the Metropolis.

In his closing remarks to the members, Archbishop Demetrios asked the members to intensify their effort for the greatest possible participation in the upcoming Clergy Laity Congress, to keep in mind the need for support of Hellenic College / Holy Cross School of Theology, which celebrates its 75th Anniversary as well as the National Philoptochos Society which celebrates its 80th Anniversary, and also recognized the contributions of all the Archdiocese institutions and organizations.

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