Resolutions of the 42nd Clergy Laity Congress
Jul 22, 2014
RESOLUTIONS OF THE 42nd CLERGY LAITY CONGRESS
NEW YORK – The 42nd Clergy Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which convened in Philadelphia, Pa., July 6-10, 2014 approved six resolutions: 1) on Family, 2) on the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at the new World Trade Center, 3) on religious Freedom presented by the Order of St. Andrew – Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, 4) on the treat and protection of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East, 5) a resolution regarding the environment, and 6) a general resolution of thanks.
The text of all resolutions as approved, follows:
RESOLUTION REGARDING FAMILY
WHEREAS: the theme of this 42nd Biennial Clergy Laity Congress is the Orthodox Christian Family: A Dwelling of Christ and A Witness of His Gospel;
WHEREAS: this theme recognizes the importance of family to us, not just as a Church, but also as members of an often turbulent modern society and world; and
WHEREAS: His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios reminded us, in his keynote address, of the prevailing feeling in our Church that the Orthodox Christian family and its members are a dwelling of Christ and a witness to His Gospel;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the 42nd Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, assembled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
1) That family issues be a priority of the Church, especially for those families experiencing turmoil;
2) That the Congress supports His Eminence's exhortation to fully develop the
services offered today by the existing department for the Care of the Family, by creating a full center for family care that can more comprehensively address urgent family issues and provide pastoral care to our families, including the families of our clergy; and
3) That we restore Sunday as a day of sanctity in which the Orthodox Christian family will worship the Lord together.
RESOLUTION REGARDING ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH
WHEREAS: On September 11, 2001, the physical structure of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was destroyed in the terrorist attack on America and the World Trade Center;
WHEREAS: St. Nicholas was the only religious edifice in the attack zone;
WHEREAS: St. Nicholas Church will be rebuilt at the World Trade Center, beginning this year; and
WHEREAS: St. Nicholas Church will be a national shrine open to all persons and a beacon of light and hope for all people;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the 42nd Biennial Clergy Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, assembled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that we call upon each Orthodox parish and each member of the community of Faithful:
1) to fully and prayerfully support the reconstruction of St. Nicholas; and
2) to support this national shrine as a symbol of the unfailing presence of God and the indestructibility of the human spirit, in the face of the abhorrent acts of terror against the people of the United States and the world.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESOLUTION PRESENTED BY THE HOLY ORDER OF ST. ANDREW THE APOSTLE ARCHONS OF THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE
WHEREAS: the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is subject to the oppressive and illegal policies and actions of the Turkish government; and
WHEREAS: by reason of such policies and actions, the worldwide ministry of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has been restricted, and, as a result, our own rights as Orthodox Christians in America are compromised;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: that we, the delegates of the 42nd Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, an Eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, hereby unanimously call upon the Government of the United States of America:
1) To oppose the illegal actions of the Government of the Republic of Turkey against the Ecumenical Patriarchate;
2) To request that the Turkish Government comply with its obligations to provide full religious freedom to its religious minorities and to respect its commitments pursuant to the Turkish Constitution and the human rights conventions and treaties it has signed and ratified; and
3) To intensify its efforts and strongly urge the government of the Republic of Turkey to:
(a) Refrain from interfering with the governance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate;
(b)Recognize and acknowledge that the Ecumenical Patriarchate exists and functions as a legal entity and maintains its own legal personality;
(c) Acknowledge the Ecumenical status of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew;
(d)Take all necessary steps to allow the prompt and orderly re-opening of the Theological School of Halki;
(e) End any further seizures of Church-owned properties and return or otherwise provide fair compensation for all properties previously confiscated since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey; and
(f) Implement the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights with respect to Turkey.
RESOLUTION REGARDING THREAT TO CHRISTIANS AND OTHER RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
WHEREAS: Christ was born in Bethlehem and conducted his ministry and lived and ended his life on earth in Judea and Galilee;
WHEREAS: for over 2,000 years, the Middle East has been home to large communities of Christians;
WHEREAS: Orthodox Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East are subject to violent attacks, live under a constant threat to their safety and have been slaughtered because of their faith; and
WHEREAS: millions of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East are being forced to flee the ancestral homes in which they have lived for centuries;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the 42nd Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, assembled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
1) that the governments of the Middle East protect all Christians and other religious minorities within their lands;
2) that the government of the United States of America communicate to governments of the Middle East the concerns of the American people regarding the lack of religious freedom for Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East; and
3) that copies of this resolution be presented to the President of the United States, the Secretary of State and the chairs of the Senate and House Foreign Affairs Committees.
RESOLUTION REGARDING THE ENVIRONMENT
WHEREAS: we have witnessed the alarming deterioration of the environment in areas such as the endangerment of biodiversity, climate change, pollution, and abuse and exhaustion of finite natural resources;
WHEREAS: countless communities around the globe are suffering from the harmful effects of environmental degradation;
WHEREAS: His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has launched numerous conferences and initiatives to curb environmental abuse.
WHEREAS: His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has reminded us that the current environmental crisis is a religious and spiritual matter; and
WHEREAS: there exists a need for further ministry and assistance towards environmental efforts in order to better our own world and that of future generations;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the 42nd Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, assembled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
1) That we call upon the global community, and particularly our Orthodox Faithful in America, to be mindful and supportive of initiatives that are put forth to better the environment;
2) That we continue to participate in and provide assistance for the Ecumenical Patriarchate's continued ecological activities to preserve our earth and its natural resources; and
3) That we give thanks to God for the Earth and pray for those who are victims of environmental destruction.
RESOLUTION OF THANKS
We, the delegates of this 42nd Biennial Clergy Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, express our heartfelt thanks to His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for his love and spiritual leadership and, especially, for blessing us with his presence via Skype for the Official Opening of the Congress;
We express our gratitude to our Patriarchal representatives, His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium and His Eminence Metropolitan Stephanos of Kallioupolis and Madytos for their loving participation in the Congress;
We thank our Archbishop, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, for his wisdom and guidance throughout the Congress proceedings and for sharing with us his insights on The Orthodox Christian Family: A Dwelling of Christ and a Witness of His Gospel;
We thank the most reverend members of our Holy Eparchial Synod for their participation in and support of the work of this Clergy-Laity Congress;
We particularly thank His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, for his tireless efforts for the Congress and for hosting us here, in Philadelphia, in the spirit of brotherly love;
We thank Congress Co-Chairs Michael Karloutsos and Anastasia Michals for their unwavering stewardship and leadership for this Congress and for co-hosting us with grace, humor and warmth;
We thank the clergy and Faithful of the St. George Cathedral and all of the other Metropolis of New Jersey parishes for their warm welcome, steadfast participation and diligent efforts to make this Congress such a great success;
We thank National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas and the National Philoptochos officers, as well as all of the Philoptochos officers and delegates, for their inspiring philanthropic efforts to carry out Christ’s work in our country and throughout the world. We particularly thank our Philoptochos for joining us here in Philadelphia in a spirit of Christian fellowship and sisterly Agape;
We thank Mr. Jerry Dimitriou and the staff of the Archdiocese for their remarkable work this week and throughout the year to make this Congress a success.
Last, but not least, we express our deepest thanks to our dear General Counsel of many years, Emanuel Demos, who fell asleep in the Lord on the 4th of July; may his love and devotion to our Holy Church and his spirit and vision remain with us for many years to come. Aionia I Mnimi Autou.
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