New York – On Tuesday, Sept. 21, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received the Officers of the Assembly of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. His All Holiness had invited the Officers through the cooperation of Archbishop Demetrios of America, the Chairman of the Assembly, who also led the delegation to the Phanar for a substantive meeting. The other Officers included Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk (Moscow Patriarchate, Vice-Chairman), Archbishop Antony of Hierapolis, (Ecumenical Patriarchate – Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Treasurer), and Bishop Basil of Wichita and Mid-America (Patriarchate of Antioch – Antiochian Archdiocese, Secretary). Also in attendance at the meeting were Archimandrite Bartholomew Samaras, Deputy Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Archpriest Igor Vyzhanov of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Frs. Mark Arey and John Chryssavgis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Vice Chairman Metropolitan Philip (Patriarchate of Antioch – Antiochian Archdiocese) was unable to attend.
Following the greeting and paternal exhortation of His All Holiness (see Patriarchal Greeting), the officers engaged the Ecumenical Patriarch in a full and robust discussion of the work and prospects of the Assembly. Of particular note during the discussion, was the emphasis that His All Holiness put on the Committee structure and function, and his encouragement to commence the Committee work as soon as possible. He also noted both the size and the diversity of the Assembly.
Following the two-hour meeting, His All Holiness hosted the Hierarchs in the Patriarchal Trapeza, together with Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne. Following the meal, the Patriarchate arranged for the Officers to visit the famous Churches of Chora and Agia Sophia, before being hosted again in the evening by His All Holiness for a farewell dinner. Archbishop Demetrios returned to the United States on Wednesday, Sept. 23.