The Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations is tasked with cultivating professional relationships with faith-based organizations, academic institutions, and NGOs. It coordinates the ecumenical and interfaith dialogues of the Archdiocese on a national level and is responsible for pan-Orthodox activities through the Office of the Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA.
As the exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Archbishop is the Chair of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. As such, the Department supports the Chairmanship of the Assembly by planning the annual meeting, staffing the Orthodox-Catholic dialogues, liaising with the secretariat and other hierarchs. Furthermore, the Department handles all Archdiocesan interactions with the other Orthodox Christian jurisdictions, generally, including in the United States of America and abroad.
The Department is responsible for all the inter-Christian memberships and dialogues in the United States of America. It also maintains relationships with individuals and other churches including the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Church.
- Christian Churches Together (CCT)
- Christians for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
- Church World Service (CWS)
- Creation Justice Ministries (CJM)
- Joint Commission of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches
- Joint Committee of Orthodox and Roman Catholic Bishops
- National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCCC)
- Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation
- Orthodox-Lutheran Theological Consultation
- United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
- World Council of Churches
The Department interfaces with an infinite number of other religions and faith groups, for example Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. The primary platforms of engagement, aside from bilateral relationships, are through institutional partnerships.
Whether developing relationships under the umbrella of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical or Interfaith, the Department follows two basic tracks: 1) theological dialogue and 2) united action on social issues. Furthermore, Orthodox Christian implementing agencies and organizations fall under the Assembly. Due to this significant overlap, the Archdiocese’s engagement on social issues has always been a responsibility and mandate of the Department.
The primary outlet for Department’s social engagement is through its work at the United Nations (“UN”), which the Department considers UN Programs a pan-Orthodox ministry of the Archdiocese.
Both the UN, but also externally, the Department works from a human rights perspective on human trafficking, water and sanitation, public health, racism, creation care (the environment), gender equality, children and youth, Middle East peace, the refugee crisis, and much more.