Yesterday and today, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America held the first of a series of virtual meetings with esteemed clergy from the Archdiocesan District, the Metropolis of Boston, and the Metropolis of New Jersey for the purpose of further exploring the proposed revisions to the Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese together.
In an ongoing spirit of dialogue, the meetings were primarily discussion-based, with over 150 total clergy participating over the course of the approximately hour-and-a-half long sessions. Clergy addressed questions, feedback, and personal insights directly to the Archbishop, who clarified and expounded on the details of his vision for the Charter.
The aim of the revisions, His Eminence said, is the coordination, rather than the centralization, of resources in order to expand collaboration, foster greater accountability and efficiency, and eliminate replicative protocols and expenses for clergy and faithful nationwide. For example, uniform protections for clergy families during relocations, or the development of standardized protocol for reading Encyclicals, are just a few outstanding matters a more unified national Church could address. It could also confront contemporary realities, like changing demographics and the need for outreach missions in the United States, for which the current Charter has no provisions.
Affirming the integral and irreplaceable role of local leadership, the Archbishop noted no proposed changes to the responsibilities of local hierarchs, although he expected a more canonical structure to support greater synodality through the expanded participation and increased activity of the Holy Eparchial Synod.
His Eminence is next scheduled to meet in-person with the clergy brotherhood of the Metropolis of Chicago on July 7, 2023, and similar meetings are expected to take place in each of the other Metropolises over the next several months.
Clergy and faithful are encouraged to attend meetings in their area. Further information, updates, and opportunities for submitting questions and comments are available at the dedicated site for the GOA Charter: charter.goarch.org