AS WE PREPARE
FOR THE COUNCIL...
I have read the letter from the Holy Synod to the faithful. Pastoral concern and hope for reconciliation appear to have inspired it.
Indeed our church has undergone an ugly storm which threatened the very existence of the OCA and sullied its reputation in the world. There is need for repentance every day of every Christian's life, repentance for the distance in our lives between the love of our Lord and our unworthiness.
But as we assemble in Pittsburgh for the All-American Council, I feel an acute need for gratitude and relief for the light at the end of a long tunnel. We need to offer prayers of thanks to the Lord for our clergy and lay people. If it weren't for their steady, never ending efforts, if it weren't for the glaring insurmountable amount of evidence presented by the Special Investigative Committee, we would still be led by Metropolitan Herman. The misdeeds of Metropolitan Theodosius, Bishop Nicolai and the Chancellor would still be undisclosed.
Our parish priests were more faithful than ever in keeping their parishes focused on the life of the church, the gospel, the feasts, maintaining the faith of their flocks alive in the middle of the turmoil.
All these people, priests and lay faithful, deserve a glorious gratitude for their courage, tenacity, their hope, their faith, their dedication for the truth--the truth that makes us free. Had they been negligent or indifferent, they should repent. But they were not. They never stopped being active; writing, appealing and hoping.
Now we come to Pittsburgh hoping to forge ahead and work to rebuild the purity and the vision of the OCA, which seemed irretrievably lost for a while.
We are a hierarchical church. We beg you, our bishops, to become closer to your people and to believe in their love for the church and desire for conciliarity.
Let us find a way for a reconciliation based on mutual trust and growing love.
"Go and sin no more" said Jesus.
Let us pray to the all merciful Lord for His help in rebuilding the vision and the goals of the Orthodox Church in America.
- Matushka Juliana Schmemann