From our OCA Website:
"O All Merciful God! Grant our Hierarchs gathered in Episcopal Assembly to grow in wisdom and strength, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and to increase in love for each other, deepening Christian fellowship so that conciliar decisions may build up a canonically united Orthodox Christian Church of the Americas. May their work be guided by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and may the Spirit of unity and love, of compassion and mutual respect, inspire each to contribute toward the building up of the Body of Christ for the glory of Thy name, for Thou hast ordered us to do all things for Thy glory. Bless Thy people, uniting them for the building up of Thy Holy Orthodox Church of the Americas. O generous Creator; hear us and have mercy. For Thou art a merciful God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen."
I do sorely pray for an administrative unity in America within the Orthodox Church. This heartfelt desire is none other the same as the above prayer posted on our OCA website. It also comes from first-hand experience that the administrative divisions among the Orthodox Churches in America just do not serve our church here in America at large. As +Demetrios pointed out, diversity and ethnicity are good. But the lack of administrative unity is very difficult, very taxing, and slows down our witness to Christ here in America.
Such a prayer, and such a goal, as posted on our OCA website, towards one Orthodox administration, is worthy of our fervent prayers and hope.
Mr. Namee writes a nice synopsis. He states that only NOW are the Mother Churches behind this endeavor - why? Most of the Mother Churches are under the control of the Pat. of Istanbul. And, recently we have found that Moscow & Istanbul have gotten cozier and have agreed to share world power over Orthodoxy. So, is it any wonder these Episcopal Assemblies are taking place? Moscow is trying to reclaim all of its "territory/churches" worldwide & Istanbul has maybe 2,000 Orthodox left. In 1970, Fr, Schmemann gave the gift of an indigenous, canonical, autocephalous Orthodox church to N. Am. to fulfill SCOBA's wishes of a united Orthodox church in N. Am. However, both the Antiochians & the Greeks reneged on joining this fulfillment of SCOBA. + Bart wanted unity in N. Am. ONLY under himself. Fastforward to the Ep. Assembly in NYC today, please note, whatever any assembly decides, their decisions are still under "review" and possible "VETO" by Istanbul. This is freedom? This is autocephaly? What this is, is the Pat. of Istanbul trying to become a REAL Eastern Pope. The canons of the Orthodox Church forbid that foreign bishops have any control or rule over local churches. Is Istanbul still practicing Orthodoxy or reverting to what it decided at the Council of Florence?
I admire Mr. Namee for his wonderful writing style and ability to boil down the essence of a century into a brief article. Well said, my brother! Thank you.
I pray that this effort does indeed lead to a solid foundation, a successful permanent office with real activities, and eventually, God willing, to Orthodox unity.
Is there a specific drive or effort afoot to establish a fund-raising campaign to fund this office? It is time, if we truly support Orthodox unity, that we put our earthly treasure where our hearts, minds and faith are ... in the Holy Orthodox Church, as one Body in Christ.