10th All-American Council
“DISCERNING GOD’S WILL: OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE AND MINISTRY” was the theme of the Tenth Council assembled in Miami, FL on July 26-31, 1992. A major change in preparation for the council was that parish input on concerns to be deliberated in council was actively sought. Once received, these issues were formulated into resolutions for deliberation. As a result of this process, the Tenth Council passed thirty-one resolutions on a wide range of issues. Most significantly, this resulted in the convocation of a very useful and successful Administrative Summit the following year. An employee assistance program for clergy, lay church workers and their families was also established in response to this council’s resolutions. At this council, attention was also paid to enforcement of established clergy compensation guidelines. Additionally, resolutions further elaborating the issues of accountability, communication, and equal financial participation by all dioceses were also passed.
During the planning for this council, it was noted that resolutions on moral issues such as those adopted at previous councils were not really topics that should be voted on at every council, as these matters are inherent to Orthodox belief. Therefore, just before this council, the Holy Synod of Bishops issued a document entitled: “Synodal Affirmations on Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life.” This document was brought to the attention of council participants who were requested to ensure its distribution throughout the Church. It remains a permanent declaration of the Church’s position on these issues.
Metropolitan THEODOSIUS was specially honored by all participants in the Grand Banquet and other council events on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his episcopal consecration. The council mourned the passing of Fr. John Meyendorff, who was instrumental in shaping the Orthodox Church in America’s vision at many All-American Councils and had died just a few days before this council.
For the first time, the Orthodox Church in America assembled at an All-American Council was able to pray together to Saint TIKHON, Patriarch and Confessor of Moscow, as the Russian Church had canonized him in the fall of 1989. Shortly thereafter the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America decided that he should also be called “Enlightener of North America.” Saint TIKHON was of course the visionary who had convoked the First All-American Sobor in 1907 that laid the foundation for all future councils of the North American Church.
In the Tenth Council’s format, there was a slight change as department hearings, which had been eliminated at the last council, were reinstated. Again, luncheon forums were held. There was also a larger presence of youth and expanded activities for them.
This council’s actions elaborated the issues of communication and accountability undertaken at the last council. Although disagreement was evident on some issues raised at this council, there was a clearly manifest desire to reach consensus in order to move the Church forward. Therefore, the Tenth Council was permeated by a spirit of great responsibility that was tangible in all of its actions.
Written by Alexis Liberovsky
OCA Archivist, Director of the Department of History and Archives.