Hierarchs, clergy and faithful from across the US, Canada and Mexico began arriving in Saint Louis over the weekend of July 21-22, 2018 for the 19th All-American Council [AAC] of the Orthodox Church in America. They joined hundreds of participants in the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians of America’s 92nd annual National Convention, which opened July 20.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon arrived in Saint Louis on Saturday, July 21, at the historic Saint Louis Union Station Hotel, where he was given a warm welcome by members of the Holy Synod of Bishops, AAC and FOCA Convention participants, members of the AAC Local Planning Committee and clergy and faithful representing area parishes.
On Saturday evening, the hierarchs and faithful attended Great Vespers in the hotel ballroom, which has been transformed into a beautiful chapel for the week. On Sunday morning, Metropolitan Tikhon and the members of the Holy Synod concelebrated the Divine Liturgy, which was well attended by AAC and FOCA delegates alike, after which AAC delegate and observer registration and vendor displays and exhibits opened.
Prior to the AAC’s official opening plenary session on Monday, July 23, several OCA dioceses will hold their annual assemblies at the AAC site.
The AAC will officially open with the celebration of a Service of Prayer on Monday evening, after which Metropolitan Tikhon will call the Council to order. Highlights of the opening plenary session include welcoming remarks by His Grace, Bishop Paul of Chicago and the Midwest on behalf of the Preconciliar Commission; a greeting by Serge Schmemann, son of the late Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann; a video presentation introducing the AAC theme, “For the Life of the World,” inspired by Father Schmemann’s classic book of the same name; and the Address of Metropolitan Tikhon, followed by questions and answers.
Guest hierarchs and representatives of several of the world’s Orthodox Churches will be in addendance for all or part of the week. Among them are His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicholas of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’s Metropolis of Chicago, Ecumenical Patriarchate; His Eminence, Metropolitan Seraphim of Zimbabwe of the Patriarchate of Alexandria; His Grace, Bishop Flavian of Cherepovets and Belozersk of the Patriarchate of Moscow; His Grace, Bishop Longin of New Gracanica and Midwest America of the Patriarchate of Serbia; His Eminence, Archbishop Michael of Prague of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia; and His Eminence, Archbishop Leo of Helsinki and All Finland. Representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe will be Archpriest Serge Sollogub.
Regular updates, galleries and videos will be posted on the OCA web site, Facebook page and the 19th AAC Facebook page throughout the week, together with coverage by Ancient Faith Ministries and video coverage by Orthodox Web Solutions.
As detailed in the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, “the All-American Council is the highest legislative and administrative authority within the Church. The Council brings together the various elements of the Church to bear witness to her identity, unity, and mission.”
Photo Credit: Subdeacon Roman Ostash