On Tuesday, November 14, 2023, for the third time in the history of Catholic-Orthodox relations in the U.S., the General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops extended an invitation to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA (AoB) to send a delegation to participate as observers. Metropolitan Methodios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston (chair of the AoB Ecumenical Committee), together with Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA & Bishop John of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, members of the Joint Committee of Orthodox and Roman Catholic Bishops, represented the Assembly of Bishops at the meeting as a sign of ecumenical commitment to the joint mission toward unity.
The delegation attended the afternoon session and were warmly greeted by the Catholic bishops. They participated in the discussion on the importance and use of technology in the liturgy. Later that same day, the Orthodox hierarchs were joined by bishops of the USCCB Ecumenical Committee over dinner to discuss the most recent document prepared by the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation on “The Pastoral Care of Mixed Marriages: Neither Yours nor Mine - but Ours.” The discussion was facilitated by Rev. Protopresbyter Patrick Viscuso. Also joining the Orthodox delegation were Rev. Protopresbyter Nicolas Kazarian and Rev. Presbyter Philip Halikias.
Reflecting on this new opportunity to manifest ecumenical solidarity, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios said: “We are particularly grateful to the Catholic Bishops for their warm welcome and for their fraternal openness in allowing an Orthodox presence during their work. Our common path towards unity and communion has been an intense journey of dialogue and collaboration. By coming to Baltimore, once again, we create new ecumenical traditions that brings us closer to one another. I am also very appreciative to His Eminence Archbishop Daniel and His Grace Bishop John for their commitment to this mission while representing the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA.”
Photos by Fr. Nicolas Kazarian