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Summary of 2003 Archdiocese Convention



Summary of 2003 Archdiocese Convention



August 1, 2003 – Englewood, New Jersey



 The Forty-sixth Convention of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America convened at the Fontainebleau Hilton Hotel in Miami, Florida from the 21st to the 27th day of July, 2003.  It was attended by more than two thousand delegates, and more than two hundred fifty clergy.

 Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate of the Archdiocese, presided and conveyed to the hierarchs, clergy, members of the Board of Trustees and all delegates the blessings and greetings of His Beatitude, IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East.  In attendance were three of the four Regional Bishops of the Archdiocese, His Grace Bishop ANTOUN, His Grace Bishop JOSEPH, and His Grace Bishop BASIL.  Also attending as an honored guest was Metropolitan PAUL, Primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Australia, and New Zealand.

 On Monday evening July 21st, the Cathedral of St. George of Coral Gables, FL hosted a welcome reception, which was attended by 350 clergy and Trustees.

 On Tuesday July 22nd, the Metropolitan presided over the Clergy Assembly, and held a dialogue with them on important matters pertaining to the Archdiocese.

 The Grand Assembly of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch also met on Tuesday, July 22nd, and elected the following officers: Mr. Edward Assile, Chairman, Mr. Daniel Abraham, Vice Chairman, Mr. Anton Khoury, Treasurer, and Mrs. Mary Winstanley O’Connor, Secretary.  The Order held a banquet on Tuesday evening in honor of the outgoing officers.  There are now 2,875 active members of the Order, including 211 Life Members.

 The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America (AOCWNA) held their Assembly and luncheon on Wednesday, July 23rd.  Among the highlights this year was the celebration of the 30th anniversary of AOCWNA, whose members have labored unwaveringly to assist orphans, the poor and destitute around the world.

 The departments of the Archdiocese met on Wednesday July 23rd, and the General Assembly convened on Thursday and Friday, July 24th, and 25th.  The delegates heard reports from the 27 Archdiocesan departments, commissions, councils, and organizations.  The General Assembly approved the following important items:

  1. A resolution thanking the Cathedral of St. George of Coral Gables, Florida for hosting an outstanding Convention.
  2. A resolution welcoming His Eminence Metropolitan PAUL of Australia and New Zealand.
  3. A budget in excess of $4.4 million, the largest operating budget in the history of the Archdiocese, for the 2005 fiscal year which runs from February 1st, 2004 to January 31st, 2005.
  4. The “Geneva Agreement” on Autonomy as the official position of the Archdiocese.

 The Geneva Agreement on Autonomy was approved by a roll-call vote with an overwhelming majority of 99.6% of the votes cast being in favor of the proposal.  This agreement was approved in November 2002 by the joint committee comprised of representatives of the Patriarchate of Antioch, and the Archdiocese.  When approved by the Holy Synod of Antioch, the details in this agreement will guide the governance of the autonomous Archdiocese and its continuing close relationship with the Holy Synod of Antioch.  The Holy Synod of Antioch will address this agreement at its upcoming meeting on October 14th, 2003 in Damascus, Syria.

 His Eminence reappointed the following people to the Archdiocese Board of Trustees:  Mr. Fawaz El-Khoury of Westboro, MA, and Mr. Mansour Rayan of Lincolnwood, IL.  He also made the following new appointments to the Board: Mr. Joseph Hanna of Montreal, PQ Canada, Mr. Anton Khoury of Miami, FL, and Mr. Kory Warr of Oklahoma City, OK.

 The following people were elected to the Board of Trustees:  Mr. Alan Abraham of Grand Rapids, MI, Dr. David Bojrab of Ft. Wayne, IN, Mr. Don Braun of Goleta, CA, Dr. John Dalack of Staten Island, NY, Mr. Philip Haddad of Charleston, WV, Dr. Donald Howard of Davie, FL, Mr. George Nassor of Wyckoff, NJ, Dr. Raymond Rishwain of Stockton, CA, Miss Jean Sam of Duluth, GA, and Dr. Joseph Samra of Pawtucket, RI.

 The 2005 Convention will be held in Detroit and hosted by St. George Church of Troy, Michigan. By vote of the delegates to the General Assembly,  the 2007 Convention will be held in Montreal, and hosted by St. Nicholas Church of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada.

 The Grand Banquet on Saturday was attended by 1,500 people.  Metropolitan PHILIP addressed the banquet attendees and presented the Antonian Silver Medal to Mrs. Suzanne Sayfie, Chairlady of the Convention, for her outstanding efforts.

 The Convention concluded on Sunday July 27th with a most inspiring Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.  The beautiful choir, comprised of members from across the entire Archdiocese, was conducted by Mr. James Meena, the Chairman of the Archdiocese Department of Sacred Music.