Antiochian and ROCOR Western Rite Leaders Meet
9 March 2011
On Monday, 14 February, Father Edward Hughes, Vicar General of the Western Rite Vicariate of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and his duly appointed assistant, Father John W. Fenton, met at the Russian Synod chancery with His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR); His Grace Bishop Jerome (Shaw), Bishop of Manhattan and vicar of the Eastern-American diocese (ROCOR); and the V. Reverend Anthony Bondi, Pastoral Vicar for the Western Rite (ROCOR).
This meeting was the first between the hierarchy and leadership of the jurisdictions which oversee all canonical Orthodox parishes in North America which are exclusively Western Rite. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the present situation, and to compare visions in order to foster cooperation in furthering Western Rite Orthodoxy in America.
During the meeting, several items of mutual interest were discussed including issues relating to the Western Rite in the committees of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America; the reception of parishes and clergy from other ecclesial groups; the education of laity in Western Rite parishes; the education of current and future Western Rite clergy; the liturgical norms and usages in the jurisdictions; and the planting of Western Rite missions.
A spirit of fraternal openness permeated the meetings, with the often repeated desire that the Western Rite parishes and clergy of both jurisdictions need to grow closer together. Toward this end, Metropolitan Hilarion encouraged Fr. Anthony and Fr. Edward to explore specific ways in which the clergy from both jurisdictions might regularly meet together.
Fr. Hughes and Fr. Fenton wish to express their deepest gratitude to Metropolitan Hilarion and Bishop Jerome for their gracious hospitality and for generously sharing their time. Their interest and desire for Western Rite Orthodoxy was inspiring. They also thank Fr. Anthony Bondi for his many kindnesses, and his earnest desire for increased cooperation.