THE ROEA's 75 th EPISCOPATE CONGRESS, 2007
The Episcopate Congress is the administrative body of the Episcopate. It is convened once a year, when lay and clergy delegates from all parishes and missions assemble at Vatra Romaneasca for a weekend to hear reports and approve actions needed for the good running of the Episcopate. Over 50 priests and deacons met on Thursday, June 28 in the clergy conference held in hospitable room of the Heritage Center to discus pastoral matters necessary to maintain the practice of the Orthodox Faith finely tuned to the Church at large.
Divine Liturgy and Vespers were held every day and especially on the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, as well as on Sunday. Archbishop Nathaniel or the Auxiliary Bishop, Irineu presided over them. The works of this congress were marked by peace and harmony and the reports were received with joy, as being in order.
A special video presentation was offered on the occasion of the 20 th commemoration of Archbishop Valerian, whose image was evoked by His Eminence Nathaniel (address to the congress), Archimandrite Roman Braga and Mr. Alex Nemoianu, Heritage Center historian. Memorial services were held for all the founders and the clergy and members of the Council who fell asleep last year.
On Saturday, at noon, the new wing of the Administrative Building, donated by the Bujea Family was blessed as the new space for the Episcopate Museum and archives.
During the works of the Congress, a new book, titled “The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America – A part of American Orthodoxy”, by Rev. Dr. Gabriel Viorel Gardan was launched. Fr. Grama made a presentation in front of the Clergy Conference and offered translation when needed before the Congress.
Saturday, June 30, 2007. At the end of the community memorial service officiated by Hierarchs, groups of priests and lay delegates went to various gravesites for individual memorials.
He also present the External Affairs Report. The works of the Congress were moderated by Fr Laurence Lazar, Secretary of the Episcopate Council and Fr Ian Pac-Urar of Akron. Judge John Regule, a life time legal counsel of the Episcopate offered a recollection of Archbishop Valerian and the way he was –blackmailed to give up his citizenship. He called to mind his extraordinary character and brought tears in everyone's eyes.
Our parish was represented by George C. Cantor and Ovidiu Vatamanu, as lay delegates and Fr. Remus Grama. All three were elected to be in the new Episcopate Council.
Sunday, July 1 st , 2007, at the end of the Hierarchal Liturgy several clergy of the dioceses who served for over 15 years were blessed by the Holy Synod and elevated to the rank of ARCHPRIEST by Archbishop Nathaniel; Fr. Remus Grama who served for more than 25 years was one of them.
Frs. Myron Klysh (Canada) who served for 47, and Simion Pavel of Chicago, who served for 50 years as priests, accompanied by his wife psa Maria, received special recognition from the OCA's Holy Synod. Click here for Fr. Pavel's peech.
On that same occasion His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel bestowed Fr. Dr. Gabriel-Viorel Gartan an “Episcopal Gramata” (video #5) for the sciencific work Father Gartan did for the benefit of the Romanian-Americans on the American Continent.
Archbishop Nathaniel preached on the Gospel of the day. Then pictures were taken, the dinner followed and the guests started to leave one by one with hearts filled by wonderful days of spiritual retreat and renewal of fellowship (video #10).
The artistic programs ; American Anthems; Canadian Anthems; before each meal, and festively at the beginning of the Sunday's banquet), were offered by groups from Atlanta, GA and Detroit. MI.
There were also some very good soloists, hora dancers, among whom we noted the voluntary contribution of our own, Filimon Bogdan.
For the entire duration of the Congress the parishioners of Sts. Constantine and Helen, Atlanta, Georgia, offered delicious meals and great serving.
Every year, one parish takes turns to serve as “hosts”.
The ARFORA coffee Shop was tended by the ladies of Holy Cross, Hermitage.
I can not close without mentioning the fact that, this year's delegates were very young and many attending for the first time.
This indicates vitality and renewal of our parishes.
The Episcopate is blessed with many young and dedicated clergy and a young generation of supporters.
I encourage our members to love and visit the Vatra and the nearby “Dormition” Monastery. I wish to thank all those who worked hard to organize this festival of the faith, including our Hierarchs and the Vatra staff.
May God continue to sustain us and bless His Church to lead us on the narrow path to Paradise!
Yours in Christ, Fr. Remus Grama
Source: Report reprinted from the weekly bulletin (July 8, 2007) of St. Mary Romanian Orthodox Cathedral, Cleveland, OH
For videos & slide-shows click here