Summer Conference to focus on past and future of the Orthodoxy in America (Jun 18-20)

St. Vladimir's Seminary (SVS) will host a summer conference from June 18-20, 2009 for clergy and laity, which has as its theme "The Council and the Tomos: Twentieth-century Landmarks towards a Twenty-first-century Church." Conference speakers will focus on two watersheds that have shaped the Orthodox Church in America (OCA): the All-Russian Council (Sobor) of 1917-18 and the Tomos of Autocephaly granted in 1970 by the Russian Orthodox Church to its daughter church, the OCA, then known as the "North American Diocese." As well, conference participants will address the significance of the OCA's presence in North America, and future paths and possibilities open to it, including its interface with the multi-jurisdictional Orthodox Christian communities in the United States and Canada.

The V. Rev. Alexander Garklavs, Chancellor of the OCA and SVS alumnus ('82, ‘93), will deliver a free public lecture at 7:30 p.m. on June 18, 2009 to commence the summer conference. He will speak about the pre-history of the All-Russian Council, especially about related events in the North American Diocese during that period. At the conference closing, Metropolitan Jonah, primate of the OCA and SVS alumnus ('85, '88), will speak about the vision for the OCA.

The conciliar nature of the Orthodox Church, expressed so powerfully in the Russian word "sobornost," was an important theological theme at the All-Russian Council. The summer conference will re-address that theme, to enrich current reflection on church structure and administration, which remain areas of especial interest to all Orthodox Christians in America.