On July 13 and 14, 2013 the second Monastic Synaxis of the monasteries of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas was held at the monastery dedicated to St. Dimitrie the New. Participating in the meeting were; His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae, His Grace Bishop Ioan Casian, Archim Nicodim Bibart and monk Efrem (Holy Cross parish, Upland, CA), Archim Nicholas Giroux (Holy Cross Monastery, Toronto, ON), Protosinghelos Vincentiu Temirov, Hieromonk Paisie Buhnilã (St. Dimitrios the New Monastery), Protosinghelos Peter Preble (St. Michael’s Parish, Southbridge, MA), rasoforos Ilie (Protection of the Mother of God Monastery, Wentworth, QC) and mother Tatiana (Protection of the Mother of God monastery, Ellenville, NY).
The agenda included two important parts: topics related to the celebration of Saints Constantine and Helen and editing the statutes of the monasteries in the Archdiocese. On Saturday, July 13, after the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, the meeting opened with a welcome by His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae. The first conference was presented by Protosinghelos Vincentiu Temirov and focused on “religious policy of Constantine the Great after the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea.” The conference stressed the importance of the first Ecumenical Council and tracked how its decisions were reflected in the following period up to the death of the Emperor Constantine the Great. The presentation also underlined the political and religious complexities of this period and the efforts of St. Athanasius the Great in keeping Nicene Orthodoxy. The baptism of Emperor Constantine on his deathbed confirms his strong belief to promote peace in the empire being inspired by Christian teachings.
The second lecture was given by Protosinghelos Peter Preble with the theme “Orthodox Monasticism in the 21st Century North America, Everything Must Change” After a brief survey of the history of monasticism in the North American territory from its inception through St. Herman of Alaska, Protosinghelos Peter Preble, used a text from St. Basil the Great, “On Social Justice” to show the importance of a presence here in North America of a monasticism opened to the world that would keep in mind the social aspect as concrete and immediate way of knowing God. To show this in a practical way to examples were presented: the monasticism inspired by St. Benedict of Nursia and Mother Maria Skobţova.
Each conference was followed by discussions that addressed the impact of Emperor’s Constantine decisions on society, the crisis of values in our society, and the difficulties faced in the context of contemporary secular monasticism. This was followed by a presentation of the latest news about each monastery.
The meeting continued in the afternoon with discussions about the statutes of the monasteries. It was stressed that the current statutes of the Archdiocese need to be edited and expanded. Much time was spent reviewing the main points to be addressed: the monasteries and their mission, entering into the monastic life, leadership and internal organization of monasteries, etc. It was discussed that the Archdiocese needs to adapt statutes specific to legislation in North America. It was decided that a smaller group of those present will work on drafting the operational status under the direction of His Grace Bishop Ioan Casian.
At the end of the day the gathered monastics served Great Vespers.
On Sunday July 14, the Divine Liturgy was served and the founders of St. Dimitrios the New Monastery were commemorated, Archim. Mitrofor Vasile Vasilachi and Dumitru Minciu. In his sermon, His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae stressed the importance of spiritual purity as an element that ensures a view of the surrounding reality in the light that God has given at creation.
On the same day 11 years ago, His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae was ordained as a hierarch and the members of the Monastic Synaxis offered to His Eminence the mantya, as a sign of appreciation for all his activity so far. The day ended with an Agape meal attended by the faithful present at the Divine Liturgy.