The editors of Orthodoxy in Dialogue consider the recent horror in Charlottesville important enough to post this letter prior to our launch date of September 1. Readers wishing to sign this letter must write to us at the address in Contact Us from a personal email account, giving their full name and state/province/country of residence. Ordained clergy are asked to include the jurisdiction to which they belong. The link for this letter will be provided to the Officers of ACOBUSA with a request that they share it with all member hierarchs.

Esteemed Metropolitans, Archbishops, and Bishops, our beloved Archpastors, Members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America:

Masters, bless.

On Saturday, August 12, the very day that horrifying events unfolding before our eyes in Charlottesville took a turn for the worse with three tragic deaths—civilian Heather Heyer, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, and Trooper Berke M.M. Bates—and the injury of many more, your brothers in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops hastened to publish their first news release. A second news release appeared the following day. (See here and here.) 

Across the United States, Canada, indeed the world, Orthodox Christians and friends of our Holy Orthodox Church awaited, with a sense of anticipation, confidence, and pride, the equally swift response of the Assembly’s united voice. This would have served as a powerful witness of the Orthodox Church’s self-understood mission to be the Church not only in, but of and for, America.

With each passing day of the Assembly’s silence, anticipation and pride among your Flock and among our brothers, sisters, and friends around the world have turned to confusion, questions, frustration, dismay, and ultimately, cynicism and embarrassment.

Many say that it is now too late for the Assembly to respond with any grace and dignity. Surely humility dictates a plea for the nation’s forgiveness of our Church’s slow response, if the Assembly feels compelled at this late date to issue a statement not only on Charlottesville, but also on the poison of white supremacy in all its forms erupting to the surface of national life, indeed global life, with alarmingly greater frequency and ferocity.

We ask for your holy prayers, as we in our unworthiness offer continuous prayers for you and for your collective and individual archpastoral ministry.

With love and respect in Christ our Good Shepherd,

Giacomo Sanfilippo, Editor, Orthodoxy in Dialogue

Alexander Patico, Maryland

Priest Richard Rene (Orthodox Church in America), British Columbia

Grant White, Finland

Christopher D.L. Johnson, Wisconsin

Eric Simpson, Oregon

Andrea Jarmai, Ontario

Lilia Sorokowski, Manitoba

Stephen Morris, New York

Liam Farrer, Ontario

Vladimir Shevyakov, Saskatchewan

(Linda) Ioanna Karounos, Ontario

Viorel Coman, Belgium

David and Jennifer Jenkins, United Kingdom

Haile Gabriel, Ontario