by Mark Arey
As the last General Secretary of SCOBA (the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas) and the first Secretary (albeit for less than an hour) of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, I have always marveled at the ‘Golden Age’ syndrome around “Ligonier” of many Orthodox Christians when it comes to Orthodox unity in the Western Hemisphere.
There are still many who believe that the Ligonier gathering in 1994 of most of the Orthodox Bishops in America (represented by SCOBA primates) was an inflection point for Orthodoxy in the New World, subsequently squashed by Mother Churches overseas. Let’s consider for a moment. SCOBA, founded by and presided over by the late Archbishop Iakovos, was never a complete representation of canonical Orthodox presence in America. In fact, it was never a formal component of the the international movement to prepare a Great and Holy Council which could regularize the canonical arrangements of the Diaspora communities. However, SCOBA did work in concert with the international process, guided by the local primates in North America (all of whom were located in the United States).
However, as soon as the Metropolia was transformed into the OCA and there was no universal Orthodox acceptance of this action of the Moscow Patriarchate (MP), things became complicated. Continue Reading…