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Coming January 26: Virtual Town Meeting on the Most Crucial Issue Confronting Orthodox Christians Today

On Saturday, January 26, 2019, from 1PM to 3PM EST, the Order of Saint Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, is hosting our first-ever nationwide call-in Virtual Town Meeting on an issue of cardinal importance for every Orthodox Christian: the independence (autocephaly) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the prerogatives and responsibilities of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

For more than a century, the question of autocephaly (self-governance) has divided the sacred unity of Orthodox Christianity in the Ukraine. The Ecumenical Patriarch has taken the pastoral initiative to heal these divisions and grant independence to the Church in Ukraine. The situation is complex and, for English-speakers, made even more so by an onslaught of misinformation circulated through social media. Please join us for an in-depth discussion with experts who will explain this all-important issue.

The principal speaker is His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, who was appointed by His All-Holiness to be Chair of the Patriarchal Commission that reviewed and advised the Holy Patriarchal Synod on the question of Ukraine autocephaly. Thus no one in the world is more directly familiar with all aspects of the process which led to the issuance of the Tomos for Ukraine autocephaly, or better equipped to explain why this issue is so crucial for the Orthodox Church as a whole today. 

Also speaking will be the Rev. Nicholas E. Denysenko, PhD, a professor of theology at Valparaiso University who specializes in liturgical theology and Orthodox Christianity. His most recent books are The People’s Faith: The Liturgy of the Faithful in Orthodoxyand The Orthodox Church in Ukraine: A Century of Separation. Denysenko is an ordained deacon of the Orthodox Church in America since 2003.

Vera Shevzov, Phd, a Professor of Religion, Russian, East European and Eurasia Studies at Smith College, rounds out the speaker roster. Her regular course offerings include Eastern Christianity, and The Russian Icon: Culture, Politics, and the Sacred. Her book Russian Orthodoxy on the Eve of Revolutionwas awarded the Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize of the American Society of Church History. Her research and publications have spanned a wide variety of topics in modern and contemporary Orthodoxy in Russia.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Archon George E. Demacopoulos, Phd of Fordham University, the Co-Director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center. He is a specialist in the history of Christianity. 

The Order’s National Commander, Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, said: “The importance of this issue, and therefore of this Virtual Town Meeting, cannot be overstated. I strongly urge everyone to dial in, listen to the panel, and ask questions.”

The Town Hall will be conducted via telephone conference call on January 26, 2019 at 1PM–3PM EST. Call toll-free international: 1-888-902-6588, or international number 1-412-317-5444. Then enter the passcode: 7993514. Participate may ask questions to the panelists via telephone, or fill out the form here by Friday, January 25, 2019, 5PM EST. The LAST DAY to ask questions will be Friday, January 25, 2019 at 5PM EST. For more details, go to

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