Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS AND IS AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ. ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
UNIFORM METROPOLIS REGULATIONS
UNIFORM PARISH REGULATIONS
GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA
"With an abundance of spiritual joy we send herewith to your most beloved Eminence (Demetrios of America) the duly ratified uniform, derived from the current Charter of your Holy Archdiocese, Regulations that you had submitted for approval to the Great Holy Mother Church of Christ.
Certainly, it does no escape our attention that the Church, the Bride of Christ, is basically a spiritual institution. Since, however, She has revealed herself in the world and continues her course in it, She incorporates in herself the necessity of a canon law, a fact that our Holy Fathers and Shepherds before us took care of securing by way of Holy Synods. Besides, the exhortation of Saint Paul is eternally repeated to all members of the Church that 'all things should be done decently and in order" (I Corinthians 14:40), so that the mystery of salvation of each one of us is worked in peace and with the pre-suppositions of the basic principles of the rights and duties that derive from the fact that we are members of Christ…" +BARTHOLOMEW-PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
As we begin the New Year 2013 I feel compelled to bring to all of our beloved parishioners the Uniform Parish Regulations of our Holy Archdiocese of America so that it's clear who is "in good standing" and who is not. Why is this important to you? It is important to all because as long as you consider yourself a Greek Orthodox Christian it is imperative and necessary to know if you wish to participate in the Mysteria (Sacraments) of the Church, to run for office eon the Parish Council, to vote at parish elections, to obtain church documents so that you may participate as a sponsor at a baptism or a wedding whether at Saint Andrew or another Greek Orthodox Parish, to have an Orthodox funeral service at church…If you are not sure please contact your priest as soon as possible and let us correct it as soon as possible. I
Allow me to quote from the Uniform Parish Regulations of the Archdiocese:
Section 1: Every person who is baptized and chrismated according to the rites of the Orthodox Church is a parishioner. The religious, moral and social duties of a parishioner: apply the tenets of the Orthodox Faith to his/her life; adhere to and live according to the tenets of the Orthodox Faith; faithfully attend the Divine Liturgy and other worship services; participate regularly in the Holy Sacraments; respect all ecclesiastical authority and all governing bodies of the Church; be obedient in matters of Faith, practice and ecclesiastical order; contribute towards the progress of the Church's sacred mission; and be an effective witness and example of the Orthodox Faith and Traditions to all people.
A parishioner in good standing practices all the religious and moral duties as described in this section 1. At a minimum, a parishioner in good standing must: be eighteen years of age or over; be current in his or her stewardship and other financial obligations to the Parish, abide by all the regulations herein stated and the Parish Bylaws; and cooperate in every way towards the welfare and well being of the Parish...
Section 2: Any person wishing to be a parishioner in good standing in more than one Parish must remit his or her Stewardship financial obligation to each Parish as stated in Section 1 of this Article...
Section 3: (Most important) No person shall be deemed a parishioner in good standing while: not adhering to the standards outlined in Section 1 and 2 of this article; retaining affiliation in an Orthodox Parish which defies the jurisdiction or ecclesiastical authority of the Archdiocese; being a member of or practicing a non-Orthodox faith or other religion; and deliberately disregarding and transgressing the moral law of the Church.
Section 6: An Orthodox Christian parishioner in good standing at his or her canonical Orthodox Parish may serve as a sponsor in another Parish without being obliged to become a member in good standing at the Parish where the sacrament will take place. A parishioner may serve as a sponsor in another Parish by presenting a letter of good standing from his or her home Parish Priest.
A Greek Orthodox Christian cannot participate in any of the Sacraments or acquire a Church document if he or she is not a member of the Church is good standing spiritually and financially.
It is common sense that everyone should be able to understand that if a Greek Orthodox person who has been absent from the parish church for months and years, who has been absent from the sacraments of the church for months and years, a person who does not abide by the tenets of the Church of Christ, a person who does not adhere to the laws and canons of the Church, a person who is a member of a non-Orthodox church or religion, a person the Parish Priest has not seen even at the high Holy Days of the Church i.e., Christmas, Pascha, etc. for years, a person who is not obedient in matters of the Faith, why would this person expect and even demand that he be allowed to have the rights of an Orthodox Christian in good standing?
Just because a person was baptized and chrismated in the Church when he/she was a baby does not entitle him/her the rights of the Orthodox Church when he or she willingly, knowingly and deliberately has abandoned the Orthodox Church?
The Mysteria (Sacraments) of the Orthodox Church are Holy and Divine! No one without exception has the right to abuse, disrespect, ignore, violate, marginalize and betray them. By doing so you are offending the Almighty god and you are committing a grave sin. The Divine Sacraments were instituted by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the healing, reconciling, uniting and saving of man from sin and death.
I ask each and every one of you to respect the laws of the Church and to adhere to and live accordingly.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God