Members of the Preconcilar Commission [PCC] and the Local Committee, both of which are charged with planning the 19th All-American Council [AAC] of the Orthodox Church in America, held their final meeting at the Saint Louis Union Station Hotel during the last week of April 2018.
The AAC will be held in Saint Louis, MO July 23-27, 2018. As widely announced, the theme of the 19th AAC — “For The Life Of The World” — is inspired by the classic book of the same name, written by the late Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, who for many years served as Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY.
“During the meetings in Saint Louis, members of the PCC and the Local Committee finalized plans for the AAC in line with decisions with regard to the Council’s structure and agenda, proposed resolutions, and proposed amendments to the OCA Statute blessed by the Holy Synod of Bishops during its Spring Session, held April 17-20,” said Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary. “All outstanding issues and contracts also were reviewed and resolved.”
According to Father Eric, the 19th AAC Handbook is scheduled for general release on May 23 — 60 days prior to the Council — and is in the final stages of editing. The Handbook will include instructions for delegates, the AAC agenda, submitted and approved Statute amendments and resolutions, and related information. Delegates are encouraged to download a copy of the Handbook and bring it to the AAC. A three ring binder and other information will be provided upon check-in at the Council.
The PCC has confirmed the attendance of His Eminence, Archbishop Leo of Finland and His Eminence, Metropolitan Seraphim of Zimbabwe, as invited guests. Other dignitaries that will be present include the Honorable Lyda Krewson, Mayor of Saint Louis, and John W. Haydon Jr., Chief of the Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department, in addition to other guests.
Delegates to the Council should arrive on Monday, July 23, in time for the first Plenary Session. The AAC will conclude on Friday, July 27, at 1:00 PM. A general schedule for planning purposes is as follows:
- The 92nd National Convention of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America will begin on Friday, July 20 and conclude on Monday, July 23. Great Vespers will be celebrated on Saturday, July 21 at 5:00 p.m., while the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Sunday, July 22 at 9:00 a.m. in the hotel Grand Ballroom. Everyone is invited to attend the services. The FOCA will hold its dinner/dance on Sunday, July 22 at 6:00 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom. Contact the FOCA for more information.
- The Albanian Archdiocese, the Diocese of the South, the Diocese of the West and the Archdiocese of Washington will hold their meetings on Monday, July 23 at 1:00 p.m. at the hotel. Assembly delegates should contact their respective dioceses for additional information.
- The first AAC plenary session will be held on Monday, July 23, at 7:30 p.m. During this session, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon will deliver his Address to the Church.
- The Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6:00 a.m., followed by Akathists at 7:30 a.m. honoring the Sitka Icon of the Mother of God, the Icon of Saint Anne, and the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God. Daily Vespers and other liturgical services will be celebrated throughout the week. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m.
- Tuesday and Wednesday morning plenary sessions will be followed by a variety of Forums. There will be one plenary session on Thursday. Friday’s plenary session will bring the AAC to a close.
- Receptions hosted by Saint Tikhon’s Seminary and Saint Vladimir’s Seminary will be held on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday evening, all participants will be welcomed at a reception hosted by the Stewards of the Orthodox Church in America [SOCA].
- The AAC Formal Dinner will be held on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. and will feature guest speakers. Tickets are available at the delegate registration site for those interested in attending the dinner alone.
- The Youth Program, which has received an excellent response, will run throughout the week. The youth will attend the opening session. At the closing plenary session, the youth will make a presentation to the AAC delegates.
Travel to and from the AAC may be arranged through various sites, such as FOS Tours and Travel. Alaska Airlines is offering a special discount for those using its services — use the code ECMZ509 to receive the discount. Travel to and from the airport can be made by Metrolink, which connects the airport to the Union Station stop, or by taxi (approximately $45.00 for a one way trip).
A list of all displays and vendors will be available upon registration.
Additional information on the AAC will be released as it becomes available.