Assembly of Bishops of America condemns racism, violence, and revenge

New York, June 2, 2020


The Executive Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America issued a statement yesterday, June 1, condemning all forms of racism, violence, and revenge in the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 and the wave of violent protests and riots that have erupted across the country.

As OrthoChristian reported yesterday, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America also issued its own response on May 31.

The members of the Assembly’s Executive Committee express their deep concern over recent events in America, stating:

We stand in unequivocal solidarity and peaceful protest with all those who condemn racism and inequality, which betray the spirit of democracy in our nation, i.e. “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. The unjust and unjustifiable murder of Mr. George Floyd, as well as so many before him, is deplorable as anti-Christian and immoral.

While the death of George Floyd is inexcusable, the hierarchs also condemn the violence and revenge that have erupted in its wake, while lauding peaceful protests: “At the same time, we denounce all expressions of violence and revenge, including those despoiling and detracting from peaceful demonstrations. Peaceful marches of protest are a distinctive hallmark of American freedom and progress.”

Violence is a manifestation of the tyranny of sin in our world and is an affront to the image of God in every person, “in whom God has placed an irreducible dignity and sacredness.”

“Thus, as Orthodox Hierarchs, we condemn all actions and words that promote hatred and racism, but also all acts of violence and destruction,” the Committee continues.

Further, the hierarchs call on “all clergy, faithful, and people of good will – of all traditions, faiths, and walks of life” to observe a moment of silence tomorrow, June 3, at noon (Eastern Standard Time) “for all victims of racial violence followed by prayer for peace and reconciliation in this country.”

The statement concludes:

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Therefore, as we kneel, invoking the coming of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter, let us offer up our prayers to our loving God for the victims of hatred and racism, to safeguard us all from such prejudice, and also vengeance and destruction, as well as preserve unity and peace in our country, our common home.

The Assembly of Bishops also issued a statement in August 2017 in response to the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which it, “emphatically declare[d] that it does not promote, protect or sanction participation in such reprehensible acts of hatred, racism, and discrimination, and proclaims that such beliefs and behaviors have no place in any community based in respect for the law and faith in a loving God.”


The Assembly represents all canonical jurisdictions operating in America except for those under the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Executive Committee is made up of: Chairman, Archbishop Elpidophoros, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; First Vice-Chairman, Metropolitan Joseph, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; Treasurer, Archbishop Michael, Orthodox Church in America; Secretary, Metropolitan Gregory, American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA; Bishop Irinej, Serbian Orthodox Church in North, Central and South America; Metropolitan Nicolae, Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas; Metropolitan Joseph, Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada, and Australia; Bishop Saba, Georgian Apostolic Church in North America; and Metropolitan Tikhon, Orthodox Church in America.

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Judith6/19/2020 3:52 am
I sent a message to Archbishop Elpidophoros after seeing a photograph of him marching with protestors at a #blacklivesmatter demonstration in Brooklyn. Borough President Adams and Senator Gounardes invited him to the event. I was astonished! There he was walking in daylight hours safely tucked in between his hosts in the benign 22nd district. How paradoxical to see him all masked up lacking social distancing while marching with a dishonest, corrupt group in a photo op. I do not condone violence against anyone! My utter disbelief was with his decision to affiliate himself with a hate group. BLM is anti-law enforcement and promotes violence! They operate under the guise of a human rights organization. In the Orthodox Observer he stated that he “upheld the sanctity of every human being and that he would continue to stand in breach together with all those committed to preserving peace, justice, and equality for every citizen.” Really? I haven’t seen him march in protest of hard working, honest police, and other law enforcement who have been spit at, verbally abused, beaten and killed. They espouse the same mantra he professed. There are bad apples in every vocation/occupation including the priesthood. Haven’t heard a word from any of the hierarchs regarding the young police officer of GREEK decent and a follower of Greek Orthodoxy who was shot in the head at a BLM protest In Las Vegas. When Archbishop Elpidophoras made the decision to march he became political. My question is can he be political for all? During this pandemic people have suffered illness and death. In addition, the church community has suffered spiritual illness. Church doors are shut and locked. People are not able to partake in the sacrament of holy communion who, for many, brings hope in the remembrance of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How uplifting it would be to see our Archbishop exert as much effort and energy to opening up our churches. (At the time of this writing they are opening up with a multitude of restrictions.) It appears the new religion is to get on one’s hands and knees, repeat ideology from a self-proclaimed leader of an extremist group and then apologize for racism. I, for one, only kneel in prayer to Jesus Christ. I challenged the Archbishop as a great, learned, holy man, and leader of the Orthodox faith to share ideas (besides marching for some) to resolve this epidemic that has suddenly and violently emerged. I have not received any response to my message and am sure I never will. As I told the Archbishop, evil has permeated the world, our country, and our churches. May God have mercy on ALL of us!
Gary 6/11/2020 3:39 pm
So, if George Floyd were a white man the police officers wouldn't have cared about him trying to pass counterfeit money and none of this would have happened? Really???
A Greek of Constantinople.6/4/2020 4:43 am
Psalm 7:14-16 "Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends." From what I hear, George Floyd was no angel. Likely, those who are looting, vandalizing, attempting murder, and agitating for race based retaliations are no angels either. Most of them are criminals, thieves, racists, wicked and uneducated people who hate good and do their best to strike at the defenseless. They are haters of God, man, and progress. We in Greece have had our share of acquaintance with the scum who call themselves "antifa". We have seen their violence and hate many years before they actively appeared in America. As for the so called oppressed minorities, much criticism and condemnation can be said. In the West such criticism is censored, but this tyranny will not last. I have seen them first hand, and with my own eyes, and based on what I have experienced I feel no sympathy for their cause. On many occasions they are the instigators of the hate and violence they claim to be the victims of. One can almost say that they deserve it. The Church over all is rightful to condemn it all. But their condemnation does nothing, as these acts will continue as they always have. But I enjoy the fact everyone knows about the violence committed by these minorities, yet no one dares to speak truth, to point out the elephant in the room. I will not get into what I believe, but I will say some people are not compatible with a civilized society. We can use one thousand excuses, but the fact remains, some people are not meant to live among us. Unfortunately, we import them by the boat loads in Europe. We are only accelerating our own demise, destroying our beautiful cultures, diluting our religion in the name of pluralism and multiculturalism, sowing our societies with chaos, violence, and crime. We are paving the way for the antichrist by helping to destroy our own societies because we refuse to accept the ugly truth. We are like ostriches, putting our head in a hole under the ground to ignore the reality around us.
John6/3/2020 4:37 am
Jesse - yes, I am aware of that. However, this "assembly" is obviously dominated by the GOA and the OCA, and the Antiochians. It represents, in the eyes of many, the American new calendarist Orthodoxy, with which we have become all too familiar. The only good thing to come out of the Ukrainian schism is that our ROCOR bishops are no longer members of this group. It would trouble me immensely to see a ROCOR bishop sign his name to a ridiculous statement like the one referenced in this article. I mean, let's be serious - a "moment of silence" for all "victims of racial violence"? Why don't these bishops condemn what obviously concerns so many more of us - the radical overreaction to "coronavirus" by the American government, and the unconstitutional actions of the same government, that have led millions into poverty, unemployment, fear, and even suicide?
Jesse Dominick6/2/2020 7:48 pm
John, just to be clear, the Assembly of Bishops includes both new and old calendar jurisdictions.
John6/2/2020 5:39 pm
Why don't these new calendar bishops condemn the violent drugged-up thugs that break the law continuously? Floyd had a long history of criminal convictions, including drug offenses and armed robbery in a home invasion. He had also done time in a Texas prison. When police were called because he was attempting to use counterfeit currency at a market, he resisted arrest. Autopsy shows that he was intoxicated on Fentanyl and had methamphetamine in his system. But I'm sure none of that matters - he must have been totally innocent, a good boy, targeted by some monstrous white racist cop for no reason at all. Why don't these new calendar bishops condemn the violent criminals that cause so many problems for citizens of this country, and especially for police officers? Our police risk their lives having to deal with intoxicated multiple offenders daily. These accusations of "racism" are shameful and wrong.
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