Statement issued by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas on "Civil Rights.”

April, 1964

The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, in an official meeting on Friday, April 24th, 1964 in New York City, gives praise to God for the majesty of His Kingdom and the blessing of His mercies which so abundantly grace our land.

Throughout the ages the Orthodox Church has survived centuries of persecution which, even to this day continues to be imposed upon untold millions of Orthodox Christians in many lands. The Orthodox Church has borne the yoke of oppression and is wholly aware that persecution, prejudice and intolerance is the greatest sin that the free soul of man can bear. We therefore, extend and join with our fellow Christians and citizens everywhere in deploring all vestiges of segregation that deny to free men, the dignity of equal rights. We pray that the spirit of compassionate patience and understanding brotherhood will penetrate the hearts of all men and women whose leadership must guide the destiny of the great racial challenge facing America.

As children of God, made in His image, we urge that all men of all races exercise disciplined restraint in declaring their God-given beliefs and rights so that these blessings may be freely gained in a society which constitutionally and spiritually guarantees these rights.

The Church deplores violence, but upholds the right of free men and women to act as the People of God in expressing their right to the God-given principles which no man can be denied because of color or creed. The power of love is the power of God, and as God is Love, so love is the greatest power of His Children on earth. We prayerfully beseech our fellow citizens, and especially the leaders of our nation, to direct their actions with the  power of love as their beacon of eternal hope, a hope which will not be denied in an America which gives to all men, the example of His Word.

We pray that all men may transcend the limitations of human frailty, and as God-fearing Christians and dedicated Americans, transmit the  spirit of prayer of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ: “Thy Will be Done on Earth As It is in Heaven.''

Note: The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas was composed of ten Orthodox Church jurisdictions representing an estimated six million Orthodox Christians in the United States of America. In 2010 SCOBA was transitioned into the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops.