News From Across Orthodox America
• Houston, TX
Initial reports from the weekend meeting of the Local Synod and Board of Trustees of the Antiochian Archdiocese indicate at least two major decisions were taken:
– The Board of Trustees agreed to an internal audit of the Archdiocese.
– The Synod agreed that Bishop Demetri (Khoury) has been officially “re-retired”, and will reside in Miami.
Finally, the proposed “Manual of Hierarchical Responsibilities” was not presented to the Synod. Rather, a committee was formed under the leadership of Bishop Joseph to review it before final submission.
Formal announcement of these and other decisions is expected on the Archdiocesan website Antiochian.org later this week.
• New York, NY
Plans for the consecration of Fr. Michael Dahulich as the OCA Bishop of New York remain under consideration. A suggestion put forth at last week’s Diocesan Council meeting to split the installation between the Second Street Cathedral in New York City, and SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in Jersey City, based on parking concerns, were not approved. Moreover, it now appears that a process that took only four weeks to nominate a candidate, and two weeks to elect, will now wait 8 months before he is consecrated. The date of May 8th now seems likely as it will allow Fr. Michael, the current Dean of St. Tikhon’s Seminary, to complete the school year before assuming his new position.
• Chicago, IL
Papers, including Archbishop Job’s Address, of the recent OCA Midwest Diocesan Assembly are now available on the Diocesan website at www.Midwestdiocese.org. In his speech the Archbishop commented on the situation in the OCA:
“But does this mean that the crisis is over? The answer is no! The effects and consequences go on – millions of dollars in lawsuits, ongoing investigations and processes in discernment in order to keep the ship known as the OCA not only afloat, but headed in the right direction. Much has been accomplished. The Metropolitan Council is functioning with an effectiveness and sense of responsibility never seen before. The same can be said of the Holy Synod. In the opinion of this observer, a sense of brotherly love and support among the hierarchs for the last year now exists as never before in my experience. ….So my beloved brothers and sisters, good things are happening; and the good things that are accomplished in and for the Orthodox Church in America provide good effects for the Diocese of the Midwest.”
In its meeting the Archdiocese agreed to establish a six person committee, to be chosen by the Diocesan Council in December, to begin a review of episcopal selection processes used in the OCA in recent years, so as to be able to report back to the Council with specific recommendations at its Spring 2010 meeting. Archbishop Job has announced a desire to retire in Spring 2011.
Santa Rosa, CA
At the Diocesan Assembly of the Diocese of San Francisco and the West, held last week in Santa Rosa, in speaking of the OCA, Bp. Benjamin reported that Seattle is the front-runner to host the next All American Council in 2011. Aside from the fact that the Council has only been held West of the Mississippi once ( St. Louis, 1988), the choice of Seattle will enable more Alaskan clergy to attend. He also indicated that a candidate for bishop of Alaska would be put forward “ soon”. Bishop Benjamin is currently the Locum Tenens of the Diocese of Alaska.
In related news, the Diocese of Alaska will hold its Diocesan Assembly in Anchorage October 20 & 21, 2009. Among the agenda items of the first plenary session will be a discussion of the “episcopal search”.
Fond Du Lac, WI
Signing an historic ‘covenant’ between Nashotah House and St. Vladimir’s Seminary, traditional Anglicans and leaders in the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) have pledged themselves to work towards unity. Speaking to an audience of more than one hundred and fifty people, ACNA (Anglican Church in North America) Archbishop Robert Duncan stated that signing the conference’s inter-seminary covenant, committing Nashotah House and St. Vladimir’s seminaries to mutual prayer and fellowship, “lays the groundwork of something very much larger”, that is, “serious dialogue” with the OCA.
Metropolitan Jonah stated: “The Orthodox Church has this central vision of being united in Christ by the Spirit to the Father and we cannot bear not to be united to one another. This is really about our identity as Christians, it’s not about labels, institutes, it’s about the living reality of our communion in Christ by the Holy Spirit… (this) must be made manifest by our communion in the Chalice… of our eternal life.” “That’s the goal of our dialogue, absolute unity,” said the Metropolitan, and this will be “actualized through repentance, a mutual striving towards God and the will of God.” Future discussions have been set between the two bodies, although no details have been made public.