Standing Committee for Canonical Procedure begins work
The Orthodox Church in America’s Standing Committee for Canonical Procedure held its initial meeting at the Chancery here April 13-15, 2016. Pursuant to Article XV, Section 9 of the OCA Statute, the Committee was established to develop general rules for canonical procedures for use and application in Ecclesiastical Courts. Their work will be subject to the Holy Synod’s approval and adoption.
The meeting opened with the celebration of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, in the Chancery’s Saint Sergius Chapel, after which Committee members met to develop a conceptual road map of how to accomplish their work in the coming months. The Committee also considered in particular the preliminary procedural process as it relates to matters of clergy discipline, marriage issues, and the resolution of disputes between various parties within the Church.
“The Holy Canons, as a part of the Church’s mission to bring all people to Christ, are themselves meant to assist in the salvation of souls, and thus the pastoral framework within which an Ecclesiastical Court takes place must always be remembered,” said Priest Nicholas Roth, Secretary of the Committee. “To this end, it is important to develop procedures for the Courts that are clear and precise, ensure fairness and mutual accountability, and allow for a transparent process from beginning to end in order for Courts to discover the truth of the matter at hand. We want to ensure a process that is ‘good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth’ [1 Timothy 2:3-4].”
The Committee members will continue their work separately over the next few months before regrouping in the late summer or early fall to plan the next steps in the process.
Other members of the Committee include His Grace, Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa; Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Professor of Canon Law at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary; Judge E. R. Lanier, General Counsel for the Orthodox Church in America; and Angela Parks, Chair of the Metropolitan Council Legal Committee. Also sitting in for portions of the meeting were Metropolitan Tikhon; Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor; and Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary.