On Friday, September 26, 2008, His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri, Archbishop of Dallas and the South and Locum tenens of the Metropolitan See, issued a memorandum to OCA clergy concerning the upcoming All-American Council.
The memorandum included a copy of the “Guidelines for the Election of the Metropolitan of All America and Canada.” “These guidelines, approved by the Holy Synod of Bishops… provide a step-by-step description of the nomination and election procedure as currently outlined in the Statute,” His Eminence writes.
The guidelines note that they “will remain in effect for the election of the Metropolitan at the 15th All-American Council, unless the proposed Statute amendment on the election of the Metropolitan is passed at the Council prior to the election.”
Archbishop Dmitri added that “also attached are ‘Prayers for the 15th All-American Council and Election of the New Metropolitan of All America and Canada.’ These petitions have also been approved by the Holy Synod of Bishops and are to be included in the Litany of Fervent Supplication at all Divine Services, beginning immediately.”
The “Guidelines” and “Prayers” are as follows.
Guidelines for the Election of the Metropolitan of All-America and Canada at the 15th All-American Council in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on November 12, 2008
These guidelines have been compiled to prepare for the nomination and election of the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America. The Holy Synod of Bishops has approved these guidelines in order to ensure the orderly nomination and election of the Metropolitan of All-America and Canada at the 15th All-American Council that will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This election will select the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America to succeed His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN, whose voluntary retirement, effective on September 4, 2008, was accepted and announced to the Church by the Holy Synod. The following is a practical description, step by step, of the procedure defined in the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America - Article IV, Sections 3 and 4.
Election of the Metropolitan of All America and Canada
Whereas canonically and juridically His Beatitude Metropolitan HERMAN has retired and the vacancy of the office was officially declared by the Holy Synod (Statute - Article IV, Section 3); and
Whereas the Holy Synod at its session on September 4, 2008 has already accepted such retirement and declared it to be effective on September 4, 2008; and
Whereas, following the retirement of His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN the Holy Synod has met and declared formally the office of Metropolitan of All-America and Canada vacant, and elected a Locum Tenens in the person of Archbishop DIMITRI to preside at the election of the new Primate; and
Whereas, the Holy Synod resolved that the election of the Metropolitan of All-America and Canada will take place on November 12, 2008, during the 15th All-American Council; and
In addition, whereas this election is to take place at a regular and not extraordinary All-American Council, the Holy Synod of Bishops has resolved that the following procedure is to be observed:
I. Opening of the All-American Council
1. On Monday, November 10, 2008, after the delegates have assembled for its first plenary session in the All-American Council Chapel, following the opening Service of Prayer, His Eminence, Archbishop DIMITRI, shall formally declare the 15th All-American Council in session.
2. Thereupon, the Council shall proceed with customary business of organizing itself in compliance with Article III of the Statute. It shall hear and act upon the report of the Preconciliar Commission, elect its vice-chairmen, the Council Secretariat, Tellers and members of its other committees, and shall hear the report of the Credentials Committee.
3. The All-American Council will conduct the business of the agenda through the fourth plenary session.
4. When the fifth plenary session opens, the Locum Tenens shall announce the appointment, with the concurrence of the Holy Synod, of one of the Vice-Chairmen to direct the 15th All-American Council in the procedure established for the nomination and the election of the new Metropolitan. For the record, the Secretary of the Holy Synod shall read the Holy Synod’s decision accepting Metropolitan HERMAN’s retirement and the Holy Synod’s resolution formally declaring the see of the Metropolitan vacant and electing a Locum Tenens. The Locum Tenens shall direct the Council to adopt as the next item on its agenda the election of the new Metropolitan. The Council shall immediately proceed with the election as prescribed in the OCA Statute - Article IV, Section 4.
II. Election Procedure
1. The election shall begin with the Council singing the prayer, “The Grace of the Holy Spirit…”
2. The section of the OCA Statute defining the election procedure shall be read along with any additional guidelines from the Holy Synod. Questions from delegates regarding the voting procedure shall be answered.
3. Upon receiving the blessing of the Locum Tenens, the chairman of the session shall ask the chairman of the Credentials Committee to give a report on the number of delegates registered and present at this session. Based on the number of registered delegates (hierarchs, clergy and laity) in attendance at this session, the two-thirds majority required by the OCA Statute to nominate a candidate on the first vote (OCA Statute - Article IV, Section 4b) shall be established and posted. The doors of the Chapel shall be kept closed and no one will be allowed to leave or enter during the balloting process.
4. The chairman of the session shall ask all persons who are not accredited delegates but have been accredited as observers to the 13th All-American Council to remain in the specially designated area reserved for accredited observers. Only accredited delegates and accredited observers will be allowed to remain in the Chapel. All others will be asked to depart from the Chapel.
5. The chairman of the session shall then order the tellers elected at the first plenary session to receive from the Secretary and to distribute to all delegates (hierarchs, clergy and laity) of the Council, one per delegate, the ballots prepared and certified by the Secretary.
6. “On the first vote, one single name may be written on each ballot.” (OCA Statute - Article IV, Section 4b). Therefore, any ballot with more than one name or with anything else written on it except the name of one candidate shall be considered invalid.
7. When voting, the delegates of the Council must remember that, in the words of OCA Statute - Article IV, Section 4,
“If not already a bishop, a candidate for the office of Metropolitan must fulfill the canonical, moral, and educational requirements stated in Article VI, Section 9:
a. The candidate for the office of diocesan bishop must satisfy all the requirements of the Holy Canons pertaining to this highest of all ecclesiastical offices. In addition, it is preferable that he has completed a course of study in a Graduate School of Orthodox Theology and that he be conversant in the English language.
b. If he is not already a bishop, he can be nominated only from among the monastic or celibate clergy or laymen;
c. If at the moment of his nomination he is a layman or a celibate or widowed priest, he shall pronounce at least the first monastic vows (rasophoria) before his election and consecration as a bishop.
8. Upon completion of the vote, the tellers shall collect the ballots and place them in a box, which shall be sealed by the chairman of the session and handed over to the chairman of the tellers appointed to count the votes.
9. The tellers shall then proceed to a specially prepared place where the counting of ballots shall then take place. They shall not leave the counting place, nor shall anyone who is not a teller be at the counting place, until the tabulation is completed and the results are transcribed on a report signed by all tellers. If a candidate has received a number of votes equal to or greater than two-thirds of the total number of votes, this shall also be registered on the report presented by the tellers. No teller shall give any information about the results of the voting until the chairman of tellers is ordered to present the official report to the Council.
10. During the counting and tabulation of ballots, the Council shall sing appropriate hymns from a booklet prepared for the occasion.
11. Immediately after the tabulation is completed and the report is signed, the chairman of tellers shall place the ballots in the box, seal it, and deliver it to the Secretary of the Council after presenting his report to the Council. The box shall be in the custody of the Secretary of the Council until the election is completed, at which time the Secretary in the presence of the members of the Secretariat shall destroy the ballots.
12. Upon being officially informed by the chairman of tellers that the tabulation has been completed, the chairman of the session shall order the chairman of tellers to proceed to the podium and to present his report to the Council. This report shall contain the names of the candidates with the number of votes received by each of them, presented in order of pluralities, greater to lesser.
13. If the report has clearly established that a candidate has received the two-thirds or more of the votes required by the Statute, the chairman of the session shall make the following declaration:
This All-American Council, acting in full compliance with the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America has nominated (name and title) for the office of Metropolitan of All America and Canada and now prayerfully submits this candidacy to the Holy Synod for canonical approval and action.
14. Immediately after this declaration, the members of the Holy Synod, with the Locum Tenens acting as Chairman, proceed into the sanctuary where they elect the Metropolitan by secret ballot, the votes being counted by the Chairman. Although all hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in America proceed into the sanctuary, only diocesan bishops are voting members of the Holy Synod (OCA Statute - Article II, Section 2). Therefore, auxiliary and retired hierarchs do not participate in the vote by the Holy Synod to elect the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America. If the single nominee submitted for canonical election to the Holy Synod, based on a two-thirds majority of the first vote of the Council, is a voting member of the Holy Synod, he shall not participate in the election by the Holy Synod.
15. If the nominee who has received two-thirds majority or greater is not elected by the Holy Synod, the Holy Synod shall formally state the reasons that motivated the rejection (OCA Statute - Article IV, Section 4, b).
16. If no nominee has received the required two-thirds of the ballots of the first vote by the Council, the chairman of the session shall make the following declaration:
Since no candidate has received the number of ballots required for nomination to the Office of Metropolitan of All-America and Canada, this All-American Council, in compliance with the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, shall proceed with the second vote.
17. If there is a second vote, the results of the first vote have no effect on the procedure of the second vote.
18. The procedure of the second vote shall be the same as described in numbers 4 through 12 with the following difference:
“Two names shall be written on each ballot; the tellers shall not count any ballot on which fewer or more than two names are written.” (OCA Statute - Article IV, Sec. 4d)
19. After the results of the second vote have been officially announced and the report of the tellers has been accepted, the Chairman of the session shall make the following declaration:
This All-American Council, acting in full compliance with the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, prayerfully submits the names of (name and title) and (name and title) to the Holy Synod for approval, canonical election, and appointment of him whom God has chosen to be the Metropolitan of All-America and Canada.
20. Immediately after this declaration and while the Council sings “O Heavenly King…” and “The Grace of the Holy Spirit has assembled us today…” and other appropriate prayers, the members of the Holy Synod, with the Locum Tenens, proceed into the sanctuary where they elect the Metropolitan by secret ballot, the votes being counted by the Locum Tenens. Although all hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in America proceed into the sanctuary, only diocesan bishops are voting members of the Holy Synod (OCA Statute - Article II, Section 2). Therefore, auxiliary and retired hierarchs do not participate in the vote by the Holy Synod to elect the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America. If one or both of the nominees submitted for canonical election to the Holy Synod, based on the results of the second vote of the Council, are voting members of the Holy Synod, they shall not participate in the election by the Holy Synod.
21. The name of the newly elected Metropolitan is then written into a specially prepared Act to which all members of the Holy Synod affix their signatures and which is sealed with the Seal of the Church.
22. Upon the signing of the Act of Election, the Locum Tenens (or another hierarch designated by the Holy Synod) opens the Royal Doors and, with all participants of the All-American Council standing, he reads the Act:
In the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, the Trinity one in essence and undivided. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to this Sacred Council of the Holy Orthodox Church in America to elect, on this 12th day of November, two thousand and eight, to the office of the Metropolitan of All-America and Canada (name and title). Axios!
23. To this announcement, the Council shall respond by singing three times: “Axios,” and if the newly elect is a bishop: “Ton despotin kai archierea imon…”
Note: If the Metropolitan-elect is not a bishop, the procedure comes to an end at this point. All necessary steps are then taken by the Holy Synod to consecrate him to the episcopacy and to enthrone him as Metropolitan.
24. If the Metropolitan-elect is already a bishop, he stands in the sanctuary while all other hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in America vested in their mantiyas stand on the solia. The senior hierarch, vested in his mantiya and omophorion, shall stand in front of the Royal Doors and conduct the following service:
Archdeacon: Bless, Most Blessed Master.
Senior Hierarch: Glory to the Holy Consubstantial…
Council: Amen. O Heavenly King…
Archdeacon: - In peace let us pray to the Lord
- For the peace from above and the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord
- For the peace of the whole world and the welfare of the holy churches of God…
- For our newly elected Metropolitan, His Beatitude (name)…
- That our God who loveth mankind will grant him to exercise his holy office without stain or blame, let us pray to the Lord
- That He will deliver us from all tribulation, wrath, danger or necessity, let us pray to the Lord
- Help us, save us, have mercy upon us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace
Council: Lord have mercy. (after each petition)
Archdeacon: Commemorating our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves, and each other and all our life, unto Christ our God
Council: To Thee, O Lord.
Senior Hierarch: For unto Thee are due…
Archdeacon: God is the Lord… (tone 8 with verses)
Council: God is the Lord… (four times in response to verses)
The troparion of Pentecost Glory…Now and Ever…
The troparion to All Saints of North America
Archdeacon: Again and again, on bended knees let us pray to the Lord.
Council: Lord have mercy (3)
Senior Hierarch: O Lord our God who hast chosen Thy servant Metropolitan (name) to be the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, make him to be an imitator of Thee, the true Shepherd, Who didst lay down Thy life for Thy sheep; to be a leader of the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a reprover of the unwise, a teacher of the young, a lamp to the world. That, having perfected the Church entrusted to him, he may stand unashamed before Thy throne, and receive the great reward which Thou hast prepared for those who have contended valiantly for the preaching of Thy Gospel. For Thine it is to show mercy, and to save us, O our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.
Archdeacon: Have mercy upon us… (litany)
Council: Lord have mercy (three times in response to each petition)
Senior Hierarch: Hear us, O God…
Then the two hierarchs, next in seniority, shall enter the sanctuary and lead the Metropolitan-elect through the Royal Doors to the cathedra in the center of the Chapel.
Then the two hierarchs, next in seniority, shall present the second panagia, saying: Axios!
Council: Axios (three times)
The two hierarchs, next by seniority shall vest the Metropolitan in the blue mantiya, saying: Axios!
Council: Axios (three times)
The next two hierarchs by seniority shall present the white klobuk, saying: Axios!
Council: Axios (three times)
The Senior Hierarch shall present the staff, saying: Axios! (and may address brief remarks to the new Metropolitan)
Council: Axios (three times)
Senior Hierarch: Most Holy Theotokos save us.
Council: More honorable than the cherubim…
Senior Hierarch: Glory to Thee…
Council: Glory …now and ever… Lord have mercy (3)... Most Blessed Master bless.
Senior Hierarch: dismissal
Council: Amen. Eis polla eti despota.
Archdeacon: Diptychs of all Primates (except the newly-elected OCA Primate)
Council: repeats each petition of the diptychs
Archdeacon: To the Most Blessed (name), Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All-America and Canada, Many years!
Council: To the Most Blessed (name), Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All-America and Canada, Many years!
25. Following the conclusion of the service, the newly elected Metropolitan may deliver brief remarks. All hierarchs, in turn, then approach him to offer congratulations, followed by all delegates and participants of the 15th All American Council.
26. The 15th All-American Council reconvenes in regular session on Wednesday afternoon, November 12, 2008.
27. The Enthronement of the new Metropolitan of All-America and Canada will take place at the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, Washington, DC, on a date to be announced.
These guidelines will remain in effect for the election of the Metropolitan at the 15th All-American Council, unless the proposed Statute amendment on the election of the Metropolitan is passed at the Council prior to the election.
Prayers for the 15th All-American Council and Election of the New Metropolitan of All American and Canada
to be inserted in the Litany of Fervent Supplication
Furthermore we pray that the Lord our Almighty and Eternal God, the Source of all wisdom and understanding, will be present with us as we prepare to gather in Council; and that in our striving to serve and glorify Him He will enlighten us with right judgment and godly purpose to His glory and the building up of His Holy Church.
Again we pray that the Lord our God, the Giver of every good gift, will look with favor upon His Church and bless and guide the minds and hearts of His people being gathered by the grace of the Holy Spirit; and that He will increase in us holy conversation, vigilance, fervent prayer, and trust in Him, guiding our plans and deliberations with faith and knowledge of His will for us.
Furthermore we pray that the Lord our God, Who raises up servants in every time and in every place as leaders for His people, will send His Holy Spirit upon us and so guide our minds and hearts that, inspired by His gifts of discernment and understanding, we may know and do His will as we prepare to elect a new Metropolitan.
Again we pray that the Lord our God, in His mercy and providential care for us, will call forth for His flock a true shepherd of wisdom and strength, blessing us with a Metropolitan to care for the well-being of our Church, and to unite His faithful people in a zealous confession of the Orthodox faith, in loving service to one another, and a bright witness to the glory of His Holy Name.