Guidelines for the election of a successor for His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America were approved by members of the Holy Synod of Bishops at a special spring session held at Saint Tikhon Monastery here Friday, May 24, 2002.
The election is slated to take place on the afternoon of Monday, July 22, during the second plenary session of the 13th All-American Council, which will be held July 21-26, 2002 in Orlando, FL.
“The guidelines were prepared by a specially appointed commission and approved by the Holy Synod of Bishops in order to ensure the orderly nomination and election during the All-American Council,” according to the Very Rev. John Matusiak, OCA Communications Director. “The procedure is in full compliance with the Statue of the Orthodox Church in America, Article IV, Sections 3 and 4.”
On April 2, 2002, Metropolitan Theodosius informed the Holy Synod of Bishops of his desire to retire, effective July 22, 2002, due to ongoing health concerns due to a series of strokes he had suffered since mid-2000. From May 1 through September 1, 2001, Metropolitan Theodosius had taken a medical leave of absence from his primatial ministry. The Holy Synod accepted his request and called for the preparation of guidelines for the election of his successor.
“Following Metropolitan Theodosius’ ‘State of the Church’ address during the Council’s opening plenary session on Monday morning, July 22, he will offer a formal retirement statement, after which the Holy Synod will meet and formally declare the office of Metropolitan of All America and Canada vacant,” according to Father Matusiak. “Members of the Holy Synod will then elect a Locum Tenens to preside at the election of the new Metropolitan.”
The complete text of the election guidelines, which appears on the OCA web site at Election of New Metropolitan and in the May-June issue of The Orthodox Church newspaper, will be sent to all parishes well in advance of the Council.
In his remarks to the members of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Theodosius urged the hierarchs to keep Christ at the center of their ongoing ministry in North America. He also implored the hierarchs to continue praying and working for the spiritual and administrative unity of all Orthodox Christians in North America, a cause for which he labored tirelessly during his 25 year ministry as Primate of the Church.
Before adjourning, the members of the Holy Synod discussed a number of other episcopal matters, reviewed a draft of the forthcoming sacramental record books, and considered the possibility of establishing an official office to deal with matters of sexual misconduct.