The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, at a brief meeting held in Chicago on December 23, 2009, after funeral services for His Eminence, the late Archbishop Job of Chicago, declared the Chicago See vacant. Members of the Holy Synod appointed His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, as Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the Midwest.
At the same meeting, Metropolitan Jonah was released as Locum Tenens of the Bulgarian Diocese. Concurrently, His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, was appointed Locum Tenens of the Bulgarian Diocese.
Church-wide announcement of the decisions was made by Archpriest Alexander Garklavs, OCA chancellor, on Friday, January 8, 2010, thereby allowing sufficient time for the clergy of the affected dioceses to receive formal advance notification of the appointments by their respective diocesan chanceries. The clergy also were provided with instructions with regard to appropriate liturgical commemorations of the hierarchs.