His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, will open the Spring Session of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America at Saint Sergius Chapel at the OCA Chancery here on Monday evening, March 15, 2004.
In addition to reviewing the life of the OCA’s dioceses, departments, and other administrative units, the members of the Holy Synod will review a number of other issues central to the ongoing life of the Church.
After an opening Service of Prayer, Metropolitan Herman will present a comprehensive report highlighting his primatial ministry and activities since the Holy Synod’s last session in October 2003. On Tuesday morning, March 16, Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor, will report to the hierarchs on the work of the Chancery and the numerous ministries and programs it oversees.
Among the other matters to be considered by the hierarchs include:
A review of preliminary plans for the 14th All-American Council, slated to convene in Toronto, Ontario in the summer of 2005. It is expected that members of the Holy Synod will announce appointees to the Pre-Conciliar Commission that will assist the Council Project Team in organizing the gathering.
A report detailing the final arrangements for the return to Russia of the wonderworking Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God in the summer of 2004.
An update on the OCA’s theological schools and related educational concerns.
A review of the Church’s financial situation to be presented by the Very Rev. Dimitri Oselinsky, OCA Treasurer.
Updates on three forthcoming Church-wide conferences on pastoral life and ministry, evangelization, and Christian witness and service.
On Wednesday, March 17, the hierarchs will participate in the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, during which students from Saint Vladimir Seminary, Crestwood, NY will sing the liturgical responses.
Other matters to be reviewed by the hierarchs include a number of episcopal and legal matters, including a report on parish compliance with the Synodal Guidelines on abuse and related matters; a review of first draft revisions to the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America; and a review of the Church’s health, life insurance and pension plans and the personal assistance program for clergy and full-time Church workers.
His Grace, Bishop Nikon of Boston will participate in the meeting for the first time since his election as ruling hierarch of the Albanian Archdiocese, while His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of South Canaan, Auxiliary to the Metropolitan, will also attend the session for the first time since his consecration to the episcopacy.
Chaired by Metropolitan Herman, the Holy Synod of Bishops meets twice each year, in the spring and fall. Between sessions of the Holy Synod, the Lesser Synod of Bishops meets regularly to oversee the work and ministry of the Church’s episcopacy.
Other hierarchs participating in the session include His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania; His Eminence, Archbishop Peter of New York and New Jersey; His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South; His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopacy; His Grace, Bishop Job of Chicago and the Midwest; His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco and the West; His Grace, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada; His Grace, Bishop Nikolai of Sitka, Anchorage and Alaska; and His Grace, Bishop Irineu of Dearborn Heights, Auxiliary to the Romanian Episcopate.