The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America met in conjunction with the Enthronement of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon at Saint Nicholas Cathedral here January 26-27, 2013.
- elected His Grace, Bishop Michael of New York and New York and New Jersey to serve as Secretary of the Holy Synod.
- established the composition of the Lesser Synod of Bishops, which will include Metropolitan Tikhon; Bishop Michael, Secretary; His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate; and His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West.
- heard the report of Archimandrite Alexander [Pihach] on the life of the OCA’s Representation Church of the Great Martyr Catherine, Moscow, and his work as the OCA’s recently appointed Representative to the Patriarch of Moscow.
- heard the report of Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, OCA Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations, on external affairs matters.
- reviewed various clergy matters and actions of mutual concern.
Of major importance, said Father Eric, was the establishment of the new Department of Continuing Education as according to the recommendations of the Strategic Plan passed at the 16th All-American Council.
“The department will be responsible for coordinating continuing education programs for OCA clergy in the dioceses and establishing guidelines and requirments for all OCA clergy,” Father Eric said. “Department members will work in conjunction with the OCA’s dioceses, seminaries and other institutions in fulfilling the Holy Synod’s mandate that every priest and deacon pursue 20 hours of continuing education each year—five hours of which will focus on professional and ethical issues, including sexual misconduct.
“Funds for this effort will be raised through various means in order to provide a self-funded program,” Father Eric added. “Special emphasis will be given to developing and delivering programs in legal and ethical issues for clergy—especially with regard to clergy sexual misconduct—and leadership and management training for clergy and lay leaders.”
Additional details and information in this regard will be released in the near future.
Before adjourning, the members of the Holy Synod began establishing plans for their Spring Session, slated to convene in March 2013.