The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America

Article II

The Holy Synod

Section 1   Definition and Authority The Holy Synod is the supreme canonical authority in the Church.

Section 2   Membership The Holy Synod includes, as voting members, all the diocesan bishops of the Church. The Metropolitan is ex officio Chairman of the Synod. In case of his absence, a Chairman shall be elected by the diocesan bishops present.

Section 3   Regular Sessions The Holy Synod shall meet twice annually, in the autumn and in the spring.

Section 4   Special Sessions Special sessions may be called by the Metropolitan on his own initiative, or at the request of at least three diocesan bishops.

Section 5   Quorum The quorum required for a regular or special session of the Holy Synod is two-thirds of the membership.

Section 6   Permanent Lesser Synod A Permanent Lesser Synod of at least three diocesan bishops, presided over by the Metropolitan, may receive from the Holy Synod a delegation of power to make necessary and provisional decisions on all matters, except those covered by points a,b,c,d,e,f,i,j,k, and l of Section 7. (Cf. Art. V, Sec. 1.)

Section 7   Competence The following matters are within the jurisdiction and competence of the Holy Synod:
  1. All matters involving doctrine, canonical order, morals, and liturgical practice;
  2. All canonical matters pertaining to the election and consecration of bishops as provided by Article VI;
  3. The establishment of new dioceses, the definition of diocesan boundaries, and the acceptance of dioceses into the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church in America;
  4. Transfer of bishops and their retirement in accordance with Article VI, Section 7;
  5. The acceptance of bishops from other jurisdictions;
  6. Bishops’ leaves of absence;
  7. Bestowing honors upon bishops;
  8. Examination of annual reports by the Metropolitan and the bishops on the fulfillment of their pastoral duties;
  9. Solution of problems arising in the administration of individual dioceses and requiring the judgment of the entire episcopate;
  10. Determination in all complaints involving bishops;
  11. Acting as Supreme Church Court of Appeals for all matters involving bishops, clergy, and laity in accordance with Article XI, Section 6;
  12. Establishment of general policies in relation to other Orthodox Churches and non-Orthodox religious bodies;
  13. Appointment, upon recommendation by the Metropolitan Council, of the Chancellor, Secretary, Treasurer, and other officials whose competence or service extend beyond the boundaries of a single diocese;
  14. Pastoral supervision over all Church organizations whose activity extends beyond the boundaries of a single diocese;
  15. Appointment of committees on matters belonging to the competence of the Holy Synod;
  16. General supervision over Armed Forces Chaplaincies, with the Metropolitan being particularly and immediately responsible in this field;
  17. Decisions in cases involving non-Orthodox clergymen applying for admission into the Orthodox Church;
  18. Supervision over theological schools;
  19. Establishment of standards required for ordination;
  20. Overseeing the missionary, educational, and social programs of the Church;
  21. Supervision of ecclesiastical arts: architecture, iconography, choral music, and other applied arts.