The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America

Article III

The All-American Council

Section 1   Authority The highest legislative and administrative authority within the Church is the All-American Council. (Cf. Article III, Section 12)

Section 2   Composition
  1. The Metropolitan and all bishops of the Church;
  2. The priests of each parish and an equal number of lay delegates;
  3. Priests not having parishes if accredited by the Metropolitan Council;
  4. One lay delegate from each parish not having a priest;
  5. The members and the alternate members of the Metropolitan Council, and the members of the Auditing Committee of the Church;
  6. Two delegates from each theological seminary;
  7. Members of the Pre-Conciliar Commission;
  8. One representative of each Church organization officially accredited by the Holy Synod;
  9. Additional persons may be invited by the Pre-Conciliar Commission with the approval of the Metropolitan to attend one or more sessions of the All-American Council, without the right to vote. Members of preparatory committees may be invited to attend and participate in the discussions of the subject upon which their committees report to the All-American Council;
  10. All lay members of the All-American Council shall have the same qualifications for membership as the parish delegates (Cf. Article III, Section 6).

Section 3  

Periodicity

The All-American Council shall be convened periodically at intervals of three years. Each All-American Council shall decide the time and place of the next regular or extraordinary session. The time and place of the meeting may, for urgent reasons, be changed by action of the Metropolitan Council with the approval of the Holy Synod.


Section 4  

Requirements for Representation at the All-American Council

Every parish which has remitted all established assessments determined by previous All- American Councils for the support of the Church is entitled to elect delegates. The assessment must be paid in full by July 1st of the year in which an All-American Council occurs in order to have lay representation.


Section 5  

The Pre-Conciliar Commission

At least one year prior to the next All-American Council, upon nomination by the Metropolitan Council, the Holy Synod shall appoint a Pre-Conciliar Commission which shall be entrusted with the following responsibilities:

  1. To publish and distribute the agenda, notices, and arrangements for the All-American Council at least 60 days prior to the established date;
  2. To publish and distribute the proper credentials and certification forms at least 30 days prior to the All-American Council;
  3. To collect and certify the credentials of all delegates;
  4. To fix and collect the registration fees from each parish;
  5. To prepare the agenda and submit it to the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council for approval (the agenda may be changed by vote at the All-American Council);
  6. To ascertain that all reports to the All-American Council be in written form and that they be distributed to every delegate at least 30 days prior to the established date.

The Pre-Conciliar Commission shall establish those committees which may be necessary for the proper operation of the Council, such as a local functioning committee, a resolutions committee, credentials committee, translations committee, etc.


Section 6  

Election, Qualification, and Accreditation of Lay Delegates

The lay delegates and alternates to the All-American Council must meet the following requirements to be validly elected, qualified, and accredited:

  1. Be elected by a parish meeting;
  2. Be a voting member of the parish in good standing (Cf. Article X, Section 5), at least eighteen years of age, having received the Sacraments of Confession and Communion at least annually for the past three years at his home parish. (Like holders of all offices in the Church, he may not be a person under ecclesiastical interdict, who is in violation of moral standards, who is married outside the Church, who is a member of anti-Church and/or secret societies.)
  3. The lay delegate or delegates will personally receive from their parish a uniform document supplied by the Central Church Administration. The parish rector shall forward to the Pre-Conciliar Commission the name and the address of the elected lay delegate or delegates and alternates two months prior to the All-American Council. The document of accreditation must be signed by the parish rector, or Dean in case of a vacancy in the parish, and the parish secretary, and sealed with the parish seal. In case of a vacant parish, the parish is entitled to one lay delegate. The delegates from a theological seminary, if laymen, shall be accredited by a similar letter to the Pre-Conciliar Commission by the dean of the theological seminary, immediately after their appointment.

Section 7  

Language

The official language of the All-American Council shall be English.


Section 8  

Presiding Officers

  1. The presiding officer of the All-American Council shall be the Metropolitan or, in the case of his absence or vacancy in office, a bishop appointed by the Holy Synod;
  2. Two vice-chairmen, one from the clergy and one from the laity, shall be elected by the All-American Council.

Section 9  

Secretariat

The Council shall elect a secretariat sufficient for its needs and which will perform its task under a chairman, also elected by the Council.


Section 10  

Minutes

The minutes of the Council shall be prepared by the secretariat, signed by the chairman, and submitted to the presiding officer. This should be done within 24 hours after the completion of the particular session. Any disagreements or disputes shall be submitted to the next session of the Council. If the Council has adjourned, the disagreement shall be referred to the newly-elected Metropolitan Council, which meets the following day. Within a period of not more than 60 days after the final adjournment of the Council, the official text of the minutes shall be mailed to each delegate.


Section 11  

Services

The order of liturgical services at the Council shall be determined in advance by the Holy Synod.


Section 12  

Approval by the Hierarchy

All resolutions adopted by the Council shall be examined by the bishops at the end of each session (morning, afternoon, or evening). No resolutions shall be valid unless approved by a vote of at least a majority of the bishops attending the Council. The approval of any particular resolution by the bishops shall be evidenced by a vote of the Holy Synod, reported to the presiding officer of the Council and transmitted to the Council at the beginning of the session that immediately follows. At the final session of the Council, a recess shall be taken for an appropriate period prior to the final adjournment in order that the bishops have an opportunity to act on the resolutions adopted at that session. In case of a tie in the vote of the Holy Synod, the Metropolitan or other presiding bishop shall cast an additional vote in order to break the tie. In case the Holy Synod shall disapprove any resolution adopted by the Council, it shall submit to the Council the reasons for such disapproval.


Section 13  

Quorum

At least a majority of the council members who have been accredited and are present at a given session shall constitute a quorum at any session.


Section 14  

Voting

A majority vote shall determine the decisions of the All-American Council. The Pre-Conciliar Commission, or the Council itself, may determine that voting in certain matters shall be by secret ballot.


Section 15  

Auditing Committee

The following amendment was approved at the 15th All-American Council in Pittsburgh, PA on Thursday, November 13, 2008 at the Seventh Plenary Session.

 

An auditing committee consisting of three members shall be nominated and appointed by the Metropolitan Council at its first meeting following the election of Metropolitan Council members at the All-American Council. The term of service shall be from appointment to the end of the next All-American Council. Its duties shall be to audit all accounts of The Orthodox Church in America on a semiannual basis and review the audited accounts of all stavropegial institutions on an annual basis and to report same to the Metropolitan Council. The Chairman of the auditing committee shall attend sessions of the Metropolitan Council only to make the committee’s reports. All auditors shall have relevant professional experience. An auditor shall succeed himself for only one additional term, and may only be removed for cause by a two thirds vote of the Metropolitan Council. Vacancies in the auditing committee are filled by the Metropolitan Council.