The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America

Article IV

The Metropolitan

Section 1 The Metropolitan Among the bishops of the Church, the Metropolitan enjoys primacy, being the first among equals. He is the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and is the diocesan bishop of one of the dioceses of the Church and bears the title, "Metropolitan of All-America and Canada." He supervises the internal and external welfare of the Church and represents it in its relations with other Orthodox Churches, religious organizations, and secular authorities. The Metropolitan’s name is mentioned during liturgical services by the other bishops of the Church. The Metropolitan mentions the names of the other heads of autocephalous Orthodox Churches.

Section 2 Duties The Metropolitan:
  1. Consecrates and distributes the Holy Chrism;
  2. Provides the diocesan bishops with the Holy Relics necessary for the consecration of Church altars and Holy Antimensia;
  3. Convenes the All-American Council, presides over it, and promulgates its decisions;
  4. Convenes and presides over the meetings of the Holy Synod and of the Metropolitan Council;
  5. Issues pastoral letters addressed to the bishops, clergy, and laity of the Church;
  6. Reports to the Council concerning the life of the Church;
  7. Initiates action to fill vacancies in the office of diocesan bishop;
  8. Gives advice to his brother bishops, and in cases of necessity, submits their cases to the Holy Synod;
  9. Has the right of pastoral initiative and guidance, and when necessary the right of pastoral intervention, in all matters concerning the life of the Church within the framework of the holy canons;
  10. Receives petitions for admission of clergy from other Orthodox Churches.

Section 3  

Vacancy in Office

The office of Metropolitan shall be declared vacant by a vote of the Holy Synod in the event of death, voluntary retirement, medically certified incapacity, or deposition by due canonical process.

Section 4  


When a vacancy has occurred in the office of Metropolitan, the bishop senior by rank and date of consecration shall convene the Holy Synod. After the formal vote declaring the vacancy, the Holy Synod will proceed with the election of a locum tenens. Within a period not exceeding three months (unless some unavoidable necessity forces a prolongation of this period), the locum tenens will convene an All-American Council at which a successor shall be elected. If not already a bishop, a candidate for the office of Metropolitan must fulfill the canonical, moral, and educational requirements stated in Article VI, Section 9. The election shall take place according to the following order:

  1. The Council nominates candidates by secret ballot without previous discussion of names. A blank paper ballot shall be distributed to each member of the Council before the vote.
  2. On the first vote, one single name may be written on each ballot. If the name of a candidate is written on a number of ballots equal to at least two-thirds of the total number of members in attendance at the Council, his name shall be submitted to the Holy Synod for approval by majority vote; in case of rejection, the Holy Synod shall formally state the reasons which motivated the rejection.
  3. If no candidate receives a number of ballots equal to at least two-thirds of the total membership in attendance, or if the person receiving that number of ballots fails to receive the approval of the Holy Synod, a second vote shall be taken.
  4. In the second vote, two names shall be written on each ballot; the tellers shall not count any ballot on which fewer or more than two names are written. The names of the two candidates who receive the highest number of ballots on the second vote shall be submitted to the Holy Synod for their choice by majority vote.
  5. Upon his election, and before the dismissal of the All-American Council, the new Metropolitan will be enthroned according to the established ritual.