The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America

Article IX

The Diocesan Assembly

Section 1   Definition

The Diocesan Assembly is the highest legislative and administrative authority within the Diocese, and assists the Diocesan Bishop in its governance. The Assembly brings together the various elements of the Diocese to bear witness to her identity, unity, and mission. 


Section 2  

Composition

The Diocesan Assembly shall be composed of:

  1. The Diocesan Bishop;
  2. The Auxiliary Bishop(s);
  3. The superiors of Diocesan monasteries;
  4. The priests and deacons of each parish, ex officio, and an equal number of lay delegates from each parish, elected as provided in Section 7 of this Article;
  5. One lay delegate from each parish not having a priest;
  6. The members of the Diocesan Council and the members of its Auditing Committee, if not otherwise qualified to attend;
  7. Two delegates, one priest or deacon and one layman, from the faculty and senior staff of each diocesan theological institution, appointed by the appropriate authority of the institutions;
  8. Attached clergy, if accredited by the Diocesan Council, with the permission of the Diocesan Bishop, with the right to attend and to speak from the floor of the Assembly, but without the right to vote;
  9. Retired bishops and other clergy resident in the Diocese, if accredited by the Diocesan Council, with the permission of the Diocesan Bishop, with the right to attend and to speak from the floor of the Assembly, but without the right to vote;
  10. Members of special committees invited by the Diocesan Council to attend and participate in the discussions of the subject of their work; and
  11. Additional persons invited by the Diocesan Council with the permission of the Diocesan Bishop, to attend sessions of the Diocesan Assembly with or without the right to participate in the discussions, but without the right to vote.

Members of a parish of the Diocese, having been accredited in a manner to be determined by the Diocesan Council, may attend the Diocesan Assembly as Observers and, with the agreement of the majority of the delegates, may be permitted to address the Assembly, but not to vote.


Section 3  

Periodicity

  1. The Diocesan Assembly shall be convened at least once each calendar year, or as otherwise provided for in Diocesan Bylaws. The place of the meeting is to be determined by the previous Diocesan Assembly; however, in case of necessity, the Diocesan Council may change the place of meeting.
  2. Special Diocesan Assemblies are convoked by the Diocesan Bishop in consultation with the Diocesan Council, or by the Locum Tenens for the election of a Diocesan Bishop as specified in Article VIII, Section 7.

Section 4  

Competence of the Diocesan Assembly

The following are within the competence of the Diocesan Assembly. The Diocesan Assembly shall:

  1. Consider and approve measures to strengthen the life of the Diocese and encourage the growth of her parishes and faithful people in Orthodox Faith and piety through the establishment and maintenance of educational, philanthropic and other necessary institutions, organizations and programs;
  2. Establish means for securing revenue necessary to fulfill these aims, to fund the diocesan administration, and to fulfill the diocesan financial obligations to the Church as determined by the All-American Council;
  3. Receive reports on the operation and activities of the Diocesan Administration and diocesan institutions, the Deaneries, the Auditing Committee, and organizations and programs;
  4. Authorize the Diocesan Council to acquire, encumber, or dispose of diocesan properties; 
  5. Approve the diocesan budget and otherwise allocate and encumber diocesan resources; 
  6. Propose matters for consideration by the Metropolitan and Church Officers, the All-American Council, or the Metropolitan Council, as appropriate; 
  7. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Diocesan Bishop, and constituted as a Special Assembly, nominate a candidate for that office to the Holy Synod, in accordance with Article VIII, Section 7.
  8. Elect the members of the Diocesan Council and Auditing Committee as provided in the Diocesan Bylaws; 
  9. Elect Diocesan Representatives and alternates to the Metropolitan Council as provided in Article V, Section 2;  and
  10. Cooperate in implementing decisions of the Holy Synod, the All-American Council, the Metropolitan Council, and other Church authorities on the diocesan and parochial levels.

Section 5  

Requirements for Representation at the Diocesan Assembly

Every parish in the Diocese which has remitted all financial obligations determined by previous All-American Councils and all financial obligations determined by previous Diocesan Assemblies is entitled to representation as outlined in Section 2.d-e of this Article.

The parish shall assume the expenses incurred by its delegates in attending the Assembly.


Section 6  

Reports

The Diocesan Council, acting with the approval of the Diocesan Bishop, shall determine the reports which are to be presented at the Diocesan Assembly and, if necessary, shall appoint the persons or committees to make such reports.


Section 7  

Election and Accreditation of Delegates

The lay delegates of the Diocesan Assembly must meet the following requirements to be elected and accredited:

  1. Be elected by a Parish Assembly or by the Parish Council in accordance with the requirements and procedures established for such an election in Diocesan or Parish Bylaws;
  2. Be a parishioner in accordance with Article XII, Section 5;
  3. The elected delegates shall be accredited to the Assembly in accord with procedures and documentation established by the Diocesan Authority; and
  4. The Parish Priest shall submit the proper documentation to the Diocesan Authority. If the parish or mission has no Parish Priest the District Dean shall oversee the election and submit the documentation. The delegates from a theological institution, if laymen, shall be accredited by the appropriate authority of the institution.

Section 8  

Credentials Committee

A Credentials Committee, appointed by the Diocesan Council with the approval of the Diocesan Bishop, or the Locum Tenens in the case of a Special Diocesan Assembly, shall verify the credentials of all members of the Diocesan Assembly and of additional persons invited by the Diocesan Council.


Section 9  

Divine Services

The order of liturgical services at the Diocesan Assembly shall be determined in advance by the Diocesan Bishop in consultation with the Diocesan Council.


Section 10  

Agenda

The agenda for the Diocesan Assembly shall be fixed in advance by the Diocesan Council with the approval of the Diocesan Bishop, and shall be provided to all delegates at least three (3) weeks prior to the date set for the convening of the Assembly. The agenda may be changed by vote of the Assembly.


Section 11  

Presiding Officers

  1. The presiding officer of the Diocesan Assembly shall be the Diocesan Bishop, or an Auxiliary Bishop or priest specifically appointed by the Diocesan Bishop.
  2. Two vice-chairpersons, one priest or deacon and one layperson, shall be elected by the Diocesan Assembly and shall perform such functions as may be assigned to them by the presiding officer.

Section 12  

Secretariat

The Diocesan Assembly shall elect a Secretariat according to its needs.


Section 13  

Minutes

The minutes of the Assembly shall be prepared and signed by the Secretariat and submitted to the presiding officer for his written acceptance as to form and accuracy. Within a period of not more than sixty (60) days after the final adjournment of the Assembly, the minutes, approved by the presiding officer, shall be published and distributed to each delegate. The minutes shall be approved by the Diocesan Authority no later than the next Diocesan Assembly.


Section 14  

Committees

The Diocesan Council shall establish such committees as may be necessary for the proper operation of the Assembly, and shall define their membership and responsibilities.


Section 15  

Quorum

A majority of the members of the Diocesan Assembly who have been accredited and registered shall constitute a quorum.


Section 16  

Voting

  1. As its first order of business, the Assembly shall adopt rules of procedure for the conduct of its business, unless otherwise provided for in the Diocesan Bylaws. 
  2. All resolutions and other decisions of the Diocesan Assembly shall be approved by majority vote, unless otherwise required by the Diocesan Bylaws.

Section 17  

Approval by the Diocesan Bishop

No resolution or other action of the Diocesan Assembly shall be effective until it is approved by the Diocesan Bishop, or the Locum Tenens in the case of a Special Diocesan Assembly. Approval or disapproval shall in the normal course be announced before the adjournment of the Diocesan Assembly.


Section 18  

Auditing Committee

The Auditing Committee, consisting of no fewer than three (3) members, shall be elected by the Diocesan Assembly. The members of the Diocesan Auditing Committee shall not be members of the Diocesan Council or be Diocesan Officers. Members of the Auditing Committee shall be members ex officio of the Diocesan Assembly. Their relevant professional experience, the terms of office, the method of their election, and their duties shall be as defined in Article X, Section 8, and in the Diocesan Bylaws.