The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America

Article VII

The Diocese

Section 1   Definition The Diocese is the basic Church body which unites parishes and institutions, usually in a defined geographical area, under the authority of a Diocesan Bishop. He governs with the assistance of a Diocesan Assembly and a Diocesan Council. For purposes of this Statute, the Diocesan Bishop, the Diocesan Council and the Diocesan Assembly, each acting in its proper capacity, shall constitute the Diocesan Authority. 

Section 2   Establishment of and Modification to a Diocese
  1. The Holy Synod may modify the boundaries of an existing Diocese, erect new Dioceses and determine their boundaries, and suppress or merge Dioceses according to the needs of the Church.
  2. The Holy Synod may establish Dioceses that are not defined by a specific geographical area, but rather are composed of parishes and institutions that are characterized by a particular identity, as recognized and defined by the Holy Synod. Parishes and institutions affiliated with such Dioceses shall be governed by their own Diocesan Bishop, who shall exercise within his Diocese the same authority as the Diocesan Bishop of a geographical Diocese.

Section 3  

Diocesan Bylaws

Each Diocese shall have Bylaws adopted by and subject to amendment by the Diocesan Authority. 

The Bylaws, among other provisions, shall provide for:

  1. The nomination of a Diocesan Bishop in accordance with Article VIII, Sections 5-7, below;
  2. The composition and election of the Diocesan Council;
  3. The appointment, dismissal, and duties of Diocesan Officers; 
  4. The terms of office, method of election, and duties of the Diocesan Auditing Committee, and,
  5. The amendment of the Diocesan Bylaws.

Section 4  

Deaneries

The Diocese may be divided into Deaneries, each headed by a District Dean, who is selected according to the provisions of Article XI, Section 2, unless otherwise provided for in the Diocesan Bylaws. The number, names, and delineation of the Deaneries shall be determined by the Diocesan Authority.