The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America

Article VII

The Diocesan Assembly

Section 1   Divine Liturgy The Diocesan Assembly shall be opened with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and Prayer Service. The delegates are encouraged to receive the Holy Mysteries of the Church, manifesting their membership in the One Body of Christ and their commitment to live and act accordingly.

Section 2   Composition The Diocesan Assembly shall be composed of:
  1. The Diocesan Bishop;
  2. The senior priest of the Cathedral and the Abbots of monasteries;
  3. The priests and deacons of each parish, ex officio, and an equal number of lay delegates elected as provided for in Sections 6 and 7 of this Article;
  4. Priests not having parishes if accredited by the Diocesan Council;
  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;
  7. Two delegates from each theological seminary in the diocese;
  8. Retired bishops and priests residing in the diocese with the right to attend and the right of consultative voice, but without the right to vote;
  9. Additional persons invited by the Diocesan Council with the approval of the Diocesan Bishop to attend the session or sessions of the Diocesan Assembly with or without the right to participate in the discussions but without the right to vote (members of the preparatory committees shall have the right to attend and participate in the discussions of the subject upon which their committees report to the Diocesan Assembly; appropriate credentials shall be issued to such persons by the Diocesan Council).

Section 3  

Competence of the Diocesan Assembly

The Diocesan Assembly:

  1. Elects the members of the Diocesan Council and elects the Auditing Committee of the Diocesan Council;
  2. Nominates candidates for Diocesan Bishop according to Article VI, Sections 9 and 10;
  3. Approves measures to strengthen the Orthodox Faith and piety, religious education, and charities of the Diocese;
  4. Discusses financial means to fulfill these aims and approves the budget and other related financial questions;
  5. Authorizes the Diocesan Council to acquire, encumber, or otherwise dispose of diocesan properties;
  6. Participates in the implementation of the All American Council decisions on the diocesan and parochial levels.

Section 4  

Periodicity

The Diocesan Assembly shall be convened as determined by the Diocese. The place of the meeting is to be determined by the previous Diocesan Assembly. Extraordinary Diocesan Assemblies are convoked by the Diocesan Bishop or by decision of the Diocesan Council, or for the election of a diocesan bishop, by the locum tenens, as specified in Article VI, Sections 8 and 10.


Section 5  

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 person or committee to make reports.


Section 6  

Requirements for Representation at the Diocesan Assembly

Every parish in the Diocese which has remitted all established assessments determined by previous All-American Councils for the support of the Church’s central organization and all assessments determined by previous Diocesan Assemblies is entitled to elect lay delegates equal in number to the priests and deacons maintained by the parish. Parishes not having a priest are entitled to one lay delegate. The parish will cover the expenses connected with the participation of its priests and elected lay delegates in the Assembly.


Section 7  

Election, Qualification, and Accreditation of Delegates

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

  1. Be elected by a parish meeting or parish council;
  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 all 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 elected lay delegate or delegates will personally receive from their parish a uniform document supplied by the Diocesan Administration. The parish rector shall forward to the secretary of the Diocesan Council the name and address of the elected lay delegate or delegates two months prior to the date of the Diocesan Assembly. The document of accreditation must be signed by the parish rector, or dean in case of parish vacancy, and the parish secretary, and sealed with the parish seal. In case of a vacancy in the parish, it will be entitled to one lay delegate. The delegates from a theological seminary, if laymen, shall be accredited by a similar letter to the secretary of the Diocesan Council by the dean of the theological seminary immediately after their appointment.

Section 8  

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 sent to all delegates at least three weeks prior to the date of the Assembly. The agenda may be changed by vote of the Diocesan Assembly.


Section 9  

Presiding Officer

The presiding officer of the Diocesan Assembly shall be the Diocesan Bishop, an Auxiliary Bishop, or a priest specifically appointed by him.


Section 10  

Vice-Chairmen

Two Vice-Chairmen, one from the clergy and one from the laity, shall be elected by the Diocesan Assembly and shall perform such functions as may be assigned to them, respectively, by the presiding officer.


Section 11  

Secretariat

The Diocesan Assembly shall elect as many secretaries as needed.


Section 12  

Committee on Credentials

A Committee on Credentials, appointed by the Diocesan Council with the approval of the Diocesan Bishop, shall pass on the qualifications of all members of the Diocesan Assembly and additional persons invited by the Diocesan Council.


Section 13  

Committees

The Diocesan Council shall establish those committees which may be necessary for the proper operation of the Assembly, such as local functioning committee, resolutions committee, credentials committee, translations committee, etc.


Section 14  

Sessions

The number of sessions shall be determined by the Diocesan Council with the approval of the Diocesan Bishop.


Section 15  

Approval by the Diocesan Bishop

No resolution of the Diocesan Assembly shall be valid unless it is approved by the Diocesan Bishop. Approval or disapproval is to be expressed before the closing of the Assembly.


Section 16  

Minutes

The minutes of the Assembly shall be prepared by the secretariat, signed by the Chairman, and submitted to the presiding officer for his written approval as to form and accuracy. Within a period of not more than 60 days after the final adjournment of the Assembly, the text of the minutes, approved by the presiding officer, shall be officially promulgated and mailed to each delegate.


Section 17  

Quorum

The quorum shall be constituted by a majority of accredited delegates.


Section 18  

Voting

The Diocesan Council, or the Assembly itself, may determine all voting procedures.


Section 19  

Election of the Diocesan Bishop

The candidates for the office of diocesan bishop shall be elected in the manner prescribed in Article VI, Section 10.


Section 20  

Election of the Auditing Committee of the Diocesan Council

The Auditing Committee of the Diocesan Council, consisting of three members, shall be elected by the Diocesan Assembly for three years. The duties of the Auditing Committee are defined in Article VIII, Section 7.