The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America

Article XIII

Monasticism

Section 1   Definition

  1. A monastery is a local Orthodox Eucharistic community of men or women who have willingly chosen to live the monastic life and which functions under the immediate canonical supervision and pastoral care of the Bishop, who is the canonical and spiritual leader of the monastery. For purpose of this Statute, unless otherwise specified, the term monastery refers to and includes monasteries, monastic communities, sketes, metochia, and cells.
    1. The Metropolitan shall be the canonical and spiritual leader of all stavropegial monasteries.
    2. The Diocesan Bishop shall be the canonical and spiritual leader of all diocesan monasteries within his Diocese.
  2. The organization of monastic life and the administration of the monasteries are subject to the Sacred Canons, this Statute, regulations for monasteries and monasticism as developed by the Holy Synod, the statute or Bylaws of a Diocese, where applicable, and the monastery’s own statutes or Bylaws approved by the Bishop, in consultation with the Holy Synod. The Orthodox Church in general and The Orthodox Church in America in particular are hierarchical in structure.

Section 2  

Monastery Leadership

  1. The Bishop supervises all the monasteries under his canonical supervision. In all matters related to the administration of monasteries, he seeks only the welfare of the monasteries. He appoints or confirms monastery superiors, maintaining a relationship with them that is at once hierarchical and conciliar, marked by obedience and collaboration. He ordains and appoints monastic clergy at his discretion. He has the obligation and right of visitation to the monastery and receives from it and approves annual reports on the life of the monastery. In cases of conflict or disorder within the monastery, he takes all necessary measures to resolve them consistent with the Sacred Canons and this Statute.
  2. By virtue of the authority delegated at his or her appointment or confirmation by the Bishop, the superior of the monastery is responsible for all administrative and spiritual matters of the monastery, being assisted by monastic councils and assemblies as provided for in monastic regulations and statutes or Bylaws.

Section 3  

Establishment of a Monastery

Establishment, suppression, or other significant alterations in the status or operation of a monastery shall be initiated by and require the approval of the Bishop who is the canonical and spiritual leader of the monastery. The Bishop shall in taking such action give careful and thorough assessment of the reasons, material base, necessary monastic personnel, and local missionary conditions which bear on his decision. He shall consult in such matters with the Holy Synod, and the appropriate Council (the Diocesan Council in the case of a monastery whose canonical and spiritual leader is the Diocesan Bishop and the Metropolitan Council in the case of a monastery whose canonical and spiritual leader is the Metropolitan) with respect to any matters within the competence of that Council.


Section 4  

Monastic Property

  1. The monastery corporation holds title to all its own monastery property, assets, and funds, whether of a legal or equitable character.  In administering them, the monastery leadership must always remember the religious nature, purposes, and goal of the monastery and act as trustees of such property dedicated to the service of God and the use of the Church.
  2. All monastic property, assets and funds, whether of a legal or an equitable character, are and shall be owned and held by the monastery in trust for the use, purpose, and benefit of the Diocese of The Orthodox Church in America of which it is a part and in trust for the use, purpose, and benefit of The Orthodox Church in America.
  3. IIn the event that a Diocese of The Orthodox Church in America shall be dissolved or attempt to disaffiliate from The Orthodox Church in America in a disorderly manner, all monastery property, assets and funds of such Diocese, whether of a legal or an equitable character, are and shall remain subject to the use, purpose, and benefit of The Orthodox Church in America.
  4. If a monastery of which the Diocesan Bishop is the canonical and spiritual leader is canonically suppressed or otherwise ceases to exist, its real and personal property, whether of a legal or an equitable character, is disposed of in accordance with the directives of the Diocesan Bishop. The Diocesan Bishop shall consult with the Holy Synod in the formulation of his directives in this regard and he shall moreover consult with his Diocesan Council with regard to any matters within its competence which may be implicated in or by his directives.
  5. If a monastery of which the Metropolitan is the canonical and spiritual leader is canonically suppressed or otherwise ceases to exist, its real and personal property, whether of a legal or an equitable character, is disposed of in accordance with the directives of the Metropolitan. The Metropolitan shall consult with the Holy Synod in the formulation of his directives in this regard and he shall moreover consult with the Metropolitan Council with regard to any matters within its competence which may be implicated in or by his directives.
  6. In all monastic establishments of The Orthodox Church of America, the founders, donors and benefactors of any monastic establishment shall have no right or privilege, whether legal or equitable, of ownership, use or interference in their management, their administration, or their spiritual life. Moreover, none of those who may have made donations or contributed financially or materially toward the construction, alteration, expansion or maintenance of any monastic establishment shall have any right, whether in law or in equity, to the return of any donated property, whether real or personal, or its monetary equivalent.