Holy Synod of Bishops elects Bishop Nikon to fill vacant New England See

On Wednesday, October 19, 2005, the members of the Holy Synod elected His Grace, Bishop Nikon of Boston and the Albanian Archdiocese to serve as Bishop of New England.

SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] — In response to the request of delegates at a July 2005 extraordinary assembly of the Diocese of New England to provide a ruling bishop for the diocese, members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America elected His Grace, Bishop Nikon of Boston and the Albanian Archdiocese to fill the diocesan vacancy at their fall session at the OCA chancery here October 18-20, 2005.

Delegates to the extraordinary assembly failed to nominate a candidate to fill the diocesan see, which had been vacant since the transfer of Bishop [now Archbishop] Job to the Diocese of the Midwest in the early 1990s. Of the 58 voting delegates, 25 had abstained, while the remaining ballots were cast for five different candidates, none of whom garnered the required two-thirds majority. The delegates then passed a resolution calling for the Holy Synod of Bishops to elect a ruling hierarch for the diocese “in the best interests of the diocese and the whole Church.”

As ruling bishop of the Albanian Archdiocese, Bishop Nikon was not eligible for nomination by the assembly, but was eligible for election by the Holy Synod of Bishops.

Bishop Nikon will bear the title of Bishop of Boston, New England, and the Albanian Archdiocese.

The fall session of the Holy Synod opened on Tuesday, October 18, with the celebration of a Service of Thanksgiving in the presence of the wonderworking Sitka Icon of the Mother of God in the chancery’s Saint Sergius Chapel.

Hierarchs prepare to receive Holy Communion as His Grace, Bishop Benjamin of Berkeley, celebrated the Divine Liturgy during the fall session of the Holy Synod of Bishops.

“We have just offered our prayers of supplication, asking God’s blessing and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in the presence of the wonderworking Sitka Icon of the Mother of God,” Metropolitan Herman said in his opening address.
“This icon, a true spiritual treasure, reminds us that from the earliest days of the Church in North America and from the very beginning of its mission, the Mother of God’s presence in the life of our Church and her motherly intercession on our behalf, have played an integral and essential role in its life and mission.”

Metropolitan Herman went on to report on a variety of matters, including the OCA’s relationship with various Orthodox Sister Churches, the current activities of Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas [SCOBA], and the work of the chancery and the Church’s departments, offices, and boards. He reported on the recent visit to the OCA of His Eminence, Archbishop Leo of Karelia and All Finland and the celebration of the 35th anniversary of the glorification of Saint Herman of Alaska. He noted that in the face of a drop in free-will offerings—a phenomenon shared by other Orthodox Churches in North America and other religious and not-for-profit organizations—the OCA’s 2006 budget had been reduced by $250,000.00. The reduction reflects a cutback in chancery personnel and in the elimination of expenditures related to various projects and publications. He spoke positively about the renewed efforts of the Fellowship of Orthodox Stewards under its new executive director, the Very Rev. Eugene Vansuch.

Financial concerns were also expressed in reports given by Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, chancellor, the Very Rev. Paul Kucynda, acting treasurer, and the Very Rev. Stavros Strikis, comptroller. Members of the Holy Synod accepted the 2006 budget and approved it for review and implementation by the Metropolitan Council. The hierarchs supported the decision of the 14th All-American Council in July 2005 for further implementation of the “Fair Share” program, which includes the appointment of of a full-time development director by Metropolitan Herman. They also reviewed a detailed analysis of individual parish support for the OCA’s annual charity, seminary, and mission appeals.

The hierarchs reviewed in detail the work of the 14th All-American Council. They accepted the report of the Council summary team for implementing specific goals during the next three to six months, three years; and five to ten years. In response to the emphasis on evangelization, education, and unity expressed by delegates, the hierarchs decided to look further into ways to coordinate evangelistic efforts and address the goal of establishing 50 new communities and revitalizing 50 older parishes during the next decade. They also approved numerous appointments to the OCA’s departments, offices, boards, and commissions.

In the area of external affairs and inter-Church relations, it was reported that Orthodox participation in the National Council of Churches in Christ will be discussed at the SCOBA meeting in November 2005.

The hierarchs also heard a report on the recent work of International Orthodox Christian Charities [IOCC] by Mr. Dean Triantafilou, especially in addressing the needs of Hurricane Katrina victims. They expressed their recognition of IOCC’s growing efforts on behalf of North America’s Orthodox Christians by presenting Mr. Triantafilou with a citation signed by the hierarchs.

In other episcopal matters, His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania and the Bulgarian Diocese and His Eminence, Archbishop Job of Chicago and the Midwest were appointed to the Lesser Synod of Bishops for 2005-2008. His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania was appointed to the Lesser Synod for 2005-2006. His Grace, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada was appointed to the Lesser Synod for 2006-2007, while Bishop Nikon was appointed to serve for 2007-2008. Bishop Seraphim was appointed secretary of the Holy Synod and chairman of the Department of External Affairs and Interchurch relations, for which His Grace, Bishop Nikolai of Sitka, Anchorage, and Alaska was appointed vice-chairman. Archbishop Kyrill was appointed chairman of the Board of Theological Education, with Bishops Seraphim, Nikolai, and Tikhon of Philadelphia serving as board members. His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South was appointed chairman of the Committee on Late Vocations, with His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate, Bishop Alejo of Mexico City serving as committee members. His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West was appointed chairman of the Committee on Canons and Statutes. Chairing the Pension Board is Bishop Nikon. Archbishop Nathaniel was appointed chairman of the Canonization Commission, with Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia serving as vice-chairman and His Grace, Bishop Irineu of Dearborn Heights as commission member. Bishop Nikolai will chair the newly-created Clergy Awards Commission and the newly-created Commission on Church Demographics, assisted by Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and His Grace, Bishop Benjamin of Berkeley. Archbishop Job will chair the Commission on the All-American Council.

The spring 2006 session of the Holy Synod will be held May 23-25, 2006 at the OCA chancery in Syosset, NY.

Click here for photos of the Holy Synod of Bishops fall session.