Holy Synod of Bishops to Convene Joint Session with Metropolitan Council Planned

The Spring session of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America will convene here March 17-20, 1997. A joint session with the Metropolitan (Executive) Council is scheduled for March 18. His Beatitude, Metropolitan THEODOSIUS, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, will chair all sessions.

The Synod of Bishops, which is comprised of ten hierarchs who serve as ruling diocesan and auxiliary bishops of the Church in North America, meet in the autumn and spring each year as required by canon law. A special combined meeting with the Metropolitan Council, also known as the Executive Council of the Orthodox Church in America, will review the work of specific subcommittees of the Council which focused on Diocesan Structure and Administration, Diocesan Boundaries, Membership and the Role of the Metropolitan Council. Also on the agenda is the Twelfth All-American Council.

As required by statutes, the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America is comprised of representatives who are elected at the Church’s triennial All-American Council, in addition to diocesan delegates elected at regional diocesan assembles. They gather semi-annually to carry on the work of the national gathering of bishops, clergy, and lay delegates.

An important item on the agenda of the Holy Synod are the Clergy Compensation Guidelines. The Tenth and Eleventh All-American Councils adopted two resolutions dealing exclusively with clergy compensation. These resolutions mandated specific action for ensuring the implementation of the Guidelines by parishes throughout the Church.

Throughout the entire Church a common consensus was achieved that recognized the issue of clergy compensation and its effect upon clergy morale and the spiritual well-being of the parish community. The Pastoral Life Ministries Unit of the Orthodox Church in America, by mandate of the Eleventh All-American Council held in Chicago, was directed to prepare a systematic plan of action for implementing the Church-wide Clergy Compensation Guidelines.

In the area of Inter-Church relations, hierarchs will hear a report from the International Church Relations sub-unit on recent developments in world Orthodoxy, with special focus on the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Russian Orthodox Church. In October of this year, His All-Holiness, Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW I of Constantinople will make his first visit to America as spiritual leader of Orthodox Christianity world-wide.

The Bishops will finalize plans for the year-long celebration of St Innocent of Alaska, as the Church commemorates the 200th year of his birth. St Innocent was the first Orthodox hierarch to take up residence as a ruling bishop on this continent. Many of his ideas and plans for the Church in North America, and the vision he promulgated for the growth of the Church here are in place today.

Attending the spring session of the Holy Synod will be the following hierarchs: Archbishop KYRILL of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Archbishop PETER of New York and New Jersey, Archbishop DMITRI of Dallas and the South, Archbishop HERMAN of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, Bishop NATHANIEL of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate, Bishop JOB of Chicago and the Midwest, Bishop TIKHON of San Francisco and the West, Bishop SERAPHIM of Ottawa and Canada, and Bishop INNOCENT of Anchorage, Auxiliary for the Diocese of Alaska.

Metropolitan THEODOSIUS, Archbishop of Washington and Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, will chair the four-day session.