— The Lesser Synod of The Orthodox Church in America held its regular meeting today at the Chancery Office in Syosset, New York. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman presided at the meeting that was attended by His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill; His Eminence, Archbishop Job; His Grace, Bishop Seraphim; and His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia.
After the report of Archpriest Paul Kucynda, Acting Treasurer, the following statement was unanimously adopted by the members of the Lesser Synod.
“The members of the Lesser Synod of Bishops of The Orthodox Church in America, meeting today, at the Chancery Office in Oyster Bay Cove, New York, have reviewed concerns raised in recent weeks by persons formerly associated with the administration of the Church, and by other persons, who have obtained documents from the Chancery Office files.
“At the Lesser Synod meeting today, His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN, and the Members of the Lesser Synod, have reaffirmed the decisions made by the Holy Synod of Bishops, at the time these concerns were first raised, in 1999, and 2000.
“The Lesser Synod recognized that mistakes have been made in the past. In the context of accountability, and repentance, it was deemed important to implement procedures, which would prevent future mistakes. As advised by various certified auditors, it was determined to implement, and adhere strictly to, the established procedures concerning not-for-profit accounting, and appropriate fiscal accountability, including annual audits of the Church’s financial records. Metropolitan HERMAN has provided for a yet higher level of accountability, in directing that financial audits will be performed by a professional accounting firm, in addition to those performed by the auditors duly elected by the All American Council. His Beatitude has further initiated the process of adopting ‘Best Practices’ procedures in administration, and administrative practices established by other similar not-for-profit religious institutions, and the Lesser Synod fully endorsed these measures. Further, the Lesser Synod strongly encourages all levels of the Church’s administration to adopt such practices. An audit of the past two years is being undertaken by January 24, 2006, and a report will be presented by March 31, 2006.
“The Lesser Synod regrets certain information, and statements concerning the financial administration of the church, that may have been accepted as indisputably the truth.
“The Lesser Synod acknowledges that, as the church is a divine and human organism, her human aspect can reflect error, lack of good judgment, and sin; but at the same time, sin within the ranks of the church’s membership is always sin against the Church, but not the Church’s sin.
“We, the Members of the Lesser Synod, call upon the clergy, and faithful of our church to place their focus on Christ, and His saving mission, and on our shared participation in that mission, and to direct their energies to the work to which we have all been called: proclaiming the fullness of the Gospel to the peoples of North America.
“We look to the restoration of peace, and harmony among those who have been adversely affected by this matter, and among all faithful people of good will, and we invoke God’s blessing upon the clergy, monastics, and faithful, of The Orthodox Church in America.”