His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, chaired the January Session of the Lesser Synod of Bishops at the OCA Chancery here January 31, 2003.
In addition to reviewing a number of routine agenda items, Lesser Synod members drafted the agenda for the forthcoming Spring Session of the Holy Synod of Bishops, slated to convene at the OCA Chancery in March 2003.
Protopresbyter Robert S. Kondratick, OCA Chancellor, offered an overview of the new departmental structure of the Church for the next triennium. He also reported that he would be meeting with newly assigned department directors prior to the Holy Synod’s Spring Session. He also reported that the 2003 Desk Calendar has been distributed to over 1300 institutions, dioceses, parishes, and individuals, and that the 2003 Sourcebook has been completed and is slated for mid-February distribution.
Lesser Synod members also heard a report by Father Kondratick concerning the status of Archbishop Lazar [Puhalo] who, while in principle approved for reception into the OCA by a previous decision of the Holy Synod, has yet to have his status formalized. Members of the Lesser Synod decided, after a review of all documentation available, to affirm the decision of the Holy Synod made at its May 24,2002 session to formally accept Archbishop Lazar and Bishop Varlam ]Novakshonoff] as retired bishops of the Orthodox Church in America.
It was also decided that the matter of sexual misconduct guidelines will be included in the agenda of the Spring Session of the Holy Synod, together with discussion on the screening process for seminary candidates and annual workshops for faculty and students concerning sexual misconduct guidelines.
The other members of the Lesser Synod include His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, His Eminence, Archbishop Peter of New York and New Jersey, and His Grace, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada. His Grace, Bishop Nikon of Baltimore, also attended the meeting.