On May 1, 2001, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, requested that he be granted a four-month medical leave of absence from his archpastoral and primatial duties by the Holy Synod of Bishops.
Responding favorably to Metropolitan Theodosius request, members of the Holy Synod announced that His Eminence, Archbishop Herman of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania will serve as Temporary Administrator of the Orthodox Church in America effective May 4, 2001, concurrent with the beginning of the Metropolitans medical leave.
Metropolitan Theodosius request was made after results from recent physical examinations revealed that he had suffered two minor strokes and, more recently, a more serious stroke. His physicians recommended that he limit his activities, especially in the area of administration, for an extended period of time.
Although my physicians have assured me that I am in no way impeded from exercising my archpastoral and primatial duties and responsibilities, I have decided that, for the good of the church and the good of my health, I should abide by their recommendation, Metropolitan Theodosius wrote in his request to the Holy Synod of Bishops. During these four months, I anticipate having the opportunity for a much-needed rest.
According to Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, Archbishop Herman, in his capacity as Temporary Administrator, will chair meetings of the Lesser Synod of Bishops, the Metropolitan Council, and the Church Administrative Committee. He will also supervise all routine matters and decisions that normally pertain to the Primate.
Metropolitan Theodosius remains the Primate of the Church throughout this period and his name shall continue to be elevated at all divine services, notes Father Kondratick.
Members of the Holy Synod request that intercessory prayers for Metropolitan Theodosius health be offered in all parishes for the duration of his medical leave. The following special petition will be added to the Litany of Fervent Supplication at all divine services:
Again we pray that the Lord our God, the Physician of our souls and bodies, will raise up His servant and our Archpastor from his bed of illness, granting him increased faith and health to shepherd Christs flock, we pray Thee, hear us and have mercy.
We pray that Metropolitan Theodosius health will be restored during his four-month medical leave and that further medical complications will be avoided, Father Kondratick adds. I ask the clergy and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America to join the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops in expressing loving concern and support for His Beatitude as he rebuilds his strength while taking a well-deserved rest from the many burdens of his office.
Correspondence, cards, and other expressions of love, concern and support may be sent to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, PO Box 675, Syosset, NY 11791.