Assembly of Bishops Committee for Canonical Regional Planning 2011 Annual Report

Archbishop Nicolae (Condrea)Source: Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America

Committee Members and Consultants

Members: Archbishop Nicolae (Chairman), Archbishop Justinian, Metropolitan Iakovos, Metropolitan Nicholas, Metropolitan Jonah

Consultants: Fr. Nicolas Apostola, Fr. Joseph Abud, Tatiana Veselkina, Jerry Dimitriou, Alexei Krindatch, Demetrios Moschus, Steve Radakovich

Secretariat Liaison: Protodeacon Peter Danilchick

Objective of the Committee

The Committee for Canonical Regional Planning is charged with formulating a proposal for a plan to organize all the Orthodox faithful of every jurisdiction in the Region on a canonical basis, in accordance with the Rules of Operation, Article 5.e of the 4th Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference in Chambésy. This plan is intended for presentation to the forthcoming Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church as per the Decision Article 1.b of the 4th Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference.

Committee Activities and Accomplishments

  • Meetings: The Committee met during the May 2011 Assembly of Bishops meeting in Chicago and again in Chicago with the consultants on January 27, 2012.
  • Research: Extensive statistical and demographic work was undertaken during 2011 by consultant Alexei Krindatch. In addition, different potential models for the ecclesiastical governance structure in the USA were developed by Alexei Krindatch for discussion by the Committee.
  • Issues: The Committee reviewed and modified the Terms of Reference for the Committee for Canonical Regional Planning, reviewed the work performed by Alexei Krindatch, and discussed numerous ecclesiastical and planning issues. It was recognized that many of the questions and concerns raised required in-depth discussion and analysis. The appropriate venue for such discussions will take place in subcommittees which would then report back to the whole Committee.

Subcommittees for Further Work

Three distinct areas of further work surfaced to be examined in more depth by three separate subcommittees:

  • Global Vision and Principles for  a Unified Organization (Metropolitan Jonah, Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos (by invitation), Demetrios Moschos, Protodeacon Peter Danilchick)  Consider and develop a draft global vision and principles for a united church administration and the associated canonical reorganization. Questions such as the following will be addressed: what is our vision for the administratively-unified Church, what should it look like, what particulars of the historical development of the various jurisdictions need to be known and publicized to gain proper perspective, what immediate steps might be taken towards greater cooperation, what transition measures would be appropriate to a long-term reorganization, etc?
  • Canonical and Liturgical Issues (Archbishop Nicolae, Fr Nicholas Apostola, Demetrios Moschos, Tatiana Veselkina) List the present canonical and liturgical issues impacting the common life of the church, including a review of any disagreements within Orthodox jurisdictions in the USA. It was generally felt that the Committee, while unable and indeed not competent to resolve the issues, should at least identify them.
  • Ecclesiastical Structure and Governance (Metropolitan Nicholas, Fr Joseph Abud, Steve Radakovich) Achieve better understanding of and document the various ecclesiastical and governance structures of the member churches in the USA. Review the roles of the clergy and the laity in the different jurisdictions, as well as the principles of formal church constitutions and by-laws.

These efforts will be undertaken in cooperation with other Assembly Committees, such as Canonical Affairs, Clergy Affairs, Liturgy, etc., with initial results to be reviewed by the entire Committee for Canonical Regional Planning in early April 2012.

Closing Comments

The Committee would like to thank its Consultants for offering their energy, experience, expertise, and love for the Church towards the task of proposing a plan for canonical organization of all the Orthodox faithful in the Region.

In Christ,

Archbishop Nicolae, Chairman
Committee for Canonical Regional Planning

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