Adopted August 8, 1961
"Behold how good and how pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity"' (Psalm 132,1). For the last one hundred and fifty years the Orthodox Church in America has been blessed with marks of divine favor. Her beginnings in this country were humble. Planted by a handful of Missionaries in Alaska and nourished by successive waves of immigration from Orthodox lands, she is now a great and flourishing member of world Orthodoxy. All of the faithful brought here the treasure of their national Orthodox traditions, so that the American Church is the inheritor and custodian of the glorious Paradosis of the Apostles, Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils. Fully integrated in American Society the Church is here to stay, to grow, and to bear witness to the true faith. At the moment when the United States assumes an always-greater responsibility in the world community, the presence of Orthodoxy in America acquires a new significance and calls for better forms to express her common testimony. By the mercy of God our unity of faith has been preserved. But the time has come to actualize this unity in all those fields in which a common effort is required.
Therefore we, the hierarchs of the American Church, have decided to establish a Standing Episcopal Conference for the consideration and resolution of common problems, the coordination of effort in matters of common concern, and the strengthening of that unity which is the essence of Orthodoxy.
The name of this Conference shall be "The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas," hereinafter called the Conference.
The Conference shall consist of the presiding hierarchs
of the Canonical Orthodox Churches in the Americas, whose names are subscribed to this Constitution, and their canonical successors in office.
The purpose of the Conference is the consideration and resolution of common ecclesiastical problems, the co-ordination of effort in matters of common concern to Orthodoxy, and the strengthening of Orthodox unity.
By-Laws or amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by any member hierarch at a regular meeting. Such by-laws or amendments shall be voted upon at the next regular meeting, and require a two-thirds affirmative vote of the members present in order to be adopted.
The following Amendment to the Constitution of the Conference has been duly adopted by all of the member hierarchs of The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops In the Americas on October 29, 2002, and endorsed by their signature at their autumn meeting on December 17, 2002 at the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA, Somerset, New Jersey.
"The Conference is organized exclusively for religious, charitable, and educational purposes, including for such purposes the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
"No part of the net earnings of the Conference shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to, its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the Conference shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make-payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in the purpose clause hereof. No substantial part of the activities of the Conference shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the Conference shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publication or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, the Conference shall not carry on other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by an organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future tax code, or (b) by an organization contributions to which are deductible under section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future tax code.
"Upon the dissolution of this Conference, assets shall be distributed pro-rata to the archdioceses of the member hierarchs which archdioceses are organized for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code. Any such assets not disposed of shall be disposed of by the Court of Common Pleas of the county in which the principal office of the Conference is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.”