Canonical Affairs Committee 2012 Report: Clergy Information Database

Monday, February 04, 2013

To: His Grace Bishop Maxim, Coordinator of the Assembly Committees
                His Grace Bishop Basil, Secretary of the Assembly

From: Committee for Canonical Affairs
                His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios, Chairman
               Rev. Dr. Demetrios Tonias, Facilitator
               Jamil Samara

Date: 30 July 2012

Re: Canonical Affairs Committee Report: Clergy Information Database

The Assembly of Bishops has undertaken a project to create a unified database that will contain pertinent identification information for all Orthodox clergy in North and Central America. As part of this effort the Committee for Canonical Affairs was assigned the task of creating a preliminary model for the database to help facilitate discussion during the development of the database.

The resultant preliminary model consists of the following:

  1. An initial identification of the necessary information (both ecclesiastical and demographic) to be stored in a relational database.
  2. A preliminary user interface to serve as a front-end for the building and maintenance of the database.
  3. An identification of issues related to database access and usability that require input from the Assembly.

Clergy Information

Figures 1 and 2 contain a list of the pertinent database fields that are associated with an individual clergyman. Our intent was to make the database complete without burdening the user with extraneous information. The committee recognizes, however, that there may exist specific jurisdictional needs in terms of clergy identification (e.g., ranks [offikia] that are particular to one jurisdiction but not to another) and asks that the respective members of the committee thoroughly review the various fields that will be associated with an individual clergy record to help ensure the completeness of the database. 

Database Access and Usability

The committee envisions that the database will be housed on a secure server maintained under the auspices of the Assembly of Bishops. Users will access the database through an Internet browser. The committee proposes three levels of accessibility:

  1. Privileged Access. Privileged access is granted only to jurisdictional hierarchs approved by the Assembly. This access will allow the hierarch or his representative to create and/or modify specific clergy information. Privileged access also allows the user to view of all of this same clergy information for those who are under the hierarch’s direct authority. The committee proposes that only the jurisdictional hierarch will have the ability to update the database and that the local hierarch, himself, will be responsible for the accuracy of the information.
  2. Limited Access. Limited access is granted to authorized clergy or lay representatives (e.g., members of a benefits office) to access and view information but not modify any information. The Assembly could identify various levels of limited access (e.g., a chancellor may be able to view suspensions and other aspects of a clergyman’s history but a parish priest would not).
  3. Restricted Access. Restricted access is a general public view of basic demographic information (e.g., clergy name, parish, parish location, contact information, etc.), similar to that found on most jurisdiction websites as well as on the current Assembly of Bishops website. Restricted access allows the general public to identify canonical Orthodox parishes and clergy in their geographic region.

Database Design and Implementation Questions

The committee has undertaken the first step towards the development of a clergy information database. In the preliminary design phase the committee has identified several issues that require input from the Assembly as a whole. Listed below are some of the items that require resolution.

  1. Is it acceptable that only the jurisdictional hierarch and/or his representative have privileged access to the database or is greater accessibility desired (e.g., at a metropolis or diocesan level)?
  2. Which fields should be accessed and by whom?
  3. What is the desired level of granularity in the database (e.g., clergy education with awarded degrees, ordaining bishop and location of ordination, medical leave, etc.)?
  4. What is a reasonable timeline to expect each jurisdiction to begin the process of uploading the pertinent clergy information?
  5. Is historical information entered by one jurisdiction able to be modified by another jurisdiction after clergy has transferred jurisdictions?
  6. Will there be any authorization for a master account?  In other words, who ultimately controls the data?

Database Demonstration in Chicago

The committee is in the process of completing a preliminary program in order to demonstrate the functionality of the clergy information database described above. The committee anticipates that a prototype will be ready for demonstration at the fall meeting of the Assembly so that members will gain a better understanding of the proposed functionality. The committee hopes that this database prototype will elicit commentary directed toward enhancing the usability and extensibility of the final product.

Figure 1: Clergy information fields for an individual record

Title (see titles in Figure 2)

Greeting (see greetings in Figure 2)

Legal First Name

Legal Middle Name

Legal Last Name

Legal Suffix

Ordained First Name


Home Address 1

Home Address 2

Home City

Home State

Home Zip

Home Country




Is Alive (Yes/No)

Marital Status (Celibate, Married, Widowed, Separated)

Canonical Status (Canonical, Suspended, Laicized)

Academic Degrees – M.T.S., M.Div, ThM., Ph.D., etc.

Monastic (Yes/No)

Holy Order (Deacon, Priest, Bishop)

Offikion (see offikia in Figure 2)

Seat (for Bishop only)

Employment Status (Full Time, Part Time, Unemployed)

Originating Jurisdiction

Active Jurisdiction

Canonical History - a log of Canonical Events (in Figure 2) with Acting Bishop, date, location, and additional info

Institution History - a log of Roles (in Figure 2) with location, status, jurisdiction, start date, and end date

Notes - a log of any additional information not included in above fields.


Figure 2: Options for specific fields




Rev. Dn.

Rev. Fr.

V. Rev. Fr.

V. Rev. Archimandrite

Rt. Rev. Fr.

Rt. Rev. Archimandrite

Rt. Rev. Bishop

Most Rev. Fr.

Most Rev. Archbishop

Most Rev. Metropolitan

Most Rev. Patriarch

Most Rev. Ecumenical Patriarch





His Grace

His Eminence

His Holiness

His Beatitude

His All Holiness











Mitred Priest






Canonical Events

Ordination Diaconate

Ordination Priesthood

Consecration Episcopacy

Enthronement to See

Elevation Archdiaconate

Elevation Archpriesthood

Elevation Archepiscopacy


Leave of Absence - Other

Leave of Absence - Academic Studies






Institution Roles


Assistant Priest

Emeritus Priest

Youth Director



Auxiliary Hierarch

Presiding Hierarch