Committee for Canonical Regional Planning 2013 Report


Summary Report to Assembly IV -- September 2012-August 2013

Committee: Archbishop Nicolae (Chairman), Archbishop Justinian, Metropolitan Iakovos, Metropolitan Nicholas, Bishop Daniil; Consultants: Fr Nicholas Apostola, Fr Joseph Abud, Fr Bazyl Zawierucha, Tatiana Veselkina, Jerry Dimitriou, Alexei Krindatch, Demitrios Moschos, 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.

Activities and Status of Work: September 2012- August 2013

  • Presentation to Assembly III: Archbishop Nicolae presented the work of the Committee to the Assembly September 2012 in Chicago. Break-out sessions were held to obtain the Members’ feedback. The Committee was commended on its work and was requested to continue.
  • Meetings: The Committee met twice with the consultants and once with Members-only by teleconference thereafter. Extensive exchanges of views took place via e-mail.
  • Research: Analytical work continued by consultant Alexei Krindatch. The Committee initiated two studies: "Work Conditions of American Orthodox Parish Clergy: Implications for the Future Arrangements of the Orthodox Church in the USA" and "Leadership and Governance of the Orthodox Church in the United States."
  • Subcommittees: Work was undertaken throughout the year by three separate subcommittees:

Restructuring Models: The Committee discussed different potential approaches for the ecclesiastical governance structure in the USA, ranging from unified canonical restructuring, to transitional ethnic reunions, an expanded operations role for the Assembly, and to maintenance of existing overseas jurisdictional authority. A restructuring model for the formation of “ecclesiastical provinces with ethnic vicariates” received general approval. However, other approaches will also be presented to the Assembly IV for discussion - together with this particular restructuring proposal.

Canonical and Liturgical Issues: A list of issues which could impact the expression of the unity of the church was developed and was sent to the Secretariat on May 22, 2013 for a recommendation to forward to concerned committees, e.g., Canonical Affairs, Pastoral Practice, Clergy Affairs, for their follow-up. The major issues were naming of sees, overlapping of missions and parishes, communications on disciplined clergy discipline, and rubrics for pan-Orthodox services.

Ecclesiastical Structure and Governance: The survey sent to the various jurisdictions in August 2012 to better understand and document the various ecclesiastical and governance structures of the member churches in the USA has been completed.

Action Items for the September 2013 Assembly

  • Present a summary of the Committee’s work at the Assembly IV meeting in Chicago for discussion, reaction, and contribution of ideas from the member hierarchs – especially regarding the next steps to formulate the proposed reorganization plan.