Report at the Metropolitan Council (2010-03-03)

His Eminence Archbishop SERAPHIM's addition to the Report at
Metropolitan Council Meeting in New York, March 1-5, 2010

It is necessary to discuss another attempt to improve the administration of the Deaneries. Until now, we have been attempting, with great difficulty, to conform our Deanery structures, and administration simply to the Statute of The Orthodox Church in America, with minimal reference to what is done in some of our sister-dioceses, and in other places. Despite our good intentions, and our willingness, our geography continues to make it very difficult to do as we have been trying to do. Actual meetings, are difficult, perhaps impossible, to convene in all the provincial deaneries. It is “normal” that the Dean make an annual visit to each of the Parishes, and Institutions in his Deanery. Also, we have not yet made any progress with regard to incorporating the Deaneries, even on the basis of Voluntary Association. This incorporation is important for the Archdiocese as an Entity, because the Archdiocese has no right to inherit properties, or to “own” properties in the various provinces. The “dissolution clause” of by-laws required by Revenue Canada therefore deny the Archdiocese the possibility of receiving the remaining assets of any “defunct” community. The many cemeteries on the prairies, for which the Archdiocese has a clear responsibility, both legally and canonically, cannot properly be cared for by the Archdiocese because of this. The Dean, and the Deanery is the clear canonical local extension of episcopal responsibility. The following adjustments I am proposing to implement now are in this context, and in the context of the usual practice in many other places in the Church. I am hoping that these measures will help us to keep in harmony with the Statute, with general practice, and keep in mind our local limitations.

In each Deanery, I will appoint a Dean, and a Confessor. This appointment will commence upon the ending of the Archdiocesan Assembly 2010, and last until the next Assembly, in three years. In accordance with the OCA Statute, these appointments will be confirmed by an election at the Assembly. In each Deanery, there will be developed a system of electing a lay-delegate, which will not require a formal Deanery Assembly. The Parish Councils of the Parishes, and Boards of the Institutions of the Deanery may nominate a candidate to the Dean for representing that Deanery. The candidate may not be from the same parish as the Dean. If there is more than one name submitted, the Dean will prepare a list of such names, and submit the list to all of the Parishes and Institutions of the Deanery. The Parish Council, with its clergy, will make its choice, and submit this choice to the Dean. The Dean will identify the person having a simple majority of votes. He will submit to the Ruling Bishop the name of the person chosen either by acclamation, or by majority. In accordance with the OCA Statute, these elections be confirmed by an election at the Assembly. From these Clergy, and Lay Representatives will be chosen other necessary representatives, including those to the Metropolitan Council.

The Confessor appointed for each Deanery will be responsible to enquire of the clergy in the Deanery both about who is their confessor, and how frequently the cleric is generally making a confession. He will annually assure the Ruling Bishop that each cleric has a confessor, and that the cleric does manage to make confession. The Confessor would also ensure that each candidate for ordination to Holy Orders in that Deanery has received a Letter from his Confessor, who must indicate that there is no known impediment to Ordination. He will ensure that this letter has been transmitted to the Bishop in advance. The appointed Confessor is not required to hear the confessions of each cleric, but clerics may choose to go to him. This manner of proceeding has to do in part with the great distances for travel. between the clergy.

With regard to the Appointment of Deans for the next Triennium, I am proposing the following : For Québec, and the Maritimes, I have appointed the Archpriest Anatoliy Melnyk as Dean. For Ontario, I intend to appoint the Archpriest Oleg Kirillov as Dean. For Saskatchewan-Manitoba, I intend to appoint the Priest Rodion Luciuk as Dean. The Archpriest Robert Kennaugh will help if needed. For Alberta, I intend to appoint the Priest Vasyl’ Kolega as Dean. For BC, I intend to appoint the Archpriest Michael Fourik as Dean. It will be noted that there are changes. The former Dean of Québec is now the Auxiliary Bishop. It is to be noted that the present Dean of Ontario is in indifferent health. The present Dean of Saskatchewan-Manitoba wishes to retire from the responsibility. The present Dean of BC has been serving in this capacity almost as long as I have been Bishop, and it is merciful to give him a break. Before I make a final appointment, I ask for comments to be made privately to me.

With regard to the Appointment of Confessors for the next Triennium, I intend to appoint for the Deanery of Québec and the Maritimes, the Priest Gregory Nimijean. For the Deanery of Ontario, I intend to appoint the Priest Geoffrey Korz. For the Deanery of Saskatchewan-Manitoba, I intend to appoint the Hieromonk Vladimir (Lysak) . For the Deanery of Alberta, I intend to appoint the Igumen Philip (Speranza). For the Deanery of BC, I intend to appoint the Archpriest Lawrence Farley. Before I make a final appointment, I ask for comments to be made privately to me.

It will take us some time, yet, to determine more clearly how we may best serve the needs of the Archdiocese, and at the same time be in harmony with the By-laws of the Archdiocese of Canada, and the Statute of The Orthodox Church in America.

With thanks, I remain yours,

with love in Christ,

† Seraphim