+Philip Officially Removes +Mark
• "Deterioration of Diocese", "Fresh Start" Cited
As Reasons for Change
• "Health" cited as cause of Mark's request to
transfer to OCA
• Bishop Thomas Appointed Locum Tenens
• Metropolitan expects "full participation"
in June 2011 Parish Life Conference
In a memo to the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, copied to the entire Archdiocese, Metropolitan Philip officially removed Bishop Mark from his See and placed Bishop Thomas of Charleston and West Virginia in his place as the "locum tenens". The Metropolitan also announced that an auxiliary bishop for the diocese would most likely be elected and installed next summer. Finally, the Metropolitan warned the parishes of the Midwest that he expects their "full participation" in the next Parish Life Conference in Cleveland, despite reports from 29 of the 45 parishes in the Diocese that they were facing serious effects from the recent recession.
The memo, posted on the Archdiocesean website this afternoon reads:
"TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT AND PUBLISHED IN THE CHURCH BULLETIN
October 27, 2010
To: The Clergy of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest
From: His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP
Re: Appointment of His Grace, Bishop THOMAS as Locum-Tenens of the Diocese
Beloved in the Lord:
Greetings in the name of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.
I pray you are in good health.
As you are no doubt aware, our Local Synod of the Archdiocese met on Friday, October 22, 2010 in Jacksonville, FL. Among the things we discussed was the deteriorating situation in the diocese.
As such, it was determined that the best thing was to transfer His Grace, Bishop MARK to the Diocese of Eagle River and the Northwest. A majority of the bishops of the synod agreed with the decision that this was in the best interest of the Archdiocese so that both the Diocese of Toledo and His Grace, Bishop MARK could have a fresh start.
Citing health reasons, Bishop MARK said he could not live in that part of the country and subsequently requested to be released to the Orthodox Church in America. The synod agreed to his request and, at present, he is working out the details of his release with His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH.
During this interim period, Bishop MARK asked to remain in the Toledo chancery until the end of the year. I agreed to this request and we will continue to pay Bishop MARK his stipend until the end of December.
Effective as of October 22, 2010 with Bishop MARK’s request to be released from the Church of Antioch, I appointed His Grace, Bishop THOMAS as the Locum Tenens of the Diocese.
Bishop MARK will reside in the Toledo chancery as our guest until the end of the year, however, he will not be continuing his schedule of visits after this weekend (October 31, 20I0).
If you had scheduled him to visit your parish and you have a major event or ordination planned in the coming months, you should immediately contact His Grace, Bishop THOMAS to see if he can make the visit or if other arrangements can be made until such time as a new bishop is elected and consecrated to serve the diocese, likely next summer.
Likewise, effective immediately, only the Metropolitan is to be commemorated in the divine services in the Midwest unless Bishop THOMAS or another bishop is physically present in your church. This will remain in effect until a new auxiliary bishop is elected and appointed to oversee the diocese.
Finally, I will preside at the 2011 Parish Life Conference in Cleveland, OH from June I5-I9 and expect full participation by all of the parishes. Please start planning from now.
Praying that this will mark a new beginning of healing and growth for the diocese, I remain,
Your Father in Christ,
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America
The Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
cc: Auxiliary Bishops
Archdiocese Board of Trustees
All Parishes and Mission in the Archdiocese"