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Council, Lesser Synod

to Meet Next Month

The Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America will meet next month in Syosset, joined by the Lesser Synod. The Lesser Synod for 2009 includes Metropolitan Jonah, Archbishop Nathaniel, Archbishop Job and Bishop Benjamin. Noticeably absent from the Lesser Synod this year is Archbishop Seraphim of Canada, who has been Secretary of the Synod since 1999.

The meeting will begin on Wednesday evening, February 18th, with a retreat led by Metropolitan Jonah. The theme of the retreat will be "Spiritual Progress". According to OCA secretary, Fr. Eric Tosi: "It is His Beatitude's hope that members of the Metropolitan Council can collectively reflect on our spiritual duty to each other, and to the Church, as Council members."

Thursday, February 19th, the Council and Lesser Synod will focus on legal matters, as well as the organization of Council committees. The committees include Audit, Charity, Ethics, Finance, Investment, Legal and Crisis Management.

Among the legal matters pending for the OCA are the Kondratick suit, the Koumentakos suit, the question of 'Excess Benefits' to former Syosset staffers, and the ongoing investigation into St. Tikhon's lands, mortgages, finances and administration. Members of the monastery brotherhood, and its new Superior, Fr. Sergius, received a detailed report on the situation of the monastery and its bookstore, at the beginning of the month. This report based on the investigations of a local attorney, John Krisa, who was hired by Bishop Tikhon. According to a recent explanation on the monastery's website (sttikhonsmonastery.org):

"..the Monastery has undergone some fundamental changes in administration. The Hieromonk Sergius was appointed acting Superior of St. Tikhon's Monastery and given full administrative and financial authority of St. Tikhon's Monastery and Bookstore. Financial reports of St. Tikhon's Monastery are now available on this web site. Fr. Sergius has had full control of all Monastery and Bookstore finances since November and is available to answer any question or field any concerns that any Church member may have at monksergius@gmail.com. (Fr. Sergius has been at the Monastery for many years but has never been involved with any of the financial history of St. Tikhon's Monastery.) The Monastery is currently conducting an internal audit with the help Fr. Michael Tassos (OCA Treasurer/CPA) and Fr. Dennis Swencki (Controller for the OCA.)"

The Metropolitan Council meeting will continue Friday, February 20th, with discussions on the Strategic Planning process. The focus of the discussion will be to the process rather than actual content of the Strategic Plan.  Metropolitan Jonah "has made it very clear," according to Fr. Tosi, that "the plan is under the guidance of the Holy Synod." Three members of the Metropolitan Council with experience in leading Strategic Planning programs (Dr. Dmitri Solodow, Protodeacon Peter Danilchick and Deacon John Zarras) offered their opinions to the Synod on how the process should proceed during the Synod's recent Washington meeting. The Synod will also discuss this process this week, at the enthronement of Bishop Alejo as the Ruling Bishop of Mexico.

Following the Council's and Lesser Synod's discussions, the full Synod will consider the Strategic Planning process yet again at a pre-Lenten retreat in Colorado Springs scheduled for later in February 2009.

In other  Council news, Syosset reported late last week that Mr. Al Wetmore, who together with his wife Carol served on the Reorganization Task Force that oversaw much of the restructuring of Syosset in the past three years, has died. Memory Eternal!

- Mark Stokoe


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