News From Around Orthodox America
• Dallas, TX
At the meeting of the Synod of the OCA last week in Dallas there were many discussions, but few actual decisions. Among the highlights:
• Metropolitan Jonah, having made Robert Kondratick’s former secretary, Fr. Joseph Fester, the Chancellor of the Diocese of the South, proposed making Metropolitan Herman’s former secretary, Fr. David Brum a “stavropeghial auxiliary bishop” to assist him in Syosset. No action was taken on this recommendation.
• Several other candidates were discussed for the various open dioceses in the OCA, including the Bulgarian Diocese, the Diocese of Alaska and the Diocese of the South. It was reported that the Deans of the Diocese of the South wish to begin a search process similar to that recently
(and successfully) undertaken by the Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania.
• The status of +Nikolai (Soraich), retired Bishop of Alaska, remains in limbo. The Synod will not release him to another jurisdiction, as he desires, until he officially releases the OCA from his current, and any future lawsuits. Bishop Benjamin has refused +Nikolai permission to serve, or even attend, his former parish in Las Vegas.
• While the civil authorities have revealed nothing about their current investigation into the finances and activities of St. Tikhon’s monastery and bookstore, the actual finances of both have improved under the new abbot, Fr. Sergius. Among his plans is to have the bookstore begin reprinting many titles that are currently out of print.
• Archbishop Nathaniel offered no insights into what is happening in the Romanian Archdiocese. The effort to unite with the Patriarchial Archdiocese to create a new, “autonomous” jurisdiction in the Americas appears to have stalled and the Archbishop indicated that no significant action is expected to be taken at the upcoming Episcopate Congress on the July 4th weekend.
• Pittsburgh, PA
The OCA Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania has announced that the consecration and installation of Archimandrite Melchisedek (Pleska) as the Bishop of Pittsburgh will take place June 26-27 at St. Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral in Allison Park, PA. The Rite of Nomination and Proclamation, followed by Vespers, will take place Friday June 26 at 7:00 pm; with the Rite of Consecration and a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy to be held on Saturday, June 27 at 8:30 am. This will be followed by a Grand Banquet at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh at 2:00 pm. Fr. Melchisedek who has been visiting parishes throughout Western PA prior to his consecration, is reported to have attended the recent Synod meeting in Dallas as well.
• Miami, FL
According to the State of Florida retired Bishop Demetri (Khoury) of the AOCA has returned to the United States and taken up residence in Miami. (Read that here.)
The Bishop is currently serving as an auxiliary bishop in the Mexican Exarchate, assigned to Puerto Rico. There were some questions as to whether the Archdiocese was paying his salary in Mexico, even while having been “retired” from the Archdiocese by the Local Synod in 2004. According to sources close to Englewood, the Archdiocese does not officially pay his salary - rather, a member of the Archdiocesan Board of the Trustees has donated the required amount as a “gift” to the Mexican Exarchate, using the Archdiocese as a "pass-through".
• Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia
On 30th of April the Synod of the Church of Georgia appointed Metropolitan Dimitri (Shiolashvili) as “a ruler of the Georgian parish in North America and Canada” and named him “Metropolitan of Batumi and Lazeti Eparchy and ruler of Georgian parish in North America and Canada”. At present , since the only Georgian parish in North America is the OCA’s St. Nino’s Georgian Orthodox parish in Brooklyn, New York, it is not clear if this means the Georgian Orthodox Church intends to start a new parish in North America, or will assume oversight of the existing parish. The OCA recently relinquished canonical oversight of its Holy Annunciation parish in Brisbane, Australia to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia ( ROCOR). Read the parish website here.
Of interest as well is that the Georgian Synod published the Minutes of its April 30th meeting- in English - on May 10th. The OCA Synod has yet to publish the Minutes of any of its meetings since the 15th All-American Council in November, 2008.
• London, England
Late last month the High Court in London resolved the ongoing dispute between the Moscow Patriarchate and those clergy and laity of the Diocese of Sourozh who had left its jurisdiction with Bishop Basil (Osborne) for the protection of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Russian Diocese of Western Europe in 2006. The High Court ruled that the Trust Funds and assets of the Trusts
(including the famous Ennismore Garden Cathedral in London, as well as parishes and rectories created throughout England by the late Metropolitan +Anthony over the last several decades) are to be held for the benefit of the Moscow Patriarchate.
- Mark Stokoe