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• Syosset, New York

The Preconciliar Commission met on Monday, December 10th. According to the Department of Communications in a press release given limited distribution today:

"On Monday, December 10, 2007, the Preconciliar Commission for the 15th All-American Council held its second meeting. Further details regarding Council program and content were discussed. A preliminary agenda will be shared with the Holy Synod of Bishops at their meeting later this week for their input and feedback.

A guest participant at this meeting was Mr. Brian Strom of the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution in Ottawa, Canada. Mr. Strom was invited to attend the meeting by Commission Chair, His Grace Bishop Nikon, on the recommended (sic) of Archpriest John Jillions. Mr. Strom has over 12 years of conflict resolution experience, including with faith-based organizations. He offered suggestions on how Council preparation and sessions could be best structured to create an environment conducive to open communication and reconciliation.

Time was also given to a review of feedback received from the AAC email address ideasforaac@oca.org. Feedback submitted to this point has focused on possible resolutions for discussion at the Council and on ideas for Council governance, sessions and structure. The Commission looks forward to reviewing more feedback at subsequent meetings.

Commission members shared an enthusiasm about the outcome of their meeting. They are confident that the 15th All-American Council has the potential to be an exceptional and edifying experience for all involved."

• The Synod of Bishops will meet in a special session, Wednesday & Thursday, December 12-13th. A decision on the appeal of Robert Kondratick is expected, as well as some kind of statement on the Preliminary Report of the Special Commission. That Report has been withheld from publication by the Metropolitan since it was authorized to be released by the Metropolitan Council and Synod of Bishops, more than nine months ago, in March 2007.

• The new Special Investigative Committee which Metropolitan Herman appointed Bishop Benjamin  to lead, met in Syosset for the first time November 30- December 1st. (You can read the OCA press release of their efforts here.) Since that meeting OCANews.org has learned that the Legal Counsel to the former Special Commission, and now to the Special Investigative Committee, Ms. Alexandra Makosky, has resigned.

• Washington DC

The V. Rev. Fr. Dmitry Grigorieff, Dean Emeritus of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington DC, fell asleep in the Lord on the morning of Friday, December 7th. The Moscow Patriarchate has already published an extensive obituary. It reads:

"Archpriest Dmitry Grigorieff, Dean Emeritus of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington , DC and professor at Georgetown University , died in the 89th year of his life.

Fr. Dmitry Grigorieff was born in England in 1919. His father, Dmitry Dmitrievich Grigorieff, in pre-revolutionary times was vice-governor of Arkhangelsk , Vyatka and Sakhalin . In 1918, after being arrested and fleeing, he emigrated together with his family to Riga and later to England .

Soon the future priest's family moved to Japan. After the end of the Civil War, the Grigorieff family returned to Riga .There Dmitry finished the Russian high school and enrolled in the theological institute.

Being a British citizen, during World War II, he was evacuated to Australia and from 1943 until 1944, he was in the Pacific fleet of the British Merchant Marines. At the end of the war, he found himself in the USA .

Dmitry graduated from Yale University , later received a Ph.D. from University of Pennsylvania and completed his theological formation in St. Vladimir's Theological School in New York . From 1959 he taught Russian language and literature at Georgetown University . During the same time, he took an active part in the life of his Orthodox parish. In 1964, he became a professor at the university and worked in this capacity until 1989.

D. Grigorieff was ordained to the priesthood in 1969. When St. Nicholas Church in Washington was designated the Cathedral of the Metropolitanate, Fr. Dmitry was appointed to be the second priest. During the 1970s, Fr. Dmitry Grigorieff introduced regular divine services in the English language. In 1986 Fr. Dmitry was appointed Cathedral Dean and from 1998 became Dean Emeritus."

In addition, Fr. Dmitry was one of the first priests to speak out against attempts to cover-up the present scandal and was silenced for his efforts. (Read that story here.)   May His Memory Be Eternal!

• Diocese of Western Pennsylvania

Metropolitan Herman met with the deans of the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania on Saturday to discuss episcopal candidates and the selection process. The Metropolitan had originally proposed that the Diocese meet on Saturday, December 8th, to elect a successor to the late Archbishop Kyrill. But the Diocese preferred to hold the assemblyafter Pascha to allow a more thorough discussion of potential candidates. The Metropolitan agreed and has rescheduled the electoralAssembly to take place on Bright Saturday 2008. Prior to that meeting biographies of the "pre-approved" candidates will be distributed by Syosset. Two informational meetings in the Diocese in November drew substantial crowds and resulted in the creation of a list with the names of approximately 20 potential candidates, submitted by the clergy and laity. It is unknown whether the official list of "pre-approved" candidates by Syosset will include all, some or any of the names mentioned by the faithful. That list has not yet been made known. The Metropolitan has determined that there will be clergy meetings in each deanery, followed by clergy and laity meetings in each deanery to assess the candidates.

A new reflection by Fr. Thomas Hopko on this topic may be found here.

- Mark Stokoe




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