News From Around Orthodox America
• Diocese to be Split, New Bishop to be Elected
At a meeting of the Diocesan Council of the OCA’s Diocese of Washington and New York, Metropolitan Jonah announced that the Diocese will revert to its former status as two dioceses. The dioceses will once again be the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, and the Diocese of Washington, DC.
As Primate of the OCA, the Metropolitan will take up residence in Washington, rather than New York, both canonically and physically. (The Metropolitan was recently looking at the late Fr. Grigorieff’s house near the Washington cathedral as a possible new residence.) The Synod will bless a committee from the current New Jersey, New York City and New York State Deaneries to search for candidates for the episcopacy for the Diocese of New York and New Jersey.
The search should not take long or be very difficult. According to sources close to Syosset, one candidate already has the approval of all the bishops for this position. The Metropolitan has also indicated that a Special Diocesan Assembly for the election of the new bishop will take place in just two months, on Monday, August 31st at Holy Assumption Church in Clifton, NJ.
The "approved" candidate, Archpriest Michael Dahulich, Ph.D., is the current Dean and Associate Professor of New Testament and Ethics at St. Tikhon’s Seminary.
A graduate of Christ the Saviour Seminary in Johnstown, Pa. (B.Th. in Theology), St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. (B.A. in Philosophy), and Duquesne University (M.A. and Ph.D. in Theology), Fr. Michael was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by the late Bishop John (Martin) of the Carpatho-Russian Diocese in 1973. He is a widower with no children. He served as Vice-Chancellor of the Carpatho-Russian Diocese and the Secretary to two bishops. He was the Director of Religious Education for their Johnstown Deanery and the Dean of the parishes of their Mid-Atlantic Deanery.
Fr. Dahulich began teaching at St. Tikhon’s in 1994, and was officially received into the OCA in September 2001. He has written extensively for “The Church Messenger” of the Carpatho-Russian Diocese, and “Alive in Christ” for the OCA’s Diocese of Eastern PA. He has a recurring column on “Sobornost” in “The Orthodox Herald”. Presently he serves as editor of “The Spirit of St. Tikhon’s” newspaper, St. Tikhon’s Theological Journal and the annual Tikhonaire publication. He is a member of the Orthodox Theological Society of America and represents the OCA at the advisory council meetings of the American Bible Society.
• New Bishop Installed in Pittsburgh
In other news regarding the episcopacy of the OCA, Metropolitan Jonah and the members of the Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America consecrated and installed Archimandrite Melchisedek (Pleska) as Bishop of Pittsburgh and the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania at Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Allison Park, PA on Saturday, June 27, 2009. One interesting greeting may be found at www.antiochianladiocese.org.
• Antiochian Archdiocese Considers Assessment Change
In an email to all the clergy of the Antiochian Archdiocese earlier this week, Fr. George Kevorkian released the text of a proposal for the forthcoming Archdiocesan convention in Palm Desert in mid-July. Explaining that “emotions are running high right now”, Fr. Kevorkian sought “feedback” on potential problems with the proposal before the meeting. There followed these two attachments:
"June 8, 2009
Esteemed Hierarchs, Pastors, Parish Councils and Members of the Board of Trustees of this God-protected Archdiocese:
Greetings in the Name of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ!
I write to you with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP in order to communicate important information regarding the Proportional Giving System.
The Archdiocese Board of Trustees, at its meeting of May 29, 2009, approved the attached proposal which would modify the existing Proportional Giving system. The proposed changes would reduce the budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2011 and simplify the overall system. The details of the proposed changes are given in the attachment. This proposal will be presented to the General Assembly of the Archdiocese Convention this July for approval. The purpose of this letter is to give you more information about this proposal so that you can discuss it with your Parish Councils and come to the Convention prepared to make an informed decision.
Please consider this proposal carefully, discuss it within your parish, and come to the Convention prepared to discuss it and cast your vote for approval of these changes to the Proportional Giving System.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. George Kevorkian
Proposal for Modification of the Proportional Giving System to be considered at the 2009 Archdiocese Convention
Approved by the Archdiocese Board of Trustees on May 29, 2009 for submission to the General Assembly
“As a result of the Spring meeting which was held on May 29th, 2009 The Archdiocese Board of Trustees has approved the following proposal for submission to the General Assembly at the 2009 Archdiocese Convention in Palm Desert, California.
After four years of experience with the current system, we have encountered the following issues:
1. The current system, which allows several types of deductions from income, has become very complex, and requires an intense and time-consuming effort in order to review the detailed submissions from the parishes.
2. Because of the allowed deductions, the current system leaves a lot of room for misunderstandings and confusion in the submissions from the parishes
3. The small and medium sized parishes are paying a disproportionate burden in comparison to the larger parishes, due to the fact that the larger parishes can take more advantage of the allowable deductions, thus lowering their overall payment.
In order to address these issues, the following is proposed.
1.ALL deductions would be eliminated, and the Proportional Giving would be calculated as a percentage of the total Operating Income which is reported on the official parish financial report. The parishes would no longer need to submit the worksheets which itemize the deductions. They would simply submit a copy of their approved financial report, and the proportional giving amount would be calculated from the total income.
2.Since the income base would be higher, we can reduce the initial percentage from the current 10% back to 8%. It is proposed that the percentage would increase by % each year until all parishes reach 10%.
3. Because of this change, some parishes might see a significant increase in their assessment amounts in the initial years. This will be tempered by capping the year-over-year increase at no more than 10% higher than the previous year, until the parish reaches the correct calculated amount."
Fr. Kevorkian promised to inform the clergy concerning the responses he received.
• Bulgarian Diocese Representatives Join OCA’s Metropolitan Council
Two representatives from the OCA’s Bulgarian Diocese have been named to the OCA’s Metropolitan Council for the first time in many years. Participating in the Council now will be Fr. Andrew Moulton of Granite City IL, and as lay delegate Protodeacon Michael Myers of Ft. Wayne, IN. The OCA Bulgarian diocese, which has some 20 parishes, has been overseen by the Primate of the OCA since the death of Archbishop Kyrill in 2007.
• No Vote To Be Taken At Vatra Meeting This Weekend?
Even as the OCA’s Bulgarian Diocese is forging closer ties with the OCA, the OCA’s Romanian Diocese remains in discussions with the Patriarchate of Romania to establish an “autonomous” united Romanian jurisdiction in North America. Archbishop Nathaniel issued a statement recently that the work needed to be done on this move is not completed so that there will be no vote taken during the Congress to be held this Fourth of July weekend. Instead, when such is ready, there will be a special Congress called to accept or reject the agreement.
The ROEA website lists an agenda for the Congress but no content for the sessions is given other than generic headers:
“Reading/Approval of the 76th Annual Episcopate Congress Minutes;
Official Reports to the Congress;
Reports from the Episcopate Auxiliaries;
New Business as submitted by the Episcopate Council.”
- Mark Stokoe