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(Editor's note: At the second plenary session of the recent 15th All-American Council, instead of using the time alloted to go to the microphones to ask questions, delegates were asked to work together to write down two questions, which the Bishops would then read and answer at the following session. That did not happen. Late Tuesday evening Fr. John Jillions of the Pre-Conciliar Commission rose and pointed out that although the Commission had compiled a summary of the questions, which delegates had received on a single sided peice of paper, none had been answered, nor time allotted for them to be answered. The Bishops then agreed to prolong the session so as to begin answering some. Bishop Jonah then rose and spoke. (Read his talk here). Following Bishop Jonah, Bishop Nikon and Archbishop Nathaniel also spoke. We provide the questions as a document of the Council, and so that those not present can place +Jonah's talk in context. These are the "questions" to which he refers...."


"15th AAC
Plenary II: Questions to Bishops


Dozens of questions received for the bishops from the table discussions last night

The bishops have agreed to answer questions put to them

PCC met last night after compline to review all the questions and categorize

Over 90% of these fell into one of the following broad categories, in order of most frequently asked:

The bishops’ leadership
Strategic Planning
The bishops’ vision for the Orthodox Church in America
Orthodox unity
Responses to concerns raised at the Town Halls
Response to SIC
Finances and legal issues
Moral issues emerging from the crisis
Clarification about the Romanian Diocese

Because of time constraints (we will have about 45 minutes), we can’t ask every question, but we agreed that in this session we would ask the toughest questions from the areas that will not be addressed in later plenaries (SIC, finances and legal issues). Questions about leadership and planning had by far the most questions.

The bishops’ leadership

Will you renounce the culture of intimidation and fear which prevents laity, and especially clergy, from speaking their minds?

Why did it take so long for the bishops to address the multiple crises of 1) the OCA financial scandal, 2) Bp Tikhon of the West 3) Bp Nikolai in Alaska?

Abp Dimitri stated yesterday that “we learned our lesson”: what lessons have you learned?

Assuming that each member of the Holy Synod (as now composed) is a good diocesan bishop and that the dioceses are indeed functioning well, why does the Holy Synod appear so dysfunctional? i.e., ignoring financial responsibility, failure to address moral lapses by brother bishops, failure to speak the truth or support those who did?

Many question the Holy Synod’s ability to provide leadership for our church. How can you reassure this Council as to why you believe you are able to provide the leadership we so desperately need?

This crisis has demonstrated that the bishops can exist without oversight or discipline. What checks and balances would you propose on episcopal power?

How can we create this balance while remaining hierarchical?

What steps do you plan to take to re-establish trust?

Moral issues

The SIC report acknowledged allegations of sexual immorality among the hierarchs. Is there more moral misconduct that has yet to be uncovered and needs to be revealed to the church before we elect a new metropolitan?

Responses to concerns raised at the Town Halls
As Bp Nikon said last night, the Town Halls were an opportunity for the bishops to listen. How will you now respond to the questions raised at the 15 town hall meetings?

How will there continue to be open communication directly from the faithful to the hierarchy at frequent and regular intervals (for example, an annual series of Town Hall meetings)?

Clarification about the Romanian Diocese

What was the motivation for the potential move of the Romanian Episcopate to the Romanian Patriarchate? Where does this stand today? How do the bishops view this?

Orthodox unity

If Orthodox unity is a priority, how do you explain the lack of fruit? What is your plan? If there is no plan, why not?

Strategic Planning

(for each bishop): Please explain how you understand the relationship between the dioceses and central church and the role of the Metropolitan in this. What, in your opinion, are the limits of diocesan “sovereignty”?

What is your opinion of moving the central administration out of Long Island?

The bishops’ vision for the Orthodox Church in America (for each bishop to answer in 60 seconds)

What 2 or 3 major issues would you like to see addressed as your personal vision for the OCA?"


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