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In a press release issued this afternoon the Synod of Bishops of the OCA has confirmed that Metropolitan Jonah is now on an official "Leave of Absence". The Synod also announced that at the meeting it "...accepted the resignation of Archpriest Alexander Garklavs as Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America,". Fr. Garklavs was informed of his resignation this morning in a meeting at Syosset with Bishop Michael (Dahulich), where according to reports, he acceded to the Synod's decision.

The official press release reads as follows:

"From February 22-24, 2011, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America participated in a retreat in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH led the hierarchs in a review of matters affecting the life of the Orthodox Church in America, including the OCA strategic plan, preparations for the upcoming Assembly of Bishops and plans for the 16th All American Council in Seattle.

During their retreat, His Beatitude presented a request to the Holy Synod for a time of personal retreat and spiritual renewal. The Holy Synod granted His Beatitude’s request for a period of 60 days and appointed the senior Hierarch, His Eminence, Archbishop NATHANIEL, of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate to assist in the temporary administration of the OCA during His Beatitude’s retreat.

As an additional means of assistance to His Beatitude, the Holy Synod relieved him from his responsibilities as Locum Tenens for the dioceses of the South and of the Midwest. The Holy Synod appointed Bishop NIKON as Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the South, with Bishop MARK of Baltimore continuing as Administrator. The Holy Synod also appointed Bishop TIKHON Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the Midwest with Bishop-elect Archimandrite MATTHIAS continuing as Administrator.

In other matters, the Holy Synod accepted the resignation of Archpriest Alexander Garklavs as Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America and appointed His Grace, Bishop MELCHISEDEK of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania as interim Chancellor.

At the conclusion of their retreat, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops expressed their joy at the upcoming Bright Week consecration of Archimandrite MATTHIAS as Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest. The consecration will take place over the weekend of April 29 to May 1 and will be concelebrated by His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH, the hierarchs of the OCA and other guests.

The Holy Synod also bestowed it’s pastoral blessing on the clergy and faithful of the OCA and wished them a profitable season of prayer and repentance during the season of Great Lent."

- Mark Stokoe



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