The spring session of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America will be held at the Chancery here Tuesday, March 18 through Friday, March 21, 2014.
According to Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, “the meeting will coincide with a meeting of the Pension Board, which is slated to present its current strategic plan. The SMPAC also will be meeting and will brief the Holy Synod on it’s current work and review the status of new policies. Jim Geoly, Esq., an attorney who has briefed members of the Metropolitan Council on misconduct policies and first amendment issues, will meet with Holy Synod members.”
During the session, the canonical election to fill the vacant See of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania will take place. His Grace, Bishop Mark of Baltimore, Administrator of the Diocese since 2012 and Synodal Liaison for OCA Departments and Commissions, was nominated to fill the vacancy at a special Diocesan Assembly at Saint Nicholas Church, Bethlehem, PA, on January 17, 2014. His name had been forwarded to the Holy Synod of Bishops. [See related story.]
The bishops will offer annual reports on the current state of their respective dioceses. Reports will be given by Archpriests John Jillions and Eric G. Tosi, Chancellor and Secretary; Melanie Ringa, Treasurer; and Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of External Affairs. Archpriest Alexander Rentel will review progress to date on behalf of the Statutes Revision Committee, while Archpriest Steven Voytovich and Matushka Valerie Zahirsky, chairs of the Departments of Institutional Chaplaincies and Christian Education respectively, will report on their current and future work. [Representatives of two of the OCA’s departments offer reports at each Holy Synod session.]
Archpriests John Behr, Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, and Steven Voytovich, Dean of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, will be present for the report of the Board of Theological Education, while a discussion with Holy Synod members on the current and future state of theological education in the OCA will be held.
The meeting will conclude with a planning session for 2015, including travel, celebrations, meetings, encyclicals and the 18th All-American Council.
On Wednesday evening, His Eminence, Archbishop Alejo of Mexico City will celebrate the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts at the Chancery’s Saint Sergius of Radonezh Chapel. The choir of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary will sing the liturgical responses. His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, will celebrate the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts on Friday morning.