On October 19-20, 2022, the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America met for its regular fall 2022 session at the new temporary chancery office in Springfield, Virginia.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon opened the Autumn Session with a Molieben on Wednesday morning. He greeted the twenty-seven members of the Metropolitan Council who were able to attend in person and, in particular, welcomed the many new members elected at the recent Pan American Council and their respective dioceses. The Metropolitan Council had the opportunity to visit the temporary office before starting its regular activities.
The Board considered general business and discussed various reports. The Council heard a report from His Beatitude, which highlighted the recent success of the 20th Pan American Council, significant Church-wide events, and his own archpastoral work in his diocese, the dioceses currently under his alternate tenancy. , as well as his primatial work. . His Beatitude discussed the move of the chancery office and his own move to the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, presented his report highlighting his activities and the work of the chancery, in particular personnel changes and his travel program. The Property Committee briefed the Board on the sale of Westwood (the Chancery property on Long Island) and reported on a number of interested parties. On the Committee’s recommendation, the Metropolitan Council voted to hire a commercial broker and list the property.
Priest Alessandro Margheritino, secretary of the Orthodox Church in America, also presented his report offering updates to his more detailed report submitted at the recent All-American Council. Father Alessandro reported on the establishment of the new temporary office and the transfer of physical files, icons, paintings and other sacred objects from Westwood. Although the New York office remains operational, as recently announced, the Chancery now invites correspondence to be mailed to its new post office box in Virginia. Father Alessandro reported on the operations of the recent All-American Council and post-Council survey results received in early October. A final update offered by Fr. Alessandro focused on the steps taken to transfer the Archives of the Orthodox Church in America to the Orthodox Theological Seminary of Saint Vladimir after the signing of an agreement last summer. The removal of the archival materials should begin in December, once the work currently undertaken in the area of the Florovsky library of the Seminary is completed.
Archpriest Nicholas Solak, Chair of the Office of Pastoral Life, reported on the Office’s various projects, including Thriving in Ministry, Clergy Synaxis programs and the Clergy Wives group. Fr Nicholas also discussed the National Pastoral Conference taking place in October 2023 and recently announced it on our website.
On Thursday morning, the Metropolitan Council was invited to attend the Divine Liturgy at the All Saints of America Mission in Alexandria, VA.
After the Divine Liturgy, the Metropolitan Council resumed its activities, hearing the report of the Director of the Council, Deacon Peter Ilchuk, who indicated that we were already receiving offers for the next Pan American Council in 2025.
The Board hosted by teleconference representatives from the external auditor, Satty, Levine, & Ciacco, CPAs, who made a presentation on the recent audit.
His Beatitude then appealed to Mr. Andrew Smith, Treasurer of the Orthodox Church in America, who presented his report with an update on finances and investments. Mr. Smith then presented the candidates for the three positions of internal auditors who will be appointed, as indicated in the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, by the Metropolitan Council after the Pan American Council. The Board appointed Matushka Sharon Hubiak, Maha Adranly and Diane Dorogy as internal auditors.
The Metropolitan Council then welcomed Ms. Melanie Ringa, pension board trustee, and Mr. Michael Stieglitz, pension plan administrator, who presented a report on the pension plan. The Metropolitan Council and the representatives of the Pension Plan have engaged in an in-depth discussion on the measures necessary to adopt for the well-being of the Plan. A joint statement will be issued in the coming days.
Following the Pension Committee presentation, Mr. Andrew Smith proposed the 2023 Budget which was approved by the Board.
The Metropolitan Council then heard a report from Archpriest Thomas Soroka, Project Manager for OCA Departments, on the various projects or tasks completed, underway, or pending from the six currently active departments of the Church. Father Thomas also presented a proposal to adjust church planting grant amounts based on the current national median household income and the rate of inflation. The proposal was unanimously approved and a press release will be issued in the coming weeks.
After two long and productive days, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon thanked the Council for its positive and fruitful work and closed the meeting with prayer.
Minutes and reports of the regular fall 2022 session of the Metropolitan Council will be posted on the OCA website as they become available.
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