On October 19-20, 2022, the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America met for its Regular Fall 2022 Session at the new and temporary Chancery office in Springfield, VA.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon opened the Fall 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, especially, welcomed the several new members both elected at the recent All-American Council and their respective Dioceses. The Metropolitan Council had an opportunity to tour the temporary office before beginning its regular business.
The Council conducted general business reviewing and discussing various reports. The Council heard a report from His Beatitude, who highlighted the recent successful 20th All-American Council, events of church-wide significance, and his own archpastoral work in his diocese, the dioceses currently under his locum tenancy, as well as his primatial work. His Beatitude discussed the relocation of the Chancery office and his own relocation 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, especially personnel changes and his travel schedule. The Property Committee updated the Council on the sale of Westwood (the Chancery property on Long Island) and reported on a number of interested parties. Upon the Committee’s recommendation, the Metropolitan Council voted to engage 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 extensive report submitted at the recent All-American Council. Father Alessandro reported on the setup of the new and temporary office and the transfer of physical files, icons, paintings, and other sacred items from Westwood. While the office in New York remains operational, as recently announced, the Chancery now invites correspondence to be mailed to its new PO Box in Virginia. Father Alessandro reported on the operations of the recent All-American Council, and the results of the post-Council survey received early in October. A final update offered by Father Alessandro was on the steps taken for the relocation of the Archives of the Orthodox Church in America to Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary after the signing of an Agreement this past summer. The relocation of the archival materials is scheduled to begin in December upon completion of the work currently undertaken in the area of the Florovsky Library at the Seminary.
Archpriest Nicholas Solak, Chair of the Office of Pastoral Life, offered a report on the various projects of the Office, including Thriving in Ministry, the Clergy Synaxis programs, and the Clergy Wives group. Father Nicholas also discussed the national Pastoral Conference to take place in October 2023, and recently announced on our website.
On Thursday morning, the Metropolitan Council was invited to attend the Divine Liturgy at All Saints of America Mission in Alexandria, VA.
Following the Divine Liturgy, the Metropolitan Council resumed its business, hearing the report of the Council Manager, Deacon Peter Ilchuk, who indicated that we are already receiving bids for the next All-American Council in 2025.
The Council welcomed via teleconference representatives from the external auditor, Satty, Levine, & Ciacco, CPAs, who offered a presentation on the recent audit.
His Beatitude then called upon Mr. Andrew Smith, Treasurer of the Orthodox Church in America, who offered his report with an update on financials and investments. Mr. Smith then introduced the candidates for the three internal auditors positions to be appointed, as indicated by the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, by the Metropolitan Council following the All-American Council. The Council 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 offered a report on the Pension Plan. The Metropolitan Council and the Pension Plan representatives engaged in extensive discussion about the necessary steps to embrace for the well-being of the Plan. A joint statement will be issued in the coming days.
After the presentation from the Pension Board, Mr. Andrew Smith proposed the 2023 Budget that was approved by the Council.
The Metropolitan Council then heard a report from Archpriest Thomas Soroka, Project Manager for the OCA Departments, on the various completed, ongoing, or pending projects or tasks of the six currently active Departments of the Church. Father Thomas also presented a proposal to adjust the Church Planting Grants amounts in accordance with the current national median household income and inflation rate. The proposal was unanimously approved, and a press release will be issued in the coming weeks.
At the end of two long and productive days, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon thanked the Council for its positive and profitable work and closed the meeting with prayer.
Minutes and reports from the Regular Fall 2022 Session of the Metropolitan Council will be posted on the OCA website as they become available.