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The Regular 2023 Spring Session of the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America took place on Tuesday and Thursday, March 14 and 16. While these meetings were conducted by video conference, the Metropolitan Council looks forward to meeting in person in October for the Regular Fall Session.
Under the presidency of His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, the Council conducted general business reviewing and discussing reports that were previously submitted in writing.
In his report, His Beatitude highlighted his archpastoral work in his diocese, the diocese under his locum tenency, and his primatial work. He offered an update on his domestic and international travels and his work following the relocation to the canonical territory of his Archdiocese, which is allowing him to be with his flock and parishes on a regular basis and without the need for extensive travel.
The Property Committee updated the Council on the sale of Westwood (the Chancery property on Long Island, NY) and offered an update on the work of the real estate firm, Ripco Real Estate, which was engaged by the Metropolitan Council following the Special Session in early February. The property is now listed as a commercial listing.
Judge Ray Lanier, General Counsel, and Mr. David Lane, Chair of the Legal Committee, offered the legal report in executive session, giving an update on a number of legal cases.
Priest Alessandro Margheritino, Secretary of the Orthodox Church in America, also presented his report noting updates on technology issues, reporting on the work of SMPAC, the management of Westwood, and the new and temporary office in Virginia. He offered a report on the OCA Archives and the ongoing work at the Florovsky Library at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary where the OCA Archives are scheduled to move in the coming weeks.
Father Alessandro referenced the report of the Council Manager, Deacon Peter Ilchuk, and discussed site options for the 21st All-American Council scheduled for July 2025. The Metropolitan Council also voted to nominate an initial slate of members for the Preconciliar Commissions. These names will be submitted to the Holy Synod for consideration.
Andrew Smith, Treasurer of the Orthodox Church in America, offered his report in which he reviewed current financials, proposed amendments to the 2023 budget. Mr. Smith introduced Matushka Sharon Hubiak and Ms. Diane Dorogy, who offered the report of the Internal Auditing Committee. The Metropolitan Council thanked the internal auditors, Mr. Andrew Smith and Ms. Susan Wisnewski, Accounting Manager, for their diligent work. The Council then heard from Mr. Michael Crofton of the Philadelphia Trust Company who offered an update on the state of the investment portfolio.
On Thursday, Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, presented his report highlighting his activities and the work of the Chancery, various past and upcoming changes in connection to the relocation of the Chancery, as well as an update on his recent travels.
Most of the meeting on Thursday then turned to the discussion of the Pension Plan. The Council first heard a report from the Pension Board represented by Archpriest John Dresko and Ms. Melanie Ringa. Mr. Michael Stieglitz, Pension Plan Administrator, was also in attendance. Extensive discussion followed on the state of the Plan, the new actuary engaged by the Pension Board, and the issue of compliance. As previously announced, the Metropolitan Council and the Pension Board will convene in person for a joint retreat in October during the Regular Fall Session of the Metropolitan Council.
Archpriest Joseph Ciarciaglino, Chair of the Metropolitan Council Pension Committee, offered a report in which the committee responded to some of the points made in the Pension Board’s report. Finally, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, chair of the recently appointed Pension Joint Committee, offered his first report.
The Special Joint Committee was appointed by the Holy Synod in November 2022. The Committee has been tasked with addressing compliance issues and facilitating a retreat for a comprehensive assessment of the OCA Pension Plan.
To conclude the meeting, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon thanked the Council and offered important words for the whole Church in regard to the work undertaken and ongoing on the Pension Plan.
His Beatitude closed the meeting with prayer.
Minutes and reports from the 2023 Spring Session of the Metropolitan Council will be posted on the OCA website as they become available.