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The Regular Spring 2024 Session of the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America was convened via teleconference on Tuesday, March 5, Thursday, March 7, and Thursday, March 28.

The Council met under the presidency of His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon and conducted general business reviewing and discussing various reports that were previously submitted in writing and then presented via teleconference.

On Tuesday, March 5, His Beatitude offered an update on his primatial work, offering a detailed log of his significant activities over the past several months. He highlighted his work in his own Archdiocese of Washington where he has now been residing for almost two years. He also offered a few remarks on the recent episcopal ordination and enthronement of His Grace Benedict as the new Bishop of Hartford and the Diocese of New England, whose Diocese was under His Beatitude’s locum tenency until early December 2023.

Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, presented his report, which highlighted his activities, travel, and the Chancery’s overall work, including personnel matters. Fr. Alexander also spoke on Inter-Orthodox and Inter-Religious activities in which the Orthodox Church in America is engaged.

The Property Committee offered an update on the sale of Westwood, and the steps which are following the recent signing of the purchase agreement.

The Council also received the first report of the new General Counsel, Mr. Mark Hamilton of Tucker & Arensberg Attorneys of Pittsburgh, PA. Mr. Hamilton updated the Council on several legal cases.

Archpriest Alessandro Margheritino, Secretary of the Orthodox Church in America, also presented his report, offering updates on various aspects of operations at the Chancery, the work of the Preconciliar Commission, and property management. Fr. Alessandro also noted the recent progress with the relocation of the OCA Archives to the Florovsky Library at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. At this point, 100% of the sorted Archival collection has been relocated to the Seminary where it is housed in a beautiful and organized space.

Mr. Andrew Smith, Treasurer of the Orthodox Church in America, offered his report in which he reviewed current financials, proposed amendments to the 2024 budget, and the transition from in-house day-to-day accounting to an outsourced accounting solution with Chazin & Company.

On Thursday, Mr. Smith introduced Matushka Sharon Hubiak and Ms. Diane Dorogy, who offered the report of the Internal Auditing Committee. They remarked that, in all areas examined, everything was in good order, with some items and recommendations, most of which are already being addressed. His Beatitude thanked the internal auditors and Mr. Andrew Smith for their diligent work.

The rest of the Spring Session of the Metropolitan Council was dedicated to matters concerning the OCA Pension Plan.

The Council received extensive written reports from the Pension Board and, on March 7, heard a report from the Pension Board represented by Matushka Mary Buletza-Breton, Chair, Archpriest John Dresko, and Ms. Melanie Ringa. Mr. Michael Stieglitz, Pension Plan Administrator, was also in attendance.

The Council received written reports from the new Pension actuarial firm, Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Company (GRS), and heard a presentation from their representatives, who also showed
a modeling tool for projecting the effects of various changes upon the funded status of the plan.

Extensive discussion followed on the state of the Plan, the issue of compliance, and proposed changes to the Pension Plan.

In response to requests raised by the General Counsel, the Metropolitan Council, and the new Actuaries, to clarify definitions, address non-compliance matters, and address the funding status, the Pension Board presented a number of amendments to the Pension Document. Because of limited time, Metropolitan Tikhon directed that the Metropolitan Council reconvene for a third meeting on March 28 to review and consider the proposed amendments carefully. His Beatitude also appointed a working group made of three members of the Metropolitan Council’s Pension Committee and three of the Pension Board to review the amendments and make any necessary changes before the Metropolitan Council meets again. His Beatitude asked Fr. Alessandro to facilitate the work of this ad hoc group.

On March 28, His Beatitude presided at the third meeting of the Metropolitan Council’s Spring 2024 Session and asked Matushka Mary to present the four revised amendments to the Council. The Metropolitan Council voted in favor of the first three amendments at asked for more changes to the fourth proposed amendment. Metropolitan Tikhon received the vote of the Council for the first two amendments and referred approval of the third amendment to the Holy Synod that was to be convened the following week.

A more detailed press release on the recently approved amendments will be issued in the coming days.

To conclude the meeting, His Beatitude thanked the Council and the Pension Board for their collaborative work, the extensive and constructive discussions, and their efforts to strengthen the Plan.

His Beatitude closed the meeting with prayer.

Minutes and reports from the 2024 Spring Session of the Metropolitan Council will be posted on the OCA website as they become available.

The draft minutes and reports will be posted in the coming weeks.