October 25, 2012
Preconciliar Commission responds to current questions regarding the 17th
SYOSSET, NY [OCA]
On Thursday, October 25, 2012, the Preconciliar Commission issued
answers to 21 questions that have recently been asked with regard to the
17th All-American Council
The Council will convene on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at Holy Trinity
Church, Parma, OH.
While not exhaustive, the responses will assist in preparing for the
Council. Additional questions not addressed may be submitted to the
Preconciliar Commission at info@...
The questions and responses may be accessed in PDF format
The contents of the pdf file:
Responses to Current Questions Concerning
the 17th All-American Council at Holy Trinity Church, Parma, OH
on Tuesday, November 13, 2012
In response to a number of questions that have been received concerning
the 17th All-American Council, the
Preconciliar Commission has compiled the following responses. While not
exhaustive, the responses will help
in preparing for the forthcoming Council. Additional questions not
addressed herein may be submitted to the
Preconciliar Commission at info@...
1. Why is the AAC being held at Holy Trinity Church in Parma and how was
the date established?
The Holy Synod of Bishops instructed the Preconciliar Commission to hold
the AAC as soon as possible due
to the requirements of Article IV, Section 4 of the OCA Statute, which
reads: "When a vacancy has occurred
in the office of Metropolitan, the bishop senior by rank and date of
consecration shall convene the Holy Synod.
After the formal vote declaring the vacancy, the Holy Synod will proceed
with the election of a locum tenens.
Within a period not exceeding three months (unless some unavoidable
necessity forces a prolongment [sic] of
this period), the locum tenens will convene an All-American Council at
which a successor shall be elected."
The members of the Holy Synod decided to convene the AAC on Tuesday,
November 13, 2012, at their
August 2012 meeting, the consensus being that this would be the most
reasonable time to organize and
gather the Church in council.
The other instructions included the desire to convene the AAC in a
church if possible, rather than a hotel
or other venue, as it would be more in keeping with the nature of the
gathering. Consideration was also
given to minimizing the costs associated with the AAC and its delegates,
since the gathering was an
unexpected one -- that is, at the beginning of 2012 it had not been a
consideration. There are only a few
parish churches in the OCA that are large enough to accommodate a
gathering of this size. After reviewing
a number of parish churches, Holy Trinity Church in Parma was selected,
as it is the largest church building
in the OCA and its faithful parishioners expressed a willingness to host
2. What is included on the agenda for the AAC and why is it limited to
the election of a
The agenda may be found in the Delegate Handbook, posted on-line at
It was decided upon by the members of the Preconciliar Commission and
approved by the Holy Synod
based on two points.
. The first is that the OCA Statute specifies that an election to fill a
vacancy in the Metropolitan See
must be the sole agenda item. In the past, similar elections were held
in conjunction with regular
AACs, during which the ordinary business of the AAC was suspended, so
that the Council could be
declared open for the purpose of electing a new Metropolitan. After the
election the AAC resumed its
regular business. In the case of the forthcoming AAC, the sole purpose
of the Council is the election of a
new Metropolitan; as such, this is the sole item on the agenda.
. There is precedent in this, inasmuch as the 12th All-American Sobor of
1965 -- prior to the granting of
autocephaly, such gatherings were referred to by the Russian term sobor
--- had as its sole purpose the
election of a new Metropolitan after the repose of Metropolitan Leonty.
This was used as the precedent
in establishing the agenda for this special AAC.
As such, the Holy Synod determined that this fit the requirements of a
3. Are there any fees associated with attending the AAC?
The Holy Synod determined that, because the 17th AAC constitutes an
unbudgeted expense, the dioceses
would assume the costs. The 16th AAC ended with a surplus of about
$60,000, which was recently returned to
the dioceses. The costs associated with convening the 17th AAC are
approximately the same as this amount,
so the surplus will cover the expenses for this AAC. Consequently, there
is no fee for clergy and lay delegates
for the 17th AAC, although delegates are responsible for their own
travel and hotel expenses. The costs of
meals are covered by the diocesan assessment.
4. I heard that the registration numbers are low and that is why the OCA
extended the deadline.
In fact, registration numbers are now close to 600 clergy and lay
delegates. There are about 65 observers.
The deadline was extended because of the number of calls and emails
asking if they could submit their
registration packet late because they were having parish meetings after
the deadline. The deadline was
extended to accommodate them (and this happens at every AAC).
5. Why is the observer registration limited in numbers?
Provisions for observers always have been made for AACs. Observers are
seated in a designated area, but
they are not permitted to speak or vote or take an active part in the
proceedings. Members of the Preconciliar
Commission made the same provisions for the 17th AAC, but they were
forced to limit the number of observers
due to space considerations. Since the AAC will be convened in a parish
church, it was determined that the
only space available for observers was the choir loft, which has limited
seating. This determination in no way
is intended to keep people from attending the AAC; rather, it is a
simple matter of logistics. Another option --
simulcasting the proceedings in the church hall -- does not provide the
same experience as one would have if
one were present in the church itself.
At the same time, the AAC will webcast on Ancient Faith Radio so that
anyone, present or not, can
participate via the internet.
6. Why are retired clergy and observers being charged a fee and
delegates are not?
In years past, retired clergy and observers were charged a nominal fee
to cover expenses associated with the
AAC. The Preconciliar Commission decided that it would continue this
practice, and that a nominal fee of
$50.00 to cover administrative and food costs associated with the
Council again would be appropriate. The
$50.00 fee also covers a brunch and a dinner.
7. What is the Preconciliar Commission and what are its responsibilities?
The Preconciliar Commission is the body established by the Statute to
specifically organize and run the AAC.
An outline of the duties of the Preconciliar Commission and guidelines
for its formation may be found in
Article III, Section 5 of the OCA Statute. All decisions on the planning
and operation of the AAC are presented
as recommendations by the Preconciliar Commission to the Metropolitan
Council and receive the blessing of
the Holy Synod. As such, the members of the Holy Synod and the
Metropolitan Council are fully informed of
all recommendations presented by the Preconciliar Commission, the
members of which also have specific
responsibilities and deadlines to meet in the planning process.
8. Will there be parking available at Holy Trinity Church?
There is plenty of parking at Holy Trinity Church, located at 6822
Broadview Road, Parma, OH. Overflow
parking will be available at Pokrova Ukrainian Catholic Church, adjacent
to Holy Trinity Church, which has
agreed to assist us in this regard.
9. Will transportation be available between the church and the hotels?
There are hotel shuttle buses from the airport to the hotels. Delegates
should look for signs for their hotels
at the airport. Shuttle buses will be provided on Monday and Tuesday to
transport people from the hotels to
the church and back again. Appropriate signs will be posted at the
hotels and the church. Travel time is
about 10 minutes. On Tuesday, there also will be a bus to take people
either back to the hotels or to the
airport after the dinner. Hotel shuttle buses will make frequent trips
to the airport.
10. Are people who are not members of the OCA permitted to attend?
While outside observers are permitted to attend, as space is available,
they must be approved by the Preconciliar
Commission. There are a few individuals who will be assisting at the
AAC, such as those associated with
Ancient Faith Radio, certain specialists in administrative duties who
have assisted the Church in the past,
and others who have made special requests. While at a regular AAC the
agenda is more comprehensive, with
sessions spanning several days, and there is far more space available,
limitations in the number of requests
honored have had to be taken into consideration.
11. Are hierarchs and clergy from other Orthodox Churches being invited
It was decided by the Holy Synod that the 17th AAC would be limited to
OCA delegates due to the space
requirements and in the interest of minimizing expenses. Normally at an
AAC, certain costs are covered by
the OCA for visiting delegations; the budget for the 17th AAC does not
permit this. However, it was decided
that, with the enthronement of the new Metropolitan in January 2013,
delegations from all Orthodox
Churches will be invited to attend and to concelebrate.
12. Are former and retired hierarchs of the OCA and bishops without a
diocese allowed to attend?
What level of participation are they allowed?
According to Article III, Section 2 of the Statute, "All bishops of the
Church" are allowed to attend. In the
past, former and retired hierarchs have attended AACs and were seated in
an appropriate place. They have
the same rights as retired clergy, but they are not permitted to speak.
Former and retired hierarchs are not
permitted to vote in the nomination process due to their status (only
active delegates can vote), nor may they
vote in the election process of the Holy Synod, since only ruling
diocesan bishops are eligible to vote, as noted
in Article 1V, Section 4 of the Statute. Auxiliary bishops are not
permitted to vote in the Holy Synod election
(This is also true of the proceedings of Holy Synod meetings, at which
former, retired and auxiliary hierarchs
are allowed to be present but may not vote on decisions.)
13. Are former or retired hierarchs and bishops without a diocese
permitted to be nominated?
There is nothing in the Statute that explicitly prohibits such a
nomination. However, it is up to the Holy
Synod to elect the new Metropolitan according to the procedures of the
14. Is Metropolitan Jonah still the Archbishop of Washington even though
he resigned as
According to the Canons of the Orthodox Church, every bishop must have a
See. The See of the Metropolitan
is Washington, DC. The office of the Metropolitan and the See cannot be
separated. Bishop Alexander is
presently the locum tenens of the Diocese of Washington.
15. There is a rumor that there will be armed security in the church.
There will be no armed security in the church. Parma auxiliary police,
who are unarmed, will be assisting in
parking and directions. Because of expected heavy traffic, there may be
a uniformed Parma police officer and
a patrol car stationed where the church driveway meets the road for
traffic control, something common for
large public events.
16. There are rumors of disruptions. How is the OCA responding?
The members of the Holy Synod are certainly aware of such rumors; as
such, they wish to remind the faithful
that we are the Church, and that the response to any disruptions will be
handled in a Christian and churchly
manner. People are free to express their views, but the Church does have
business to address, and all are
reminded to act respectfully in cases of disagreement. Those with
further questions or issues in this regard
are encouraged to speak to their parish priest or diocesan bishop.
17. Is there a preferred candidate at this time?
The Statute is very clear that there is to be no "previous discussion of
names" (Article IV, Section 4a). Of
course, delegates should prepare to vote through prayer and fasting.
Page six of the Delegate Handbook
offers helpful advice on how to prepare for the AAC.
18. Who is eligible to be a candidate?
Article IV, Section 4 of the Statute outlines the requirements for a
candidate for the office of the Metropolitan,
as set forth in Article VI, Section 9:
. The candidate for the office of diocesan bishop must satisfy all the
requirements of the Holy Canons
pertaining to this highest of all ecclesiastical offices. In addition,
it is preferable that he have completed a
course of study in a Graduate School of Orthodox Theology and that he be
conversant in the English
. If he is not already a bishop, he can be nominated only from among the
monastic or celibate clergy or
. If at the moment of his nomination he is a layman or a celibate or
widowed priest, he shall pronounce at
least the first monastic vows (rasophoria).
Also note that candidates, if they have not already been so, are to be
vetted by the Holy Synod, including
background checks and examinations as is the current practice of the
19. What is the difference between the nomination and the election?
According to the Canons of the Church and the Statute of the OCA,
bishops elect bishops. The clergy and
laity nominate a candidate or candidates, whose name or names are
presented to the Holy Synod for canonical
election. If, on the first ballot, a candidate receives a 2/3 majority,
his name is submitted to the Holy Synod
for consideration. If the members of the Holy Synod do not accept the
nominee, they must present their
reasons to the AAC. If no one receives 2/3 of the votes on the first
ballot, then there is a second ballot, after
which the names of those receiving the highest and second highest number
of votes are submitted to the Holy
Synod for consideration and canonical election. The actual election
occurs after the name or names are
submitted to the Holy Synod, the members of which then proceed to vote
in the altar. The vote is by secret
ballot, with each active diocesan bishop writing a name on a piece of
paper and placing it in a large chalice.
The Secretary of the Holy Synod then tallies the votes. The bishops
approach the person with the majority of
votes and ask him to accept. If he does not, the process is repeated
until the candidate accepts the office.
20. Where are the procedures specified for this AAC?
Please refer to the Delegate Handbook, which may be accessed on the OCA
website at http://files.oca.org/aacs/
2012-0912-v3-delegate-handbook-17th.pdf, for detailed instructions and
procedures. There also is a dedicated
button on the right side of the website's home page that links to a
wealth of information about the 17th AAC.
21. What will happen after the election of a Metropolitan?
Immediately following the election, the new Metropolitan will be
installed into the office, if he is already a
bishop. If not, then other procedures will take place. He will be vested
in the church with the symbols of his
office by the bishops of the Church. Everyone will have a chance to hear
him speak and to receive his blessing.
He will immediately take up his duties.
He will be enthroned in Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, DC in
January 2013. The date and
arrangements will be announced as they become available on the OCA website.
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