3.24.08 March 31- April 2nd in Syosset
Metropolitan Council To Discuss Current Situation, Confidentiality, Future
The Metropolitan Council will meet on Monday, March 31st through Tuesday, April 2nd in Syosset for its annual Spring session. The meeting will be preceded by an extraordinary session of the Synod in Syosset (March 27th) and a session of the Special Investigative Committee in Ellwood City, PA, on March 28th-29th. It will be followed by a meeting of the Preconciliar Commission on April 7th. The Council meeting thereby assumes a greater than usual significance, as its agenda reveals.
On Monday evening the Council will hear a report by the Primate, Metropolitan Herman, a report by the Chancellor, Fr. Alexander Garklavs, and a report on the situation in the Diocese of Alaska. In what is surely to be a lengthy discussion, the Council will also deal with the question of 'confidentiality' of this and future Council meetings. Some members feel 'confidentiality' should be strictily limited to discussions of legal and personnel matters; others insist that rules of 'confidentiality' - including punishments for infractions - should apply to far more of the Council's work. The decision of the Council will reveal much as to whether a culture of transparency and accountability has taken root in the structures of the Church.
On Tuesday, April 1st, the Council is scheduled to hear financial reports from the OCA Treasurer, Fr. Michael Tassos, reports from the OCA internal and external auditors, reports on OCA investments and a report on the recent round of OCA Appeals. Following lunch, the members will hear a report from the Special Investigative Committee (SIC). The SIC has scheduled to interview the former primate of the OCA, Metropolitan Theodosius (Lazor) as well as the OCA's representative in Moscow, Archimandrite Zacchaeus (Wood), whose videotaping of Robert Kondratick in Moscow played a role in his deposition from the priesthood. It has been reported, but not confirmed, that the SIC will also interview Metropolitan Herman at this time.
The rest of the afternoon will be given over to a report from the Director of Ministries and Communications, Fr. Andrew Jarmus, who will present a revised Communications Protocol for the OCA. The meeting will conclude with a report by the Council's own ad hoc legal committee that will include a summary of actions taken, and to be taken, regarding the ongoing Kondratick lawsuit. There will also be a report of the Council's general counsel search committee which is seeking a new permanent general counsel for the OCA.
Following dinner, the Transition Task Force appointed by the Metropolitan will report, as will the Metropolitan Council's own Ethics Committee. A summary of pending ethics concerns will be given.
On Wednesday, April 2nd, following a Pre-sanctified Liturgy, the Preconciliar Commission will report concerning preparations for the forthcoming All-American Council in Pittsburgh. Any new business will then be introduced, including discussion about a strategic plan for the OCA. The meeting is scheduled to conclude in mid-afternoon.
A meeting between Bishop Nikolai and Fr. Alexander Garklavs took place on Saturday, March 22nd in Anchorage. The meeting was reported to be cordial, but nothing was settled. The Bishop refused to leave the Diocese, or to turn over any financial documents or records to Fr. Garklavs, the newly appointed administrator. The Bishop is now stating he has not decided whether to attend the Synod meeting or not; but Fr. Garklavs will be. He returns Wednesday to Syosset to report to the meeting of the Synod the following day.
Before he leaves Fr. Garklavs has called a meeting of all the Alaskan clergy in Anchorage on Tuesday, March 25th at the Cathedral. It is reported that all but 4 or 5 clergy will be in attendance.
The OCA announced this morning that Fr. Eugene Vansuch, the former director of the Fellowship of Orthodox Stewards, who declined the position of Administrator of the Alaskan Diocese last week, suffered a heart attack and unexpectedly passed away last evening at his home in Eaton, Pennsylvania. Fr. Eugene was 67 years old.
May his memory be eternal!
- Mark Stokoe