News From Around the OCA
• Bishop Benjamin Nominated to See of San Francisco
In a meeting barely an hour-long, held in Las Vegas on January 31st, the Special Electoral Diocesan Assembly of the Diocese of the West nominated Bishop Benjamin of Berkeley to be the new Diocesan hierarch, replacing the retired Bishop Tikhon. The vote was 95-0, with 5 ballots being declared invalid. Although he is locum tenens, Metropolitan Herman did not attend the Assembly. Rather, Bp. Seraphim of Canada presided. No other business took place.
The overwhelming vote was a reflection of both the Bishop's popularity in the Diocese and the rules under which the election was held. Delegates were told there was only one nominee and only the name of that individual could be written on the paper ballot -- all others would be declared invalid. (A search committee, consisting of the deans and chancellor, had met earlier and proposed only one name: Bishop Benjamin's.) A nomination could be made from the floor, but only if that person was present and agreed to have his name placed in nomination. Fr. David Brum (former secretary to Metropolitans Theodosius and Herman) was nominated, but Fr. Brum declined. Someone asked if a person who was not present could be nominated if he were to fax back his acceptance. Bishop Seraphim said he would allow that. Someone then tried to fax the chancellor of the Alaskan Diocese, Fr. Isidore (Britan). However, no response was received, and the delegates voted.
The Holy Synod meets in March and presumably will canonically-elect Benjamin the Bishop of San Francisco at that time. Bishop Benjamin is a member of the independent Special Commission investigating the various financial scandals in the OCA.
• Metropolitan Appears at St. Mark's, Bethesda Despite Fender-Bender
Less than two hours before the Metropolitan was scheduled to appear in a pre-Vespers public Question and Answer session at St. Mark's parish in suburban Bethesda MD, the parish send out the following email:
I have just received a call from His Beatitude who is on the way to St. Mark. There has been an accident and a truck has hit the car. Presently hey are waiting for the police to come and they are not sure that the caris drivable. Everyone is all right, but there is a good possibility that he will not be here for the scheduled
In the end, the Metropolitan was able to make the event, as the accident was not serious. According to first hand reports, the Metropolitan answered about about a dozen questions in the hour long meeting. Some questions were read from index cards, some were taken from the floor. The Metropolitan was difficult to understand, defensive, and distant overall. He consistently encouraged parishioners to 'wait until all the investigations were done.' In short, he said nothing that was not already known. The meeting was not taped at the request of the parish authorities, who stressed this was only a 'pastoral visit' by the local Bishop.
• Commission Meets in New York
The independent Special Commission met in New York on Monday, February 5th. No statement was issued.