Statute revisions available for comments by Church-at-large

AllAmLOGOThe Holy Synod of Bishops recently blessed the general release of the revised Statute of the Orthodox Church in America for general review by the Church.

The finalized revised Statute will be presented at the 18th All-American Council [AAC] in Atlanta, GA July 20-24, 2015.

The proposed revised Statute, together with a letter of introduction from the Statute Revision Task Force is available. A side-by-side comparison of the old and new versions is included.

“The faithful of the OCA are encouraged to read through the proposed revisions and submit comments for review and consideration,” said Archpriest Alexander Rentel. “Comments may be submitted by e-mail to statute.18aac@oca.org. These will go directly to the Commission on Canons and Statutes for reply or possible consideration for inclusion into the revised text.”

A section of the AAC web site for public commentary is now available. All public comments will be reviewed before posting.

“As required by the current Statute, Article XIII, Section 1, the review process will finish April 21 — before 90 days prior to the beginning of the Council,” Father Alexander added.

Articles on Monasticism, Definitions, and the Effective Date have yet to be completed, but will be posted in the immediate future.

With regard to feedback on the proposed text, all members and friends of the OCA are invited to read through the entire text of the Statute, since it is complex and interrelated, before making comments. All constructive and helpful comments will be considered.

“Major changes to the structure of the OCA will not be considered in this revision process, but should be put forward as future amendments, as such, comments suggesting such things will not be considered at this point,” Father Alexander said. “While the Commission on Canons and Statutes will not publicize the origins of comments received via email, anonymous comments will not be considered. Comments that include hateful, profane, or blasphemous language also will not be considered. Comments should be relevant and specific to the Statute and be of a respectful nature.”

All comments and suggestions will be reviewed by the Commission on Canons and Statutes after the April 21 deadline, at which point Commission members will meet to review and consider feedback and prepare the final draft.

“As required by the current Statute, Article XIII, Section 2, this final draft will be made available 60 days prior to the AAC with the recommendations of the Commission on Canons and Statutes in both the published reports for the AAC as well as in PDF format on the OCA website,” Father Alexander concluded. “This final version will be voted on at a plenary session during the AAC.”

Questions may be submitted to the Commission on Canons and Statutes.

Commission members include His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel; His Grace, Bishop Daniel; Archpriests Alexander Rentel, John Erickson and Dimitri Cozby; Priest Ioan Cozma; Judge E. R. Lanier; and Alexis Liberovsky.

2 Responses to Statute revisions available for comments by Church-at-large

  1. Fr James Worthington February 24, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    It is evident that a tremendous amount of work went into the proposal here, and I thank each of you for bringing your expertise to the matter.
    In each of our parish and diocesan bylaws, a specific percentage of votes is necessary to pass any new bylaw or amend the existing documents. Does, or will, such a requirement exist to change the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America? Will the vote required by a simple majority, 2/3 or some other amount?

    • Bishop Daniel February 26, 2015 at 9:03 am #

      Dear Father James,

      Thank you for your inquiry concerning the nature of a majority vote within the context of the All-American Council. It is my understanding that the term “majority,” unless defined otherwise in the procedural rules of a specific voting body, is normally understood to be a “simple majority,” i.e. a majority in which the highest number of votes cast for any one candidate, issue, or item exceeds the second-highest number. A departure from this definition would normally be defined in a body’s governing documents or procedural rules.

      The current Statute text and the proposed text in this regard are provided below. Please note that the proposed revision also allows the All-American Council to determine its own rules and procedures at the beginning of its first session.

      Again, many thanks for your question as well as for your interest in the revision process.

      Wishing you a Blessed Lent,
      +Bishop Daniel

      Current OCA Statute, Article III, The All-American Council, Section 14: A majority vote shall determine the decisions of the All-America Council. The Pre-Conciliar Commission, or the Council itself, may determine that voting in certain matters shall be by secret ballot.

      Proposed OCA Statute, Article, III The All-American Council, Section 14: As its first order of business, the Council shall adopt rules and procedures for the conduct of its business. Resolutions and decisions made in plenary sessions of the All-American Council shall require a majority vote, except for the election of the Metropolitan, which is governed by special provisions (cf. Article IV, Section 4).

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