OCA Synod Appoints Locum Tenens & Temporary Administrator

The Orthodox Church in America has announced on its web page  that the Synod today appointed His Eminence, the Most Reverend Nathaniel, Archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate, as the Locum Tenens of the Orthodox Church in America.  The Synod appointed His Grace, the Right Reverend Michael, Bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, as the Administrator of the Orthodox Church in America.  The Synod also said that in due time they would make other decisions appropriate to dealing with the change in leadership in the OCA.   They asked for everyone’s prayers.

You can read the full text of the Synod’s letter at Locum Tenens Appointed.

Also available is the Holy Synod’s Statement Regarding the Resignation.

9 thoughts on “OCA Synod Appoints Locum Tenens & Temporary Administrator

  1. Pingback: The Resignation of Metropolitan Jonah | Fr. Ted's Blog

  2. Pingback: Metropolitan Jonah Offers His Resignation | Fr. Ted's Blog

  3. Pingback: Orthodox Collective

  4. I am confused about something. In Met Jonah’s letter of resignation, he resigned as Primate. Yet the Synod has appointed Abp Alexander of Toledo as locum tenens of the Archdiocese of Washington. Does the office (for lack of better word) of Primate also include Bishop of Washington, so that Met Jonah’s resignation from one automatically requires resignation from the other? Thanks.

    1. Fr. Ted

      His title was officially “Archbishop of Washington” and Metropolitan of all America and Canada. So, he was a diocesan bishop. OCA metropolitans have also been diocesan bishops. At one time they were the bishop of NY, but later that was changed to the Diocese of Washington. So he resigned from both offices. He currently is not the ruling bishop of a diocese, but has the honorary title of “former bishop.”

      Currently in the OCA, the primate is also the ruling bishop of the Washington DC Diocese.

  5. R M Malleev-Pokrovsky

    I think it proper to take to pause and reflect on where many of us agree with Metropolitan Jonah and his vision for the OCA.

    1). We agree on vigorous mission to North America which reflects a Centrist – Traditional presentation of Orthodoxy.

    2). We agree on cultivating traditional Orthodox monasticism and piety to see the day of an American Orthodox spirituality and local tradition.

    3). We agree on outreach to the communities where our faltering legacy parishes find themselves, rooted in witness to the Orthodox immigrations, traditional Christians and Americans interested in a Faith with a sound, consistent moral core.

    4). We agree that North American Orthodoxy is to be formed not at the direction or by the “intentional neglect” of “mother churches” but that the time has come to recognize that we are in a different chapter in America where various ethnic “jurisdictions” are called to unity for survival and joint effort. In the OCA, we presume to structure this unity beginning with absorption of bodies which reflect our original Russian and Romanian heritages, but then to branch out to Bulgarians, Serbs and Antiochians.

    5). We recognize that assimilate Orthodoxy is not local Orthodoxy, but a denaturing of ethnic Orthodoxy. It is our intent using the paradigms set by the local churches to oversee an American Orthodoxy which cares for the souls of cradle, convert, revert and assimilate in a Centrist – Traditional coalition.

    6). The financial soundness and stability of the OCA is a matter of transparency which calls for not only righting the ship of the OCA, but preventing further abuses and projecting a model for growth.

    7). We endeavor to produce a 20 to 25% presence in North America and Latin America within a century. We foresee an incremental process commensurate with growth or multiple metropolias structured around a Katholikosate, then a handful of Katholikosates structured around a Patriarchate which will become the exclusively canonically presence in North America and be recognized by other local Orthodox churches with whom we will share Communion.

    8). We endeavor to save our legacy parishes, rebuild them and populate them while creating an infrastructure of new missions, parishes, monasteries, seminaries, charities and religious institutions for America.

    9). We endeavor to engage America and her culture for the propagation of Traditional morality and moral order. This will include political activity.

    10). We endeavor to foster an Orthodox formation which is founded upon prayer, Sacramental witness, immersion in Scripture and the LIFE of CHRIST as well as regular church life to consecrate America to Orthodoxy and to work out our personal and corporate salvation. Unus Christianus, nullus Christianus. We are not saved alone, but in community with CHRIST in the HOLY EUCHARIST constituting the Church.

    11). We endeavor through dialogue to better understand religious and irreligious institutions and movements here to witness to all and convert some. It is our goal to first unite liturgical and likeminded Christians to Holy Orthodoxy in North America while making common cause with other Christians and those of good will toward the betterment of society. This is not ecumenism inasmuch as it is witness and mission.

    12). We will foster an evangelical community which welcomes our country in to share in the transfiguration of our Orthodoxy, upholding the Truth and piety handed to us and sharing it and its blessings on all who are sincerely interested in upholding it without adulteration.

    This was and is what Metropolitan Jonah stood for. This is what we are “clamoring about.” This is what we are working for. This is what we envision for our OCA as our American local church. This is what we call ourselves, our clergy and our hierarchy to uphold.

    1. Fr. Ted

      My personal take is, that these ideas are not what led to his downfall. For I at least have not seen the other bishops opposing these ideals and hopes. I think the bishop’s decision to ask for his resignation stem from other problems not related to the ideals you articulately outline. Problems which for a variety of reasons they have not gone public about and perhaps cannot be public about.

      I am not aware of the bishops individually or collectively speaking against these issues you have listed; on the contrary I think most of them support many of those ideals. And from what I saw, the bishops were not at all eager to take the steps they have now taken, but were disheartened even to have to consider this outcome. I honestly think they kept trying to find a way to make the administration work without them having to take a more drastic step of asking for a resignation. I think that is why Fr. Garklavs lost his job.

      I admit that I am not close to any of the bishops and never have been in my life, and so I don’t know their personal thoughts. I have only observed through my time on the Metropolitan Council and on the Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee. I don’t think the members of the Synod are anything close to what their opponents are portraying them as. Nor do I think they acted for the reasons that they are being accused of. But that is my observation.

      I think they found themselves in an unenviable position, and as time was moving on, their options kept diminishing until they had no choice.

  6. Subdeacon Mark Harrison

    When Patriarch Pavle of Serbia was old and frail, was he forced to resign? My guess is that here have been many primates in the life of the church who were placed by God in their primatial sees for certain non-administrative gifts and those around them had to pick up the slack. I can’t speak to Metropolitan Jonah’s administrative skills, but he was my first mentor when I came into the church thirty years ago. I was overjoyed and yet a little worried when he was elected to the the new metropolitan. He was supposed to be auxiliary under the tutelage of Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory. My guess is that there were issues, but I am not convinced that matters were well handled – at least not the way I’d hope they’d be handled within the Church. It sounds more like the pressured resignation of a corporate C.E.O. I’d like to think that the primacy is something a bit different – something of a more spiritual nature.

    1. Fr. Ted

      Subdeacon Mark,

      Thanks for your comment and sharing your story.

      Anyone who really knows me, knows that through the years I’ve been as critical of and unhappy with the bishops as anyone. So I find myself in the unusual position of saying that I think some of the criticisms of the bishops in this case are way off base.

      I was on the Metropolitan Council for 3 years (2008-2011) and on the SMPAC since 2009 (before it became known as SMPAC). So I have observed some of the bishops at work. I am not personally close to any of them. I’m saying these things just to give context for my reaction to what is going on.

      I think you might find that most of the bishops also feel, for varying reasons, that things have not gone well over the past several years. They might even if they could be candid, admit things have not been handled well in the church.

      Those who are claiming they are ravenous wolves who were just waiting to get rid of Metroplitan Jonah are creating a tale that is not even close to what I observed with the bishops. I think if one looks over the past several years, what people so often criticized the bishops for was being passive and inactive. They didn’t suddenly and miracuously morph into ravenous wolves! They are the same men who have been criticized for passivity. They are the same men who could have blocked the election of Jonah as Metropolitan (the Synod had that legitimate authority), but THEY made him Metropolitan. They all could have been publicly disagreeing with him and taking the fight to their dioceses to remove him or create a public outcry against him, but they didn’t. Instead they were working quietly, and trying to work with the Metropolitan.

      So I would suggest to all: lay aside all the vicious claims that they were like wild dogs leaping to tear the Metropolitan to shreds. It doesn’t fit their MOs at all, though it may nicely fit the ideological narratives of those who believe such things.

      I’m going to use two images that I would just ask you to think about. Considering the nature of the bishops, what must have happened to push them to the point that they felt the resignation of the Metropolitan was the best course of action? Take away all of the inflamed rhetoric against the Synod, and consider those men for a moment and what had to be going on for them to ask for the resignation of the Metropolitan? The Synod knew very well that we had just gone through the forced retirements of the 2 previous Metropolitans. They knew full well that in the eyes of the rest of the Orthodox world, this would look horrible and self destructive. They knew they would meet vicious criticisms from within the OCA. They knew the OCA weakened by years of scandal and forced retirements, would not look any better if another Metropolitan was forced to step down. And yet, they decided there was something better in asking him to resign, then in allowing him to continue on.

      First image I ask you to think about: almost any prescription you get today has literature which carries a phrase something like this in warning about the serious and dire side effects of the prescription: your doctor thinks the beneftis of the medicine outweighs the risks and side effects of taking the medicine.

      Second image: In New York on the 9-11, as the Twin Towers became a raging inferno, people on the top floors began jumping out the windows, falling to their death. I remember in the videos of that horrible day hearing the firemen, police and other responders on the ground hearing and seeing these people hit the pavement saying, “What must it be like up there that jumping out the windows was preferable to staying in the building?”

      Honestly, I do believe that our bishops felt their choices had come down to one. It was one they had been trying to avoid, but something convinced them, it was better to follow this course of action than to stay passively where they were.

      I at least continue to pray for them.

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