September 22, 2012
Howell, NJ: Metropolitan Hilarion led a Regular Session of the
On Tuesday, September 4, a regular session of the Diocesan Council
was held in Howell, NJ under the chairmanship of the First Hierarch
of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of
Eastern America & New York. Prior to the start of the meeting, a
panihida was held in the lower church of
St. Vladimir Memorial Church to the Millennium of the Baptism of
Russia in Jackson, NJ at the grave of Archbishop Nikon (Rkitsky), on
the occasion of the 36th anniversary of his repose.
Also taking part in the meeting were:
His Grace George, Bishop of Mayfield
His Grace Jerome, Bishop of
Archpriest Serge Lukianov – diocesan secretary
Deacon George Temidis
Subdeacon Michael Wengrin – diocesan
Mr. George N. Nikolsky
Mr. Serge R. Lopoukhine
meeting opened with the singing of the prayer "O Heavenly King,"
followed by the reading of the day’s agenda and the minutes of the
meeting (June 6, 2012). Metropolitan Hilarion approved the
minutes of the previous meeting and thanked his vicar bishops and
members of the Council for their help in running the diocesan
administration during his archpastoral visit to the Australian
1. Diocesan Liability Coverage
A report was heard from Diocesan Secretary Archpriest Serge Lukianov
regarding two lawsuits against the Diocese and its parishes, which
were either dropped or dismissed by the courts. A new insurance
policy was acquired to offer liability protection for the Diocese
and its officers. The new policy will also cover the cost of legal
defense in any future lawsuits against the Diocese.
2. Metropolitan Hilarion’s Namesday Celebration
Council members discussed Met. Hilarion’s upcoming namesday
celebrations on November 3rd. Since the feast of St. Hilarion
coincides with St. Demetrius Soul Saturday, many clergy will not be
able to participate in the divine services because of services in
their home parishes. The Council resolved to celebrate Met.
Hilarion’s namesday in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York
City with a Divine Liturgy at 9:30 AM. Those parishes who serve on
Soul Saturday will have an opportunity to schedule earlier Liturgies
and then participate in the festive luncheon after the Liturgy in
the Synod. As is customary in the Diocese, a special collection will
take place so that all the parishes can participate in a gift for
3. Closure of St. Michael’s Parish in Newark, NJ
A report was heard from the Diocesan secretary about the proposed
closure of St. Michael’s Church in Newark, NJ. Parish membership has
been reduced to six people and the parish council desires to close
the parish and sell the church and rectory. Discussions are being
held with the parish council to facilitate the closing of the parish
and to invest a portion of the sale funds into the construction or
purchase of a new church in the Southern part of the Diocese. Met.
Hilarion approved the negotiation process and blessed the continued
investigation into this matter.
4. Investigation into the Entry of the Theotokos Convent
Bishop George presented the results of a special investigative
committee that was appointed by Metropolitan Hilarion to investigate
several scandals surrounding the Entry of the Theotokos convent in
Maryland. Serving on the committee were Bishop George (chairman),
Archpriest Victor Potapov (dean), Archpriest Serge Lukianov, and
Hieromonk Alexander (Frizzell). The committee presented its findings
to the ruling bishop and, beginning on July
17/30, in accordance with Directive
the convent is no longer considered a monastic community of the
Russian Church Abroad.
A directive was sent to the convent’s abbess, notifying her of the
decision, and a
statement was published on the diocesan website.
1025th Anniversary of the Baptism of Russia and 75th
Anniversary of St. Vladimir Memorial Church
2013 will mark the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia and
75th anniversary of the founding of St. Vladimir Memorial Church in
Jackson, NJ. The Diocesan Council unanimously approved the idea of a
large scale diocesan celebration to be held on St. Vladimir’s Day,
July 27-28, 2013, with the participation of all diocesan clergy. A
discussion was held about the possibility of hosting a youth
conference during the week leading up to St. Vladimir’s Day, so that
the youth would be able to participate in this monumental
anniversary. The fundamental theme of the conference would be an
analysis of the path of the Church Abroad since 1988, and engagement
of the youth in a discussion about their involvement in the Church
over the next 25 years, particularly pertaining to missionary work
On Wesnesday. July 24, the Great Consecration of the lower church,
in honor of the Holy Equal-of-the-Apostles Princess Olga, will be
Preliminary research for the celebration is being conducted by
representatives of the diocesan administration and the St.
Vladimir’s Society Board of Directors.
400th Anniversary of the
2013 will mark the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov. The
Council resolved to organize a celebration on the Triumph of
Orthodoxy, March 24, 2013, the actual day when Tsar Michael Romanov
ascended the Russian throne in 1613. Council members proposed to
continue the tradition of a joint Great Vespers service with
Patriarchal clergy on the Triumph of Orthodoxy. The exact location
and schedule of events is to be determined and will be discussed in
greater detail at the next Council meeting.
7. General Diocesan Assembly
A report was heard from the Diocesan Secretary about the upcoming
Diocesan Assembly, to be held in the Holy Virgin Protection Parish
Hall in Nyack, NY on October 10. Metropolitan Hilarion’s directive
outlining the assembly procedure was sent to all diocesan clergy.
The Assembly is free of charge, but delegates must register online
by September 20th if they wish to participate. The agenda will
include a state of the diocese address by Metropolitan Hilarion, an
auditing report, financial report, reports on the administration,
media office, and other diocesan organizations and initiatives.
Delegates will vote for members of the Diocesan Council, auditing
committee, and spiritual court. Parish rectors are welcome to
nominate candidates whose names will be printed on the ballots, so
long as they meet the requirements outlined in
ukase №8.34.12 and are received no later than September 20th.
Nominations submitted after September 20th will not be printed on
the voting ballot. If they are approved by the Metropolitan, they
may be written in on the ballots during elections. As per the
Metropolitan’s instructions, the Diocesan Council will be comprised
of 13 members – three hierarchs, five priests, and five laymen
(deacons are here considered laymen). The spiritual court will be
comprised of five priests and the auditing committee will be
comprised of three laymen or clerics.
First Hierarch approved several candidates to be printed on the
voting ballots. Council members resolved to include brief background
information on each candidate to be printed on the ballot.
Diocesan Treasurer Subdeacon Michael Wengrin presented a financial
report to the Council and a list of parishes that are noncompliant
with the Diocesan Financial Policy. Council members reaffirmed their
resolution from the June 4th meeting that stated: "Parishes that
do not pay their dues will not have the right to vote at the general
If parishes have paid their full 2011 dues and have submitted at
least partial payments for 2012, they will be eligible to vote. The
treasury office will contact delinquent parishes to inform them of
their status prior to the Assembly.
Subdeacon Michael also presented a proposed budget for 2013, which
was unanimously approved by the Council and will be presented to the
Assembly for final ratification. Yearly financial reports for
2009-2011 will be presented at the Assembly, along with a complete
list of dues payments for each parish since 2009.
8. Joint Pastoral Conference of the Eastern American Diocese and the
Council members heard a report from the Secretary about the ongoing
preparations for the Joint Pastoral
Conference of the Eastern American Diocese and the Moscow
Patriarchate, to be held on October 11-13. Additional speakers have
been selected to speak at the conference:
Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov) – Deputy Abbot of Sretensky
Monastery in Moscow
Archpriest Victor Potapov – Rector of St. John the
Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC
Archpriest Alexander Golubov
Cleric of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City
Archimandrite Irenei (Steenberg) – Dean of Monastics of the Western
Archpriest Artemy Vladimirov – Rector of All
Saints Church in Krasnoe Selo in Moscow
Several of the senior-ranking clergy delegates will also be chosen
to participate in the panel discussions on a variety of topics,
including missionary work, confession, and the strengthening of
unity between the parishes.
The primary language of the conference will be English, but some
lectures will be delivered in Russian. Two full-time interpreters
will be on hand at all times to offer Russian and English
Council members expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the
conference sponsors: the
Assistance to ROCOR, the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, and
Council members also discussed various issues facing the diocesan
administration in its everyday operations. The meeting concluded
with the singing of "It is truly meet."
Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese