Metropolitan Hilarion led the Winter Session of the Diocesan Council
On Wednesday, December 14, His Eminence
Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, led the Winter
Session of the Diocesan Council in Howell, NJ.
The following Council members took part in the meeting:
His Grace George, Bishop of Mayfield
His Grace Jerome, Bishop of
Archpriest Victor Potapov
Archpriest Serge Lukianov,
Archpriest John Moses
Campbell, Diocesan Treasurer
Deacon George Temidis
meeting began with the prayer "O Heavenly King," after which the
Council sang Memory Eternal to Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky),
on the occasion of the feast day of St. Philaret the Merciful – the
Heavenly patron of the ever-memorable Metropolitan. After prayers,
Council members began their work.
In his introductory remarks, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion,
outlined the key issues in the day’s agenda and delivered an address
on the state of the Diocese. His Eminence
spoke about his recent travels to Australia and France and of the
historic concelebration of the OCA and ROCOR
Synods in the Synodal Cathedral on the Sign on the feast day of
the Kursk Root Icon.
His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, informed the Council of the
most recent ordinations and assignments:
- Diocesan Council member George G. Temidis was tonsured a reader,
ordained a subdeacon and then deacon on September 25, 2011. Deacon
George is assigned to the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos Church
in Mahopac, NY.
- Subdeacon Nikifor Franklin was ordained a deacon and assigned to
Protection of the Mother of God in Rochester, NY on October 16, 2011
- Subdeacon Steven Barker was ordained a deacon and assigned to St.
Elizabeth the New Martyr Church in Rocky Hill, NJ on November 5,
- Reader Alexei Oulanov was ordained a subdeacon and then deacon and
assigned to Intercession of the Holy Virgin Church in Glen Cove, NY
on November 26, 2011.
- Deacon Christopher Johnson cleric of Holy Apostles Church in
Beltsville, MD, was ordained to the priesthood on December 3, 2011.
Fr. Christopher will retain his previous parish assignment.
- Monk Damascenos (Haemmerli) was ordained a subdeacon and hierodeacon
on December 3. On December 4, Hierodeacon Damascenos was ordained a
hieromonk and assigned to Entrance of the Theotokos Convent in
- Monk Basil (Land) was ordained a subdeacon and Hierodeacon and
assigned to Entrance of the Theotokos Convent in Washington, DC on
December 4, 2011.
- Subdeacon Igor Grytsyna was ordained deacon and assigned to Holy
Trinity Monastery in Jordanville on December 4, 2011.
- Archimandrite Athanasy (Mastalski) is released from his duties as
rector of the Church of Our Lady, Joy of All Who Sorrow, in
Philadelphia, PA, and thanked for the labors he carried out there.
Having received a canonical release from Metropolitan Hilarion, Fr.
Athanasy is accepted into the brotherhood at St. Tikhon’s OCA
Monastery in South Canaan, PA.
- Priest Valery Sukholobov is assigned temporary rector of the
Church of Our Lady, Joy of All Who Sorrow, in Philadelphia, PA.
- Archpriest Alexander Davydov, in accordance with his own request,
is released from his duties as rector of Holy Trinity Church in
Mebane, NC, and transferred to the Kursk Diocese under the
omophorion of Archbishop Herman of Kursk and Rylsk.
- Hieromonk Gabriel (Kvasnikov) is released from his duties as
cleric of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign and assigned rector of
Holy Trinity Church in Mebane, NC.
- With the blessing of Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco & Western
America, Archpriest Yaroslav Belikow is released from his duties as
cleric of Joy of All Who Sorrow Cathedral in San Francisco and
accepted into the Eastern American Diocese. Fr. Yaroslav is assigned
rector of St. John the Wonderworker Church in Framingham, MA.
- With the blessing of His Beatitude Christopher, Metropolitan of
the Czech Lands & Slovakia, Archimandrite Alexander (Belya) is
accepted into the Eastern American Diocese and assigned rector of
the new mission of St. Matrona of Moscow in North Miami, FL.
- Priest Alexander Kazak is assigned rector of St. Nicholas Church
in Palm Coast, FL.
- Priest Sergio Silva is released from his duties as cleric of St.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Lakewood, NJ, and transferred to the
South American Diocese under the omophorion of Bishop John of
- Priest Seraphim Chemodakov is transferred from the Australian
Diocese to the Eastern American Diocese and temporarily assigned to
St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Lakewood, NJ.
- Archpriest Boris Oparin is released from his duties as cleric of
Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia Church in Brooklyn and
assigned to the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City.
- Deacon Anatoly Revitskyy is released from his duties as cleric of
St. John the Baptist Church in Brooklyn and assigned to Joy of All
Who Sorrow Church in Philadelphia.
The Metropolitan also informed the Council of the following awards
bestowed upon diocesan clerics:
- Protodeacon Andrej Strapko, cleric of Protection of the Mother of
God Church in Rochester, NY, was awarded the kamilavka on October
- Hieromonk Cyprian (Alexandrou), cleric of Holy Trinity Monastery
in Jordanville, NY, was awarded the gold cross on October 20, 2011.
- Priest Alexander Botschagow, rector of Holy Fathers Church in New
York City, was elevated to Archpriest on October 23, 2011.
- Priest Paul Ivanov, cleric of the Church of Our Lady "The
Inexhaustible Chalice" in Brooklyn, NY, was awarded the gold cross
on November 1, 2011.
- Priest Vadim Arefiev, rector of the Church of Our Lady "The
Inexhaustible Chalice" in Brooklyn, NY, was awarded the kamilavka on
November 1, 2011.
- Archpriest David Straut, rector of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr
Church in Rocky Hill, NJ, was awarded the jeweled cross on November
- Priest Valery Sukholobov, temp. rector of Joy of All Who Sorrow
Church in Philadelphia, PA, was awarded the nabedrennik on November
- Archpriest Andrei Pastukh, rector of St. Andrew’s Church in
Daytona Beach, FL, was awared the jeweled cross on December 8, 2011.
- Archpriest Daniel McKenzie, rector of St. Vladimir’s Church in
Miami, FL, was awarded the jeweled cross on December 8, 2011.
- Archpriest Nicholas Bargoot, cleric of Holy Epiphany Church in
Boston, MA, was awarded the palitsa on December 8, 2011.
- Priest Mark Mancuso, rector of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr Church
in Columbia, SC, was elevated to Archpriest on December 8, 2011.
- Priest Gregoire Legouté, rector of St. Moses Church in Haiti, was
awarded the kamilavka and gold cross on December 8, 2011.
- Priest Gregorio Justiniano, rector of St. John Climacus Church in
Puerto Rico, was awarded the nabedrennik and purple skufia on
December 8, 2011.
- Priest Viktor Orda, rector of Sts. Vera, Nadezha, Lubov, & Sophia
Mission in Kissimmee, FL, was awarded the nabedrennik and purple
skufia on December 8, 2011.
- Priest Steven Webb, rector of Holy Optina Elders Church in Winter
Garden, FL, was awarded the nabedrennik on December 8, 2011.
A list of those awarded a diocesan gramota with the blessing of
- His Grace, Bishop George, and the brethren of Holy Cross Monastery
in Wayne, WV, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the
founding of the monastery – October 2, 2011.
- Abbot Seraphim (Voepel), deputy abbot of Holy Cross Monastery in
Wayne, WV on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the monastery
and in gratitude for his zealous service to the Holy Church –
October 2, 2011.
- Hieromonk Alexander (Frizzell), dean of Holy Cross Monastery in
Wayne, WV on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the monastery
and in gratitude for his zealous service to the Holy Church –
October 2, 2011.
- Archimandrite Luke and the brethren of Holy Trinity Monastery, in
gratitude for their labors in organizing the Autumnal Pastoral
Conference – October 20, 2011.
- Archpriest David Straut, rector of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr
Church in Rocky Hill, NJ, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of
his ordination – November 5, 2011.
- Matushka Faith Straut, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of
Archpriest David Straut’s ordination – November 5, 2011.
- Reader Daniel Lieuwen, parishioner of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr
Church in Rocky Hill, NJ, for his longtime service to the parish –
November 5, 2011.
- The rector and parishioners of the Church of Our Lady, Joy of All
Who Sorrow, in Philadelphia, pA, on the occasion of the 60th
anniversary of the parish’s founding – November 6, 2011.
- James and Olga Fischer, parishioners of the Church of the Entrance
into the Temple of the Theotokos in Syracuse, NY, for their zealous
service to the parish – December 4, 2011.
- The rector and parishioners of St. Vladimir’s Church in Miami, FL,
in gratitude for their labors in organizing the Winter Pastoral
Conference – December 8, 2011.
members heard a report from Archpriest Serge Lukianov on the success
of the Autumn and Winter Pastoral Conferences in Jordanville and
Miami, respectively. Fifty clerics took part in the
Autumnal Conference in Holy
Trinity Monastery. For the first time in the history of the
Diocese, approximately 40 seminarians from Holy Trinity Seminary
participated in discussions with diocesan clergy on issues relating
to spiritual and parish life.
The response from
the clergy and seminarians was incredibly positive. This has led to
the creation of a special program within the Pastoral Resources
Program to regularly organize discussions between seminarians and
At the Autumnal Conference, Deacon Andrei Psarev (professor at Holy
Trinity Seminary) delivered a presentation dedicated to the 75th
anniversary of the repose of Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) and
the interrelationship between Metropolitan Antony and the Anglican
Church. The second day was dedicated to the rich spiritual legacy of
Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky) and Archbishop Averky (Taushev), the
35th anniversary of whose repose was marked in 2011. Reader Peter
Lukianov (Diocesan Media Office staffer and editor of diocesan
publications) delivered a presentation on the lives of the great
hierarchs Nikon and Averky, accompanied by a montage of over 200
At the Winter Pastoral
Conference in Miami, over 60 clerics and their spouses were in
attendance. The principal themes of the lectures were "Orthodox
Psychotherapy" and "Healing Co-Dependency." The lectures were
delivered by Archimandrite Meletios (Webber – abbot of St. John of
Shanghai OCA Monastery in Manton, CA) and Deacon Christophe Lepoutre
(cleric of Holy Virgin Protection Mission in Chattanooga, TN).
On the first day of the conference, participants were given a tour
of Miami and visited the Florida Everglades. At present, Diocesan
Media Office staffers are working on a documentary film about the
Winter Pastoral Conference and videos of the lectures.
The Council expressed its sincere gratitude to the parishioners of
St. Vladimir’s Church and the brethren of Holy Trinity Monastery for
their hospitality. Metropolitan Hilarion expressed his especial
gratitude to the Fund for Assistance to ROCOR for the financial
support it provided to diocesan clergy to cover expenses involved in
attending the conference.
The diocesan secretary presented a completed version of the
new diocesan gramota, as well as a
protocol concerning diocesan gramotas, approved by Metropolitan
Hilarion. The protocol can be download in PDF format
Archpriest John Moses gave a report on the
diocesan library and presented a budget for the council’s approval.
His Eminence approved the budget and allocated $2,500.00 for library
expenses. Council members suggested that an appeal be made to the
Orthodox Theological Fund and the Fund for Assistance to ROCOR, to
help expand the library.
Fr. Serge and Fr. John spoke about the status of the Pastoral
Resources Program (PRP). With the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion,
the Fund for Assistance to ROCOR was sent a proposal to sponsor the
PRP, which would otherwise be unable to be funded by the parishes.
The project will include seminars for clergy, which will be recorded
and published on the diocesan website. The Fund for Assistance
approved a grant to sponsor the diocesan program in the amount of
$44,000, to cover the expenses incurred by the seminars and
purchasing video equipment. Thanks to the
financial aid from the FFA, the PRP is funded for 2012 and will not
be an additional financial burden for the parishes. Read the
proposal to the Fund for Assistance
Metropolitan Hilarion gave his blessing for the creation of an
administrative committee for the PRP, under the chairmanship of
Bishop George. The members of the committee are: Archpriest Serge
Lukianov, Archpriest John Moses, Archpriest Steven Ritter,
Archpriest Mark Mancuso, Deacon George Temidis, Reader Peter
Lukianov, and Matushka Anne Mancuso. Upon completion of the first
meeting of the committee, further information about the program will
be published on the diocesan website.
Council members heard a report from Reader Peter Lukianov on the
work being done by the Diocesan Media Office.
Based on a resolution concerning the
expansion of Media Office activities, adopted at the previous
session of the Diocesan Council, a new editor of Russian diocesan
publications, Matushka Alena Plavsic, has been working on upgrading
the journalistic standards of the diocesan website by increasing the
amount of articles and interviews. Work on the website redesign has
been stalled due to the extraordinary amount of projects currently
being worked on in the Media Office. The new design of the website
is expected to be completed by January 1, 2012.
Peter spoke of the importance of video journalism as a key part of
the media office expansion. With the blessing of Metropolitan
Hilarion, Reader Innocent Correa (parishioner Holy Optina Elders
Church in Winter Garden, FL)
has begun working with the Diocesan Media Office; he will focus on
recording and producing documentary films and seminary videos for
the Pastoral Resources Program.
By filming and
publishing a series of PRP videos for the diocesan website, the
media office hopes to eventually expand into documentaries and news
videos. The PRP seminars will be an invaluable resource, provided at
no cost to all diocesan clergy and clergy from around the world.
Council members discussed the need to increase funding to the
diocesan Media Office so that new staff can be hired to assist with
the ever-growing workload and new projects. Met. Hilarion gave his
blessing to launch an online fundraising campaign in an effort to
find alternate sources of income for the work of the Media Office.
His Eminence approved of the work of the Media Office, and called
down God’s blessing on its staffers, asking that they be granted
help in the completion of their projects.
Fr. John presented a report on the
Diocesan Volunteers in Mission (VIM) program, and spoke about a
planned trip to St. Nicholas Monastery in North Ft. Myers, FL, on
February 5-12, 2012Fr. John also reported
on his meetings with Priest Gregoire Legouté (rector of St. Moses
Church in Haiti) about the possibility of scheduling several work
weeks in Haiti through the VIM program. Fr. John will organize a
planning trip to Haiti once a general contractor is found to assist
with the building projects. Council members approved funding for
travel expenses associated with VIM projects. Detailed information
about upcoming VIM projects will be published on the diocesan
website in the near future.
A discussion was held about the needs of diocesan missions in the
Caribbean. The Haitian missions rely solely on the financial aid
from the Fund for Assistance to ROCOR in order to survive. Thanks to
the FFA, several clerics from the Caribbean were able to attend the
pastoral conferences and speak about their lives as missionaries.
Priest Gregoire Legouté spoke extensively about the difficulties
that the Orthodox faithful in Haiti face on a daily basis. Priest
Gregory Justiniano (rector of St. John Climacus Church in Puerto
Rico) gave an interview about the spread of Orthodoxy in Puerto Rico
and the need for liturgical books in Spanish. Council members
discussed the unique challenge of obtaining liturgical books in
Spanish and French to help our mission parishes spread the Gospel of
Christ. The Media Office plans to publish several interviews and
feature stories about the challenges that face our mission parishes
in the Caribbean.
Council members discussed issues relating to several joint projects
and events between the Eastern American Diocese and the Orthodox
Business Association (OBA). Fr. Serge spoke about a
recent trip by Association members to
Holy Cross Monastery for a meeting with members of the
Monastery’s Benevolent Committee to discuss joint projects. The OBA
took the initiative in beginning "Project Kellia," which will gather
needed funds to build residences for the monks.
In seeking out assistance for the monastery, the OBA invited
Russian artist and architect Alexey
Naumovich Neiman, in the churches designed by whom hundreds of
the faithful in Russia and Belarus pray today. Currently, he is
helping to design a new cathedral and monastery complex for Holy
Cross Monastery. In addition to "Project Kellia," the OBA is seeking
to create a new brand name: "The Orthodox Farm," which will
represent goods produced in all of the monasteries of the Eastern
American Diocese. Reader Peter spoke of
the important role that the Media Office plays in the process of
helping diocesan monasteries by bringing attention to the challenges
that monasteries are faced with as they try to expand.
Aside from working with monasteries, the OBA has been collaborating
with the Diocese on several other projects and initiatives. The OBA
helped the parishioners of Holy New Martyrs of Russia Church in
Brooklyn, NY, complete the process of purchasing the church building
which they have been renting for several years. The Association is
also helping several diocesan clerics by offering medical and legal
assistance through their network of Orthodox professionals. Met.
Hilarion expressed his sincere gratitude to
OBA president Igor K. Popov and
his co-workers, for helping with the purchase of Holy New Martyrs
Church and for the fruitful working relationship between the Diocese
and the Association.
members discussed the upcoming Diocesan Meeting, planned for 2012.
Metropolitan Hilarion informed the Diocesan Council that in
February, he will undergo a second knee-replacement surgery in
Australia, and recommended that the meeting be postponed until after
Pascha. His Eminence approved a proposal to holy the meeting
alongside a pastoral conference and the diocesan celebrations in
honor of the fifth anniversary of the Reunification with the Moscow
Patriarchate. It was proposed that, on the first day of the
conference, a General Meeting of diocesan clergy and delegates from
the Eastern American Diocese be held. The following two days would
be held jointly with clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate, including
discussions of various aspects of the restoration of unity within
the ROC. These types of meetings would allow all of the members of
the diocesan clergy to take part in celebrating the fifth
anniversary of Reunification.
discussing the necessary preparations needed for the General Meeting
of the Diocese, Fr. Serge proposed that a comprehensive report be
printed and distributed to the rectors to share with their parish
councils. The report would outline the major achievements of the
past three years, in the process of reorganizing the diocesan
administration and the creation of new offices and departments. Past
financial reports and a budget for 2012-2013 will also be included,
along with a vision and plan for the future of the Diocese. The
proposal for a three-year report and plan for the future was
unanimously approved and Met. Hilarion tasked Fr. Serge with
creating a work group to organize the Diocesan General Meeting and
diocesan celebration of the fifth anniversary of Reunification. The
work group will collaborate with the Administrator of Patriarchal
Parishes in the USA, His Eminence, Archbishop Justinian, and a work
group from the Patriarchal parishes to organize the celebration.
Specific information about the dates and location of the General
Meeting and Pastoral Conference will be published in a press release
on the diocesan website as soon as it becomes available.
Council members heard a report from diocesan treasurer Priest Jonah
Campbell about the financial state of the Diocese, and also reviewed
reports on the status of collecting parish dues and conducting
audits of several delinquent parishes. Metropolitan Hilarion gave
instructions to look into those parishes that have not been
following the financial requirements set forth by the Diocese, and
approved carrying out audits in delinquent parishes.
Since his assignment as rector of Christ
the Savior Church in Wayne, WV, it has become increasingly difficult
for Fr. Jonah to continue serving as diocesan treasurer. His
Eminence accepted Fr. Jonah’s resignation and thanked him for his
years of dedicated service and for creating a proper accounting
structure and financial policy for the diocese. Fr. Jonah will
continue to serve as a financial advisor until a permanent treasurer
is appointed. In the interim, Met. Hilarion appointed Subdeacon
Michael Wengrin as temporary diocesan treasurer, and Reader Gregory
Levitsky as assistant treasurer, until the upcoming General Meeting.
Subdeacon Michael is in the process of moving to Howell where he
will work closely with the diocesan administration to continue the
work of the treasury.
Metropolitan Hilarion raised the issue of certain parishes within
the Diocese who do not conform to the Normal ROCOR Parish By-Laws.
His Eminence underscore the necessity of having all new and existing
parishes conform to the Normal ROCOR Parish By-Laws and hold annual
parish meetings. All questions relating to parish life should be
directed by the rectors to the diocesan administration. With
Metropolitan Hilarion’s blessing, the next meeting of the Diocesan
Council will take place during Great Lent under the chairmanship of
concluded with the troparion "It is truly meet."
Republication of materials must include a reference to:
"Eastern American Diocese www.eadiocese.org."
Office of the Eastern American Diocese