Diocesan Representative Report March 2008 Meeting
By Lee Kopulos
The clergy of the Diocese met Feb. 11-13 at the Carmelite Retreat Center,
A Short Discussion on the History of the Ecclesiology of the Church.
Fr. Robert Arida of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Boston presented a discussion
on how the Church should be organized (Ecclesiology) given the fact that the OCA needs reform.
The original structure of the Holy Orthodox Church in its early phase was on the basis of
conciliarity between bishop, clergy and laity. A strong emphasis for the Church was placed in the
Eucharist. In Acts 15 we see that the Apostles, elders and whole Church chose men along with Paul
and Barnabas to deliver decisions of the whole council to Antioch (Acts 15:22). The Holy Spirit
was deemed active in them here, “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…(Acts 15:28)
Later after the Christian Church became the Faith of the Empire
(The Byzantine Era) a symphonia between the Church and State is realized. Lay participation is
non-existent. The Emperor plays a major role along with the Bishops. The Seven Ecumenical councils
are called and help form the Church as it grows and develops.
The OCA is organized similar to the reforms of The Moscow Council of 1917-18.
It sought to bring back a more conciliar format for the Church after Peter the Great reduced the
church to a department of state. According to Fr. Arida the implementation of conciliarity was
not successful here in America. While he does not give specific reasons, certainly the onslaught
of communism hindered this approach in Russia and episcopal dominance here in America, even though
the OCA Statues are clear and conciliar.
Where are we going? Fr. Arida claims that although the OCA was designed under
conciliar structure, it became very quickly dominated by the episcopacy. This has sparked a wave
of anti-clericalism, parochialism and individualism. He believes we need to get back to
conciliarity. How this is done is another matter and not discussed by him.
The diocesan discussion then concluded the best way to get back to conciliarity
and fire people up was witnessed at the All American Council in Toronto where mission was
discussed. Soon the Toronto Assembly recognized that the OCA had not been mission minded,
yet its visionary statements all reflected this central focus of mission.
Therefore, the Midwest Diocesan Council will work up a resolution for the AAC
in Pittsburgh in November to reorganize the OCA diocese along functions that reflect an evangelical
Also, the meeting formulated statements and concerns on the selection and
election of metropolitans and bishops including term limits for a metropolitan and procedures
for no-confidence and exit from the position.
It will recommend a mandatory retirement age of 75 for both.
This body is recommending a complete diocesan territory review for possible
reorganization coupled with a minimum of functions at the national church level since there has been
function overlapping. These changes would reduce the amount of money needed at the national level
and give more to a diocese.
I will report on the final draft of these resolutions and proposals as they come
available. It is sufficient to say here that this diocese is very serious in its quest to correct
the terrible administrative misconduct of the recent past and to offer concrete and proper
reforms for the OCA to consider redeeming itself and keeping its future for the generations
What we are seeking is a renewal in the Church similar to St. Paul’s
exhortation to the Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by
the renewing of your mind, that we may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect
will of God.”
Currently, we are working on two major projects:
1) A new Welcome Brochure for the newly arrived guest. In fact we will
produce two types – one for the Orthodox guest and one for the non- Orthodox. These will be
in color with photos and in a new folder with Welcome printed on the front.
2) Proposals for the redesign of the Narthex. We have received two bids with one more
coming. It looks like a cost of around $10-11,000 including a much needed cabinet for the sacristy.
I expect to have a decision for your approval in the next two weeks.