Monday, October 22, 2007

Archpastoral Letter from His Eminence

It is always a great joy to receive words of pastoral wisdom from our Archbishop. As many of you know, the central administration of our jurisdiction, located in Syosset, NY, has been enduring a scandal related to the misuse of funds. Our Holy Synod of Bishops and the Metropolitan Council continue to address the various issues and the implementation of better practices for fiscal accountability. The following letter addresses the latest developments in this ongoing crisis.

Profoundly important are the words chosen by His Eminence to conclude his letter: "
move forward reunited in a renewed spirit of cooperation, dedication and sacrifice so that the great mission of The Orthodox Church in America may continue."

The Diocese of the South
The Orthodox Church in America
PO Box 191109
Dallas, TX 75219-1109

Sunday, October 21, 2007
The Venerable Hilarion the Great

To the Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Diocese of the South:

I wish to thank you for your prayers, especially on the Day of Prayer and Fasting held in the Diocese of the South on October 16 during the meeting of the Holy Synod. I believe that in many ways our gracious Lord heard our prayers and assisted all those working last week in Syosset.

I consider the meetings to have borne some important fruit as we all do our part to steer the ship of our beloved Orthodox Church in America through the stormy seas we find ourselves in. Continued cuts in spending were made in what I believe is a necessary course to reduce the size and scope of the central church administration. Additionally a necessary personnel change took place to strengthen the position of OCA treasurer with a person of competent credentials.

The appeal of the former chancellor was also heard and it is being taken under consideration. Each member of the Synod has been charged to review the appeal, point by point, and offer opinions so that when the Holy Synod meets again in December we may render a decision on the merits of the appeal.

I also consider the new attempt to assemble an unhindered special investigation committee answerable only to the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council an important step. If this new committee can ask any question of any person about any subject related to the previous work of the central church administration under review with full access to all documents, then there can be a reasonable expectation that such an investigation will put all of these events into their proper context so that we may learn what occurred, why it happened, and how we can try to avoid any defects in policy and judgment in the future.

Such difficult and confrontational meetings are not something that any of us look forward to. They take their toll on all who participate, but when we fall short of the glory of God, they become a necessary duty of those called to positions of leadership in the Church. Especially in challenging times we must face such tasks with prayerful resolve and determination so that we may demonstrate our love for God, one another, and His Church.

As the senior hierarch on the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America and your diocesan hierarch in the God-protected Diocese of the South, I ask for your continued prayers for me and for all the clergy, monastics, and faithful in this diocese and throughout The Orthodox Church in America. I ask that we keep a steady and open hand and a patient and loving heart as we, hopefully, and finally, resolve the outstanding questions and lingering issues that still confront us. We are a young Church and an even younger diocese but we are also a Church populated with talented and spirit-filled clergy and laity who truly desire to learn the necessary lessons from this chapter in our history and move forward reunited in a renewed spirit of cooperation, dedication and sacrifice so that the great mission of The Orthodox Church in America may continue.

With love in Christ,
Archbishop of Dallas and the South