Hat tip to R.D.
October 2613, 2009. Martyrs Carpus, Papylus, Agathadorus, and Agathonica. The “Iveron” icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. The meeting was held on the grounds of the Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh in Valley Cottage, New York. The first day of the conference.
The conference of the ROCA North American Administrative District under the chairmanship of the Most Reverend Metropolitan Agafangel, Chairman and First Hierarch of the ROCA, was attended by: Abp. Andronik, ROCA Synod Secretary B. Georgiy, B. Joseph, Mitred Archpriest Gregory Kotlaroff, Archpriest Vsevolod Dutikow, Archpriest Oleg Mironov, Archpriest Daniel Meschter, North American Administrative District Secretary Fr. Victor Dobroff, Protodeacon Job Chemerov, Deacon Dimitri Dobronravov, Deacon Michael Foster, Mother Agapia (Stephanopoulos), District Treasurer Mark Kotlaroff, John Herbst, Dimitri Gontscharow, Evgeniy Vernikovskiy, and Alla Adrianova-Ivask.
Fr. Nicholas Chernjavsky and Hieromonk Andrew (Erastov) were also present at the conference.
The conference began with a moleben to the Most Holy Theotokos.
At 1400, the following agenda was approved unanimously:
1. Mother Agapia’s report on finding property for a monastery.
2. Establish the Eastern-American and Canadian dioceses and list their respective parishes.
Elect a secretary and a treasurer for each diocese.
3. Discuss attempts to establish relations with the other “fragments” of the ROCA.
4. Discuss the parish by laws of the ROCA.
5. Confirm the monthly tithing amount sent to a diocesan account.
6. Discuss the procedural work performed by the synodal and diocese administrative offices.
7. General discussion of how to improve the overall life of our church – hold choral conferences,
youth conferences, support parish schools, publish books, create websites, conferences,
1. Regarding the first item on the agenda, Mother Agapia told of her efforts to obtain land in New York State to establish a monastery to honor St. Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra.
Protodeacon Job Chemerov proposed to manage the property of the monastery.
Fr. Victor Dobroff suggested having an icon painted identical to the wonder-working icon of St.Nicholas that is in the care of Fr. Elias Warnke to bless this undertaking. He also noted that according to the opinion of Pyotr Nikolayevich Koltypin and several others, the proposed location of the monastery in upstate New York is inconvenient, especially if a cemetery is established there as planned. Also, that it would be good to have youth camps there during the summers.
Metropolitan Agafangel reminded everyone, that given current market conditions and the global economic crisis, it may be better not to rush into the purchase of property for a monastery. He believes there will be excellent opportunities for buying real estate soon.
B. Joseph noted that the property in the vicinity of Utica intended for the monastery is not as far away as it may seem to those people mentioned by Fr. Victor Dobroff.
Archpriest Vsevolod Dutikow, Archpriest Gregory Kotlaroff, and Evgeniy Vernikovskiy agreed with B. Joseph, that its distance from New York is not a limiting factor.
Decided: Accept m. Agapia’s report and to call upon the flocks of the Eastern-American and Canadian dioceses to wholeheartedly support this project.
2. Metropolitan Agafangel’s views on the second item were heard. He proposed to change the structure of the North American Administrative District, which was a temporary body, and establish a separate Eastern-American and Canadian diocese. All participants supported the proposal unanimously.
Decided: To ask the ROCA Synod to dissolve the ROCA North American Administrative District. Abp. Andronik proposed to name Archpriest Oleg Mironov as the Secretary of the Canadian diocese, Phillip Nichols as Treasurer, and Archpriest Andrew Kencis, Alla Adrianova-Ivask, Anna Sauer, Nicholas Timtsenko, and Vladimir Skok as members of the Diocesan Council.
B. Joseph proposed leaving the current administration of the North American District as the administration of the Eastern-American diocese.
Fr. Victor Dobroff did not agree and proposed to elect new officers for the ROCA Eastern-American diocese.
Archpriest Vsevolod Dutikow nominated Dimitri Gontscharow as Secretary of the Eastern-American diocese and Mark Kotlaroff as Treasurer. All participants supported the proposal unanimously and also all agreed to add B. Joseph, Archpriest Vsevolod Dutikow, Fr. Victor Dobroff and Evgeniy Vernikovskiy as members of the Diocesan Council of the Eastern-American diocese.
The conferees also asked the ROCA Synod to consider the establishment of the ROCA Diocese of Syracuse.
B. Joseph was named Chairman of the Ecclesiastical Court of the Eastern-American diocese, which will also include Archpriest Vsevolod Dutikow and Fr. Daniel Meschter.
Abp. Andronik was named Chairman of the Ecclesiastical Court of the Canadian diocese, which will also include Archpriest Oleg Mironov and Fr. Andrew Kencis.
Abp. Andronik was also named Chairman of the Ecclesiastical Court of the Syracuse diocese, which will also include Archpriest Gregory Kotlaroff and Fr. Nikita Grigoriev.
3. Metropolitan Agafangel’s views on the third item were heard. He underlined the necessity of finding a way to unite the “fragments,” while staying the traditional course of the ROCA.
Archpriest Oleg Mironov expressed the view that direct contact should be established between the episcopates of the ROCA and the “fragments.”
B. Joseph said he believes that the “fragments” resulted from the planned and coordinated actions of hidden elements of ROCA’s enemies, and because of this, as much ekonomia as necessary should be used when dealing with the “fragments.”
Fr. Victor Dobroff said uniting the “fragments” of the once-whole Church Abroad, to include the RTOC, is a very important task for the ROCA Synod, though it must remain vigilant to not lose its canonicity.
Archpriest Vsevolod Dutikow supported Fr. Victor’s opinion completely.
Evgeniy Vernikovskiy said he does not understand all the nuances of matters relating to the canons, but that it was still clear to him which was the real ROCA.
Metropolitan Agafangel thanked everyone for their opinions regarding the unification of the “fragments,” which will be discussed further on the Synod session to follow.
The first day session of the ROCA North American District Conference was concluded at 6 PM with a prayer.
October 2714, 2009. Martyrs Nazarius, Gervase, Protase, and Celsus. The meeting was held on the grounds of the Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh in Valley Cottage, New York. The second day of the conference.
The conference of the ROCA North American Administrative District under the chairmanship of the Most Reverend Metropolitan Agafangel, Chairman and First Hierarch of the ROCA, was attended by: Abp. Andronik, Abp. Sofroniy, ROCA Synod Secretary B. Georgiy, B. Joseph, Mitred Archpriest Gregory Kotlaroff, Archpriest Vsevolod Dutikow, Archpriest Oleg Mironov, Archpriest Daniel Meschter, Archpriest Nikita Grigoriev, North American Administrative District Secretary Fr. Victor Dobroff, Protodeacon Job Chemerov, Deacon Dimitri Dobronravov, Deacon Michael Foster, John Herbst, Dimitri Gontscharow, Evgeniy Vernikovskiy, and Alla Adrianova-Ivask.
The conference opened at 9:00 with a prayer.
Metropolitan Agafangel summed up the discussions on the third item the day before and stressed that the unification of ROCA should continue, and when arranging talks to determine ways to unite the divided parts of the Church, the opinions and wishes expressed at the conference should be taken into account. Metropolitan Agafangel believes the process should begin with ROAC, RTOC, and ROCA(V), and an ecclesiastical committee should be formed to meet with representatives of the “fragments.”
Archpriest Nikita Grigoriev noted that in uniting ROCA, the circumstances which caused many to leave ROCOR prematurely, when it united with MP, should be considered.
Archpriest Oleg Mironov felt that it is possible for two parallel church administrations to exist in the same canonical territory.
Bishop Georgiy noted the value of personal contacts between the ROCA episcopate and the other episcopates.
Decided: To bear in mind the comments made by Metropolitan Agafangel and to express the wishes of all present to the ROCA Synod, that further attempts be made for dialogue with the divided parts of the original ROCA.
Metropolitan Agafangel asked the District Secretary, Fr. Victor Dobroff, to read the minutes of the first day of the conference.
After some corrections, the conferees accepted the minutes of the first day without any changes.
The Secretary of the Conference, Fr. Victor Dobroff, proposed to approve the agenda of the second day of the conference, which included items not discussed on the first day:
1. Discuss the parish by laws of the ROCA.
2. Confirm the monthly tithing amount sent to a diocesan account.
3. Discuss the procedural work performed by the synodal and diocese administrative offices.
4. General discussion on how to improve the overall life of our church – hold choral conferences,
youth conferences, support parish schools, publish books, create websites, conferences,
The conferees approved the proposed agenda.
1. Metropolitan Agafangel’s views on the first item were heard. Metropolitan Agafangel believes it is important that parish assets belong to the ROCA Synod, but several clarifications should be made in the legal documents, so that if a parish joins a different jurisdiction, the parishioners who do not want to change, can keep their share of the parish assets. If a parish is closed, the assets would be transferred to the Synod.
Archpriest Vsevolod Dutikow proposed not changing anything in the Parish By-laws.
Archpriest Oleg Mironov proposed decentralizing the arrangement, so that parish assets are managed solely by the parish.
B. Joseph proposed to add bishops to the list of parish trustees.
Archpriest Vsevolod Dutikow reminded everyone what had transpired with the ROCOR parish on 108th Street in New York City.
Archpriest Nikita Grigoriev gave his views on the subject from a religious perspective.
Fr. Victor Dobroff seconded the views of B. Joseph.
B.Joseph said that he agrees with Fr. Nikita, that the religious perspective in this matter is more important than the legal.
Archpriest Oleg Mironov suggested that the example of the St. Xenia of St. Petersburg parish in Ottawa be used in the matter of registering the assets of a parish.
Alla Adrianova-Ivask explained how the St. Xenia of St. Petersburg parish in Ottawa was set up legally and how this protected the parish during a crisis.
At the suggestion of Dimitri Gontscharow, Metropolitan Agafangel proposed to establish a committee to consider the registration of parishes, and this committee would then submit their proposals to the ROCA Synod. B. Joseph, Archpriest Oleg Mironov, Archpriest Nikita Grigoriev, Dimitri Gontscharow, and Alla Adrianova-Ivask were proposed for this committee.
Evgeniy Vernikovskiy proposed to keep copies of the parish registrations in the Synod Chancery.
Metropolitan Agafangel seconded Evgeniy Vernikovskiy proposal.
Decided: To establish a committee to consider the registration of parishes and submit their proposals to the ROCA Synod. It will include B. Joseph, Archpriest Oleg Mironov, Archpriest Nikita Grigoriev, Dimitri Gontscharow, and Alla Adrianova-Ivask. To keep copies of the parish registrations with the Synod Chancery.
2. Metropolitan Agafangel spoke of the monthly tithes to the diocesan treasury. He called upon the conferees to improve the system of tithing.
Archpriest Gregory Kotlaroff proposed plate collections twice monthly for the good of the diocese.
Archpriest Vsevolod Dutikow proposed leaving the current system of a 9% tithe, but that it should be no less than $100 a month.
Dimitri Gontscharow proposed a 10% tithe for the good of the diocese.
Metropolitan Agafangel proposed turning to the parishioners to help support the dioceses and the ROCA Synod through their donations.
Archpriest Nikita Grigoriev explained his parish was experiencing financial difficulties, and at this time, he can only provide a small tithe.
Evgeniy Vernikovskiy explained his parish was experiencing similar difficulties and that they would only be able to make a tithe when possible.
Decided: Along with plate collections every 3 months for the good of the diocese, to establish a mandatory 10% tithe from the parishes, based on profits from the sale of candles, prosfora, and parish stores, and also to establish a collection box for the diocese in every parish. Having received these funds, the dioceses are required to make a monthly 10% tithe to the ROCA Synod. Parishioners are also asked to remember the dioceses and the Synod in their wills.
3. Archpriest Oleg Mironov gave his views on the work performed by the synod and diocese chanceries. He feels that after union with the MP, the procedural work was inadequate, and that in his opinion, it was because everyone had to start from the beginning again.
Bishop Georgiy noted that part of the problem was that the dioceses are so far away from the Synod, and asked that the Eastern-American diocese Secretary be named as an assistant to provide English translations.
Abp. Sofroniy said he is happy with how his Chancery is performing.
Decided: The diocese secretaries must improve the functioning of their chanceries. Name Dimitri Gontscharow to help the Synod Secretary with translating Synod documents into English.
4. Regarding improving the life of the church within ROCA, Metropolitan Agafangel said he believes it can become fuller by staging choral conferences, youth conferences, pilgrimages, and various events held by one or more dioceses.
Archpriest Nikita Grigoriev said, if time allows, his matushka, who is a professional singer, can help by providing instructional courses in choral singing.
Archpriest Oleg Mironov said his parish has three good choir directors, and the idea to hold choral conferences has already been discussed. They hope to have such a conference in December of this year in Ottawa, Canada.
Metropolitan Agafangel asked that parishes order and distribute more materials printed by ROCA printing presses.
Archpriest Gregory Kotlaroff asked that the books by Bishop Averkiy (Taushev) be reprinted and distributed widely.
Dimitri Gontscharow reminded everyone how important it is to support the printing done by Fr. Gregory Williams.
Archpriest Gregory Kotlaroff said that by the Grace of God and the prayers of St. Sergius of Radonezh, the parish school in Valley Cottage was opened and is doing very well.
Abp. Andronik offered to organize a pilgrimage to the Holy Land for clergy and laypeople.
Archpriest Oleg Mironov offered to organize a pilgrimage to Mt. Athos for men.
Evgeniy Vernikovskiy spoke of how the enemies of ROCA keep changing their harassment tactics on the Internet.
Decided: Have Archpriest Oleg Mironov hold a choral conference on December 24-27, 2009, at the Blessed St. Xenia parish in Ottawa, Canada. Have Dimitri Gontscharow and Olga Sauer organize a youth conference some time next year. Ask the rectors to better promote the printed materials produced within ROCA. Have Evgeniy Vernikovskiy put together a catalog of all printed materials produced within ROCA and send it out to all the parishes. Issue a statement of gratitude from the conferees to G. Lukin and all the teachers of the parish school attached to the Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh. Ask Archpriest Nikita Grigoriev, Archpriest Oleg Mironov, and Evgeniy Vernikovskiy to author a short history of ROCA after May 17, 2007, and distribute it to the parishes and the Internet. Have Evgeniy Vernikovskiy make the video from the Vth All-Diaspora Council available to Metropolitan Agafangel and Abp. Sofroniy. They will decide which parts to include in a short film of the event.
As each item was discussed and decided during the conference, Fr. Victor Dobroff read the minutes, which were approved unanimously by the conferees.
This Conference of the ROCA North American Administrative District was concluded with a prayer at 2:35 PM.
+ Metropolitan Agafangel
Bishop of the Eastern-American and New York Diocese
Fr. Victor Dobroff
ROCA North American Administrative District Secretary