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To:          The Members of all Parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

From:       The Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Date:        February 20, 2002


As the Archdiocesan Council, we are pleased to communicate with you in order to offer you information about the proposed Charter of the Archdiocese, and to solicit your constructive views and comments on this subject. The present communication is the result of a meeting of the Archdiocesan Council on November 30 and December 1, 2001, during which the proposed Charter was discussed.

A brief history of the proposed Charter seems to be appropriate at this time. Shortly after his arrival in 1999, Archbishop Demetrios appointed a committee to continue the work on revision of the 1977 Charter. Such committee was comprised of Metropolitan Iakovos of Krinis (Diocese of Chicago), Metropolitan Anthony of Dardanelles (Diocese of San Francisco), Metropolitan Maximos of Aenos (Diocese of Pittsburgh), Fr. Chris Kerhulas then President of the Presbyters Council, Fr. Demetrios Constantelos, professor of Church History, Lewis Patsavos, professor of Canon Law at Holy Cross School of Theology, Elenie Huszagh, a member of the legal committee of the Archdiocesan Council and now President of the National Council of Churches, and Emanuel G. Demos, General Counsel of the Archdiocese.

The committee first met in Chicago shortly before Christmas 1999 for two days and reviewed in detail a preliminary draft. The committee met again in January 2000 in New York and proceeded with a further revision of the draft, which then was handed over to the Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese. In turn, the Synod considered the draft at two subsequent meetings which lasted two days each. Next, the Archbishop, in accordance with a recommendation of the Orlando Clergy-Laity Congress of 1998, convened a one day meeting of a broader group consisting of the committee, the Eparchial Synod, and two representatives (one clergy and one lay person) from each Diocese. During the deliberation of this enlarged committee, further revisions were made, and the resulting draft was duly submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a proposed working document.  

His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew appointed a Patriarchal committee to study the submitted document. Such committee consisted of Metropolitan Chyrsostomos of Ephesus, Metropolitan Joachim of Chalcedon, Metropolitan Panteleimon of Tyroloi and Serention, Metropolitan Athansius of Heliopolis and Theira, Metropolitan Meliton of Philadelphia, and Metropolitan Demetrios of Sevasteia. After a period of study by the just mentioned Patriarchal committee, the Patriarch decided to continue the work on the Charter by inviting the Archdiocesan committee, including the entire Eparchial Synod, to join in further deliberations. Such deliberations took place from December 2000 to June 2001 in four subsequent sessions at the Patriarchate, each session consisting of two days of meetings. As a result of these meetings there emerged a revised version of the earlier draft, which draft was presented to and discussed at the November 30th – December 1st 2001 meeting of the Archdiocesan Council. It is this version of the proposed Charter which is included in the present mailing.

As you consider this draft, please bear in mind the nature of a Charter. The Charter can only be granted by the Patriarchate and its purpose is to facilitate governance. While the Ecumenical Patriarchate grants the Charter, its 1700 year history shows that such granting does not take place without listening to and understanding the needs of the faithful and by fulfilling the Apostolic injunction that all things should be done with dignity and in order (I Corinthians 14:40).

Enclosed you will find (a) a copy of the proposed Charter, (b) a copy of the current Charter, existing since 1977, and (c) a summary of what was the sense of the members of the Archdiocesan Council as to what are the salient issues to be considered. By this letter, and in view of the accompanying material, we invite each parish to offer its constructive comments and opinions on the proposed Charter. It is our hope that by this procedure we will accomplish the broadest possible participation. Please offer your constructive comments and opinions no later than March 27, 2002 addressing them to CHARTER, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America 8 East 79th Street New York, NY 10021.

We thank you in advance for your contribution and we pray that God will be always with you.



For the Archdiocesan Council

Michael Jaharis
Vice President of the Archdiocesan Council
of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America


cc:        To the Most Reverend Hierarchs of the Holy Eparchial Synod
            of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

            To the Esteemed Members of the Archdiocesan Council
            of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America