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Special Regulations and Uniform Parish Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

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Under the Spiritual Jurisdiction
of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

1996
NEW YORK

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preamble
Definition of Terms

CHAPTER I
SPECIAL REGULATIONS
Article I
Article II
Article III
Article IV
CHAPTER II
UNIFORM PARISH REGULATIONS

PART ONE
Article I
Parish
Article II
Parish Property
Article III
Clergy
Article IV
Parish Administration
Article V
Parishioners
Article VI
Parish Assembly
Article VII
Parish Council
Article VIII
Elections of Parish Council
Article IX
Ratification of Election of Parish Council
and Oath of Office
Article X
Election of Parish Council Officers
Article XI
Meetings of Parish Council
Article XII
Duties of Parish Council
Article XIII
Board of Elections
Article XIV
Board of Auditors
Article XV
Fiscal Year, Financial Reports and Budget
Article XVI
Parish Ministries and Organizations
Article XVII
Non-Viable Parish
Article XVIII
Merger of Parishes


PART TWO
Article I
Article II

PART THREE
Article I

PART FOUR
Article I

 

 



PREAMBLE

In 1996, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, out of pastoral concern for the Faithful, created out of the former Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America the following bodies: the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; the Metropolitanate of Toronto and All Canada; the Metropolitanate of Panama and Central America; and the Metropolitanate of Buenos Aires and South America. For legal, practical, and all other purposes, the Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America will remain in effect until such time that it is appropriately amended to reflect the new ecclesial reality known as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

The Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America provides for the promulgation of Regulations to implement the governance of the Archdiocese. As with the Charter, such Regulations shall remain in effect until they are amended, in accordance with the above-mentioned changes and in accordance with established procedures. For the time being, any and all references in these Regulations to the Archdiocese, or to the Archdiocese of North and South America shall mean the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Chapter I contains the Special Regulations which implement the establishment by the Charter of the Archdiocesan Clergy-Laity, and Archdiocesan Council, Diocesan Clergy-Laity Assemblies and Diocesan Councils.

Chapter 11 contains the Uniform Parish Regulations which govern the Parishes of the Archdiocese and sets forth the relationship of the parish to the Archdiocese and the Diocese, in accordance with the Charter and the teachings of the Greek Orthodox Church, as the local Eucharistic community of the Body of Christ.

The Special Regulations and Uniform Parish Regulations are hereinafter referred to as these Regulations.

These Special Regulations and Uniform Parish Regulations are currently recorded as amended by the 31st Clergy-Laity Congress.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

THE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH or CHURCH
The total organized body of communicants of the Greek Orthodox Faith.

THE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH IN THE AMERICAS
The total organized body of the Greek Orthodox communicants in North and South America.

THE GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA or ARCHDIOCESE
The highest spiritual and governing authority of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Americas.

ARCHDIOCESAN CHARTER or CHARTER
The Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America granted to us by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

SYNOD OF BISHOPS
The hierarchical legislative body of the Archdiocese.

ARCHDIOCESAN CLERGYLAITY CONGRESS
The highest legislative body of the Archdiocese.

ARCHDIOCESAN COUNCIL
The advisory and consultative body to the Archbishop and interim legislative body between Clergy-Laity Congresses.

DIOCESAN CLERGYLAITY ASSEMBLY
The meeting of the parishes within each Diocese.

DIOCESAN COUNCIL
The advisory and consultative body to the Bishop.

SPIRITUAL COURTS
The judicial bodies of the Archdiocese and the Dioceses having jurisdiction over spiritual and canonical matters.

THE PARISH
The local organized body of communicants of the Church.

PARISH ASSEMBLY
The general meeting of the members of the Parish.

PARISH COUNCIL
The administrative body of the Parish.

CHAPTER I

SPECIAL REGULATIONS

ARTICLE I

ARCHDIOCESAN CLERGY-LAITY CONGRESS

Section 1:
The Archdiocesan Clergy-Laity Congress is comprised of the following, each having one vote: the Archbishop, the Bishops, the clergy and lay representatives of the parishes, and the members of the Archdiocesan Council.

Section 2:
Each parish shall be represented by four delegates, each having one vote, and shall include the Priest, the President of the Parish Council and in his absence the Vice President or in his absence any member of the Parish Council designated by it, and two members of the parish elected by the Parish Assembly.

Section 3:
Except for questions of a doctrinal or canonical nature, the Clergy-Laity Congress shall concern itself with all matters affecting the life, growth and unity of the Church, her institutions, her finances, her administration, educational and philanthropic concerns, and her growing role in the religious life of the nations of the western hemisphere.

Section 4:
The presiding officer of the Clergy-Laity Congress shall be the Archbishop or his appointed representative. The Secretariat shall be appointed by the Chair.

Section 5:
A majority of the accredited registered delegates shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of conducting the business of the Congress.

Section 6:
The Clergy-Laity Congress shall be convened biennially by the Archbishop. It may be convened in extraordinary session if need be. The time and place of the Congress shall be fixed by the Archdiocesan Council.

Section 7:
The Archdiocese shall prepare the agenda for the Clergy-Laity Congress and
shall submit the agenda to the Parishes not later than sixty days prior to the convening of the Congress.

In order to assist the Archdiocese in preparation of the agenda, each Diocesan Clergy-Laity Assembly shall submit items for inclusion in the agenda to the Archdiocese within thirty days after they have been approved by the Diocesan Assembly and not later than 120 days before the convening of the Congress, together with the reasons for each item. Any Parish having items it wishes considered at the Clergy-Laity Congress shall submit them to the Diocesan Clergy-Laity Assembly for consideration and, if approved for and inclusion in the items submitted by the Diocesan Clergy-Laity Assembly.

Section 8:
The Archdiocese shall prepare its proposed budget for presentation to the Clergy-Laity Congress through the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council in consultation with the Archbishop and the Department of Economic Development of the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese shall send the budget to the Parishes for use by the delegates no later than thirty days prior to the convening of the Congress.

Section 9:
The decisions of the Clergy-Laity Congress, after ratification by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, shall be transmitted in Greek and English texts to the Parishes of the Archdiocese.

ARTICLE II

ARCHDIOCESAN COUNCIL

Section 1:
The Archdiocesan Council is the advisory and consultative body to the Archbishop. It interprets and implements the decision of the Clergy-Laity Congress and these Regulations, administers the temporal and financial affairs of the Archdiocese and possesses interim legislative authority between Clergy-Laity Congresses.

Section 2:
The Archdiocesan Council shall be comprised of the following: The Archbishop, the Diocesan Bishops, the Auxiliary Bishops and three members (one from the clergy and two from the laity) from each Diocese elected by the delegates to the Diocesan Clergy-Laity Assembly held before the Clergy-Laity Congress, and thirty-one members appointed by the Archbishop. The members of the Archdiocesan Council shall serve for a two year term starting at the end of each Clergy-Laity Congress. Life members appointed prior to July 1, 1992 shall be voting members during the tenure of the Archbishop who appointed them. The Presidents of the institutions and organizations of the Archdiocese shall be members.

Section 3:
The Archbishop convenes the Archdiocesan Council at least twice a year.

Section 4:
In addition to the Archbishop as Chairman, the Archdiocesan Council shall have a Vice Chairman, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and such additional officers as it may require, elected at its first meeting following the biennial Clergy-Laity Congress.

Section 5:
From the membership of the Archdiocesan Council, the Archbishop shall appoint an Executive Committee of nine, including the Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, which shall have in the interim, between meetings of the Archdiocesan Council, all of its authority, excluding legislative and investment powers, and shall meet at the direction of the Archbishop.

Section 6:
In the event interim legislation is required between Clergy-Laity Congresses, the Archbishop shall convene the Archdiocesan Council for the purpose of adopting such legislation.

ARTICLE III

DIOCESAN CLERGY-LAITY ASSEMBLY


Section 1:
The Diocesan Clergy-Laity Assembly concerns itself with all matters affecting the life and growth of the Church within the Diocese.

Section 2:
The Diocesan Clergy-Laity Assembly is comprised of the following, each having one vote: the Bishop, the clergy and lay representatives of the Parishes (as provided by Section 3), the members of the Diocesan Council and the members of the Archdiocesan Council in that Diocese.

Section 3:
Each parish shall be represented by three delegates, each having one vote and shall include the Priest, the President of the Parish Council or in his or her absence the Vice President or in his or her absence any officer of the Parish Council and any member of the Parish Council designated by it.

Section 4:
The Diocesan Assembly shall be convened by the Bishop annually in order tht Parishes shall have the opportunity to discuss matters of common concern and to submit proposals and recommendations to the Archdiocese for submission to the next Clergy-Laity Congress. Parishes shall be notified of the convening of the Diocesan Assembly no later than ninety days in advance. If the Diocesan Clergy-Laity Assembly does not meet prior to the Clergy-Laity Congress the parishes in that Diocese may submit their proposals and recommendations directly to the Archdiocese.

Section 5:
The presiding officer of the Diocesan Clergy-Laity Assembly shall be the Bishop or his appointed representative. The Secretariat shall be appointed by the Chair.

ARTICLE IV

DIOCESAN COUNCIL

Section 1:
The Diocesan Council is the advisory and consultative body to the Bishop.

Section 2:
The Diocesan Council shall be comprised of the Bishop, nine clergymen elected by the Diocesan Clergy Syndesmos, up to eleven lay persons elected by the Diocesan Clergy Laity Assembly and appointees by the Bishop from the clergy and lay persons totalling no more than six clergy and laity representatives.

Section 3:
The Diocesan Council shall be convened at least twice each year by the Bishop. Its members shall serve for a one year term starting at the end of each Diocesan Clergy-Laity Assembly.

Section 4:
In addition to the Bishop as President, the Diocesan Council shall have a Vice-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer and such additional officers as it may require elected at its first meeting following the annual Diocesan Clergy-Laity Assembly.

CHAPTER II

UNIFORM PARISH REGULATIONS


PART ONE

ARTICLE I

PARISH


Section 1:
The aims and purposes of the Parish are to keep, practice and proclaim the Orthodox Christian Faith pure and undefiled.

Section 2:
The Parish is the local eucharistic community of the Church in a given locality, organized under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese, whose ecclesiastical authority is its canonically consecrated Bishop. Locally, the Parish is headed by a canonically ordained Priest heretofore duly appointed by the Archbishop or hereafter duly appointed by the Bishop in the Diocese in which the Parish is located. The assignment of such appointed Priest shall bind the Parish to the Archdiocesan Special and Uniform Parish Regulations (hereinafter referred throughout as these Regulations) with the same force and effect as if the same were formally approved and adopted by the Parish.

Section 3:
Parishes shall be governed in accordance with the holy canons, the Archdiocesan Charter and regulations promulgated thereunder, and as to canonical and ecclesiastical matters by the decisions of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Synod of Bishops of the Archdiocese. In accordance with the Charter, the Parish shall express the life of the Church in the local community according to the Eastern Orthodox faith and tradition, sanctifying the faithful through the divine liturgy and the holy sacraments and edifying the religious and ethical life of the faithful in accordance with the holy scriptures, the decrees and canons of the holy apostles and the seven ecumenical councils of the Ancient Undivided Church, as interpreted by the practice of the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople.

Section 4:
The diakonia (work and ministry) of the Parish will include proclaiming the Gospel in accordance with the Orthodox faith, sanctifying the faithful through God's grace in worship, the divine liturgy and the other sacraments, enhancing their spiritual life, adding to their numbers by instructing others and receiving them into the Church through baptism and/or chrismation, educating them in the Orthodox faith and in the ethos of the Church through the establishment of programs, schools and philanthropic activities and implementing Christian ministries.

Section 5:
The members of the Parish shall conform faithfully to the worship and sacramental life of the Church, its doctrines, and canons, discipline, the Archdiocesan Charter and the regulations promulgated thereunder and the encyclicals of the Church.

Section 6:
Any non-conformance shall be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Canons. The Archbishop shall have the power to revoke the ecclesiastical charter of a Parish and/or to suspend or remove the Parish Council from office whenever, in his judgment, there is aufficient cause for such action after consultation with the Bishop. In each case of such a revocation, suspension or mmoval, notice of the same shall be forwarded to the Parish Council in writing stating the cause for such action. The Parish shall furthermore abide by the decisions of the Clergy-Laity Congress irrespective of whether it was represented thereat. the administrative determinations of the Archdiocesan Council, and such interim legislation as may be adopted between Archdiocesan Clergy-Laity Congresses by the Archdiocesan Council.

Section 7:
Each Parish shall be known as the Greek Orthodox Church of (name and locality). Each Parish shall use the authorized logo of the Archdiocese and the name of its Diocese on its stationery and publications.

Section 8:
A Parish shall have only one church edifice unless otherwise determined by the Synod of Bishops and the Archdiocesan Council.

ARTICLE II

PARISH PROPERTY


Section 1:
The Church edifice and other buildings constituting Parish property shall be used in accordance with the Charter to serve the religious, educational, cultural and philanthropic ministries of the Parish. Parish property shall be held by the Parish to carry out the purposes of the Orthodox Christian faith as defined in Article 1.

Section 2:
The Parish shall hold title to all of its real and personal property in its corporate name and no other, except as otherwise required by any applicable law. The Parish Council shall administer such property for the Parish.

Section 3:
The Parish may purchase real property, or sell, mortgage or otherwise encumber its real property upon approval of two-thirds of the members present at a Parish Assembly duly called for that purpose upon ten days written notice and the subsequent consent of the Diocesan Bishop in consultation with the Diocesan Council. In the case of the acquisition of realty, the acquisition of realty with an existing structure or the construction of a church edifice or other buildings, a request for the consent of the Diocesan Bishop shall be submitted by the Parish to the Diocesan Bishop who in consultation with the Diocesan Council, shall review the request and render his decision.

The request shall be in writing and shall include verification of the affirmative decision of the Parish Assembly, a survey of the realty and improvements if any, a description of the surrounding area including its relationship to other Parishes, if any, financial statements as to the financing, including the cost, the manner and terms of purchase and the contemplated sources of income for payment and maintenance thereof and such other information as shall be pertinent or thereafter requested by the Diocesan Bishop. The Diocesan Bishop shall appoint an ad hoc committee comprised of persons with expert knowledge and experience in finance, real estate, building construction and such other matters as he may deem appropriate to advise him and the Diocesan Council in their review of such application.

The Diocesan Bishop shall render his decision in writing to the Parish within thirty days of the receipt of the Parish's application for such consent or the receipt of the last information which is requested whichever is later. In the event that no decision is rendered within such time, the consent shall be deemed to have been granted.

Except for the verification of the affirmative decision by the Parish Assembly, the Diocesan Bishop, under such circumstances as he, in his discretion, may deem appropriate, may waive any or all of the requirements for the submission of supporting documentation.

Section 4:
In order to maintain an Archdiocesan standard for architectural iconographic and artistic integrity, before a Parish shall proceed to have final plans prepared for the erection of a church structure or other parish buildings, the major structural alteration to an existing church structure or other parish buildings, or the decoration, including iconography, of a church structure, it shall submit the preliminary plans therefor to the Bishop who shall forward the same to the Archbishop for approval. All final plans for any such construction, alteration, and/or decoration, shall be submitted to the Bishop in a like manner for approval by the Archbishop before the Parish enters into any contract for the accomplishment of such work.

Section 5:
All special bequests, gifts, and devises shall be used by the Parish only for the purposes for which they were made.

Section 6:
In the event of heresy, schism, or defection from the Archdiocese, the Archbishop, in consultation with the Diocesan Bishop, shall have the power to declare the Parish in canonical disorder and to immediately assume the administration of the Parish and control of its properties until the Archbishop, in consultation with the Diocesan Bishop, declares the parish is to be in canonical order. In the event that this does not occur and the Parish is dissolved, title to the properties shall immediately devolve to the Archdiocese

ARTICLE III

CLERGY

Section 1:
The Diocesan Bishop, by virtue of his canonical consecration and appointment, and in accordance with the Archdiocesan Charter, is accountable in conscience before God and the Church for his Diocese to the Archbishop and Exarch and to the Synod of Bishops in shepherding the Diocese entrusted to his care, directing its orderly life, preserving its unity with the Archdiocese, keeping it faithful to its divine purpose, proclaiming the kerygma of the Apostles and the Dogmas of the Church Fathers, preaching the Word, teaching the commandments of a New Life, imparting a clear knowledge of the doctrines, traditions, canons and disciplines of the Church and guiding the growth, progress and enlightment of the Diocese in the Orthodox Christian life.

The Diocesan Bishop will regularly bless and systematically supervise each Parish, evaluating its life and progress, advising and insuring its conformity with the Charter, Regulations and teachings of the Church. He shall be responsible to the Archbishop for and shall report on the diakonia and spiritual condition of his Parishes to the Archbishop and the Synod of Bishops, and shall inform the Diocese Presbyters, his Diocesan Council and his Parishes of these matters.

Section 2:
The Priest or Proistamenos, by virtue of his canonical ordination and episcopal appointment, heads the parish of the Diocese and exercises in its behalf the priestly duties, which consists in shepherding the Parish entrusted to his pastoral care, directing its orderly life, preserving its unity, keeping it faithful to its divine purpose, sanctifying his flock through the administration of the sacraments and the performance of all other prescribed services of worship, proclaiming the kerygma of the Apostles and the Dogma of the Fathers, preaching the Word, teaching the commandments of the New Life, imparting a knowledge of the doctrines, traditions, canons and disciplines of the Church, and guiding the growth, progress and enlightenment of the congregation in the Christian life. Priests and Deacons of each Diocese are accountable to the Diocesan Bishop and will submit to him a report of their ministry semiannually in a format provided by the Bishop.

No Priest shall be terminated by anyone without reassignment. In the event that a Priest is removed without cause, or can not perform his priestly duties, and has not arbitrarily refused reassignment, the Archdiocese will provide for maintenance of his current remuneration and benefits, until he is reassigned provided he does not refuse reassignment.

Section 3:
The clergy are assigned or transferred by the Bishop within his Diocese by virtue of the authority of his office and in accordance with the canons, ecclesiastical procedure and the needs of the Diocese. In accordance with the aforementioned canons and ecclesiastical procedure, neither the Parish Council nor the Parish Assembly is authorized to dismiss a Parish Priest. Prior to the assignment or transfer of a Priest, the Parish Council of the respective Parish shall be informed by the Bishop regarding his decision. Clergy entering the Archdiocese from the Holy Cross Theological School or otherwise shall be initially assigned by the Archbishop at the request of the Bishop of the Diocese. Clergy may be transferred between Dioceses in accordance with the provisions of Article XX of the Archdiocesan Charter.

Section 4:
The Priest shall have charge of all matters of divine worship of the Parish, the spiritual life and growth, and the personnel connected therewith and the use of all Parish property relating thereto. He shall keep the registers of marriages, baptisms, chrismations, and funerals, and a record of the donations and purchases of all sacred appointments.

Section 5:
When transferred, reassigned or removed, the Priest shall deliver to his successor or to the Bishop the sacred vessels, sacred appointments, all registers, all religious records and written inventory thereof.

Section 6:
Where there is more than one Priest in a Parish, the head of the Parish clergy is the Proistamenos. The appointment of assistant clergy to the Proistamenos is made by the Bishop, at the request of and with the consent of the Proistamenos. The assistant clergy shall be directly responsible to the Proistamenos.

Section 7:
The Archdiocesan Council in consultation with the Councils of Presbyters will establish remunerative standards for the Clergy including provisions for annual increments and cost of living increases. The Parish shall also assume the following obligations.

1. To provide a parish home or housing allowance including the payment of all utilities where applicable.

2. To provide a Blue Cross-Blue Shield Family Plan and Major Medical Plan or similar coverage, if such plans are not established and maintained by the Archdiocese. The standards for such plans shall be established by the Archdiocese.

3. To pay the full cost of Social Security coverage.

4. To provide travel and automobile allowances and immigration fees, if any.

5. To defray all expenses incurred in attending ClergyLaity Congresses or Diocese Clergy-Laity Assemblies.

6. To provide for an annual vacation period of fifteen days plus an additional week for each five years of ordained service to a maximum of five weeks, irrespective of the time served in the Parish, provided he has obtained from the Bishop written permission to absent himself from his Parish.

Section 8:
A Priest's remuneration may not be withheld or lowered without the consent of the Bishop. Should a Priest become ill while in the service of a Parish, he shall be compensated fully during such illness for a period of at least three months. When a Priest is assigned to a Parish, his moving and travel expenses are assumed by that Parish.

Section 9:
Following every fifth year of ordination, each Priest shall participate in the ongoing education program of the Archdiocese by attending a three-week seminar at Hellenic College or any other place selected by the Archdiocese.

Section 10:
It shall be mandatory for each Priest to join and maintain membership in the Archdiocesan Pension Program in accordance with the provisions of said program.

ARTICLE IV

PARISH ADMINISTRATION


Section 1:
The Priest as head of the Parish, by virtue of the ecclesiastical authority vested in him, shall guide and oversee the total Parish program, and is ultimately responsible with the Parish Council to the Bishop for the whole life and activities of his Parish.

Section 2:
Each Parish shall be administered by the Priest and a Parish Council cooperatively.

Section 3:
If a problem should arise between a Priest and the Parish Council, the matter shall not be brought before the Parish Assembly. The Priest or the Parish Council shall have the right to refer the matter to the Bishop whose decision shall be final.

ARTICLE V

PARISHIONERS


Section 1:
Any person, eighteen years of age or over, who was baptized according to the rites of the Church, or was received into the Church through chrismation, who lives according to the faith and canons of the Church, who has met his or her stewardship obligation (part of which is to meet his or her stewardship financial obligation to the Parish) and abides by the regulations herein and the by-laws of the Parish, is a member in good standing of the Parish, except that a person under twenty-one shall not serve on the Parish Council when such service is contrary to local law.

Section 2:
A person qualifying for membership in good standing as above and wishing to be a member of more than one Parish must pay his or her financial stewardship obligations to each Parish.

Section 3:
No person shall be accepted for membership in good standing in a Parish while retaining membership in an Orthodox Parish which defies the jurisdiction or the ecclesiastical authority of the Archdiocese, or a non-Orthodox church, or any Christian denomination, or in a non-Christian religion who deliberately disregards and transgresses the moral law as may be determined by a spiritual court.

Section 4:
The Parish register should include the following information concerning each member: baptismal and family name, profession, date of baptism, chrismation and marriage, complete family record of spouse and children, date of entry into the Parish indicating if transferred from another Parish, record of payment of Parish and Archdiocesan financial obligations and date of death, closing the said register record.

Section 5:
When transferring from one Parish to another, the Parishioner shall present to the Priest of the new Parish a certificate of transfer signed by his or her former Priest, which shall include all the pertinent information herein before recited in Section 4 of this Article.

Section 6:
The religious, moral and social duties of a parishioner are to apply the tenets of the Orthodox faith to his or her life and activities, to seek personal spiritual growth, to attend the divine liturgy and other services of worship faithfully on Sundays and holy days, to keep the rules and fasts of the Orthodox tradition, to receive frequently the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion, to train and teach the young according to the faith and spirit of Orthodoxy, to respect the clergy, the ecclesiastical authority, and all governing bodies of the Church, to be obedient in matters of faith and ecclesiastical order, and to cooperate in every way towards the welfare and prosperity of the Parish and the success of its sacred mission.

Section 7:
In addition to the duties and obligations set forth in Article V, Section 6, a parishioner shall pay such regular stewardship obligations and special assessments as the Parish may establish, or to make an annual stewardship pledge in those Parishes where stewardship has been adopted.

Section 8:
The Priest shall judge cases of indigence or other special circumstances justifying the waiver of a parishioner's financial obligations.

Section 9:
The rights of a member in good standing are to attend all regular and special Parish Assemblies, to take part in its discussions and to vote therein, and to be elected a member or officer of the Parish Council and in such position to take part in the administration of the Parish and in the direction of its life and activities.

ARTICLE VI

PARISH ASSEMBLY


Section 1:
The Parish Assembly is the general meeting of the members in good standing of the Parish.

Section 2:

Regular Parish Assemblies shall be convened by the Parish Council at least twice each year at dates fixed by the Parish Council. Special Parish Assemblies shall be held when the Priest and/or Parish Council deem it necessary, or when ten per cent of the members in good standing of the Parish submit a written petition therefor to the Parish Council stating the purpose thereon for such meeting.

Section 3:

The members are summoned to Parish Assemblies by written notice, made at least ten days prior thereto, and listing the agenda for regular Parish Assemblies as prepared by the Parish Council. Proxies shall not be permitted at Parish Assemblies.

Section 4:
A Parish Assembly consists of the members of the Parish who have met their stewardship obligations to the Parish in accordance with the Parish by-laws. A person whose name appears on the membership rolls but who is in arrears in the payment of his or her stewardship obligations may take part in the Parish Assembly by meeting such stewardship obligations by the meeting day. New members may exercise their vote at Parish Assemblies if they have been members in good standing for at least three months. The Priest(s) shall be non-voting member(s) of the Parish Assembly.

Section 5:
The quorum for a Parish Assembly is such number of members in good standing as its by-laws may determine. If a quorum is not present, the Parish Assembly shall be called a second time within twenty-one days. At such time decisions may be taken by the number of members in good standing present with the exemption of matters pertaining to the purchase, sale or encumbering of Parish property in which case a quorum of members in good standing shall be required.

Section 6:
The Chairman of the Parish Assembly shall be elected by the members in good standing present.

Section 7:
The minutes of the Parish Assembly shall be signed by the Priest, the Chairman of the Parish Assembly and the Secretary.

ARTICLE VII

PARISH COUNCIL


Section 1:
The Parish Council shall consist of the Priest, and a number of elected lay members fixed by the Parish by-laws or by local statute according to the needs of the Parish and is responsible to the Parish Assembly and to the Diocesan Bishop for conducting all Parish affairs in keeping with the aims and purposes as herein before set forth. The Parish Council shall be deemed to mean also Board of Trustees or Board of Directors when such designations are required by local statute. The Priest shall not have a vote.

Section 2:
The officers of the Parish Council shall be a President, a Vice President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and such other officers as the Parish by-laws require.

Section 3:
The members of the Parish Council are elected for a term not to exceed three years by the members of the Parish who have met their stewardship financial obligations to the Parish.

Section 4:
The Parish Council may be appointed by the Bishop upon the request of a two-thirds majority of the Parish Assembly.

Section 5:
No salaried employee of the Parish may serve on the Parish Council, the Board of Auditors, or the Board of Elections.

Section 6:
A vacancy on the Parish Council shall be considered to exist under any of the following circumstances: the death or resignation of a member, the physical or mental incapacity of a member, the invalidation of the election of a member, the failure of a member to be current in his stewardship financial obligations to the Parish, the determination by a spiritual Court of the Diocese that a member is not or has ceased to be loyal to the doctrines, canons, worship, discipline, constitution? administrative rulings. customs, practices, these Regulations and encyclicals of the Archdiocese, or that he or she does not recognize its duly constituted ecclesiastical authority, or the determination by a Spiritual Court of the Diocese that a Parish Council member is guilty of a serious moral transgression or has violated his or her oath of office.

Section 7:
When a member of the Parish Council has been absent without justifiable cause for more than three of its meetings consecutively, he or she may be relieved of his or her duties upon the resolution of the Parish Council to that effect.

Section 8:
A vacancy on the Parish Council, after the Parish Council Officers have been sworn in, shall be filled by the Parish Council by electing a successor therefor from amongst the members of the Parish in good standing for the unexpired portion of the term of such vacancy.

ARTICLE VIII

ELECTION OF PARISH COUNCIL


Section 1:
The election of the members of the Parish Council shall be held no earlier than the first Sunday in November, and no later than the second Sunday in December.

Section 2:
A candidate for the Parish Council must be a member in good standing of the Parish for at least one year immediately preceding the date of the election and who lives his or her life and activities in accordance with the faith and canons of the Church.

Section 3:
Candidates for election to the Parish Council shall be nominated at the last Parish Assembly preceding the election. Nominations may be made by a nominating committee and/or by members of the Parish in good standing.

All candidates shall attend a seminar conducted by the priest prior to the election at which the priest shall discuss the Uniform Parish Regulations and explain them to the candidates, particularly the oath of office. At the conclusion of the seminar all candidates will acknowledge by signing a statement that they understand the Uniform Parish Regulations and, if elected, will abide by them and the oath of office.

If a candidate for the Parish Council refuses to attend the seminar and sign the declaration, his or her name shall be deleted from the list of candidates.

Section 4:
A member duly enrolled in the Parish register but delinquent in his or her Parish stewardship obligations may vote in the election by meeting his or her stewardship obligations at any time prior to balloting.

Section 5:
A new member of the Parish may vote in the election if he or she has been enrolled at least three months prior thereto.

Section 6:
Parish by-laws may provide for absentee balloting only in the case of elections of the Parish Council. Such ballots must be in the hands of the Board of Elections not later than the commencement of voting and shall be opened and tabulated with the ballots personally cast.

Section 7:
Elections shall be held at a place on Parish premises previously announced by the Board of Elections and voting shall be by secret ballot. Voting shall begin after the conclusion of the divine liturgy and shall terminate on the same day at such time as determined by local Parish by-laws.

Section 8:
The election results shall be entered in the minute book of the Parish, showing the number of votes cast for each candidate, and shall be signed by each member of the Board of Elections. The candidates receiving the greatest number of votes shall be declared elected for the ensuing term. In the case of a tie, a majority vote ballot by the other members of the incoming Parish Council at its first meeting will be necessary to determine the winner. The tied candidates if otherwise found to be qualified shall be provisionally approved by the Bishop when he ratifies the election results and the winner shall, upon his or her selection, take and subscribe to the prescribed oath of office and participate in the election of officers.

Section 9:
Any member in good standing of the Parish questioning the validity of any election may, within five days after such election, lodge a written protest with the Bishop through the Parish Priest. Such protest shall be signed by the questioning member and at least four other Parish members. The decision of the Bishop thereon shall be final.

Section 10:
In case of the resignation of any member-elect of the incoming Parish Council, or vacancy for any other reason, in the interim between the day of elections and the election of officers, the members of the incoming Council shall, after the election of officers, elect a new member from among the eligible parish members to fill the vacancy.

Section 11:
In the event that an insufficient number of candidates shall be nominated for election to the Parish Council, the election of those nominated shall take place in accordance with the election procedures established by the Archdiocese. The Parish Council, after the certification and the taking of office of any new members, shall proceed to fill any vacancies on the Council from among the eligible parish members. Those chosen by the Council shall, in such order, as may be determined by the Council, and following certification by the Bishop, serve the term that a member duly elected by the Parish would have served.

ARTICLE IX

RATIFICATION OF ELECTION OF PARISH COUNCIL
AND OATH OF OFFICE


Section 1:
Within six days after the election, the Priest shall forward the results to the Bishop for review and ratification. The Bishop shall ratify the election after it shall be confirmed by the Archdiocese that the Parish has met its financial obligations to the Archdiocese. The Priest shall at the same time verify in writing that all candidates were qualified and that the election was conducted in accordance with these Regulations and the Parish by-laws.

Section 2:
The election will be considered ratified upon receipt of the verification herein before provided for in the absence of the filing of any protest thereto. In the event that a protest is filed and such protest is upheld, the Bishop will declare the protested election void and a new election will be ordered.

Section 3:
On the last Sunday in December, and after ratification of the election has been received from the Bishop a special ceremony shall be held at the close of the divine liturgy in which all the members of the Parish Council shall take the oath of office jointly. The oath shall be administered by the Priest and shall be repeated by all the members of the Parish Council.

Section 4:
Each member or member-elect of the Parish Council is obliged, without exception, to take the following oath of office and thereafter subscribe his or her name thereto:

"I do solemnly affirm that I will uphold the dogma, teaching, traditions, holy canons, worship, and moral principles of the Greek Orthodox Church, as well as the constitutional charter, discipline, and regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America, and that I will fulfill faithfully and sincerely the duties and obligations required of a member of the Parish Council. So help me God."

A person refusing to take the oath and subscribe to same shall not assume duties as a member of the Council or be elected as an officer of the Parish Council.

ARTICLE X

ELECTION OF PARISH COUNCIL OFFICERS


Section 1:
Following the administering of the oath of office, the Parish Council shall convene immediately to elect its officers under the chairmanship of the Priest who shall not vote.

Section 2:
The office of the President and Treasurer may not be held by the same person for more than six consecutive years, except by special permission of the Bishop.

Section 3:
In the event that the office of the President of the Parish Council shall become vacant by the demise, permanent incapacity or resignation of the President, the Vice President or if more than one the First Vice President, shall assume the office of the President.

ARTICLE XI

MEETINGS OF PARISH COUNCIL


Section 1:
The Parish Council shall hold regular meetings at least once a month, and special meetings whenever the Priest, the President, or a majority of the Parish Council shall deem it necessary.

Section 2:
A majority of the members of the Parish Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

Section 3:
The minutes of the meetings of the Parish Council shall be signed by the Priest, the President and the Secretary.

ARTICLE XII

DUTIES OF PARISH COUNCIL

Section 1:
The Parish Council under the leadership of the Priest shall have the following duties: to attend divine services regularly and to participate in the sacramental life of the Church thereby setting an example for the Parish, to administer the affairs of the Parish in such manner as to aid the Priest in the fulfillment of its aims and purposes, establish a stewardship program, appoint a stewardship committee to implement and expand the stewardship program of the Parish, to collect the revenue of the Church, issuing receipts thereof and paying by check the salaries of the Parish personnel, Parish expenses, budgetary grants-in-aid for the Parish educational and philanthropic organizations and such sums as may be fixed by the Clergy-Laity Congresses for the support of the Archdiocese, to buy, sell or mortgage Parish property, as herein before provided, to submit to the Bishop at the end of each year a report of its stewardship and to submit annually to the Archdiocese and to the Diocese the Parish budget for the ensuing year and the audited financial statement for the prior year.

Section 2:
All Parish personnel, including school teachers, are engaged or discharged by the Parish Council with the consent of the Priest.

Section 3:

Upon the expiration of its term, the Parish Council shall surrender to the succeeding Parish Council all Parish records, including membership lists, minute books, bank books, check books, journals, financial records, and all other property of the Parish. Such transfer shall be effected by letter of transmittal, a copy of which shall be sent to the Bishop.

Section 4:

The Parish Council and its officers may exercise all additional authority consonant with the Regulations herein, the Parish by-laws, and the limitations imposed by the laws of the state in which the Parish is incorporated.

ARITCLE XIII

BOARD OF ELECTIONS

Section 1:
The Board of Elections shall consist of no less than three members elected at the last Parish Assembly preceding an election from among those who are not candidates for election to the Parish Council.

Section 2:
The Board of Elections shall, in cooperation with the Priest and the Parish Council, check the list of candidates, notify all eligible members concerning the elections, supervise the elections and tabulate and report the results.

Section 3:
A vacancy on the Board of Elections shall be filled by the Parish Council by electing a successor therefor from amongst the members of the Parish in good standing.

ARTICLE XIV

BOARD OF AUDITORS

Section 1:
The Board of Auditors shall consist of at least three members elected at the last Parish Assembly preceding an election from among those who have not served on the Parish Council for the year being audited and who are not candidates for election to the Parish Council.

Section 2:
The Board of Auditors shall audit regularly the accounting records of the Parish and prepare a report of such audit for presentation to the Parish Assembly, copies of which shall be transmitted to the Bishop and the Archdiocese by the Parish Council.

Section 3:
A vacancy on the Board of Auditors shall be filled by the Parish Council by electing a successor therefor from amongst the members of the Parish in good standing for the unexpired portion of the term of such vacancy.

ARTICLE XV

FISCAL YEAR, FINANCIAL REPORTS AND BUDGET


Section 1:
The Parish fiscal year shall be the calendar year. At the first Parish Assembly of each year the Parish Council shall present a financial report covering all income and expenses for the preceding year.

Section 2:
The budget for the ensuing year shall likewise be submitted for approval by the first regular Parish Assembly of the year.

Section 3:
Each Parish shall remit monthly to the Archdiocese the portion of its total commitment allocation for Archdiocesan and Diocesan needs as determined by the Clergy-Laity Congresses.

Section 4:
The Parish budget shall include appropriations for its representatives to the Clergy-Laity Congresses and Diocesan Assemblies.

Section 5:
The Archdiocesan Council shall have the power to suspend or otherwise discipline a Parish for its failure to meet its Archdiocesan financial obligations as herein before set forth.

Section 6:
The Archdiocesan Council shall have the authority to make special provisions in the matter of the financial obligations of Parishes wherever necessary.

ARTICLE XVI

PARISH MINISTRIES AND ORGANIZATIONS


Section 1:
All parish ministries and organizations shall be under the spiritual guidance and supervision of the Priest.

Section 2:
Any adult communicant of the Church desiring to participate in any Parish ministry or organization shall be required first to become a member in good standing of the Parish. A communicant under 18 years of age may be a member of any Parish Youth Organization, irrespective of whether his or her parents are members of the Parish, upon approval of the Priest.

Section 3:
Each Parish shall endeavor to have the following ministries and organizations: Sunday (Catechetical) School, Chanter, Choir, Acolytes, a chapter of the Greek Orthodox Youth of America (GOYA), a chapter of the Young Adult League (Y.A.L.), a Junior Orthodox Youth (JOY) program, a Greek Language School, as well as a chapter of the Ladies Philoptochos Society, a Parent Teachers Organization (P.T.O.) and such other ministries and organizations as shall meet the spiritual and cultural needs of the Parish.

Section 4:
The local by-laws of such organizations shall comply with the Uniform Parish Regulations of the Archdiocese and shall be subject to the approval of the Parish Council and of the Archdiocese.

ARTICLE XVII

NON-VIABLE PARISH


Section 1:
When it is determined by the Parish Council that the Parish is incapable of sustaining itself and wishes to be dissolved, a Parish Assembly shall be called. If three-fourths of the existing members in good standing favor such dissolution or in the event that a Parish has been disbanded and a Parish Assembly cannot be called, the Archbishop shall have the power to declare the said Parish dissolved or disbanded and its properties shall devolve to the Archdiocese.

ARTICLE XVIII

MERGER OF PARISHES

Section 1:
When it is determined by the Parish Councils of two or more Parishes that it would be in the best interests of such Parishes to merge, and to have only one church edifice, approval of two-thirds of the members present at a Parish Assembly of each Parish duly called upon ten days written notice, and the consent of the Archdiocesan Council shall be required.

PART TWO


ARTICLE I

ORGANIZATION OF PARISHES


Section 1:
New parishes shall be organized according to the following procedures: Greek Orthodox communicants wishing to organize a Parish must file with the Bishop of the Diocese an application for permission to organize. The application must be signed by the heads of more than fifty Greek Orthodox families and provide sufficient evidence to satisfy the Bishop that a parish can be supported in that locality. The prospective parish shall form an Organizational Committee with several subcommittees as follows:

1. A planning Committee to study, analyze and formulate an overall program and prepare a proposed budget for the community.

2. A Fund-Raising Committee.

3. A Real Estate Committee to investigate, select and arrange buildings and other facilities for the Parish's most urgent and immediate needs.

4. A Membership Committee to prepare a complete list of the families and number of children to be served by the Parish.

Section 2:
If permission is granted by the Bishop to organize a new Parish after consultation with the existing Parishes in the immediate area, a representative designated by the Bishop shall call an organizational meeting of those who executed the application for such permission and the representative shall preside at such meeting. An interim Parish Council shall be elected at such meeting until such time as it is fully organized and accepts these regulations.

Section 3:
Upon acceptance by the new Parish of the Archdiocesan Agreement to Organize, acceptance of the Archdiocesan Chatter, and these Regulations, and upon the recommendation of the Bishop, the Archdiocese will grant to the said new Parish an ecclesiastical charter and the Bishop will appoint a Priest therefor if one is available.

Section 4:
The Priest and the interim Parish Council shall be authorized by virtue of the issuance of the said ecclesiastical charter to take all the necessary steps required under state law to incorporate the said Parish. A permanent Parish Council shall thereafter be elected in the prescribed manner herein before provided.

Section 5:
If a new Parish is unable to fulfill its organizational objectives, or fails or refuses to comply with the Archdiocesan Agreement to Organize, the Archdiocesan Charter and these Regulations, the charter of the Parish may be revoked by the Archdiocese.

ARTICLE II

REORGANIZATION OF PARISHES


Section 1:
A Parish which has not been organized in conformance with the requirements of the Archdiocese must execute the Archdiocesan Agreement to Organize and vote to adopt these regulations in order to qualify for the issuance to it of an ecclesiastical chatter by the Archdiocese.

Section 2:
If a discrepancy exists in a Parish between its ecclesiastical charter from the Archdiocese and its certificate of incorporation, the certificate of incorporation, unless contrary to statute shall be promptly amended to eliminate such discrepancy so that it may fuDy comply thereafter with the ecclesiastical charter. Until such certificate of incorporation is amended, the Parish shall meanwhile be bound to the disciplines, these Regulations and the directives of the Clergy-Laity Congress, the Archdiocese, the Archdiocesan Council and the Diocese with the same force and effect as if the same were fully recited therein.

PART THREE


ARTICLE I

PARISH BY-LAWS

Section 1:
Each Parish shall append to the Regulations herein in the form of by-laws such additional provisions as local needs may require provided the same do not conflict with the matters dealt with the Regulations herein, provided such by-laws are consistent with the spirit of the Regulations herein, and provided further that such by-laws are approved in advance by the Diocesan Bishop.

PART FOUR


ARTICLE I


REVISION OF REGULATIONS AND OFFICIAL TEXT


Section 1:
These Regulations may be amended by the Archdiocesan Clergy-Laity Congresses and such amendments shall become effective immediately following their ratification by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Section 2:
The English Text of these Regulations shall be deemed for all purposes the official text.