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General Assembly Nominates Candidates for New Diocesan Bishops

General Assembly Nominates Candidates for New Diocesan Bishops

On July 16 the Special Convention General Assembly (2004) for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese approved the Amended Archdiocese Constitution. In accordance with the amended constitution, by the unanimous will of the General Assembly, implementation of the amendments began with the nomination of candidates for the Office of Diocesan Bishop.

Prior to the nomination process (by clergy and laity), candidates were asked to share with the assembly their vision for the future of the Archdiocese. Many of the candidates mentioned Orthodox unity in America. After these brief comments from the candidates, the nomination process proceeded smoothly. Many delegates and attendees commented on the orderliness of the nomination process and the overall joy present. The orderliness and joy are the mark of the Holy Spirit upon the Church as they seek and do God’s will.

About the Nomination Process

According to the Amended Constitution (soon to be posted on in the case of a single vacancy for the Office of Diocesan Bishop, three names are submitted to the local Holy Synod, from which the bishops pick one to fill the office. During this nomination process, because three vacancies need to be filled, all seven names of the candidates were submitted to the bishops. This nomination process was about the laity and clergy giving them guidance and lending our voice to the decision on final selection.

It is important to note that the selection process must be in harmony. Again this is the mark of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Candidates must be willing to stand as nominees for election. The people must voice their choice. Finally, the Hierarchs must concur. As mentioned in a previous article on the convention, this process showed how in a hierarchal church, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, clergy and laity alike are allowed to participate in the decision process.

The Results of the Nominations

(In order of number of votes received at Special Convention from most to least)

1. Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Thomas Joseph
2. Rev. Fr. Mark Maymon
3. Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Daniel Griffith
4. Rev. Fr. Rafeek Mufarrij
5. Rev. Fr. Andre Issa
6. Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Daniel Keller
7. Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Michel Boghos


What Happens Next

At the next meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP will present our amended constitution for ratification. This meeting is expected to take place in October.

Having been passed unanimously by General Assembly and approved by the Metropolitan, the constitution is now in effect. It will be taken to the Holy Synod of Antioch to be ratified and filed at the Patriarchate so they will see that what we have done is consistent with the decree of the Holy Synod of Antioch regarding our self-rule last October.

After the ratification and filing, the Patriarch will send a delegation of up to three bishops from the Holy Synod to join with our bishops here in America in electing three bishops from the seven nominees. After selection, the new Diocesan Bishops will have their consecrations scheduled. It is anticipated that the new bishops will not be in place until approximately one year; therefore the regional structure that we have had will continue to transition into the new diocesan structure through the 2005 parish life conferences.

As part of this transition, Bishop ANTOUN will be enthroned as bishop of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast. Bishop JOSEPH will be enthroned as bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West. Bishop BASIL will be enthroned as bishop of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. Other dioceses will be the Archdiocese district in which Metropolitan PHILIP will continue to be Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of North America. Metropolitan PHILIP’s dioceses will include the New York City Metro Area (including regions of New Jersey and Connecticut near NY City) and the churches in the Washington DC Metro Area and all institutions such as the Antiochian Village and any seminaries or monasteries.

The only enthroning date set so far is for Bishop JOSEPH on Sunday Sept. 12.

The three new bishops will fill the following offices:

The Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest

The Diocese of Ottawa and Upstate New York

The diocese whose jurisdiction will include all of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland (except Potomac), and Delaware. (The name and title are yet to be determined.)

The vacant Diocese of Worcester and New England will be administered for the time being by the Metropolitan. The Diocese of Eagle River and the Northwest will continue to be administered by the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West for the time being.

Bishops for the two vacant dioceses plus an auxiliary bishop to help the Metropolitan will be elected at a future time.

Click Here to Read a Full List and Description of the Proposed Structure of the self-ruled Archdiocese