Greek Orthodox Church Of Epirus

The Consistory Of The Orthodox Church Of Epirus

§1 Definition

The Consistory Of The Orthodox Church of Epirus is the ecclesial court of first instance. Consistory members are appointed by the Metropolitan or his designee to oversee moral and canonical matters pertaining to the Church discipline according to the Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church and the jurisdictional Canons & Guidelines of the OCE.

§2 Regulations

  1. The Consistory is assigned to settle charges brought against a member of the Orthodox Church of Epirus (OCE) who is accused of acts contrary to the doctrines or morals of the Orthodox Church and/or the holy Canons of the Orthodox Church, including the Canons or Guidelines of the OCE.

  2. Formal charges, addressed to the Consistory, may be brought by any Orthodox clergy or layperson, but not by individuals or organizations outside the boundaries of this jurisdiction.

  3. If charges are brought by a person or persons other than Orthodox clergy or laity, that is, those outside the Orthodox Church, the charges must be detailed in a written Affidavit indicating the offense, the involved parties of both the perpetrator and victim, the pain and suffering ascertained from the offense and all parties involved in the offense and witnesses thereof. This document must be signed by the offended party and presented to the Metropolitan. The Metropolitan may wish the Affidavit to be notarized before review. The Metropolitan will review the document and decide whether to have the case brought before the Consistory or to resolve this issue himself. Once the decision is made, the Metropolitan will have a letter drawn up, addressed to the petitioner, with details of the decision.

  4. When the Consistory has accepted a complaint, the Metropolitan must be informed promptly.

  5. The Consistory is required to report to the secular authorities any known criminal activities of a case, such as child or adult abuse. Before taking on a complaint, the Consistory must inform their party or parties of this obligation within the ethical bounds of confidentiality, the rubrics of the Holy Code of Canon Law and the Seal of Confession.

  6. The Consistory cannot make any civil, legal recommendation or determination, since this is privileged to secular authorities (attorneys & courts). The Consistory’s jurisdiction is solely internal and ecclesiastical in nature. However, if within the ethical bounds of confidentiality, the rubrics of the Code of Canon Law, and the Seal of Confession, if it is understood that there has been committed a crime in offense to a Federal, State, local/municipal law, all parties will be reported to the proper civil authorities. This does not negate the penalties that may be imposed by the Church in regards to the ecclesiastical offense.

  7. The Consistory is required to report to the secular authorities any known criminal activity of a case, such as child or adult abuse. Before taking on a complaint, the Consistory must inform their party or parties of this obligation.

§3 Subjects

Both, clergy and laity are subject to this Consistory in the following instances:

  1. Whereas, in all matters concerning the declaration of invalid and illicit marriages

  2. Whereas, in cases of attestation to the validity of sacraments

  3. Whereas, for various misdeeds and infringements (including those found in the Code of Canon Law, Civil Law or those determined by the Church) that subject any faithful or clergy to penance by the Church or to disciplinary measures up to and including excommunication from the Orthodox Church.

§4 Final Determination

  1. Any and all final determinations of cases within the Consistory are bound to the Code of Canon Law and subject to the final determination by the Metropolitan of the OCE. Therefore, the Consistory, after hearing and reviewing each case, makes a recommendation to the Metropolitan for final determination.

  2. The accused party has the right to appeal the Consistory’s decision to the Metropolitan, once all other options have been exhausted, in which case he will review the case with the Consistory. Any appeal must be in writing, signed, dated and notarized.

  3. The Metropolitan is not bound by the Consistory’s ruling. His decision is final in all cases with one exception: If the Metropolitan himself is the subject of the ruling, a written request shall be presented to the Royal House of Epirus, whose Royal Highness will review the Consistory Disposition and decide the penalty, including dismissal and a new appointment according to the Holy Canons pertinent to the selection of a Metropolitan. The decision of the Royal House is final, hence it cannot be debated or overturned.

§5 Grounds For Dissolution of Marriage

The Holy Councils of the Orthodox Church have recognized the following reasons for dissolution of a marriage that has been sanctified by the Church. Note that this does not apply to heterodox marriages, as the Orthodox Church does not recognize such.

  1. Open apostasy from Holy Orthodoxy

  2. Adultery and unnatural vices or practices (perversions)

  3. Refusal of marital cohabitation

  4. Affliction by leprosy or syphilis (permanent contagious condition)

  5. Unknown absence (abandonment) for an extended unwarranted period of time

  6. Jail or prion sentence with deprivation of rights (restraining order)

  7. Infringement upon the life and health of spouse and/or children (abuse)

  8. Incest or prostitution of spouse

  9. Secular divorce and/or entering into new marriage without church divorce/annulment as defined in the Holy Canons of the Church

  10. Serious and incurable, medically diagnosed mental illness

  11. Intentional desertion

  12. Evidenced spousal abuse

§6 Guidelines For Church Divorce Petitions

The Consistory hears petitions for ecclesial divorce. Any petition must include the following documents which must be sent to the presiding Justice of the Consistory or the designated administrator according to the rubric within the Code of Canon Law.

  1. Certificate of Orthodox Church marriage. No other certificates will be considered unless the Code of Canon Law stipulates otherwise.

  2. Civil divorce papers

  3. Current address(es) of both concerned parties

  4. Statement of reasons (see above) for dissolution of civil marriage, incl. presentation of evidence

  5. Confirmation of statement (witnessed) by an Orthodox priest

§7 Reasons For Clergy Discipline

  1. Repeated or habitual violations of clergy conduct according the OCE Guidelines of Clergy Conduct.

  2. Violation of the Guidelines for Clergy Compensation and Employment

  3. Repeated or habitual violation of the Guidelines for Clerical Attire

  4. Any violation of the Code of Conduct for all Clergy

  5. Repeated violation of the Liturgical Guidelines respective to each Rite

§8 Guidelines For Filing

The Consistory hears all petitions of suspected misconduct. Any petition must include the following documents:

  1. Narrative (in writing) of acts or neglect committed

  2. Respective witness statements and/or precise documentation

  3. Measures that repeatedly failed in order to correct the situation

Members Currently Serving On The Consistory

  • H. E. Anthony J. Scuderi, NOSF, D.D., Psy.D., D.Min., JCD (cand.) -- Judiciary Consultant

  • Ms. Adriana Alexis Leybold -- Adjunct Judicial Consultant