Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church Of Epirus

Ecclesiastical Statutes

Of The Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church Of Epirus



Article I: Name


The full, official name is established as Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus. For practical purposes, the official name is often shortened to Orthodox Church Of Epirus with its acronym OCE.


Article II: Confession


The Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus and every member jurisdiction hold to and accept without reservation:

Section 1: The teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Apostles and the Seven Ecumenical Councils.

Section 2: The prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and of the New Testaments as the Canon and standard, according to which all dogma together with all teachings should be estimated and judged.

Section 3: The three Orthodox Catholic and Ecumenical Creeds as the unanimous, universal Christian faith and confession of the Eastern Orthodox Church, namely the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed.


Article III: Purpose


The purpose for which the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus is organized:

Section 1: To unite in a corporate body Orthodox jurisdictions, both within and without the Eastern Rites;

Section 2: To proclaim and propagate the Orthodox Catholic faith, especially through the means of divine grace;

Section 3: To assist, guide, direct and promote the spiritual growth and development of all member jurisdictions;

Section 4: To promote the systematic study of Holy Scriptures (Bible) and constant growth in Christian knowledge through the establishment, construction and maintenance of theological seminaries, schools, publishing houses, radio and television broadcasting systems, congregations, preaching media, religious communities, hospitals, monasteries and confraternities;

Section 5: To provide pastoral services, mainly to third and fourth generations of Epirate exiles present in North America. It is also open to all Orthodox faithful who will develop relations with the church.

Section 6: To assist the Orthodox Church at large in training her members to grow in their understanding and appreciation of the principles, attitudes, tradition and doctrine of the Orthodox faith;

Section 7: To foster mutual, supportive intercession (especially during Holy

Liturgy) for all member jurisdictions;

Section 8: To engage in and promote charitable work within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as now enacted or as may hereafter be amended;

Section 9: To print, publish, purchase, sell and otherwise disseminate Bibles, books, periodicals, literature, music and other supplies for institutions and members;

Section 10: To establish and conduct all such enterprises and endeavors and to exercise such further powers as may be necessary or expedient to carry out the objects and purposes for which the Metropolia is organized.


Article IV: Royal Privileges


Section 1: The Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus is maintaining the Byzantine custom of praying for the sovereign during Divine Services in the forms provided for by the Byzantine rite.

Section 2: The Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus recognizes: (1) that the Sovereign maintains the title of temporal Head and High Protector of the Holy Church; (2) that the Church is maintaining the Byzantine custom of the sovereign sitting behind the Iconostasis during Services; (3) that the custom already established by the Royal House of blessing the faithful with the hand cross be maintained; (4) that to wear the royal dalmatic with the pectoral cross during the Divine Liturgy be granted to the Sovereign.


Article V: Membership


Section 1: Membership in the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus is held or may be acquired by existing Orthodox jurisdictions or Synods who submit to the authority of Metropolitan of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus, the confession of Article II of these Statutes as well as by giving recognition and honor towards the Royal House of Epirus.

Section 2:

Part a: Ecclesial entities seeking membership in the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus shall submit their request for membership to the Metropolitan. He shall cause such request to be published throughout the Metropolia. After thirty (30) days, no lawful objection having been registered by any member jurisdiction, the Metropolitan shall admit said petitioner into full membership in the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus, provided said petitioners bring their Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws, Rules and Canons into conformity with these Statutes of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus.

Part b: When a canonical objection has been registered by a member jurisdiction of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus to the admittance into membership of a petitioner, the Consistory shall present their recommendation to the Metropolitan within ten (10) days for judgment and final disposition.

Section 3: Those wishing to associate with the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus are received via a document (Grammata) and listed in the respective publications of the church.

Section 4: Every member of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus shall, in accordance with their ability and the means at their command, diligently and earnestly promote the purposes of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus by word, deed and adequate financial support.


Article VI: Administrative Power


Section 1: The Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus is an ecclesiastical government exercising legislative and judicial powers to guide its members.

Section 2: The Metropolitan and diocesan ordinaries have the power of order of their own jurisdictions, respectively, for they are the spiritual leaders who govern and guide their own jurisdiction by the Word of God (cf. Mt 18:18, Mt 28:18-20, Lk 10:16).

Section 3: Only one person as the superior heads and manages all business and the affairs of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus. He shall hold the title of Metropolitan.


Article VII: Legislative Power


Section 1: The legislative powers of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus are reserved to (in the order of precedence):

a. The General Synod;

b. Special Synods;

Section 2: All matters resolved or adopted by the General Synod or Special Synods must receive the Metropolitan’s approval before they can be implemented or take effect.


Article VIII: The Metropolitan


Section 1: The Metropolitan has direct supervision regarding the doctrine, faith, morals, discipline and administration of:

Part a: All matters relating to the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus;

Part b: All such as are employed by the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus;

Part c: All parishes, seminaries, monasteries, convents, religious communities and orders, universities, colleges, academies, schools, confraternities and other dependencies that are directly placed under the Metropolitan.

Section 2: The Metropolitan has the authority and duty to see to it that all the aforementioned act in accordance with these Statutes, the Orthodox faith and holy Canons; to admonish anyone who in any way departs from them, and, if such admonition is not heeded, to discipline such as departed wherefrom.

Section 3: The Metropolitan shall sign all official papers and documents in the name of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus.

Section 4: The Metropolitan shall represent the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus in official contacts with heads of states, royalty, other churches, synods, communions, denominations and ecclesiastical endeavors.

Section 5: The Metropolitan shall obediently represent the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus in official contacts with the Kingdom of Epirus and its Royal House by aiding, counseling and advising them as well as by strengthening relations with them.

Section 6: After obtaining prior approval by the Royal House, the Metropolitan shall have the right to authorize any bishop of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus to temporarily perform the duties of the Metropolitan’s office; and shall hold him responsible for the performance of such duties.

Section 7: The Metropolitan shall preside at all general and special Synods, taking care that all things are performed in a Christian manner and in accordance with these Statutes, the holy Canons and Orthodox doctrine.

Section 8: The Metropolitan hears and decides all appeals regarding administrative and disciplinary matters.

Section 9: No one may serve as or be consecrated as ordinary bishop in the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus without the Metropolitan’s prior confirmation and decree.

Section 10: The Metropolitan shall serve as a member and chairman of the Consistory (Board of Directors).

Section 11: The Metropolitan may reside in any city or town in North America.

Section 12: The Metropolitan shall serve as the general superior of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus from the time of his election until his death, resignation from office or retirement.

Section 13: A successor to the Metropolitan may be elected by the General Synod from a list of candidates nominated by the Consistory within three (3) months after a vacancy occurs and then presented to the Royal House of Epirus for final approval.

Alternatively, the Royal House may appoint a new Metropolitan from the currently serving bishops in the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus.


Article IX: The General Synod



Section 1: The General Synod shall be the chief legislative assembly. It shall meet at such times as the Metropolitan may direct. The Synod meeting may take place in person or via long-distance media.

Section 2: Delegates shall consist of all bishops of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus.

Section 3: The General Synod of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus is not recognized as having doctrinal authority. Doctrine and defined dogmas of the Orthodox Church represent the teaching of Holy Scripture, our Lord and His Apostles as well as the consensus of the entire Church through the Ecumenical Councils, as is also expounded by the Orthodox Catechism. Therefore, this Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus and its General Synods may not presume to change the recognized Orthodox faith.

Section 4: The General Synod shall:

Part a: Interpret but not define the holy Canons and the Articles of faith;

Part b: Remove hierarchs (bishops) when necessary and with the Metropolitan’s approval;

Part c: Elect the Metropolitan (according to Article VII, Section 13);

Part d: Elect members to the Consistory from a list of candidates nominated by the Metropolitan;

Part e: Organize and implement programs which will further the purposes and objectives of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus;

Part f: Listen to the needs and desires of all members and respond when possible;

Part g: Promote an awareness and appreciation of the historic continuity of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus, as well as of the affairs and workings of all jurisdictions within the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus.

Section 5: All decisions and resolutions of the General Synod or a Special Synod approved by the Metropolitan are binding upon all the members of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus.

Section 6: All matters resolved or adopted by the General Synod or a Special Synod must receive the Metropolitan’s approval before implementation. It is only the Metropolitan, who can ratify a resolution that is binding upon the entire Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus and its jurisdictions.

Section 7: The Diocesan Synod shall:

Part a: Adopt and implement programs to promote and fulfill the purposes of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus;

Part b: Adopt by-laws, resolutions, Canons and regulations necessary or proper for its administration or for effectively carrying on the work of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus. Such by-laws, resolutions, Canons and regulations shall not conflict with these Statutes, the holy Canons, the Orthodox faith or decisions of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus and must be submitted to Consistory for approval, before they can be implemented.

Section 8: All property and assets, to which the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus holds title or over which it has control, is held in trust by the Midwest Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus.

Section 9: All matters resolved or adopted by the General Synod must receive the Metropolitan’s approval in order to be ratified and eligible for implementation.


Article X: The Consistory


Section 1: The Consistory shall be composed of: The Metropolitan, the Treasurer and the Secretary by virtue of their offices. The superior, whatever his title, of each jurisdiction of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus shall be a member of the Consistory according to Article IX, Section 2.

Section 2: The Consistory shall number no less than three (3) but no more than fifteen (15) voting members. Should the number of dependencies in the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus cause the membership of the Consistory to exceed fifteen (15) members, excluding the officers (Metropolitan, Treasurer and Secretary), shall be classified as an Advisory Member of the Consistory and shall not be eligible to vote;

Section 3: The Consistory may suggest to the Metropolitan the creation of subordinate Boards, committees, departments, commissions and tribunals, together with a tentative definition of their duties and membership.

Section 4: The Consistory shall:

Part a: Approve or reject, upon the recommendation of the Metropolitan, resolutions and regulations for the organization and management of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus and its member jurisdictions before final adoption or implementation and presentation to the proper civil authorities, should this be necessary. All subsequent changes to these Statutes, other resolutions and regulations governing the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus must also be submitted to the Metropolitan for Consistory review, approval or rejection before implementation.

Part b: Present a list of candidates to the General Synod for the Office of Metropolitan, when that office is vacant because of death, retirement or resignation. This list of candidates shall be gathered in any manner deemed appropriate by the Royal House of Epirus.

Part c: Meet as agreed or at the Metropolitan’s call.

Part d: Simple majority of the Consistory's voting members present shall constitute a quorum.

Part e: Require and receive quarterly and annual financial reports and statements from the Treasurer; arrange for the publication and distribution of financial reports according to guidelines established by the Metropolitan.

Part f: See to it that independent audits are made of all financial activities of Boards, commissions, committees and accessorial societies, sodalities, confraternities, religious orders and communities.

Part g: Advise the Metropolitan in recognizing or chartering accessorial organizations and in accepting jurisdictions into membership, when no canonical objection has been registered to such admittance.

Part h: Confirm or reject the election of a candidate to the office of Metropolitan within the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus.

Part i: The death, resignation or retirement of the Metropolitan also constitutes the call for a General Synod. Subsequently, the Consistory shall elect from its membership a Metropolitan or priest to act as Metropolitan in the interim between the late Metropolitan’s death, his resignation or retirement and the General Synod's election of a new Metropolitan.


Article XI: Secretary


Section 1: The Secretary shall be elected by the General Synod from the slate of candidates nominated by the Metropolitan.

Section 2: The Secretary shall serve in office from the time of election until: (1) death; (2) resignation from office; (3) retirement; or (4) removal from office by the Metropolitan.

Section 3: In the event of death, resignation or removal from office by the Metropolitan; or permanent incapacity of the Secretary, the Consistory shall elect an acting Secretary from nominations made by the Metropolitan; the acting Secretary will serve until the next regularly called General Synod elects a new Secretary.

Section 4: The Secretary shall:

Part a: Perform all customary duties as corporation secretary and as such with the Metropolitan sign all duly authorized documents of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus.

Part b: Serve as a voting member and secretary of the Consistory.

Part c: Record the proceedings during the General Synod.

Part d: Announce daily the time and place of committee meetings at the General Synod.

Part e: Officially notify every member of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus elected to office by the General Synod of his or her election.

Part f: Receive and present all applications for jurisdictional and clergy membership in the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus to the Metropolitan.

Part g: Keep an accurate, up-to-date file on all members; or cause such file to be kept and maintained.

Part h: Perform such other work as the General Synod or the Metropolitan may assign.

Article XII: Treasurer

Section 1: The Treasurer shall be elected by the General Synod from the slate of candidates nominated by the Metropolitan.

Section 2: The Treasurer shall serve in office from the time of election until: (1) death; (2) resignation from office; (3) retirement; or (4) removal from office by the Metropolitan.

Section 3: In the event of death, resignation or removal from office by the Metropolitan; or permanent incapacity of the Treasurer, the Consistory shall elect an acting Treasurer from nominations made by the Metropolitan.

Section 4: The Treasurer shall:

Part a: Receive all contributions.

Part b: Keep an accurate record of all receipts and disbursements.

Part c: Serve as a voting member of the Consistory.

Part d: Pay all bills approved by the Metropolitan.

Part e: Submit all checks to the Metropolitan for counter-signature, if so regulated.

Part f: Submit an accurate financial accounting annually to Consistory.

Part g: Keep on file a correct list of all devises and bequests, which directly or indirectly have been given to the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus. In such list, there shall be recorded the name of the testator, the amount of money or the real estate (including legal description) or legal papers devised or bequeathed, the stipulations of the will (if such have been made by the testator) and the name of the executor or executors.


Article XIII: Bishops



Part a: Only monastic clergy who are members in good standing of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus can be elected to the office of Metropolitan.

Part b: The Metropolitan who would fulfill his office must see to it that the holy Orthodox faith is fully presented and truly received, the holy sacraments made available and freely supplied, and that the sacred ministry is rigorously maintained, defended and extended within the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus and each jurisdiction.

Part c: The Metropolitan is the center of unity in the Church; he symbolizes and signifies the true nature of the Church as the mystical body of Christ Jesus.

Part d: The Metropolitan has the supervision regarding the doctrine, faith, morals, discipline and administration of all members within the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus.

Part e: A Vicar Bishop (Suffragan) may serve, with the Metropolitan's prior approval, as Vicar (Acting Metropolitan) should there be an interval of time when the Metropolitan should be unavailable due to illness, travel and the like. A Vicar Bishop may not preside or assist at any ordinations or confirmations unless specifically so directed by the Metropolitan.

Part g: The Suffragan shall serve from the time of his confirmation by the Metropolitan until his death, resignation, retirement or removal from office by the Metropolitan or the General Synod.


Article XIV: Canons


To carry out and implement the purposes and mission of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus, to establish principles and rules for the Metropolia as an assembly of canonical entities and to facilitate a God-pleasing administration of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus and all its members, the Metropolitan and the Consistory shall be responsible for promulgating these standards of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus.


Article XV: Amendments to these By-Laws


Section 1: The General Synod may, at any regular session, formulate and adopt proposed amendments to these Statutes, which must then be presented to the Metropolitan for approval or rejection.

Section 2: Proposed amendments to these By-Laws, presented by a regular session of the General Synod to the Metropolitan and receiving his approval, shall then be presented by the Metropolitan at the next regular meeting of the General Synod for final adoption.

Section 3: There must elapse at least six (6) months between the meeting of the General Synod, which has proposed an amendment to these Statutes, and the meeting of the next General Synod, to which the Metropolitan presents the proposed amendment for final adoption.