Orthodox Church in America
CHICAGO, IL [OCA MW Diocese Communications] — The names of three parish priests were put forward for nomination as the next Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest Diocese at a meeting of an expanded Diocesan Council — five of the six district deans participated — here June 8-9, 2010.
The candidates’ names will now be forwarded to the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America for the synodal process of approval, which includes the usual background checks and psychological testing.
The candidates (in alphabetical order) include the Very Rev. Paul Gassios, currently serving as rector of the OCA Bulgarian Diocese’s Saint George Cathedral, Rossford [Toledo], OH; the Very Rev. David Mahaffey, a widowed priest currently serving as rector of Saint Nicholas Church, Bethelem, PA; and the Very Rev. Hieromonk Matthias [Moriak], a widowed priest of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese Archdiocese, currently serving as rector of Saint Gregory of Nyssa Church, Seaford, Long Island, NY.
The Council also put forth a revised order of election for the Special Diocesan Assembly, slated to be held in Minneapolis, MN October 5, 2010, that will result in one name being put forward for canonical election by the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops.
With the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, who presided at the Council sessions as Locum Tenens of the Diocese, the order of election calls for consideration of the three candidates on two ballots. If a candidate receives two-thirds of the vote on the first ballot, he will be considered to have been nominated, and his name will be forwarded to the Holy Synod for canonical election. If no candidate receives two-thirds of the vote on the first ballot, the candidate receiving the fewest number of votes on the first ballot will be dropped from the second ballot. A second vote with two names will be taken, and the name of the candidate receiving the majority of votes will be forwarded to the Holy Synod for canonical election. In the unlikely event of a tie, the names of both candidates will be submitted to the Holy Synod for their decision.
The Council’s announcement of the three candidates is the result of a six month process established in December 2009, after the untimely repose of the late Archbishop Job. A six person Episcopal Selection Committee sifted through the 29 names submitted in an open nomination process in February and March 2010. These included men from seven jurisdictions from inside and outside the US and Canada, and included clergy and laymen; parish priests, monastics, chaplains, and teachers. On the basis of the published requirements and aspirations of the Diocese, the 29 names were reduced to 13, who were informed of their nomination and the ongoing process and invited to complete a lengthy candidate questionnaire. Citing various reasons, several declined to go forward with the process.
The Selection Committee met May 20 to review the nominees and their answers, which resulted in the selection of four nominees for proposal to the Diocesan Council. As had been announced earlier, the expanded Council then voted to move three names forward for consideration by the Holy Synod and Special Assembly.
Over the course of the summer the three candidates will all visit the Diocese to address the Clergy Convocation in late August, as well as to participate in video question-and-answer sessions that will be distributed to parishes.
The Special Assembly will be held at the conclusion of the regularly scheduled annual Diocesan Assembly October 4-5, 2010.