Canonical Affairs Committee 2012 Report: Clergy Information Database
Monday, February 04, 2013
To: His Grace Bishop Maxim, Coordinator of the
His Grace Bishop Basil, Secretary of the Assembly
From: Committee for Canonical Affairs
His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios, Chairman
Rev. Dr. Demetrios Tonias, Facilitator
Date: 30 July 2012
Re: Canonical Affairs Committee Report: Clergy Information Database
The Assembly of Bishops has undertaken a project to create a unified database that will contain pertinent identification information for all Orthodox clergy in North and Central America. As part of this effort the Committee for Canonical Affairs was assigned the task of creating a preliminary model for the database to help facilitate discussion during the development of the database.
The resultant preliminary model consists of the following:
- An initial identification of the necessary information (both ecclesiastical and demographic) to be stored in a relational database.
- A preliminary user interface to serve as a front-end for the building and maintenance of the database.
- An identification of issues related to database access and usability that require input from the Assembly.
Figures 1 and 2 contain a list of the pertinent database fields that are associated with an individual clergyman. Our intent was to make the database complete without burdening the user with extraneous information. The committee recognizes, however, that there may exist specific jurisdictional needs in terms of clergy identification (e.g., ranks [offikia] that are particular to one jurisdiction but not to another) and asks that the respective members of the committee thoroughly review the various fields that will be associated with an individual clergy record to help ensure the completeness of the database.
Database Access and Usability
The committee envisions that the database will be housed on a secure server maintained under the auspices of the Assembly of Bishops. Users will access the database through an Internet browser. The committee proposes three levels of accessibility:
- Privileged Access. Privileged access is granted only to jurisdictional hierarchs approved by the Assembly. This access will allow the hierarch or his representative to create and/or modify specific clergy information. Privileged access also allows the user to view of all of this same clergy information for those who are under the hierarch’s direct authority. The committee proposes that only the jurisdictional hierarch will have the ability to update the database and that the local hierarch, himself, will be responsible for the accuracy of the information.
- Limited Access. Limited access is granted to authorized clergy or lay representatives (e.g., members of a benefits office) to access and view information but not modify any information. The Assembly could identify various levels of limited access (e.g., a chancellor may be able to view suspensions and other aspects of a clergyman’s history but a parish priest would not).
- Restricted Access. Restricted access is a general public view of basic demographic information (e.g., clergy name, parish, parish location, contact information, etc.), similar to that found on most jurisdiction websites as well as on the current Assembly of Bishops website. Restricted access allows the general public to identify canonical Orthodox parishes and clergy in their geographic region.
Database Design and Implementation Questions
The committee has undertaken the first step towards the development of a clergy information database. In the preliminary design phase the committee has identified several issues that require input from the Assembly as a whole. Listed below are some of the items that require resolution.
- Is it acceptable that only the jurisdictional hierarch and/or his representative have privileged access to the database or is greater accessibility desired (e.g., at a metropolis or diocesan level)?
- Which fields should be accessed and by whom?
- What is the desired level of granularity in the database (e.g., clergy education with awarded degrees, ordaining bishop and location of ordination, medical leave, etc.)?
- What is a reasonable timeline to expect each jurisdiction to begin the process of uploading the pertinent clergy information?
- Is historical information entered by one jurisdiction able to be modified by another jurisdiction after clergy has transferred jurisdictions?
- Will there be any authorization for a master account? In other words, who ultimately controls the data?
Database Demonstration in Chicago
The committee is in the process of completing a preliminary program in order to demonstrate the functionality of the clergy information database described above. The committee anticipates that a prototype will be ready for demonstration at the fall meeting of the Assembly so that members will gain a better understanding of the proposed functionality. The committee hopes that this database prototype will elicit commentary directed toward enhancing the usability and extensibility of the final product.
Figure 1: Clergy information fields for an individual record
Title (see titles in Figure 2)
Greeting (see greetings in Figure 2)
Legal First Name
Legal Middle Name
Legal Last Name
Ordained First Name
Home Address 1
Home Address 2
Is Alive (Yes/No)
Marital Status (Celibate, Married, Widowed, Separated)
Canonical Status (Canonical, Suspended, Laicized)
Academic Degrees – M.T.S., M.Div, ThM., Ph.D., etc.
Holy Order (Deacon, Priest, Bishop)
Offikion (see offikia in Figure 2)
Seat (for Bishop only)
Employment Status (Full Time, Part Time, Unemployed)
Canonical History - a log of Canonical Events (in Figure 2) with Acting Bishop, date, location, and additional info
Institution History - a log of Roles (in Figure 2) with location, status, jurisdiction, start date, and end date
Notes - a log of any additional information not included in above fields.
Figure 2: Options for specific fields
V. Rev. Fr.
V. Rev. Archimandrite
Rt. Rev. Fr.
Rt. Rev. Archimandrite
Rt. Rev. Bishop
Most Rev. Fr.
Most Rev. Archbishop
Most Rev. Metropolitan
Most Rev. Patriarch
Most Rev. Ecumenical Patriarch
His All Holiness
Enthronement to See
Leave of Absence - Other
Leave of Absence - Academic Studies