Committee for Pastoral Practice


The Committee for Pastoral Practice is responsible for i) identifying the differences and inconsistencies among the various jurisdictions in their exercise of sacramental and pastoral praxis (e.g., marriage and divorce, reception of converts, etc.); and ii) for establishing a protocol to address these inconsistencies and propose models for resolution consistent with canonical practice.


Metropolitan Joseph (AOCA) - Chairman
Bishop Sevastianos (GOA) 
Bp. Theodosy (ROCOR)
Bp. Mark (OCA)

Committee Liaison

Hieromonk Irenei (Steenberg)


1. Fr. Ian Pac-Urar - Facilitator
2. Fr. Timothy Baclig - Secretary
3. Fr. Ion Gherman
4. Dr. Stephen Muse

Terms of Reference

What is to be accomplished

  • Identify the sacramental and pastoral practices (e.g., marriage and divorce, reception of converts, etc.) in current usage among all the jurisdictions represented in the Assembly
  • Catalogue the differences and inconsistencies that exist and determine whether such differences are local (parish or diocese only) or the policy of the jurisdiction
  • Establish a matrix of practices that allows for a clear comparison and a protocol to address inconsistencies
  • Propose models for resolution that are consistent with canonical practice

How it is to be accomplished

  • Identify the fields of pastoral practice to be surveyed
  • Request the official procedures for each of these practices from each jurisdiction
  • Survey each jurisdiction/presence in the Assembly as to the variations that may or may not exist in regard to official policy
  • Collect anecdotal information on the variations
  • Determine and evaluate theological and ecclesiological ramifications for the variances
  • Strategize on possible models for resolution 

With whom it is to be accomplished

  • Chancellors and/or Synodal secretaries in each jurisdiction
  • Canonists and experts in canon law (from the seminaries and elsewhere)
  • Demographers who have conducted any surveys that cover any of the issues

News and Events

Committee for Pastoral Practice 2013 Report

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
The 2013 annual report of the Committee for Pastoral Practice is now available online. read more »

Pastoral Practice Committee 2012 Annual Report

Monday, February 04, 2013
The 2012 annual report of the Committee for Pastoral Practice is now available online. read more »

Committee for Pastoral Practice 2011 Annual Report

Thursday, April 26, 2012
read more »

Share the Light Sunday Encyclical, 20 January 2008

Thursday, January 03, 2008
We, the Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, greet you in this new calendar year with the love and hope that is in our Lord Jesus Christ. As Orthodox Christians, we have been richly blessed with the sacred repository of the fullness of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. read more »

IOCC SUNDAY, November 18th, 2007

Sunday, October 07, 2007
On this Sunday before the Thanksgiving holiday, when we thank God for the bounty that He has so richly bestowed on us, we take time to recognize the work of the SCOBA Humanitarian aid agency, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). Every year, IOCC Sunday reminds us to share our abundance with those throughout the world whose lives have been torn apart by war, hatred, disease, hurricanes – man-made and natural disasters. read more »

Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) the ends of the Earth - Cameroon

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Cameroon – For three months every year the arid landscape of northern Cameroon succumbs to the cleansing deluge of the rainy season. The dust settles and the scorched desert floor is replaced by a plain of green grass. read more »

Pastoral Letter on Suicide

Friday, May 25, 2007
This statement offers a pastoral perspective on this issue that is consistent with both the Tradition of our Orthodox Church and our improved understanding of the medical and psychological factors that might lead one to take his or her life. read more »

Crisis in Indonesia – March 19, 2007

Friday, March 23, 2007
The Orthodox Christians in Indonesia have joined the list of those attacked by Muslim extremists. Father Methodios Sri Gunarjo, his family and other Orthodox were terrorized and threatened this past weekend. Although there are no reports of physical harm at this point, the verbal, psychological and other forms of abuse continue. At one point, a knife was put to the throat of Father Methodios, as his attackers demanded that he close the Churches in the Boyolali area of Central Java. It should be noted that there is a thriving ministry in this area. read more »

The Feast of the Sunday of Orthodoxy

Tuesday, February 20, 2007
read more »

Medical Shipment To Albania Critical to Country's Declining Healthcare

Monday, November 13, 2006
With only one percent of the national budget spent on healthcare in Albania, and with 25% of the population living below the poverty level, IOCC’s recent shipment of medical supplies valued at over $435,000 is welcome aid indeed. read more »

Orthodox Hierarchs issue Communique Affirming need to Bear Witness Together on Spiritual and Moral Concerns

Friday, October 06, 2006
Christ has come for the life of the world; through the Cross joy has come into all the world. We have a responsibility to bear witness to this life in Christ and to this joy. read more »

OCMC's Voices from the Harvest - Is God Calling You to be a Missionary?

Friday, September 08, 2006
OCMC Missionaries assist in the growth of the Orthodox Christian Faith around the world and many Hierarchs are searching for people to serve the Lord in the mission field. read more »

College Student Sunday Encyclical, September 17, 2006

Friday, September 08, 2006
For many students, the college years are perhaps the most formative ones in life. The task of learning how to balance study and recreation, the prospect of encountering challenging ideas in the classroom, the idea of living in close quarters with a roommate who might offer an entirely foreign worldview or perspective on life, and the first encounter with total and complete freedom outside the family environment can be altogether exciting experiences for the college student. However, they can also be quite confusing and disorienting. read more »

SCOBA Hierarchs Alarmed By Diminishing Christian Communities in the Middle East

Tuesday, November 08, 2005
We, the hierarchs of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), reflecting on the continuing Middle East crisis, wish to express our concern and pain with regard to the violence and threats of violence in the Middle East. read more »

SCOBA Issues Statement on Sexual Misconduct in the Church

Tuesday, August 02, 2005
The hierarchs of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) recently adopted a Statement entitled "Dealing With Sexual Misconduct in the Church". read more »

SCOBA/SCOOCH Statement On Iraq Church Bombings

Friday, July 08, 2005
The hierarchs of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) and the hierarchs of the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches in America (SCOOCH) learned with great sadness the news that religious edifices were targeted by certain extremist elements in Iraq. read more »

Family Counselor Dr. Albert Rossi Joins National Orthodox Christian Radio Program

Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Fr. Christopher T. Metropulos, founder and president of Orthodox Christian Network, and host of Come Receive The Light, announced that Dr. Albert Rossi, Family Counselor, Lecturer in Pastoral Theology & Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at St. Vladimir's Seminary, will join the fast growing national Orthodox Christian radio program as a regular monthly contributor. read more »

OCMC Missionaries Needed

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), St. Augustine, FL - The Orthodox Church in Kenya has many projects and activities that would benefit from the assistance and contribution of priests, teachers, nurses, doctors and others willing to serve as long-term OCMC Missionaries. read more »

Passing On The Torch by Fr. Luke Veronis, OCMC Missionary in Albania

Friday, May 14, 2004
“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well” (2 Timothy 2:1-2). read more »

SCOBA Statement on Moral Crisis in Our Nation

Wednesday, August 13, 2003
The Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, 2000 years of church tradition, and canon law, holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of a man and a woman, and that authentic marriage is blessed by God as a sacrament of the Church. Neither Scripture nor Holy Tradition blesses or sanctions such a union between persons of the same sex. read more »