Q: The Parish Council had to elect someone to fill the remainder of a Council member's term. What must I do?
A: All people who serve on the Council must be ratified by the Hierarch. Request ratification (your note is addressed to the Metropolitan but emailed to the Chancellor), indicating that the person is eligible to serve, was validly elected by the Council, and you have gone over the Parish Council seminar material with the person already. Include their contact information (so we can include them in the Parish Council listserv). Once His Eminence ratifies their election, you may give them the Affirmation of Office before the next Council meeting.
Q: Our parish has a major project (capital repair or improvement, iconography or church furnishing, expansion, etc.) - How shall I receive the blessing?
A: It's best to have a preliminary conversation with His Eminence before things get too far along. But for final approval, the project must be approved first by Parish Council and the Parish Assembly. Then the priest requests His Eminence's blessing and permission, enclosing the minutes of the Assembly, all materials distributed to the parishioners about the project, and specifically including details about how it will be funded, timeframe for completion, how life at the parish will be affected by the project while it's happening, and how it fulfills a specific need. He should also complete the "Request for Project Approval" form and include it with the submission. While His Eminence cannot comment on technical aspects (engineering, safety, etc.), his oversight is required to ensure that the project will not create an undue encumbrance on the parish, that it is fulfilling the stated need, is being done by appropriate persons, (for projects dealing with the interior of the church) meets our Orthodox iconographic and worship space standards and traditions, and generally has proper oversight. He will often request the considered opinion of members of the Finance Committee or other committees before making a final determination. Once His Eminence gives his approval, the project may commence.
Q: What if we have a true emergency (fire, flooding, etc.)?
A: The parish priest should call/text/email the Chancellor, who will work it out with the Metropolitan. Often a preliminary approval is made, subject to subsequent approval by the Parish Assembly and again (in full) by His Eminence.
Q: We have amendments to make to our parish bylaws - what should we do?
A: Your bylaws should have provisions for amendment that must be followed first (regarding notification to the Parish, etc.). Ensure that your amendments do not conflict with any provisions of the current Charter or Regulations. Once approved by the Parish Assembly, they should be sent to the Metropolitan (via the Chancellor's Office) for approval, including information about what was changed (original vs. new language) and why it was changed (necessity). His Eminence typically asks members of his Administrative and Legal committees to review proposed bylaws amendments before determining whether to approve, reject, or send them back for further work.