Official Policies



Living the Sacramental Life of the Church
Practical Instructions For Diocesan Faithful

"Certainly it is now the bishops who hold the place of the Apostles in the church. They receive the authority of binding and loosing; they have as their lot the role of governing. It is a magnificent honor, but the honor that carries with it a heavy burden."

- St. Gregory the Great, Homilies on the Gospels 2, 26, 5 (ca 509)


For the Sacramental union of a man and a woman to be proper in the eyes of the church the marriage must be performed in the Orthodox Church. For such a marriage to be sacramentally valid, the following must be adhered to:

1. No impediment to the marriage may exist, or the necessary dispensations must be obtained beforehand from the hierarch of the diocese.

2. A civil marriage license must be obtained from appropriate civil authorities prior to the ecclesiastical ceremony.

3. The Sacrament of Marriage must be celebrated by an Orthodox priest in the church of the bride in accordance with the liturgical tradition of the Orthodox Church.

4. The priest must belong to our diocese. A marriage performed by another priest in communion with the Orthodox Church is recognized as valid by the entire Orthodox Church.

5. The pastor must receive necessary dispensations, if they are required for the marriage, from his diocesan bishop.

6. Before proceeding with arrangements for a marriage, the pastor must verify:
a. That the parties in question are not already married either in this country or elsewhere. If one of the parties is not personally known to the pastor, a freedom to marry form must be executed by their legal pastor.
b. Those desiring marriage must be members in good standing both from a spiritual and temporal perspective in the parish for at least one year prior to the marriage date.
c. If either or both parties are widowed, they must present the death certificate of the deceased spouse.
d. If either or both of the parties have been civilly divorced and have civilly remarried, determination must be made by the Diocesan Tribunal regarding the former marriages and their validity. In such a case no marriage date can be set until a decree is obtained from the Diocesan Tribunal.

7. No more than a total of three valid marriages are permitted by the Church.

8. When one or both parties is divorced, they must obtain a decree of annulment or of spiritual death of former marriage from the Diocesan Tribunal.

9. In the case of mixed marriage, the non-Orthodox party must be a Christian who is baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity. A marriage cannot be solemnized between an Orthodox Christian and a non-baptized person.

10. In the case of a mixed marriage between an Orthodox Christian and a non-Orthodox Christian, the marriage must be celebrated by an Orthodox priest in the Orthodox Church according to Orthodox liturgical tradition. The parties must promise solemnly and in writing that any children born of the marriage will be reared and raised exclusively in the Orthodox Church.

11. Mixed marriages can be celebrated only in the Orthodox Church. Double ceremonies are not permitted to believers as the Orthodox ceremony is alone sufficient for sacramental grace. In those cases where dual ceremonies are planned, the marriage cannot take place in the Orthodox Church.

12. Since two witnesses are required civilly, ideally, they should both be Orthodox. However, for the validity of the Sacrament, only one is necessary. This witness must be a practicing Orthodox Christian and must have a Sponsor certificate from his pastor attesting to same. A person who does not belong to an Orthodox parish, does not receive the Sacrament regularly, or who belongs to a parish not in communion with the Orthodox Church, or who, if married, is not married in an Orthodox Church, cannot enjoy the awesome dignity of a marriage witness. Non-Orthodox members may comprise the remainder of the wedding party since they serve no spiritual or religious purpose.

13. The couple contemplating marriage cannot compose their own marriage ceremony. The Diocesan publication of the Service of Holy Matrimony is the only service book to be used. No music, other than that which is part of our sacred musical tradition, is permitted to be sung.

14. If the couple requests the special presence of a priest of another canonical Orthodox diocese, the invitation must be extended to him through the officiating priest. If the couple requests the special presence of a priest of the Roman Catholic Church, the invitation must be extended to him through the officiating priest, after the proper dispensation has been granted by the Diocesan Bishop. Since no priesthood exists in the Protestant tradition, and no sacrament is acknowledged in contracting the marriage, participation by a Protestant minister is not permitted.


1. Christmas Fast (Advent)
2. Great Lent and Holy Week
3. Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist
4. Feast of the Elevation of the Cross
5. Dormition Fast
6. On Wednesday and Friday

Marriages may be performed on these days if absolutely necessary and for reasons of urgent import only with special dispensation from the diocesan hierarch.


It is a fact that more things which the proposed couple have in common, particularly their common faith and spiritual life, the more likely it will be that they live their married life in sacramental grace, peace and harmony. Shared faith and traditions spare newlyweds and their children many serious problems and strengthen the bond between them. However, Orthodoxy does solemnize mixed marriages under the following conditions:

1. Necessary dispensations must be secured by the pastor regarding permission for an Orthodox Christian to marry a non-Orthodox Christian.

2. The non-Orthodox party must be baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity.

3. The couple must be willing and able to baptize their children in the Orthodox Church and nurture them in accordance with the Orthodox faith.

If these conditions are not met, then the pastor is not free to solemnize the marriage. If the Orthodox party enters an attempted marriage in a non-Orthodox setting or in a church not in communion with the Orthodox Church, the marriage is not valid in the eyes of the Church. The Orthodox party must then bear in serious mind that a married Orthodox Christian whose marriage has not been solemnized in the Orthodox Church is no longer in good standing with the Church and consequently does not have the right to receive the Sacraments of the Church or to be eligible to become a witness or sponsor at a Marriage, Baptism, or Chrismation. They are also excluded from Christian burial unless they repent and return to the unity of the Church. An Orthodox Christian who has attempted marriage outside of Orthodoxy and wishes to be reconciled with the Church is encouraged to request such from the local Orthodox priest so that the necessary remedies might be applied and integration into the salutary life of the Church take place.

A non-Orthodox Christian who marries an Orthodox Christian does not automatically become a member of the Church and it is therefore not permitted for the Sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, to be distributed to such souls. These are privileges only of baptized, chrismated and committed members of the Household of Christ.


1. Parents with their own children, grandparents or great-grand children.
2. Brothers-in-law with sisters-in-law.
3. Uncles and aunts with nieces and nephews.
4. First cousins with each other and second cousins with each other.
5. Foster parents with foster children or foster children with other children of common foster parents.
6. Godparents with godchildren or godparents with the parents of godchildren.


Seminary chapels, college chapels -- all need the express approval of the diocesan hierarch to be used as a location for the marriage celebration. Circumstances will be taken into consideration before a blessing is bestowed. It should also be remembered that the Church is the normal location for the wedding. The Sacrament of Marriage cannot be celebrated in a garden, poolside, in vehicles of public transportation, etc.


An ecclesiastical annulment or decree of Spiritual Death may be granted only after a civil decree has been obtained. However, the spiritual father or parish pastor must exert every effort to reconcile the couple and avert a divorce if this is spiritually and humanly possible. Should the pastor fail to effect a reconciliation, he will undergo the necessary direction of the Diocesan Tribunal and assist the party or parties in seeking an ecclesiastical annulment or decree of spiritual death of the marriage. Full particulars may be obtained by writing to the Diocesan Tribunal at the Chancery Office. No priest is free to solemnize a marriage even if a need is apparent before the decrees are issued by the Diocesan Tribunal. No date of a proposed marriage may be set until the decree is obtained.


Although ideally, both sponsors for a baptized Orthodox child should be Orthodox, and it is difficult to imagine why faithful committed Orthodox parents would think of asking a non-Orthodox party to sponsor their child for this Sacrament, our pluralistic society makes many demands upon us. However, one of the sponsors at Baptism and Chrismation must be Orthodox who has produced a statement from his legal pastor attesting to their practice of the Orthodox faith by regular attendance at the Divine Liturgy, in daily life and sacramentally. A person who has been excommunicated or anathematized by the Church, or who, if married, has married outside the Orthodox Church, may not become a godparent. People living together in a common law relationship may not serve as godparents as well as those in cohabitation situations.


Requiem and funeral services are permitted any day of the year except on Sundays unless it is most urgent and absolutely necessary and specific permission is secured from the hierarch of the diocese.


Requiem services may not be held on the following days:

1. From the Saturday of Lazarus through the Sunday of St. Thomas.
2. Christmas and the Feast of the Resurrection.
3. Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

It is highly recommended that Orthodox Christians offer and request memorials and Liturgies for the repose of the souls of their beloved departed and participate in the universal remembrance of departed souls on the five All Souls Saturdays.




Bishops, priests, deacons, abbots, religious, pastoral ministers, administrators, staff, and volunteers in our parishes, religious communities/institutes, and organizations must uphold Christian values and conduct. The Code of Pastoral Conduct for Priests, Deacons, Pastoral Ministers, Administrators, Staff, and Volunteers (Code of Pastoral Conduct) provides a set of standards for conduct in certain pastoral situations. The same Code applies to all Archbishops and Bishops.


Both the public and private conduct of clergy, staff, and volunteers can inspire and motivate people, but it can also scandalize and undermine the people’s faith. Clergy, staff, and volunteers must, at all times, be aware that even though our Father’s goodness and grace support them in their ministry, there are grave responsibilities which accompany this ministry.

Responsibility for adherence to the Code of Pastoral Conduct rests with the individual. Clergy, staff, and volunteers who disregard this Code of Pastoral Conduct will be subject to remedial action by the local Archbishop/Bishop, parish priest, the religious community/institute and, if applicable, the school. Corrective action may take various forms—from a verbal reproach to removal from the ministry—depending on the specific nature and circumstances of the offense and the extent of the harm.


1. Conduct for Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors[1]

Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors must respect the rights and advance the welfare of each person.

1.1 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors shall not step beyond their competence in counseling situations and shall refer clients to other professionals when appropriate.

1.2 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors should carefully consider the possible consequences before entering into a counseling relationship with someone with whom they have a pre-existing relationship (i.e., employee, professional colleague, friend, or other pre-existing relationship). [Cf. Section 7.2.2]

1.3 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors should not audiotape or videotape sessions.

1.4 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors must never engage in sexual intimacies with the persons they counsel. This includes consensual and nonconsensual contact, forced physical contact, and inappropriate sexual comments.

1.5 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors shall not engage in sexual intimacies with individuals who are close to the client—such as relatives or friends of the client—when there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the client. Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors should presume that the potential for exploitation or harm exists in such intimate relationships.

1.6 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors assume the full burden of responsibility for establishing and maintaining clear, appropriate boundaries in all counseling and counseling-related relationships.

1.7 Physical contact of any kind (i.e., touching, hugging, holding) between Pastoral Counselors or Spiritual Directors and the persons they counsel can be misconstrued and should be avoided.

1.8 Sessions should be conducted in appropriate settings at appropriate times.

1.8.1 Sessions may never be conducted in private living quarters.

1.8.2 Sessions should not be held at places or times that would tend to causeconfusion about the nature of the relationship for the person being counseled.

1.9 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors shall maintain a log of the
times and places of sessions with each person being counseled.

2. Confidentiality

Information disclosed to a Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director during the course of counseling, advising, or spiritual direction shall be held in the strictest confidence.

2.1 Information obtained in the course of sessions shall be confidential, except for compelling professional reasons or as required by law.

2.1.1 If there is clear and imminent danger to the client or to others, the Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director may disclose only the information necessary to protect the parties affected and to prevent harm.

2.1.2 Before disclosure is made, if feasible, the Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director should inform the person being counseled about the disclosure and the potential consequences.

2.2 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors should discuss the nature of confidentiality and its limitations with each person in counseling.

2.3 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors should keep minimal records of the content of sessions.

2.4 Knowledge arising from professional contact may be used in teaching, writing, homilies, or other public presentations only when effective measures are taken to absolutely safeguard both the individual’s identity and the confidentiality of the disclosures.

2.5 While counseling a minor, if a Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director discovers that here is a serious threat to the welfare of the minor and that communication of confidential information to a parent or legal guardian is essential to the child’s health and well-being, the Counselor or Spiritual Director should:

- Attempt to secure written consent from the minor for the specific disclosure.

- If consent is not given, disclose only the information necessary to protect the health and well-being of the minor.

Consultation with the appropriate Church supervisory personnel is required before disclosure. These obligations are independent of the confidentiality of the confessional. Under no circumstances whatsoever can there be any disclosure—even indirect disclosure—of information received through the confessional.

3. Conduct With Youth

Clergy, staff, and volunteers working with youth shall maintain an open and trustworthy relationship between youth and adult supervisors.

3.1 Clergy, staff, and volunteers must be aware of their own and others’ vulnerability when working alone with youth. Use a team approach to managing youth activities.

3.2 Physical contact with youth can be misconstrued and should occur (a) only when completely nonsexual and otherwise appropriate, and (b) never in private.

3.3 Clergy, staff, and volunteers should refrain from (a) the illegal possession and/or illegal use of drugs and/or alcohol at all times, and (b) the use of alcohol when working with youth.

3.4 Clergy may never allow individual young people to stay overnight in the cleric’s private accommodations or residence.

3.5 Staff and volunteers should not provide shared, private, overnight accommodation for individual young people including, but not limited to, accommodations in any Church-owned facility, private residence, hotel room, or any other place where there is no other adult supervision present.

3.5.1 In rare, emergency situations, when accommodation is necessary for the health and well-being of the youth, the clergy, staff, or volunteer should take extraordinary care to protect all parties from the appearance of impropriety and from all risk of harm.

3.5.2 Use a team approach to managing emergency situations.

4. Sexual Conduct

Clergy, staff, and volunteers must not, for purposes of sexual gain or intimacy, exploit the trust placed in them by the faith community.

4.1 Clergy, religious, staff, and volunteers who are committed to a celibate lifestyle are called to be an example of celibate chastity in all relationships at all times. Clergy, religious, staff, and volunteers who are married are called to be an example of marital fidelity in all relationships at all times.
4.2 Clergy, staff and volunteers who provide pastoral counseling or spiritual direction services must avoid developing inappropriately intimate relationships with minors, other staff, or parishioners. Staff and volunteers must behave in a professional manner at all times.

4.3 No clergy, staff, or volunteer may exploit another person for sexual purposes.

4.4 Allegations of sexual misconduct should be taken seriously and reported to the Prime Bishop and to civil authorities if the situation involves a minor.

4.5 Clergy, staff, and volunteers should review and know the contents of the child abuse regulations and reporting requirements of their state of and should follow those mandates.

5. Harassment

Clergy, staff, and volunteers must not engage in physical, psychological, written, or verbal harassment of staff, volunteers, or parishioners and must not tolerate such harassment by other Church staff or volunteers.

5.1 Clergy, staff, and volunteers shall provide a professional work environment that is free from physical, psychological, written, or verbal intimidation or harassment.

5.2 Harassment encompasses a broad range of physical, written, or verbal behavior, including, without limitation, the following:

- Mental or physical abuse.

- Racial insults and/or derogatory ethnic slurs.

- Unwelcome sexual advances or touching.

- Sexual comments or sexual jokes.

- Requests for sexual favors used as:

- Conditions of employment, or
- Manipulating personnel decisions, such as promotion compensation.

- Display of offensive materials.

5.3 Harassment can be a single severe incident or a persistent pattern of behavior where the purpose or the effect is to create a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment.

5.4 Allegations of harassment should be taken seriously and reported immediately to the appropriate person in the parish, community/institute, diocese, or organization.

These policies will be followed in every instance in order to protect the rights of all individuals.

6. Parish, Religious Community/Institute, and Organizational Records and

Confidentiality will be maintained in creating, storing, accessing, transferring, and disposing of parish, religious community or institute, or organizational records.

6.1 Sacramental records shall be regarded as confidential. When compiling and publishing parish, religious community/institute, or organization statistical information from these records, great care must be taken to preserve the anonymity of individuals.

6.2 Most sacramental records older than 70 years are open to the public.

6.2.1 Information regarding adoption and legitimacy remains confidential, regardless of age.

6.2.2 Only staff members who are authorized to access the records and supervise their use shall handle requests for more recent records.

6.3 Parish, religious community/institute, or organization financial records are confidential unless review is required by the Diocese or by the appropriate government agency. Consult the Chancellor or the Chief Finance Officer of the Office of the Metropolitan Prime Bishop upon receipt of any request for release of financial records.

6.4 Individual contribution records of the parish, religious community or institute, or organization shall be regarded as private and shall be maintained in strictest confidence.

7. Conflicts of Interest

Clergy, staff, and volunteers should avoid situations that may present a conflict of interest. Even the appearance of a conflict of interest can call integrity and professional conduct into question.

7.1 Clergy, staff, and volunteers should disclose all relevant factors that potentially could create a conflict of interest.

7.2 Clergy, staff, and volunteers should inform all parties when a real or potential conflict of interest arises. Resolution of the issues must protect the person receiving ministry services.

7.2.1 No clergy, staff, or volunteer should take advantage of anyone to whom they are providing services in order to further their personal, religious, political, or business interests.

7.2.2 Pastoral counselors should not provide counseling services to anyone with whom they have a business, professional, or social relationship. When this is unavoidable, the client must be protected. The counselor must establish and maintain clear, appropriate boundaries.

7.2.3 When pastoral counseling or spiritual direction services are provided to two or more people who have a relationship with each other, the Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director must:

- Clarify with all parties the nature of each relationship,

- Anticipate any conflict of interest,

- Take appropriate actions to eliminate the conflict, and

- Obtain from all parties written consent to continue services.

7.3 Conflicts of interest may also arise when a Pastoral Counselor’s or Spiritual Director’s independent judgment is impaired by:

- Prior dealings,

- Becoming personally involved, or

- Becoming an advocate for one (person) against another.

In these circumstances, the Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director shall advise the parties that he or she can no longer provide services and refer them to another Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director.

8. Reporting Ethical or Professional Misconduct

Clergy, staff, and volunteers have a duty to report their own ethical or professional misconduct and the misconduct of others.

8.1 Clergy, staff, and volunteers must hold each other accountable for maintaining the highest ethical and professional standards. When there is an indication of illegal actions by clergy, staff, or volunteers, you should notify the proper civil authorities immediately. Also notify the Archdeacon Chancellor of the Holy Synod of Bishops.

8.2 When an uncertainty exists about whether a situation or course of conduct violates this Code of Pastoral Conduct or other religious, moral, or ethical principles, consult with:

- Peers,

- Others knowledgeable about ethical issues, or

- The Chancery Offices.

8.3 When it appears that a member of clergy, a staff member, or a volunteer has violated this Code of Pastoral Conduct or other religious, moral, or ethical principles:

- Report the issue to a supervisor or next higher authority, or

- Refer the matter directly to the Chancery Offices of the Prime Bishop.

8.4 The obligation of Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors to report client misconduct is subject to the duty of confidentiality. However, any agreement or duty to maintain confidentiality must yield to the need to report misconduct that threatens the safety, health, or well-being of any of the persons involved except as provided for in Section 2.6

9. Administration

Employers and supervisors shall treat clergy, staff, and volunteers justly in the day-to-day administrative operations of their ministries.

9.1 Personnel and other administrative decisions made by clergy, staff, and volunteers shall meet civil and canon law obligations and also reflect Catholic social teachings and this Code of Pastoral Conduct.

9.2 No clergy, staff, or volunteer shall use his or her position to exercise unreasonable or inappropriate power and authority.

9.3 Each volunteer providing services to children and youth must read and sign the Volunteer Code of Conduct before providing services.

10. Staff or Volunteer Well-being

Clergy, staff, and volunteers have the duty to be responsible for their own spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional health.

10.1 Clergy, staff, and volunteers should be aware of warning signs that indicate potential problems with their own spiritual, physical, mental, and/or emotional health.

10.2 Clergy, staff, and volunteers should seek help immediately whenever they notice behavioral or emotional warning signs in their own professional and/or personal lives.

10.3 Clergy, staff, and volunteers must address their own spiritual needs. Support from a Spiritual Director is highly recommended.

10.4 Inappropriate or illegal use of alcohol and drugs is prohibited.


All clergy, staff, and volunteers of the Diocese of the Midwest will observe the following guidelines in dealing with minors:

- Always avoid situations where I am alone with children and/or youth.

- Never touch a child and/or youth in a sexual or other inappropriate manner.

- Immediately report any suspicion of abuse of a child to the pastor, principal, or immediate supervisor, as well as the local office of a Child Protective Services agency whose telephone numbers have been distributed during training.

- Never allow any minors to reside in or to be an overnight guest in a rectory unless they are members of the immediate family of the clergy.

- Never allow the use, by minors, of any alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or any illegal substance.

- Never attempt to physically discipline a child or a minor. Discpline problems should be coordinated by the immediate supervisor in consultation with the parents of the minor.

- Never be alone with a minor in a residence, sleeping facility, locker room, rest room, dressing facility, or any other isolated area that is inappropriate to a ministry relationship.

- Never take overnight trips alone with a minor who is not a member of your family. Adult chaperones should accompany any trip involving minors.

- Never sleep in the same bed with a minor. If an adult chaperone stays in a hotel or other sleeping facility with a group of minors, the chaperone should sleep in their own bed.

- If you discover an inappropriate attraction or attention being shown to you by a minor, maintain clear professional boundaries between yourself and the minor and report or refer the minor to another adult and to the Archdeacon Chancellor of the Holy Synod of Bishops as soon as possible.

- If the need should arise to have to counsel or advise a minor, avoid meeting in isolated environments. Schedule meetings at times and use locations that can create accountability. Limit the length and number or meetings and make outside referrals, if necessary. Parents and supervisors should be advised of these meetings.

- Never drive a church or school vehicle transporting a minor unless you have received a prior authorization and have the appropriate license or certification.

- Topics, vocabulary, recordings, films, games or the use of computer software or any other form or personal interaction or entertainment that could not be used comfortably in the presence of parents should not be employed with minors. Sexually explicit or pornographic material is never appropriate.

- Never administer medication of any kind without written parental permission.

- Never give minors keys to church facilities. If the minor has a key as a result of being a church employee or volunteer, the minor should be properly screened.

- Never permit minors to cross a road by themselves while they are in your custodial care.

- Never take photographs of minors while they are unclothed or dressing (e.g., in a locker room or bathing facility).

- If you observe anyone (adult or minor) abusing a minor, take appropriate steps to immediately intervene and to provide a safe environment for the minor. Report the misconduct.

[1]Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors: Clergy, staff, and volunteers who provide pastoral, spiritual, and/or therapeutic counseling services to individuals, families, or other groups.




It is the intention of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America to update and expand existing procedures in order to prevent sexual abuse of minors by personnel and invited guests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America and any resulting harm to the victim and to others. This Policy details the Synod’s response in those unfortunate situations when allegations of abuse do occur. The goal is to do all that is needed to address the allegation or crime and be a source of healing to those in need. This Policy serves to:

a) Strengthen the screening procedures toward the prevention of sexual abuse of a minor by Diocesan personnel.

b) Address reporting requirements to Civil and Diocesan and/or Ecclesiastical authorities.

c) Address the spiritual, physical and emotional care of the minor and the family as well as the affected community.

d) Address the physical and emotional care of the individual against whom the charge was made.

e) Address other actions to be taken when the sexual abuse of a minor is alleged.


a) Minor: Any person under the age of eighteen (18) is considered a minor under sexual abuse laws. A vulnerable person over the age of eighteen (18) is also covered by the law when such a person is unable or unlikely to report abuse without assistance because of impairment due to physical, mental or emotional status.

b) Diocesan Personnel: Includes priests, deacons, religious, lay employees, lay volunteers or contract workers who have contact with children while working in the Diocese of the Midwest.

c) Administrative Leave: Person accused is being relieved of their office and/or position and duties pending further notice.

Abuse may consist of any of the following:

d) Sexual Abuse: Any act which involves sexual molestation or sexual exploitation of a child by a parent or any other person who has permanent care, temporary care, custody or responsibility for supervision of a minor, whether physical injuries are sustained or not. Sexual abuse includes acts of incest, rape or sexual offense in any degree, sodomy, any unnatural or perverted sexual practices, lewd or indecent acts/proposals, permitting or encouraging a minor or adult to participate in acts of prostitution or pornography.

e) Physical Abuse: Sustaining of a physical injury by a minor as a result of cruel or inhumane treatment or as a result of a malicious act under circumstances which indicate that a minor’s health or welfare is harmed or threatened thereby.

f) Child Neglect: Abandonment of a minor by a parent, custodian or guardian; lack of care or control in respect to subsistence, education, physical health or emotional health (excluding instances of financial inability to provide); refusal or inability to discharge parental or custodial obligations and expression of intention by parent, custodian, guardian or institution to discontinue care.


The following clergy, current employees and volunteers of the Diocese of the Midwest shall obtain and return to the Archdeacon-Chancellor a copy of their Criminal History Record:

a) All priests, religious and deacons.

b) All principals, assistant principals, teachers, contract workers, guidance counselors, librarians and staff (e.g. clerical, teacher aides, maintenance, security and food service) and all volunteers of Catholic schools operated by the Diocese or parish.

c) All directors, coordinators, catechists and staff of religious education programs and all teachers of religious education.

d) All persons providing child care services under the auspices of the Diocese and/or any parish, mission and/or other organizations which are subject under civil law and/or canon law to the administration, authority and/or governance of the Diocese.

e) All youth ministers, directors and coaches of minor’s activities (e.g. altar servers, sodalities, athletics, scout leaders, choir, etc.) and similar Diocesan personnel having contact with minors and who provide such services under the auspices of the Diocese or any parish, mission or other organization which are subject under civil law and canon law to the administration, authority and/or governance of the Diocese.

In addition to the Criminal History record, an Information Questionnaire shall be required to be submitted. Protopresbyters are responsible to ensure that all clergy of their respective protopresbytery shall obtain the completed Criminal History Record and Information Questionnaire and submit these forms to the Chancellor. The Archdeacon-Chancellor is in charge of compiling and maintaining all records.

Any male who applies for studies for the presbyterate or deaconate shall fill out the Information Questionnaire, provide a copy of their Criminal History and receive psychological testing in addition to the other requirements for acceptance into the appropriate programs of study.

Any priest, religious or deacon seeking incardination or residence in the Diocese is required to present the same documentation before being accepted for ministry.

All priests, religious, deacons and laypersons who are invited to preach and/or direct retreats, days of recollection, spiritual conferences, etc., will be required to have completed an Information Questionnaire and have submitted a Criminal History Record. These documents will be submitted to the Archdeacon-Chancellor of the Diocese before approval to serve within the Diocese. Where a priest, religious or deacon assists consistently within the Diocese, these documents will be re-submitted annually.

All priests, religious and deacons who are invited to substitute in the Diocese in the event of a vacancy, annual leave or days off will be required to have completed an Information Questionnaire and have submitted a Criminal History Record. These documents will be submitted to the Archdeacon-Chancellor of the Diocese before approval to serve within the Diocese. Where a priest, religious or deacon assists consistently within the Diocese, these documents will be re-submitted annually.

No pastor, parochial vicar or employee shall grant residence or employment until the proper documentation and proper background check has occurred, and after having sought and received written permission from the Archbishop/Bishop of the respective Diocese.

Each parish pastor and/or administrator is to ensure that:

- the Sexual Abuse Policy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America and

- Promise to Protect, Promise to Heal (Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Essential Norms, and the Statement of Episcopal Commitment)

are always available in the parish office for reference and distribution to all interested.

Each parish pastor and/or administrator is to ensure that sufficient copies of the Diocesan Victim Assistance Ministry pamphlet are always available in the Church entrance, school offices, religious education facilities and parish halls.

All monasteries, retreat centers, and institutions under the jurisdiction of the Diocese are to insure that sufficient copies of the Diocesan Victim Assistance Ministry pamphlet are available for reference and distribution to all interested.


Any instance of known or suspected child abuse must be reported to the proper civil authority and the Designated Person of the Diocese. The individual reporting the instance need not furnish proof.

The information to be reported shall consist of:

a) Name, address and age of the minor.

b) Name and address of the minor’s parents, custodian or guardian.

c) The current whereabouts of the minor.

d) Nature, type and extent of the alleged abuse.

e) Date(s) of occurrence and frequency.

f) The name of the accused.

f) Any other information.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America is an interstate and international jurisdiction and must refer as to the particular Statute of each civil jurisdiction concerning this crime.

The concern of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America is the care and welfare of the abused. Also, the respect, dignity, and rights of the accused are to be upheld.


When an allegation of abuse has been made, an investigation shall be initiated. The Diocese has an obligation to assure that the minor is protected from the alleged abuser. Depending on the nature of the allegation, the accused may be removed from their assignment/position so that contact with minors will be restricted.

The following steps shall be taken after an allegation:

a) The Diocese shall immediately report any and all allegations of abuse to the appropriate civil authority, i.e. law enforcement, social services, etc.

b) The Diocese shall cooperate fully in the investigation of the allegation(s) conducted by the civil authorities and not interfere.
c) The Diocese shall immediately implement a plan, in consultation with the investigating civil authorities, to ensure the safety of the victim and any other minors. This shall include putting any clergy or employee on administrative leave for the duration of the investigation.

d) The Diocese shall request information from the civil authorities regarding the results of the investigation in order to make an informed decision regarding the clergy and/or employee.

e) The Diocese shall clearly identify the personnel charged with assuring that a safety plan is implemented during the investigation, and that any recommendations resulting from the investigation by the civil authorities are reviewed and implemented as they pertain to the Diocese.

f) The Diocese shall not enter into confidentiality agreements as part of any litigation or settlement related to the allegations of abuse by clergy or an employee.

g) The Diocese shall provide affected parishes, schools or institutions with a standard statement that acknowledges that an allegation has been made.

h) The Diocese shall notify other parishes, school or institutions where the accused has served in the past. This is important since more victims may be involved.

i) The Diocese shall seek input from and consider the needs of the victim and the victim’s family.

j) To assure the rights of the accused, a statement shall be issued that states that the removal of accused is not a final determination of the allegations made.

k) The Diocese shall assist the accused in restoring their reputation when an allegation is shown to be without foundation.

The role of the Bishop is a critical role in situations involving the victim and the accused. His role is to reach out to the victim(s), the victim’s families and the faith community in providing support and compassion. He is also to ensure the clergy and employees of the Diocese that they are held accountable for their actions that violate the moral laws of the Church as well as civil law.

a) The Bishop shall offer to meet personally with the victim and the victim’s family in a place that is mutually agreeable.

b) The Bishop shall take personal responsibility for the protection of minors.

c) The Bishop shall assure that all clergy and employees are informed of the policies of the Diocese regarding sexual abuse of a minor and are adequately trained in the policies.

d) The Bishop shall assure that both victims and the accused receive appropriate treatment from qualified providers. If a victim chooses to obtain treatment independent of what the Diocese is providing, it will be respected and supported.

e) The Bishop shall insure that the clergy and employees have their legal rights respected and protected.

f) The Bishop shall assure that seminarians are adequately prepared for and understand the responsibility of protecting minors.

g) The Bishop shall assure that no transfer of an accused cleric into or out of the Diocese shall take place if an alleged abuse has been confirmed or while an investigation is taking place. In the event an allegation is not confirmed and the cleric desires a transfer to another eparchy (diocese, religious order), a record of allegations shall be made available. This record shall be maintained for ten (10) years and kept in outline form for perpetuity.


The Review Board is a predominantly lay board composed of people appointed by the Bishop to serve in a consultative and advisory capacity. The final decision authority resides exclusively with the Bishop.


The function of the Review Board is as follows:

a) To assess the credibility of an allegation(s) concerning the sexual abuse of a minor that has been made against a cleric, religious, employee or volunteer of the Diocese, and to advise the Bishop of its findings and conclusions.

b) To monitor, in each particular case, allegations of sexual abuse of minors that have been made against a cleric, religious, employee or volunteer in order to insure that this policy is being fulfilled.

c) To review this policy and its procedures and to provide the Bishop with its recommendations for any modifications.

d) To make recommendations concerning the continuation of ministry or service of priests, deacons, seminarians, religious or anyone else who has a canonical appointment or office by the Bishop, and against whom a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has been made.

e) In regard to lay persons, the Review Board will not make recommendations as to whether a violation of this policy has been established. In such a case, an administrative decision will be made regarding the removal of the accused in accord with existing personnel policies within the Diocese. A report of the administrative action will be provided to the Review Board so it may monitor the compliance with this policy.


The Review Board shall be composed of six (6) members. The Protosyncellus, Vicar for Clergy, Vicar for Religious and the Promoter of Justice are not members but may attend meetings as observers.


a) Shall be Ukrainian Orthodox Christians in communion with the Church.

b) Will not be employees of the Diocese except for clergy.

c) Will not be members of the Review Board and members of the Response Personnel at the same time.

d) At least one (1) member shall be from among the clergy from the Diocese.

e) Will be appointed by the Bishop and not receive compensation. They may be reimbursed for necessary expenses.

f) Will be appointed to serve for a term of five (5) years. In the event of resignation, withdrawal or dismissal, a successor will be appointed.

g) Terms may be staggered with no more than three (3) member’s terms expiring in any given year. Three (3) members shall initially be appointed for four (4) years and three (3) members for five (5) years.

h) Will not be appointed for more than two (2) consecutive terms.

i) In the event of a vacancy, the Bishop shall invite the Consultors and Deans of the Diocese to nominate a candidate for appointment by the Bishop. The nomination shall include a resume of their qualifications and competencies.


The Review Board shall elect from among them a Chair, Vice-Chair and a Secretary. The term of each office will be for one (1) year and there is no limit on the number of terms a member may serve.

The Chair will convene and preside at all meetings of the Review Board. In the event that the Chair is hindered, the Vice-Chair will serve the function of Chair. The Secretary is responsible for all communication, notices and reports.

Four members (4) including the Chair and/or Vice-Chair will constitute a quorum. Four (4) votes of concurrence will be necessary for a recommendation.

All Review Board members and observers will be held to the rule of confidentiality with regard to all deliberations and information.

Records will be maintained in accord with civil and canon law.


The Review Board is authorized to:

a) Receive and review the report of the preliminary investigation of the allegation.

b) Receive and review the investigation’s final report, supporting documents and any pertinent evidence.

c) Direct further investigations and/or conduct investigations.

d) Choose the investigator.

e) Request those necessary for its deliberations: experts and consultants, the person alleging the crime and the accused.

f) Report to the Protosyncellus its findings.

g) Assess whether the policy is maintained and adhered to.

h) Conduct a bi-annual review and submit a report to the Bishop.

i) To make recommendations to the Bishop that further protects minors.


In the event an allegation has been made against a bishop, priest or deacon of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America, the procedure as outlined in the Canon Law Society of America handbook Guide To The Implementation of the Bishops' Essential Norms For Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing With Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors By Priests Or Deacons shall be maintained and followed. In the event of a Canonical Trial, Title XXVIII, the Procedure for Imposing Penalties as found in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (cc.1468-1487) shall be adhered to.



The Western Rite is a ministry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America, and in full canonical communion and unity of purpose with the See of Ukraine. Our Western Rite congregations worship God in the forms which speak to their hearts, rejoicing to be part of the Universal Church.

A Western Rite parish is to be distinguished from the more usual Eastern or Byzantine Rite parishes. When the Latin Church in the West separated itself from the unity of the Orthodox Church, the venerable and ancient Western liturgy was lost to the Church. In the Nineteenth Century, when the Papal claims of supremacy culminated in the novel doctrine of “papal infallibility,” the Orthodox Church was approached by Westerners seeking the apostolic purity of the ancient, unchanging Orthodox Faith wherein the Bishop of Rome would be considered to have primacy of honor. They would utilize their own familiar and theologically Orthodox liturgical forms, while coincidentally restoring the Western liturgy to the Orthodox Church.

At that time, in America, the Holy Synod of Moscow responded by approving the restored form of the Western Liturgy, the ancient Liturgy of St. Gregory the Great. This is the oldest Orthodox liturgy of the undivided Church still in use. The balance was struck involving the Eastern and Western traditions of Orthodoxy. The Orthodox Church reclaimed what was rightfully hers.

The purpose of the Western Rite is (1) to provide a home in the Orthodox Church for western people of non-Byzantine cultural and religious backgrounds and (2) to witness the Catholicity of the Orthodox church to her Byzantine Rite people, priests and theologians. At the present time, Western Rite Orthodoxy exists throughout the world.

Orthodox people of both Rites worship together. Our clergy are interchangeable in that all priests and deacons of our Diocese, upon ordination and/or incardination, are granted bi-ritual faculties. They share the same hierarchy and the spiritual unity of the faith.

The mission of the Orthodox Church, as the authentic Church of the New Testament, is to make our country an Orthodox nation. Whenever the Church has been given the opportunity to freely teach and live its Faith, it has always won the hearts and the souls of men and woman to the Truth. In our day when so many are worn down by the false claims of so many religious leaders, the Orthodox Church and Faith stand as a beacon of Truth drawing all to her portals of life.

Not all Orthodox Christians use the Eastern or Byzantine liturgical forms. The Western Rite, when compared to the Byzantine liturgical forms, is simpler, less redundant, obviously shorter, and employs a hymnody familiar to a great many American Christians. More precisely, the Western Rite, as approved by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, is a theologically corrected form of worship used by the Latin Church (Roman) or the Anglican Communion. In some Western Rite congregations, the Liturgy may be an English form of pre-Vatican-II Roman Catholic worship. (In France, all native French Orthodox Christians, who number in the thousands, use this form of worship). Modifications, while important, would not be that noticeable to even the most regular worshippers. Two of these alterations include the deletion of the Filioque (“and the Son”) in the Nicene Creed and the addition of a stronger Epiclesis in the eucharistic prayer said by the priest at the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.

The third section of the Nicene Creed affirms the Church's belief that the Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the triune Godhead. History shows that the phrase “and the Son” (or, in Latin, Filioque) in speaking of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father was initially an addition by a local council of Western Bishops that was originally even rejected by the Pope of Rome. The Eastern bishops argued that the Filioque causes a blurring of the roles of each of the three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the Godhead. It is from the Father that the Son is begotten and it is from the Father that the Holy Spirit proceeds, through the Son.

Besides the removal of the Filioque in the Creed, the Western Rite Liturgy requires the priest to petition God the Holy Spirit to act in changing the gifts of bread and wine into the life giving Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The words used in the Liturgy are: “And we beseech thee, O Lord, to send down thy Holy Spirit upon these offerings, that he would make this bread the precious Body of thy Christ, and that which is in this Cup the precious Blood of thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, transmuting them by thy Holy Spirit. AMEN, AMEN, AMEN.”

These Christians have retained familiar forms of worship and at the same time insured themselves of remaining within an ecclesiastical communion, and under godly, Orthodox bishops who teach and practice the ancient Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Permission to establish Western Right parishes within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America must be secured from the Holy Synod of Bishops.

© Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America, Inc. 2013