a. Monasteries and organized communities of monastics function according to the long established, canonical tradition and practice of the Church. As such, they are ecclesiastical institutions, functioning under the direct canonical jurisdiction and supervision of the Hierarch in whose ecclesiastical jurisdiction they are located.
b. Monasteries are founded by the local Hierarch, following approval of the Eparchial Synod. Canonically, their administration and financial affairs are the responsibility of the local Hierarch, whose name is to be commemoratedduring Divine Worship.
c. The Monasteries that operate in the United States of America continue the long established monastic life and witness. They function according to the prevailing Monastic Law and the letter and the spirit of the Regulations that define their operation.
d. Regulations for the establishment, organization and operation of Monasteries shall be promulgated by the Eparchial Synod and approved by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In 2004, 35 plaintiffs unsuccessfully sued Archbishop Demetrios and the Greek Archdiocese in an attempt to force it to invalidate the 2003 charter granted by Constantinople; their lawsuit stated that the Greek hierarchy had imposed the rewritten charter without approval from delegates at the national Clergy-Laity Congress, violating the terms of the 1978 charter. The main aim of the suit was to attempt to gain more autonomy from the Church of Constantinople, especially regarding the choice of the American Archdiocese’s primate.
The suit met with condemnation by the Greek hierarchy in America, which stated that the plaintiffs had “sued Christ Himself” (a quote from Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago). It was eventually dismissed by the Supreme Court of the State of New York, on grounds that the Greek Archdiocese was hierarchical and therefore acting within its proper bounds, that the courts did not have the authority to intervene in such matters.
Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, introduced the issue of a single uniform charter for all Greek Orthodox monasteries in the United States at a meeting in Texas. The meeting was attended by representatives from all Greek Orthodox monasteries gathered at Kendalia, Texas, for the official opening of a local Monastery dedicated to the Archangels.
Based on the principles of the monastic order and tradition of Mount Athos, the new uniform charter, once completed, is expected to constitute a turning point in the development of Orthodox monasticism in America.
As the Archbishop told ERA-5: “The objective of both sides, the Archdiocese and the monasteries, is to implement in all Greek Orthodox monasteries in the United States a single charter as soon as possible. This will constitute the general canonical framework within which the monasteries will operate. It is believed that the official adoption and implementation of such uniform charter by all monasteries will decisively contribute to the further development and growth of Greek Orthodox monasticism throughout the whole country.”
Archbishop Spyridon in inaugurating a dialogue with all Greek Orthodox monasteries hopes that “monasticism which only recently has taken root in our Archdiocese and has ever since grown in an astonishing manner, will offer a decisive contribution to the overall ministry of the Church, and particularly to a more effective preservation of its genuine Greek Orthodox tradition.”
After inaugurating the new Monastery dedicated to the Archangels, formerly a Muslim mosque, Archbishop Spyridon installed monk Dositheos as its first Abbot.