Welcome to the official website of the Orthodox Church in America's Diocese of New England,
The Diocese of New England invites you to join us on August 9th through the 15th this summer in NH for Camp St. Herman! Camp St. Herman is an opportunity for children (grades 4-12) from across the diocese to come together in a safe place to learn about the faith of our fathers, participate in the sacraments and make lasting friendships. The program of Camp St. Herman is modeled after the program of the Antiochian Village (Pennsylvania) of the Antiochian Archdiocese, and continues the tradition of the annual Diocese Youth Rally of the OCA Diocese of New England. Camp is held at the St. Methodios Faith & Heritage Center in Contoocook, NH.
At the 2011 Diocesan Assembly, a "Parish Grant Initiative" was approved. Parishes in the New England Diocese can apply for financial grants to support outreach and charity programs in their communities. The diocese has budgeted up to $10,000 in grant monies to help support parishes in these efforts. Applications will be reviewed as received. The files are available in MS Word format.
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America approved and issued a revised Policy, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct at their Fall 2013 Holy Synod meeting. This policy is now in force in the Church. It is the goal of the entire Church to provide a safe and healthy environment for all of the faithful of the Orthodox Church in America. The Church laments the sin of sexual misconduct, and will not tolerate sexual misconduct by its clergy or any layperson.
At the March 2014 meeting of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, revisions to the Policies, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct [PSP] were approved.
An abbreviated PSP for parish use is available here.
The OCA Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response webpage is here.
To confidentially report a case of misconduct please use the toll-free number 855-398-2600. All calls will be confidential.
At the spring session of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, held at the Chancery March 18-21, 2014, “Guidelines on Background Checks” were issued. [See related article.] The Guidelines, which offer detailed information on how and for whom “basic background checks” are required, are available in PDF format. Included in the Guidelines are recommended sources for conducting checks and information on on-line sexual abuse prevention training.
March 17, 2020
To the Venerable Abbots and Abbesses and monastics of our communities,
To the President and Dean of our Seminaries,
To the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese of Washington,
To the clergy and faithful of the Albanian Archdiocese,
To the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of New England,
Christ is in our midst!
I am grateful for your patience and reassured in the knowledge that our clergy, monastics, and faithful remain steadfast in their devotion to Jesus Christ and to the life of the Church, even in these turbulent and confusing times of the coronavirus outbreak.
Today, I have issued a pastoral letter to the Church and the Holy Synod of Bishops has issued some further directives concerning the celebration of the Divine Services. I ask that you read these carefully and make them available throughout our communities.
Although I just recently communicated with you concerning temporary measures to be implemented in all the dioceses and institutions over which I presently have oversight, I am communicating the following updated directives which supersede my March 13 letter.
• All parishes and missions of the Archdiocese of Washington, the Albanian Archdiocese, and the Diocese of New England are closed through April 1, 2020.
• All monastery chapels are closed to the public but permitted to maintain the regular (or modified) cycle of services for the brotherhood and sisterhood alone, through April 1, 2020.
• All seminary chapels are closed to the public and the respective administrations instructed to implement the appropriate safety measures with respect to gatherings of individuals and the teaching of classes.
• Parish and mission clergy should make it a priority to reach out by every means available to the faithful and to make sure that their pastoral needs are being met. The temporary closing of the temples of worship does not mean the cessation of the life of the Church.
• If presanctified lambs were prepared last Sunday, these may be used for the purpose of bringing communion, on an individual basis, to those who may wish to receive and to those who are ill.
• Visits to the sick in nursing homes and hospitals must be predicated on the regulations currently in place by those institutions and by the civil authorities. Visits to homes should be made with all care for the health of the parishioners and the clergy.
• Weddings, of course, should not have been scheduled during this Lenten season. In the case of funerals, I ask the clergy to contact me or the Chancellor/Dean in each particular case.
• Clergy may not celebrate any divine liturgies privately in their parishes or homes, even for their families, but are encouraged to serve other services, such as molebens or akathists, and to broadcast them, as well as sermons or reflections, electronically to their faithful. Make use of the talent that is available in your parishes and missions to find new and creative ways to bolster the life of the community.
• A tab has been added to the home page of the Orthodox Church in America website with the title: “Coronavirus Resources” (it is the first tab on the right side under the purple header). There is a wealth of resources available to everyone, including services and reading material. This will be updated regularly as new resources become available.
I will maintain further communications with all of you during this difficult time and beyond (since it likely that these circumstances may continue for some time). The Holy Synod will be carefully monitoring the situation as we move forward.
There are some who might think that the above is an overreaction to the civil or medical authorities. I would only remind us of the words of Sirach: “Honour a physician with the honour due unto him for the uses which ye may have of him: for the Lord hath created him.” (Sirach 38:1). None of us has perfect knowledge of the mysteries of life and death. We do the best we can with the help of God and those to whom he has granted wisdom.
Others may worry that the above directives will shatter our life in community and separate us from Church life. I would ask you to be mindful that these actions are taken for the sake of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and even for the larger community. This is an opportunity to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of the neighbor whom we love.
Finally, I would like to reassure everyone that none of these decisions was taken lightly and all of them are intended to provide for the care and safety of our clergy and faithful. They are also implemented in this way to possibly preserve our future liturgical life, especially as we get closer to Holy Week and Pascha. Together with our Holy Synod, I have been agonizing, along with all of you, about the proper and effective approach to take. I ask you to accept these directives as an expression my love and pastoral care for you.
Thank you for your leadership and your example of calm perseverance in the midst of this crisis. By God’s grace and mercy, I am confident that we will pass through this trial and, regardless of the darkness around us, will enter into the joy of the resurrection.
Sincerely yours in Christ.
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
The following guidelines from my previous letter remain in effect:
1) These measures should be taken as our Christian response to protect our brothers and sisters. It is a sacrificial effort that we make, which is in keeping with the present season of repentance and ascetical striving. No one should feel deprived of Holy Communion but may request that the priest bring them the sacrament at home. Otherwise, like the ascetics of old who would depart from their monasteries for the forty days of Lent in preparation for Holy Week, we should take this opportunity to prayerfully reflect on our life in Christ and increase our desire to be with Him.
2) No one should feel any concern about the canonical implications of being absent from the divine services. We find ourselves in extraordinary circumstances that require extraordinary responses. The holy body and precious blood of our Lord can never be a source of disease, it is after all for the healing of soul and body, but the COVID-19 virus can still be passed through the congregation. Out of love for our neighbor, we must do everything we can to protect the vulnerable by slowing the rate of infection not only in our parishes, but in the greater community, and thereby allowing the hospitals and medical community to more adequately care for those most at risk.
3) All who are “at risk” – the elderly, those with pre-existing conditions, any who are actively sick or exhibiting signs of illness – should absolutely absent themselves from the services.
The Diocese of New England makes available limited scholarships for modest financial assistance according to the following guidelines:
A scholarship applicant must:
1) Be a parishioner of a member parish of the Diocese of New England, Orthodox Church in America;
2) Be currently enrolled, as a full–time student, in a degree granting program at an accredited Orthodox seminary with the knowledge and blessing of the diocesan bishop.
For more information, please contact Fr. John Kreta.
For the application, please follow the "more information" link below.
Jesus Christ taught us to love and serve all people, regardless of their ethnicity or nationality. To understand that, we need to look no further than to the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Every time we celebrate the Divine Liturgy, it is offered "on behalf of all, and for all." As Orthodox Christians we stand against racism and bigotry. All human beings share one common identity as children of God.
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatian 3:28)