Diocese of New England
Orthodox Church in America
Clergy Care


 As revised 10/23/09,46th NE Diocesan Assembly, Waterbury, CT

The following standing policies deal with clergy care. Some are policies of the Orthodox Church in America established by one or more All-American Councils. [National policies are indicated as such.] Others are diocesan policies. These clergy care policies are neither goals nor upper-limit targets but are intended to provide a 'safety net' for clergy compensation. For cash salary the booklet prepared and distributed by the national office of the Orthodox Church in America, and basing salary on community median income, is the guide. The diocesan minimum base salary is not a 'living wage' and can in no way be considered even an adequate entry-level compensation. It is intended only to spare clergy who might be so poorly compensated the further humiliation of having to approach his parish council, hat-in-hand, asking for permission to accept secular employment so that he can provide for his family's basic care and perhaps survival.

Minimum full-time salary:

The required diocesan minimum full-time base cash salary compensation is $22,500.00, as of January 1, 2003. This base figure shall be adjusted upward annually according to the cost-of-living-adjustment, [COLA] announced at the regular diocesan assembly and effective January 1 following the assembly.

This shall be understood to mean: • In every case a priest needing and/or desiring to accept secular employment must ask and receive the blessing of the diocesan bishop. • In parishes paying less than the minimum salary no parish or parish council approval is necessary for the priest to accept full or part-time secular employment. • In parishes paying at or above the minimum salary level, in addition to the bishop's blessing, parish council approval is required for the priest to accept full or part-time secular employment.

Annual cost-of-living adjustments in clergy compensation are required of all parishes. The amount of the cost-of-living adjustment shall be announced at the annual diocesan assembly. The COLA is calculated by examining three July Consumer Price Indices issued by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. They are the Boston Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Northeast Region CPI and the US city average CPI and by approved resolution from the 2007 Diocesan Assembly the highest percent increase from among those three indices will be used. Merit increases are at the discretion of each parish.

Since within our diocese, few or none of the clergy salaries are at a professional level, at the time of clergy transfers, the salary for the incoming clergy is not based on length of service but shall be not less than that of the former pastor. 

Required benefits:

• The parish shall provide either parish housing, including all utilities except telephone, or a housing allowance adequate to the parish community and adequate to provide housing at least comparable to the average living conditions of parish members.

• Social security as required by law- Federal law requires 7.65% of the base salary combined with the value of the provided housing or housing allowance. Parishes are not required but are encouraged to pay the entire 15.3%.

• Parishes are required to make provision for health care coverage.

• Participation in the OCA pension plan is required of all OCA clergy residing in the U.S. [Canadian law makes other provisions for clergy serving in Canada.] Parishes are required to pay 6% of the base salary to the pension plan. [This is a national requirement.] Parishes are not required but are encouraged to pay the entire 12% amount.

• Participation in the OCA life insurance plan is required for all clergy. [This is a national requirement.]

Parish priests are to receive an auto allowance of not less than $50.00 monthly.

• Though not required, parishes are encouraged to provide a continuing education allowance which may be used for books, classes and/or conferences.

Vacation guidelines:

Vacation time is determined from date of ordination, not by length of service in a particular parish.

one to seven years from ordination  not less than two weeks paid vacation

seven to twelve years from ordination  not less than three weeks paid vacation

above twelve years from ordination  not less than four weeks paid vacation

In recognition of long and/or outstanding service, parishes may choose to increase vacation allowances.



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Release of Fr. Steven Belonick’s book, Pilgrimage to Pascha, to benefit diocesan seminarians
On Feb. 2, 2021, Ancient Faith Publishing (AFP) released a book to honor the memory of Archpriest Steven John Belonick (+2019), former pastor of Holy Ghost Russian Orthodox Church, Bridgeport, CT, and also to benefit seminarians from the Diocese of New England. The book is titled Pilgrimage to Pascha: A Daily Devotional for Great Lent, and it is available for purchase online 
Pilgrimage to Pascha is a republication of a book that Fr. Steven originally co-authored and edited. It was first printed as a booklet for spiritual nourishment in Great Lent and later was published as A Journey through Great Lent, but it has been out of print for many years. M. Deborah Belonick has copy edited and updated the original text, including an epilogue that recounts a conversation with Fr. Steven during his last days in hospice. 
All royalties from the republication will be directed to and placed in the seminarian fund of the Diocese of New England, which has been renamed the “Father Steven Belonick Scholarship Fund.” Proceeds from the book will benefit any student at a seminary of the Orthodox Church in America who is on the ordination track with the intention of becoming a parish priest. Memory Eternal to Fr. Steven, and let us ask our Lord Jesus Christ to bless our seminarians and thereby increase the number of “laborers for His harvest” (Luke 10:2) who will serve as parish priests. Again, you may order the newly released book online, or you may call the Ancient Faith Publishing number to ask for your copy: 1–800–967–7377.

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