Article I The Community

  1. The name of the association is The Edinburgh Orthodox Community St Andrew. It is within the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain (Oecumenical Patriarchate). The community embraces, succeeds and supersedes both the Greek Orthodox congregation of St Andrew and the Slav Orthodox congregation of the Nativity of Our Lord and Saviour, both of which were within the jurisdiction of the said Patriarchate and Archdiocese.

  2. The Patron of the community is St Andrew, first-called of the Apostles, who brought his brother St Peter to the Lord, and who was martyred in Greece and who is the Patron of Russia and Scotland.

  3. The community professes the Orthodox Faith, as expressed in the continuing living Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church and more especially in the Holy Scriptures and the dogmatic decrees of the Seven Oecumenical councils, with nothing added and nothing taken away.

  4. Liturgical practice – The community uses the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom and other services of the Byzantine Rite in at least the three liturgical languages, Greek, Slavonic and English. It endeavours to preserve in its services the most suitable and most venerable aspects of the various appropriate Orthodox traditions as permitted by the Archdiocese. The community keeps the Gregorian Calendar with moveable feasts according to the Orthodox Paskhalia, but intends, as long as it is pastorally desirable, to keep also some feasts according to the Julian Calendar. The Priest-in-charge of the community shall determine all liturgical questions in accordance with Orthodox tradition.

  5. Aims of the Community – To give right worship to the One God in Three Persons and to establish churches for such worship; to preserve and teach the Holy Orthodox Faith as defined at I (iii) above; to receive according to the rites of the Holy Orthodox Church all those who freely decide and sincerely desire to adopt that Faith, and to live according to its spiritual and moral teachings; to undertake charitable work for the benefit of those who need financial assistance, including those suffering persecution; to provide for the welfare of the poor; to visit the sick and imprisoned; and to provide Christian burial for those Orthodox who die in Scotland without financial means and who are not in the pastoral care of any other Orthodox Community; to pray for the living and the dead.

Article II Ecclesiastical Authority

  1. The Community is canonically subject to the authority of the Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, or such other local Bishop as shall be canonically appointed by the Archbishop. It shall be represented appropriately on the Clergy-Laity Conference of the Archdiocese and shall respond appropriately to its requirements. It shall support the Archdiocese financially in accordance with the directions of the Archbishop. An annual report of the work of the Community, together with financial statements as required, shall be submitted to the Archdiocese.

  2. While none but faithful Christians, from Scotland or elsewhere of jurisdictions in communion with the Oecumenical Patriarchate, may receive the Sacraments within the Edinburgh Orthodox Community of St Andrew, all Christian believers may participate in the worship of the Community in so far as this shall be judged appropriate by the priest-in-charge acting under the guidance of the Archdiocese.

Article III Members

  1. The members of the Orthodox Church in Scotland are all those of whatever age, sex or nationality, who have been duly accepted into Communion with the Holy Orthodox Patriarchs and are resident in Scotland.

  2. The members of the Edinburgh Orthodox Community of St Andrew are those of the above as defined at III (i), who worship in the Edinburgh church, who accept the spiritual jurisdiction and authority of the Clergy of the Community, the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, and the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and who abide by this Constitution. Members entitled to vote at meetings of the Community shall be those who have reached their eighteenth birthday and who, for at least the six months previous to their exercising such a vote, have attended services of the Community in Edinburgh or elsewhere, and who have paid an annual subscription of an amount to be determined from time to time by a General Meeting.

Article IV Clergy

  1. For the purpose of this Constitution, the Clergy of the Community shall comprise all those in Sacerdotal or Diaconal Orders who serve the Community, including those who have retired.

  2. The appointment of the Priest-in-charge rests with the Archdiocese in consultation with the Committee of the Community, always provided that, if he is not a member of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, he must submit a canonical letter of dismissal from his Bishop. The Priest-in-charge shall be entitled to resign, but his appointment shall not otherwise be terminated save by the Archdiocese, to whom, in case of difficulty, the Committee may appeal. If the Community is in a position to pay a stipend, this shall be discussed and agreed with the Archbishop before the appointment is made. Whether or not a stipend is paid, the Clergy shall be entitled to recover from the Community their out-of-pocket expenses, including telephone, postage and travel expenses.

  3. Assistant priests, and also deacons, may be appointed. Their appointment and jurisdiction shall be as at IV (ii) above. The assistant priests, at the request of the Priest-in-charge, shall concelebrate with him, perform services or administer sacraments by themselves with his prior consent; and in emergencies they may do so without his consent. In the absence of the Priest-in-charge, the senior assistant priest shall act in his stead.

  4. The duties of the Priest-in-charge, assisted by the other Priests, and by the Deacons in all that is appropriate to their Order, are:

    1. To offer the Divine Liturgy and to administer the Sacraments of the Holy Orthodox Church;

    2. To preach the Word of God;

    3. To teach the young;

    4. To maintain registers of baptisms, chrismations, weddings and funerals, and to issue the necessary certificates;

    5. To commemorate in the sacred services the Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain and likewise to commemorate the land of Scotland and her temporal authorities;

    6. To appoint cantors and altar servers, who must abide by the instructions of the Priest-in-charge and, where appropriate, of other Clergy acting as chief celebrants of particular services;

    7. To lead the Community in prayer and practical help for those who suffer persecution for Christ’s sake.

  5. Since there are in Scotland scattered and isolated Orthodox, the Priest-in-charge shall do all in his power to arrange for the Liturgy to be celebrated outside Edinburgh on Sundays or weekdays.

  6. The Priest-in-charge is by virtue of his office the representative of the Archdiocese in the Community and in the Committee as hereinafter defined. As such, it is his solemn duty to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in assisting the Community and Committee towards wise and godly decisions. The members of the Clergy (as defined in IV (i) above shall have no vote.

  7. For the solution of serious difficulties between Community or Committee and the Priest-in-charge, appeal shall be made to the Archdiocese.

Article V Property

  1. All heritable and moveable property belonging to the Community shall be administered according to the law of Scotland.

  2. Heritable property belonging to the Community shall be vested in the Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, the Priest-in-charge, the Chairman, the Secretary and the Treasurer as Trustees for the Community all ex officiis, together with up to three additional members as may be appointed by the Committee. The term of office of the appointed member(s) shall be three years, but he, she or they may be re-appointed. The aforementioned Trustees may act either as ‘holding’ trustees or under the terms of a separate Trust, as determined by the Community in consultation with the Archbishop. ‘Holding’ trustees shall be under no obligation to take active part in the management of the property vested in them, and shall have no personal responsibility in regard thereto, but may rely upon proper management thereof by the Committee. In either case, the Trustees shall be indemnified out of the funds of the Community against all and every liability undertaken or incurred by them. The Committee, on behalf of the Community, shall be responsible for the insurance, maintenance and repair of the properly, and for finding the necessary funds. Investments in stocks and shares and/or other forms of moveable property shall be taken in the name of the Priest-in-charge, Treasurer and Secretary, or in the name of a Bank or other Nominee Company, or otherwise as the Committee, on appropriate advice, may decide.

  3. In the case of heresy or schism, or of any movement aiming at the detachment of the Community from the body of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, or from any other future diocese as envisaged in Article II (i) legal right to all the property, whether heritable or moveable, shall be retained by that section of the Community which remains faithful to Orthodoxy and continues under the Oecumenical Patriarchate in the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, which is subject to the jurisdiction of the same Patriarchate, or in said such future diocese. This condition shall be written into any Disposition or other Deed that is drawn up in favour of or for behoof of the Community.

  4. In the event of the dissolution of the Community, its property, both heritable and moveable, shall devolve to the Archdiocese, with the proviso that this property, after a thorough examination of conditions in Scotland, shall be used for the benefit, including especially the spiritual benefit through the ministry of a priest, of the remaining Orthodox in Scotland.

Article VI The Committee

  1. The administrative and financial affairs of the Community shall be administered by the Committee, which shall meet at least three times per year and whenever there is urgent business. A meeting of the Committee shall be called at the discretion of the Chairman or Priest-in-charge or at the request of any five committee members. The committee shall be composed of a Chairman (elected for two years at the Annual General Meeting) together with ten further lay members of the community who are entitled to vote; but only those who worship in the Edinburgh Church of the Community may vote in elections for the committee or be members thereof (see III above). The clergy, as defined in 1V (i) above, shall be non-voting members of the committee. Of the lay members, 6 shall be elected every two years by the members of the community and 4 shall be appointed by the Priest-in-charge of the community after consultation with the Archbishop. The attendance of at least five lay members shall be required to make up a quorum.

  2. In co-operation with the Priest-in-charge, the Committee shall acquire whatever is necessary for the Divine services, and shall be responsible for insuring all property belonging to the community. The Committee shall be entitled, if it thinks fit, to make payments of income or capital or both for general purposes connected with the functioning of the Community as a centre of worship and otherwise, for the furtherance of Orthodoxy in Scotland or elsewhere, and for the decoration, furnishing and repair and maintenance of any Chapel or other premises used or partly used by the Community, whether owned or merely occupied by it, and to make, from income or capital or both, either outright grants or loans free of interest or subject to such rate or rates of interest as may be agreed and repayable on agreed terms and in agreed circumstances to any or all of the Clergy in respect of similar works on any premises owned and occupied or merely occupied by them, or in connexion with their purchase of property; shall approve or amend an annual budget prepared by the Treasurer for submission to the AGM. The members of the Committee shall supervise the good order of the congregation, attend services frequently and in fulfillment of their duties as Christians set a good example to others.

  3. The prior approval of the Committee or of its executive subcommittee as hereinafter defined in (iv) shall be required for the expenditure of more than £100 on any single item, the Priest-in-charge, the Chairman, the Secretary and the Treasurer each being entitled to expend up to that amount on his or her own authority, subject to the Treasurer’s reporting the expenditure at the next meeting of the Committee. The Committee shall be entitled to authorise in advance, for a specified or indefinite period, annual or other continuing payments within a specified limit or without limit.

  4. The Committee may delegate particular matters, including authority where appropriate to incur expenditure in excess of £I00, to the Priest-in-charge, the Chairman, the Secretary and the Treasurer as an Executive Subcommittee, and in an emergency any three of these may act for the Committee without specific delegation.

  5. Items for inclusion in agendas may be sent to the Chairman before any meeting.

  6. If the Committee cannot come to an agreement, appeal shall be made to a General Meeting, and, as a last resort, to the Archdiocese, whose decision shall be final.

Article VII Election of Lay Committee Members

  1. When notice is given of the Annual General Meeting, members of the Community entitled to vote shall be requested to send to the Secretary, in writing, at least ten days before the date of the meeting, nominations for Chairman and for not more than six candidates, having first ascertained the willingness of each to serve. The Secretary shall send to each candidate a copy of Article VI of the Constitution with a tear-off reply slip to be returned signed in confirmation of willingness to serve on the Committee and attend its meetings in Edinburgh. The Secretary shall then prepare a list of qualified nominees for submission to the Electoral Meeting, and this shall serve as a voting paper.

  2. The election shall be supervised by the Chairman assisted by the Secretary, who may appoint non-voting or non-Orthodox Christians to act as scrutineers and to assist in the counting of the votes. The Chairman shall declare elected the six persons who have received the largest number of votes. Should there be a tie, the matter shall be settled by casting lots. Should there be an insufficient number of persons nominated and willing to serve, the Priest-in-Charge, acting on behalf of the Archdiocese, shall appoint further members to fill the vacant places.

  3. The Election shall be valid regardless of the number of members who cast their votes.

  4. If for any reason any lay members of the Committee resign, then those who received the next largest number of votes in the election shall be invited to take their place. If there are no such persons, the Chairman or in his absence the Secretary, after consultation with the Priest-in-Charge and the remaining members of the Committee, shall appoint new members. If all the lay Committee members resign before the end of their appointed period, then the Priest-in-Charge, in consultation with the Archdiocese, shall appoint a small temporary Committee until new elections can be held.

  5. The results of the election shall be recorded in the Minutes of the Community and shall be communicated to the Archdiocese for the Archbishop’s blessing. The Secretary as soon as possible shall thereafter convene a meeting of the whole Committee, including the four members appointed by the Archdiocese. With the advice and guidance of the Chairman and the priest-in-charge, whom the office-bearers are to assist, the Committee shall elect from among its members, the Secretary and the Treasurer of the Community.

  6. The Committee shall have power to co-opt up to two extra members who will serve until the next Annual General Meeting, in addition to any co-options under V (ii) above.

Article VIII Duties of the Officers

  1. Duties of the Chairman:

    1. The Chairman shall be deemed the ‘Senior Person’ of the Community and, together with the Priest-in-charge and (where appropriate) assistant clergy, shall represent the Community on formal occasions.

    2. Shall take the chair at meetings of the Community and of the Committee and shall call upon the Priest-in-charge to open and close all meetings with prayer.

    3. Shall undertake all such duties as are indicated in Articles VI, VII and IX.

    4. Shall discuss with the Priest-in-charge, as appropriate, any matters raised with him by members of the Community.

    5. Shall at all times act, as far as possible, to ensure the goodwill, peace and stability of the Community.

  2. Duties of the Secretary:

    1. To call and attend all meetings of the Committee and of the Community, and to keep the Minutes of both;

    2. To assist the Priest-in-charge and the Chairman in conducting the official correspondence of the Community and keeping its records;

    3. To correspond under the direction of the Priest-in-charge with the members of the Community, advising them of the dates and times of the services etc.; To assist the Priest-in-charge and the Chairman by undertaking clerical, typing and administrative duties as requested.

  3. Duties of the Treasurer:

    1. To oversee all the financial affairs of the Community;

    2. To receive and bank money paid to the Community: its bank account or accounts shall be operable on the signatures of any two of the Priest-in-charge, the Treasurer and the Secretary;

    3. To keep the financial books and advise the Priest-in-charge and Committee of the financial position when requested;

    4. To settle accounts as appropriately authorized;

    5. To reimburse the Clergy for their out-of-pocket expenses in the carrying out of their duties, and to reimburse the Secretary for out-of-pocket expenses; To present to the Annual General Meeting a budget for the coming year, approved by the Committee, together with a statement of all accounts with audited Balance Sheet, the auditor to be appointed annually by the Committee.

  4. The duties of all others appointed to assistant chairman’s, secretarial or financial responsibilities shall be such as the Committee shall from time to time determine.

Article IX General Meeting of the Community

  1. The Annual General Meeting of the Community shall be held between February 2"d and the Ascension on a date decided by the Committee. At least three weeks' written notice shall be given to all who are entitled to vote.

  2. Ordinary General Meetings may be convened by the Priest-in-charge and the Chairman from time to time as required, or as requested by the Committee. At least two weeks' written notice shall be given to all who are entitled to vote.

  3. An Extraordinary General Meeting shall be held at the request of the Priest-in-charge and the Chairman or of any fifteen members of the Community entitled to vote, or of the Archdiocese. At least two weeks' written notice shall be given to all who are entitled to vote, with details of the business to be discussed; with the proviso that such an Extraordinary General Meeting cannot be convened in the absence of the Priest-in-charge without either his agreement or the prior written consent of the Archdiocese.

  4. The Chairman shall take the Chair where possible at all meetings as defined at IX (i), (ii) or (iii). If he is unable to do so, or to nominate a substitute, a Chairman for the occasion, whether a cleric, or a layman or woman entitled to vote, shall be elected from those present at the meeting. In the case of an Extraordinary General Meeting, the Archdiocese may appoint a Chairman from either within or outwith the Community.

  5. Every motion or amendment submitted to the meeting, except from the Chair, must be proposed and seconded by members entitled to vote. If there is no seconder the motion shall fall. The chair shall have the right to order a secret ballot on any motion. Proxy voting shall not be permitted under any circumstances.

  6. No discussion can be held and no decision taken at any Annual, Ordinary or Extraordinary General Meeting if less than 12 members entitled to vote are present. If this quorum is not achieved, the meeting shall be postponed for at least 15 days, written notice being given of the re-convened meeting; and this shall be deemed to have a quorum regardless of the numbers present.

  7. Each Annual, Ordinary or Extraordinary General Meeting shall:

    1. Open with a prayer offered by the Priest-in-charge;

    2. Have a record kept of those present, their identity and status having been checked by means of a Sederunt, in order to establish that there is a quorum;

    3. Hear the Secretary read the Minutes of the previous Meeting, the adoption of which, together with any necessary alterations and corrections, shall be duly proposed and seconded, and signed by the Chairman or acting Chair.

Article X Procedure

  1. The Articles of this Constitution, with the exception of I (iii), II (i) and V (iii), can be amended, if this is required by the needs of the Community; similarly a General Meeting may introduce new articles into the Constitution. Notice of any amendments or additions must first be given to the members entitled to vote at the time when a General Meeting is convened; and they must be voted on in substantially their original form; all alterations to the Constitution shall require a two-thirds majority vote of those present and voting and confirmation by the Archbishop. While every endeavour should be made to reach a common mind in this and other matters arising in a General Meeting, Committee or Executive Sub-Committee, decisions in matters other than constitutional amendments may be taken by simple majorities.

Article XI Interpretation

  1. This Constitution shall be interpreted under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in accordance with the Canons of the Holy Orthodox Church and the Law of Scotland, and with Christian charity; such interpretation is to be in accordance with the directions of the Archbishop and the roles of the Archdiocese.