The Very Rev. Dr. Alexander Rentel wears several hats at St. Vladimir’s Seminary as the assistant professor of Canon Law and Byzantine Studies, The John and Paraskeva Skvir Lecturer in Practical Theology, and the director of the Master of Divinity Program. Yet one of his most important duties in recent years has been performed away from the Yonkers, NY campus, as he has served the wider church as Consultant for Canonical Affairs for the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). A member of the OCA's Statute Revision Task Force, Fr. Alexander and other canon law experts have been conducting a painstaking review and revision of the current text of the OCA Statute, under the leadership of The Most Rev. Nathaniel, archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate.
"This job is important at both a theoretical and a practical level,” says Fr. Alexander. “Our work must conform to the rigors of the canonical tradition and the day-to-day practice of the Church. While a challenge, it is also exhilarating.”
Over the summer of 2014, the team held its third meeting at Holy Dormition Monastery, where they continued to build on the foundation of an earlier draft revision that was reviewed by the OCA’s Holy Synod of Bishops a decade ago.
In addition to Archbishop Nathaniel and Fr. Alexander, other task force members include Igumen Daniel (Brum), The Very Rev. Dimitri Cozby and The Very Rev. Dr. John Erickson (former St. Vladimir’s dean), the Task Force Secretary Fr. Ioan Cozma, Judge E.R. Lanier, and OCA Archivist Alexis Liberovsky. The results of their review and revision process will be vetted by the clergy and faithful of the OCA, with final approval to come at the July 2015 18th All American Council.
In his role as the OCA’s Consultant for Canonical Affairs, Fr. Alexander also taught a class at the Diocese of New York and New Jersey’s Clergy Conference in early September. Held at the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Church in Clifton, NJ, the conference offered courses towards continuing education hours for clergy, one of which was Fr. Alexander’s class,”Questions of Canon Law.” The diocese Website noted that Professor Rentel offered “specific examples and thought-provoking examinations of consistencies and ‘gray areas’ of canonical understanding and practice, all focusing on the essential integrity and ultimate unity of faith represented in the fullness of the Body of Christ.”
- Read about the first and second Task Force meetings.
- Read more about the Diocese of New York and New Jersey’s Clergy Conference.