The parishes of the Diocese of the Midwest are organized into administrative deaneries based on geographic location. The diocese has six deaneries, each deanery has a Dean elected by the Archbishop’s Council (all six deans and the chancellor) and confirmed by the Archbishop. The work of the deanery is overseen and guided by the Dean who is a parish priest from within the respective deanery.
He coordinates and directs activities of the parishes and priests within the deanery, guiding the establishment of missions, and serving as the first appeal if or when disputes arise within the deanery.
In all things, the Deans report directly to the Archbishop, from whom they receive advice, instruction, and counsel, and for whom they act as an administrative liaisons to their own deanery communities.
Saints who have served in the Diocese of the Midwest include Alexis Toth, Tikhon of Moscow, and John Kuchurov.
The Orthodox Church in America traces its origins to the arrival in Kodiak, Alaska of eight Orthodox missionaries from the Valaamo Monastery in the northern Karelia region of Russia in 1794. The missionaries made a great impact on the native Alaskan population and were responsible for bringing many to the Orthodox Christian faith.
The Mission of the Orthodox Church in America, the local autocephalous Orthodox Church, is to be faithful in fulfilling the commandment of Christ to “Go into all the world and make disciples of all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all [things that He has] commanded” so that all people may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth:
To preach, in accordance with God’s will, the fullness of the gospel of the Kingdom to the peoples of North America and to invite them to become members of the Orthodox Church.
To utilize for her mission the various languages of the peoples of this continent.
To be the body of Christ in North America and to be faithful to the tradition of the Holy Orthodox Church.
To witness to the truth, and by God’s grace and in the power of the Holy Spirit, to reveal Christ’s way of sanctification and eternal salvation to all.
Adopted by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, 1990. From “A History and Introduction of the Orthodox Church in America”.
Written by the Very Rev. John Matusiak
Managing Editor, The Orthodox Church magazine.