After the Church has examined the responses to the questionnaires, a ‘bishop-electing panel’ should prepare a final list of qualified candidates and write a report extracting and synthesizing the content of the consultation and giving their own judgment. The report must be sent to the Holy Synod, and no bishop sees the report unless he attends the Holy Synod convened.
When the report arrives at the Holy Synod, the members discuss the appointment under the chairmanship of the Catholicos. The Holy Synod should finalize the best candidates. If there are only five qualified candidates for the five positions, well and good, but if there are more than five able candidates, election should not be our option.
In the case of more able candidates than positions, the Catholicos should send out a Church wide kalpana to all parishes to observe 3 days of fasting for the need to choose bishops. After three days, let HH the Catholicos request the faithful (men, women and children) and clergy to gather for a Holy Liturgy. During the Holy Qurbana the names of the able candidates should be in a vessel on the altar. In the midst of the liturgy, offer litanies and draw names from the cup. Why have we become a church where we talk about being so liturgical but we do not value the spirituality of our services? This is how at the end, the church, led by the Holy Spirit, makes the appointment. Our way of choosing bishops today is a mockery of democracy and church canons.
We are a liturgical church and we must chose names from the ‘final list of able candidates’ during the Divine Liturgy. Let us see how the former saintly Patriarch of Alexandria, Kyrillos VI, was chosen to become the Patriarch.
There was no patriarch on the See of St. Mark at the time of the election of Kyrillos VI, and therefore Metropolitan Athanasios was the locum tenens as Deputy Patriarch. There were many bishops under him. As a preparation for the election, Metropolitan Athanasios made a nomination list, and all nominations were on behalf of spiritually outstanding monk-priests who never knew they had been in the list of nominations. There were no bishops in the list. Nominations were submitted on behalf of Fr. Demian, Fr. Angelos, Father Timotheos, and Father Mina. Having later known about his nomination, Father Mina declined to be part of this process. Having heard about this the Deputy Patriarch called Fr. Mina and asked him:
“Father Mina, why are you not part of this election?”
“Your Holiness, … may the Lord choose a good shepherd to guide His people with piety and purity of heart.” Father Mina replied.
“You should not have missed this duty.”
“Who am I but a little worm, to even consider this glorious and serious responsibility, and carry its enormous trusteeship, which should be given to a divinely chosen person, and not to whomever wants it.”
“But, I still did not hear your answer as to why you did not allow yourself to be nominated and allow the Lord to choose according to His will.”
“Your Holiness, all my fathers, the monks, who were nominated, are suitable for this critical position. But as for me, I am content with the Lord’s grace that is with me.”
“Father Mina, I am submitting a nomination for you.” “ … but where would the lowly stand among kings?’ “The Lord can lift the poor man from the pits to seat him with the principals of His people.”