to Church Wardens
Confirmed by the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside of Russia on
23 October/5 November 1959 (Council Protocol #15)
1. The Church Warden is a trusted member of the parish, elected
for each parish church for the acquisition and utilization,
in collaboration with the Rector and Parish Council, of church
funds and the maintenance of all church property, under the
oversight and with the guidance of the Rector and the Diocesan
2. Church Wardens for churches which do not constitute part
of a formal parish are appointed in the order determined in
each individual case by the Diocesan Authority, according
to the institution within which the given church exists, and
are confirmed in their position by the Diocesan Bishop.
3. The Church Warden, in the exercise of his duties under
the direct supervision of the Rector, is guided by the Parish
By-Laws, and the rules of this Instruction, submitting in
all his acts to the orders of the Diocesan Bishop.
4. Persons are elected to the position of Church Warden who
are well-known to the parish for their Christian piety and
loyalty to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia,
who are zealous for the moral and material well-being of the
parish, and who are conscientious in paying their parish membership
5. The following may not be elected to the position of Church
less than twenty-five years of age;
b. Those who do not come to Confession and Holy Communion
at least once a year;
c. Those who have lost their employment because of being convicted
of malfeasance by a court of law, or who have been deposed
from any of the ranks of the clergy;
d Those whose goods and property are in receivership because
they have declared bankruptcy;
e. Insolvent debtors;
f. Those with questionable or reprehensible means of employment;
g. Those who live in cohabitation outside the bounds of ecclesiastical
h. Those who are not conscientious in paying their [parish]
i. Those who have not lived at least six months in the parish
and have not been enrolled in the register of parish members.
Church Warden is elected by the General Parish Assembly for
a three-year term of office.
7. The name of the newly-elected Church warden is submitted
by the Rector to the Diocesan Bishop for confirmation, and
after confirmation the oath is administered to him, the text
of which is signed in duplicate. The form of the oath before
assuming the duties of Church Warden is as follows:
"I, the undersigned, do promise upon the Holy Gospel
and the life-creating Cross of the Lord to fulfill the duties
of Warden of the Church of [name of church] with exactitude,
being guided by the Canons of the Church and the "Instructions
for Church Wardens" with the contents of which I am acquainted,
zealously, honorably, with the fear of God, for the good of
the Holy Church and for the salvation of my soul, being mindful
that therein I will be responsible before the law and before
the Lord God at His dread judgment. As an assurance of this
my promise, I kiss the Word and Cross of my Savior. Amen.
(signature of the Warden).
Oath administered by: (signature of the priest).
8. Upon assuming his responsibilities, the Church Warden,
in the presence of one of the members of the clergy and a
representative of the Parish Council, verifies all church
property according to the inventory, and all of the church's
account books. There is set down, over the signatures of all
present thereat, a special act concerning the results of the
verification. This is kept with the church's documents. If
something cannot be accounted for during the verification,
or if something is discovered damaged, the Diocesan Bishop
must be informed of it immediately.
9. The Church Warden is a member of the Parish Council by
virtue of his position.
10. When the three-year term of the Church Warden's office
elapses, the Church Warden may be reelected to other successive
three-year terms continually. In such a case the oath is not
11. The following duties are the responsibility of the Church
taking up of plate collections for monetary donations to the
b. The reception of all funds, endowments and offerings made
to the church;
c. The collection of special collections;
d. The collection of revenues from the rental of church property;
e. The sale of church candles and candle-stubs;
f. The purchase of all that is necessary for the divine services
(as directed by the Rector): candles, ecclesiastical wine,
prosphoras, incense, oil, liturgical books, etc.
g. The maintenance in good condition, the repair and acquisition
of the vestments and ecclesiastical utensils;
h. The most meticulous care that the iconostasis, hanging
lamps candle-stands, etc., are kept in good condition;
i. The supervision of the proper care and maintenance of the
church, church-related structures, grounds, cemeteries, grave
markers, and other properties belonging to the church;
j. Care that the congregation maintain order and silence during
the divine services in church;
k. The recording of all moneys received and disbursements
made by him for proper accounting;
1. The entering in the inventory of the church's possessions
of all articles acquired and donated to the church.
12. In those dioceses where there are diocesan candle works
for the provision of church candles, incense and oil, it is
obligatory that Church Wardens acquire the designated articles
only from such suppliers.
13. Moneys collected during plate collections, as well as
those taken in from the sale of candles and received as donations,
are counted by two persons and, over their signatures, are
given to the church's treasurer.
14. Every month, the Church Warden reports to the Parish Council
on the state of the church's finances. The Rector of the church
may make inquiry of the parish's financial state at any time.
15. Sums of money which exceed those determined for current
expenses are submitted by the Warden to the Church Treasurer
and are deposited by the latter in the bank in the church
account, from which they may be withdrawn over no fewer than
two signatures, one of which must be that of the Rector or
16. Candles and candle stubs are kept in separate storage,
the keys to which are kept by the Warden.
17. Moneys, documents and non-liturgical articles belonging
personally to the Church Warden, to members of the clergy
or other persons, are not to be stored in the church.
18. Obligatory collections established by the Diocesan Authority
and the Synod of Bishops are to be sent in without delay,
in accordance with the instructions concerning such collections.
19. Intermittent sums received from collections in benefit
of various institutions are sent to those places and within
such time periods as are indicated in the instructions concerning
20. As regards the recording of income and disbursements in
the principal bound parish financial record book and the setting
forth of the annual financial report, the Warden and the Treasurer
are guided by the existing rules and forms established by
the Diocesan Authority.
21. Church property and church finances are audited by the
Auditing Committee, which is elected by the General Parish
Assembly, as well as by the Dean, where such exists. The Diocesan
Bishop has the right, to conduct an audit at any time, either
personally or through a person empowered by him to do so.
22. The Church Warden who fails in good conscience to fulfill
his duties is relieved of his position by decision of the
Diocesan Bishop, after proper verification thereof, if admonition
is unsuccessful. For conduct resulting in the loss of or damage
to church property, the Church Warden is liable under the
23. In case of the death or resignation of the Church Warden
before his term of office is fulfilled, the Diocesan Bishop
entrusts the administration of the duties of the Warden to
one of the members of the Parish Council, on the recommendation
of the local clergy, until a new election is held.
24. In the case of necessity, the Parish Council can elect
an Assistant Warden from its membership, who will act in his
place when he is absent, and may likewise fulfill a portion
of his duties by mutual consent.