NEW YORK: February 19, 2004

Press Release†on the Regular Session of the†Synod of Bishops
of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

On February 17 and 18, 2004, at the Synodal House in New York City, a regular session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was held. Under the Presidency of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Metropolitan Laurus, the members of the Synod include Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, Bishop Ambroise of Vevey, Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan and Bishop Michael of Boston.A series of questions was discussed on church life and the life of the dioceses. The Synod heard the report of Archbishop Mark on the life of our monasteries in the Holy Land, and also reports of legal and financial matters of our Church. The Committee appointed by the Council of 2000 for reviewing the “Regulations of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia” submitted its comments on the need to amend several areas†of the Regulations.

The Synod of Bishops welcomed the members of the Committee on the Unity of the Russian Church, heard the Committeeís plan, and gave its members directions for its further work.

The forthcoming visit to Russia of the First Hierarch of the Rocor, Metropolitan Laurus, was discussed.

After the meeting of the Synod of Bishops with President V.V. Putin of the Russian Federation held in September 2003, and the†trip to Russia of the delegation of the Russian†Orthodox Church Outside of Russia†in November, the Synod was faced with the task of preparing the visit to Russia of the First Hierarch. Over recent months, besides the President and leadership of the Moscow Patriarchate, a wide†scope of people†of Russian Orthodox society has expressed its hope†that Metropolitan Laurus visit Russia soon, and that†normal ecclesiastical relations between the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church be established.

During the sessions in New York, details of this visit were proposed. The Synod of Bishops, headed by our First Hierarch, accepted the invitation for the second half of May, and considered whom to include in the delegation which is to escort Metropolitan Laurus.

The goal of this visit by the First Hierarch and his delegation will be the personal acquaintance with the present leadership of the Moscow Patriarchate and with church life in Russia.