SYNOD OF BISHOPS: May 25, 2005

Regular Session of the Synod of Bishops is Held

Participating in the spring session of the Synod of Bishops, held in Munich under the chairmanship of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, were His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, His Grace Bishop Ambroise of Vevey, His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan, His Grace Bishop Michael of Boston and His Grace Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart. This regular session was timed to coincide with the great consecration of St Nicholas Chapel dedicated to the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in Munich. The rich and joyful Paschal songs and festive prayers to St Nicholas and the Holy New Martyrs of Russia helped the bishops in their peaceful and constructive work.

Hearing the report of Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff, Secretary of the Committee on discussions with the Moscow Patriarchate, the Synod of Bishops approved and confirmed the documents drafted at the last joint session of the church committees, held on March 2-4, 2005, in the outskirts of Paris, and blessed their publication, instructing His Eminence Archbishop Mark, President of the Committee, to coordinate with the corresponding Committee of the Moscow Patriarchate the exact date and time of their publication on the official sites of the two parts of the Russian Church.

Protopriest Peter Perekrestov, Secretary of the Pre-Council Committee organizing the IV All-Diaspora Council (Sobor), and Priest Serafim Gan, a member of the same committee, presented materials prepared during its meetings. Carefully considering these reports, the Synod of Bishops decreed to convene the IV All-Diaspora Council on May 6-14, 2006, in San Francisco, a city illumined by the spiritual feats of the man who later became the Patriarch of All-Russia, Holy Martyr Patriarch Tikhon, and of St John (Maximovich, +1966). Some documents prepared by the Pre-Council Committee on the order of the election and confirmation of delegates to this ecclesiastical Council will be published in the coming weeks.

In light of the fact that some members of the clergy and flock of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia have expressed the opinion that they do not possess enough information and are in need of clarification of unanswered questions connected with the latest events in the life of our Church, the Synod of bishops decided to send one member of the Committee on discussions with the Moscow Patriarchate and one member of the Pre-Council Committee to accompany the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God to all the electoral Diocesan Assemblies. Prayer before the Kursk-Root Icon and detailed reports on the activities of both committees will facilitate a more peaceful, thoughtful and fruitful discussion among the clergy and flock of the Church.

In addition to the subjects mentioned, the Synod heard reports by the bishops on the state of affairs in church life in various dioceses, in the Holy Land, Bari and Ottawa; on the visit to Russia of the relics of Holy Martyrs Elizaveta and Varvara; on administrative matters, and finally, requests by the bishops for ecclesiastical awards for their clergymen.