From the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
To the Diocesan
Bishops and the Parish Rectors Directly Subject to the President
of the Synod of Bishops
On 11/24 May,
2005, the Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR considered: the convening
of the IV All-Diaspora Council.
convene the IV All-Diaspora Council with the participation of the
clergy and laity for the comprehensive consideration of the following
a) the establishment
of normal relations between the Churches in Russia and abroad, and
b) the mission and service of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
of Russia in the contemporary world.
The IV All-Diaspora
Council shall be convened on May 6-14, 2006, on the important 85th
anniversary of the First All-Diaspora Council, at the Cathedral
of the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow" in San Francisco,
a city illuminated by the archpastoral podvigi of St Tikhon the
Confessor, the future Patriarch of All Russia, and St John of Shanghai
and San Francisco the Miracle-worker, whose incorrupt relics abide
at the Cathedral.
with this, each diocese is obliged to convene a diocesan assembly
to select delegates.
Reverend Rectors are obliged to announce the forthcoming IV All-Diaspora
Council at their regular Annual Parish Meeting, or, if it is too
difficult to convene one, at a Parish Council meeting, and to hold
the election of delegates from the parish to the diocesan assembly.
are to explain to the faithful the spiritual significance of the
coming IV All-Diaspora Council and to call upon them to prayerfully
participate in this historic Church event.
must be chosen from among parishioners who are active in church
life and are helpful to the Church. The number of parish delegates
is to correspond to the number of clergymen assigned to the parish
(if there is one clergyman assigned, then one parish delegate is
sent to the diocesan assembly). The list of delegates is presented
to the diocesan bishop.
assembly then selects a set number of delegates to the IV All-Diaspora
Council. In accordance with the practice of the three preceding
All-Diaspora Councils, each diocese is represented by four delegatesótwo
from among the clergy and two from among the laity. If a diocese
has a large number of parishes, then for each thirty parishes, an
additional four delegates are chosen. Each member of the IV All-Diaspora
Council must be given a certificate signed by the ruling bishop
and affixed with the diocesan seal. Each delegate, upon registration
at the Council, must present this certificate to the credentials
committee. Expenses for the delegates are to be paid by their diocese.
with this, the Council Organizing Committee at the Synod of Bishops
must be notified no later than 18/31 December, 2005, as to whether
your diocese will be able to send the established number of delegates,
and if it cannot, then how many delegates will be sent from your
The above is
reported to you for execution.
President of the Synod of Bishops
No 1 TO THE CIRCULAR UKASE
On the Composition of the IV All-Diaspora Council
The IV All-Diaspora Council with the participation of the clergy
and laity comprises:
a) the entire episcopate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
b) selected delegates (clergymen and male laity) of the dioceses;
c) the Rector
and Dean of Holy Trinity Seminary, representatives of the Russian
Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, of monastics and of the following
Synodal institutions: The Fund for Assistance of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside of Russia, the Synodal Liturgical Music Advisory
Board, the Orthodox Palestine Society the St Herman Conference Committee;
of social and youth organizations invited by the President of the
Council Organizing Committee;
elected and confirmed by the First Hierarch and the Synod of Bishops;
members of the Council Organizing Committee, the Commission on discussions
with the Moscow Patriarchate and two representatives of the Organizing
Committee of the San Francisco and Western American Diocese;
of previous All-Diaspora Conferences who are faithful children of
the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia who receive a written
blessing from their Ruling Bishop.
delegates may attend and participate in the work of the IV All-Diaspora
Council.On the Procedure of Electing and Confirming Delegates
for the IV
At the last
session of the Synod of Bishops, the following procedure for the
election and confirmation of delegates was approved:
for the diocesan delegates are to be paid by their diocese.
b) The First
Hierarch appoints one representative for each of the following:
the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, monastics, and
for the following Synodal institutions: the Fund for Assistance
of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the Synodal Liturgical
Music Advisory Board, the Orthodox Palestine Society the St Herman
Conference Committee. Delegates from these institutions must receive
a corresponding certificate signed by the President of the Synod
of Bishops and affixed with the Synodal seal. Expenses for these
delegates to the IV All-Diaspora Council must be paid by the Synodal
c) The Ruling
Bishop of San Francisco and Western America shall appoint two representatives
from the local Organizing Committee and issues corresponding certificates
with his signature, affixed with the diocesan seal.
d) The members
of the Council Organizing Committee and individuals selected by
the Synod of Bishops receive certificates from the Secretary of
the Synod of Bishops, while members of the Commission on discussions
with the Moscow Patriarchate receive them from its President. Their
expenses are paid by the Synod of Bishops.
for the IV All-Diaspora Council are proposed by the Council Organizing
Committee, are confirmed by the Synod of Bishops and receive certificates
from the President of the Council Organizing Committee. Their expenses
are paid by the Synod of Bishops.
of social and youth organizations invited by the President of the
Council Organizing Committee are confirmed by the Synod of Bishops
and receive corresponding certificates from the Secretary of the
Synod of Bishops. Expenses of these delegates of the IV All-Diaspora
Council are to be paid by the organizations themselves.
of previous All-Diaspora Councils, as well as delegates from each
diocese, receive written certificates from their Ruling Bishop;
for the former, these certificates must state that they are participating
not by election but automatically as participants of a previous
All-Diaspora Council. Such participants pay their own expenses.
Secretary, Synod of Bishops
June 30/July 13, 2005
The Number of Delegates from Each Diocese
(not including speakers, representatives of the Russian
Ecclesiastical Mission, Holy Trinity Seminary, monastics, Synodal
institutions, social and youth organizations, members of the Council
Organizing Committee and the Commission on discussions with the
Moscow Patriarchate, members of previous Councils, etc.):
Eastern America and New York: 8 (4 priests and 4 laymen)
Diocese of Eastern Canada: 2 (1 priest and 1 layman)
Diocese of Western Canada: 2 (1 priest and 1 layman)
Diocese of San Francisco and Western America: 4 (2 priests and 2
Diocese of Chicago and Detroit: 4 (2 priests and 2 laymen)
Diocese of Great Britain: 2 (1 priest and 1 layman)
Diocese of Geneva and Western Europle: 4 (2 priests and 2 laymen)
Diocese of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand: 4 (2 priests and 2
Diocese of Buenos Aires and South America: 4 (2 priests and 2 laymen)
Diocese of Ishim and Siberia: 4 (2 priests and 2 laymen)
Diocese of Tavrika and Odessa: 4 (2 priests and 2 laymen)
No 2 TO THE CIRCULAR UKASE
On Parishioners of the ROCOR and Their Participation in
By-Laws (Authorized by Resolution of the Synod of Bishops of the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on June 30/July 13, 1951,
and April 15/28, 1955, and 14/27 September 1971.)
1… Note: …The
Diocesan Bishop has… the right to remove from their positions any
persons in the parish administration and also to exclude from membership
of the parish persons who resist the Administration, or those who
conduct disruptive work, or who are convicted of crimes or serious
misdemeanors harmful to the peaceful life of the parish… The Diocesan
Bishop also has the power to… excommunicate laymen in cases of serious
violation of Church order and discipline.
7. …A layman
who secedes from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and
refuses to recognize the authority of the Synod of Bishops of the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, shall not be permitted
to occupy any office in the parish.
in the service of the church shall be considered lawfully appointed
if they occupy their said offices by appointment and permission
and with the blessing of the Ruling Bishop appointed to this office
by the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
11. All Orthodox
Christians of both sexes, regardless of their nationality, who have
reached the age of 21 years, who pay the established membership
dues, who make their confession and take Holy Communion not less
than once a year, and who tend to the moral and economic welfare
of the parish may become parish members.
…Note 2: Persons
who live in concubinage without Church marriage, or who are engaged
in ignoble business, or who are convicted of criminal offences shall
have no right to participate in the parish meetings or be elected
to parish offices. Those convicted of criminal offences may be restored
in their rights three years after they have served their term and
after absolution by their father-confessor.
13. Note 2:
Parish members who shall have failed to pay their membership dues
during three months shall be deprived of their rights to vote and
to be elected to parish offices pending the payment of such arrears.
Parish members who have failed to pay their membership dues during
twelve months shall be excluded from parish membership. However,
should a parish member fail to pay his dues because of some valid
reason (illness, unemployment, etc.) the question of his right to
vote shall be determined by the Church Parish Council.
members who shall be found disloyal to the Russian Orthodox Church
Outside of Russia and to their parish; or who deliberately neglect
Church rules and obstruct lawfully adopted resolutions of the parish
meetings and the instructions of the Church Parish Council, as well
as those who shall have violated the good order and decorum in the
church or who shall be found engaged in some ignoble occupation
may be excluded from parish membership by decision of the Church
Parish Council, submitted by the latter for approval of the Ruling
Bishop. The said persons may be restored in their rights by decision
of the Church Parish Council provided they repent and prove by their
ways of living and behavior their moral rectitude.
24. The minutes
of the Annual Parish Meetings, after having been adopted by an editing
committee elected by the meeting, shall be submitted not later than
seven days thereafter by the rector of the parish to the Ruling
Bishop for his ratification.
29. All… officials…
with the exception of the Rector and the staff members of the clergy
appointed by the Ruling Bishop, as well as the Senior Sister of
the Sisterhood selected by the latter, shall be elected by the Annual
Parish Meeting for a term of one year, and, on recommendation of
the Rector, shall be approved in the respective offices by the Ruling
for Clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (Established
by the Decision of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox
Church Abroad, dated 9/22 October 1956.)
59. The rectors
must see to it that parish meetings are convoked in accordance with
the rules, and that only those who, according to the Parish By-laws,
have the right to participate in them do so. After the conclusion
of assemblies, the rectors must submit the minutes of parish meetings
to the diocese bishop for approval.
of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (Confirmed by the
Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
on 26 September/9 October, 27 September/10 October, 28 September/11
November, 29 September/12 October and 2/15 October 1956, and by
a decision of the Council dated 5/18 June, 1964.)
60. The following
people may not be members of the Diocesan Assembly:
who, in the course of the year, do not confess and receive Communion;
who are cohabiting illegally and without the Church's blessing;
found blameworthy by a civil or church court;
engaged in immoral occupations or trades.
of Diocesan Assemblies shall come into force and be implemented
only after confirmation by the diocesan bishop.
106. The vicar
bishop… has the following duties: …F) confirmation of the minutes
of Parish Meetings and election of parish officials.