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
(St. Job of Pochaev, Montreal, published the erroneous date
of 11 March 1975 in several editions.)
BY-LAWS of.Parish of the Diocese of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside of Russia
(Name and Aims.)
1. The parish shall bear the name ......................................................................................................It
constitutes a part of the .....................................
Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and
it shall be subject to the canonical rule of its Diocesan
Bishop and the immediate supervision of the pastor appointed
by the latter.
Annotation. Whereas pursuant to Par. 1 of the Normal Parish
By-Laws the parishes are under the canonical jurisdiction
of their Diocesan Bishop according to the holy canons by which
the Orthodox parishes are directed as by fundamental laws
of their existence, the Diocesan Bishop being the Head of
the local Church (diocese), has the right to remove the clergymen
of the Diocese from their positions in case of their serious
crimes or misdeeds and transfer them to other positions for
the good of the ministry. The Diocesan Bishop has also 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 suspend clergymen
and excommunicate laymen in cases of serious violation of
Church order and discipline. Such decisions of the Diocesan
Bishop are relayed to the clergymen directly or through deans
and to laymen through Rectors according to Par. 14 of the
Normal Parish By-Laws (Enacted by the Council of Bishops 23
May/5 June 1967, Protocol No. 15).
2. It shall be the aim of the parish to unite the believers
around the parish church on the basis of the teachings, the
canons, the traditions and the rules of the Russian Orthodox
Church for the satisfaction of the religious needs and moral
benefit of its members.
(General Provisions. Jurisdiction. Clergy.)
3. It shall be the object of the parish to mutually assist
the believers, forming part thereof and united in the Faith
in Christ our Savior, by means of prayers, Sacraments, Christian
teaching and Church discipline, in attaining salvation through
the participation in sacraments and Christian enlightenment,
worthy life and Christian charity. Accordingly, the immediate
aims of the parish shall embrace: (a) the care of the church
and its adornment; (b) the maintenance of the clergy; (c)
the economic prosperity of the parish and the care of the
needs of the church, the clergy and all parish institutions,
the diocesan and social needs; (d) charitable work, and (e)
educational work in the spirit of the Orthodox Church.
4. In conjunction with the parish church there shall be a
clergy of not less than two members, the pastor and the deacon,
or the psalmistprecentor, who shall receive living accommodations
and subsistence from the parish. The clergy shall be appointed
by the diocesan authorities. The number of the members of
the clergy may be increased or reduced by the Ruling Bishop
in accordance with the capacity and needs of the parish.
5. The boundaries of the parish may be changed by the diocesan
authorities pursuant to the request of the parishioners and
subject to the consent of the clergy of that parish where
such changes are to be effected.
6. The establishment of a new parish shall be effected pursuant
to the request of the faithful with the permission and blessing,
or by order of, the diocesan authorities.
7. A priest or a person in the service of the church, or 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.
8. Priests and persons 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 Russia.
9. The pastor shall be the immediate supervisor of the parish
and he shall be held responsible for its welfare before the
10. The Ruling Bishop may, should he deem it necessary, appoint
a second priest as assistant to the pastor. The question of
the maintenance of such an assistant shall be settled by the
diocesan authorities acting in agreement with the Parish Council.
(Parishioners and Parish Members.)
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
Annotation 1. By decision of the Church Parish
Council for persons of Orthodox faith who have not reached
the age of 21, there may be organized, in conjunction with
the parish, youth societies for their religious and moral
Annotation 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.
Annotation 3. Those who make confession to a
priest outside of their parish must present to their Rector
a certificate from that priest.
12. All parish members shall be recorded by the Secretary
of the Church Parish Council in a special register. The membership
enrollment shall be made by the Church Parish Council pursuant
to written application.
13. All parish members, except those mentioned in Annotation
2 under paragraph 11, who regularly pay the membership dues
and other obligatory dues fixed by the diocesan meetings,
shall have the right to participate with a decisive vote in
all parish meetings, to elect parish officials and to be elected
to parish offices.
Annotation 1. The newly admitted members of
the parish shall acquire the right to vote and to be elected
to parish offices upon the expiration of six months after
their admission to parish membership. Persons coming from
another parish in the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside of Russia and who present a certificate from
it, are accepted into a new parish with no time limit of their
Annotation 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
14. Parish 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.
15. Persons who shall have rendered particularly valuable
services to the parish may be elected trustees by the Annual
(Managing Organs and Officers.)
16. The following shall be the managing organs:
A. The general meeting of the members of the parish, hereinafter
called parish meetings;
B. The Church Parish Council;
C. The Auditing Committee.
A. PARISH MEETINGS
17. Parish meetings shall be: 1) Annual and 2) Extraordinary.
1. Annual Parish Meetings
18. The time for the convening of the Annual Parish Meeting
shall be fixed by the Church Parish Council. Not later than
three weeks prior to the Annual Parish Meeting, the Church
Parish Council shall mail notices on the convening thereof
together with the agenda. In addition thereto, the pastor,
prior to the Annual Parish Meeting, shall announce its convocation
from the steps before the altar on three successive Sundays
after the divine service.
19. The pastor, or in case of his absence or illness, a priest
substituting for him, shall preside over the Annual Parish
Meeting. The VicePresident shall be elected by the meeting
from among the laymen. When a matter is deliberated upon which
pertains to the pastor personally, and also when candidates
to the members of the staff clergy are elected, it shall be
obligatory that the dean, or another person appointed by the
Ruling Bishop, preside over the meeting.
20. The following shall be within the competency of the Annual
Parish Meeting: (a) the election of the Warden, the members
of the Church Parish Council, the Auditing Committee and the
trustees; (b) the examination of the report of the Church
Parish Council on the activities of the parish during the
expired year; (c) the examination and ratification of the
Warden's and Treasurer's reports; (d) the examination and
ratification of the report of the Auditing Committee and the
budget for the forthcoming year; (e) the estab lishment of
the amount of the membership dues and other items of selftaxation;
(f) amendment of the By-Laws of the parish.
Annotation 1. Canonical matters as well as jurisdictional
matters (110) shall not be within the
competency of either the Annual or Extraordinary Parish Meetings.
(g) Consideration of other matters, including the agenda of
the Annual Parish Meetings.
Annotation 2. The Annual Parish Meeting may respond to general
questions of Christian life and on current affairs which affect
the Christian conscience of the faithful.
21. The Annual Parish Meeting shall be considered valid in
the presence of a quorum of two thirds of the parish members.
Annotation 1. If by the time scheduled for the
meeting, the parish members present should fail to constitute
the required quorum, another Annual Parish Meeting shall be
convened one hour later on the same day which meeting shall
be considered valid in the presence of any number of attending
members. This provision should be included in the text of
the notice convening the Annual Parish Meeting.
Annotation 2. The Parish Meeting checks the
voting qualifications of its members. Each member of the Parish
Meeting who has for some reason lost his right to participate
in the Meeting must of his own accord remove himself from
participation in the Meeting.
Annotation 3. Should the Annual Parish Meeting
be called to order in the presence of the required quorum,
but subsequently some members should quit the meeting and
the number of those attending it should be less than the said
quorum, the meeting shall nevertheless be considered valid.
Annotation 4. Personal attendance of the parish
members at the Parish Meeting for voting purposes shall be
obligatory. Voting by proxy shall not be permitted.
22. All matters shall be decided by simple and open majority
vote. However, should any one of those present demand secret
balloting, his request shall be honored. In case of a tie,
the vote of the pastor or the person empowered by him to preside
over the Annual Parish Meeting shall prevail.
23. The Secretary of the Church Parish Council shall keep
the minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting and he shall record
all the decisions adopted thereat together with the dissenting
opinions, should any be expressed by the participants in the
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 pastor of the parish to the Ruling Bishop for his ratification.
2. Extraordinary Parish Meetings.
25. Extraordinary Parish Meetings. if necessary, may be convened
: (a) by order of the Ruling Bishop; (b) by the pastor of
the parish; (c) by the Church Parish Council; (d) at the request
of the Auditing Committee; (e) pursuant to a written request
of not less than onethird of the parish members submitted
to the Church Parish Council.
26. All the provisions of the By-Laws pertaining to the convening
of the Annual Parish Meetings (Par. 18.) and the keeping of
the minutes (PP. 23. and 24.) shall be likewise applicable
to the Extraordinary Parish Meetings. Annotation. In emergency
cases, an Extraordinary Parish Meeting may be convened with
eight days advance notice. The pastor shall announce such
a meeting from ambo after a Sunday divine service, and, in
addition, the Church Parish Council shall mail respective
notices with a precise indication of the matter in connection
with which the said meeting is being convened.
27. Only such matters shall be within the competency of an
Extraordinary Parish Meeting as are specified in the notice
B. THE CHURCH PARISH COUNCIL.
28. The Church Parish Council shall be composed of:
(a) the Pastor of the parish who by virtue of his office shall
be the President of the Church Parish Council; (b) the Church
Warden; (c) the President or the Sister Superior of the Sisterhood
organized in conjunction with the parish and functioning under
the supervision of the pastor pursuant to the Statute on Sisterhoods
ratified by the diocesan authorities; (d) the Treasurer; (e)
the Secretary; (f) Staff members of the clergy; (g) from two
to five lay members of the parish.
Annotation: In the United States and in Canada,
in parishes incorporated pursuant to the civil laws on religious
corporations, the trustees of the parish corporation (parish),
elected pursuant to the said laws, shall have the right to
participate in the meetings of the Church Parish Council and
in the Parish Meetings with the rights of active members.
29. All the officials enumerated in Par. 28., with the exception
of the Pastor 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 Pastor, shall be approved in the respective offices
by the Ruling Bishop. All the said officers, with the exception
of the Pastor and the staff members of the clergy, shall perform
their duties free of pay. The Church Warden shall be elected
for a term of three years.
30. The following shall be within the competency of the Church
Parish Council: (a) The adornment of the parish church and
the care of the entire church property; (b) The maintenance
of the clergy and their provision with living quarters; (c)
The collection of membership dues and other forms of the members'
selftaxation; (d) The keeping of the parish books and of the
lists of those making confession; (e) The care of organizing
the church choir under the direction of an experienced director;
(f) The care of the educational and charitable work of the
parish; (g) Representing the parish before civil authorities
in connection with all matters involving the parish; (h) The
maintenance of the diocesan and central church administrations
in proportion to the parish resources.
A. The Pastor
31. The Pastor of the parish shall: (a) Conduct divine services
and ceremonies according to the Orthodox rite; (b) Instruct
the parish members and those attending church on the rules
of the Orthodox Faith and devotion; (c) Instruct children
in catechism; (d) Endeavor to uplift the spiritual and moral
level of the members of the parish; (e) Preside over all parish
meetings and all meetings of the Church Parish Council; (f)
Supervise, with the assistance of the Church Warden, the adornment
of the parish church; (g) Have general supervision over the
work of the Church Parish Council and that of the Church Warden;
(h) Keep parish registers and issue copies of the records
therefrom; (i) Communicate on behalf of the parish with the
diocesan authorities in connection with all matters involving
the parish; (j) Be responsible for the welfare of the parish;
(k) Keep the church seal; (l) Supervise the execution of all
decisions of the Annual and Extraordinary parish meetings
and those of the Church Parish Council; (m) Ensure the accuracy
of the minutes of the Church Parish Council meetings.
b. Members of the Clergy.
32. The members of the clergy, being the immediate assistants
of the Pastor in the performance of his religious duties and
in his educational work among the parish members and those
attending church, shall: (a) Participate in all the meetings
of the Church Parish Council as well as in the Annual and
Extraordinary parish meetings; (b) Perform special duties
conferred on them by the Pastor.
c. The Church Warden
33. The Church Warden, being the immediate assistant of the
parish Pastor with respect to economic matters, shall be directly
responsible for the safekeeping of the church property. In
addition he shall: (a) See to it that good order be observed
in the church during divine services; (b) Oversee the sale
of candles; (c) Keep track of the monetary receipts and disbursements
of the parish; (d) Take the duly prescribed oath when he is
D. The Treasurer
34. The duties of the Treasurer shall comprise: (a) The keeping
of the parish receipt and disbursement ledgers in the form
prescribed by the diocesan authorities; (b) The keeping of
the parish funds in a manner prescribed by the Church Parish
Council; (c) The disbursement, under the control of the Church
Warden, of the parish monetary sums; (d) The compilation of
the budget and of the annual financial report for their submission
to the Church Parish Council and the Annual Parish Meeting;
(c) The submission of the entire monetary accounting to the
C. The Secretary
35. The duties of the Secretary shall comprise: (a) All correspondence
on behalf of the Church Parish Council under the direction
of the Pastor; (b) The keeping of the minutes of the Annual
and Extraordinary Parish Meetings as well as those of the
Church Parish Council; (c) The mailing of notices convening
all parish meetings and the meetings of the Church Parish
Council; (d) The keeping of the lists and addresses of the
parish members; (e) The preparation, under the supervision
of the Pastor, of the reports to the Annual and Extraordinary
Annotation. All the records and books shall
be kept in accordance with the forms devised by the diocesan
f. Members of the Church Parish Council
36. The Members of the Church Parish Council shall: (a) Participate
in all the meetings of the Church Parish Council; (b) Assist
the Pastor and the Church Warden; (c) Perform special duties
conferred on them by the Pastor and by the Church Parish Council;
(d) In case of illness or temporary absence of some officer,
they shall, by order of the Pastor, perform the duties of
the absent officer.
of the Church Parish Council.
37. The meetings of the Church Parish Council shall be convened
by the order of the Pastor not less than once a month.
38. At the meetings of the Church Parish Council all matters
shall be decided by simple majority vote while in case of
a tie, the vote of the Pastor, or the person presiding over
the meeting pursuant to his instruction, shall prevail.
39. The Secretary of the Church Parish Council shall keep
the minutes of its meetings (Par. 35. [b]) and he shall record
them in a special book therefor.
B. THE AUDITING COMMITTEE.
40. The Auditing Committee shall be comprised of three members
elected by the Annual Parish Meeting (Par. 20 [a]) for a term
of one year.
Annotation. The Members of the Church Parish Council
shall not be eligible as members of the Auditing Committee,
and the members of the latter cannot be members of the Church
41. By order of the Pastor, the Auditing Committee shall begin
its work not later than two weeks prior to the date scheduled
for the Annual Parish Meeting.
42. The following shall be the duties of the Auditing Committee:
(a) The verification of all areas of the Treasurer's accounting
and of the report compiled by him on the status thereof to
the Annual Parish Meeting and the Church Parish Council (Par.
34 [d]); (b) The preparation of a report on the findings accounting
audit and of the report referred to in section (a) of this
paragraph; (c) The submission of the findings referred to
in section (b) of this paragraph to the Annual Parish Meeting;
(d) The recommendation to the Annual Parish Meeting regarding
any desirable changes in the method of the keeping of the
43. In conjunction with the parish, a Sisterhood may be established.
Its Chairman or Sister Superior, guided in her work by the
instructions of the Pastor and by the Statute on Sisterhoods
ratified by the diocesan authorities, shall: (a) Together
with the other sisters, tend to the cleanliness of the church,
the vestments and other objects in the sacristy; (b) Closely
participate in the organization of the charitable work of
the parish; (c) Manage the luncheons (trapezas) and the refectory
and the connected therewith; (d) Guide and coordinate the
work of the members forming part of the Sisterhood.
(Church and Parish Property.)
44. The following shall be a part of the property of the church:
(a) The church building with all its appurtenances as well
as churches, oratories and chapels annexed to the parish church;
(b) Everything that is donated to the church and brought to
God's altar, for instance: articles needed for church use;
(c) Personal and real property donated for the adornment of
the church; (d) Monies received by the church from different
sources, i.e.; candlesale profits, jug and plate monies, residues
of profits, income derived from estate and quitrent, and from
the sale of plots in parish cemeteries and various sundry
incomes; (e) Personal and real property and capital funds
specifically donated or bequeathed to the church for its benefit
or to its ownership, even those with a special designation
for charitable and educational needs of the parish or the
maintenance of the clergy.
45. Parish property shall consist of every kind of personal
and real property and capital funds received for the satisfaction
of the religious and educational as well as charitable needs
of the parish. These shall include: (a) Voluntary donations;
(b) Plate collections within the boundaries of the parish;
(c) Voluntary collections under subscription lists; (d) Voluntary
donations in kind by the parishioners; (e) Incomes from real
estate owned by the parish; (f) Incomes from quitrent; (g)
Collections made by decision of the general Parish Meetings.
46. The management of the church and parish property and capital
shall be vested in the Church Parish Council.
47. Church real estate may be purchased or otherwise acquired
out of church funds with the permission of the diocesan authorities,
by decision adopted either by the Annual Parish Meeting or
the Extraordinary Parish Meeting especially convened therefor.
The sale of church real estate, its alienation, exchange or
cession for building purposes, shall be effected subject to
the authorization of the Synod of Bishops.
48. Monetary funds, incomes and receipts belonging to the
church shall be disbursed in accordance with the budget adopted
by the Annual Church Parish Meeting and ratified by the diocesan
49. Parish property of every kind may be acquired, sold, alienated,
exchanged, mortgaged, leased and ceded for building purposes
by the decision of the Annual Church Parish Meeting.
50. Reports on the expenditures of parish property and capital
funds shall be submitted in due manner by the Church Parish
Council to the diocesan authorities for its information.
(Monetary Parish Funds.)
51. All church parish sums, as they are received, shall be
deposited by the Treasurer to the current account of the parish
with a bank pursuant to the direction of he Church Parish
52. By decision of he Church Parish Council, for meeting current
expenses, the Treasurer may be allowed to keep a certain amount
of money in the form of an advance subject to accounting,
the sum of which shall be determined by the Church Parish
53. All checks shall be signed by at least two persons: the
Pastor and the Church Warden, or the Treasurer, or in the
absence of one of them, by the Secretary. The Church Parish
Council shall authorize the signing of the checks by the said
persons, and notice to this effect shall be provided to the
bank. The church seal shall be affixed to the checks.
(Amendment of the Parish By-Laws.)
54. Amendments of these By-Laws may be made, if warranted
by local conditions, only with the consent of 2/3 of the parish
members at a lawfullyconvened Annual Meeting, subject to the
approval of the Diocesan Bishop, and on condition that such
amendment in the By Laws be ratified by the Synod of Bishops.
55. The suggested text of the paragraphs of the By-Laws, which
it is proposed to amend, shall be incorporated into the notices
convening the respective Annual Meeting.
(Closing of the Parish.)
56. The closing of the parish can take place not otherwise
than subject to the method set forth in Par.
54 of these By-Laws, while the entire personal and real estate
of the parish shall be turned over to the direct management
and disposition of the diocesan authorities as per the direction
of the Ruling Bishop.