NEW YORK: December 29, 2008
Circular Ukase from Metropolitan Hilarion To All the Archpastors of the Russian Church Abroad

A Council of Bishops is scheduled in Moscow on January 25-26, 2009, and on January 27-28, a Local Council [Pomestny Sobor] will be held in order to elect a new Patriarch. All the ruling and vicar bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia will participate. The enthronement of the new Patriarch will be held on February 1.

All ruling bishops are to select delegates to the Local Council from their dioceses as soon as possible: one delegate from the clergy, one monastic, and one from the laity. The list of delegates from your diocese must be immediately sent to the Chancellor of the Synod of Bishops, Protopriest Serafim Gan, who is instructed to forward the full list of delegates from the Russian Church Abroad to the Patriarchy no later than January 15, 2009. The Diocesan Administration of each ruling bishop must arrange for visas for the members of their delegation and must cover travel expenses.

During the days leading up to the enthronement of the newly-elected Patriarch, January 29-31, I propose that we hold several archpastoral meetings of the Russian Church Abroad to discuss and make decisions on current affairs and questions relating to our internal ecclesiastical life.

With love in the Lord,

Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York 
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia 
December 13/26, 2008