A session of the Synod of Bishops took place on September 4-6, 2008, in the Diocesan Center of St Tikhon of Zadonsk, in the presence of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, beginning at 10:30 A.M.
Under the presidency of His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, the following bishops took part in this session:
Mark, Archbishop of Berlin and Germa
Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America
Gabriel, Bishop of Montréal and Canada
Michael, Bishop of Geneva and Western Europe
John, Bishop of Caracas, Administrator of the Parishes of the Russian Church Abroad in South America
On the final day of the session, Bishop Peter of Cleveland, Administrator of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America, also participated.
Opening the session, the First Hierarch greeted the Most Reverend Archpastors, and especially His Grace Bishop John, who was participating for the first time in the work of the Synod of Bishops. The First Hierarch expressed profound gratitude to His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill for providing a warm welcome to the most reverend members of the Synod of Bishops.
Having confirmed the minutes of the previous session and approved the agenda, the members of the Synod of Bishops listened to the report of the First Hierarch on the life of the Church. By far the most important event in the life of the Church was, in His Eminence's words, the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, which took place in Moscow in late June. Further, the First Hierarch reported on the consecration of Bishop John of Caracas, at which, beside the First Hierarch, His Grace Bishop Daniel of Erie and Bishop Peter of Cleveland also took part. Following the conclusion of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, the First Hierarch traveled to Australia, where he presided over a regularly-scheduled church music conference, in which singers from the festal choir of Moscow's Danilov Monastery participated. Afterwards, the First Hierarch visited the parishes of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand with the right hand of the venerable Martyr Elizabeth. This archpastoral visit of the parishes of Australia and New Zealand was conducted with great spiritual solemnity.
Then, reports were heard from Archbishop Mark, on the state of affairs in the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in the Holy Land, and Bishop Gabriel, on the bilateral commission on the affairs of Holy Protection Church in Ottawa.
Having listened to the written report of Protopriest Andrei Sommer, the Synod of Bishops decided to include in the Synodal Committee on Work with the Youth Protopriest Elias Limberger and Priest Boris Henderson.
Having discussed the question of the date and place of the episcopal consecration of the chosen and confirmed candidates, the Synod of Bishops resolved as follows:
1) To perform the consecration of Archimandrite George (Schaeffer) as Bishop of Mayfield, on Sunday, December 7, with the rite of nomination taking place the eve before, at Holy Trinity Monastery, in Jordanville.
2) After his tonsure into monasticism and elevation to the rank of archimandrite, to perform the consecration of Protopriest John Shaw on December 10, the feast day of the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign, in New York, with the rite of nomination taking place the eve before.
Discussing questions concerning the new duties of Bishop John of Caracas, the President of the Synod of Bishops proposed that His Grace journey with him on his archpastoral visitation of the parishes of South America, accompanied by a delegation from the Russian Orthodox Church and the festal choir of Moscow's Sretensky Stavropighial Monastery. Thus, Bishop John will have an opportunity to become acquainted with the state of affairs in the parishes of the Russian Church Abroad in South America.
The Synod of Bishops appointed Archimandrite Luke, Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, as Rector of Holy Trinity Seminary, and Protodeacon Vladimir Tsurikov as Dean.
Having reviewed the petition of Metropolitan Juvenal of Krutitsa and Kolomna, the president of the committee for the canonization of the saints of the Sacred Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Synod of Bishops proposed to include Protopriest Andrei Papkov, the dean of Holy Protection Cathedral in Chicago, in that committee, Monk Benjamin (Gomarteli), a resident of Holy Trinity Monastery, and Bernard de Caro.
Having heard the proposal of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside of Russia concerning the establishing of a Department of Missionary Work as an adjunct to the Synod of Bishops, the Synod of Bishops resolved to accept His Eminence's proposal and to appoint as chairman of the newly-formed Department the Priest Seraphim Bell, a clergyman of the Diocese of Western America.
Having discussed the content of the letter of Archbishop Augustine of L'vov and Galicia, addressed to His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, concerning a scholarly conference dealing with the historical, theological and cultural legacy of Protopresbyter Gabriel Kostel'nik, the Synod of Bishops resolved to send Archbishop Mark to this conference, which will be held in L'vov between 19-20 September.
Having reviewed the petition of Bishop Peter, the Synod of Bishops resolved to confirm the expanded independent study program of the pastoral school of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America, as requested by His Grace. Bishop Peter also reported to the Synod of Bishops on the itinerary of the forthcoming official visit of the delegation of the Russian Church Abroad, which he will head, to the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.
Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff, Secretary for Inter-Orthodox Relations, reported to the Synod of Bishops on the meetings which took place between Metropolitan Hilarion, and Archbishop Demetrios, head of the Greek Archdiocese in the USA, and Metropolitan Philip, head of the self-governing Archdiocese of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in the USA.
Having listened to the report of Protopriest Michael Boikov, the Synod of Bishops decided to designate him as Secretary of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside of Russia for matters concerning the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand.
On Saturday, September 6, at the recommendation of the First Hierarch and the Secretary, the Synod of Bishops designated Protopriest Seraphim Gan as Director of the Synodal Chancery and Secretary of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside of Russia. Peter Derby is invited to work in the Chancery of the Synod of Bishops in the capacity of consultant to the Director.
On the same day, Metropolitan Hilarion and the above-mentioned archpastors took part in the nomination of Archimandrite Theodosius as Bishop of Seattle, Vicar of the Diocese of Western America.
The next session of the Synod of Bishops will take place 8-9 December.