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NEW YORK: May 17, 2011
The Council of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad Comes to a Close

The Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, which began on May 10, 2011, closed today with the celebration of Divine Liturgy at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York, marking the fourth anniversary of the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion, and the coming anniversary of the enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad. At the end of the service, His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany congratulated Vladyka Hilarion, wishing him Divine aid in his archpastoral labors.

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The Council of Bishops studied the proposals of a special commission consisting of Vladyka Mark, Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov and Deacon Andre Psarev and made certain amendments to the Regulations of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

Hearing a report by Archbishop Mark, Overseer of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, the Council of Bishops appointed Hegumen Tikhon (Amelchenya) as the Chief of the Mission.

Hearing the contents of a letter from His Eminence Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga, the Council of Bishops established a Publications Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, appointing His Grace Bishop Agapit as its Chairman.

The Council of Bishops received a letter from His Eminence Metropolitan Alexander of Astanai and Kazakhstan with a request for the Miracle-Working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God to be brought to Kazakhstan. The Council satisfied the request of His Eminence and offered that a delegation of the Russian Church Abroad accompany the icon to Semirechiye from September 19-23, 2011, after which it will visit the Kursk Diocese from September 23-October 2.

His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland was relieved of his duties as Treasurer of the Synod of Bishops, the Council expressing its gratitude for his labors. The Council of Bishops recommended that Vladyka Peter remain an advisor to the financial council of the Synod of Bishops. Eugene Grigoriak was appointed Treasurer of the Synod.

His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada, at the intercession of the President of the Council of Bishops, was elevated to the rank of archbishop.

The membership of the Synod of Bishops was also determined: in addition to Metropolitan Hilarion as its President, Archbishop Mark was appointed First Deputy Prsident; His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, Secretary; Archbishop Gabriel and Bishop Peter. His Grace Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe and His Grace Bishop John of Caracas and South America were named auxiliary members of the Synod of Bishops.

At the proposal of the President of the Synod of Bishops, a Western Rite Vicariate was established. His Grace Bishop Jerome of Manhattan was appointed assistant to the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad in ministering to these communities.

The Council of Bishops heard a report from each of the ruling bishops on their dioceses. The Reverend Archpastors of the Russian Church Abroad also heard a report by His Eminence Archbishop Justinian, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA.

At the end of the Council of Bishops of 2011, as is customary for the Church Abroad, an expanded meeting of the Synod of Bishops was held, which discussed administrative matters, with the hierarchs making intercessions for awards to clergy and laity of the Church.