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MOSCOW: February 6, 2013
The Council of Bishops Concludes its Work

February 5, 2013, the final day of the meeting of the Holy Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, began with the celebration of Divine Liturgy.

Before the opening of the meeting in the Hall of Church Councils at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, His Eminence Metropolitan Daniel of Tokyo and All Japan addressed His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and the archpastors in attendance. He expressed thans for the aid that the Russian Church provided to the Orthodox Christians of Japan after the terrible catastrophe two years ago. An earthquake and tsunami badly damaged the church structures of the Japanese Autonomous Orthodox Church. Vladyka Daniel also stressed the significance for the Orthodox of Japan of the visit that His Holiness Patriarch Kirill made to the Land of the Rising Sun and the celebrations devoted to the hundredth anniversary of the repose of St Nicholas of Japan.

In his response, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill thanked Metropolitan Daniel for his efforts in leading the Japanese Autonomous Orthodox Church in such difficult times, noting that the believers of the Russian Church received news of the catastrophe that struck Japan with pain in their hearts.

His Grace Bishop Sergy of Solnechnogorsk, Director of the Administrative Secretariat of the Moscow Patriarchate, then reported on the draft “Regulations on Awards of the Russian Orthodox Church.” A discussion of the document then followed, which was adopted by the members of the Council with consideration of the comments expressed.

Before the next plenary session, Metropolitan Daniel and His Grace Bishop Seraphim of Sendai were awarded the Medal of the 200 th Anniversary of the Victory in the War of the Fatherland of 1812.

The members of the Council then ratified a new edition of the “Regulations [Ustav] of the Russian Orthodox Church,” which include amendments introduced at earlier sessions.

After some discussion, the Resolutions of the Council and the Epistle of the Holy Council of Bishops to the Clergy, Monastics, Laity and All the Faithful Flock of the Russian Orthodox Church were adopted.

During the session, ecclesiastical awards were given to several participants in the Council marking important dates in their lives. The following hierarchs were thus honored :

· His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, for his 65 th birthday, received the Order of St Seraphim of Sarov, II Degree;

· His Eminence Metropolitan Prokl of Simbirsk and Novospassk, for his 40 years of service as a clergyman, the Order of Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow, II Degree;

· His Eminence Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnitsk and Bratslav, for his 50 th birthday, the Order of St Seraphim of Sarov, II Degree;

· His Eminence Archbishop Dimitry of Vitebsk and Orshansk, for his 60 th birthday, the Order of Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow, II Degree;

· His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada, for his 50 th birthday, the Order of St Sergius of Radonezh, II Degree;

· His Eminence Archbishop Ioann of Yoshkar-Ola, for his 55 th birthday, the Order of St Innocent of Moscow, II Degree;

· His Eminence Archbishop Feodor of Kamenets-Podolsk, for his 55 th birthday, the Order of St Innocent of Moscow, II Degree;

· His Eminence Archbishop Rostislav of Tomsk and Asinovsk, for his 50 th birthday, the Order of St Innocent of Moscow, II Degree;

· His Grace Bishop Nazary of Vyborg , for his 60 th birthday , the Order of St Seraphim of Sarov , II Degree ;

· His Grace Bishop John of Caracas and South America , for his 55 th birthday , the Order of St Seraphim of Sarov , II Degree .

His Eminence Metropolitan Sergy of Voronezh and Borisoglebsk, His Grace Bishop Jerome of Manhattan, His Grace Bishop Serafim (Zaliznitsky), His Grace Bishop Tikhon of Shuisk and Teikovsk, were given commemorative panaghias.

At the end of the session, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia spoke. Listing the names of the Organizing Committee of the Council, His Holiness thanked them for their work. The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church continued :

“I would like to express my thanks to the clergymen of the city of Moscow, those who guaranteed the proper order of our Council, thanks to the members of the Administration of the Moscow Patriarchate who were not members of the Organizing Committee, the members of other Synodal departments of the Moscow Patriarchate, the employees of the Artistic-Manufacturing firm Sofrino and the personnel of the Christ the Savior Cathedral Foundation.

“Special thanks are due to the speakers who presented at the Council: Metropolitan Yuvenaly of Krutitsa and Kolomensk, Metropolitan Varsonofy of Saranska and Mordovia, Metropolitan Ilarion of Volokolamsk and Bishop Sergy of Solnechnogorsk.

“I again thank the following, but for different reasons: the Secretary of the Council of Bishops, Vladyka Metropolitan Varsonofy, and also the chairmen of the Council committees, Metropolitan Pavel of Ryazan and Mikhailovsk, Metropolitan Sergy of Ternopol and Kremenets, Archbishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe, and also the eminent archpastors who are members of the Editorial, Counting and Mandate Committees, to all who aided in the work of the Editorial Committee of the Council of Bishops who are now present in this auditorium, and also to the experts who were invited here. Thanks also to those who kept the minutes of the Council of Bishops, upon whom lies the duty to provide information on the work of the Council, to those who maintained logistics during the Council of Bishops, registered its participants, tended to the timely copying and dissemination of documents, and those who provided technical services, meals, housing of the members of the Council and transportation. Thanks in particular to all the bishops, the rectors of Moscow churches, priors and abbesses of stavropighial monasteries whose monetary dues made convening this Council possible.

“To all of you, my dear Vladykas, thank you for your participation, for your prayers, your labors, and I hope that all that we have decided in full unanimity in recent days will help our Church to humbly, with reliance on the will of God, tread the path which the finger of God directs us upon.”

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill then declared the Holy Council of Bishops closed.

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