From December 5-10, 2018, the Synodal Residence of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia hosted a gathering of the Synod of Bishops, chaired by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York. Participating in this event were: His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany; His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, Secretary; His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada; His Eminence Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America; His Grace Bishop Irenei of Richmond and Western Europe; His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, Vicar of the Western American Diocese; His Grace Bishop George of Canberra, Vicar of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, and His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese and Deputy Secretery of the Synod of Bishops.
On Wednesday, December 5, 2018, the tenth anniversary of the repose of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II, the hierarchs of the Church Abroad prayerfully commemorated the late Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, who together with Metropolitan Laurus reestablished ROCOR’s unity with the Mother Church in 2007. Afterwards, Bishop Nicholas hosted a dinner at his residence in honor of Metropolitan Hilarion and the gathered archpastors.
The following morning, after Divine Liturgy, the Synod of Bishops convened. Approving the agenda with some amendments, the hierarchs discussed the situation surrounding the proposed renaming of the Russian Fort Elizabeth in Hawaii, and as previously reported, wrote a letter to the site’s administration supporting the preservation of the landmark’s name, which reflects the history of the Russian presence on the islands.
The Synod then heard a report by Archbishop Mark on the monasteries, churches and Orthodox Bethany School of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, on the work of Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), Chief of the REM, and on Archbishop Mark’s meeting with His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem and All Palestine.
Archbishop Gabriel, a member of the Board of Directors of Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY, reported on proposed amendments to the school’s by-laws necessitated by its new master’s degree program.
Having read the minutes of the Spiritual Court’s deliberation on the matter of Hegumen Christopher (Vakhabov), the Synod of Bishops confirmed his defrockment.
Exhaustively deliberating on the report of Bishop Irenei, Secretary of the Department of Inter-Orthodox Relations, and discussing recent events in the Orthodox world, the Synod of Bishops expressed its support for His Beatitude Metropolitan Onouphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, his brethren archpastors, clergymen and flock of the one canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and all the decisions of their recent Council of Bishops.
The Synod of Bishops then heard a report by Archbishop Peter on preparations for the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Russian Church Abroad in 2020, blessing His Eminence and his committee to continue their work.
On Saturday, December 8, after Divine Liturgy, the Synod of Bishops approved the text of its Epistle to the Clergymen and Flock of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
The Synod discussed candidates to the episcopacy; administrative and financial matters, as well as intercessions by ruling bishops on awards for clergymen and laity in their dioceses.
This expanded Synod of Bishops concluded with feast-day celebrations at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” on December 10, held in the presence of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, the main holy icon of the Russian diaspora.