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Regulations for Deaneries and Deans


Approved by the Sobor [Council] of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on 29 October/11 November 1959.

When the breadth of a diocese makes constant and direct contact between a diocesan bishop and his parishes difficult, he may establish deaneries, consisting of several parishes, and appoint in each deanery one of the rectors of the local parishes as dean.

When appointing deans, the diocesan bishop may ask the rectors and members of the clergy for recommendations as to their desired candidates for dean. But such recommendations may be taken by the diocesan bishop only as evidence of the degree of one or another candidate's authority, but not as an election, for the appointment of a dean requires only the bishop's approval. Appointment to this position of responsibility belongs exclusively to the discretion of the diocesan bishop.

A DEAN MUST:

I. Be the regular transmitter of the Bishop's concern for the good order of the parish churches in his deanery, which is accomplished by:

A. supervising the condition of the churches themselves and of all church buildings. Where the renovation of existing structures or the erection of new buildings is called for, the dean must urge the parishioners to collect the funds necessary for this objective;

B. taking care that the church not be established in close proximity to business concerns which might serve as stumblingblocks or threats to church members, such as taverns and liquor stores, theaters and movie houses, dance halls, chemical factories, boxing and wrestling arenas and gambling casinos.

II. Be the regular conduit of the Bishop's concern for the correctness and good order of the divine services celebrated in the parish churches and for proper respect for the holy things, which consists of:

A. supervising the celebration of the divine services and the performance of services of need. In case a priest has little experience, the dean gives him brotherly instruction and advice, in particular with regard to the performance of the proskomedia and the observance of the Church's typicon;

B. supervising the celebration of the divine services on all Sundays and feast-days, preceded invariably by evening divine services the night before, ascertaining that deacons serve the liturgy on Sundays and feast-days with preparation;

C. seeing that priests do not allow any who remain at enmity with one another to receive Communion without first reconciling;

D. taking care that capable parishioners are drawn to take part in the reading and chanting during the divine services and for the establishment of a left-hand choir (kliros);

E. seeing to the introduction of congregational singing (of certain hymns: "Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ...", the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, etc.);

F. seeing that the parishioners have an rational grasp of the content of the divine services (this is accomplished by teaching the liturgical language of the divine services and by explaining the hymns of the Church from the ambo and in school);

G. seeing that the music chanted in church is performed correctly, and from musical scores approved by the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority, and excluding classical compositions and arrangements;

H. inspecting the condition of the reserved Holy Gifts (so that no harm whatever may befall them), seeing that they are maintained properly on the Holy Table in the church, and not in a residence; seeing that the Holy Myrrh is kept on the Holy Table; checking on the condition of the Holy Antimension and that of the holy vessels (especially the condition of the gold-plating on the chalice);

I. ascertaining that a church's iconography is properly executed, preferably in the ancient Byzantine or ancient Russian style. Each icon must have a corresponding inscription. Without the inscription of the name of the individual depicted upon the icon, the icon cannot be blessed;

J. seeing that the depiction of the Cross is properly located and that the cross is not permitted to form part of the pattern of floors, rugs and the seats of chairs, so that it not be even involuntarily trampled underfoot or otherwise subjected to maltreatment, in that it is the sign of the victory of our salvation;

K. vouching for the content and condition of the liturgical books;

L. caring for the condition of the vestry;

M. seeing that lists of sins for use at confession be introduced;

N. caring for the accuracy of entries in the metrical books and seeing that the church seal is properly maintained.

III. Being the regular transmitter of the Bishop's care for educational activity in the parishes:

A. through the organization of schools for children, with courses in the fundamentals of the Faith, Church history, and various cultural and linguistic courses;

B. by delivering sermons from the ambo;

C. by reports delivered at social gatherings;

D. by the establishment of church libraries;

E. by carrying over religious principles into social life and bringing social organizations into closer harmony with the Church by taking measures to combat sectarians.

IV. Be the regular transmitter of the Bishop's concern for the correct development of parish life and activity undertaken by the rector, the parish meetings and the parish council, and observed:

A. in the mutual relations between the rector and parish organizations. In cases of disagreement and strained relations between them, the dean takes all measures to reconcile the conflicts;

B. in the resolutions recorded in the minutes of meetings of the parish membership and the parish council, do they correspond to the true aims of the parish and the fixed powers given them?

C. in the entries in the parish financial books, are they verified by an auditing commission, and do the expenditures correspond to confirmed figures of the annual budget?

D. in the method of keeping church funds (all moneys must be kept in a bank, in an account bearing the parish's name [only a small sum, determined by the council, may remain in the hands of the Warden or the Treasurer]);

E. in the correctness and prompt determination and forwarding of all assessments and collections to the Synod of Bishops and to the Diocesan Administration.

V. Be the transmitter of the Bishop's concern for the better arrangement of the legal and material condition of the reverend rectors and members of the clergy:

A. by seeing to the indispensable registration of them in medical insurance plans and that all members of the clergy old age pensions and the necessary advice in this regard;

B. in the case of insufficient support of members of the clergy, by mediating between the clergy and the parish council with the objective of possibly bettering the salary of the clergy.

VI. By special directives of the Diocesan Bishop, the following may be assigned to the dean:

A. in cases of conflicts between a rector and his parishioners, the task of presiding at a general parish meeting;
B. the investigation of matters which arise between members of the clergy;

C. in cases of the arrest or investigation of a rector, his relieving of all official documents, the metrical books and the church seal, and the presenting of all thus removed to the Diocesan Administration;

D. in cases of the death or transfer of a rector, the verification of all church property according to the inventory and the parish funds according to the financial records, and their transmission to the newly appointed priest or until his arrival, to the clergy on hand and to church warden.

VII. The dean must preserve all written directives received from the bishop and all copies of his outgoing papers: reports sent to the bishop concerning his parish visitations and the carrying out of the directives he has received.

VIII. Expenses entailed by the chancery work and by official travel of the dean are
paid in part by the parishes of the Deanery and part by the Diocesan Administration.