SYNOD OF BISHOPS: December 11, 2006
An Expanded Session of the Synod of Bishops Concludes
An expanded session of the Synod of Bishops was held in New York City from December 7-10, presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus. Participating in this session were the following bishops: Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany; Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand; Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America; Bishop Evtikhii of Ishim and Siberia; Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe; Bishop Daniel of Erie; Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan; Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart and Bishop Peter of Cleveland.
Also participating in this session was Bishop Agathanel of Tavrichesk and Odessa, but only in matters connected with the adoption of the “Act of Canonical Communion,” and with his diocese, in which he and his clergymen had ceased commemorating the First Hierarch. On the latter matter, the Synod of Bishops made the following decision:
- Bishop Agathangel is to immediately restore the commemoration of the First Hierarch in his diocese by declaring that the cessation of commemoration of the Primate is a violation of canonical norms.
- His Grace Bishop Agathangel is given a three-month period to normalize the situation of the clergymen of his diocese.
The Synod of Bishops made the following decision on the report made by Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff on the 8 th joint meeting of the Commissions:
- To take his report into consideration and approve the Commissions' document titled “Summation of the Joint Work of the Commissions.”
- To include the text of the document, already adopted at the 6 th joint meeting of the ecclesiastical Commissions and approved by the Holy Synods of both parts of the Russian Orthodox Church, the “Addendum to the ‘Act of Canonical Communion.'” (This text concerns the introduction of a transitional period of special liturgical commemoration in places where it is necessary in the parishes of the Russian Church Abroad, in the spirit of oikonomia, at the discretion of the Ruling Bishop. This transitional period, our hierarchs hope, will help the gradual transition into unity of the Russian Orthodox Church— Ed .)
- To approve the plan proposed by the Commissions on the time, place and rite of the ceremony of the signing of the “Act of Canonical Communion” in May 2007 (more detailed information on this will be forthcoming— Ed .).
- To instruct Priest Serafim Gan, in coordination with the President of the Commission on talks with the Moscow Patriarchate, His Eminence Archbishop Mark, to develop a detailed plan for a visit to Russia by a delegation of the Russian Church Abroad, to be headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus.
In January, 2007, a delegation headed by His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland will be sent to Buenos Aires and South America to conduct services and lead meetings to discuss the approaching execution of the Act of Canonical Communion.
In addition to these matters, other current events in church life were discussed.
On Saturday, December 9, the participants of the Synod of Bishops performed a funeral in absentia for His Eminence Metropolitan Vitaly, who reposed on September 12/25 of this year, along with a multitude of clergymen and a male choir under the direction of Peter A Fekula. His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion both delivered eulogies. The following day, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and the aforementioned bishops officiated at Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign at the headquarters of the Synod of Bishops in New York on its feast day, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, and the 25 th anniversary of the glorification of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.