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SYNOD OF BISHOPS: February 21, 2006

The Sixth Meeting of the Commissions of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate is Held

On February 17, 2006, the sixth working meeting of the Commissions of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and of the Moscow Patriarchate opened at Holy Virgin Protection Church in Nyack, NY. Participating in this meeting were all the members of the two Commissions with the exception of His Grace Bishop Ambroise of Vevey, who had recently undergone a serious operation. It was agreed that Priest Serafim Gan, Secretary of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, would participate in the meetings.

With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God was brought to Nyack by Archimandrite Luke of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville for the opening of the meetings. After praying before this holy icon, the members of both Commissions commenced their joint work. The blessed presence of the miracle-working Icon aided in the fruitful work of the Commissions.

On February 18, the Commission members prayed at Divine Liturgy at St Sergius of Radonezh Chapel at the Synodal Building in New York. After breakfast, prepared by the Sisterhood of the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign, His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan showed the visitors from Russia the holy icons and relics of the Cathedral. The Commission members then continued their work in the Synodal Hall. Bishop Gabriel participated in one of the meetings .

On Sunday, February 19, Archbishop Innokenty, the President of the Moscow Patriarchate's Commission on discussions with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, officiated at Divine Liturgy at St Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York, along with his Commission members and the Cathedral's clergymen. The President of the Commission on discussions with the Moscow Patriarchate, His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, performed Divine Liturgy at St Seraphim Church in Sea Cliff, NY, along with the members of his Commission and the parish and visiting clergymen. Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov) prayed at this service. Afterwards, a memorial trapeza in honor of the late Bishop Mitrofan (Znosko-Borovsky, +2002) was held, after which Archbishop Mark and Archimadrite Tikhon led a discussion in the parish hall and answered parishioners' questions.

That evening, after a joint trapeza at St Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral Hall, the members of the Commissions were received by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus at the Synod of Bishops.

During these meetings, which conclude on February 20, the Commissions continued their discussion of the matters set before them.

In connection with the multitude of requests by the parishioners of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to publish more detailed information on the progress of the talks and on the decisions regarding the reestablishment of the unity of the Russian Church, the Commissions proposed a series of measures intended to better inform the flocks.

On February 21, the members of the Commissions visited Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. After Divine Liturgy, a round table was held at Holy Trinity Seminary Hall, where the progress of the talks was discussed. The members of the Commissions answered numerous questions posed by teachers and students and the monastic brethren.