NEW YORK: May 12, 2008
Preparations For the Council of Bishops
On May 7, 2008, His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion, Locum Tenens of the President of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, arrived in New York. By Saturday, May 10, other members of the Council of Bishops arrived as well: His Eminence Archbishop Alypy of Chicago and Mid-America; His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany; His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America; His Grace Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe; and His Grace Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart, who led all-night vigil at the Synodal Cathedral that evening. After the service, His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan hosted a dinner to honor the visiting bishops.
The next day, the Sunday of the Holy Myrrh-bearing Women, His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion celebrated Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign. His Eminence was joined by the aforementioned bishops along with the Cathedral clergymen, as well as Protopriest Michael Boikov, Personal Secretary of the First Deputy, Archbishop Hilarion, and Deacon Nicholas Olhovsky, the cell-attendant of the late Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory. At the end of the service, Archbishop Alypy delivered a sermon to the faithful.
That evening, His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland, Administrator of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America, arrived. His Grace Bishop Evtikhy of Domodedovo, Vicar of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II; His Grace Bishop Daniel of Erie; and His Grace Bishop Ambroise (formerly of Geneva and Western Europe) will not participate in the Council for reasons of health.
Today, the archpastors will elect a new Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Eleven bishops have the right to vote. After Divine Liturgy, a moleben will be performed before the Kursk-Root Icon to the Mother of God, St Patriarch Tikhon and St John of Shanghai and San Francisco, which will be followed by a meeting in the Synodal room. From there, the members of the Council will return to the Cathedral, where a plate, covered by a cloth, will be in place to receive the ballots. First, the President of the Pre-Council Committee will place the votes of the absent bishops under the cloth on the plate. Afterwards, the remaining bishops will vote. At the end of the vote, the cloth is removed and the Counting Committee tallies the votes. They open each envelope, and two Committee members record the votes. Thereupon, the results are announced, and an act is drawn up. If one of the bishops receives 2/3 of the votes, a litany and Many Years are sung. If no one receives the required majority, a second round of votes is conducted in the same manner. The results of the vote are then relayed to the absent bishops. In case of a split vote, the election is decided by the drawing of lots.