NEW YORK: December 9, 2016
A Regular Session of the Synod of Bishops Convenes at the Synodal Residence in New York
On Thursday, December 8, 2016, the Apodosis of the Entrance Into the Temple of the Most-Pure Mother of God, after Divine Liturgy in St Sergius Chapel in the Synodal Residence in New York, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, opened a regular meeting of the Synod of Bishops. He invoked Divine aid for the work of the executive body of ROCOR. Participating in this session are His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, Vice President of the Synod; 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 Nicholas, Deputy Secretary, and His Grace Bishop Irenei of Sacramento.
On Thursday morning, the Synod took certain disciplinary actions regarding suspended clergymen.
Archbishop Roman (Krassovsky), Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, delivered a detailed report on life in Holy Ascension Convent on the Mt of Olives, the Convent of St Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane, and the Skete of St Chariton in Fara. He also discussed the forthcoming celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin), Chief of the REM; the good relationship being fostered between the REM and the Mission of the Moscow Patriarchate thanks to the good will shared by their respective chiefs.
The archpastors then deliberated on a report on matters in the Diocese of Great Britain and discussed the new frescoes being painted in Dormition Cathedral in London under the guidance of the Director of Icon-painting of Moscow Theological Academy. The project is expected to be completed next fall, when the great consecration of the church is planned as it will be rededicated to the Nativity of the Most-Holy Mother of God.
Having heard the report by Archbishop Mark, the Synod then accepted his resignation from the Diocese of Great Britain, which will now be under the direct authority of the President of the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR.
Protopriest Andrei Sommer, Vice President of the Synodal Youth Department, reported that last year, a Synodal Youth Choir was established, which in May of this year made a pilgrimage to the territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The choir participated in divine services in Kievan Lavra of the Caves and Pochaev Lavra, in Resurrection of Christ Monastery in Bancheny (Diocese of Chernovtsy and Bukovino), in Pokrovsky Monastery and other churches in Ukraine’s capital. The SYD also organized a program called the “School Piggy-Bank,” which collected donations from the children of parish schools in North America to benefit the monastery in Bancheny in the amount of over $10,000.
In addition to the pilgrimage to Ukraine, the youth choir gave concerts and sang divine services at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York, at St Seraphim Church in Sea Cliff, NY, and Intercession Church in Glen Cove, NY.
Next year marks the 10th anniversary of the reestablishment of brotherly communion within the Russian Orthodox Church. As Fr Andrei noted, “Thank God, the programs and projects of the SYD has helped strengthen and deepen the unity we achieved.” During his presentation, Fr Andrei talked about the social-service programs of the SYD and proposed future projects, after which he answered questions.
The Synod of Bishops determined that a Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia will convene in Munich, Germany, on June 9-15, 2017. The pre-Council organizing committee will consist of Archbishop Gabriel, Archbishop Peter and Bishop Nicholas. The Council will coincide with the great consecration of the Cathedral of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in Munich.
The Synod of Bishops also made decisions on the forthcoming 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. The clergy and flock will receive an epistle and blessing from their Ruling Bishops to commermorate “all the innocent victims of the time of troubles, murdered, suffering and tortured, in exile and imprisoned, enduring bitter death, whose names You Alone, o Lord, know” in all the churches of the Russian Church Abroad during the first Saturday and Ancestors’ Saturdays of Great Lent, and on St Dimitry Saturday.
This session of the Synod of Bishops will conclude on Friday, December 9, the eve of the feast day of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign.”