SAN FRANCISCO: May 13, 2006
of the IV All-Diaspora Council on the Ministry and Mission of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
We, the participants of the IV All-Diaspora Council, having gathered in the God-preserved city of San Francisco, in the blessed presence of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God and the holy relics of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco, having heard lectures and presentations devoted to the life of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in the modern world, express our conciliar opinion on vital questions of our church life.
Throughout the history of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, her bishops, theologians and thinkers untiringly stressed that the ministry of the Church Abroad in the world is inspired by the lofty spiritual ideals of Holy Russia, placing as its cornerstone the fulfillment of the testament of Christ on love for God and man. We confess dedication to the missionary spirit of Saints Sergius of Radonezh, Stefan of Perm, Job of Pochaev, Herman of Alaska, Innokenty of Moscow, Nicholas of Japan, St Tikhon of Moscow and St John of Shanghai and San Francisco. We call upon the children of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to lovingly preserve devotion to this spirit, through faith, word and our very lives, to witness Holy Orthodoxy in the world surrounding us, and to act with responsibility within the Church.
We call upon the children of the Church to preserve faithfulness to our hierarchy, remembering the words of St Cyprian of Carthage: "where the bishop is, there is the Church."
The spiritual focus and wellspring of living strength of the Church is the bloodless and salvific Eucharistic sacrifice of the Son of God for all the living and the dead. In the church, at the holy Altar table, and in common church prayer, the earthly Church and the heavenly Church unite; present at the Divine Altar are people and angels and saints. We call upon the rebirth of Eucharistic life, we call for the understanding that in partaking of the Holy Gifts, we unite with Christ, and through Him, with the Universal Church.
We call for the rebirth within the conciliar consciousness of the pastors and flock of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia the lofty ideal of church community and parish. Only a parish which senses itself as the original structure of the Universal Church and an inseparable part of the Body of Christ will have the strength to battle against that which hinders our salvation—evil and sin. Only the parish that remembers that its roots go back to the time of the Acts of the Apostles can adopt the necessary measures to provide for the spiritual needs of youth, to show merciful love for the unfortunate and needy.
We, the delegates of the IV All-Diaspora Council, mark with profound gratitude the vital living ministry that the women of the Russian Church Abroad perform in the parishes and other establishments of our Holy Church, and we call upon all laypersons to provide help to the pastors in their very difficult podvig.
We call for the establishment of a Commission on Youth under the Synod of Bishops with the purpose of being an all-diaspora coordinating organ. Authorizing the Commission to examine the expediency of opening not only Saturday and Sunday schools everywhere, but also regular Orthodox educational establishments where the young generation would receive both general and Orthodox education, would serve towards the rebirth of Russian Orthodox culture.