SYNOD OF BISHOPS: July 5, 2016
The Diocesan Library of Archbishop Anthony (Medvedev) of Blessed Memory, the Former Residence of St John (Maximovich), Hosted a Regular Session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad
On June 30-July 1, 2016, the Diocesan Library of Archbishop Anthony Medvedev of blessed memory, formerly St Tikhon of Zadonsk Orphanage, recently rededicated as the headquarters of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, which contains the humble room where St John (Maximovich) of Shanghai and San Francisco lived, hosted a regular session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, which coincided with the 50th-anniversary celebrations of the repose of the great hierarch of the Russian diaspora.
This session, chaired as always by the President, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, was attended by His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany; His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America; His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada; His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland; His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle and His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan.
In his keynote address, the Primate of the Synod of Bishops expressed heartfelt greetings to the hierarchs participating in this meeting. His Eminence emphasized that the Synod of Bishops is now meeting in a holy and historic place, the former St Tikhon of Zadonsk Orphanage, where Archbishop John of Shanghai and San Francisco the Miracle-worker celebrated Divine Liturgy on a daily basis, and invoked Divine blessings and the prayerful help of the holy hierarch for the this important meeting.
Confirming the agenda for this session as well as the minutes of the previous Synod session, the members of the Synod of Bishops heard a report from Archimandrite Irinei (Steenberg) in which he analyzed the documents and other materials of the Council of the Primates and Representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches held recently on the Isle of Crete.
Metropolitan Hilarion, expressing gratitude to Father Irinei for his work at the Secretariat of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the USA, then discussed the 80th anniversary of the death of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev and Galicia, the first Primate of the Russian Church Abroad, and discussed the pastoral conference of the Eastern American Diocese to be held in October of this year, during which Protopriest Nikolai Artemoff of the German diocese will deliver a speech on the life and legacy of Metropolitan Anthony. At the suggestion of Bishop Peter, Administrator of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America, the Synod of Bishops decreed to prayerfully commemorate the former primate in all of the churches of the Russian Church Abroad on Sunday, August 14, 2016, for which a decree will soon be issued.
After hearing a report by Vitaly Permjakov, teacher at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY, the Synod of Bishops decreed:
to confirm the proposed Regulations of Holy Trinity Seminary, on which to issue a decree to the Seminary Rector, Archimandrite Luke (Murianka), and
to appoint Archbishop Gabriel as a member of the Board of Trustees of Holy Trinity Seminary, representing the Synod of Bishops, in accordance with the request of Father Luke.
Archbishop Mark, Overseer of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem of the Russian Church Abroad, then read the written report of the Chief of the REM, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), and the minutes of the spiritual councils of Ascension Convent on the Mount of Olives and the Convent of St Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane.
Discussing the forthcoming 90th birthday of His Eminence Archbishop Alypy of Chicago and Mid-America, and hearing the report by the Primate of the Russian Church about his recent visit to this venerable elder hierarch, who enjoys universal respect and love for his many years of devoted service to the Church of Christ, the Synod of Bishops gave its blessing for his retirement, with the right to remain in the archbishop’s house in Chicago, to be supported by the diocese to which he devoted his life. The Synod of Bishops expressed its profound and heartfelt recognition to Archbishop Alypy for his abundant love, his dedication to the Russian Church Abroad and for his excellent preparation of a successor in the person of Bishop Peter of Cleveland.
Bishop Peter was thereupon elevated to the rank of Archbishop and appointed to the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America. The schedule for the 90th-birthday celebrations of Archbishop Alypy will soon be announced.
Upon the unanimous singing of “Axios” to Archbishop Peter and congratulating him, the members of the Synod of Bishops continued its work, hearing a report by Elena Perekrestov:
“In fulfillment of Ukase No. 02/3/15 of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, dated May 1/14, 2015, regarding proposed corrections to the service to St Jonah of Hankow, I respectfully report the following:
- In light of the discovery by Zoya Gradova of San Francisco of new materials on the life and work of the Holy Hierarch Jonah of Hankow, Protopriest Serafim Gan introduced corrections to the existing Church-Slavonic text of the service to St Jonah, which was composed by him in 1996 with the blessing of Archbishop Anthony (Medvedev) of blessed memory, and wrote new texts (canon, stichera, etc), reflecting the newly-discovered facts about the life of the holy hierarch.
- In proposing for consideration by the Synod of Bishops of the new edition of the service to St Jonah in Church Slavonic, I hope that you deem it acceptable and recognize as appropriate for use in divine services
- The English-language translation should be prepared in time for the autumn session of the Synod of Bishops.”
Upon reviewing and approving the Church-Slavonic text of the services to St Jonah, the Synod of Bishops gave its blessing for its church-wide use during divine services in the parishes and monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The Synod of Bishops also approved corresponding corrections to the text of the Life of St Jonah, which was composed for his canonization 20 years ago on the basis of various publications of the city of Harbin and church archives. The Church Slavonic text of the service to St Jonah-who, like St John, illuminated the faithful in China-will be published on the website of the Russian Church Abroad and submitted to the Scholarly Committee of the Synod of Bishops.
Upon reading the letter of His Grace Bishop Antony of Bogorodsk, Head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Administration for Institutions Abroad, on the transfer of the remains of Archbishop Feofan (Bystrov) from the Limeray Cemetery in France to St Petersburg, the Synod of Bishops decided to respond that its members have no objection to this request of his distant relatives and venerators of the late hierarch’s memory.
Hearing the report of Archbishop Gabriel, the Synod of Bishops decreed to include Protopriest Peter Perekrestov, Senior Priest of the Cathedral of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” in San Francisco, on the Calendar Committee of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Having heard the reports of Archbishop Gabriel, Chief Financial Officer of the Synod of Bishops; Acting Treasurer of the Synod of Bishops, Subdeacon George V. Schatiloff, and Nicholas A. Ohotin, Jurisconsult of the Synod of Bishops, the Synod of Bishops discussed various financial, legal and managerial questions relating to the activities of the Synod of Bishops and of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. Mr Schatiloff, who is also the Building Manager of the residence of the Synod of Bishops in New York, was appointed Treasurer of the Synod of Bishops and instructed to install safety netting around parts of the building that may be hazardous and to gradually begin restoring its facade.
Discussed thereupon was an agreement recently signed with Colliers International, according to which Colliers will investigate options relating to the capital renovation of the historic Synod building, located at the highest geographical point in Manhattan, and the possible use of its space by a non-profit institution, which promises to improve the finances of the Synod of Bishops and help support beneficial projects of its institutions.
Having read a letter from His Grace Bishop John of Caracas and South America, who lives in very modest housing, the Synod of Bishops decided to apportion funds to renovate the bishop’s residence at Holy Ascension Cathedral in Buenos Aires. The necessary funds will be sent to the Diocese of South America upon receipt of an estimate.
The Synod of Bishops then heard a report by Protodeacon Denis Lvov, manager of St Zosima Candle Supply in Mahopac, NY, and blessed his continued work.
The Synod of Bishops then heard the opinion of Archbishop Mark and others on matters pertaining to the Diocese of Great Britain, and made a series of decisions regarding the pastoral care of this diocese.
At the end of this session, the members of the Synod of Bishops heard a series of intercessions by its archpastors for ecclesiastical awards for clergymen, laity and church-based organizations, and deliberated on several disciplinary matters, as well as the scheduling of future sessions of the Synod of Bishops.
The gathering ended with the singing of “Dostoyno est,” after which the archpastors, venerating the holy icons of the chapel of St Tikhon of Zadonsk and of the residents of St John, expressed gratitude to God and proceeded to the Cathedral of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” to attend all-night vigil on the occasion of the feast day of St John. The great ascetic and heavenly patron of the Russian Church Abroad graces this cathedral with his uncorrupt and miracle-working relics.