NEW YORK: July 24, 2020
A regular session of the Synod of Bishops convenes
On Friday, July 24, 2020, the feast day of St Olga, Equal-to-the-Apostles, a videoconference of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia took place, chaired by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch. Participating in the call were: His Eminence Metropolitan Mark of Berlin and Germany; His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops; His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada; His Eminence Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America; His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe and His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Deputy Secretary of the Synod of Bishops.
Opening the session, the President expressed condolences to Metropolitan Mark on the repose of his vicar, Archbishop Agapit (Gorachek) of Stuttgart, who died on the feast of the Ascension of the Lord, asking the hierarchs to lift their prayers for him. His Eminence then expressed joy at the opportunity to see his brother archpastors who conduct their service in various nations in this difficult time, wishing them Divine aid. The meeting’s agenda, reviewed in advance, was supplemented by the oral request of several bishops.
In his report on the Synod’s committee on the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Archbishop Peter noted the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus and proposed postponing the celebrations until next year, and combining them with marking the centennial of the 1st All-Diaspora Church Council, which took place in 1921. The final decision on these celebrations will be made at a subsequent session of the Synod of Bishops.
Bishop Irenei than reported on the general parish assembly of the Cathedral of the Elevation of the Cross in Geneva, Switzerland, held on July 19. Documents regulating parish life were ratified and new officers elected, including the warden and parish council. Financial reports and those of the auditing committee were approved. Vladyka Irenei praised the parish’s work as well as the attendance at the cathedral, especially noting the work of Protopriest Emelian Pocinoc, thanks to whom divine services continued even under the quarantine, as well as for his pastoral work.
The Synod then invited Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, to report on matters in the Holy Land. The Synod learned of the life and work of the monasteries of the mission, noting that in the coming January, the 100th anniversary of the translation of the relics of Holy Martyrs of Alapaevsk to Russian Gethsemane will be celebrated. Fr Roman suggested adding the celebration date of 17/30 January into the 2021 calendar.
Exhaustively deliberating on the report of Nicholas Ohotin, Communications Director of the Synod of Bishops, on legal and property matters, the Synod then turned to disciplinary matters of several clergymen of the Eastern American Diocese.
In his report on Inter-Orthodox relations, Vladyka Irenei characterized this day of the opening of a mosque in Hagia Sofia in Constantinople a grievous and sorrowful day for all of Orthodox Christianity.
The Synod of Bishops then discussed various administrative matters, as well as the intercessions of member archpastors seeking church awards for their clergy and laity.
The session concluded with the singing of It is Truly Meet.