NEW YORK: October 19, 2017
A Session of the Synod of Bishops is Held
On Wednesday, October 18, 2017, the feast day of the Metropolitans of Moscow, a session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was held. Presiding was His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch, with the participation of the members of the Synod elected at this year’s Council of Bishops: 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 Eminence Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America; His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan and His Grace Bishop Irenei of Sacramento.
After a prayer and a keynote address by the First Hierarch, the session began.
Archbishop Mark reported on his recent visit to the Western European Diocese. On Saturday evening, October 14, following all-night vigil at Elevation of the Cross Cathedral in Geneva, Switzerland, His Eminence convened a meeting of the parish council. Archbishop Mark explained to the council that most of the problems associated with the life of the cathedral stem from the parish by-laws. It was decided to convene a general parish meeting of the cathedral with the announcement that the parish council would present amendments to its statutes to bring them closer in line with the standard Normal Parish By-Laws of ROCOR. All of the parish members agreed, including the representatives of the SER (the Society of the Russian Church) in Geneva.
It was decided to hold a meeting of the clergymen and parishioners in two parts: first with the actual members of the parish in accordance with the existing by-laws, and then to invite all who wish to participate.
After Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Mark opened the meeting with a prayer and opening remarks. A group of individuals then protested, demanding that all in attendance be given the right to vote. Despite calls for a peaceful discussion according to the rules of order, the protesters did not allow the meeting to continue in peace. Therefore, Archbishop Mark was forced to conclude the meeting, hoping that a successful meeting could be convened in the future.
Having heard the report of Archbishop Mark, the Synod decided to instruct His Eminence to convene and lead a special commission to introduce the necessary corrections to the by-laws of Elevation of the Holy Cross Cathedral.
The bishops then discussed the status of Archbishop Michael, who was relieved of heading the administration of the Western European Diocese. Unfortunately, in investigating the conflict between His Eminence and the SER, it was discovered that a series of problems in ministering to the Western European Diocese was discovered. The Synod therefore decided to discuss the matter with Archbishop Michael himself at the forthcoming meeting of the Synod of Bishops on Saturday, December 2.
Further, having read a letter of thanks from His Eminence Metropolitan German of Kursk and Rylsk and His Eminence Metropolitan Veniamin of Orenburg and Saraktash, the Synod decided to express its happiness with the recent pilgrimage of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign” to their dioceses, and their gratitude for the hospitality exhibited by the diocesan administrations during the visit of the greatest holy icon of the Russian diaspora. Should His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia give his blessing, the Kursk Icon will once again visit the Kursk Metropoliate on September 22-October 3, 2018, as requested by Metropolitan German.
Hearing a report on the St Symeon Verkhotursky Church in Calistoga, CA, and SS Peter and Paul Church in Santa Rosa, CA, the Synod of Bishops gave its blessing to conduct a collection throughout the dioceses of the Russian Church Abroad to help the renovation of the Calistoga church following the great wildfire. Checks should be sent to the Western American Diocese, 598 15th Ave., San Francisco, CA, 94118.
As reported earlier, Russian American Community Services is helping collection donations to benefit parishioners of SS Peter and Paul Church who lost their homes and possessions during the fires.