NEW YORK: February 27, 2019
The first session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad of 2019 convenes

On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia convened, chaired by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of ROCOR. Participating were: His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, Vice President; 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 Irenei of Richmond and Western Europe, and His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese and Deputy Secretary of the Synod of Bishops.

After prayer and review of the agenda, Metropolitan Hilarion reported on the consecration on February 12 of Archimandrite Luke (Murianka) as Bishop of Syracuse, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese. At the solemn consecration service, held at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, the First Hierarch of ROCOR was joined by His Eminence Metropolitan Luka of Zaporozhye and Melitopol of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada and His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, with a large gathering of worshipers present.

Archbishop Peter then delivered a brief report on the health of His Eminence Archbishop Alypy (Gamanovich), who was hospitalized after suffering a stroke. Hearing Archbishop Peters report, the Synod of Bishops decreed that fervent prayers are to be lifted for the health of Archbishop Alypy, the eldest hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad by hierarchal seniority.

Archbishop Mark then reported on the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem and on the work of the Joint Commission on Diocesan and Parish Life in the Far Abroad held in Moscow on December 20 of last year. That meeting, chaired by His Eminence Metropolitan Ilarion of Volokolamsk, President of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, included the participation of Archbishop Mark; His Eminence Archbishop Antony of Vienna and Budapest, Head of the Department of the Moscow Patriarchate on Institutions Abroad; His Grace Bishop John, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in Italy (now Metropolitan of Korsun and Western Europe); Bishop Irenei; Protopriest Nikolai Balashov, Vice President of the DCR; Protopriest Nikolai Artemoff, Secretary of the German Diocese of ROCOR, and Protopriest Serafim Gan, Chancellor of the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR. The event included discussions on the ongoing strengthening of cooperation in the areas of pastoral ministry in the dioceses and parishes in the far abroad [outside of the borders of the former Soviet Union].

The Synod of Bishops then heard a report on the meetings held on February 13-14 with delegates from the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe sent by His Eminence Archbishop John of Charioupolis. Protopriest Vladimir Jagello and Priest Christophe D'Aloisio were warmly welcomed at St Seraphim Memorial Church for the Restoration of Unity within the Russian Orthodox Church in Sea Cliff, NY, by Bishop Irenei, Bishop Nicholas and Fr Serafim Gan. ) The clerics, delegated to represent the Archdiocesan Council, reported on recent developments in Church life after the decision of the Constantinople Patriarchate to dissolve the ecclesiastical structure which had united a group of parishes of the Russian tradition in Western Europe. On February 14, the delegation was received by Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of ROCOR, who carefully heeded the delegates words and asked that they relay his brotherly greeting and good wishes of Divine aid to Archbishop John. This report, along with a report on the conclusions of the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Archdiocese, which convened on Saturday, February 23, were taken into account by the Synod.

Archbishop Peter, Chairman of the Committee on 100th-Anniversary Celebrations of the Russian Church Abroad, shared its plans with the Synod of Bishops and proposed a preliminary schedule of divine services and events.

Financial and administrative matters were also discussed, as well as intercessions by the hierarchs for awards for clergymen and laity in their respective dioceses.

Metropolitan Hilarion then congratulated Archbishop Kyrill on his coming namesday (February 14/27, St Kyrill, Equal-to-the-Apostles and Illuminator of the Slavs), wishing him many Divine mercies and blessings in his archpastoral services.

The next session of the Synod of Bishops will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the glorification of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco in the latter city on June 26-29.


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