MOSCOW: February 3, 2020
Members of the Russian Church Abroad participate in a plenary session of the Inter-Council Presence of the Russian Orthodox Church
From January 30 to January 31, 2020 the hall of church councils at the Moscow Christ the Savior cathedral hosted a plenum uniting all members of the Inter-Council Assembly (ICA) of the Russian Orthodox Church. The ICA, founded in 2009 to draft position papers on a range of topics dealing with the external and the internal life of the Church, comprises 204 people: 81 bishops, 74 clerics (including 14 monks and 1 deacon), 12 abbesses, 1 rasaphor nun, 36 laymen and 20 laywomen. At the end of 2019, new clergy members from the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe were incorporated into ICA.
ICA is not a representative but a consulting body. Its members have been appointed by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. From the Russian Church Abroad His Eminence Metropolitan Mark of Berlin and Germany, Deacon Andrei Psarev, and Rasaphor Nun Vassa (Larina) attended this plenum.
In his opening address His Holiness Patriarch Kirill noted the importance for ICA members of conducting dialogue in social media in order to participate in discussions on various issues, particularly family ones, testifying to Christ in the modern world. Then Metropolitan Mark, Chair of the Church Law Commission explained the work on the document of Regulations on Church Punishments of Clerics. The work on this document began in 2017. The document was discussed during the four plenary sessions on Thursday and Friday. Since emphasis was placed on quality rather than speed, only a half of the thirty-page long document was discussed this time and the rest will be discussed at the next plenary meeting of the ICA. The Regulations do not intend to describe all types of offenses but will serve to protect both the canonical Church order and the clergy themselves.
In its work, the ICA follows the set-up of the Moscow All-Russian Local Council of 1917-1918: documents are developed in seven commissions, then sent to the dioceses, processed by the editorial commission, discussed at the plenum and then approved by the Bishops’ Council.
Photos: Archpriest Igor Palkin, Press Service of Moscow Patriarchate