Meeting of the Synod of Bishops
Wednesday, October 15\28, 2009
Venerable Euthymius the New of Thessalonica
The meeting began at 8:45 AM with the prayer “O Heavenly King.”
Attendees: Synod of Bishops Chairman, the Most Reverend Agafangel, Metropolitan of Eastern-America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, and Archbishop of Taurida and Odessa.
Their Eminences: Vice- Chairman of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Andronik of Ottawa and North America, Archbishop Sofroniy of St. Petersburg and Northern Russia, Synod of Bishops Secretary Bishop Georgiy of Bolgrad and Belgorod-Dnestrovsk, and Bishop Joseph of Washington, DC, Vicar of the New York diocese.
1. Current status of all the dioceses.
2. Discuss the registration of the Church Administration.
3. Discuss the preparation of chrism.
4. Conduct a discussion regarding those who left the ROCA Synod before May 17, 2007.
5. Discuss the veneration of saints on the local level.
6. Conduct a discussion regarding materials printed by the Church.
7. Discuss the work of the Synod Chancery.
8. Conduct a discussion regarding additional bishops.
9. Conduct a discussion regarding the Holy Land.
10. Discuss plans to convene a Bishops’ Council.
11. Conduct a discussion regarding the Council of Eminences in Russia.
Discussed: Synod of Bishops Chairman Metropolitan Agafangel spoke of the need to register the ROCA Synod, that a residence must be found for the Synod, and a fund established to gather donations for this cause. Metropolitan Agafangel noted that life in the church has stabilized.
The Synod of Bishops Chairman spoke of his trip to Greece to attend the patronal feast of the Monastery of St. Cyprian and Martyr Juliana of the Greek Synod of Resistance, and noted that a consensus of opinion exists between the Sister Churches.
Metropolitan Agafangel spoke of life in the Odessa diocese, of the construction of a diocesan center in Odessa, and the construction of a church in the convent of the town of Egorovka.
Decided: To accept Metropolitan Agafangel’s report.
Discussed: Archbishop Andronik spoke of matters in his diocese; that the Canadian diocese is doing well, and life throughout the parishes is stabile. He also spoke of m. Agapia’s efforts to find property for a convent, and of the parish school at the Tolstoy Foundation, which is growing bigger all the time.
Decided: To accept Archbishop Andronik’s report.
Discussed: Bishop Georgiy spoke of the construction of a church in the Bolgrad diocese, which the ROCA Assistance Fund helped to finance partially. Bishop Georgiy said all the parishes are doing well.
Decided: To accept Bishop Georgiy’s report.
Discussed: Archbishop Sofroniy spoke of matters in the St. Petersburg diocese and that all is well. Archbishop Sofroniy spoke of the establishment of a monastery and other parishes in his diocese.
Archbishop Sofroniy also told of life in the Ishimsk-Siberian diocese and the efforts of Hieromonk Nikon, who is gathering the scattered flock, organizing parish life, and starting parish schools. Archbishop Sofroniy also related his trip to a parish in the city of Kustany in Kazakhstan and the formation of a deanery there.
Decided: To accept Archbishop Sofroniy’s report.
Discussed: Bishop Joseph spoke of matters in his diocese, and how a property has been found for the parish there after three years of looking. Half of the parishioners speak only English. Bishop Joseph related how they started services at the homes of the parishioners, and now that they have a permanent place, the parish is growing.
Decided: To accept Bishop Joseph’s report.
Discussed: Regarding the second agenda item, the Chairman spoke of the absolute necessity to register the central Church administration. Since a Synod now exists, it must be registered.
The Chairman proposed to dissolve the North American Administrative District and to carry over its legal status to the ROCA Synod. The Chairman also proposed to restore the former dioceses.
Archbishop Andronik read a draft of the Synod by-laws.
A general discussion followed.
1. To dissolve the North American Administrative District and restore the Canadian and Eastern-American dioceses. The Eastern-American diocese includes all the former dioceses of the ROCA in the USA. The ruling bishop is Metropolitan Agafangel.
2. To register the finished version of the Synod by-laws, including all revisions.
3. To create a Syracuse diocese within the Eastern-American diocese and name Archbishop Andronik to be its ruling bishop, with the title “of Syracuse and Nichols.”
4. As ruling bishop of the Canadian diocese, Archbishop Andronik’s title will change to “of Ottawa and Canada.”
5. To leave the Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh in Valley Cottage, NY, under Archbishop Andronik’s authority.
Discussed: The Chairman spoke of the preparation of chrism.
Decided: To begin readying for the preparation of chrism and obtain all the necessary materials.
Discussed: The Chairman spoke on the fourth agenda item, about those who left the ROCA Synod before May 17, 2007.
A general discussion followed.
Decided: As Chairman of the Ecclesiastical Committee, Bishop Georgiy will meet with representatives of ROAC, POCA(V), and RTOC to explore their differences.
Discussed: Bishop Georgiy proposed making a statement from the Synod of Bishops regarding matters in Suzdal. Bishop Georgiy read a proposed draft. A general discussion followed.
Decided: To draft a statement from the Synod of Bishops regarding recent events in the religious life in Russia.
Discussed: The Chairman spoke on the fifth agenda item. He noted the importance of overseeing how saints are venerated in various areas and the proper notation of saints in our calendar. The Chairman proposed to use the “Guideline for Canonizing Saints and their Veneration,” issued by the Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in August 21\September 3, 1918, as well as decisions issued by the Synod and Council of our Church and not make any new changes, which may lead to temptation.
Decided: To adhere strictly to the “Guideline for Canonizing Saints and their Veneration,” issued by the Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in August 21\September 3, 1918, as well as decisions issued by the Synod and Council of our Church. To base the calendar on the one issued in New York City, when Met. Philaret was First Hierarch.
The meeting adjourned at 12:40 PM for lunch.
The meeting resumed at 1:35 PM.
Discussed: The Chairman spoke of the need to resume the printing of the official Synod publication, “Church Life.” Metropolitan Agafangel proposed publishing calendars approved by the Synod and will also print certificates of merit issued by the Synod.
1. With the Synod’s blessing, print calendars that include the typicon, and those that do not, and also print certificates of merit issued by the Synod.
2. Have the Synod Secretary, Bishop Georgiy, resume publishing the official Synod publication, “Church Life.”
Discussed: Regarding the seventh agenda item, Bishop Georgiy proposed naming Dimitri Gontscharow as the Synod Secretary’s assistant.
Decided: To name Dimitri Gontscharow as the Synod Secretary’s assistant.
Discussed: Archbishop Sofroniy’s recommendation that the Synod’s agenda should be posted in a timely manner before the meeting.
Decided: To post the agenda two or three weeks before the meeting.
Discussed: The Chairman’s proposal to name additional bishops.
A general discussion followed.
1. After he becomes a monk and the matter of his living apart from his matushka is resolved, to make a decision on the date of consecration of Archpriest Valeriy Kravets as a bishop, as it was previously decided.
2. To invite Hieromonk Nikon (Yost) to the Bishops’ Council to discuss the possibility of his consecration as bishop.
Discussed: The Chairman spoke of the consecration of the Bishop of South America, Hieromonk Gregory Petrenko, which was approved by the other bishops and was conducted by Metropolitan Agafangel, Abp. Sofroniy, and B. Ambrose of Methone (Greek Old Calendar Church).
Decided: To name Bishop Gregory the ruling bishop for South America with the title “of SaoPaulo and Brazil.”
Discussed: The Chairman discussed matters in the Holy Land. Metropolitan Agafangel said that a nun has purchased a house there, in the hope of making it a place for pilgrims and is asking that this proposal be approved.
Decided: To bless the establishment of a pilgrimage center in the Holy Land and to have Abp. Andronik responsible for it.
Discussed: Abp. Sofroniy related the outcome of the Council of Eminences in Russia, which took place this year in Bolgrad on the feast day of the Elevation of the Cross. Abp. Sofroniy was chosen the Chairman of the Council at this meeting.
Decided: To approve Abp. Sofroniy as the Chairman of the Council and to schedule the next meeting of the Council on November 17, 2009, in Odessa.
Discussed: The convening of the ROCA Bishops’ Council.
Decided: To hold the ROCA Bishops’ Council during the fourth week of Great Lent, from April 13\26 to April 16\29, 2010, in Odessa.
Discussed: Abp. Sofroniy spoke of his recommendation to award the wearing of a gold cross to Fr. Gennadiy Subotin and Hieromonk Nikon (Yost).
Decided: To award the wearing of a gold cross to Fr. Gennadiy Subotin and Hieromonk Nikon (Yost).
Discussed: Archpriest Valeriy Alekseyev’s appeal to the Synod.
Decided: To consider the appeal presented.
Discussed: The draft of an appeal from the ROCA Synod of Bishops regarding current events in the religious life of Russia.
Decided: To approve the draft of an appeal from the ROCA Synod of Bishops regarding current events in the religious life of Russia.
The Synod of Bishops meeting concluded at 5:00 PM with the prayer, “It is Truly Mete…”
+ Bishop Joseph
To the ROCA Synod of Bishops
of Bolgrad and Belgorod-Dnestrovsk
I initiated a private meeting with Bishop Andrew (Maklakov) of the ROAC on October 23, 2009. Our conversation included a discussion of the reasons for our separation. Both of us expressed a concern for our continuing separation and spoke of a personal desire to establish talks between our bishops to consider and resolve our points of disagreement.
+ Bishop Georgiy
Synod of Bishops
Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
October 15/28, 2009
The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad expresses its concern over the resumption of persecution of the faithful in the Russian Federation. Those persecuted by the administration the most, are those who do not support the newly-elected MP Patriarch, who cooperated closely with the atheistic communist regime in the USSR and continues to be “imbedded in the government” of the current Russian Federation. We call the unrepentant cooperation with the enemies of the church “sergianism,” and believe that the policy of conscious cooperation of the faithful with an atheistic government, as described in the Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius in 1927, places them outside of the Orthodox Church and the pursuit of this course of action to be destructive and political, but not religious. We do not consider Patriarch Kirill to be the lawful, canonical Primate of the entire Russian Orthodox Church, just as the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad never recognized any of the patriarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate, beginning with Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodskiy). We also do not consider it permissible for a Church, founded by Christ, to immerse itself in globalism and ecumenism, and lead mankind, in our opinion, to complete ruin and catastrophe on a worldwide scale. The resumption of persecution of the faithful in the Russian Federation is one of the signs of the return of this government to the totalitarian period of the USSR and is vivid proof of the lack of repentance of a large part of the people of the ruinous actions of the global communist system. At the same time, we know that the administration of the Moscow Patriarchate is the sole instigator of the persecution of thousands of Orthodox Christians, which, unfortunately, causes this administration to resemble an apocalyptical church-harlot.
We call upon our faithful flock to pray fervently to our Lord, Jesus Christ, His Immaculate Mother and all the saints, so that they may keep our souls unharmed from the destructive influences of globalism, ecumenism, and sergianism, and give all of us the strength to endure the latest onset of persecution of the Church of Christ.
+ Bishop Joseph