Session of the Holy Synod on 8-9th April 1998, press-release


The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church met on 8-9 April 1998. It was chaired by His Holiness His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia.

The Holy Synod, having approved the report by the chairman of the Synodal Canonization Commission, Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna, resolved to refer the question concerning the canonization of Archbishop Hilarion (Troitsky, 1886-1929) as a new Russian martyr and confessor to be venerated by the whole Church to the next Bishops’ Council.

After a discussion on the new version of the Statute of the Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church, drafted to conform to the new Law of on the Freedom of Conscience and on Religious Association now in force, the Holy Synod adopted this Statute and resolved that it should be applied as universal to every parish of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Having considered the aspects of preparations for the 2000th anniversary of the Nativity of Christ that involve cooperation with the state and society in the forthcoming celebrations, the Holy Synod resolved to consider it important and necessary to establish close contacts between the Russian Orthodox Church commission for the jubilee and the Russian organizing committee for the 2000th anniversary of Christianity set up by a Presidential decree. The Holy Synod incorporated in the church commission a number of scholars, artists and public figures and deemed it beneficial to involve in it a broader range of representatives of the scientific and cultural communities, public organizations and major mass media.
Having heard the report by the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the Holy Synod approved the work carried out by the Department in 1997 and thanked the chairman and his staff for their efforts.

The Holy Synod also approved the work plan of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Publishing House for publications connected with the 2000th anniversary of the Nativity of Christ and asked His Holiness the Patriarch to make a written request to diocesan bishops to help disseminate the official periodicals of the Russian Orthodox Church among monasteries, parishes, theological schools and church libraries.

It was deemed necessary to make the 11-volume “History of the Russian Church” available to the libraries of dioceses, parishes, theological institutions and Sunday schools. It was published in the period from 1994 to 1997 by the Church Research Center “Orthodox Encyclopedia” with the support of the Moscow Government to mark the 850th anniversary of the Russian capital. The Holy Synod gave its blessing upon establishing a one fixed price for the edition and allocating the returns for publishing the 25-volume “Orthodox Encyclopedia” to mark the 2000th of the Nativity of Christ.

The Holy Synod was highly gratified by the forthcoming official visit of His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch Peter VII of Alexandria and All Africa to the Russian Orthodox Church to take place from April 30 to May 7, 1998, and expressed confidence that the visit will contribute to further consolidation of fraternal relations between the two Churches as well as pan-Orthodox unity. The Holy Synod awarded His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch Peter IV the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called, the highest decoration of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Holy Synod lifted up prayers for the repose of the soul of the deceased Metropolitan Basil of Warsaw and All Poland in the mansions of the righteous and expressed brotherly support for the clergy and laity of the Polish Orthodox Church in their loss.

The Holy Synod expressed satisfaction with the course and results of the visit of the delegation of the Georgian Orthodox Church to the Russian Orthodox Church, their meeting with His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II and the talks they had. The Holy Synod noted the fundamental unity shared by the two Churches in their attitude to non-Orthodoxy and the need to bear Orthodox witness before the world, while preserving differences in concrete forms of this witness and contacts with non-Orthodox Christianity.

The Holy Synod expressed satisfaction with the visit by the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, to Mexico, Panama and Peru and deemed his meetings with government, religious and public leaders in these countries to be beneficial. The necessity was also stressed to meet the urgent need of the numerous Russian Diaspora in Latin America for pastoral care and more close and regular contacts with the Mother Church. The Holy Synod accepted the Parish of the Intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God in Panama into the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Satisfaction was expressed with the meeting of the World Russian People’s Council on “Faith and Knowledge: Science and Technology on the Threshold of a New Century” (18-20 March 1998), and the conference on “Spiritual and Orthodox Theme in Fiction Today” (5-6 February 1998), which showed a high level of cooperation between the Church, state, the public and scientific and artistic communities.

By the decision of the Holy Synod the pre-seminary in Tashkent and St. Theophanes’s pre-seminary in Vladimir were transformed into seminaries. Archbishop Vladimir of Tashkent and Archpriest George Gorbachuk were appointed respectively as their rectors.

Five men’s and one women’s monastic communities in the diocese of Ivanovo were transformed into monasteries, and a blessing was given upon the opening of a monastery in the diocese of Kursk. Archimandrite Nestor (Zhilyaev) was relieved of his duties as representative of the Russian Orthodox Church at the World Council of Churches in Geneva due to the expiration of the term of his mission. Archpriest Sergiy Kipriyanovich was appointed as second priest to St. Nicholas’s Cathedral in New York.