Session of the Holy Synod on 5-6th October 1999,  press-release


The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church held a session under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia on October 5-6.

The Holy Synod approved the report by Metropolitan Juvenaly Krutitsy and Kolomna, Chairman of the Synodal Commission on Canonisation and resolved to refer the question of the general church veneration of Metropolitan Makary Nevsky of Moscow (1835-1926), Archpriest Alexey Mechev (1859-1923), Hieroschemamonk Alexey Solovyev (+1928) and several other Russian neo-martyrs and confessors proposed by the Alma-Ata, Vyatka and Samara dioceses and the Solovki monastery, to the decision of the Bishops’ Council. The divine services to Ss. Job and Tikhon, Patriarchs of Moscow, were recommended for liturgical use.

The Holy Synod expressed satisfaction with the work done by the Jubilee Commission for Preparation and Conducting of the Celebration of the 2000th Anniversary of the Nativity of Christ and called the whole Church to active participation in the preparation and carrying out of the jubilee events on the general church, diocesan and parish levels.

Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna, Bishop Yevgeny of Vereya and Bishop Joseph of Shatsk were authorised to take part in the work of the Organizing Committee for preparation and carrying out of the Days of Slavonic Literature and Culture in 2000. Like in the last years, all dioceses of the Church will participate in the events connected with the Days of Slavonic Literature and Culture together with the Ministry of Culture and public organizations.

The Holy Synod agreed upon a new status of Synodal Department of the Publishing Board of the Moscow Patriarchate. The Regulations for the Patriarchal Synodal Bible Commission were approved and will be published in official church publications. The Holy Synod approved a new design of the Order of St.Sergius of Radonezh of three classes. The Theological and Pastoral courses at the Tambov diocesan Administration were reorganized as the Tambov Theological College. The Holy Synod approved the opening of the Ivanovo Theological College and gave the blessing for the opening of 3 monasteries in the Edintsy and Novosibirsk dioceses and 4 convents in the Vologda, Magadan, Ryazan and Syktyvkar dioceses.

Having considered a petition for the retirement of Metropolitan Nikolay of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas due to his age of 75, the Holy Synod asked him to continue his pastoral ministry.

Bishop Innocent of Chita and Transbaikalia was appointed Bishop of Korsun. Vacant places were filled in the Japanese Autonomous Orthodox Church. Hegumen Peter Arikhara was nominated Bishop of Yokohama, a vicar of the Tokyo diocese and charged to be its ad interim administrator. Hegumen Daniel Nashiro was nominated Bishop of Kyoto.

The title of hierarchs of the Kagul diocese was changed to that of ‘Kagul and Lapushnyany’.

Having heard the report by Bishop Alexander of Kostroma and Galich about the work of the commission headed by him in the Yekaterinburg diocese on 10-12 August 1999, the Holy Synod denounced some clergymen of the diocese who turned to the media for support in the settlement of conflict with their ruling hierarch as incompatible with church practice and violating church canons. Taking into consideration the sincere repentance of the parties in the conflict and ardent wish of all clergymen of the diocese to end the confrontation and begin the church work in peace and accord, it was resolved to abstain from punishing them, which would have been in accordance with the canons. The Holy Synod approved the position taken by the two Synodal commissions which worked in the Yekaterinburg diocese and the initiative of Archbishop Vikenty of Yekaterinburg and Verkhnya Tura of particular repentance and prayers of all clergy of the diocese.

Concerning new death certificates which the registry office issue without mentioning the cause of death, the Holy Synod stated that for conducting requiem services for the dead it would be sufficient to have an oral testimony of the relatives of the deceased that he or she did not commit a suicide. If the fact of suicide was concealed, the sin of false testimony will be the matter of conscience of those who concealed it.

The Holy Synod considered it useful to open a representation of the Orthodox Church of Czech Lands and Slovakia in Moscow. It will promote the development and extension of fruitful cooperation between the two Churches. St.Nicholas’ church in Kotelniki in Moscow will serve as the representation.

Having acknowledged the report by Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Byelorus, about his participation in the celebrations of the centenary of St.Nicholas’ Cathedral in Vienna, the Holy Synod thanked the Lord for His mercies given to the parish during one hundred years of its life and Orthodox witness in Austria.

The church-monument of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God in Ottawa, which rector and community applied with a request to take them into the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate from the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, was taken into canonical jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. Archpriest Dimitry Sever was appointed its rector. The Church of the Exaltation of the Cross in Munich was included in the diocese of Berlin and Germany. Hegumen Seraphim (Melkonian) was released from his duties of father-confessor of the Gornensky Convent in Jerusalem. Archpriest Victor Mnoian was sent to the convent for archpastoral ministry. Hegumen Sergy (Ziatkov) was appointed rector of the church of St. Zinaida the Martyr in Rio-de-Janeiro. Archpriest Victor Tceshkovsky was released from his duties of rector of St.Barbara’s cathedral in Edmonton, Canada, and appointed to St.Nicholas’ Cathedral in New York. Archpriest Grigory Priputnikov was released from his duties of rector of the parish in Beirut and appointed rector of St.Barbara’s cathedral in Edmonton. Archpriest Ioann Shandra was sent to be at the disposal of Archbishop Mark of Kashira, administrator of the Patriarchal parishes in Canada. Archimandrite Yelisey (Yelisov) was released from his duties of rector of the Holy Trinity parish in Vanve, France, and appointed rector of the parish in Beirut. Archpriest Nikolay Inozemtsev was released from his duties of rector of the Three Hierarchs’ metochion in Paris. Hieromonk Philip (Vasiltsev) was sent to be at the disposal of Bishop Innocent of Korsun.

The Holy Synod heard the report by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, on the preparation for the Jubilee International Interconfessional Conference ‘Jesus Christ is the Same Yesterday and Today and For Ever'(Heb.13:8) to be held in Moscow on 23-25 November 1999. The composition of the Russian Orthodox Church delegation to the Conference was approved. It was resolved that the DECR Chairman Metropolitan Kirill will head the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church to the International Conference ‘Europe after the Kosovo Crisis: Implications for the Churches’, which will take place in Oslo, Norway, on 15-16 November 1999.

The Holy Synod approved the position of the Russian Orthodox Church delegation at the session of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (August 26-September 3, 1999) and charged the Department for External Church Relations to form a delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Special Commission for Orthodox participation in the WCC. Also approved was the position of the Russian Orthodox Church delegation at the session of the Central Committee of the Conference of European Church dedicated to its 40th anniversary (Nyborg, Denmark, 21-26 September 1999).

The Holy Synod expressed its agreement with the Declaration of the Interreligious Council of Russia adopted at its second session on 10 September 1999. It was considered useful to hold an Interreligious Peace Forum with participation of the communities of faith which take part in the Council’s work from Russia and other CIS countries and to hold it on 13-15 November 2000. Also approved was a delegation of the Interreligious Council to the next Assembly of the World Conference on Religion and Peace which is to take place in Amman, Jordan, on 25-29 November 1999.

Also taken were several decisions concerning personnel in monasteries and convents of the Russian Church.