Session of the Holy Synod on 19th July 2000, press-release


The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church held its regular session on July 19 under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia.

Having heard the communication by His Holiness the Patriarch about his pastoral visit to Japan on May 12-19, 2000, the Holy Synod expressed satisfaction with the enthronement of the newly-elected Archbishop of Tokyo and Metropolitan of all Japan Daniel. The Synod reaffirmed the continuity and solidity of brotherly spiritual relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Japanese Autonomous Orthodox Church for the benefit of pan-Orthodox unity. The meetings His Holiness had with the Emperor, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Japan were considered useful as contributing to a better understanding between nations.

The Holy Synod adopted the program and schedule of the Jubilee Bishops’ Council to take place from August 13 6o 16, 2000, and approved the rite of the great consecration of the Cathedral Church of Christ the Saviour and the plan of jubilee celebrations to be held in this church and on the adjacent territory on July 18-20, 2000.

The Holy Synod agreed that the Bishops’ Council would consider the glorification of a host of new Russian martyrs and confessors to be venerated by the whole Church, their names identified but not revealed to the world so far, though known to God. The Council will also consider the canonization of the Imperial family. The Council’s agenda will also include the question of incorporating several locally-venerated saints of the Ukrainian Church into the synaxis of the new martyrs and confessors of the Russian Orthodox Church. Referred to the Council have also been materials for the church-wide canonization of many new martyrs and confessors whose names were submitted by the dioceses of Alma Ata, Barnaul, Belgorod, Vladimir, Vologda, Voronezh, Kursk, Moscow, Orenburg, Penza, Ryazan, St. Petersburg, Simferopol, Tver, Ufa, Chernigov, Chikment and Yaroslavl, as well as St. Sergius monastery of the Trinity and St. Daniel’s monastery in Moscow.

Having heard a report by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad in his capacity of chairman of the Synodal working group for developing a Conception of the Russian Orthodox Church on Church-State Relations and Problems of Contemporary Society as a Whole, the Holy Synod approved the draft fundamentals of the social conception of the Russian Orthodox Church worked out by the group and referred it to the Bishops’ Council. The Synod thanked the group and its chairman and deemed its work as completed. Satisfaction was expressed with the discussion on the Draft Conception held by the Church and Society-2000 symposium, which was attended by bishops, clergy, governmental officials, representatives of Christian and secular public organizations and the scientific and cultural communities.

After considering a report by Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk, chairman of the Synodal Theological Commission, the Holy Synod approved the commission’s draft Guidelines for the Russian Orthodox Church’s Attitude to Non-Orthodoxy and recommended that it be discussed and received by the upcoming Bishops’ Council. The Synod acknowledged the List of Urgent Problems Facing Orthodox Theology compiled by the commission on the basis of responses from bishops, rectors of theological schools as well as results of the Theological Conference of the Russian Orthodox Church (February 7-9, 2000). The most important items on this list will be presented to the Bishops’ Council. The Theological Commission also recommended that the Holy Synod consider in the future the work of its liturgical and historical-canonical subcommission. It was deemed desirable to hold periodical conferences of leaders of the Synodal departments engaged in the development of theological work, with His Holiness the Patriarch as chair. A Statute of the Synodal Theological Commission was adopted. It was planned to hold another Theological Conference of the Russian Orthodox Church in November 2001, under the theme “The Teaching of the Church on Man”.

Having considered information given by Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna, the Holy Synod reckoned the 15th national celebrations held in Ryazan and throughout the Russian Church on the Day of Slavonic Literature and Culture as a contribution to the revival of Slavic culture and historical memory, which is especially relevant in the year of the Bimillennium of the Nativity of Christ.

The Synod has established the diocese of Chukotka, singling it out from the diocese of Magadan. Hegumen Diomid (Dziuban) has been appointed Bishop of Anadyr and Churkotka. Bishop Kirill of Bogoroditskoye, vicar of the Tula diocese, has been appointed Bishop of Tula and Belev.

The Synod has authorized the opening of one monastery and one convent in the dioceses of Ufa and Orenburg respectively. A pre-seminary will also be opened in Orenburg.

The Synod approved the results of the conference of rectors of theological institutions (June 21-24, 2000; Tobolsk). It charged the Education Committee with inspecting all the theological institutions in 2000-20001. On the basis of this inspection, the pre-seminaries in Barnaul, Yekaterinburg, Ivanovo and Yaroslavl may be transformed into seminaries.

The Russian Parish of the Theophany in Newcastle, Australia, has been accepted into the canonical jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church. Rev. Nikolay Gan, who joined the Moscow Patriarchate clergy, has been appointed rector of the parish. Archpriest Sergiy Rasskazovsky has been released from the duties of rector of the Parish of St. Sergius of Radonezh in Johannesburg, South Africa. Deacon Alexander Bulekov has been assigned to this parish to be first ordained as priest.