Session of the Holy Synod on 12-13th March 2002, press-release


The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church met for its regular session on March 12-13, 2002, in Moscow. The session was chaired by His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia.

The Holy Synod heard the report of Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna, chairman of the Synodal Commission for Canonization, and, in keeping with the respective Action of the 2000 Jubilee Bishops’ Council, resolved that the names which were submitted by the dioceses of Ivanovo, Moscow, Ryazan, Syktyvkar and Yaroslavl as the zealots of faith who suffered during the prosecution against the Church be included in the Synaxis of Russia’s New Martyrs and Confessors.

Having studied the report by Bishop Alexy of Orekhovo-Zuevo, chairman of the Synodal Liturgical Commission, the Holy Synod approved the Office of Russia’s New Martyrs and Confessors and recommended it for liturgical usage.

Having considered the account of Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, about the work carried out by his department in 2001, the Holy Synod approved its external church work.

The Holy Synod considered the filling of vacancy at the See of Nizhny Novgorod, widowed after the death of Metropolitan Nikolay of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas. It was resolved that Archbishop Eugene of Tambov and Michurinsk be appointed the ruling bishop of the diocese of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas, with the diocese of Tambov be retained in his care. Archimandrite Theodosius (Vasnev), head of the Russian Orthodox Mission in Jerusalem, was appointed Bishop of Vetluga, Vicar of the Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas diocese.

The Holy Synod, at the proposal by His Holiness the Patriarch, gave its blessing upon the elevation of Archimandrite Theognostes, father superior of St. Sergius’ Laura of the Holy Trinity, to the rank of bishop. His has been appointed Bishop of Sergiev Posad, vicar of the Moscow diocese.

The Holy Synod granted the petition of Archbishop Melkhisedek of Bryansk and Sevsk for retirement according to the Statute and due to his reaching the age of 75, and thanked him for his work.

Archimandrite Theophilactes (Moiseyev), father superior of the Chernigov Hermitage of St. Sergius’ Laura, was appointed Bishop of Bryansk and Sevsk.

The petition by Archbishop Athanasius of Perm and Solikamsk for retirement was granted according to the Statute and due to his reaching the age of 75. The Holy Synod expressed gratitude to the archbishop for his work.

Hegumen Irinarch (Grezin), dean of the All-Saints district in Moscow, was appointed Bishop of Perm and Solikamsk.

The Holy Synod gave its blessing upon the appointment of Archimandrite Ioann (Khome), secretary of the Minsk Diocesan Administration, as Bishop of Borisov, vicar of the Minsk diocese.

Having considered the retirement petition of Metropolitan Theodosius of Omsk and Tara as he has reached the age of 75, the Holy Synod resolved that the metropolitan be asked to continue his achpastoral service at the see of Omsk.

Having approved the report of Archbishop Alexander of Kostroma and Galich, chairman of the youth department of the Moscow Patriarchate, on the work carried out by the department in 2001, the Holy Synod noted the special significance that the Congress of Orthodox Youth (May 13-16, 2001, Moscow) had for the education of the younger generation. The Holy Synod also thanked the organizers of the conference, in which all the dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church participated, as well as the organizations and individuals who made financial contributions to it. Blessing was given upon marking the Day of the Orthodox Youth, observed on the Day of the Meeting of the Lord on February 15, with a special prayer for the Christ-loving youth to be conducted throughout the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Having heard the report of Archbishop Ioann of Belgorod and Stary Oskol, chairman of the Mission Department, the Holy Synod expressed satisfaction with the work the department carried out in 2001 and approved its work plan for 2002.

The Holy Synod also approved the work carried out by the Education Committee of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2001 as described in the report of its chairman, Archpriest Vladimir Silovyev.

Approval was also given to the work of the Department for Law-Enforcement Agencies and the Army, presented by its chairman, Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov, and to the results of its reorganization carried out in 2001.

After the report of Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad about the visit made by His Holiness Patriarch Paul of Serbia to the Russian Orthodox Church on January 20-23, 2002, the Holy Synod thanked the Lord for the fraternal fellowship shared by the Primates of the Russian and Serbian Churches and approved the agreements reached during the visit. The Holy Synod authorized in particular the establishment of a bilateral commission for overcoming schisms in the canonical territories of the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches.

Having heard the report of Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg and Ladoga about his visit to Finland (December 13-16, 2001) at the invitation of Archbishop Jukka Paarma of Turku and Finland, head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland, the Holy Synod expressed gratitude to the hosts for hospitality accorded the Russian Orthodox Church delegation and expressed satisfaction with the level of relations reached by Moscow Patriarchate and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland, noting the importance of good bilateral relations for the development of inter-Christian cooperation.

The Holy Synod acknowledged the report by Metropolitan Kirill on this work at the conference of religious leaders, presidents of the World Conference on Religion and Peace (February 28-March 1, 2002, Paris) and on this participation in the celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the translation of the miracle-working copy of the Icon of Our Lady of Iveron to Three Hierarchs’ Church Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in Paris.

The personal composition of the editorial board of Bogoslovskye trudy (Theological Studies) was approved as presented by Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch for All Belarus, chairman of the Synodal Theological Commission and of the publication’s editorial board.

Metropolitan Kirill also made reports on the Russian Orthodox Mission in Jerusalem and the Moscow Patriarchate Representation in Damascus, Syria. The Holy Synod resolved that Archimandrite Yelisey (Ganaba) be appointed Head of the Russian Orthodox Mission in Jerusalem, leaving his post of representative of the Moscow Patriarchate at the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East in Damascus, while Archimandrite Alexander (Yelisov) be appointed to represent the Moscow Patriarchate at this Church, leaving his post of rector of the Russian Orthodox parish in Beirut. Archpriest Anatoly Yegorov, serving at present in Damascus, has been assigned to Beirut.

Having heard the appropriate reports by Metropolitan Kirill as the DECR chairman the Holy Synod resolved that:

Deacon George Zavershinsky of St. Catherine’s in Moscow be ordained as priest and sent to serve at Sts Peter and Paul’s in Dublin, Ireland, under Metropolitan Anthony of Surozh;

The Rev. Alexander Penkov, off-staff cleric of the Smolensk and Kaliningrad diocese, be assigned to the Church of the Intercession under the Moscow Patriarchate Representation in Dusseldorf, Germany;

Archpriest Nikolay Orlov be relieved of this duties as rector of St. Nicholas’s in Vienna, Austria, and put at the disposal of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia;

The Rev. Vladimir Tyschuk of St. Catherine’s in Moscow be assigned rector of St. Nicholas’s in Vienna under Archbishop Paul of Vienna and Budapest;

Archpriest Peter Stepanov of the Kostroma diocese be assigned rector of St. Nicholas at Giefchorn, under Archbishop Feofan of Berlin and Germany;

The Rev. Michael Selyavkin, DECR, be appointed rector of the Parish of the Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky in Copenhagen, Denmark.

On the basis of the report by Archbishop Ambrose of Ivanovo and Kineshma, the Holy Synod resolved that his dioceses be renamed the Diocese of Ivanovo-Voznesensk and Kineshma in accordance with its historical name and its ruling bishop have the title of Bishop of Ivanovo-Voznesensk and Kineshma.

The Holy Synod authorized the opening of 2 new monasteries in the dioceses of Orenburg and Tula and 3 convents in the dioceses of Blagoveschensk, Yekaterinodar and Tobolsk.