Statute of the Russian Orthodox Church
1. The Russian Orthodox Church is a multinational Local Autocephalous Church in doctrinal unity and in prayerful and canonical communion with other Local Orthodox Churches.
2. The Self-governing Churches, Exarchates, Dioceses, Synodal departments, Deaneries, Parishes, Monasteries, Brotherhoods, Sisterhoods, Theological educational institutions, Missions, Representations and Church representations (hereinafter called ‘canonical units’), which constitute the Russian Orthodox Church, canonically comprise the Moscow Patriarchate.
‘The Moscow Patriarchate’ is another official name of the Russian Orthodox Church.
3. The jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church shall include persons of Orthodox confession living on the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Moldavia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Latvia, Lithuania, Tajikistan, Turkmenia, Uzbekistan and Estonia and also Orthodox Christians living in other countries and voluntarily joining this jurisdiction .
4. The Russian Orthodox Church exercises its activities with respect of and adherence to the acting laws in each state on the basis of:
a) the Holy Scriptures and Holy Tradition;
b) the canons and rules of the Holy Apostles, the Holy Ecumenical and Local Councils, and the Holy Fathers;
c) the resolutions of its Local and Bishops’ Councils and the Holy Synod and the Decrees of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia;
d) the present Statute.
5. The Russian Orthodox Church is registered in the Russian Federation as a legal entity and as a centralized religious organization.
The Moscow Patriarchate and other canonical units of the Russian Orthodox Church on the territory of the Russian Federation are registered as legal entities and as centralized or local religious organizations.
The canonical units of the Russian Orthodox Church on the territory of other states can be registered as legal entities in accordance with the laws of these states.
6. The Russian Orthodox Church has a hierarchic structure of governance.
7. The supreme bodies of the church authority and governance shall be the Local Council, the Bishops’ Council and the Holy Synod headed by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
8. The ecclesiastical court in the Russian Orthodox Church shall act in three instances:
a) Diocesan court
b) General church court
c) Court of the Bishops’ Council
9. The officials and staff of the canonical units as well as clergymen and laymen cannot apply to the bodies of state authority and to civil court on the matters pertaining to internal church life, including those of canonical governance, church order, liturgical and pastoral activities.
10. The canonical units of the Russian Orthodox Church shall not engage in political activities and shall not rent their premises for political events.