1. Judicial authority in the Russian Orthodox Church shall be exercised by the Ecclesiastical Courts through ecclesiastical legal proceedings.

No other church bodies and persons shall be entitled to assume the functions of the ecclesiastical court.

2. The judicial system in the Russian Orthodox Church shall be established on the foundation of the holy canons, the present Statute and the ‘Regulations on Ecclesiastical Court’.

3. The unity of the judicial system of the Russian Orthodox Church shall be provided by:

a) observance by all Ecclesiastical Courts of the established rules of ecclesiastical legal proceedings;

b) recognition of the necessity of the execution by all canonical units and all members of the Russian Orthodox Church of the court rulings which came into legitimate force;

4. Judgement in the Russian Orthodox Church shall be exercised by the ecclesiastical court of three instances:

a) the Diocesan Courts with jurisdiction within their dioceses;

b) the General Ecclesiastical Court with jurisdiction throughout the Russian Orthodox Church;

c) the Supreme Court, which is the Court of the Bishops’ Council with jurisdiction throughout the Russian Orthodox Church.

5. The canonical sanctions such as the suspension of clerics for life, deposition and excommunication shall be imposed by the Diocesan Bishop or the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod only on the presentation of the Ecclesiastical Court.

6. The order of investing the judges of the ecclesiastical courts with competence shall be determined on the basis of the holy canons, the present Statute and the ‘Regulations on Ecclesiastical Court’.

7. Court cases shall be accepted for consideration by the Ecclesiastical Court in the order and under the conditions determined by the ‘Regulations on Ecclesiastical Court’.

8. The rulings of the ecclesiastical courts, which have come into legitimate force as well as orders, requests, instructions, summonses and other warrants of the court shall be binding for all clergymen and laymen without any exception.

9. The proceedings in all ecclesiastical courts shall be carried out in closed session.

10. The Diocesan Court shall be the court of first instance.

11. The clergymen whom the Diocesan Bishop empowered to administer justice in the diocese entrusted to him may be the judges of the Diocesan Courts.

A vicar bishop or a presbyter may be chairman of the court. The members of the court must be presbyters.

12. The chairman of the Diocesan Court shall be appointed by the Diocesan Bishop for the term of three years.

The Diocesan Assembly shall elect on the presentation of the Diocesan Bishop no less than two members of the Diocesan Court.

13. The recall of a chairman or a member of the Diocesan Court ahead of schedule shall be carried out at the instruction of the Diocesan Bishop with subsequent consideration of this decision by the Diocesan Assembly.

14. Ecclesiastical legal proceedings shall be exercised in court session with the participation of the chairman and at least two members of the court.

15. The terms of reference and procedure of legal proceedings of the Diocesan Court shall be determined by the ‘Regulations on Ecclesiastical Court’.

16. The rulings of the Diocesan Court shall be executed upon their approval by the Diocesan Bishop.

In the event the Diocesan Bishop disagrees with the ruling of the Diocesan Court he shall act at his own discretion. His decision shall become effective immediately, but the case shall be referred to the General Ecclesiastical Court, which shall take a final ruling.

17. The Diocesan Courts shall be financed from the diocesan budgets.

18. The General Ecclesiastical Court shall be the court of second instance.

19. The General Ecclesiastical Court shall consist of the chairman and at least four members of episcopal rank who shall be elected by the Bishops’ Council for the term of four years.

20. The recall of the chairman or a member of the General Ecclesiastical Court ahead of schedule shall be carried out by the decision of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod with subsequent approval by the Bishops’ Council.

21. The right to appoint an acting chairman or a member of the General Ecclesiastical Court in the event of a vacancy shall belong to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod.

22. The term of reference and procedure of legal proceedings of the General Ecclesiastical Court shall be determined by the ‘Regulations on Ecclesiastical Court’.

23. The rulings of the General Ecclesiastical Court shall be executed upon their approval by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod.

In the event that the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod disagree with the ruling of the General Ecclesiastical Court, the ruling of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod shall come into force.

In this event the case may be referred to the Court of the Bishops’ Council for a final ruling.

24. The General Ecclesiastical Court shall exercise the judicial supervision over the activity of the Diocesan Courts in the forms of proceedings stipulated by the ‘Regulations on Ecclesiastical Court’.

25. The General Ecclesiastical Court shall be financed from the general church budget.

26. The Court of the Bishops’ Council shall be the ecclesiastical court of final appeal.

27. The legal proceedings shall be carried out by the Bishops’ Council in accordance with the ‘Regulations on Ecclesiastical Court’.

28. The work of the ecclesiastical courts shall be provided by the staff of these courts, which shall be subordinate to their chairmen and shall act on the basis of the ‘Regulations on Ecclesiastical Court’.