NEW YORK: May 20, 2021
A regular session of the Synod of Bishops is held
On Tuesday, May 18, 2021, a regular session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was held under the chairmanship of its First Hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York. Also participating were: His Eminence Metropolitan Mark of Berlin and Germany; His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops; His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada; His Eminence Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America; His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe and His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Deputy Secretary of the Synod of Bishops.
Opening the meeting with Paschal greetings, the President proposed making a prayerful commemoration of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia and Metropolitan Laurus, who signed the Act of Canonical Communion on May 4/17, 2007, on the feast of the Ascension of the Lord, thereby restoring the fulness of brotherly unity within the one Russian Orthodox Church. Sharing his impressions of the celebration of Holy Pascha in New York this year, His Eminence then wished all the participants of the session Divine aid in their continuing work, successful resolution of all matters and the expedient overcoming of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the reestablishment of normal Church life.
The Synod of Bishops deliberated on a report by Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem of the Russian Church Abroad, in which he shared with the hierarchs the state of affairs in the churches and monasteries in the Holy Land. Ascension of the Lord Convent on the Mt of Olives is physically surrounded by unrest and strife, reported on at length in the recent press. The clergy and nuns of this monastery remain inside the walls of the convent, attending divine services and continuing to perform their monastic labors. There are also troubles and fires near Fara, but thank God, they have not touched the Lavra of St Chariton the Confessor, which is under the auspices of the REM. Taking into account Fr Roman’s report, the Synod of Bishops lifted their prayers for the clergymen, monastics and parishioners of the Mission in the Holy Land, prayerfully asking that they be patient, strength and the help of God. The archpastors then decreed to appoint Nun Ekaterina of Ascension Convent the prioress of the monastery and awarded her the pectoral cross.
At the suggestion of Archbishop Peter, the Synod of Bishops gave blessing to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the birth of Righteous St Alexander Nevsky, to the degree possible, in the dioceses of the Russian Church Abroad on Sunday, August 30/September 12, 2021.
Hearing a report by Archpriest Serafim Gan, Chancellor of the Synod of Bishops, on the coming fiftieth anniversary of the death of Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy (+1971), renowned author of The Law of God for Family and School, the hierarchs decreed: “1) To bless the Church-wide commemoration of the servants of God Archpriest Seraphim and his devoted spouse Elena in all churches of the Russian Church Abroad during divine services on St Dimitry Saturday. 2) To call upon all diocesan bishops, clergymen and active laity to especially honor the memory and 50th anniversary of the repose of Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy in parish schools, at clergy retreats, youth conferences, children’s camps and other Church events, reminding everyone of the life’s path, selfless service and legacy of servants of God Archpriest Seraphim and Elena.”
Upon hearing the report of Archpriest Andre Papkov on the work and plans of the Synodal Liturgical Music Commission, the archpastors decreed: “1) In connection with the untimely death of Sergei Schidlovsky and the departure from the work of the Commission of Nicolas Schidlovsky, appointed Dean of Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY, to add the Acting Choir Director of the Synodal Choir, Vadim Gan, and appoint Irina du Quenoy, Vice President and Associate Director of the Summer Synodal Music School, at the request of the Commission. 2) To bless the forthcoming session of the Summer Synodal Liturgical School to be held in Novo-Diveevo Convent.
The Synod of Bishops then examined various administrative and ecclesiastical-disciplinary matters, and also heard the intercessions of the Synod archpastors for awards to their clergy and flock of Church-wide awards.
In concluding the session, Bishop Nicholas warmly congratulated Metropolitan Hilarion on the anniversary of his ascent to the cathedra of First Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, wishing His Eminence good health, boldness of spirit and Divine aid in his difficult service to the Church of Christ.
The next session of the Synod of Bishops will be held remotely on Tuesday, September 1/14, 2021.