The Holy Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Begins its Work in Moscow
On Wednesday, November 29, the first plenary session of the Holy Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox began its work in Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow after concluding Divine Liturgy and a moleben before the relics of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.
The council brought hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Estonia as well as countries abroad where dioceses of the Russian Church exist.
According to the Statute of the Russian Orthodox Church, the chairman of the council is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.
The Presidium of the Council includes permanent members of the Holy Synod: His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and all Ukraine; Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna; Metropolitan Vladimir of Kishinev and all Moldova; Metropolitan Alexander and Astana and all Kazakhstan; Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan; Metropolitan Varsonofy of Saint Petersburg and Ladoga, Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; Metropolitan Pavel of Mink and Zaslavsk, Patriarchal Exarch of all Belarus; Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations.
Also included in the presidium are archpastors invited to participate in the work of the winter session of the Holy Synod: Metropolitan Joasaph of Kirovograd and Novomirgorod; Bishop Seraphim of Bobriisk and Bihovsk; Bishop Feofan of Kyzylsk and Tivinsk; Bishop Feognost of Novorosiisk and Geledzhensk and Bishop Mitrophan of Severomorsk and Umbsk.
Additionally, according to the November 28, 2017 journal of the Holy Synod, primates of the autonomous and self-ruling parts of the Moscow Patriarchate are included in the presidium: Metropolitan Daniel of Tokyo and all Japan; the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York; Metropolitan Alexander of Riga and all Latvia and Metropolitan Kornily of Tallinn and all Estonia.
His Holiness commented on a number of regulations of the council and announced the council's agenda.
Attendees accepted the regulations and agenda and approved the credentials, resolution and counting commissions.
Metropolitan Varsonofy of Saint Petersburg and Ladoga, Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate was appointed secretary of the council. According to the Statute, the secretary bears "responsibility for providing the Council with the necessary working materials and for maintaining protocol".
Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany was elected as chairman of the credentials commission; the chairman of the editorial commission - Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslavsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus; the chairman of the counting commission - Metropolitan Mitrophan of Gorlovsk and Slavyansk.
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill also presented a group of assistants and consultants.
The chairman of the editorial commission read greetings of the President of the Russian Federation V. V. Putin; President of Belarus, A. G. Lukashenko; President of Moldova, I. N. Dodon and President of Kazakhstan, N. A. Nasarbayev.
The chairman of the credentials commission, Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany announced that on the first day of the Council, 347 out of the 386 hierarchs appearing in the lists of members of the Council of Bishops as well as those in retirement were in attendance.
Out of the 347 attending hierarchs - 272 are diocesan bishops; 68 are vicar bishops and 7 are retired.
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