On Thursday, February 23, a regular session of the Synod of Bishops convened via videoconference, presided over by His Eminence Nicholas, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad. Participating in the meeting were Metropolitan Mark of Berlin & Germany; Archbishops Kyrill of San Francisco & Western America (secretary), Gabriel of Montreal & Canada, and Peter of Chicagsky & Mid-America; and Bishops Irenei of London & Western Europe and Theodosius of Seattle.
Opening the meeting, Metropolitan Nicholas greeted the participants with the upcoming Great Lent, calling upon the archpastors to augment their prayers for the persecuted and suffering hierarchs, clergy, and flock of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, headed by His Beatitude Onuphry, Metropolitan of Kiev & All Ukraine. His Eminence also discussed the celebrations of Christ’s Nativity and the Epiphany of the Lord in his Eastern American Diocese, and of the Three Hierarchs at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY, and other news from Church life.
The archpastors then commenced their work, hearing reports by: the Synod’s Chief Financial Officer, Archbishop Gabriel, on financial affairs; Bishop Irenei, secretary of the Synod’s Inter-Orthodox Affairs Department; Archpriest Roman (Krassovsky), chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem of the Russian Church Abroad; and Nicholas Ohotin, jurisconsult, on legal matters.
Professor Nicolas Schidlovsky, Dean of Holy Trinity Seminary, reported on the planned 75th anniversary celebrations, to be held on September 15-17 of this year.
Having reviewed an appeal by Archpriest Andrei Papkov, president of the Synodal Liturgical Music Commission, the hierarchs resolved: "To invite to participate in the commission 1) Gregory Kotar, choir director of St Nicholas Cathedral in Seattle, WA, and 2) Michelle Ganson, assistant choir director at Epiphany of the Lord Church in Boston, graduate of the Synodal Liturgical Music School."
The Synod of Bishops also discussed various disciplinary, property, and administrative matters, and heard petitions by the Right Reverend hierarchs regarding ecclesiastical awards for their clerics and parishioners.
While discussing current affairs and events in wider Church life, the President of the Synod of Bishops informed his brother-archpastors of an invitation made by His Grace John, Bishop of Caracas & South America, to visit Buenos Aires, where His Eminence will officiate the divine services on Thomas Sunday for the patronal feast of Holy Resurrection Diocesan Cathedral and offer his support to Bishop John and His Grace’s clergy and flock.
At the proposal of Metropolitan Mark and with the blessing of the Synod of Bishops, its next meeting will be held on Thursday, May 4 in Germany, where Metropolitan Nicholas will be visiting starting the third week of Holy Pascha. The schedule of the Primatial visit will be published in advance.
Concluding the session of the Synod of Bishops, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad asked the forgiveness of his brother-archpastors, wishing them God’s aid in carrying out their Lenten labors, and wished that they might joyously celebrated the Pascha of Christ.