His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who chairs the session, addressed its participants, saying:
‘I greet all members of the Holy Synod at its regular session being held at the historical building of the Sacred Governing Synod of our Church.
‘Our predecessors were elected to the episcopal sees at this hall, and the most important decisions in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church were taken here during two hundred years. By God’s grace, this building has been restored and premises have been allotted to our Holy Synod for holding its sessions. That is why we gather in this hall with special feelings as we recall exploits of our predecessors, being fully aware of our responsibility for the important decisions that concern the life of our pious people and the Russian Orthodox Church.
‘I wholeheartedly welcome His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry and greet our host, Metropolitan Varsonofy. As you celebrate the 25th anniversary of your episcopal consecration, please receive the holy panagia and the congratulatory address. May God help you!
‘We have many important questions on the agenda that concern internal and external activity of our Church, election of new bishops and establishment of a new diocese. I invite you to work actively and, by God’s grace, consider all these questions today.’
The list of permanent members of the Holy Synod includes Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine; Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna; Metropolitan Vladimir of Kishinev and All Moldova; Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and Kazakhstan, head of the metropolitan area in the Republic of Kazakhstan; Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, head of the metropolitan area of Central Asia; Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus; and Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations.
Invited to take part in the summer session (March-August)) are Metropolitan Dimitry of Tobolsk and Tyumen; Metropolitan Mitrofan of Gorlovka and Slavyansk; Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada; and Bishop Alexander of Daugavpils and Rezekne.