On 30 January 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia chaired the first in 2013 session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. The session is being held at the Synod’s Hall of the Patriarchal and Synodal residence in St. Daniel’s Monastery.
Taking part in the session are permanent members of the Holy Synod: Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine; Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg and Ladoga; Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus; Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna; Metropolitan Vladimir of Kishinev and All Moldova; Metropolitan Varsonofiy of Saransk and Mordovia, Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; and Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’ Department for External Church Relations.
Metropolitan Aleksandr of Astana and Kazakhstan and Metropolitan Vikentiy of Tashkent and Uzbekistan were also included as permanent members by the decision of the Holy Synod of 5 October 2011 (Minutes 99) pending approval by the Bishops’ Council.
Invited to the winter session (September 2012-February 2013) are Metropolitan Vladimir of Omsk and Tavricheskoye, Metropolitan Veniamin of Penza and Nizhniy Lomov, Archbishop Mark of Hust and Vinogradov, Archbishop Simon of Murmansk and Monchegorsk, and Bishop Savva of Tiraspol and Dubossary.
The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church welcomed the Holy Synod’s members and presented main items on the agenda.
“I greet all members of the Holy Synod, both permanent and temporary ones. We are opening the first session in the New Year of 2013. I congratulate you all with the feasts we celebrated and express my hope that the Holy Synod will work as actively as in the last year.
“Last year we had to take very important decisions on the election of bishops for the newly establishes dioceses. I will speak about it in detail at the forthcoming Bishops’ Council.
“We can see the results of these important decisions in positive changes that are taking place in the newly established dioceses, such as the newly opened churches and the increased number of ordinations. The changes are also seen in education and in missionary activities.
“I hope that sessions of the Synod in 2013 would be marked, God graciously willing, by important decisions aimed at the development of church life and improvement of the pastoral and missionary work which the Russian Orthodox Church is doing for the good of people and for salvation of human souls.
“As to the present session, the preparation for the Bishops’ Council is main item on the agenda. We ought to adopt its rules of procedure, draft agenda and composition of its working bodies, to nominate a secretary and present at least two important documents to the members of the Council. These are Regulations for material and social support of priests, church workers and staff of religious organizations of the Russian Orthodox Church; and a draft of alterations and amendments to the Statute. The first document was adopted by the last Bishops’ Council and is being implemented. However, to make the Regulations permanent we will consider some amendments and then present it to the Bishops’ Council.
Welcome to the Synod’s first session in 2013!”