A regular session of the Russian Orthodox Church Holy Synod took place in a remote format on December 8, reports the official website of the ROC. His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, presided over the meeting. Opening the meeting, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill addressed members of the Holy Synod:
“Your Eminences and Graces! Dear Hierarchs!
I cordially greet all of you and rejoice at the opportunity to meet with you, even though remotely, but visibly, thanks to modern means of communication, and to have the joy of communication and the opportunity to hold a meeting of the Holy Synod of our Church in order to consider a number of issues that are of crucial importance for the life of our Church, including important personnel issues.
We have nine items on the agenda, they are: the report of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion on his trip to Serbia for the funeral of His Holiness Patriarch Irinej; Metropolitan Hilarion’s report on the activities of the Commission for Old Believers Parishes and Interaction with Old Believers; the report of His Eminence Metropolitan Dionysius regarding the Regulation for the Commission for Addition of Holy Places (we will need to approve this Regulation); Metropolitan Dionysius’s report on the Commission for the Development of Orthodox Pilgrimage (the composition of this Commission is to be approved); the report of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion on the Commission of the Inter-Council Presence on Theology and Theological Education; the report of His Eminence Metropolitan Dionysius on the confirmation of the services of akathists, troparia and kontakion to saints; my report on overseas institutions; also my report on the XXIV Christmas Readings; and finally, a very important item is about the appointment of bishops, about the changes that we have to make taking into account the circumstances that have taken place, including the death of our Most Reverend hierarchs.
“Before we begin the meeting, I would like to draw your attention to the sad circumstances associated with the life of the Church over the past time, and note that many hierarchs died during this period, including His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, His Eminence Job (Tyvonyuk), the former Metropolitan of Chelyabinsk and Zlatoust, His Eminence Ioanniky (Kobzev), the former Metropolitan of Lugansk and Alchevsk, and His Eminence Theophan, the former Metropolitan of Kazan and Tatarstan. I suggest that we prayerfully remember our dear deceased brothers and sing to them “Eternal Memory” at the very beginning of our meeting.
The past period in the life of our Church, the life of our people was marked by mournful circumstances associated with the spread of the coronavirus infection. These circumstances have left a special imprint on the life of the Church, on the life of our laity, monastics, and clergy. In some places, there were restrictions related to visiting churches – first of all, in Moscow, where the situation with the spread of the coronavirus infection was significantly different and is still different from other cities and towns of our country. There is a really high percentage of people who are sick here, and at some point it was even decided to limit visits to temples. It was a very painful, difficult measure, but it had to be taken due to the fact that this disease was developing too dynamically. Unfortunately, a terrible infection affected many clergy: a large number of our brothers, dozens of people – I will not name a specific number now, because some clarifications are still required, but about 100 people – died from this disease. And when some people say, including those, who are wearing sacred clothes, that no epidemic exists, that this is a fiction, that all this is specially introduced into our lives to restrict visits to churches or the movement of people, then the answer to this lie is the hardest truth about our late fathers and brothers. Now it is not possible to list the names of all the deceased clergymen, there are also God’s saints among them, and I would like to ask everyone to honor the memory of those who died from this terrible disease- our fathers, brothers, monastic sisters – and sing to them “Eternal Memory”,” concluded His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.