We are including the English text of events of the Sobor in Mansonville in 2011 of the ROCOR Synod headed by Archbishop Vladimir of San Fransisco. A number of events occurred, including the elevation of a second Bishop for the Americas, raising the number of Bishops of the jurisdiction to eight.
The following major points are from the 2011 Sobor of Bishops. Each session began with the prayer “O Heavenly King” and ended with “Meet it Is.”
In attendance: President of the Sobor, Archbishop Vladimir
Secretaries – Bishops Anastassy and Tikhon
Members – Bishops Victor and Cassian
By intercession of His Grace Vladimir, also in attendance – Hieromonk Ambrose (Dvornichenko)
1. Report from the President
2. Reports from various dioceses
3. Deliberation of the candidacy of Hieromonk Ambrose for the episcopacy
4. Presentation from Bp. Cassian on the need for electing a Metropolitan
5. Report from the Treasurer
6. Regarding various dioceses
7. Report of the commission of theological studies
8. Appeal from the Southern Russian diocese to the Sobor
9. Appeal from laity to the Sobor.
10. Regarding a publication from the ROCA
12. Epistle to the flock
1. His Grace Vladimir, briefly recounted the current situation of the Church in general outlining accomplishments and plans. He also declared the meeting open with the singing of O Heavenly King.
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By agreement of Bishop Cassian, Priest Emmanuel Bashev is transferred directly under the obedience of the president of the Synod. Two clergy are accepted into ROCA through repentance. Mitered Archpriest Peter Semienskih of Brisbane and Priest Vladimir Sukanov of Sydney. They are also directly under the president of the synod.
Archbishop Vladimir gave an account of Church life in the US and Canada.
2. From the report of Bishop Anastassy were heard certain changes in the diocese.
Fr. Joseph Shute has been suspended from priestly function, however other clergy are continuing the cycle of Divine services at the Cathedral. We heard of the founding of a new Parish in Vladivostok dedicated to Grand Duchess Elizabeth bringing the total of parishes with governmental approval in the area to 3, and an annual pilgrimage on the day of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God to the former Smakovsk Monastery some 330 km away which is receiving some negative comment from the MP.
Bishop Victor spoke of his diocese briefly.
Bishop Tikhon explained that work on the monastery continues with much accomplished in the Church, the monks quarters, workshop and on a separate site – buildings for some nuns with a home church. Some missionary activity continues along with printing. The parish of St. John of Shanghai now has some 350 to 400 members.
Bishop Cassian spoke of his diocese.
3. It was discussed and unanimously agreed to elevate Fr. Ambrose to the episcopacy without delay, with the title “of Denver and Vicar to Western America.”
By appeal of Bishop Martine and 15 priests along with 2 deacons, it was agreed to change the title of the diocese from “Alexinsk and Southern Russia” to Istrinsky and Southern Russia.”
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4. Report of Bishop Cassian.
We thank Bishop Cassian for his report, and it is decided that the time for electing a Metropolitan is yet premature.
5. Treasurer’s Report
6.Various remote missions have been set up in Russia with some territorial overlap. It is noted that by the Church rules this is allowed with the agreement of the local bishop and ratification of the Sobor.
7. Theological Committee
2. Bp.Anastassy presented supplementary names to be added to the Choir of New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. The committee will continue in this work. The new names will be posted to the website.
3. Bp. Anastassy reported on the continuing work related to review of the text of the Akathist to St. John the Wonderworker.
8. From the Southern Russian Diocese.
It was discussed with Bp. Martine to convey to participants of the clergy in the diocese involved in missionary work, the critical importance of ensuring all information published is correct dogmatically theologically.
9. From the Laity.
1. From Svetlana Vasilievna Pavlovitch of Montreal, who worked alongside His Beatitude Met. Vitaly for many years, a letter wishing success to the Sobor
It was agreed to covey thanks to Mme. Pavlovitch.
2. Good wishes in a letter from Alexander Babushkin and hopes to increase the Episcopacy.
It was decided to take this under consideration.
3. An appeal from the parish of the new Martyrs and Confessors in St. Petersburg as to the canonicity of the ROCA.
It was decided to direct the ruling Bishop to enlighten the flock as to the matter and provide understanding of ROCA.
4. An appeal of some laity of ROCA towards discussions with the group of Agathangel (Pashkovsky).
It was agreed: We considered the matter, and report to the authors that as to the council of bp. Aganthangel’s group there is no “significant unity of thought.”
10. As to publishing a written report of the Synod, Bp. Anastassy offered to organize a journal, which would be available in the form of an e-journal.
Further attention to the question of a journal yielded the following:
1. To renew the publication of the journal “Orthodox View,” once offered by the Brotherhood of St. Job of Pochaev under Met. Vitaly, as the official publication of ROCA.
Further consideration of an official ROCA publication.
2. To appoint as editor of “Orthodox View” Hieromomk Ambrose (Dvornichenko) and assisting staff members priest Maxime Saknov and reader Alexander Lubavsky.
Archbishop Vladimir suggested having a temporary member to the Synod appointed on a 6 month rotational basis from each diocese. Accepted unanimously.
Archbishop Vladimir suggested the confirmation of the offices of the Sobor of Bishops. This was done as follows:
President – Archbishop Vladimir
Locum – Bishop Anastassy
Secretary – Hieromonk Ambrose (Bishop elect of Denver)
a). Archbishop Vladimir reported on the internet actions of the member of our Church Vladislav Zacharyin which caused rumor, gossip and discord, and the canonical rulings against such actions. His Grace called the member to public repentance.
It was decided that Bishop Anastassy would explain this situation to Vladislav Zacharyin and place him under suspension from the Mysteries until his repentance.
b). It was decided to attempt to collect a Synodal archive of materials to which all the diocesan bishops would contribute and to appoint priest Alexander Veberov as archivist.
c). Bishop Tikhon requested the title of the Moldovian Diocese be changed to “Lesser-Russian” to accommodate current borders. Also to change the title of the ruling Bishop to “of Soltanov and Lesser-Russia.”
d). Further, to change the title of the Vicar Bishop to “Bishop of Basilkosk – Vicar to Lesser – Russia”.
e). Consideration of the matter of the suspension from Priestly functions of Bishop Anthony (Rudei).
All previous canonical decisions were reviewed and it was decided to remind clergy and laity in association with a person suspended from priestly function such as the monk (Anthony Rudei) that in accordance with the Apostolic Canons, following a suspended clergyman leads one to their suspension as well.
It was decided that this matter was previously considered in two instances: 25 March / 7 April 2008 and 12 / 25 November 2008.
f). The president of the Sobor suggested adding hieromonk Ambrose to the Theological Committee.
We heard the draft of the epistle, read by Bishop Tikhon.
We listened to the financial reports from the treasury by priest Andrew Lomov and Antony Vasiliovitch Lebedev. We also heard from Deacon Alexei Fimine as to progress in legal matters.
It was decided to thank the above members, but in general all the members especially the sisterhood of the Parish of St. Seraphim of Sarov (Montreal) for their efforts.
It was decided to remove arch-priest Valerie Roznov from the Theological Committee.
12. A revised epistle of the Sobor 2011 was agreed on unanimously.
It was further agreed to hold the next session of the Sobor of Bishops in Kiev at the St. John the Wonderworker Monastery, from 16/29 September to 23 September/06 October 2012.
This session as well ended with the prayer “Meet is Is”.
PRESIDENT OF THE SOBOR OF BISHOPS:
+Archbishop Vladimir of San Francisco and Western America
SECRETARY OF THE SOBOR OF BISHOPS:
+Bishop Anastassy of Vladivostok and the Far East
+Bishop Tikhon of Basilkosk
+ Bishop Victor of St. Petersburg
+ Bishop Martine of Istra
+ Bishop Cassian of Marseilles