The Meeting of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian True Orthodox Church took place from June 12thto June 16th, 2017. The Session began and ended with a hierarchal liturgy concelebrated by Archbishop Tikhon, Bishop Savvaty, and the clergy of the Synodal Podvorie: Protopresbyter Victor Melehov, Protopriest Dionysi McGowan, Priest Nicholas Melehov, Deacon Paul Gonyea, and Deacon Petr Dzuba, as well as Archimandrite Philaretos (Klimakitis), Dean of Western Europe.
Archbishop Benjamin participated in the discussion of all Synodal issues at a preliminary meeting with the other bishops in Moscow on June 7th. Archbishop Benjamin was kept informed regarding the subsequent Synodal decisions through the use of the Internet.
One of the main issues on the agenda of the Synodal meetings was the issue of the second Holy Sobor of the Russian True Orthodox Church. It was decided to hold the Holy Sobor of the RTOC from October 20th to October 30th, 2017, in the city of Azov, Rostov Region. A detailed program of the Council will be published separately.
The following themes were generated for the reports:
- The mission of the ROCOR and the Catacomb Church – a historical retrospective of the development of relationships, the present and the future of the true ROC (ROCOR and the Catacomb Church).
- Concerns regarding the false teachings of Cyprianism and Sergianism. The anti-Christian essence of the Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius in 1927 and the heresy of Sergianism.
- Monasticism in the modern world.
- World Orthodoxy, Globalization, the danger of participation in the polemics in social networks.
- A careful examination of the reception process for clergy and laity from World Orthodoxy into the bosom of the True Church, given the deepening process of apostasy.
- Regarding mutual relations with various True-Orthodox jurisdictions.
- Appeal to the youth.
- Regarding the complexities and specifics concerning the upbringing of children in Orthodox families in our time.
- Regarding the preservation of unity in the Church.
- Regarding the services (i.e., certain possible changes in the texts of petitions in litanies).
Those wishing to make other reports at the Council must submit the topics and abstracts of their reports by September 1, 2017, for consideration by the Synod of Bishops. Applications must be sent to the Synodal Chancellery email address.
The number of clergy and laity allowed to participate and represent each parish at the Sobor was considered and defined.
The Dean of Western Europe, Archimandrite Philaret (Klimakitis), took part in certain meetings of the Synod where the possibility of hierarchical ordinations for the management of foreign dioceses of the RTOC was discussed.
Questions of internal church life were also discussed: the appeals of laymen and clergy from South America, the awarding of clergy on the recommendation of ruling bishops, a review of church life in dioceses, consideration of appeals and documents from clergy wishing to come under the omophorion of the RTOC, divorce cases.