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Summary of the Meeting of the Synod of Bishops of the RTOC, June, 2016.

The meeting took place at the Cathedral of the Holy Resurrection, at the Synodal Podvorie in Worcester, MA, USA. It began on Monday, June 14/27, 2016, and ended on Friday, June 18/ July 01, 2016.

The following were present:

Archbishop Tikhon, President of the Holy Synod
Archbishop Benjamin, Vice-Chairman of the Holy Synod
Bishop Savvati
Protopresbyter Victor Melehov, Secretary of the Holy Synod

Invited participants:

Priest Siluan Dignac, Rector of the Parish and Mission of Vladimir Mother of God, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Nun Evfrosinia (Molchanova), Dean of the Lesna Monastery, France.

Attended on Thursday and Friday:

Protopriest Joseph Sunderland, Rector of the parish of the Hieromartyr Joseph of Petrograd, Portland, Oregon, USA
Priest Jonah Apgar, Asst. Priest of the parish of the Hieromartyr Joseph of Petrograd, Portland, Oregon, USA

During this Meeting of the Holy Synod the following was decided:

Bishop Savvati was granted the status of ruling bishop. His diocese was established as Vinnetsa and Hmelnits, which includes all of Ukraine, except for Odessa, which is a separate diocese.

Bishop Savvati was entrusted with the parishes of the Gomelsk diocese, and the parishes in the Crimea.

Archbishop Benjamin was relieved of his temporary assignment over the Gomelsk dioceses.

The Synod discussed the situation regarding the Omsk clergy, and decided to take disciplinary action on an individual basis.

The Synod studied documents from the Greek True Orthodox Church from 1986, under the presidency of Archbishop Chrysostom (Kiousis), where the Synod of the GTOC decided to defrock Metropolitan Cyprian (Kutsumbas) for creating a schism in the Church, and for preaching his heresy concerning the “Ailing Mother Church…”

It was decided to publish all of these documents for the benefit of the faithfull.

The Synod discussed the possibility of gathering a Sobor in 2017, and decided the following:

  • To hold the RTOC Sobor during the second part of October, 2017. The location of the Sobor will be discussed at the next Synod meeting.
  • To form a committee responsible to organize the Sobor.
  • To include Protopresbyter Victor Melehov and Nun Evfrosinia (Molchanova) as members of the pre-Sobor Committee, and to consider the expansion of the pre-Sobor Committee at the next meeting of the Synod.
  • To announce the formation of the pre-Sobor Committee and assign it with the responsibility of preparing for the Sobor.

A primary purpose for holding the Synod Meeting in its Podvorie in Worcester, MA, USA, was to invite Bishop Stephan, who for reasons of health has found it impossible to travel to Russia to attend such meetings. Unfortunately, after being invited several times with substantial advance notice, Bishop Stefan refused to attend the meeting at the Synodal Podvorie in Worcester. Nonetheless, given Bishop Stefan’s behavior and statements over the past year, the Synod of Bishops considered such a meeting to be of utmost importance. After a number of telephone conversations, Bishop Stefan agreed to meet in Richmond Hill, New York. On Wednesday, June 16/29, 2016, the following members of the Synod and guests travelled four hours by bus in order to meet with Bishop Stefan:

Archbishop Tikhon, President of the Holy Synod
Archbishop Benjamin, Vice-Chairman of the Holy Synod
Bishop Savvati
Protopresbyter Victor Melehov, Secretary of the Holy Synod

Invited participants:

Priest Siluan Dignac, Rector of the Parish and Mission of Vladimir Mother of God, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Nun Evfrosinia (Molchanova), Dean of the Lesna Monastery, France.

There, in the city of Richmond Hill, they met with Bishop Stefan (Sabelnik) and Archpriest Sergei Klestov.

The following was discussed:

  • Bishop Stefan’s uncanonical announcement, on November 11/24, 2015, declaring autonomous rule based upon Patriarch Tikhon’s Ukaz No. 362.
  • Bishop Stefan’s statements calling the RTOC Synod illegitimate.
  • Bishop Stefan’s uncanonical action, and the violation of his hierarchical oath, in receiving the Omsk clergy who refuse to commemorate their ruling bishop without canonical reasons.
  • Bishop Stefan’s complaints against the RTOC Synod, and Protopresbyter Victor Melehov.

Although no resolution of the problems was reached, both sides agreed to work toward the stabilization of the situation. Bishop Stefan promised to write an exhortation to the separated Omsk clergy.

 Chancellery of the Synod

 
Church Life. Periodicals of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian True Orthodox Church.
For quoting a link on "Church Life" is obligatory.