OF THE DIOCESE OF SOUROZH
of the Russian Orthodox Church
I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
2 The Diocese forms part of the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchical structure (the “Russian Orthodox Church”) and is a canonical unit thereof.
The Diocese is headed by the Diocesan Hierarch.
3 The Diocese operates in accordance with the Statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church adopted by the Council of Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000 (the “Canonical Statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church”) and other internal edicts of the Russian Orthodox Church, including the Statutes of the Moscow Patriarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, decrees of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Council of Hierarchs, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, decrees and orders of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, decrees and orders of the Diocesan Hierarch, decisions of the Diocesan Assembly and Diocesan Council and these Statutes.
The Diocesan Canonical Units are subject to the local jurisdictions of the states within which they operate.
4 The Diocese, being a religious organisation, may own, use free of charge or otherwise exercise its proprietary rights over its property. The Diocese shall be responsible for its obligations with respect to its property.
The Diocese may in its own name acquire and exercise proprietary rights and obligations and can sue and be sued in court.
The Diocese may hold accounts with banks and other credit institutions.
5 The Diocese is under the spiritual guidance of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and is accountable to him in its religious and administrative activities.
6 The Diocese shall not participate in political parties and movements, and shall not provide them with financial or any other assistance and support.
7 The Diocese shall have the right to liaise with local authorities with respect to the matters, which may affect its activities.
8 The Diocese shall have its own headed paper and a seal bearing its full name and religious symbols. The form of the seal is subject to the approval of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
9 The full name of the Diocese is: “The Diocese of Sourozh: The Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain and Ireland (Moscow Patriarchate)”.
The administrative centre of the Diocese is located at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, 67 Ennismore Gardens, London SW7 1NH, U.K.
The Diocese shall use its full name stipulated by this Statute for the purposes of carrying out its statutory activities.
The faith of the Diocese is Orthodox Christianity.
II GOALS, OBJECTIVES AND TYPES OF ACTIVITIES
10 In order to promote the right to freedom of religion and to advance the Orthodox Christian faith, the Diocese carries out the following activities:
- church services, sacraments, devotions, sacred processions and ceremonies in churches, chapels and other church buildings and in the areas adjacent to them, in other locations provided for such purposes, in places of religious worship (pilgrimage), in the locations of organisations created by the Diocese or other religious organisations of the Russian Orthodox Church, in cemeteries and other similar locations, as well as in residential premises.
- church services, sacraments, devotions, sacred processions and ceremonies outside church buildings, places of religious veneration (pilgrimage) or other locations provided for such purposes shall be carried out in compliance with the procedure stipulated by law;
- church services, sacraments and devotions in medical institutions and hospitals, orphanages, old and disabled people homes and places of detention shall be carried out upon the request of their residents and subject to the consent of their administration;
- church services, sacraments, devotions in military units and on ships subject to the requirements of military regulations;
- promotion of the Orthodox Christian belief to people directly or through the media, including its own media resources;
- missionary activity;
- charitable activity, including in the area of social care of orphans and abandoned children, old and disabled people;
- religious education and upbringing, teaching religion;
- organising pilgrimages, entertaining religious delegations and representatives of various confessions, holding national or international religious conferences, forums, seminars;
- production, acquisition and distribution of religious literature (including liturgical books), audio and video material and other religious items;
- export, import and sale of religious literature (including liturgical books), audio and video material and other religious items;
- publishing and printing, distribution of other sources of information;
- manufacturing, distribution and sale of religious items made from precious metals and stones;
- involvement in design, construction and restoration of religious buildings in accordance with the procedure established by law;
- television and radio broadcasting and provision of communication services in relation thereto;
- entrepreneurial activity aimed at achieving the mission and objectives of the Diocese set out herein;
- any other activity in compliance with the rules and traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church and national legislation.
In order to carry out activities which require a license, the Diocese shall obtain the license in accordance with the established procedure.
11 The Diocese may, subject to the written consent (blessing) of the Diocesan Hierarch, incorporate legal entities (commercial and non-commercial organisations) in order to carry out charitable, cultural and educational, publishing, social and other activities in compliance with the rules and traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Diocese may incorporate media entities.
12 The Diocese may request financial and other assistance from government bodies for the restoration, maintenance and protection of buildings and other facilities of cultural and historical value, for providing general education in educational institutions established by the Diocese and other religious organisations of the Russian Orthodox Church within the Diocese, for carrying out charitable activity and for the implementation of projects and the organisation of events of social and educational importance.
13 The Diocese shall have the right to teach the fundamentals of the Orthodox Christian faith to junior pupils in government educational institutions subject to the relevant request from the parents and in the manner prescribed by law.
14 The Diocese may submit proposals to the local administration with respect to establishing religious cemeteries.
III THE DIOCESE
15 The Diocese was established on the 10th of October, 1962.
16 The Diocese was founded by the decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church from 10/10/1962 with the subsequent approval by the Council of Hierarchs.
The Diocese operates within territorial limits determined by the boundaries of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The Diocese and the Diocesan Canonical Units may have metochia outside the territorial limits of their operation.
17 The Statutes of the Diocese and amendments and supplemental provisions thereto are adopted by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and approved by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
IV STRUCTURE AND ADMINISTRATION
18 The Diocese consists of the Diocesan Canonical Units which are hierarchically subordinated to it. The units may include parishes (which may be united in deaneries), monasteries, convents, metochia, spiritual educational institutions, brotherhoods, sisterhoods, missions, representations, cells, chapels.
The Diocesan Canonical Units may be created and operate as religious organisations and as incorporated legal entities or unincorporated associations.
19 The supreme governing body of the Diocese in the period between the meetings of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church shall be the Council of Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church. During the sitting of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church the supreme governing body of the Diocese shall be the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The highest Church authorities exercise their jurisdiction over the Diocese through the Secretariat of the Moscow Patriarchy for the Russian Orthodox institutions abroad.
The Diocese shall conduct its external activities under the guidance of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.
The Diocese is directly administered by: the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church headed by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the Diocesan Hierarch as the head of the Diocese and the Diocesan Assembly.
The Diocesan Council and the Diocesan Administration are the permanently operating executive bodies of the Diocese.
V DIOCESAN HIERARCH
20 The Diocesan Hierarch (a metropolitan, archbishop or bishop) shall be elected or removed from office by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church upon the Decree of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
The Diocesan Hierarch is the head (the sole administrative body) of the Diocese who governs and administers the Diocese.
The Diocesan Hierarch, by virtue of his office and his rank, shall chair the Diocesan Assembly, the Diocesan Council, and the Diocesan Administration.
21 The Diocesan Hierarch has the following powers:
- to ensure that the Diocesan Canonical Units perform church services and other devotions properly and in compliance with Church order;
- to convene and to conduct the Diocesan Assembly and the meetings of the Diocesan Council;
- to veto resolutions of the Diocesan Assembly with the right of subsequent referral of the disputed matter to the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church;
- to carry out general governance and supervision of the Diocesan Canonical Units;
- to approve the statutes of the Diocesan Canonical Units;
- to confirm the affiliation of Diocesan Canonical Units to the Diocese;
- to appoint (remove) from office the rectors and clergy of the parishes of the Diocese and to supervise and monitor their activities, to submit to the approval of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church candidates for rectors of religious educational institutions and superiors of monasteries of the Diocese and to refer candidates to be admitted to religious educational institutions;
- to apply to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia with requests for the worthy clergy and laity to be presented with church awards in accordance with the established procedure;
- to exercise his authority with respect to the administration of the Diocesan Canonical Units in compliance with the Canonical Statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church and the applicable statutes of the said Units;
- to approve the decisions of the Diocesan Council and the Diocesan Administration;
- within the scope of his authority, to issue orders concerning the matters relating to the activities of the Diocese including staffing issues;
- to exercise pastoral discipline over clergy and laity; to refer relevant cases to the Ecclesiastical Court; to make decision to establish the Diocesan Court and to approve its decisions;
- to give blessing to construction, refurbishment, restoration and reconstruction of church buildings, chapels and other religious buildings within the Diocese and belonging to the Diocesan Canonical Units; to approve the relevant investment projects;
- to represent the Russian Orthodox Church before the relevant government organisations and local authorities with regards to matters related to the activities of the Diocese;
- to manage and control the property and the funds of the Diocese in accordance with these Statutes;
- to enter into transactions on behalf of the Diocese including entering into agreements, granting powers of attorney, opening bank accounts, to have the right of first signature on documents (with the chief Accountant of the Diocese having the right of second signature);
- to employ and dismiss the employees of the Diocese in accordance with relevant civil legislation; to approve the staff schedule of the Diocese;
- to exercise control over the religious, administrative, financial and economic activities of the Diocesan Canonical Units;
- to resolve any other matters in accordance with the Canonical Statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church and these Statutes.
The powers and authorities set out in this paragraph may (in full or in part) be exercised by the Vicar of the Diocesan Hierarch subject to the relevant Power of Attorney granted by the Diocesan Hierarch.
22 The Diocesan Hierarch shall report to the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church headed by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
VI THE DIOCESAN ASSEMBLY
23 The Diocesan Assembly chaired by the Diocesan Hierarch shall consist of members of the clergy, monastic clergy and laity resident in the territory of the Diocese and representing the Diocesan Canonical Units as chosen in the manner and number prescribed by the Diocesan Council.
24 The Diocesan Hierarch is the Chairman of the Diocesan Assembly. The Diocesan Assembly shall elect the Deputy Chairman and the Secretary. The Deputy Chairman may preside over the meeting upon the Chairman’s instruction.
The Diocesan Assembly shall be quorate if more than 50 per cent of its members are present. The decisions of the Diocesan Assembly shall be passed by the majority of votes. In the event of a tied vote, the Chairman shall have the casting vote.
The Diocesan Assembly conducts its activity in accordance with the procedures adopted by it.
25 The Diocesan Assembly shall be convened at least once a year by the Diocesan Hierarch at his discretion, upon the decision of the Diocesan Council or if requested by at least one third of the members of the Diocesan Assembly.
26 The powers and authorities of the Diocesan Assembly include:
- election of delegates to the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church;
- election of members of the Diocesan Council and the Diocesan Court;
- reviewing annual reports of the Diocesan Council;
- resolution of any other matters in accordance with the Canonical Statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church and these Statutes;
27 Decrees of the Diocesan Assembly shall be signed by the Diocesan Hierarch, the Deputy Chairman, the Secretary and two members of the Diocesan Assembly specially elected for this purpose.
VII DIOCESAN COUNCIL
28 The Diocesan Hierarch shall be the Chairman of the Diocesan Council.
29 The Diocesan Council is formed and convened by the blessing of the Diocesan Hierarch and consists of not less than four presbyters. The total number of the members of the Diocesan Council shall be even. Half of the members of the Diocesan Council shall be appointed by the Diocesan Hierarch with the other half of its members being elected by the Diocesan Assembly for the period of three years.
The appointment of the members of the Diocesan Council appointed by the Diocesan Hierarch may be terminated by the Diocesan Hierarch at any time.
The grounds and procedure for the early termination of the members of the Diocesan Council are determined by the Canonical Statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church.
30 The Diocesan Council shall meet not less than once in six month. It shall be quorate if more than half of its members are in attendance. The Chairperson shall determine the agenda of the meeting and conduct the meeting in accordance with its procedures. The Chairperson shall appoint the Secretary of the Diocesan Council from the members of the Diocesan Council.
Decisions of the Diocesan Council are made by the majority vote of those members in attendance. In the event of a tied vote, the Chairman shall have the casting vote.
31. The Diocesan Council, upon the instructions of the Diocesan Hierarch shall:
- carry out the decisions of the Diocesan Assembly with respect to matters within its competence and report on the progress of work to the Diocesan Assembly;
- establish the procedure for the election of the Diocesan Assembly, prepare for the Diocesan Assembly meetings including proposals on the agenda;
- attend to various matters of worship practice and canonical discipline; in the absence of a Diocesan Court in the Diocese perform the functions thereof;
- attend to matters related to setting up local religious organisations within the Diocese, including parishes;
- take decisions on establishing religious and other organisations of the Diocese as well as the Diocesan Canonical Units;
- identify the sources of funds for the Diocese and, if necessary, for the Diocesan Canonical Units;
- review reports on the result of the activity of the Diocesan Canonical Units and take decisions related thereto;
- review plans for construction, capital repair, refurbishment and restoration of churches and any other religious buildings (structures) within the Diocese or owned by the Diocesan Canonical Units; review relevant investment projects;
- keep the inventory of, and take measures to preserve the property of the Russian Orthodox Church, including that of the Diocese and the Diocesan Canonical Units;
- within the scope of its competence, deal with the matters related to the use and disposal of the property of the Diocesan Canonical Units;
- carry out inspections of the Diocesan Canonical Units;
- set up commissions in charge of the various areas of the Diocesan Council’s activity;
- submit annual reports on the results of its activity to the Diocesan Assembly;
- deal with any other matters upon the instruction of the Diocesan Hierarch and in accordance with the Canonical Statutes and these Statutes.
32 The decisions of the Diocesan Council have to be signed by all of its members and approved by the Diocesan Hierarch.
The decisions of the Diocesan Council shall take effect upon their approval by the Diocesan Hierarch.
VIII THE DIOCESAN ADMINISTRATION
33 The Diocesan Administration is the executive body of the Diocese.
34 The Diocesan Administration works under the direct supervision of the Diocesan Hierarch.
35 The establishment and operation of the Diocesan Administration, as well as its structure, shall be regulated by the Regulation approved by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and by the orders of the Diocesan Hierarch.
The Diocesan Administration may consist of departments and other unincorporated units.
All decisions of the Diocesan Administration shall take effect upon their approval by the Diocesan Hierarch.
IX THE PROPERTY AND FINANCIAL ASSETS OF THE DIOCESE
36 The sources of financial assets of the Diocese are listed below:
- donations given in connection with church services, sacraments and devotions;
- donations obtained from distribution of religious items and literature (books, magazines, newspapers, audio-and video records, disks etc);
- other donations given by local and foreign individuals and legal entities;
- income from the activity of the organisations established by the Diocese;
- contributions from the Diocesan Canonical Units in the amount approved by the Diocesan Hierarch;
- income from sale of religious items and literature;
- other income not prohibited by law including income from securities and bank deposits.
37 The financial assets of the Diocese shall be managed and controlled by the Diocesan Hierarch.
The Diocese may acquire shares and other securities.
Income from the business activity of the Diocese shall be used to achieve its goals and objectives stipulated herein.
38 The Diocese may use its funds to make charitable donations to the canonical units of the Russian Orthodox Church and individuals in need.
39 The Diocese may possess real and movable assets, which enable the Diocese to carry out activity in the territory of the UK and abroad, including those that fall within the category of historical and cultural monuments.
The Diocese may possess land to carry out its activity.
The Diocese may own vehicles if such vehicles are necessary for the Diocese to carry out its activity.
40 The Diocese may be granted the title or the right of use of religious buildings, structures and other items of real property owned by church organisations or local administrative authorities intended for conducting religious services and any other devotions and ceremonies, for religious education and other religious activity.
41 Real and movable property to which the Diocese and the Diocesan Canonical Units have the right of ownership or any other proprietary right shall be regarded as property relating to the Russian Orthodox Church.
42 The Diocese shall keep its accounts and conduct its canonical, administrative, financial and business activity with reference to its accountability to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, specifically, to the Secretariat of the Moscow Patriarchate for institutions abroad. The Diocesan annual report shall be submitted to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia through the Secretariat of the Moscow Patriarchate for institutions abroad.
43 No real property of the Diocese and of the Diocesan Canonical Units shall be acquired or disposed of without the preliminary written permission (blessing) of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
44 The property of the Russian Orthodox Church which, by virtue of his office, is in possession of the Diocesan Hierarch, shall after his death be recorded in the Diocesan inventory book and transferred to the ownership of the Diocese.
45 In the event of the dissolution of the Diocese, the future of the Diocesan property to which it has the right of ownership, shall be decided by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in accordance with the procedure stipulated by the national law.
46 In the event of the dissolution of the Diocese all property the use of which was granted to the Diocese by the Russian Orthodox Church or its Canonical Units, shall be returned to the Russian Orthodox Church represented by “the Moscow Patriarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church” or to the relevant Canonical Units.
47 The Treasurer of the Diocese shall look after, and keep account of cash, donations and other income. The Chief Accountant of the Diocese shall produce annual financial statements, keep accounts of the Diocese and shall have the right of second signature on banking and other financial documents (with the Diocesan Hierarch having the right of first signature). The Chief Accountant may at the same time hold the position of the Treasurer.
X FINAL PROVISIONS
48 The Employees of the Diocese shall observe the internal code of conduct which reflects the nature of work in a religious organisation of the Russian Orthodox Church. At the same time, they shall be covered by the provisions of the national employment law.
49 All documentation concerning employees and clergy of the Diocese shall be kept by the Diocesan Administration.
50 The employees and clergy of the Diocese shall receive social benefits and shall be covered by medical and social insurance and pension schemes in accordance with the applicable law.
51 Any restructuring of the Diocese shall be subject to the decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and its further approval by the Council of Hierarchs.
52 The dissolution of the Diocese shall be subject to the decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and to its further approval by the Council of Hierarchs.
53 The Diocesan Statutes shall be approved by the signature and seal of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.