« A meeting of the Diocesan Council took place at the Cathedral »

A regular meeting of the Diocesan Council took place at the Cathedral in London on March 24th.

Having heard the report of Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh, Chairman of the Diocesan Council, about his activities during the last three months, the members of the Council expressed their prayerful gratitude to the Lord for the important events that had taken place in the life of the diocese, in particular the consecration of the Church of St Aidan and St Chad in Nottingham and that of Stavropegic Church of the Protecting Veil of the Most Holy Theotokos in Manchester.

The Council discussed the question of the organisation of a new Moldavian parish in London and the difficulties connected with finding a suitable place of worship.

The members of the Council noted with gratitude the decision of the Holy Synod of 22nd March, 2011 concerning the incorporation of the newly-established parish of the Meeting of the Lord in Bradford into the Diocese of Sourozh.

The Council also took note of the decision of the Holy Synod to transfer Priest Mikhail Nasonov to the clergy of the Diocese of Sourozh and to appoint him as Rector of the Patriarchal Representation Church of St Peter and St Paul in Dublin, with the concomitant release of Archpriest Michael Gogoleff of the Diocese of Sourozh from the duties of Rector of the Representation Church.

The members of the Council approved the arrangement made by the Diocesan Bishop to the effect that Priest Maxim Mitrofanov should serve periodically at the Stavropegic Church of the Protecting Veil of the Most Holy Theotokos in Manchester and that Priest Evgeny Selensky, cleric of the Diocese of Sourozh, should serve periodically at the Diocesan Cathedral in London.

The Diocesan Council resolved to establish a number of new Diocesan Departments. A Department of Inter-Orthodox Affairs was created and Priest Joseph Skinner was appointed as its Director. The Diocesan Department of Child Protection and the Structures Committees were merged into a single Department of Legal Affairs under the direction of Adrian Dean. A new Department for Relations with the Russian-speaking Community was established, the direction of which was entrusted to Archpriest Mikhail Dudko. A Department of Missionary Work was created and Archpriest Gennady Andreev was appointed as Director.

In the course of the meeting the Diocesan Council reviewed the decisions of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church that took place from the 2nd to 4th of February and indicated how these should be implemented at the diocesan level. In particular, the Council discussed the question of preparation for the establishment of a Diocesan Court. The Council of the Diocesan Administration was created in order to facilitate effective allocation of responsibility for the execution of diocesan tasks. Its membership will include all the Directors of the Diocesan Departments.

The Council also discussed the decision of the Bishops’ Council concerning the requirements for theological education for ordinands and clergy, and in particular the need for further education for those clergy without adequate training. The Education Department was asked to prepare proposals for addressing these questions.

Continuing and developing the discussion of the question of regular participation by the laity in the Sacrament of Confession which took place at the Diocesan clergy meeting, the Council approved the decision to send a pastoral recommendation to all the parishes of the diocese calling upon the laity to participate regularly in the Sacrament of Confession, at a frequency of not less than once every forty days – a period of time considered sacred from Biblical times.  Should a layperson abstain from Confession for more than forty days, then he or she should not receive Holy Communion, the preparation for which is inconceivable without repentance and reconciliation with one’s neighbours. In the case where a layperson desires to receive Communion frequently, they should be exhorted to prepare worthily for receiving the Holy Mysteries, but it should not be required that they should confess immediately before every Communion, provided that they confess more than once every forty days.