of the Diocesan Council
on 8th June 2011
1. Having heard the report of Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh about his archpastoral visits to the Diocesan parishes in North England, Scotland and Ireland during the last three months, the Council considered the situation of church life there.
2. The members of the Council expressed their prayerful gratitude to the Lord for His blessing of the creation of the new parish of Blessed Xenia of Peterburg in Leeds, North England. On 7th May, 2011 Archbishop Elisey celebrated the first Liturgy there, and on the 30th May the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church accepted the newly-established Parish in Leeds into the Diocese of Sourozh.
3. The Council heard the report of Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh about the significant events that had taken place in the life of the diocese.
3.1 The presentation at the London Book Fair of the book by His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, ‘Freedom and Responsibility’, which was conducted by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk. Considered the book as a valuable contribution to the necessary dialogue with Western secular humanism.
3.2 The Day of Slavic Writing and Culture which had been successfully organised on the Feast of Ss Methodius and Kirill. Considered it as a useful witness to the unity of Slavic Orthodox people and a celebration of Christian enlightenment that should be continued.
3.3 The Annual Conference that had taken place on June 3rd to 5th at the Wycliffe Conference Centre, High Wycombe. Considered that the Conference was developing positively and was a unique opportunity for people to meet their priests and Archbishop in an informal setting. Decided that the next Conference should take place from June 8th - 10th, 2012 and that the Diocesan Assembly should take place at the Conference on June 9th.
4. The Council heard the report of Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh about clerical appointments.
4.1 Archpriest Gennady Andreev was appointed Rector of the Parish of Blessed Xenia of Peterburg in Leeds, North England, and was relieved of the responsibilities of Dean of the West Midlands and Rector of the Parish of All Saints of Britain and Ireland in Birmingham, West Midlands.
4.2 Archpriest Michael Gogoleff was appointed Dean of the West Midlands, Rector of the Parish of All Saints of Britain and Ireland in Birmingham, West Midlands, Rector of the Parish of Ss Peter and Paul in Portsmouth, South-East England, and Assistant Priest in the Parish of the Holy Trinity in Bristol, South-West England.
4.3 Priest David Smith was relieved of the responsibilities of the Rector of the Parish of Ss Peter and Paul in Portsmouth, South-East England.
5. The Council heard the report of Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh about clerical awards.
5.1 At the evening service on Bright Monday, Archbishop Elisey presented a number of the clergy of the diocesan Cathedral with Patriarchal awards. The right to wear the palitza was awarded to Archpriest Mikhail Dudko and Archpriest Vadim Zakrevsky. Priest Maxim Mitrofanov was elevated to the rank of Archpriest. Deacon Vadim Santsevich was honoured by Archpastoral award: the right to wear the double orarion.
5.2 At the Divine Liturgy celebrated at the Diocesan Conference on Sunday 5th June, Archbishop Elisey, with the blessing of His Holiness the Patriarch, elevated Priest Philip Steer to the rank of Archpriest.
6. The Council reviewed the situation of some small parish communities in the deaneries of East Midlands, South-West England and East of England.
6.1 It was decided to assimilate the small parish community at Newark, East Midlands, to the Parish of Ss Aidan and Chad in Nottingham.
6.2 The parish communities in Totnes, Newton Abbott and Fardell Manor, Devon, South-West England are to be united in a single Parish of Ss Elizabeth and Barbara in Newton Abbot with the organisational and material support of the charitable organisation “The Community of St Antony and St Elias” in Totnes.
7. The Council discussed the necessity of implementing the Regulation of the Bishops’ Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church of February 2008 and 2011 concerning the establishment and operation of Diocesan Courts. According to the the Regulation Concerning the Ecclesiastical Courts adopted by Bishops’ Council, the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Secretary are appointed by the Diocesan Bishop, and at least two further members of the Court are elected by the Diocesan Assembly on the proposal of the Diocesan Bishop. The members of the Diocesan Council discussed various candidates for the positions of judges and agreed with the decision to establish the Diocesan Court at the meeting of the Diocesan Assembly on 18th June, 2011. It is intended to administer the oath of office for the members of the Diocesan Court at the diocesan clergy meeting on 24th September, 2011.
8. The Council considered the necessity of celebrating the forthcoming 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Sourozh in 2012. There was a discussion about possible festive events and the guests to be invited to them. It was decided to establish an organising committee, which should present a draft programme of events to the next meeting of the Diocesan Council on 7th September, 2011.
9. The Council discussed the Agenda for the forthcoming meeting of the Diocesan Assembly on 18th June, 2011. On that day, it was expected that we would be joined by a delegation from the Brotherhood of St Seraphim Vyritsky that would bring from St Petersburg an icon in order to share with us the prayerful memory of this great Russian ascetic of our own time. It was expected that the members of the delegation would give a talk about St Seraphim at the Assembly. The main item of the Chairman’s report would be a vision for the future development of the diocese. The Assembly would also establish the Diocesan Court.
10. Other matters discussed by the Council included proposals for the education of clergy and for an orderly approach to pastoral work. The Council considered it necessary to remind clergy that, in accordance with canonical tradition, they are obliged to seek in advance the blessing of the Diocesan Bishop for any planned absence from their parishes for holidays and other purposes.
11. The next meeting of the Council would be held on 7th September, 2011.