On December 8-9, 2015, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia met at the residence of the First Hierarch in New York City.
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York opened the session by greeting the archpastors, wishing them Divine aid in their labors, and paid special attention to His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, congratulating him on the 35th anniversary of his episcopal consecration and selfless service to the Holy Church of Christ. In response, Vladyka Mark thanked the First Hierarch and beseeched the holy prayers of the member bishops of the Synod.
He then proceeded to report on the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem and on the work of the Pan-Orthodox Assembly preparing for the Pan-Orthodox Council scheduled for 2016.
His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and New York then gave a financial report for the Synod and spoke about the results of the meeting of the Orthodox Calendar commission of the Russian Orthodox Church, chaired by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in October.
His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Deputy Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, then delivered a report on the visit of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” to dioceses in Australia, Western Europe and Russia, including those of the Kursk, Ekaterinburg and Ufa Metropoliates, and proposed a schedule for visits for the coming year. Deliberating on requests by Metropolitan German of Kursk and Rylsk and of Metropolitan Zinovy of Saransk and Mordva, the Synod of Bishops decided to appeal to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia with a request to grant his Patriarchal blessing to bring the holy icon to those metropoliates.
Having heard a report by the President of the Synodal Liturgical Music Commission, Protopriest Andre Papkov, the Synod approved its work and gave its blessing to continue in its efforts.
His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America then proposed marking the 50th anniversary of the repose of St John, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco the Miracle-worker, in San Francisco and Seattle, WA. The dates of the celebrations will be announced at a later date.
The meeting concluded with the archpastors celebrating the feast day of the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign,” preceded by a special memorial service for Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky, +1965) of blessed memory and Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky, +1985).
After Divine Liturgy on Thursday, December 10, Archbishop Mark was awarded the Medal of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign,” First Order.
The next session of the Synod of Bishops will be held in Moscow, Russia, in February, 2016, when the member bishops will attend the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, to coincide with the anniversary of the enthronement of His Holiness.