Moscow, October 6, Interfax - The session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, chaired by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, has opened on Thursday at the patriarchal working residence in Chisty Pereulok in Moscow.
'I cordially greet all the members of the Holy Synod at its regular session, which is traditionally held on the threshold of the Commemoration Day of St. Sergius of Radonezh. I greet you on the occasion of the Feast of the Venerable Father', the patriarch said opening the session.
After the greeting, the primate of the Russian Church congratulated Metropolitan Juvenaly on his 70th birthday and presented him with the Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov, First Degree, the Moscow Patriarchate officials informed Interfax.
Its agenda includes consideration of such urgent issues as religious situation in Ukraine, especially the transfer of the Greek-Catholic headquarters from Lvov to Kiev, prospects for rapprochement between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Church Outside Russia, the work of the Canonization Commission and summing up the celebrations held to mark the anniversary of the Kulikovo Battle.
The synodal governance system was introduced in the Russian Orthodox Church by Peter I in 1721 and the Holy Synod was the church supreme governing body till Patriarch Tikhon was elected to the Moscow see in 1918.
At present the synod is a consultative body under the patriarch, which exercises administrative function in the period between Bishops' Councils.
The Synod includes six hierarchs as permanent members who are obliged to attend every session. It is convened by the patriarch twice a year for the so-called summer (March-August) and winter (September-February) sessions.