2009-01-16 12:46:00

Elections of delegates to the Russian Church Local Council completed, citizens from 64 countries chosen

Moscow, January 16, Interfax – Diocesan council of Moscow clergy completed choosing delegates to the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church which is to be held on January 27-29.

According to the preliminary information, over 700 people are to participate in the Council work. Lists of the participants keep coming to the organizational committee.

Each Diocese (today their number equals to 157) proposed three participants to the Council – a cleric, a monk and a layman living in its territory. According to the decision of the Holy Synod, patriarchal parishes in Canada, USA, Turkmenia, Italy, Scandinavia elected two delegates each (a cleric and a layman.)

Diocesan delegates-laymen are usually activists of local Orthodox communities and represent various scopes of activities: there are officials of regional administrations, businessmen, scientists, journalists, a director of the circus, an actress.

“Our Church is rich with this diversity and no one of these people should be rejected the right to be Orthodox Christian, moreover if clergy and laymen of the entire region, entire diocese decided in their meeting that the person is worthy to be at the Council,” Deputy Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said.

According to him, citizens of the Russian Federation will make less than half the delegates to the Council as the territory of the Russian Church spreads far beyond boarders of Russia.

The Moscow Patriarchate has parishes in 12 CIS countries (apart from Russia) and in 51 states of other foreign countries.

Today, the number of bishops in the Russian Orthodox Church equals to 203 hierarchs.

According to the Provision on Local Council, the list of its participants also includes heads of Synodal institutions, rectors of theological academies and St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University, five delegates from theological seminaries, members of the council’s preparatory commission, four delegates from stauropegial nunneries, Head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem.