2009-02-01 00:00:00

Statute of the Russian Orthodox Church. Chapters X-XIV

X. The Dioceses

1. The Russian Orthodox Church shall be divided into dioceses - local churches governed by the bishop and uniting the diocesan institutions, deaneries, parishes, monasteries, church representations, theological educational institutions, brotherhoods, sisterhoods and missions.

2. The Diocese shall be established by the decision of the Holy Synod with subsequent approval by the Bishops' Council.

3. The boundaries of the dioceses shall be determined by the Holy Synod.

4. Each diocese shall have the bodies of diocesan administration acting in the framework determined by the canons and the present Statute.

5. Necessary institutions can be established in the dioceses to meet church needs. Their activities shall be regulated by the Regulations (Statutes) approved by the Holy Synod.

1. The Diocesan Bishop

6. The Diocesan Bishop, in succession of the authority from the holy apostles, shall be the primate of the local church - the diocese and shall canonically rule it with conciliar assistance of the clergymen and laymen.

7. The Diocesan Bishop shall be elected by the Holy Synod and receive the appropriate decree from the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

8. If need be, the Holy Synod shall appoint vicar bishops to assist the Diocesan Bishop with their range of competence at the discretion of the Diocesan Bishop.

9. The bishops shall have the title with the name of the cathedral city. The bishops' titles shall be determined by the Holy Synod.

10. The candidates for the office of bishop shall be elected from among the monastics or unmarried white clergy with obligatory taking of monastic vows. The candidates' age shall be not less then 30 years. The candidate must satisfy the high rank of a bishop by his moral qualifications and have theological education.

11. The Bishops shall enjoy the fullness of hierarchal authority in the matters of doctrine, religious rites and pastoral care.

12. The Diocesan Bishop shall ordain clergymen and appoint them to the place of their ministry, appoint all workers of the diocesan institutions and give his blessing to monastic profession.

13. The Diocesan Bishop shall have the right to accept clergymen from other dioceses into his diocese, if they have release documents, and the right to release the clergymen to other dioceses and present their personal dossiers and release documents at the request of the bishops.

14. No decision of the bodies of the diocesan administration can be implemented without the consent of the Diocesan Bishop.

15. The Diocesan Bishop can issue archpastoral letters to the clergymen and laymen within his diocese.

16. The Diocesan Bishop shall be obliged to submit an annual report in the prescribed form about the religious, administrative, financial and economic state of the diocese and his own activities to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

17. The Diocesan Bishop shall be a plenipotentiary representative of the Russian Orthodox Church before the appropriate bodies of state authority and administration in the matters, which concern his diocese.

18. In governing the diocese the Bishop shall:

a) take care for the preservation of the faith, Christian morality and piety;
b) supervise the correct celebration of the divine services and preservation of church beauty;
c) be responsible for the implementation of the provisions of the present Statute, the decisions of the Councils and of the Holy Synod;
d) convene the Diocesan Assembly and the Diocesan Council and chair them;
e) exercise the right of 'veto' on the decisions of the Diocesan Assembly with subsequent submission of the matter to the Holy Synod for consideration;
f) approve the civil statutes of the parishes, monasteries, church representations and other canonical units, which comprise the diocese;
g) in accordance with the canons visit the parishes in his diocese and exercise control over their activities directly or through his plenipotentiary representatives;
h) have the higher authoritative supervision for the diocesan institutions and monasteries in his diocese;
i) supervise the activities of the diocesan clergymen;
j) appoint rectors, parish priests and other clergymen;
k) submit for the approval by the Holy Synod the names of the rectors of the Theological educational institutions, father superiors (mother superiors) and abbots of the monasteries in the diocese;
l) approve the composition of the Parish meetings;
m) partly or fully change the composition of the Parish meeting, if the members of the Parish meeting deviate from canonical rules and regulations of the Russian Orthodox Church;
n) take a decision on the convocation of the Parish meeting;
o) approve the candidatures for the chairmen of the Parish councils and the Auditing commissions;
p) withdraw members from the Parish councils, who violate canonical norms and statutes of the parishes;
q) approve financial and other reports of the Parish councils and reports of the Auditing commissions of the parishes;
r) approve the candidates for the chairmen of the Parish councils elected by the Parish meetings and dismiss them from their positions, if they violate canonical norms and the statute of the Parish;
s) approve the minutes of the Parish meetings;
t) give leave to the clergy;
u) care for the improvement of the spiritual and moral state of the clergy and for the enhancement of the level of their education;
v) care for the training of the clergymen and church servants and for this objective send the worthy candidates to the Theological educational institutions;
w) supervise church sermons;
x) petition the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia for the awarding worthy clergymen and laymen with appropriate awards and himself confer the awards upon them in the prescribed manner;
y) give his blessing to the establishment of new parishes;
z) give his blessing to the construction and repair of the churches, prayer houses and chapels and take care for their exterior and interior decoration to be in line with the Orthodox church tradition;
1) consecrate churches;
2) care for the state of church singing, icon-painting and applied church arts;
3) intercede before the bodies of state authority and administration for the return to the diocese of the churches, other buildings and constructions destined for ecclesiastical purposes;
4) solve the matters of ownership, use and disposal of the property of the diocese;
5) dispose of the financial assets of the diocese, and on its behalf conclude agreements, give powers of attorney and open accounts in banks;
z6) exercise control for religious, administrative and financial activities of the dioceses, monasteries, educational institutions and other units of the diocese;
z7) issue his executive and managerial acts on all matters of the life and activities of the diocese;
z8) confirm the belonging to his diocese of all parishes, monasteries and other canonical units of the diocese located on its territory;
z9) directly or through the appropriate diocesan institutions care for:

- works of charity and social ministry;
- provision of the parishes with all objects necessary for celebrating divine services;
- meeting other ecclesiastical needs.

19. In supervising canonical order and church discipline the Diocesan Bishop shall:

a) have the right of fatherly influence on the clergymen and incur penalty upon them, including punishment by reprimand, dismissal from the occupied position and temporary suspension;
b) admonish laymen and, if need be, impose punishments upon them or temporarily excommunicate them; submit grave misdemeanours to the consideration of the ecclesiastical court;
c) approve the punishment imposed by the ecclesiastical court and have the right of mitigation;
d) in accordance with the canons solve the problems pertaining to church marriages and divorces.

20. A vacant diocese shall be temporarily governed by the bishop appointed by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. During the period of vacancy of the episcopal see no business shall be conducted pertaining to the re-organization of the diocesan life and no changes in the work begun in the period of governance of the previous bishop shall be made.

21. In the event the diocese is vacant, the ruling bishop is transferred or retired, the Diocesan Council shall set up a commission, which shall proceed to the auditing of the diocesan property and shall draw up an appropriate act of transference of the diocese to the newly-appointed bishop.

22. The church property, which belonged to the bishop in virtue of his rank and office and which is in the official bishop's residence shall be put into the inventory book of the diocese after his death and shall be passed over to it. The personal property of the deceased bishop shall be inherited in accordance with the acting laws.

23. The diocese cannot remain vacant for more than forty days, except in special cases, when there are sufficient reasons to prolong the vacancy.

24. The Diocesan Bishops shall have the right to leave their dioceses on valid reasons for not more than 14 days without preliminary permission from the highest church authorities. If the absence is planned for more than 14 days, the bishops shall ask for the permission in the prescribed manner.

25. The Holy Synod shall determine the maintenance of the diocesan bishops. Upon retirement they will be given bishops' pension, the size of which shall be determined by the Holy Synod.

26. When the bishop is 75, he shall submit his petition for retirement to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

2. The Diocesan Assembly

27. The Diocesan Assembly headed by the Diocesan Bishop shall be the governing body of the diocese and shall be composed of the clergymen, monastics and laymen living on the territory of the diocese and representing the canonical units in the composition of the diocese.

28. The Diocesan Assembly shall be convened by the Diocesan Bishop at his discretion but no less than once a year, and also by the decision of the Diocesan Council or on the demand of no less than 1/3 of the members of the previous Diocesan Assembly.

The procedure of convening the members of the Diocesan Assembly shall be established by the Diocesan Council.

29 The Diocesan Assembly shall:

a) elect delegates to the Local Council;
b) elect members of the Diocesan Council and the Diocesan Court;
c) establish necessary diocesan institutions and care for their financial maintenance;
d) work out general diocesan rules and regulations in accordance with the resolutions of the Councils and the decisions of the Holy Synod;
e) supervise the diocesan life;
f) hear the reports on the state of affairs in the diocese, on the work of the diocesan institutions, on the life of the monasteries and other canonical units in composition of the diocese, and take decision upon these reports.

30. The Diocesan Assembly shall be chaired by the Diocesan Bishop. The Diocesan Assembly shall elect the deputy chairman and the secretary. The deputy chairman can guide the Assembly if so instructed by the Chairman. The secretary shall be responsible for the minutes of the Diocesan Assembly.

31. The quorum of the Assembly shall be the majority (more than a half) of its members. The decisions shall be taken by the majority of votes. In the event of a tie, the Chairman shall cast the deciding vote.

32. The Diocesan Assembly shall work in accordance with the adopted rules of procedure.

33. The minutes of the Diocesan Assembly shall be signed by the Chairman, his deputy, the secretary and two members of the Assembly elected to do it.

3. The Diocesan Council

34. The Diocesan Council headed by the Diocesan Bishop shall be the governing body of the diocese.

The Diocesan Council shall be formed with the blessing of the Diocesan Bishop and shall consist of no less than four persons.

35. If the members of the Diocesan Council violate the doctrinal, canonical or moral norms of the Orthodox Church and if they stand trial in the ecclesiastical court or are under investigation, they shall be dismissed from their office by the decision of the Diocesan Bishop.

36. The Diocesan Bishop shall be the Chairman of the Diocesan Council.

37. The Diocesan Council shall meet regularly, but not less than once in six months.

38. The quorum of the Diocesan Council shall be the majority of its members.

39. The Diocesan Council shall work on the basis of the agenda presented by the Chairman.

40. The Chairman shall guide the sessions in accordance with the adopted rules of procedure.

41. The Bishop shall appoint the secretary of the Diocesan Council from among its members. The secretary shall be responsible for the preparation of the necessary materials and for keeping the minutes.

42. In the event that disagreements appear concerning the matter under consideration, the matter shall be solved by the majority of votes. In the event of a tie, the Chairman shall cast the deciding vote.

43. The minutes of the sessions of the Diocesan Council shall be signed by all its members.

44. In accordance with the instructions of the Diocesan Bishop, the Diocesan Council shall:

a) carry out the decisions of the Diocesan Council pertaining to the Council's competition and shall account to it about the work done;
b) establish the procedure of the election of the members of the Diocesan Assembly;
c) prepare the meetings of the Diocesan Assembly, including the proposals on the agenda;
d) submit its annual reports to the Diocesan Assembly;
e) consider matters pertaining to the opening of the parishes, deaneries, monasteries, objects of the industrial and economic activities, the governing bodies and other units of the diocese;
f) take care for the raising of means to meet the material needs of the diocese, and, if necessary, of the parishes;
g) determine the boundaries of the deaneries and the parishes;
h) consider the reports of the deans and take appropriate decisions;
i) supervise the activities of the Parish Councils;
j) consider the plans of construction, capital repairs and restoration of the churches;
k) take stock and take measures for the safety of the property of the Russian Orthodox Church: churches, prayer houses, chapels, monasteries, Theological educational institutions and other units of the Diocese, as well as the property of the Diocese;

l) within its competence solve matters pertaining to the ownership, use and disposal of the property of the parishes, monasteries and other canonical units of the diocese. The immovable property of the canonical units in the composition of the Diocese, namely, buildings, structures and plots of land can be alienated only on the basis of the decision of the Diocesan Council;

m) conduct inspection of the diocesan institutions;
n) take care for the material maintenance of supernumerary clergymen and church workers;
o) discuss the preparatory work for the jubilees, general diocesan celebrations and other important events;
p) solve any other matters, which the Diocesan Bishop refers to the Diocesan Council to take decision or consider them with the purpose of giving him necessary recommendations;
q) consider the matters of liturgical practice and church discipline.

4. The Diocesan Administrations and other Diocesan Institutions

45. The Diocesan Administration shall be an executive and managerial body of the diocese under direct guidance of the Diocesan Bishop, and together with other Diocesan institutions shall assist the Bishop in exercising his executive authority.

46. The Bishop shall exercise the highest authoritative supervision over the work of the Diocesan Administration and all Diocesan institutions and shall appoint their staff in accordance with the list of members of staff.

47. The activity of the Diocesan Administrations and of other Diocesan institutions shall be regulated by the Regulations (Statutes) approved by the Synod and also by the Bishop's instructions.

48. All Diocesan Administrations must have a chancery, an accounting department and other pertinent departments, which shall provide for missionary, publishing, social and charitable, educational, restoration, constructions, economic and other kinds of activities of the Diocese.

49. The Secretary of the Diocesan Administration shall be responsible for the office work of the Diocese and within the competence determined by the Diocesan Bishop shall assist him in the governance of the Diocese and in guidance of the Diocesan Administration.

5. The Deaneries

50. The Diocese shall be divided into Deaneries headed by the Deans appointed by the Diocesan Bishop.

51. The boundaries of the Deaneries and their names shall be determined by the Diocesan Council.

52. The responsibilities of the Dean shall include:

a) care for the purity of the Orthodox faith and decent church and moral education of the believers;
b) supervision over the correct and regular celebration of the divine services, the beauty and decent order in the churches and the state of church sermon;
c) care for the carrying out of the resolutions and instructions of the Diocesan Authority;
d) care for the timely revenue return of the collections from the parishes;
e) giving counsel to the clergymen concerning the discharge of their duties and their personal life;
f) clearing up misunderstandings among clergymen and also among clergymen and laymen without formal legal proceedings but with reporting the most notable incidents to the ruling bishop;
g) preliminary inquiry into the church offences along the lines laid down by the ruling bishop;
h) petitioning the bishop for awarding worthy clergymen and laymen;
i) making suggestions to the ruling bishop for filling vacant offices of priests, deacons, psalm-readers and precentors;
j) care for the meeting of religious needs of the believers in the parishes, which are temporarily without priests;
k) supervision over construction and repair works of the church buildings within the Deanery;
l) care for the availability of all objects necessary for the correct celebration of the divine services and normal office work in the parish;
m) fulfilment of other duties placed upon him by the bishop.

53. In discharging his duties the Dean shall visit at least once a year all parishes of his deanery to inspect the liturgical life, interior and exterior of the churches and other church buildings as well as the regularity of the conduct of church affairs and church archives and to study the religious and moral state of the parishioners.

54. The Dean can hold sessions of the Parish meeting upon commission of the Diocesan Bishop or request of the Rector or the Parish meeting.

55. With the blessing of the Diocesan Bishop the Rector can summon the priests for fraternal meetings to consider church needs common for the Deanery.

56. The Dean shall submit annual reports to the Diocesan Bishop on the state of affairs in the Deanery and on his own work in the prescribed manner.

57. The Dean can maintain a chancery, the workers of which shall be appointed by the Dean with the consent of the Diocesan Bishop.

58. The work of the Dean shall be financed from the means of the parish which he heads and, if necessary, from the general diocesan means.


XI. The Parishes

1. The Parish shall be a community of Orthodox Christians - clergymen and laymen united at a church.

The Parish shall be a canonical unit of the Russian Orthodox Church under authoritative supervision of the Diocesan Bishop and guided by an appointed rector.

2. The Parish shall be formed by voluntarily consent of the believing citizens of Orthodox confession who have come of age and with the blessing of the Diocesan Bishop.

For obtaining the status of the legal entity the Parish shall be registered by the state bodies in the manner prescribed by the legislation of the country where the Parish is located.

The boundaries of the Parishes shall be determined by the Diocesan Council.

3. The Parish shall began its activities upon the blessing of the Diocesan Bishop.

4. The Parish in its civil and legal activities shall observe the canonical rules, the inner by-laws of the Russian Orthodox Church and the legislation of the country of its location.

5. The Parish shall allocate the money through the Diocese as a compulsory measure for general church needs in the amount established by the Holy Synod and for the needs of the Diocese - in the manner and amount established by the bodies of the Diocesan Authority.

6. The Parish in its religious, administrative, financial and economic activities shall be subordinate and accountable to the Diocesan Bishop. The Parish shall carry out the resolutions of the Diocesan Assembly and of the Diocesan Council and the instructions of the Diocesan Bishop.

7. In the event that some members split off or all members of the Parish meeting withdraw from the Parish, they shall not be entitled to claim any rights to the property and assets of the Parish.

8. In the event that the Parish meeting takes a decision to withdraw from the hierarchic structure and jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Parish shall no longer be recognized as belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church. That will entail the cessation of the activities of the Parish as a religious organization of the Russian Orthodox Church and will deprive it of the right to property, which belonged to the Parish by the right of ownership, use or on any other legal basis, as well as the right to use the name and symbols of the Russian Orthodox Church in its name.

9. The parish churches, prayer houses and chapels shall be organized with the blessing of the Diocesan Authority and shall maintain the order established by the law.

10. The bodies of the Parish administration shall be the Rector, the Parish meeting, the Parish Council and the Auditing commission.

11. The brotherhoods and sisterhoods shall be founded by the parishioners only with the consent of the Rector and with the blessing of the Diocesan Bishop. The brotherhoods and sisterhoods have an objective to attract the parishioners to caring and working for maintaining the churches in the appropriate state, to participating in works of charity, social ministry, religious and moral education. The brotherhoods and sisterhoods at the parishes shall be under the authoritative supervision of the Rectors. In the exceptional cases the Statute of a brotherhood or sisterhood approved by the Diocesan Bishop can be submitted for state registration.

12. The brotherhoods and sisterhoods shall begin their activity upon the blessing of the Diocesan Bishop.

13. In exercising their activities the brotherhoods and sisterhoods shall be guided by the present Statute, the resolutions of the Local and Bishops' Councils, the decisions of the Holy Synod, the decrees of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the decisions of the Diocesan Bishop and the Rector of the Parish, as well as by the civil statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Diocese and the Parish, at which they are established, and by their own Statute, if the brotherhoods and sisterhoods are registered as legal entities.

14. The brotherhoods and sisterhoods shall allocate through the parishes the money for general church purposes in the amount established by the Holy Synod; for the diocesan and parish needs - in the manner and amount established by the bodies of the Diocesan authority and the Rectors of the parishes.

15. The brotherhoods and sisterhoods in their religious, administrative, financial and economic activities shall be subordinate and accountable to the Diocesan Bishops through the Rectors. The brotherhoods and sisterhoods shall abide by the decisions of the Diocesan Authority and the Rectors of the Parishes.

16. In the event some members split off or all members of the brotherhood or sisterhood withdraw, they shall not be entitled to claim any rights for the property and assets of the brotherhood and sisterhood.

17. In the event that a general meeting of the brotherhood and sisterhood takes a decision to withdraw from the hierarchic structure and jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, the brotherhoods and sisterhoods shall no longer be recognized as belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church. That shall entail the cessation of the activities of the brotherhood and sisterhood as a religious organization of the Russian Orthodox Church and shall deprive them of the right to property, which belonged to the brotherhood or sisterhood by the right of ownership, use or on any other legal basis, as well as the right to use the name and symbols of the Russian Orthodox Church in their name.

1. The Rector

18. Every parish shall be headed by the Rector of the church appointed by the Diocesan Bishop for spiritual guidance of the believers and the administration of the clergy and the parish. The Rector shall be accountable to the Diocesan Bishop for his activity.

19. The Rector shall be responsible for the correct celebration of the divine services in accordance with the Statute of the Church, for church sermon, for the religious and moral state and proper education of the members of the parish. He must conscientiously discharge all liturgical, pastoral and administrative duties determined by his office in accordance with the established canons and the present Statute.

20. The responsibilities of the Rector shall include:

a) guiding the clergy in fulfilling their liturgical and pastoral duties;
b) supervising the state of the church building, its decoration and the availability of all objects necessary for the divine services in accordance with the requirements of the liturgical rubrics and instructions of the Church authorities;
c) caring for correct and reverential reading and singing in the church;
d) caring for the exact abiding by the instructions of the Diocesan Bishop;
e) organizing activities in the public domain, catechetical, charitable and educational activities of the parish;
f) convening and chairing the sessions of the Parish meeting;
g) suspending with sufficient grounds the execution of the decisions of the Parish meeting and the Parish Council on the matters of doctrinal, canonical, liturgical or administrative and economic nature with subsequent referral of the matter to the Diocesan Bishop for consideration;
h) supervising the execution of the decisions of the Parish meeting and the work of the Parish Council;
i) representing the interests of the parish in the bodies of state power and local self-administration;
j) submitting to the Diocesan Bishop directly or through the Dean the annual reports on the state of the parish and its work and on the activities carried out in it;
k) maintaining the official church correspondence;
l) keeping a liturgical journal and parish archive;
m) issuing certificates of baptism and marriage.

21. The Rector can have a vacation and leave his parish for a while exclusively with the permission of the Diocesan authority received in the prescribed manner.

2. The Clergy

22. The Clergy shall be determined in the following composition: a priest, a deacon and a psalm-reader. The number of the Clergy can be increased or reduced by the Diocesan authority at the request of the parish and in accordance with its needs. In any case the Clergy should consist of no less than two persons - a priest and a psalm-reader.

Note: a person in holy orders can assume the office of a psalm-reader.

23. The election and appointment of the clergymen and church servants shall belong to the Diocesan Bishop.

24. In order to be ordained deacon or priest it is necessary:

a) to be a member of the Russian Orthodox Church;
b) to be of age;
c) to have the necessary moral qualities;
d) to have sufficient theological training;
e) to have a certificate from his father-confessor of the absence of canonical obstacles to ordination;
f) not to stand trial by the ecclesiastical or civil court;
g) to take an ecclesiastical oath.

25. The members of the Clergy can be transferred and dismissed from places of their ministry by the Diocesan Bishop at their personal request, according to the ruling of the ecclesiastical court or in accordance with the ecclesiastical expediency;

26. The responsibilities of the members of the Clergy shall be determined by the canons and by the instructions of the Diocesan Bishop or the Rector.

27. The Clergy of the parish shall be responsible for the spiritual and moral state of the parish and for discharging their liturgical and pastoral duties;

28. The members of the Clergy cannot leave the parish without permission of the church authority received in the prescribed manner;

29. A clergyman can take part in the celebration of a divine service in another parish with the consent of the Diocesan Bishop of the diocese, in which this parish is located, or with the consent of the Dean or the Rector provided there is a certificate which confirms his canonical regularity.

30. In compliance with Canon 13 of the 4th Ecumenical Council clergymen can be accepted in another diocese only if they have release documents from the Diocesan Bishop.

3. The Parishioners

31. The Parishioners shall be persons of the Orthodox confession, who maintain living contacts with their parish.

32. All parishioners shall be obliged to take part in the divine services, make Confession and take Holy Communion regularly, observe the Canons and church prescriptions, carry out deeds of faith, strive for religious and moral perfection and contribute to the well-being of the parish.

33. The parishioners shall be responsible for the material maintenance of the clergy and the church building.

4. The Parish Meeting

34. The Parish meeting headed by the Rector of the Parish who is Chairman of the Parish Meeting ex officio shall be the highest governing body of the parish.

The Parish meeting shall include the clergymen of the parish and the laymen who regularly participate in the liturgical life of the parish and who are worthy to take part in the solution of parish matters due to their commitment to Orthodoxy, their moral standing and experience of life. They shall be over 18 years, not under suspension or standing trial by an ecclesiastical or civil court.

35. The acceptance into the membership of the Parish meeting and the withdrawal from it shall be made by the decision of the Parish meeting on the basis of an application. In the event that a member of the Parish meeting is considered not meeting the requirements of his position, he can be removed from the Parish meeting by the decision of the Parish meeting.

In the event that the members of the Parish meetings deviate from the canons and statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church, the composition of the Parish meeting can be changed completely or partly by the decision of the Diocesan Bishop.

36. The Parish meeting shall be convened no less than once annually by the Rector or by the Dean if so ordered by the Diocesan Bishop, or by any other plenipotentiary representative of the Diocesan Bishop.

The Parish meeting convened for election or re-election of the members of the Parish meeting shall be held with the participation of the Dean or any other representative of the Diocesan Bishop.

37. The meeting shall be held in accordance with the agenda presented by the Chairman.

38. The Chairman shall preside over the sessions in accordance with the adopted standing orders.

39. The Parish meeting shall be competent to take decisions if no less than half of its members take part in it. The resolutions of the Parish meeting shall be taken by a simple majority vote. In the event of a tie, the Chairman shall cast the deciding vote.

40. The Parish meeting shall elect from among its members the secretary, who shall be responsible for the minutes of the session.

41. The minutes of the Parish meeting shall be signed by the Chairman, the secretary and five elected members of the Parish meeting. The minutes of the Parish meeting shall become effective upon approval by the Diocesan Bishop.

42. The resolutions of the Parish meeting can be read out to the parishioners in the church.

43. The Parish meeting shall be responsible for:

a) preserving the inner unity of the Parish and assistance to its spiritual and moral growth;
b) adopting the civil Statute of the Parish, amendments and additions to it, which shall be approved by the Diocesan Bishop and become effective upon the registration by the state;
c) admitting and excluding the members of the Parish meeting;
d) submitting the candidature of the Chairman of the Parish Council - the churchwarden to the Diocesan Bishop for approval;
e) electing the Parish Council and the Auditing commission;
f) planning financial and economic activities of the Parish;
g) providing for the safety of the church property and care for its increase;
h) adopting the plans of expenditures, including the amount of assignments for charity and religious educational purposes and submitting them to the Diocesan Bishop for approval;
i) approving the plans and examining the design and budget documents for construction and repair of the church buildings;
j) considering financial and other reports of the Parish Council and reports of the Auditing commission and submitting them to the Diocesan Bishop for approval;
k) approving the list of members of staff and assigning the maintenance of the members of the Clergy and the Parish Council;
l) determining the order of the disposal of the property of the parish under the conditions stipulated by the present Statute, the Civil Statute of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Statute of the Diocese, the Statute of the Parish and also by the acting legislation;
m) attending to the availability of all objects necessary for the canonical celebration of the divine services;
n) attending to church singing;
o) submitting petitions from the parish to the Diocesan Bishop and the civil authorities;
p) considering the complaints brought against the members of the Parish Council and Auditing commission and submitting them to the Diocesan Administration.

5. The Parish Council

44. The Parish Council shall be an executive and managerial body of the Parish meeting and shall be accountable to the Rector and the Parish meeting.

45. The Parish Council shall consist of the Chairman - the churchwarden, his/her assistant and the treasurer. The Parish Council shall be elected from among the members of the Parish meeting for the term of three years. Re-election is unlimited. The Diocesan Bishop shall approve the election of the Chairman of the Parish Council or appoint the Rector or another person to this office by his decree with the inclusion of this person in the Parish meeting.

The Diocesan Bishop shall be entitled to relieve a member of the Parish Council of his/her work, if he/she violates the canons, the provisions of the present Statute or of the civil Statute of the Parish.

46. In the period between the sessions of the Parish meeting the Parish Council shall:

a) implement the decisions of the Parish meeting;
b) submit the plans of economic activities, annual plans of expenditures and financial reports to the Parish meeting for consideration and approval;
c) be responsible for the safety and proper maintenance of the church and other buildings, constructions, premises and adjacent territories, the plots of land belonging to the Parish and all the property which the Parish owns or uses, and keep records;
d) purchase the property necessary for the parish and keep inventory books;
e) solve current economic matters;
f) dispose of the financial assets of the Parish with the consent of the Rector and under his control and keep records;
g) provide the Parish with the necessary property;
h) provide the members of the Clergy of the Parish with living accommodations in the event that they need them;
i) in agreement with the Rector and in accordance with the list of staff hire workers and employees;
j) take care for the safety and beauty of the church, for maintaining decent order during the divine services and processions with the cross;
k) maintain contacts with the bodies of state authority, local government, public associations and citizens;
l) take care for providing the church with all objects necessary for the proper celebration of the divine services.

47. The members of the Parish Council may be removed from the Parish Council by the decision of the Parish meeting or by the order of the Diocesan Bishop, if there are sufficient grounds.

48. The Chairman of the Parish Council - the churchwarden shall represent the Parish Council in business, financial, economic and administrative matters as well as in court and shall issue powers of attorney in case of necessity.

Note: The Parish meeting shall be entitled in case of necessity to charge any member enjoying full rights to deal with the civil organizations and to defend the interests of the Parish in court.

49. The Rector may be elected Chairman of the Parish Council with the blessing of the Diocesan Bishop.

50. All official outgoing documents of the Parish shall be signed by the Rector and the Chairman of the Parish Council - the churchwarden. In the event of the Rector being Chairman of the Parish Council, the treasurer shall be the second signatory.

51. Bank and other financial documents shall be signed by the Chairman of the Parish Council and the treasurer. In civil legal relations the treasurer shall act as chief accountant. The treasurer shall keep records and keep financial assets, donations and other contributions and compile annual financial reports. The Parish shall keep accounting reports.

52. In the event that the Parish Council is re-elected or the Diocesan Bishop changes its composition, and also if the Chairman of the Parish Council is re-elected, dismissed by the Diocesan Bishop or dies, the Parish Meeting shall set up a commission of three members, which shall draw up a statement on the availability of the property and financial resources. The Parish Council shall accept material assets on the basis of this statement.

53. The responsibilities of the assistant chairman of the Parish Council shall be determined by the Parish meeting.

54. The responsibilities of the treasurer shall include the discounting and keeping of the sums of money and other donations, the keeping of account-books, carrying out of financial operations at the instruction of the chairman of the Parish Council within the limits of the budget and compiling the annual financial reports.

6. The Auditing Commission

55. The Parish meeting shall elect from among its members for the term of three years the Auditing commission of the Parish, which shall consist of the Chairman and two members. The Auditing commission shall be accountable to the Parish meeting. The Auditing commission shall audit the financial and economic activities of the parish, the safety and stock-taking of the property and its proper use, make annual inventory, audit the entering of donations and revenue returns and expenditure. The Auditing commission shall present the results of the auditing and the appropriate proposals to the Parish meeting for consideration.

In the event that the abuses are revealed, the Auditing commission shall immediately inform the Diocesan authorities.

56. The right of auditing the financial and economic activities of the parish and parish institutions shall also belong to the Diocesan Bishop.

57. The members of the Parish Council and the Auditing commission cannot be close relatives.

58. The responsibilities of the Auditing commission shall include:

a) regular audit, including the inspection of the availability of money, legality and regularity of the expenditures and the keeping of the expenses book by the parish;
b) supervision of the property;
c) annual inventory;
d) control for the collect-boxes and donations.

59. The Auditing ˝ommission shall compile acts on the auditing and present them at the regular or extraordinary sessions of the Parish meeting. In the event of the abuses, lack of property or money and the revealed mistakes in the keeping and registration of financial operations, the Parish meeting shall take appropriate decision. The Parish meeting is entitled to bring an action in court with prior consent of the Diocesan Bishop.


XII. The Monasteries

1. The Monastery is a church institution, living and acting in which is a community of men or women, consisting of Orthodox Christians, who voluntarily have chosen the monastic way of life for spiritual and moral perfection and the common confession of the Orthodox faith.

2. The decision on the opening of the Monasteries shall belong to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and to the Holy Synod on the petition of a Diocesan Bishop.

The monastery can be registered as a legal entity in the order established by the legislation of the country, on the territory of which the monastery is located.

3. The stavropegic monasteries shall be under the supervision and canonical administration of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia or of those Synodal departments, to which the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia shall give his blessing for such supervision and administration.

5. The diocesan monasteries shall be under the supervision of the diocesan bishops.

6. In the event that one, several or all inhabitants of the monastery withdraw from it, they shall have no right on the property and assets of a monastery and shall not make any claims on such.

7. The joining of the monastery or withdrawal from it shall be executed by the decrees of a diocesan bishop on the petition of the father superior (mother superior) or the abbot.

8. The monasteries shall be governed and live in accordance with the provisions of the present Statute, the Civil Statute, the 'Regulations on the Monasteries and Monastics' and their own statutes, which must be approved by the diocesan bishop.

9. The monasteries can have their representations. The community of Orthodox Christians in the administration of a monastery and located outside its territory shall be called the representation. The activities of the representation shall be regulated by the statute of the monastery to which this representation belongs and by its own civil Statute. The representation of the monastery shall be in the jurisdiction of the same bishop as the monastery is. In the event that the representation is located on the territory of another diocese, the name of the diocesan bishop and the name of the bishop in whose diocese the representation is located shall be mentioned at the divine services in the representation of the monastery.

10. In the event the monastery takes a decision to withdraw from the hierarchic structure and jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, this monastery shall no longer be recognized as belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church. This shall entail the cessation of the activity of the monastery as a religious organization of the Russian Orthodox Church and the monastery shall be deprived of the right to property, which belonged to the monastery by the right of ownership, use or on any other legal basis, as well as the right to use the name and symbols of the Russian Orthodox Church in its name.


XIII. The Theological Educational Institutions

1. The Theological educational institutions of the Russian Orthodox Church shall be the higher and secondary specialized educational institutions, which shall train clergymen and church servants, theologians and church workers.

2. The Theological educational institutions shall be under the authoritative supervision of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, exercised through the Education Committee.

3. The Theological educational institutions shall canonically belong to the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop, on the territory of whose diocese they are located.

4. The Theological educational institutions shall be established by the decision of the Holy Synod on the presentation of the diocesan bishop supported by the Education Committee.

5. The Theological educational institutions shall be governed and carry out their activities on the basis of the present Statute and the civil and internal Statutes approved by the Holy Synod and affirmed by the diocesan bishop.

6. In the event that the Theological educational institution takes a decision to withdraw from the hierarchic structure and jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, this Theological educational institution shall no longer be recognized as belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church. This shall entail the cessation of the activity of the Theological educational institution as a religious organization of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Theological educational institution shall be deprived of the right of property, which belonged to it by the right of ownership, use or on any other legal basis, as well as the right to use the name and symbols of the Russian Orthodox Church in its name.


XIV. The Church Institutions in the distant abroad

1. The church institutions in the distant abroad (hereinafter called 'institutions located abroad') shall be dioceses, deaneries, parishes, stavropegic and diocesan monasteries, as well as missions, representations and church representations located outside the borders of the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic countries.

2. The higher church authority shall exercise its jurisdiction over these institutions through the Department for External Church Relations.

3. The institutions of the Russian Orthodox Church located abroad shall be guided in its governance and activities by the present Statute and by their own Statutes, which must be approved by the Holy Synod with respect to the laws operating in each country.

4. The institutions located abroad shall be established and abolished by the decision of the Holy Synod. The representations and church representations located abroad shall be stavropegic.

5. The institutions located abroad shall carry out their ministry in accordance with the aims and tasks of foreign activities of the Russian Orthodox Church under the authoritative supervision of the Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations.

6. The heads and executives of the institutions located abroad shall be appointed by the Holy Synod on the presentation from the Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations.