The Council of bishops-2017: what will decide of the Russian Orthodox Church a hundred years after the revolution

© RIA Novosti / Anton Skribunova of Christ the SaviorThe Council of bishops-2017: what will decide of the Russian Orthodox Church a hundred years after the revolution© RIA Novosti / Anton Skripunov

As a monk living with the Internet, how many times can you marry the Orthodox and why to teach culture in schools for four days the Council of bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) should answer the most topical issues of modern spiritual and social life. Commemorating the centenary of the restoration of Patriarchate in Russia, the Cathedral will be held from 29 November to 2 December in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior in the mode of maximum openness and will gather people from the entire Orthodox world.

The bishops ‘ Council of the Supreme body of the hierarchic governance, convened by the Patriarch and Synod at least once every four years. This year the participants will remember not only the revival of the Patriarchate in Russia in 1917, after more than 200-year Synodal period (subordination of Church to state), but also the centenary of the local Council of the ROC, which was elected the new Patriarch Tikhon, and the centenary of the revolutionary events and the subsequent atheistic persecution.

A hundred years ago, on 28 October 1917 at the local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, was elected the Metropolitan Tikhon, subsequently glorified among the saints and led the ranks of the martyrs. And his elevation to the Patriarchal throne was held on December 4, 1917 – the feast of the presentation of the virgin Mary.

In memory of this event on the feast day of 4 December, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill will lead a solemn mass in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, on which hundreds of bishops from around the world — members of the Council of bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, the primates and representatives of local Orthodox churches in the world. Originally the service was scheduled to be held in the same place where Patriarch Tikhon hundred years ago, ascended the throne in the assumption Cathedral of the Kremlin, however, it soon became clear that all the guests he would not accommodate. The joint prayer of Orthodox bishops from all over the world in Moscow will be the embodiment of the spirit of the conciliar Church and the culmination of the anniversary celebrations.

Private matter of the Patriarch


Meeting of the Council of bishops will be held in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, they are traditionally headed by the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill. According to the head of the Patriarchal press service of the priest of Alexander Volkov, the head of the Church events of a century ago – the story is not a book.

«For the Patriarch, the topic of the century, the persecution of the restoration of the Patriarchate, the beginning of the Cathedral is part of his personal history. Through his family, through his grandfather and father were the persecution of our Church. He’s on his own family experience knows the tragedy faced by the Church in the twentieth century. For it is the theme of personal experiences, reflections and prayers,» the cleric said at a press conference in MIA «Russia today».

The Council of bishops opens on November 29 with a solemn prayer service, the next four days will be devoted to discussions. «According to past experience they will be very lively and transparent, the Cathedral should be a venue for the exchange of views is the position of the Patriarch,» said Volkov.

The fourth of December the feast of the presentation in the temple of the Theotokos Cathedral will conclude with a worship service, which will be attended by the primates and representatives of local Orthodox churches (they are in the world there are 15, including the Antioch Church in Syria and Lebanon) is in Moscow waiting for more than 60 guests.


On the anniversary of the revolutionary events at the Council, is likely to be raised by the issue of research of the remains of the family of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II, shot by the Bolsheviks near Yekaterinburg. In 2000 the Russian Orthodox Church canonized Nicholas II and his family canonized. After opening the burial of the remains of members of the Imperial family were buried in the tomb of the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. In the fall of 2015 the investigation of the death of members of the house of Romanov was resumed. The Russian Church has not received a response to a series of questions and at the moment does not recognize the «Ekaterinburg remains» the king.

«It’s not about what it can be or not to be remains a respected person, whether it be power of the people glorified the Lord. For Christians, this issue is extremely important. I guess we have something to tell the people who are responsible for this process (examinations), something tells bishops. But I’m not a seer, I don’t know what will be reported to the Council», — said the Deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate Archimandrite Savva (Tutunov).

The head of the Synodal Department for Church and society and the media Vladimir Legoyda stressed that it is necessary to exclude «any speculation, and fit for any date». «The challenge is to remove any doubt, it is a huge, enormous work. But we have no closeness in terms of decision — the whole process the Church tries to make it as open as possible», — he assured.


One of the main themes of the Cathedral, according to the Archimandrite Sava, will be the glorification of the saints. The participants plan to discuss the inclusion in our calendar, the names of many of the righteous, who are now canonized and revered only in Ukraine. «This is a great spiritual joy for all Orthodox people», — said the Deputy Manager of the Moscow Patriarchate Archimandrite Savva (Tutunov).

According to him, the Cathedral will have to comprehend «the full palette» of what the Russian Orthodox Church lived four years and think about long-overdue changes. So many years in the Church were preparing the documents governing the monastic way of life and provisions for a Church marriage. They will be clearly stated whether it is possible to use the Internet in the mansion and how many times the Orthodox to marry.

«Internet in monasteries before it was not, the conditions for a hundred years has changed dramatically. Will he be allowed? Let’s see what will decide the Cathedral,» said Tutunov.

With regard to marriage and divorce, the ROC needs to decide whether to get married a second time to those who are formally married in the third.

«There is no clear answer, how many times are allowed to marry and whether to count only those marriages that were consecrated a Church wedding, or those that were made in the civil procedure in the registry office? How to interpret the existing canonical norms in the new environment, when marriage is much more than blessed in Church?» — told the Deputy head of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Archpriest Nikolai Balashov.


In the ROC understand that the educational process in schools is overloaded, but to abandon the «Basics of Orthodox culture» does not intend. Emphasis will be placed on the word «culture». «We want the cultural aspect of this subject was presented to the wider. If a person knows the language of culture, it is easier to understand what is in this culture is happening there», — says Legoyda. Church representatives have repeatedly stated that it is impossible to achieve a deep understanding of the Russian classics and the outstanding monuments of world culture in General, not being familiar with the main religious teachings and symbols.

The topic of education, is expected to become one of the key at the Cathedral. «The Church and religious people are concerned about education in our society as a whole. We understand the importance of education and science, cooperation», — said Legoyda. Russia took one thesis in theology, stakeholders do not intend to stop there.

As for the art, then discuss some of his works, in particular, of the acclaimed film «Matilda», the Council of bishops is not supposed to.

«The Church does not put themselves in the position of judges and does not conduct any war. The only war that could and should guide the Christian’s warfare against sin,» — said the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Christians, in his opinion, a single point of view, there should be only a matter of doctrine, in all other areas can and should be different approaches, emphases, different degree of acceptance of a phenomenon.

«We are committed to dialogue, we think it’s important that people make art,» — said Legoyda.


The head of the Synodal Department pointed to «unprecedented openness» discuss upcoming Cathedral documents. Many of the projects are already available on the official Church websites, reviews them consider and discuss the experts of the Russian Orthodox Church. «Thus, the project filtered through the intellectual sieve», — said Legoyda.

The press Secretary of Patriarch Kirill noted that the activities of the bishops ‘ Council will be as open as possible to all. In particular, the scheduled daily press briefings. However, at the plenary session the journalists to break is not worth it.

«We do not want something to hide, and it’s not that we don’t like journalists. It’s just a working format. For sure, the quality of the discussion, the participants should be in a relaxed atmosphere, not to feel that they dominate the public space. But we will do everything we can to get people through the media as quickly as possible learned about all the decisions of the Council. We would welcome any interest», — concluded the priest Alexander Volkov.