1988 Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church

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The 1988 Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (Russian: Поме́стный собо́р Ру́сской правосла́вной це́ркви 1988 года) was the fourth in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church. It was held June 6 to 9, 1988 at the Trinity-Sergius Lavra in the Refectory Church. It was held in connection with the 1000th anniversary of the Christianization of Rus'. The most important outcome of the cathedral was the adoption of a new charter of the Russian Orthodox Church and the canonization of nine zealots of Orthodoxy. At the council in 1988, in contrast to the councils in 1945 and 1971, the debate on ecclesiastical order at various levels had been very busy, sometimes acute; often, members of the council expressed diametrically opposed opinions.


March 28 to 31, 1988 in the Moscow Novodevichy convent in session Pre-Council Bishops' Conference. It considered the program of the anniversary of the Local Council and the design of his instruments. Particular attention was drawn to the draft Constitution of the Russian Orthodox Church, designed by the decision of the Presidium of the Jubilee Committee Archbishop Kirill I of Smolensk and Viazemsky (Gundyaeva). The project charter had been previously reviewed and approved by the permanent members of the Holy Synod of January 22, 1988, the editorial committee and the Bureau of the Jubilee Commission on March 14, and the plenum of the Jubilee Committee on March 26. Arhipastyri made a number of amendments. The draft charter was also presented to the Council for Religious Affairs of the USSR Council of Ministers, which stated that the project is not contrary to the charter of the rules of civil law and can be used in the Soviet Union. The bishops' meeting adopted the names of ascetics for the canonization of the Local Council.

The participants of the cathedral had to have all the bishops of the Russian Church, according to the election - two representatives from the clergy and laity of each diocese,[1] as well as representatives of the religious schools, the governors and the abbesses of monasteries

June 6[edit]

The Local Council opened on June 6 with a Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. Arriving at the Cathedral, were 272 representatives from 67 domestic and 9 foreign dioceses, 22 monasteries, 2 theological academies and 3 seminaries, foreign institutions from the Russian Church and the Japanese Autonomous Church.

Patriarch Pimen and the permanent members of the Holy Synod were elected in the Presidium of the Council. The Cathedral formed: the Secretariate, headed by Metropolitan Sergius (Petrov) of Odessa; the Credentials Committee, chaired by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh; and the Drafting Committee headed by Archbishop Kirill (Gundyayev) of Smolensk and Viazemsky.

A word of welcome to the Local Council of the USSR Council of Ministers was announced by the Chairman of Religious Affairs Konstantin Kharchev. Congratulations to the cathedral asked the guests of honor. At the first meeting on the 1000th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus' was made by the Metropolitan of Kiev and Galich Philaret (Denisenko).

On the same day, Metropolitan Juvenal (Poyarkov) of Krutitsky read the report "The Canonization of Saints in the Russian Orthodox Church". For the glorification among the saints have been proposed: the Grand Duke Dmitry Donskoy of Moscow (1350-1389), Andrei Rublev (1360 - first half of the 15th century), Maxim the Greek (1470-1556), Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow (1482-1563), the Rev. Paisius Velichkovsky (1722-1794), blessed Xenia of Petersburg (1732 - beginning of the 19th century), St. Ignatius Brianchaninov (1807-1867), the Rev. Ambrose of Optina (1812-1891), and St. Theophan the Recluse (1815-1894). The solution of the cathedral was performed the rite of canonization.

Blessed Prince Dmitriy Donskoy was a local saint for centuries, some frescoes of the 16th century it was written in a nimbus - Cathedral approved what has long been the practice of the church. So with the other saints canonized by the council. Local veneration of St. Andrei Rublev, known since the late 15th century. St. Maximus the Greek was locally revered since the end of the 16th century. Glorification of Macarius of Moscow, and was partly a nod in the direction of Old Believers. Xenia of Petersburg, and was worshiped by the people in the 19th and 20th centuries, especially during and after World War II.

In the Acts of the Cathedral of the canonization also stated:

Print their lives and the creation of which have any, for the edification and instruction in righteousness children of the Church ... is considered necessary in the post-council period continue to explore further canonizations to praise other people revered in the heroes of the faith and piety, than to have the care of the Holy Synod.

June 7[edit]

On the morning of June 7 on "The life and work of the Orthodox Church" («Жизнь и деятельность Православной Церкви»), contains an overview of major events in the life of the church since the previous Local Council in 1971, was made by Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan) of Rostov and Novocherkassk.

Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Philaret (Vakhromeyev) of Minsk and Belarus spoke on "The External Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church", which provided an overview of relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the other Churches of the 2nd millennium of Christian history. A large section of the report was devoted to ecumenical activity of the Russian Church.

At the evening session a report on the peacekeeping activities of the Russian Orthodox Church made of Leningrad and Novgorod Metropolitan Alexy (Ridiger). The report highlighted the ecumenical aspects of the peacekeeping activities of the Church in the 1970s and 1980s.

Chairman of the Publishing Department of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Pitirim (Nechayev) of Volokolamsk and Yuriev, made a presentation about the publishing of the Russian Orthodox Church. He emphasized the leading role of the Church in Russia in the spread of literary culture in the era of the Most Holy Synod. Metropolitan Pitirim called as the primary task of the church publishing is the publication of Holy Scripture and prayerbooks, release of scientific and theological works.

June 8[edit]

Before the start of the morning session, Metropolitan of Kiev and Galich Filaret (Denisenko) reported on the Service's Cathedral in Kiev on the eve of his document of the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR on the transfer of Russian Orthodox Church of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.

Chairman of the Education Committee, the rector of the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary, Archbishop Alexander of Dmitrov (Timofeev) spoke on "Spiritual Formation of the Russian Orthodox Church". The report covered the history of spiritual enlightenment and educational affairs in Russia. Special attention was paid speaker spiritual enlightenment in the synodal period, and led a report on the activities of religious schools in the aftermath of the Local Council in 1971. Special attention was paid to the problems that at that time, so spiritual school.

Report of the Chairman of the Economic Board of Metropolitan Methodius Voronezh and Lipetsk (Nemtsov) "Economic Activities of the Russian Orthodox Church from Antiquity to the Present Day (988-1988)" due to illness Rapporteur read out by the Secretary of the Economic Board Archpriest Leonid Kuz'minov.

The main event of the evening session on June 8 was the discussion and adoption of the new Constitution of the Russian Orthodox Church, developed and presented by the Cathedral by Archbishop Kirill of Smolensk and Viazemsky (Gundyaeva) was discussed at the Bishops Pre-Council Conference March 28 to 31, 1988. During the discussion held at the Local Council, have been reviewed and amended the text of the Constitution, clarified some wording. When developing a new charter Archbishop Kirill (Gundyaev) used the achievements of the Cathedral 1917-1918. Was rejected by the charter of 1945. This is explained by the fact that the statute of 1945 was preparing to urgently during the war, and many things were not identified - the charter is recognized as obsolete.

"The position of the Russian Orthodox Church", which was adopted at the Local Council in 1945, was out of date. Changes made to it in 1961, motivated by the difficult situation in which the Church was at the turn of the 1950s and 1960s, has led to the fact that the clergy was actually estranged from the leadership of the parishes, and legally - and all of the parishes themselves.

It was the first charter in the history of the Russian Church. In the era of governance Russian Synodal Church was carried out on the basis of "Spiritual Regulation", in a way similar to the Charter, then spiritual regulations have replaced some definitions of the Local Council of 1917-1918. From 1945 to 1988 there were brief "Regulation of the Russian Orthodox Church".

Charter introduced a periodicity of Local and Bishops' Councils at least once every two years. Was expanded structure of the Holy Synod: the number of its permanent members increased to five. Diocesan congregation was restored. The ruling bishop, with the assistance of the meeting (of an equal number of clergy and laity) directs the church life in the diocese. At the most established diocesan bishop board composed of at least four people, one half of which shall be appointed a bishop, and the other - the Diocesan Assembly elected for one year. The most important change was the abolition of the Bishops' Council decision in 1961 to dismiss a priest from the financial and economic activity. The highest authority in the management of the parish became a parish meeting of clergy and lay people - members of the parish, was elected chairman of the meeting of the temple. Executive body of the parish meeting, called to implement its decisions and accountable to him, was the parish council of three members: the chairman, his deputy and treasurer

June 9[edit]

Members of the Council discussed and adopted a number of new documents, "Definitions of the Local Council" («Определения Поместного Собора»), "Message to all Christians of the World" («Обращение ко всем христианам мира») and "Statement on the Vital Issues of our Time" («Заявление по насущным проблемам современности»).

At the final meeting of the Council with a report of the Credentials Committee made Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh. Closing remarks at the Council were said by Patriarch Pimen.