CHANCERY OF THE HOLY SYNOD
Decision # 892 - Feb. 24, 2010.
Unofficial translation of excerpts from BOR’s Holy Synod Decision #892 issued Feb. 24, 2010.
With brotherly love, we announce that the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church [BOR], in its Feb. 11, 2010 working session, examined … the necessity of updating [its] Decision # 2844/2008 … regarding the movement of a cleric into another eparchy of BOR, or into the canonical jurisdiction of another Orthodox Church, this also applying to monks and nuns, those completing theological training in Romania, and also in regards to the organization of pilgrimages…
… As a consequence of the unanimous vote taken, the Holy Synod has decided:
Taking into account the proposals formulated by the Holy Synod Chancery, the text of the Holy Synod’s Decision # 2844/2008 is to be completed and reformulated as follows:
1) In the spirit of what is seen in Article 10 point 6 of the BOR Constitution … that: “the decisions of the central deliberative and executive organisms are obligatory for the whole of BOR” then, all BOR local Bishops will apply the Holy Synod’s Decision # 2891/2007, in letter and spirit, completed and reformulated as follows:
a)The Canonical Release Letter of a cleric (either a monastic or not) from the Romanian Patriarchate will be issued by the Romanian local Bishop, at the request of a foreign Hierarch, belonging to a canonical Orthodox jurisdiction, but only with the accord of the Romanian Patriarch;
b)The cleric (either a monk or not) who receives a Canonical Letter to join an eparchy belonging to another canonical Orthodox Church can serve only in the communities of said foreign jurisdiction and not in Romanian Orthodox communities which may be in those respective Orthodox eparchies.
c-i)Monks who wish to leave various Romanian Orthodox eparchies from within and outside Romania to go to Mount Athos or in monasteries of eparchies belonging to other canonical Orthodox Churches, have the canonical requirement of obtaining, in advance, written approval from the Romanian local Bishop, at the request of a foreign Hierarch belonging to a canonical Orthodox jurisdiction, but only with the accord of the Patriarch of Romania;
c-ii)Hierarchs from eparchies belonging to BOR from outside the Romanian borders will inform the Romanian Patriarchate about the change in status of any cleric or student studying in foreign lands, and this for informational purposes and to avoid situations of tension between sister Orthodox Churches.
d-i)Graduates of Orthodox theological learning institutions from Romania may solicit ordination for a Romanian Orthodox community in Romanian Orthodox eparchies outside the borders of Romania only if they have written approval from the Romanian local Bishop who granted his blessing for their studies, and with the accord of the Romanian Patriarch;
d-ii)In the “Oath” taken by graduates of the faculties of Orthodox theology at the completion of their studies, it will be foreseen that these individuals will be able to go into the jurisdiction of another canonical Orthodox Church only given the recommendation of their local [Romanian] Bishop, and with the accord of the Romanian Patriarch.
2) Delegates of the Romanian Orthodox Church will discuss with sister Orthodox Churches in order to come to an agreement on the missionary-pastoral level, regarding the offering of adequate pastoral care for Romanian Orthodox in those respective countries and Churches.
3) The theological-educational section of the Romanian Patriarchate is obliged to solicit from each eparchy of BOR from within and outside Romania, the list of all students and graduates from institutions of theological learning in Romania who have gone to study in foreign lands, with or without the blessing of their local [Romanian] Bishop, and inasmuch as it is possible to do so, report on the actual status of such individuals. As well, they [each BOR eparchy] must inform the faculties of Orthodox theology of the Romanian Patriarchate regarding their decision on the completion/ of the above-mentioned “Oath” as prescribed by the present decision of the Holy Synod.
4) Hierarchs who wish to go on pilgrimages to holy Orthodox places outside the boundaries of Romania, must have a letter of recommendation from the Romanian Patriarch in order to avoid unhappy situations in relations with [other] canonical Orthodox Churches.
5) Clerics, monks and nuns, who wish to go on pilgrimages to holy Orthodox places outside the boundaries of Romania, must have a letter of recommendation from their Dean (or Abbot/Abbess) and the approval of their local Bishop. The pilgrimage is to be organized, in principal, only through the pilgrimage office of the Romanian Patriarchate or of the eparchy in question.
6) Clerics (either monks or not) who leave eparchies of the Romanian Patriarchate without the approval of their local Bishop and without the accord of the Romanian Patriarch will be defrocked by the eparchy they leave.
7) Inasmuch as Metropolitan Nicolae of Banat issued a Canonical letter in conditions that contravene the Holy Synods Decision # 2844/2008 regarding the passing of Romanian Orthodox clerics into other Orthodox jurisdictions without the accord of the Romanian Patriarch, he is requested to withdraw the Canonical Release letters, and this within one month, granting Fr. Aurel Popescu and Deacon Cristian Popescu to pass into another Orthodox jurisdiction without the accord of the Romanian Patriarch, underlining the fact that in future, Hierarchs who do not respect the present Holy Synod decision will have to answer to the Holy Synod.
8) It is agreed that at the beginning of 2010, which the Holy Synod has proclaimed as “The year of Homage to the Orthodox Credo and Romanian Autocephaly in the Romanian Patriarchate”, and this in the context of the 125th anniversary of BOR becoming autocephalous and the 85th anniversary of BOR becoming a Patriarchate, the hierarchs of the Holy Synod are addressing a Heartfelt appeal to all Romanian Orthodox clerics and faithful abroad, who are, without blessing, in other sister Orthodox Churches or in non-canonical church structures, to restore their direct communion with the Mother Church, that is in the canonical jurisdiction of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church. This appeal was published with the title: “Appeal to unity and Romanian dignity” (on the Patriarchal website - www.basilica.ro).
Bringing you up to date with this Holy Synod decision, we ask that you take the necessary measures to put in application and to publish in your Eparchial press the above, ensuring that clergy, monks and nuns, and institutions of learning from within your eparchies respect these decisions.
With an in Christ brotherly embrace,
President of the Holy Synod
Patriarch of BOR
Secretary of the Holy Synod
Hierarchal Vicar of the Patriarchate
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PRAYER OF ST. EPHREM
O Lord and Master of my life,
leave me not with the spirit of laziness,
of despair, of domination, or idle words.
Rather, give me, your servant, the spirit of integrity,
of humility, of patience, and of love.
Thus, Lord, grant me the wisdom to see my own faults,
and not condemn my brother;
for You are blessed, now and forever. Amen.
Our Father, who are in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day
our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.