Taking part in the Bishops’ Council are currently active bishops, including parish heads, honorary church superiors, members of the Higher Church Council, and the heads of synod and general Church institutions.
The Bishops’ Council, the supreme body of hierarchic governance, is summoned by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod no less than once every four years. In addition, the Bishops’ Council serves as the ecclesiastical court of final appeal.
The Council’s responsibilities include solution of principal theological, canonical, liturgical and pastoral matters, expression of pastoral cares for the problems of modern times, determination of the nature of relations with state bodies, and preservation of the dogmatic and canonical unity of the Russian Orthodox Church.
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Speech at meeting with delegates to the Russian Orthodox Church’s Bishops’ Council
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Your Holiness, Your Eminences, Your Graces,
Today is the enthronement day of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, and I once again congratulate you, Your Holiness, on this anniversary of your enthronement.
Four years have passed since that moment, and much has taken place in our country’s life and in our religious life, in the Russian Orthodox Church’s life, over this time. I thank you with all my heart for your tireless work and for the care you show the Church, and all of Russia and its people.
It was with great pleasure that I accepted your proposal to continue the tradition of meeting with the delegates to the Russian Orthodox Church’s Bishops’ Council. Thank you for this proposal.
”We want to continue our multifaceted and positive partnership with the Russian Orthodox Church and will do everything we can to help the Church as it rebuilds itself. We will work together to consolidate harmony in our society and strengthen our country’s moral backbone.“
This event is unquestionably the focus of great attention. You will be discussing the key issues in the life of the Church and our society today. Your Holiness, I wish you and everyone taking part in the Bishops’ Council success in your constructive and lofty mission.
The Russian Orthodox Church has always been with the people at every time, sharing with them all joys and sorrows, supporting and inspiring them, and cementing the moral fabric of our public life and indeed of our entire statehood.
Patriotism, faith and strength of spirit have always been at the foundation of Russia’s every victory and achievement. These intrinsic national character traits helped our people to overcome the Time of Troubles in 1612 and gain victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1812, which was as great a victory for our people as was the 1941–1945 Great Patriotic War.
Tomorrow, we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad. During the 1941–1945 Great Patriotic War our people and soldiers drew inspiration from the true values that have always helped us to victory.
It was the strength of the true Russia of history, the Russia of Minin and Pozharsky, Dmitry Donskoy and Alexander Nevsky, St Sergius of Radonezh and St Seraphim of Sarov, that defeated Nazism and saved the world.
But we must remember too, the other pages in our history, including the lessons to be learnt from the dramatic events of the early twentieth century. It was in large part the erosion of our spiritual and national foundations and the real persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church and our other traditional faiths that set our unified country on a course of destruction and precipitated it into revolution, upheaval and fratricidal conflict and war.
We want to continue our multifaceted and positive partnership with the Russian Orthodox Church and will do everything we can to help the Church as it rebuilds itself. We will work together to consolidate harmony in our society and strengthen our country’s moral backbone.
Traditional values, believers’ religious feelings, and people’s rights, freedoms, and dignity must all be protected by both the power of public opinion and the power of the law.
There is greater demand than ever today for the state authorities and all of the traditional faiths to work together in cooperation and partnership. We are a secular state of course, and cannot allow state life and church life to merge, but at the same time, we must avoid too, a vulgar and primitive interpretation of what being secular means.
”The Russian Orthodox Church and our other traditional faiths must have all the possibilities for carrying out full and real service in important areas such as supporting families and mothers, raising and educating children, youth policy, resolving the many social problems we still face, and strengthening patriotic spirit in the Armed Forces.“
The Russian Orthodox Church and our other traditional faiths must have all the possibilities for carrying out full and real service in important areas such as supporting families and mothers, raising and educating children, youth policy, resolving the many social problems we still face, and strengthening patriotic spirit in the Armed Forces. This is a response to people’s vital need for moral support and spiritual guidance.
I think it important to note that the Russian Orthodox Church’s efforts to pursue fruitful dialogue within Russia’s Interfaith Council are bringing positive results.
It is no exaggeration to say that for our country interethnic and interfaith harmony is a matter of historic importance.
Today, in Russia and in the countries where the Moscow Patriarchate has a canonical presence, among our compatriots abroad on the world’s various continents, the Russian Orthodox Church is carrying out a very important mission. It brings countries and peoples closer together and through its wise words and deeds helps to build greater understanding between them. It helps us to preserve the ties that have bound us throughout centuries and is essentially unifying the millions of people who make up the Russian world.
I would like to say a separate word of thanks to the members of the clergy from bishoprics abroad and from the autonomous and self-governing churches, especially from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, unity with which was restored more than five years ago now and has had such a productive influence on our people’s spiritual life.
We know that wherever you are, you have always been with Russia in spirit. You perform your important service and help our compatriots to feel the unbreakable tie with their Motherland, and you work together with them for its revival, development and growth.
I want to conclude by once more wishing the Bishops’ Council and all of you productive work and all the very best.
Thank you for your attention.