The Holy Synod is the highest authority in Russian Orthodox Church. It serves as both the governing body of the church and final appellate court for all bishops and ecclesiastical superiors within it.
Peter the Great founded the Holy Synod in 1721 to put an end to a “state within a state” that had arisen around the patriarchate, rivalling even that of the Tsar in authority.
The Holy Synod is the highest authority of the Russian Orthodox Church
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, commonly referred to as the Moscow Patriarchate, is the highest authority within Russian Orthodoxy. Chaired by His Grace the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, it consists of seven permanent (most senior metropolitans) and five temporary members appointed from diocesan bishops.
Peter the Great founded the Holy Synod in 1721 to eliminate a “state within a state” and restore Russian Orthodox Christianity as an important pillar of tsarist rule. Initially, there were to be 12 ecclesiastical members; however, in 1763 Pope Ukase set the minimum at six.
The members of the Holy Synod swear an oath of loyalty to both King and government, with no act being valid without his or her assent. This position is filled by a layperson chosen by government; he is assisted in his work by a chief secretary and two secretaries – all laymen too.
It is the governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church is the highest authority within Orthodoxy, acting as a governing body between bishops’ councils. Headed by the patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, it consists of 12 members: seven permanent (most senior metropolitans) and five temporary chosen from diocesan bishops.
Established in 1721 by Tsar Peter I to replace the patriarchate of Moscow, this body consists of representatives of the hierarchy who submit to his will. It subordinates the church to state control and appoints a secular official (known as the chief procurator) to oversee its activities.
During World War II, the Soviet government made some concessions to the Russian Orthodox Church as compensation for its military support. However, after 1950 they reversed this policy and launched a campaign of persecution against all forms of religion.
It is the court of appeal for the Russian Orthodox Church
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church is the ultimate court of appeal for all bishops and ecclesiastical superiors within the Church. It can examine candidates for episcopate sees and prelacies, grant dispensations or indulgences, and make laws regarding church affairs.
Peter the Great established the Synod in 1721, abolishing the Patriarchate and making it a government organ staffed by secular officials. This severely compromised the church’s moral authority, ultimately leading to its decline throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The members of the Synod are divided between clergy and lay representatives, nominated by the Tsar and dismissed at his discretion. With these powers, the Synod can grant or deny permission for bishops to marry, examine heretics and blasphemers, issue censures against superstitious practices, control divorce proceedings, testaments, inheritance processes and education processes as needed.
It is a body of the Russian Orthodox Church
The Holy Synod is the highest administrative body of the Russian Orthodox Church. It consists of the patriarch, bishops and clergy of Russia’s Orthodox Church.
It seeks to interpret the teaching of the Orthodox Church, maintain doctrinal and canonical unity among local Orthodox churches, and oversee internal matters in church life. Furthermore, it canonizes saints and elects a patriarch for Moscow and All Russia.
At its inception, the synod consisted of a president, two vice-presidents and four advisers who were all overseen by a chief procurator – an official civil servant reporting directly to the monarch.
They met occasionally for a brief period to address pressing questions or matters. Although theoretically equal to the Senate, in reality it served only to represent state power and act as an agent thereof.
A 1722 law established the synod’s rights and duties. While it swore to obey the tsar and submit to his control, it was never given any independence from government.