NEW YORK, May 12 (Itar-Tass) - Archbishop of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand Hilarion has been elected the supreme hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia /ROCOR/.
Voting for his candidacy was held Monday at a conference of ROCOR’s Council of Bishops in New York.
Enthronement of the newly elected supreme hierarch has been scheduled for May 18.
His Beatitude Hilarion’s predecessor, Metropolitan Laurus died March 16 at the age of 81.
Metropolitan Laurus became of the symbol of ROCOR’s reunification with the Russian Orthodox Church reporting to Moscow Patriarchate. The event took place May 17, 2007 – the day on which the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II and His Beatitude Laurus signed an Act on Canonical Communications.
The document put an end to the split between the two branches of the Russian Church that divided them for almost eight decades.
As ROCOR hierarchs were gathering for the session of the Council of Bishops, spokespeople for Moscow Patriarchate voiced the hope that the newly elected supreme hierarch would continue Metropolitan Laurus’s reunification cause.
During the metropolitan’s funeral in Jordanville, NY, the Most Reverend Hilarion said it is necessary to continue moving along the course the two Churches embarked on.
“Thanks to this unity, our Church is getting stronger by the power of God’s mercy now,” he said.
ROCOR’s Bylaws says its supreme hierarch has the title of the metropolitan and is elected by the Council of Bishops for life. Apart from chairing the conferences of the Council of Bishops and the Synod of Archpriests, the ruling metropolitan also takes care of the internal and external benefits of the Church.
He has the power to convene the Councils of Bishops and the All-Abroad Councils where representatives of the lay take part along with clerics, to compile reports on the situation in ROCOR, to communicate with other autocephalous Orthodox Churches on the issues of church life, to maintain contacts with secular authorities in various countries, and to address ROCOR’s entire congregation with pastoral epistles and moral instructions.
ROCOR is governed by the Council of Archpriests that convenes annually and has the status of the supreme body for issuing edicts, as well as governance, adjudication and control over activities of the Church.
Apart from electing the supreme hierarch, the Council also resolves general issues pertaining to the creed, morals, liturgics, occupational discipline, educational and missionary activities, and also adjudication in the last instance.
It handles all the affairs related to the matters of principle in what concerns nowadays schisms and false teachings and to legal defence of ROCOR’s interests in governmental institutes and other agencies of power.