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The Russian Orthodox Church unites 303 dioceses, that is, 10 more than in 2016 and 144 more than in 2009. This was reported by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in his remarks at the opening of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church on November 29, 2017.

In the inter-council period, 3 metropolias were established, now their number has reached 60.

The work to improve the statistics, which had been collected in Russian dioceses, has come to embrace other countries in the canonical territory as well as dioceses and parishes abroad, Patriarch Kirill pointed out. In particular, corrections were made in some dioceses, which earlier did not distinguish between staff clergy and clergy not on the staff list. This scrupulous work continues.

At present the staff clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church consists of 39 414 clergy including 34 774 staff presbyters and 4 640 deacons. For the year, the staff clergy increased by 521 clerics. This indicator of the growing number of clergy has been stable in recent years. As for the total number of staff and non-staff clergy, it amounts to over 40 thousand clerics (as of the beginning of 2017, since the statistics on the number of clergy and churches is summarized in the first months of each year).

In the Russian Orthodox Church there are 36 878 churches or other facilities in which the Divine Liturgy is celebrated. This statistics includes the data on the far abroad and corresponds to the annual growth of 1 340 churches. In addition, there are 462 male monasteries, that is, 7 more than in the previous year, and 482 female convents, that is, 11 more than in the previous years.

In the far-abroad countries there are over 900 parishes and monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church including the parishes of the Russian Church Outside Russia. ‘Almost every community of the Moscow Patriarchate in the far-abroad countries has a Sunday school, catechetical courses and activities for preserving the native language and culture and for educating the younger generation’, His Holiness said.

Among the important events for the far-abroad parishes, Patriarch Kirill mentioned the consecration of the new cathedral of the diocese of Chersonese in Paris in 2016 and of the cathedral in London after its capital restoration.

The Bishops’ Council information service

DECR Communication Service