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On 30 January 2020, a plenary session of the Inter-Council Presence of the Russian Orthodox Church opened in the Hall of Church Councils at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

The session began with the prayer singing by Protopresbyter Vladimir Divakov, the Patriarch’s secretary for Moscow. The prayer was said by the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Presidium consists of Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna, Patriarchal vicar for Moscow diocese; Metropolitan Vladimir of Kishinev and All Moldova; Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and Kazakhstan, head of the metropolitan area in the Republic of Kazakhstan; Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, head of the metropolitan area in Central Asia; Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga; Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus; Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, and Metropolitan Dionisy of Voskresensk, chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate and the first Patriarchal vicar for Moscow.

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill addressed members of the Inter-Council Presence with introductory remarks and read out the agenda.

Discussed at the plenary session will be draft projects “Regulation on canonical and disciplinary punishment of clerics’ and ‘On secular work activities of clerics.’

The Inter-Council Presence is an advisory body acting in the periods between the Local and Bishops’ Councils. Its task consists in preparing the decisions on the major issues of the internal life and external activities of the Russian Orthodox Church. Pertaining to the competence of the Inter-Council Presence are issues of theology, church governance, church law, liturgics, pastoral work, mission, religious education, diakonia, Church-society and Church-state relations, and relations of the Church with other confessions and religions.

The agenda of the Inter-Council Presence is made by the Local or Bishops’ Council, the Holy Synod, and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.