On Thursday 3 March 2016, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion hosted meetings at his residence in Croydon, NSW, of the Spiritual Council, the Board of the Russian Orthodox Church (NSW) Property Trust, and the Diocesan Council.
In addition to Metropolitan Hilarion, participating in this full day of meetings were His Grace Bishop George and Diocesan Council members Mitred Archpriests Michael Protopopov and Nikita Chemodakov, Archpriests Nicholas Karipoff, Gabriel Makarov and George Lapardin, Priest James Carles, Protodeacon Alexander Abramoff, Nicholas Nedachin, Lubov Cowall and Nicholas Wirubov.
The Spiritual Council, established by then-Archbishop Hilarion in 2006 to assist Diocesan clergy in resolving personal and family matters or problems, consists of the priests who are currently members of the Diocesan Council. In addition to such matters, at its meeting the Spiritual Council discussed preparations for the forthcoming Great Lenten Pastoral Retreat and Conference and a number of pastoral and liturgical questions.
The Board of the Russian Orthodox Church (NSW) Property Trust consists of the members of the Diocesan Council. By way of response to the significant increase in the work of the Property Trust in recent years, at its meeting the Board adopted By-laws to better regulate itself and its dealings with others. Consideration was also given to amendments to the Russian Orthodox Church (NSW) Property Trust Act 1991 to better provide for the interests of monasteries and to the delegation of the Board’s decision-making powers.
It being the first meeting of the Diocesan Council for 2016, plans were made for meetings and activities during the year ahead. Importantly, it was agreed that the Eighteenth Diocesan Assembly would be held in Sydney from 17-19 November. Coinciding with the Assembly will be commemorative events to mark the twentieth anniversary of Metropolitan Hilarion’s service as Ruling Bishop of the Diocese.
At Metropolitan Hilarion’s invitation, Archpriest Vladimir Boikov and Priest Simon Nekipelov addressed the Diocesan Council. Father Vladimir, the Dean of New Zealand, gave a detailed presentation on the life of the New Zealand Deanery and the challenges it faces. A number of measures to assist the New Zealand parishes were approved, the most important of which was continuing payment to the Deanery of a travel allowance. This will make it possible for the isolated New Zealand clergy to participate in important Diocesan events in Australia and to better support one another at home.
Father Simon, the rector of the Church of All Saints of Russia in Croydon, NSW, spoke about the history and life of the chapel community. In the context of the transition of the Archbishop’s Chapel to de jure status as a parish, he sought clarification of certain property matters. The Diocesan Council agreed to undertake further work to resolve Father Simon’s concerns.
Attention was then given to safety and security at Diocesan youth activities and to the financial position of the Diocese. Noting the forthcoming audit and review of Diocesan levy payments, Diocesan Treasurer Nicholas Nedachin canvassed a range of initiatives designed to strengthen the Diocesan budget. Work in this area is ongoing.
The Spiritual Council, the Board of the Russian Orthodox Church (NSW) Property Trust and the Diocesan Council are scheduled to meet next on Thursday 23 June 2016.