The Statute and Regulations Committee of the Romanian Orthodox Church held its working session on 27-28 July 2017 at the patriarchal residence in Bucharest. The Patriarch of Romania chaired the meeting, during which were studied the statutory and regulatory provisions regarding the discipline of clergymen of all degrees: deacons, priests, and bishops.
In this regard, it was found that both the Statutes for the organization and functioning of the Romanian Orthodox Church, as well as the Regulations of the disciplinary-canonical authorities and of the judicial courts, have to be completed and amended as concerns the procedures for referral, investigation and judging of canonical and administrative deviations of hierarchs.
Given this fact, the church legislation of some sister Orthodox Churches in this particular field was presented.
The proposals of the Statute and Regulations Committee to complete and clarify the current statutory and regulatory provisions will be submitted for analysis and approval to the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church on August 17-18, 2017, a date for which the Permanent (Standing) Synod has already been convened.
Concerned about the disturbance and the sorrow produced in the Church by the accusations made to clergy due to certain deviations from Christian morality, based on the Sacred Canons and the practice of the other sister Orthodox Churches, the Statute and Regulations Committee has pointed to the following guidelines:
- Church discipline concerning Church servants is a necessity and an obligation for all clerics: deacons, priests, and hierarchs.
- The penalties or punishments applied to clergy of all ranks for various deviations aim to restore Church discipline, repentance, and the correction of those who have wronged, so as to receive forgiveness of sins and acquire salvation, under the direction of the confessor father.
- The spiritual correction of clerics, who have committed grave offenses, as well as the correction of all sinners in general, requires much prayer, fasting, repentance, and spiritual counsel.
As Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, with much sorrow in our soul, we ask for forgiveness to all believers for the disturbance caused by the accusations made public to clergymen due to certain deviations from Christian morality.
Since in a few days the Dormition Fast begins, a season when every Orthodox Christian prays more and reflects more on his or her own sins or mistakes, asking forgiveness from the director father through Confession so as to partake of the Holy Eucharist more often, there is a great need to pray to God for the renewal of the spiritual life of our Church’s clergy of all ranks (deacons, priests, hierarchs), as well as for the renewal of the life of monastics and lay faithful.
Let us entreat the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls (1 Peter 2:25), to illumine and help through her intercessions all the servants of Christ’s Church and all her believers to cultivate a pure and holy life, to multiply the deeds of merciful love towards all those in need and trouble, so as to attain to peace, joy, and God’s blessing in their family, parish and in society.
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church
Photograph: Robert Nicolae / Basilica.ro