MINSK, 15 October (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko met with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia at the Palace of Independence on 15 October, BelTA has learned.
Following a one-on-one meeting with Patriarch Kirill, the Belarusian head of state met with members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church.
The Holy Synod is one of the highest authorities in the church. It consists of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, nine permanent and five temporary members-diocesan eparches.
Permanent members are Metropolitans of Kiev and All Ukraine, St. Petersburg and Ladoga, Krutitsky and Kolomna, Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, Metropolitan of Chisinau and All Moldova, Metropolitan of Astana and Kazakhstan, head of the Metropolitan District in Kazakhstan, Tashkent and Uzbekistan, head of the Central Asian Metropolitan District, and the head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations.
Five temporary members of the Synod from among the diocesan bishops are summoned for a semi-annual session alternately.
In 2009, the Holy Synod, on the initiative of Patriarch Kirill, launched regular onsite meetings.
The Belarusian Orthodox Church takes the leading place in the country's religious life. It unites 1,692 parishes, 15 dioceses, seven religious educational establishments, 35 monasteries, 15 brotherhoods, 10 sisterhoods and one mission. In Belarus there 1,631 Orthodox churches. 209 more are under construction.
The Synod is the supreme body of the Belarusian Orthodox Church. It is led by the Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus. The Synod consists of bishops. The Synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church meets four times a year.