(redirected from Synod of Bishops)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.


a local or special ecclesiastical council, esp of a diocese, formally convened to discuss ecclesiastical affairs



a meeting of higher clergy in a number of Orthodox and Protestant churches. A synod was the supreme governing body of the Orthodox Church in Russia from the early 18th through the early 20th century; since 1917, it has been an advisory body under the patriarch of Moscow and all Rus’.

The Synod was created in Russia in 1721 to replace the patriarchate, which had been abolished. The Synod was responsible for purely religious matters, such as the interpretation of church dogmas and regulations on church rituals and prayers; for church administrative and economic matters, such as the appointment and removal of church officials and the management of church property; for matters of church “policing,” such as the struggle with heretics and schismatics, the supervision of church prisons, and church censorship; and for judicial matters involving the clergy. The Synod was also the supreme organ with jurisdiction in certain areas of family law, such as marriage cases, including marriages between relatives, and divorce cases. The members of the Synod were chosen from among high church officials and were appointed by the emperor. The synod was supervised by the chief procurator (ober-prokuror), a secular official appointed from the military or the civil service. The authority of the chief procurator increased in the late 18th century and became especially great at the end of the 19th century, when the office was held by K. P. Pobedonostsev.

The Synod as a state body was abolished by one of the first decrees of the Soviet government. After the restoration of the patriarchate in the Russian Orthodox Church in 1917, the Synod was reestablished as a purely ecclesiastical body—an advisory council of hierarchs under the patriarch. It is composed of permanent and temporary members. Permanent members include the metropolitans of Krutitsy-Kolomna, Kiev, and Leningrad, the bishop in charge of the affairs of the Moscow patriarchate, and the chairman of the department of external church relations of the Moscow patriarchate. Temporary members include the eparchial bishops, who are summoned in turn to attend one of the sessions of the Synod.

In the Catholic Church, the Synod of Bishops was established in the 1960’s. There are also synods headed by patriarchs in some of the churches that recognize the primacy of the papacy, such as the Coptic Church in Egypt, the Armenian Church in Lebanon, and the Chaldean Church in Iran.

References in periodicals archive ?
Those who are expecting the Synod of Bishops to retract from her traditional position are living in a fool's paradise.
During the Mass the pope signed the Exhortation, which includes recommendations made to the Christians of the region during the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which convened in the Vatican in October 2010.
The synod is part of a two-year process that will continue with further discussion at the diocesan and parish levels next year, and an Ordinary Synod of Bishops next October, possibly followed by the publication of a statement from the pope.
The question it raises is whether Pope Francis is becoming a new 'Trendsetter' for his Church and for the Family of man, what is more, whether he is giving an indirect indication to the Synod of Bishops, how they should think, reflect and decide to save the family of man in the 21st century.
The Synod of Bishops will gather in a spiritual conclave at the seat of the Maronite patriarchate in Bkirki Thursday at 6 p.
Primacy" refers to the authority of the lead bishop or pope, and "synodality" refers to the authority exercised collegially by the College of Bishops in the West or a synod of bishops in the Eastern churches.
According to a CBCP News post, 12 members of the ordinary council of the Synod of Bishops were elected by the synod father at the end of the Oct.
The visiting delegation, comprising the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops Lorenzo Baldisseri and Mgr.
But all of us are also learning," the archbishop said at the sidelines of the third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which ended on Sunday.
In his opening address during the Synod of Bishops on Monday, Pope Francis told bishops they should not be afraid to speak their minds, even to the extent of showing him disrespect, when discussing about controversial topics like sex, gays and divorce.
It compiles, for the first time, all the "interventions" of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, at the various gatherings of the Synod of Bishops.
Francis began addressing the subject of remarried Catholics early in his papacy; in July he announced it would be examined by the synod of bishops in 2014.