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a local or special ecclesiastical council, esp of a diocese, formally convened to discuss ecclesiastical affairs
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Which brings us to the question: What is the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops - and the following Ordinary Synod of Bishops (in October 2015) - all about?
Cardinal Erdo and three other key attendees of the Synod of Bishops - French Cardinal Andre Vingt-Troi, Italian Archbishop Bruno Forte and Mexican Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes - echo ( the same message .
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.m.
At a meeting prior to the CAPA meeting, the synod of bishops in the Province of Southern Africa said that it was "not of one mind" on sexuality issues but added, "We are of one mind in our desire to dialogue and to facilitate such dialogue and listening among all our members" and that everyone is included in that dialogue.
VATICAN CITY The two Rome-based umbrella groups representing nearly a million members of male and female Catholic religious orders around the world are planning to present Pope Francis with a proposal to give women a larger role in the Synod of Bishops.
In October 2015, he was one of the five Filipinos invited by Pope Francis to participate in the historic Synod of Bishops on the Family at the Vatican.
According to the Catholic News Service, twelve members of the ordinary council of the Synod of Bishops, three from each continent with Asia and Oceania counted as one, were elected by the synod father at the end of the recent assembly in Rome, Italy.
FROM OCTOBER 5-19, BISHOPS from around the globe gathered in Rome for the Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of "The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization." The event led to what the Religion News Services called a "media tsunami" and appeared to cause waves within the hierarchy, as evidenced by frequent media updates from Vatican personnel like Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, synod general secretary, as well as representatives from the progressive and conservative wings of the hierarchy.
NNA - Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Lorenzo Baldisseri, said on Friday that the religious minorities in the Middle East play a major role in peace, reconciliation and development.
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. In 1977, as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, he spoke on "The catechesis of our time" and concluded his participation in the synods in 2012 when, as Pontiff, he spoke on "The new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith." Attending the book's official release was Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Pope Francis has convoked an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in October 2014 which will be followed by a regular Synod of Bishops the following year to consider the challenges facing the family in present day (western) societies.