Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Wikipedia.


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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
The synod committee, after also studying Pitsillides' views,had said it found misbeliefs, intentional misrepresentation, ambiguous interpretations and derisive references on many issues, such as abortion, confession, communion, homosexuality and others.
aA visit to Alexander Nevski cathedral was possible, but we would like to emphasise that any form of shared liturgical or prayer service is unacceptable to us, as the holy canons do not allow this,a the Holy Synod said.
"We used to talk about young people as being the future of the church," said Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary of General Synod, in a question-and-answer period with the youth.
On the other hand, Francis at the beginning of last year's synod encouraged discussion and even told the bishops to speak boldly and feel free to disagree with him.
"The body is composed of members who took strongly divergent positions at the synod particularly on giving communion to divorced and civilly remarried.
At that 2008 Synod Assembly, Bishop Duane Pederson and Dr.
Its recommendations call for the reconfigured synod boundaries to be in place by the 222nd General Assembly (2016) and for that Assembly to create another administrative commission "to assist synods and presbyteries who have been engaged in a substantive plan for reconfiguration but have been unable to resolve particular issues in their process." That commission would propose final boundaries to the 2018 Assembly.
Five Remonstrance articles were presented to the synod. A theological dialogue did not materialize, however, since the Remonstrants refused to accept being called before the synod to have their theological positions judged; they wanted to be seated as full fellow delegates.
In November 2004, when John Paul II, toward the end of his earthly life, announced his intention to convoke in Rome a second synod of bishops, Special Assembly for Africa (an intention confirmed in June 2005 by Benedict XVI), many committed African theologians and scholars were very skeptical.
Her then-titled synod youth director position was the catalyst for creating regional staff positions as they exist today.
In July, the Synod of England and Wales announced its intention to follow the Scots and remove the legal restrictions on the ordination of women as bishops.
She told the General Synod meeting in Church House, Westminster: 'The beginning of the Archbishop of York's new ministry at the end of this month marks an important new chapter in the life of the church and of the Anglican Communion.