Holy Synod

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The Holy Synod is a permanent body (organ) that sits at the head of the Orthodox Churches . The feminine form of the Holy Synod can also be found in German texts . The Greek word Συνόδος is grammatically feminine, despite the usually masculine ending -ος, while the corresponding Russian word Синод is masculine.

The Synod had the following peculiarities in the Orthodox Churches, especially the canonical ones:

  • Today the Holy Synod is the governing body in the Russian, as in other Orthodox churches, which makes decisions between the Synods of Bishops. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church includes the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and 13 other bishops, seven of whom are permanent members and six of them are temporary members.
  • The Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church , the supreme body of the largest of the family of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, consists of all the bishops of the Church and meets twice a year for a general assembly. Between these meetings, the Patriarch of the Church, given the title Abuna , and his administration direct the affairs of the Church .

At the beginning of the 20th century the power of the Holy Synod was by no means limited to spiritual means. He also had troops that were used, for example, in the so-called Athos dispute , a dispute over the Imjaslavie movement of worshiping the name of God.


  • Wolfram von Scheliha: Russia and the Universal Church in the Patriarchal Period 1589–1721. Wiesbaden 2004.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Scheliha, p. 162.