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Diocesan Spiritual Court

The Diocesan Spiritual Court

The Diocesan Spiritual Court is the court of first instance. Clergy and laymen are subject to the Diocesan Spiritual Court:

A) in matters concerning the declaration of invalid and illegal marriages;

B) in cases calling for the attestation as to the validity of marriages and legitimacy of birth;

C) for various misdeeds and crimes which subject the guilty parties to penance by the Church, to the curtailment of church rights, or excommunication from the Church.

For official correspondence:
Eastern American Diocese
Attn: Spiritual Court
P.O. Box 6395
West Columbia, SC 29171


Members of the Spiritual Court

Archpriest George Zelenin
Chairman of the Spiritual Court

Archpriest Elias Gorsky
Rector of Holy Virgin Protection Church - Nyack, NY

Archpriest Petro Kunitsky
Cleric of Holy New Martyrs of Russia Church - Brookyn, NY

Archpriest Serge Ledkovsky
Secretary of the Spiritual Court


Reasons for Dissolution of Marriage 

The Holy Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of 1917-18 recognized as being legitimate the following reasons for dissolution of a marriage sanctified by the Church: 

- apostasy from Orthodoxy
- adultery and unnatural vices
- incapacity for marital cohabitation
- affliction by leprosy or syphilis
- unknown absence
- jail sentence with deprivation of rights
- infringement upon the life and health of spouse and children
- incest or prostitution of spouse
- entering into a new marriage
- serious, incurable mental illness
- intentional desertion

Guidelines for Church Divorce Petitioners

The Diocesan Court of the Diocese of Eastern America & New York hears petitions for a Church–sanctioned divorce based upon the authority of the Holy Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of 1917-18. Any petition must include the following documents:

1) Certificate of Church Marriage;
2) Civil divorce papers;
3) Current address of both concerned parties;
4) Statement of reasons for dissolution of civil marriage;
5) Confirmation of statement by an Orthodox priest;
6) Payment by check in the amount of $500 made payable to: "Eastern American Diocese."

Petitions must be sent to: 
Eastern American Diocese 
210 Alexander Avenue
Howell, NJ 07731

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Eastern American Diocese | Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia