Having celebrated Divine Liturgy on Sunday, September 11, the feast of the Beheading of the Forerunner of the Lord John, in their own sees, the archpastors of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia headed for New York City to participate in its Council of Bishops.
On Monday, September 12, after divine service in St. Sergius of Radonezh Chapel in the Synodal Residence, His Grace Nicholas, Bishop of Manhattan, will host a dinner for the Council’s participants.
The following day, after Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of "of the Sign" in the presence of the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, a moleben will be served to the Most Blessed Theotokos, to the Holy Hierarch Tikhon, Patriarch & Confessor of All Russia, and to the Holy Hierarch John, Archbishop of Shanghai & San Francisco, the Wonderworker.
After breakfast, the participants of the Council of Bishops will commence to the Synod meeting hall to open the Council, to elect a presiding bishop, secretary, and vote-counting committee, after which His Eminence Mark, Metropolitan of Berlin & Germany, locum tenens of the Primate of ROCOR since the repose of Metropolitan Hilarion of blessed memory, will deliver an opening statement. The hierarchs will then move to the Synodal Cathedral, where they will vote for a new Primate.
As explained recently to the media by Archpriest Serafim Gan, Chancellor of the Synod of Bishops, the balloting will be held according to the order proposed by St. John (Maximovitch), in 1964, when Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky; +1964), second Primate of the Church Abroad, retired. After a commemorative litia for all the reposed First Hierarchs of the Russian Church Abroad, voting for the new Primate will begin by the submission of written ballot. After the voting, the winning candidate will be announced and a decree drafted
If one bishop receives at least two-thirds of the votes, he will be considered elected. If no one candidate receives that majority of votes, then three of the bishops with the most votes cast will enter the second round of voting. "If, during the second round, one of the candidates receives an absolute majority, he will be deemed the winner. If no candidate receives a majority, then the third round will include the names of the two bishops receiving the most votes," said Fr. Serafim.
The candidate receiving the most votes in the third round will then be considered the next Primate of ROCOR. Should the third round end in a tie, the election will take place by the drawing of lots, as occurred during the Local Church Council of 1917-1918 and during the Council of ROCOR in 1986.