(Name and Aims)
1. The parish shall bear the name ............................. It constitutes a part of the Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and it shall be subject to the canonical rule of its Diocesan Bishop and the immediate supervision of the pastor appointed by the latter.
2. It shall be the aim of the parish to unite the believers around the parish church on the basis of the teachings, the canons, the traditions and the rules of the Russian Orthodox Church for the satisfaction of the religious need and moral benefit of its members.
(General Provisions, Jurisdiction, Clergy)
3. It shall be the object of the parish to mutually assist the believers, forming part thereof and united in the Faith in Christ our Savior, by means of prayers, sacraments, Christian teaching and Church discipline, in attaining salvation through the participation in sacraments and Christian enlightenment, worthy life and Christian charity. Accordingly, the immediate aims of the parish shall embrace: (a) the care of the church and its adornment; (b) the maintenance of the clergy; (c) the economic prosperity of the parish and the care of the needs of the church, the clergy and all parish institutions, the diocesan and social needs; (d) charitable work, and (e) educational work in the spirit of the Orthodox Church.
4. In conjunction with the parish church there shall be a clergy of not less than two members, viz. the pastor and the deacon, or the psalmist-precentor, who shall receive living accommodations and subsistence from the parish. The clergy shall be appointed by the diocesan authorities. The number of the members of the clergy may be increased or reduced by the Ruling Bishop in accordance with the capacity and needs of the parish.
5. The boundaries of the parish may be changed by the diocesan authorities pursuant to the request of the parishioners and subject to the consent of the clergy of that parish where such changes are to be effected.
6. The establishment of a new parish shall be effected pursuant to the request of the faithful with the permission and blessing, or by order of, the diocesan authorities.
7. A priest or a person in the service of the church, as well as a layman, who secede from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and refuses to recognize the authority of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, shall not be permitted to occupy any office in the parish.
8. Priests and persons in the service of the church shall be considered lawfully appointed if they occupy their said offices by appointment and permission and with the blessing of the Ruling Bishop appointed to this office by the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
9. The pastor shall be the immediate supervisor of the parish and he shall be held responsible for its welfare before the diocesan authorities.
10. The Ruling Bishop may, if he should deem it necessary, appoint a second priest a assistant to the pastor. The question of the maintenance of such an assistant shall be settled by the diocesan authorities acting in agreement with the Parish Council.
(Parishioners and Parish Members)
11. All Orthodox Christians of both sexes, regardless of their nationality, who have reached the age of 21 years, who pay the established membership dues, who make their confession and take Holy Communion not less than once a year, and who take care of the moral and economic welfare of the parish may become parish members.
Annotation 2. Persons who live in concubinage without Church marriage, or who are engaged in ignoble business, or who are convicted of criminal offences shall have no right to participate in the parish meetings or be elected to parish offices. Those convicted of criminal offences may be restored in their rights three years after they have served their term and after absolution by their father-confessor.
Annotation 3. Those who make confession to a priest outside of their parish, must present to their Rector a certificate from that priest.
13. All parish members, except those mentioned in Annotation 2 under paragraph 11, who regularly pay the membership dues and other obligatory dues fixed by the diocesan meetings, shall have the right to participate with a decisive vote in all parish meetings, to elect parish officials and to be elected to parish offices.
Annotation 2. Parish members who shall have failed to pay their membership dues during three months shall be deprived of their rights to vote and to be elected to parish offices pending the payment of such arrears. Parish members who shall have failed to pay their membership dues during twelve months shall be excluded from parish membership. However, should a parish member fail to pay his dues because of some valid reason (illness, unemployment, etc.) the question of his right to vote shall be determined by the Church Parish Council.
15. Person who shall have rendered particularly valuable services to the parish may be elected trustees by the Annual Parish Meetings.
(Managing Organ and Officers)
16. The following shall be the managing organs:
A. The general meeting of the members of the parish, hereinafter called parish meetings;
B. The Church Parish Council;
C. The Auditing Committee.
A. PARISH MEETINGS
17. Parish meeting shall be 1 ) Annual and 2) Extraordinary.
1. Annual Parish Meetings
18. The time for the convening of the Annual Parish Meeting shall be fixed by the Church Parish Council. Not later than three weeks prior to the Annual Parish Meeting the Church Parish Council shall mail notices on the convening thereof together with the agenda. In addition thereto, the pastor, prior to the Annual Parish Meeting, shall announce its convocation from the steps before the altar on three successive Sundays after the divine service.
19. The pastor, or in case of his absence or illness. a priest substituting for him, shall preside over the Annual Parish Meeting. The Vice-President shall be elected by the meeting from among the laymen. When a matter is deliberated upon which pertains to the pastor personally as well as when candidates to the members of the staff clergy are elected, it shall be obligatory that the provost, or another person appointed by the Ruling Bishop. preside over the meeting.
20. The following shall be within the competency of the Annual Parish Meeting:
(b) the examination of the report of the Church Parish Council on the activities of the parish during the expired year;
(c) the examination and ratification of the Warden's and Treasurer's reports;
(d) the examination and ratification of the report of the Auditing Committee and the financial estimate for the forthcoming year;
(e) the fixing of the amount of the membership dues and other items of self-taxation;
(f) the amendment of the By-Laws of the parish.
Annotation 2. The Parish Meeting checks the voting competence of its members. Every member of the Parish Meeting who has for some reason lost his right to participate in the Meeting must of his own accord remove himself from participation in the Meeting.
Annotation 3. Should the Annual Parish Meeting be called to order in the presence of the required quorum, but subsequently some members should quit the meeting and the number of those attending it should be less than the said quorum, the meeting shall nevertheless be considered valid.
Annotation 4. Personal attendance of the parish members at the Parish Meeting for voting purposes shall be obligatory. Voting by proxy shall not be permitted.
23. The Secretary of the Church Parish Council shall keep the minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting and he shall record all the decisions adopted thereat together with the dissenting opinions, should any be expressed by the participant in the meeting.
24. The minute of the Annual Parish Meetings, after having been adopted by an editing committee elected by the meeting, shall be submitted not later than seven days thereafter by the pastor of the parish to the Ruling Bishop for hi ratification.
2. Extraordinary Parish Meetings
25. Extraordinary Parish Meetings. if necessary, may be convened :
(b) by the pastor of the parish;
(c) by the Church Parish Council;
(d) at the request of the Auditing Committee;
(e) pursuant to a written request of not less than one- third of the parish member submitted to the Church Parish Council.
26. All the provision of the By-Laws pertaining to the convening of the Annual Parish Meeting (18) and the keeping of the minutes (23 and 24) shall be likewise applicable to the Extraordinary Parish Meetings.
27. Only such matter shall be within the competency of an Extraordinary Parish Meeting as are specified in the notice convening same.
B. THE CHURCH PARISH COUNCIL
28. The Church Parish Council shall be composed of:
(b) the Church Warden;
(c) the President or the Sister Superior of the Sisterhood organized in conjunction with the parish and functioning under the supervision of the pastor pursuant to a special state on Sisterhoods, ratified by the diocesan authorities;
(d) the Treasurer;
(e) the Secretary;
(f) Staff member of the clergy;
(g) from two to five lay members of the parish.
Annotation: In the United States and in Canada, in parishes incorporated pursuant to the civil laws on religious corporations, the trustees of the parish corporation (parish), elected pursuant to the said laws, shall have the right to participate in the meetings of the Church Parish Council and in the Parish Meeting with the rights of active members.
29. All the officials enumerated in Par. 28. with the exception of the Pastor and the staff members of the clergy appointed by the Ruling Bishop. as well a the Senior Sister of the Sisterhood selected by the latter. shall be elected by the Annual Parish Meeting for a term of one year, and, on recommendation of the Pastor, shall be approved in the respective offices by the Ruling Bishop. All the said officers, with the exception of the Pastor and the staff members of the clergy, shall perform their duties free of pay. The Church Warden shall be elected for a term of three years.
30. The following shall be within the competency of the Church Parish Council
(b) The maintenance of the clergy and their provision with living quarters;
(c) The collection of membership dues and other items of the members' self-taxation;
(d) The keeping of the parish books and of the lists of confessors;
(e) The care of organizing the church choir under the direction of an experienced percentor;
(f) The care of the educational and charitable work of the parish;
(g) The dealing on behalf of the parish with civil authorities in connection with all matter involving the parish;
(h) The maintenance of the diocesan and the central church administrations
a. The Pastor
31. The Pastor of the parish shall :
2. Instruct the parish members and those attending church in the rules of the Orthodox Faith and devotion;
3. Instruct the children in catechism;
4. Endeavor to uplift the spiritual and moral level of the members of the parish;
5. Preside over all parish meetings and all meetings of the Church Parish Council;
6. Supervise, with the assistance of the Church Warden, the adornment of the parish church;
7. Have general supervision of the work of the Church Parish Council and that of the Church Warden;
8. Keep parish registers and issue copies of the records therefrom;
9. Communicate on behalf of the parish with the diocesan authorities in connection with all matters involving the parish;
10. Be responsible for the welfare of the parish;
11. Keep the church seal;
12. Supervise the execution of all decisions of the Annual and Extraordinary parish meeting and those of the Church Parish Council.
32. The member of the clergy, being the immediate assistants of the Pastor in the performance of his religious duties and in his educational work among the parish member and those attending church, shall:
2. Perform special duties conferred on them by the Pastor.
33. The Church Warden, being the immediate assistant of the parish Pastor with respect to economic matters, shall be directly responsible for the safekeeping of the church property. In addition he shall :
1. See to it that good order be observed in the church during divine services;
2. Take charge of the sale of candles;
3. Keep track of the monetary receipts and disbursements of the parish;
4. Take the duly prescribed oath when he is newly elected.
d. The Treasurer
34. The duties of the Treasurer shall comprise
2. The keeping of the parish funds in a manner prescribed by the Church Parish Council;
3. The disbursement, under the control of the Church Warden, of the parish monetary sums;
4. The compilation of the financial estimate and of the annual financial report for their submission to the Church Parish Council and the Annual Parish Meeting;
5. The submission of the entire monetary accounting to the Auditing Committee.
35. The duties of the Secretary shall comprise:
2. The keeping of the minutes of the Annual and Extraordinary Parish Meetings as well as those of the Church Parish Council;
3. The mailing of notices convening all parish meetings and the meetings of the Church Parish Council;
4. The keeping of the lists and addresses of the parish members;
5. The preparation, under the direction of the Pastor, of the reports to the Annual and Extraordinary parish meetings.
Annotation. All the records and books shall be kept in accordance with the forms devised by the diocesan authorities.
36. The Member of the Church Parish Council shall
2. Be assistant
of the Pastor and the Church Warden;
4. In case of illness or temporary absence of some officer, they shall, by order of the Pastor, perform the duties of the absent officer.
37. The meeting of the Church Parish Council shall be convened by the order of the Pastor not less than once a month.
38. At the meeting of the Church Parish Council all matters shall be decided by simple majority vote while in case of a tie the vote of the Pastor, or the person presiding over the meeting pursuant to his instruction, shall prevail.
39. The Secretary of the Church Parish Council shall keep the minutes of its meetings (P. 35. 1. 2) and he shall record them in a special book therefor.
B. THE AUDITING COMMITTEE
40. The Auditing Committee shall be comprised of three members elected by the Annual Parish Meeting (P. 20, 1. a.) for a term of one year.
Annotation. The Members of the Church Parish Council shall not be eligible as members of the Auditing Committee, and the members of the latter cannot be member of the Church Parish Council.
41. By order of the Pastor the Auditing Committee shall begin its work not later than two weeks prior to the date fixed for the Annual Parish Meeting.
42. The following shall be the duties of the Auditing Committee :
2. The compilation of the findings on the verification of the accounting and of the report referred to in section one of this paragraph.
3. The submission of the findings referred to in section two of this paragraph to the Annual Parish Meeting.
4. The recommendation to the Annual Parish Meeting regarding any desirable change in the method of the keeping of the Treasurer's accounting.
Sisterhoods ratified by the diocesan authorities, shall
2. Take an immediate part in the organization of the charitable work of the parish;
3. Take charge of the refectory and the household connected therewith;
4. Guide and coordinate the work of the members forming part of the Sisterhood.
(Church and Parish Property)
44. The following shall be a part of the property of the church:
(b) Everything that is donated to the church and brought to God's altar, for instance: articles needed for church use;
(c) Personal and real property donated for the adornment of the church;
(d) Monies received by the church from different sources, viz; candle-sales profits, jug and plate monies, residues of profits, income derived from estate and quit-rent, and from the sale of plots in parish cemeteries and variou sundry incomes;
(e) Personal and real property and capital funds specifically donated or bequeathed to the church for its benefit or to its ownership, even though with a special designation for charitable and educational needs of the parish or the maintenance of the clergy.
45. Parish property shall consist of every kind of personal and real property and capital fund received for the satisfaction of the religious and educational as well as charitable needs of the parish. To these shall belong
(a) Voluntary payment;
(b) Plate collection within the boundaries of the parish;
(c) Voluntary collections under subscription lists;
(d) Voluntary donations in kind by the parishioners;
(e) Income from real estate owned by the parish;
(f) Income from quit-rent;
(g) Collection made by decision of the general Parish Meetings.
46. The management of the church and parish property and the capitals shall be vested in the Church Parish Council.
47. Church real estate may be purchased or otherwise acquired out of church funds with the permission of the diocesan authorities, by decision adopted either by the Annual Parish Meeting
or the Extraordinary Parish Meeting especially convened therefor. The sale of church real estate, its alienation, exchange or cession for building purposes, shall be effected subject to the authorization of the Synod of Bishops.
48. Monetary funds, incomes and receipts, belonging to the church shall be disbursed in accordance with the estimate adopted by the Annual Church Parish Meeting and ratified by the diocesan authorities.
49. Parish property of every kind may be acquired, sold, alienated, exchanged, mortgaged, leased and ceded for building purposes by the decision of the Annual Church Parish Meeting.
50. Report on the expenditures of parish property and capital funds shall be submitted in due manner by the Church Parish Council to the diocesan authoritie for their information.
(Monetary Parish Funds)
51. All church parish sums, as these are being received, shall be deposited by the Treasurer to the current account of the parish with a bank pursuant to the direction of he Church Parish Council.
52. By decision of he Church Parish Council, for meeting current expenses, the Treasurer may he allowed to keep a certain amount of money in the form of an advance subject to accounting, the sum of which shall be determined by the Church Parish Council.
53. All check shall be signed by at least two persons, viz; the Pastor and the Church Warden, or the Treasurer, or in the absence of one of them, by the Secretary. The Church Parish Council shall authorize the signing of the checks by the said persons, and notice to this effect shall be given to the bank. The church seal shall be affixed to the checks.
(Amendment of the Parish By-Laws)
54. Amendment of these By-Laws may be made, if warranted by local conditions, not otherwise than with the consent of 2/3 of the parish members at a lawfully convened Annual Meeting, subject to the approval of the Diocesan Bishop, and on condition that such amendment in the By-Laws be ratified by the Synod of Bishops.
55. The suggested text of the paragraphs of the By-Laws, which it is proposed to amend, shall be incorporated into the notices convening the respective Annual Meeting.
(Closing of the Parish)
56. The closing of the parish can take place not otherwise than subject to the method set forth in P. 54 of these By-Laws, while the entire personal and real estate of the parish shall be turned over to the direct management and disposition of the diocesan authorities as per the direction of the Ruling Bishop.
Russian Orthodox Church
of St Nicholas
Phone: 972 529-2754
Priest Seraphim Holland
Snail Mail: 2102 Summit, McKinney TX 75071, USA