To the Right Reverend John, Bishop of the Aleutian Isles and Alaska
In accordance with the prescript of His Imperial Majesty, the Most Holy Synod heard:
on the state of the American episcopal cathedra and the churches in its jurisdiction as reported by Your Grace.
Ordered: in 1870, upon the establishment of the Orthodox episcopal cathedra in America, by the opinion of the State Council, approved by the Emperor, it was decided to issue from the State Treasury as the subsidy for this cathedra and the churches in its jurisdiction 38,000 rubles annually for three years. It was stated, that before the three-year terms end, the Most Holy Synod will present to the State Council its recommendation regarding the necessity of further issue of our Government funds for this cathedra, and if necessary then for what purpose and in what amounts. Since Your Grace did not present at the appointed time a detailed and comprehensive report on the situation of the diocese entrusted to you, on the basis of which the recommendation requested by the State Council should have been made, in November of the last year the Emperors permission was requested to continue in 1873 the issue of the same sum as before, for the support of said cathedra. Measures should be taken for expedient compilation of the above mentioned recommendations and its presentation to the State Council.
You report that you can present detailed information on all that is needed for the establishment of the Orthodox Church in America not earlier than after the return from the business trip of the priest Nicholas Kovrigin whom you sent to inspect the American Orthodox churches. At the same time, pointing out the various needs in the diocese entrusted to you, you petition for:
1) the establishment of an Orthodox church and school in S.-Francisco;
2) raising salaries to the Orthodox clergy in America and subsidies for the library;
3) the satisfaction of the request of the Slavs who live in S.-Francisco, regarding their being compensated from sums collected in Russia for the construction of a church in that city, 6500 dollars, for the plot they purchased for the church and cemetery;
4) the allocation of 4,000 dollars remaining from the 38,000 rubles budgeted for the American cathedra, as subsidies to clergy and churches subordinate to this cathedra;
5) the deduction from the sum of 866 rubles and 92 kopecks, issued for the American cathedra, and erroneously given by the Irkutsk Diocesan authorities to the Priest Nicholas Kovrigin at his departure for service in America, and transfer of this money to its proper place;
6) an expression of gratitude by the Most Holy Synod via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the trade house of Hutchinson, Kohl, Maksutoff & Co. for their assistance in your communications with subordinate churches and for their various donations.
Your Grace also inquires in your report instruction regarding how parts of the Orthodox divine services should be translated into English language and to what music church hymns should be set.
Upon reviewing all these matters and the recommendations of the Economy Department on these questions, the Most Holy Synod has decided:
1) to direct Your Grace to present to the Synod, before the expiration of the first half of this year, a detailed report as requested by the Most Holy Synod on the basis of the State Council demand approved by the Emperor. This report should contain the exact information regarding the need for the further issue by the Russian Government of sums for the support of the Orthodox clergy and churches in America. Attached to the report should be a register of all Orthodox churches present in America, the number of clergymen and parishioners of every church. At the same time a report is needed on whether the budget should be rearranged and whether some lines should be increased and others perhaps reduced. Is it feasible to reduce the number of clergy or liquidate some churches and chapels, attaching parishes to other churches?
2) The petition of the society of the Orthodox Slavs who live in S.-Francisco, regarding their being compensated in the sum of 6500 dollars, for the plot they purchased for the church, is based on information they received about the voluntary collection in Russia for the construction of a church in S.-Francisco. However, the collection for this purpose from 1868 brought only an insignificant sum of 17,350 rubles. In future, judging by past examples, the collection will be even smaller, and then the construction of the church would not be realized in the near future. At the same time, the prolonged ownership of a parcel of land would demand great expenses. And the society itself has no monetary means, as can be seen from a) their request from the Synod for money to buy the land, and b) the societys still not taking upon itself the support of the clergy appointed at their requests in 1868. The condition was then that our Government would support the clergy for the first two years only. Then it was taken into consideration that in accordance with the societys by-laws, the Russian Consul and Vice-Consul are its permanent members. However, from your report it cannot be determined whether they were present when the society made that decision to purchase the land for the church. Therefore, it is decided to let Your Grace know that the proposal to purchase land to build a church in S.-Francisco is considered by the Holy Synod premature.
3) Regarding the request for the one-time assistance to the clergy in America from the sums remaining from the budget. To allow Your Grace to distribute 1350 dollars as the requested financial aid to the clergy, and to spend the rest on the actual needs of the Aleut churches, not spending this money for any other things which are not in the budget.
4) Considering the favors shown to our church in America by the trade house of Hutchinson, Kohl, Maksutoff & Co., to suggest the Lord Ober-Procurator of the Synod ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to express gratitude to the said Trade House.
5) Regarding your inquiry of how parts of the Orthodox divine services should be translated into the English language and to what music church hymns should be set. It was decided to leave the resolution of these questions directly to your discretion, in cooperation with the rector of our Embassy church in London, Archpriest Popov, who is already occupied with this business, and with our priest in New York, [Nicholas] Bjerring. On that point bear in mind that there is no money allocated either from the State Treasury or from the funds of the Most Holy Synod either for such translation or musical notation.
Finally, the decision will be made regarding the raising of salaries of the church clergy in the American cathedra and an establishment of a church in S.-Francisco, upon receiving from you detailed information about the situation of the American Orthodox churches. For the execution of this, it was decided to send to Your Grace this decree.
March 3 1873