The edict of His Imperial Highness the Autocrat of All Russia, from the Most-holy Governing Synod

to the Alaska Spiritual Consistory

By edict of His Imperial Highness, the Most-holy Governing Synod reviewed the proposal of the Chairman of the Special Committee on the affairs of the Orthodox Bishop's Cathedra in America, which was received on 20 April 1877 along with the minutes of the Committee's meeting.
On the basis of this information, we do DECREE:

The Special Committee, consisting of three members and, established by the Synod for the preliminary review of the affairs related to our Orthodox Bishop's Cathedra in America, in the second minutes of its meeting has come to following conclusions:

1) The necessity for the existence in America of the mentioned cathedra is determined by the special situation in which our local churches, clergy-missionaries assigned to them, and the Orthodox population there find themselvesăthey are far removed from the Siberian dioceses and are deprived of any regular communications with the shores of Siberia via the Eastern Ocean, which makes it impossible to subjugate said churches and clergymen to the supervision of the Kamchatka diocesan authorities. Meanwhile, our clergy in America, in their missionary and pastoral activities among heterodox and pagan population, are in special need of the proper directorship, and only a local diocesan Hierarch can be such a director.

2) Since our Orthodox Bishop's Cathedra in America is widowed, our churches and clergy there at the present time remain without proper hierarchical supervision, and subdeacons assigned to the cathedra have found themselves almost totally idle since their only regular occupation is reduced to hierarchical services. The Right Reverend Innocent of Moscow stated that our American clergy can better, and with fewer obstacles, communicate with Saint Petersburg from New York, than from California to Kamchatka. Therefore, it appears to be more convenient, while the Bishop's Cathedra in America remains widowed, to entrust our local churches and clergy to the jurisdiction of the Saint Petersburg diocesan authorities, and to charge subdeacons assigned to the cathedra with teaching at the school attached to the cathedra.

3) A member of the Spiritual Consistory in San Francisco and district dean, Archpriest Paul Kedrolivansky, can not be left in America any further since he has not cleared himself from the accusation of transporting contraband, brought upon him by the Alaskan Trade Company, as a result of which our Ambassador in Washington and our Consul in San Francisco declare it extremely necessary to remove him from America; and now he is being accused of incorrectly reporting the expenditure of sums allocated for the diocese; and

4) Sailor Wilson's statement about a blameworthy liaison between a member of the Spiritual Consistory in San Francisco, Priest [Nicholas] Kovrigin, and the wife of a certain Philip Kashevarov, must be investigated because of the gravity of the accusations detailed in this statement.

On the basis of these facts, the Most-holy Synod decides:

1) At this time, not to enter into a discussion on the abolishment of our bishop's cathedra in America.

2) Following the example of other churches abroad, to subordinate our churches and clergy located in America to the jurisdiction of the Saint Petersburg diocesan authorities for the entire period of the widowhood of said cathedra.

3) To charge subdeacons assigned to the cathedra with teaching at the school attached to the cathedra such subjects as are accessible to them according to their knowledge.

4) To leave to the Right Reverend Metropolitan of Saint Petersburg the selection of a person who can be useful in the position of a member of the Spiritual Consistory in San Francisco and a dean of the churches and clergy of the Aleutian and Alaskan Diocese; to send this person to the city of San Francisco, and upon this person's arrival there, to recall from San Francisco to Russia the Archpriest Paul Kedrolivansky who should turn over all sums and documents in his possession to the person who is replacing him, who is also charged with the investigation of the sailor Wilson's statement regarding the Priest Kovrigin.

The Alaska Spiritual Consistory is to be notified of these decisions.

May 27, 1877.

Ober-Secretary: A. Polonsky

Secretary: Ushakov

Translated from Russian and first published in English in the Holy Trinity Cathedral LIFE, Vol. 4, No. 9, May 1997.

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Modified 5/3/97 -