Parish Bylaws



1. NAME:
The name of this Parish is the Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Los AngelesThe Cathedral received its charter of incorporation on September 20, 1924. It is the same as and successor to the former “Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church Association of Los Angeles, California,” and “Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church of Los Angeles.”


The Parish and its administration are subject to the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America as adopted at the Second All-American Council of October 9-21, 1971, or as amended at any subsequent All- American Council or General Parish Meeting approved by the Diocesan Authority and subject to the Bylaws of the Diocese of the West.


This parish which is under the Diocesan Authority of San Francisco and the West is a local community of the Church having at its head a duly appointed Priest and consisting of Orthodox Christians who live in accordance with the teachings of the Orthodox Church, comply with the discipline and rules of the Church, and regularly support their parish.


The term “Diocesan Authority” as used in this Statute means the Bishop or Archbishop of the Diocese of San Francisco and the West of the Orthodox Church in America.



The number of members of the clergy for the parish is determined by the Diocesan Authority according to the material resources and the number of members and in accordance with the wishes of the parishioners.


Members of the clergy are appointed to parish churches by the Diocesan Authority, which takes into consideration the life and needs of the parish in question. A clergyman may be transferred by the Diocesan Authority from one parish to another but only (a) in case the clergyman requests such transfer for valid reasons, or (b) in case the Diocesan Authority decides that such transfer will serve the best interests of the Church.


A parish priest is appointed to a specific parish and he cannot leave it and transfer to another without the permission of the Diocesan Authority, nor can he, except in case of mortal need, without the consent of the Rector of another parish or on order of the Diocesan Authority, celebrate rites within the boundaries of such other parish or for other parishioners, nor, in general interfere in the life of another parish.


The amounts to be paid to clergy for salary and their use of residence and utilities by agreement with the clergy shall be fixed by the Parish Council, subject to the approval of the Diocesan Authority, and shall not be decreased without the permission of the Diocesan Authority. All donations to the clergy for the celebration of private rites are to be retained by them in full without accountability to the parish.


The rights and duties of the parish clergy are as follows:

(a) The head of the parish is the Rector. The other members of the clergy are his chief assistants in 
all his work.

(b) The Rector is the pastor of the parishioners; he is entrusted by the Diocesan Authority with the duties of teaching them the rules of the Orthodox Faith and of Christian life, of celebrating public divine services and rites according to the ecclesiastical order, of administering the Holy Sacraments, and of guidance in Christian life; he is responsible before God and the Diocesan Authority for the whole life and activities of the parish, its spiritual growth and enlightenment, its Orthodoxy and moral progress. He is responsible for overseeing the Central Church’s sexual abuse policy, as it pertains to the parish.

(c) Besides his pastoral and liturgical duties in the execution of which he is guided by his priestly oath and conscience and is controlled through the district dean by the Diocesan
Authority, it is the duty of the Rector and other members of the parish clergy to look after decorum in the Church, the beauty of the edifice, the establishment of the parish library, the organization of the church school and to take an active part in the work of the Parish Council.

(d) It is the duty of the clergy to keep exact metrical records and such other records as may be required by the civil authorities, and to report to the Diocesan Authority with respect to the matters, at the times and on the forms indicated to the clergy by the district dean.

(e) The Rector serves as intermediary in dealings of the Diocesan Authority with the parish and vice versa on all parish matters.



By virtue of their Baptism and Chrismation the Parishioners are members of the Body of Christ and must strive to live in accordance with their high calling (Ephesians IV: 1). No one can be a member of the Parish if he/she openly betrays the teaching of the Orthodox Church, or if he/she leads a life or acts in a manner condemned by the Holy Canons as incompatible with the name of Orthodox Christian.


(a) The religious, moral and social duties of the parishioners are: complying in their life and activities with the Orthodox Faith; attending the Divine Liturgy and other services on Sundays and holy days; keeping the rules and fasts of the Orthodox Church; at least once a year making Confession and receiving Holy Communion; bringing up and teaching their children according to the Orthodox faith and in the spirit of the Church; respecting the clergy, the Diocesan Authority and all the other hierarchs and governing bodies of the Church; obeying in matters of faith and ecclesiastical order; cooperating in every way toward good results in the work of the parish and directing their personal activity towards the welfare and prosperity of the parish.

(b) The financial obligations of the parishioners are to pay: (1) the established parish dues and such- additional assessments as may be voted by a parish meeting, and (2) such contributions to the central funds of the Church as may be determined by the All-American Council or Diocesan Assembly.

(c) The rights of the parishioners are: to attend regular and special parish meetings and, if at the time, in good standing (Section 14) to take part in the discussions and to vote; to be elected as members of the Parish Council and as parish officers, and in these positions to take part in the administration of the parish and in the direction of its life and activity.



Regular Parish Meetings shall be called by the Parish Council not less than once a year. Special Parish Meetings may be called by the Rector and shall be called by him if requested by the Parish Council, the Diocesan Authority, or at least 15% of the voting members. Notice of every Parish Meeting, regular or special, shall be given by written notice sent out 14 days before the meeting. The notice of the Regular Meeting must contain a list of topics to be discussed. Topics which are not on the agenda may be discussed, but not resolved; they belong to the category of current topics. At special meetings only those topics may be discussed which are on the agenda. Topics not on this agenda cannot be discussed at special meetings.


The term “voting members” as used anywhere in these Bylaws refers to parishioners who, in addition to fulfilling the requirements and duties of sections 10 and 11,

(a) are not less than eighteen years of age, (b) confess and receive Holy Communion as often as possible, but not less than once a year, (c) regularly meet the financial obligations established by the parish or governing organs of the Church, and (d) have belonged to the parish for not less than three months beginning from the date of their acceptance by the Parish Council.

The list of voting members is to be established by the Parish Council at least once year. If in accordance with the application of the parishioners the Parish Council remits payment of financial obligations, these persons may be retained in the list of voting members.

By special decision of the Rector, concurred by the Parish Council, the following persons may be temporarily deprived of their rights to participate in the discussions or to vote at parish meetings, or to be elected to the Parish Councilor as parish officers:

(a) those who rudely disturb peace and order in the church edifice or at parish meetings;
(b) those who disobey the resolutions of the parish bodies;
(c) those who by their words or deeds bring disgrace on the Orthodox Faith, the Church, or the 
(d) those who secretly or openly injure the life of the Parish;
(e) those who belong to anti-Church organizations;
(f) those who live in the condition of cohabitation without being married;
(g) those who defame the good name or undermine the authority of the Rector, the Diocesan

Authority or the superior governing bodies of the Church or other members of the clergy.

After the expiration of a period of time, determined by the Rector, concurred in by the Parish Council, these persons may be restored to their rights if they repent and show improvement by their behavior. From decisions of the Rector or the Parish Council under Section 13, appeals may be taken by any of the persons concerned to the Diocesan Authority or the Diocesan Court.


The required quorum for a general parish meeting shall consist of not less than 10% of the voting membership, provided that timely written notice (see Section 12) shall have been given in accordance with the requirements of these Bylaws.


The Rector of the Parish presides at the Parish Meeting. In case of his absence another member of the parish clergy presides; in the absence of the latter, an elected chairman presides. At all General Meetings a Vice-President and Secretary are also elected from among the voting members.


Subjects for consideration at parish meetings are:

(a) submitting petitions to the Diocesan Authority as to the desirable candidates for vacant posts in 
the parish clergy;
(b) electing the auditing committee;
(c) hearing the reports of the Treasurer as to the receipt and expenditure of parish funds;
(d) approving the budget of the parish;
(e) hearing the report of the auditing committee;
(f) fixing the financial obligations of parishioners;
(g) searching for means necessary for satisfaction of the needs of the parish through assessment, voluntary contributions and the like;
(h) considering and authorizing the purchase and sale of real property, which decisions require a two-thirds majority vote of the voting members present;
(i) considering the construction of and capital repairs to the church edifice, parish house, Rectory and other parish buildings;
(j) considering and acting on any other matter affecting the general welfare of the parish and not within the exclusive competence of the Rector of the parish.


The minutes of a Parish Meeting, signed by the Secretary and approved by the Chairman as to their correctness as a record, are entered as promptly as possible in a minute book to be kept in the parish archives. A copy of the minutes shall be sent within two weeks to the Diocesan Authority for approval and to the district dean.


(a) Resolutions of parish meetings take effect upon confirmation by the Diocesan Authority.
(b) The district dean has the right within a week after receipt of a copy of the minutes to protest against any resolution contained in them, in which case he communicates his protest 
immediately to the Diocesan Authority.
(c) Voting members to a number equal to at least 10% of the voting membership dissenting from a resolution of a parish meeting may appeal therefrom to the Diocesan Authority within fifteen days of the date when it was adopted. The district dean considers and decides the appeal within a period not longer than fifteen days and thereupon immediately reports to the Diocesan Authority.



The administration of parish affairs is carried on, under the supreme control and guidance of the Diocesan Authority, by the Rector, with the aid of other members of the clergy, the parish meeting, the Parish Council and the parish officers.


The Parish Council consists of the assigned members of the clergy, the Warden/Vice President, nine elected council members, the President of the Sisterhood, the President of the Parents’ Committee of the Parish School, the President of Religious Books & A Helping Hand to Orthodox Russia and presidents of other similar parish organizations. The clergy, the Warden/Vice President, twelve elected council members and the President of the Sisterhood shall have the right to vote upon all matters. The presidents of other organizations shall have the right to vote only upon matters in their care. No one in the employ of the church, or receiving any salary from the church, shall be eligible to be elected to the Parish Council.


The members of the Parish Council, other than the clergy, are chosen by secret ballot at the regular parish meeting for a term of one year and until the election, confirmation and installation of their respective successors. No member who has accepted nomination and is running for election to the Parish Council may distribute ballots, collect ballots, or be involved with the vote count in any way.

The Warden, other officers and members shall be confirmed in their duties by the Diocesan Authority. If anyone of the candidates is not so confirmed then, upon notice from the Diocesan Authority to the parish of the reasons for such non-confirmation, his/her place is taken by (a) one of the alternate members, or (b) by a new candidate chosen at a special Parish Meeting.


The Parish Council is charged with:
(a) the defense of the Orthodox Faith from anti-religious, sectarian or false doctrines penetrating into the parish;
(b) the adoption of general measures looking toward the assurance and elevation of the moral life of the parishioners;
(c) the supervision of external order at services;
(d) the care for the cleanliness and decoration of the church edifice;
(e) the collection of money in the church plate and the sale of candles at services;
(f) the hiring of a custodian;
(g) the care of church schools and all educational and charitable organizations of the parish; (h) the preparatory examination of all matters to be brought up at parish meetings, regular or special, the organization generally of such meetings and the carrying out of the decisions of such meetings;
(i) the keeping of a list of the voting members;
(j) attending to the increase of parish funds;
(k) managing the real property, securities and other temporalities of the church;
(1) collecting funds according to the decision of parish meetings, the Metropolitan council or the All American Councils;
(m) considering the degrees of need of those appealing for help and making grants in accordance with the proven need of the applicants and the means of the parish;
(n) purchasing of necessities for the church and parish hall;
(o) appearing in, civil courts in respect to matters affecting the legal rights or obligations of the parish;
(p) representing the parish in contacts with the civil authorities and local organizations designed to promote social and civic welfare of the local community;
(q) fostering the establishment and maintenance of parish organizations;
(r) communicating with the Diocesan Authority.
(s) preparing and presenting to the regular parish meeting a report as to the disposition of parish funds for the past year and a budget for the future;
(t) all other matters affecting the temporal, moral and social interests of the parish which are not within the peculiar competency of the parish meeting, the parish clergy or the higher ecclesiastical authorities.


Regular meetings of the Parish Council shall be held every month on a day to be fixed and announced by the Rector. Special meetings of the council may be called by the Rector and shall be called by him if requested by not less than one-third of the members of the council. For these meetings a quorum is the number of voting members of the Parish Council who must be present for this body to conduct business; no binding decisions can be made unless a quorum is present. A two-thirds majority of the twelve voting members must be present to have a quorum. These twelve consist of the nine elected members, the president of the Sisterhood, the Starosta, and the Rector.


The officers of the Parish Council shall be the Rector, the other members of the clergy, the Warden/Vice President and his/her aides, the Treasurer, the Secretary, a Financial secretary, Membership Secretary and all the members of the Parish Council elected by the Parish Meeting.


(a) The Rector of the parish shall preside over the Parish Council. He shall convene meetings of the Parish Council, guide its discussions, see to the carrying out of its decisions and receive incoming and sign outgoing papers. Papers involving financial obligations of the parish shall be countersigned by the Secretary or Financial Secretary and the Treasurer.

(b) In case of a disagreement between the Rector and a resolution of the council, the case is referred to the consideration of the Diocesan Authority.


(a) the Warden/Vice President presides over the Parish Council in case of the absence of the Rector or the assistant priest;
(b) oversees the operation of the candle stand during the time of divine service;
(c) supervises special collections;
(d) is responsible for the purchase of candles, lights, and other necessities for use in the church;
(e) watches over the external order during the divine services (quiet);
(f) from among the members of the Parish Council, two assistants to the Warden are chosen, who in case of his/her absence perform his/her duties during the time of divine service, and shall also have regular duty at the time of the divine services and may appoint from among the parishioners others to help in the collecting and counting of money and shall certify this by their signatures; those on duty should be in church at least one-half hour before the beginning of divine services.
(g) it is the Warden’s responsibility to hold all moneys collected until he/she can deliver them to the Financial Secretary;
(h) the Warden looks after the parish grounds and buildings.


(a) prepares annual and semi-annual financial reports for the parish and prepares the budget for the corning year;
(b) writes checks to cover all the church expenses in accordance with the resolutions of the Parish Council;
(c) gives over all books, receipts and bank statements to the Auditing Committee for audit;
(d) all church checks shall be cosigned by two of the four following persons: the Rector, Dean, Treasurer, or Warden/vice president
(e) reports on the income and expenses from the church treasury when requested by the Parish Council.
(f) receives reports from the Financial Secretary concerning deposits made into the treasury (various bank accounts).


Shall keep the book of minutes of Parish Meetings and of the Parish Council meetings; he/she certifies necessary documents with his/her signature; he/she informs members of the Parish Council of Council Meetings.


Shall keep a list of all voting members of the parish; he/she receives from the members their parish dues; he/she shall record these in the account book and give receipts; he/she reminds members of the parish of their financial obligations.


A Financial Secretary shall be chosen from among the members of the Parish Council who shall receive moneys from the Warden/Vice President, shall make a detailed list of all moneys collected in the account books, and shall deposit them in the bank. He/she may be appointed by the Parish Council to temporarily assume the duties of the Treasurer in the event the latter is incapacitated or otherwise deemed incapable of Performing his/her duties under these bylaws.


An auditing committee composed of three members and an alternate shall be elected at the regular Parish Meeting to hold office for one year and until the election, confirmation, and installation of their successors. The duties of the auditing committee shall be to audit the accounts, statements and to inspect the vouchers for disbursements, securities and bank balance of the Treasurer and to report on the financial administration of the parish to the regular Parish Meeting.


In case of need, the Parish Council has the right to appoint necessary committees and to name to them the persons needed.


The heads of the various parish institutions and establishments may be invited to take part in the meetings of the Parish Council with a right to vote upon matters in their care.



The Sisterhood of the Holy Virgin Mary Church Cathedral takes care of the decoration of the Church, the vestments and the furnishing of the parish buildings and garden, and finances charitable works by collecting funds, sponsoring luncheons and other enterprises.


(a) In the parish there may be two church schools in order to satisfy the needs of the religious education of children in the Orthodox Faith.
(b) Care for the opening and material support of its church school is the duty of the parish.
(c) Religious instruction in the church school is under the supervision of the Rector, assisted by other members of the clergy and teachers. The Parents Committee is elected for a term of one year from among the parents of students in the church school.
(d) According to the need the clergy must open and conduct courses in religious education for the adult parishioners.


The Parish Church shall have a library. Besides books of the Divine Services, the library
shall contain those books which the clergy need for the purpose of enlarging and deepening their theological knowledge as well as the official publications of the Church and local Diocese. The parish library is established and added to by means of parish funds and contributions of parishioners and is under the supervision of the Rector of the parish or other person named by him.



The parish or parish corporation is the sole owner of all parish property, assets and funds. In administering them, however, the parishioners and the officers elected by them must always remember the religious nature, purposes and goals of the parish and act as trustees of God’s (not man’s) property. The parish, as the whole Church, serves God and cares for God’s work in the world, and all decisions concerning parish property must be inspired by that care and by the spiritual needs of the church.

The parish property consists of all the property, real or personal, devised, bequeathed or donated to the parish for general or specially designated uses, or purchased, leased, constructed or otherwise acquired by the parish.


The Parish Church is the holy place of the parish and therefore the good order of the church and all its appurtenances is the first and chief duty of the clergy as well as of the Parish Meeting and Council.


Under normal circumstances a corporation is formed under the appropriate civil law for the purpose of acquiring, holding and administering the parish property. In every such case the certificate of incorporation or application for such charter shall be approved in advance by the Diocesan Authority, and state that the corporation is to be subject to the jurisdiction of the All-American Council, the Metropolitan, Diocesan Authority, and the other governing bodies of the Church, and that its properties are to be administered in accordance with the Statute as adopted at the Second All-American Council on October 19-21, 1971, or as amended at any subsequent Council. The bylaws of the corporation shall be in conformity with this Statute as so adopted or amended and shall be approved by the Diocesan Authority.


Title to all parish property, real or personal, shall be vested in the parish corporation. The members of the corporation are at the same time the voting members of Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Cathedral Parish. The Board of Trustees of the Corporation is at the same time the Parish Council.


In case of the abolition of a parish and the assignment of its parishioners to another parish of the Orthodox Church in America, the Parish Church and other church property become the property of the parish to which the parishioners are assigned. In case only part of the parishioners are separated from a parish or establish a new self-supporting parish, they take with them only that part of the parish property to which the Parish Meeting of the former parish consents, with the approval of the Diocesan Authority.


In case all of the parishioners desert the Orthodox Faith or leave the jurisdiction of the Church or otherwise persist in defiance of the governing bodies of the Church, the parish may be abolished by the Diocesan Authority, in which event the Parish Church, any affiliated churches, chapels or houses of prayer and all of the parish property, real and personal, shall become subject to the disposal of the Church, the Diocese of the West of the Orthodox Church in America or its successors. Any decision of the Diocesan Authority under this Section 33 may be appealed by the parish to the General Church Court.


These Bylaws may be amended by the membership hereof at any regular or special meeting, provided that timely written notice is given to the membership, specifying the proposed addition, change or amendment and briefly describing the same. A 2/3 favorable vote of the voting members in attendance shall be required to put into effect such amendment, change or addition, and the same shall be subject to the approval of the Diocesan Authority.


In case of a dispute as to the accuracy of language of these Bylaws, the English version shall be the official one.


These Bylaws were accepted at the Annual General Meeting of February 26, 1995 and became effective on February 27, 1995, when they were approved by Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco and the West.


These Bylaws were amended on October 10, 2004.
These Bylaws were amended on January 19, 2015.
Amendments and Bylaws were approved by Archbishop Benjamin, Bishop of the Diocese of San Francisco and the West, Orthodox Church in America, on February 19, 2015. 

Parish Bylaws was last modified: January 11th, 2020 by Deacon Kirill