Sobor

Sobor

[suh-bawr]
In Eastern Orthodox Churches that use a Slavic language (the Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Serbian Orthodox Churches), along with the Romanian Orthodox Church, a sobor is a council of bishops together with other clerical and lay delegates representing the church as a whole in matters of importance. The name is derived from the Church Slavonic word for "assembly".

A sobor is distinct from a synod, which is a gathering composed only of bishops. Sobors are held irregularly, only as need arises; whereas a synod meets regularly and deals with the ordinary governance of the church. The presence of clerical and lay delegates is for the purpose of discerning the consensus of the church on important matters; however, the bishops form an upper house of the sobor, and the laity cannot overrule their decisions.

Important sobors in the History of the Russian Orthodox Church are:

A bishop may also call a sobor for his diocese, which again would have delegates from the clergy, monasteries and parishes of his diocese, to discuss important matters. Such diocesan sobors may be held annually or only occasionally.

Sobor also means assemblies of other kinds, such as a zemsky sobor, which in 16th- and 17th-century Russia was a high government council convened by the Tsar.

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