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The Standing Orders of the

Moscow Patriarchate Student Exchange Commission



The Moscow Patriarchate Student Exchange Commission gives students who decided to devote themselves to serving the Russian Orthodox Church an opportunity to study abroad.

The Commission cooperates with various educational institutions worldwide. Students of the Russian Orthodox Church, who have the intention to work at administrative and academic organizations and have a blessing of a ruling bishop, are provided with scholarships by universities, charities, colleges, language schools and other institutions.

The Chairman is appointed by the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. The Commission consists of representatives of the DECR, SS Cyril and Methodius Theologocal Institute of Postgraduate Studies and leading higher education institutions of the Moscow Patriarchate.

I. General Regulations

1. The Moscow Patriarchate Student Exchange Commission (hereinafter - the Commission) — a structure operating on the basis of the Department for External Church Relations and regulating  Moscow Patriarchate’s cooperation with international institutes and foundations in the field of education and research activities.

2. The Commission is headed by the Chairman.

3. The Commission includes: members, a secretary, an administrative assistant and employees supervising special issues (hereinafter – supervisors).

3.1 The members of the Commission are appointed by the decree of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

3.2 The secretary, the administrative assistant and the supervisors are appointed by the Chairman.

3.3 The secretary is responsible for clerical work of the Commission. The secretary is accountable to the Chairman.

3.4 The supervisors operate in accordance with the Chairman’s orders. The secretary coordinates the supervisors’ work.

4. According to the current standing orders, students who applied to study abroad are called applicants. From the moment a positive decision is taken on their case, they are transferred into the category of students.

II. General procedure of the Commission work

1. The current work of the Commission is regulated by the Chairman.

2. Decisions of the Commission come into force upon the Chairman’s approval.

3. The Commission accepts applications from 1st September to 30th April.

4. Meetings of the Commission are held with the Chairman’s blessing.

5. Preparation of the Commission’s meetings is entrusted to the secretary and the administrative assistant.

6. The Commission annual meeting is the summary of the Commission activity for the period since the last annual meeting. Strategic planning of the Commission activity is carried out during each annual meeting.

7. The responsibility for the implementation of the Commission decisions is entrusted to the Secretariat of the Commission: the secretary, the administrative assistant and the supervisors.

III. Terms of Cooperation with Applicants

1. The Applicant of the Commission must be a member of the Russian Orthodox Church, not older than 35 years of age. For people who are 35 and above, exceptions can be made on the basis of a motivation letter.

2. Applications from employees of synodal and diocesan institutions, as well as from professors of theological institutions of the Moscow Patriarchate, are a priority.

3. The Applicant must have a strong intention to return to the disposal of the hierarchy after finishing his/her studies abroad. This should be confirmed in the application in a written form.

4. The Applicant is ought to have a blessing in a form of a letter from the ruling bishop, the head of a synodal department, or the Chairman of the Commission.

5. Applications are considered only upon receiving a full set of required documents (requirements and sample forms are available at: The required documents:

5.1 A petition completed in accordance with the approved sample.

5.2 A passport copy. Students from abroad must provide a copy of the first page of their passport. Students from the Russian Federation must provide copies of the main page and a page with the current registration.

5.3 A copy of an international passport. In case internal and international passports are the same document, its copies must be provided.

5.4 Copies of all diplomas (including high school).

5.5 An autobiography in accordance with the approved sample, which must be sent to the Secretariat of the Commission.

5.6 A Curriculum Vitae either in English, or in Russian in accordance with the approved sample; to be sent to international institutions.

5.7 A recommendation letter from a ruling bishop, rector, or professor.

5.8 A medical certificate for university applicants.

5.9 An approved size photo.

5.10 Certificates of proficiency in foreign languages (if any).

6. The Applicant is recommended to specify: а) a field of theological and research specialization; b) a theme of a doctoral thesis, in case the doctoral thesis is a part of his/her intended studies.

7. Application process is carried out in accordance with the following order:

7.1 The Applicant should provide the required documents to the Commission Secretariat via the following e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The original copies of the documents are to be provided at the time of a face-to-face interview.

7.2 Documents, which are not included in the requirement list, can be additionally requested by the Commission.

7.3 The Commission can ask for the original copies of the documents before completion of the application procedures.

7.4 In case the Commission is provided with an incomplete or incorrectly prepared set of documents, application can be denied.

7.5 Documents provided by the applicant are processed within four weeks’ time. During this period the Applicant receives a written notice.

8. After sending the required documents, the Applicant is invited to an interview.

9. The Applicant should read the Commission standing orders prior to the interview.

10. After the interview, either the secretary of the Commission, or the supervisor, in agreement with the secretary, files a memorandum with all the applicant’s documents to the Chairman.

11. The Chairman’s resolution is the basis for further work of the supervisor.

12. The secretary of the Commission exercises general control over the implementation of the Chairman’s resolution.

13. The supervisor is to monitor the student throughout his/her studies.

14. The secretary, the supervisor or the administrative assistant may inquire the student, or his academic advisor, about  the current state of his/her studies.  

15. The Commission can take a decision on an early termination of the student’s studies.

15.1 The early termination of the studies can be based on: а) the Chairman’s decision, b) a request from an institution.

15.2 If such a decision is taken, the student must immediately return to the disposal of the Commission.

15.3 If a student disobeys the decision of the Commission, the Commission will ask the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the country where the student is located, to cancel his/her visa.

15.4 A student may be asked to recover funds spent on his/her studies in case of non-compliance with the Commission’s requirement on the early termination of the studies.

16. In case of conflict situations or non-compliance with the Commission requirement, the applicant or the student should send an explanatory note to the Chairman within five working days. In case of non-compliance with this requirement, the candidate is no longer considered by the Commission.

17. During studying abroad the student is ought to:

17.1 The student is ought to provide reports throughout his/her studies.

17.2 At the end of the year, the student must file a report to the Secretariat of the Commission attaching letters from an academic advisor or the head of the foundation which provides the student with financial support.

17.3 Upon completion of a short-term training, the student is ought to file a report.

17.4 In special cases (changing of the marital status, ordination, acceptance of monastic vows) the student should file a petition to the Chairman.

18. Upon completion of their studies students are ought to provide the Secretariat of the Commission with the following documents: a report on work completed addressed to the Chairman, academic adviser’s report, copies of diploma or another document obtained upon completion of studies.

19. The student has to provide all the originals of payment documents in case he/she received financial support during his/her studies.

20. The Chairman can recommend to an applicant to attend an internship in Russian Orthodox Church institutions. Time and place are determined by the Chairman.

21. Upon completion of their studies students can file a request to the Chairman to continue education or ask for assistance in employment. Otherwise, students are to file a report to the ruling bishop or the head of a synodal department.

IV. Accountability

1. The Commission activity is accountable to the Patriarch.

2. The Commission provides annual report about its activity to the Patriarch and the Church Council. Personal files of students who graduated from institutions abroad are attached to the annual report for further consideration of a ruling bishop.

3. Upon their return, students of the Moscow Patriarchate, who graduated from institutions abroad, provide the Chairman with a report addressed to the Patriarch.


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