Proistamenos (from Greek, "the one who presides") is the title of the priest or bishop who is in charge of a parish or in an administrative leadership position in a theological seminary or academy. It is Biblical in origin, coming from Romans 12:8, sometimes translated as "the one who governs" or "the leader."
Less commonly, rector (from Latin, regere, "to rule") is used in some jurisdictions to mean roughly the same thing. Predstoyatel is the Russian translation of proistamenos.
This is paraphrased from the ROCOR regulations, and supplemented by the ROCOR Normal Parish By-laws, to give an idea of what is required of rectors. Many of these regulations would apply across traditions.
There are two levels of a rector's duties - those he must personally do, and those he must ensure are done (whether by him or by someone else).
Duties that he must personally do include:
- A rector is:
- Head of the parish, responsible to the Diocesan Authorities;
- The celebrant of divine services and ceremonies according to the Orthodox rite;
- President of Parish Council and at each meeting or general meeting;
- The parish's representative to Diocesan Authorities in communications about all parish matters;
- The director of the parish school (if one exists).
- A rector:
- Discusses matters of Christian faith and morals as often as possible with parishioners;
- Battles all influences which may corrupt Orthodox Christian people, and attempts to keep all Orthodox Christians within the Church;
- Must co-sign all cheques.
- A rector keeps:
- The official church seal;
- The metrical books (with details on baptisms, marriages, funerals, etc), and issues extracts as required.
Duties that he must ensure are done include:
- A rector is responsible for:
- Instructing the parish members and those attending church on the rules of the Orthodox Faith and devotion;
- Instructing children in catechism;
- Proper organisation of church and parish;
- Assisting in establishing a school (if one does not exist);
- Organising missionary circles.
- A rector supervises:
- Order and correctness of divine services;
- Order and correctness of church correspondence;
- Preservation of church documents;
- The activities of the Parish Sisterhood;
- The religious-moral education and development of youth.
- A rector ensures that:
- The temple with all its possessions (e.g. sacramental items, icons, vestments, service books, etc) are cleaned and orderly;
- All decisions of AGMs, EGMs and Parish Council Meetings are carried out;
- Charity work in the parish is developed;
- Good morals are developed in the parish;
- A parish library is established.
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