Synods and Sobors. We hear about them sometimes, usually as something having been decided at one of them by our hierarchs, but what are they? The word itself derives from the Greek meaning an assembly, and that’s more or less what it is, just as council derives from the Latin meaning… council. In our Slavic usage the term sobor means the same thing, but can also be used to refer to a major parish or cathedral. The ecumenical councils are examples of synods, but of the whole Church; more minor synods are meetings of bishops to address doctrinal issues, the administration of the Church, and so forth. You will sometimes also hear references to the Holy Synod, which is the governing body for the Church, e.g., in ROCOR we have the Synod of Bishops that meet most often together in New York, as they will in September to elect our next First Hierarch.