The term synod describes a wide variety of gatherings of church leaders for the purpose of developing policy on church life. As such, synods may be occasional and informal, or regularly held legislative bodies that create and maintain the legal structure of a church or denomination. The latter is usually the case among Protestant churches that have synods. In some churches, as with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the highest legislative body of the church is its synod. It exists as a creature of the member congregations and has charge over the church's various national boards and agencies. As such, it is analogous to, for example, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, or the General Council of the United Church of Canada, or the General Assembly of the Church of God of Prophecy.
   Within the Reformed tradition, the synod (or classis) is an intermediate structure between the presbytery, a set of congregations in close geographical proximity, and the national (or international) assembly. Typical of the Reformed tradition, the Presbyterian Church in Canada's many congregations were as of 2003 organized into 46 presbyteries, which in turn have constituted eight synods. The eight synods come together annually for the meeting of the general assembly.
   The Church of England describes itself as an episcopal body (with more than 108 bishops), but it is governed by its General synod, a delegated body that includes both laity and clergy from each diocese. The General synod meets semi-annually to legislate on matters before the church. other Anglican jurisdictions around the world have similar synodal structures.
   See also consistory; polity.
   Further reading:
   ■ Joan S. Gray, Presbyterian Polity for Church Officers (Louisville, Ky.: Geneva Press, 1999)
   ■ Edward Le Roy Long, Jr., Patterns of Polity: Varieties of Church Governance (Cleveland, Tenn.: Pilgrim Press, 2001)
   ■ A. D. Mattson, Polity of the Augustana Lutheran Church (Rock Island, Ill.: Augustana Book Concern, 1952)
   ■ J. L. Schaver, The Polity of the Churches (Chicago: Church Polity Press, 1947).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Synod — • A general term for ecclesiastical gatherings under hierarchical authority, for the discussion and decision of matters relating to faith, morals, or discipline. It corresponds to the Latin word concilium Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Synod — Syn od (s[i^]n [u^]d), n. [L. synodus, Gr. sy nodos a meeting; sy n with + odo s a way; cf. AS. sino[eth], seno[eth], F. synode, both from the Latin.] 1. (Eccl. Hist.) An ecclesiastic council or meeting to consult on church matters. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • synod — [sin′əd] n. [ME, altered (after LL) < OE sinoth < LL(Ec) synodus < LGr(Ec) synodos, church synod < Gr, a meeting, lit., a coming together < syn , together + hodos, way: see ODE1] 1. an ecclesiastical council; specif., a) R.C.Ch. a… …   English World dictionary

  • Synod — Synod, s. Synode 4) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Synod — Synod, der heilige, s. Synodus …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Synod — Synod, Heiliger, genauer Heiligster regierender S., die an der Spitze der russ. Kirche stehende Reichsbehörde, besteht aus den Metropoliten von Petersburg, Moskau und Kiew, einigen Eparchialbischöfen und dem Oberprokuror, einem Mann weltlichen… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • synod — index council (assembly), meeting (conference), session Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • synod — late 14c., ecclesiastical council, from L.L. synodus, from Gk. synodos assembly, meeting, conjunction of planets, from syn together + hodos a going, a way (see CEDE (Cf. cede)). Used by Presbyterians for assembly of ministers and other elders… …   Etymology dictionary

  • synod — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. mnż I, D. u, Mc. synododzie {{/stl 8}}{{stl 7}} kolegialny organ władzy kościelnej, w skład którego wchodzą biskupi oraz reprezentanci duchowieństwa i świeckich z różnych krajów świata, zwoływany doraźnie przez papieża w… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • synod — ► NOUN ▪ an assembly of the clergy (and sometimes also the laity) in a division of a Christian Church. DERIVATIVES synodal adjective. ORIGIN Greek sunodos meeting …   English terms dictionary

  • Synod — A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or …   Wikipedia

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