Constitution of the Monastic Republic, III

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TITLE IV RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE MONASTIC REPUBLIC

Article 53 [Promotion of Overall Welfare]

  • The highest responsibility of the Monastic Republic shall be to promote the overall welfare of the People. For this purpose, the Monastic Republic shall be responsible for establishing and safeguarding Law and for protecting the religious, moral and economic interests of the People.

Article 54 [Promotion of Education]

  • §1 The Monastic Republic shall devote special attention to education and schooling. Education and schooling shall be designed and administered so that, through the cooperation of family, school and church, the members of the younger generation are endowed with religious and moral learning, patriotic attitudes, and skills for their future occupations.
  • §2 Education shall be universal and compulsory.

Article 55 [Provision for Education]

  • §1 The entire system of education and instruction shall be under the supervision of the Monastic Republic, without prejudice to the inviolability of the teachings of the Church.
  • §2 The Monastic Republic shall ensure that adequate compulsory instruction at the elementary and secondary level is given free of charge in the schools.
  • §3 The Monastic Republic shall provide appropriate stipends to help talented students without financial means to attend institutes of higher education.
  • §4 Religious instruction shall be given by the authorities of the different faiths.
  • §5 Nobody shall allow young persons in their charge to leave school without the degree of schooling prescribed for public primary and secondary schools.
  • §6 Private instruction shall be permissible, provided that it conforms with the legal provisions governing the period of schooling, the educational aims, and the arrangements prevailing in the public schools.

Article 56 [Provision for Public Health]

  • The Monastic Republic shall be responsible for the public health system, shall support measures for the care of the sick, and shall seek by way of Law to combat alcoholism and to reform alcoholics and work-shy persons.

Article 57 [Protection of Right to Work and Public Days of Rest]

  • §1 The Monastic Republic shall protect the right to work and the workers, especially women and young persons employed in trades and industry.
  • §2 Sundays and those holidays mandated by the Monastic Republic shall be observed as public days of rest. All Monastic Republic agencies and the schools will be closed.

Article 58 [Waterways and Electricity]

  • §1 The Monastic Republic shall have sovereign rights over the bodies of water surrounding it in accord with a treaty with the Hellenic Republic. The use of, channelling of, and defence against the bodies of water shall be regulated by way of Law and promoted, with due regard to the development of technology.
  • §2 Electricity rights shall be regulated by Law.

Article 59 [Public services for the Poor]

  • Public services for the poor shall be administered by the Monastic Republic under the conditions set forth in specific laws, especially for the proper care of orphans, the mentally ill, the terminally ill, and the infirm.

Article 60 [State Support for Insurance]

  • The Monastic Republic shall support and promote insurance plans for health, old age, disability, fire, flood, and other natural disasters.

Article 61 [Provision for Legal Help]

  • §1 The Monastic Republic shall provide for rapid court and enforcement proceedings that safeguard material rights and for administrative law proceedings conforming to the same principles.
  • §2 The professional exercise of the representation of parties shall be regulated by Law.

Article 62 [The Gendarmery]

  • §1 The Monastic Republic shall provide for a police force, known as the Gendarmery, to provide for security, public order, border control, traffic control, criminal investigation, and other general police duties.
  • §2 The organization and the attributions of the Gendarmery are the subject of Law.
  • §3 Under no circumstance may foreign troops be admitted within the service of the Monastic Republic, or occupy or cross through the territory other than on the sole basis of Law.

TITLE V THE HOLY SYNOD

Chapter 1 Purpose

Article 63 [Holy Synod]

  • §1 The Holy Synod shall be the legal organ representing all the People and as such shall be called upon to represent and assert the rights and interests of the People, and to promote to the extent possible the welfare of the Monastic Republic while faithfully adhering to the principles laid down in this Constitution.
  • §2 The rights appertaining to the Holy Synod may be exercised only in its lawfully constituted assembly.
  • §3 The Holy Synod shall have the right of supervision over the entire Monastic Republic administration, including the administration of Justice. The supervisory right of the Holy Synod shall not extend to the jurisprudence of the Court or to the functions assigned to the Archimandrite.
  • §4 The Holy Synod shall at any time be at liberty to bring defects or abuses that it has observed in the Monastic Republic administration directly to the attention of the Archimandrite by way of a remonstrance or complaint and to request a remedy. The results of the inquiry that shall be initiated into such a matter and the measures ordered in consequence shall be communicated to the Holy Synod.

Chapter 2 Organization

Article 64 [Election of the Hegumens]

  • §1 The Hegumens are elected by universal, free, equal and direct suffrage of the monks in their respective monasteries for a five-year term.
  • §2 Candidates for the Holy Synod must be citizens of the Monastic Republic for at least five years, at least 35 years of age, and not deprived of their eligibility by reason of Law.
  • §3 Regular elections of the Hegumen shall be held in November.
  • §4 Should the office of Hegumen become vacant before the end of the term, an election shall be held immediately and the new Hegumen shall be sworn in and begin his term, with the five years beginning the following November.
  • §5 A Hegumen may not succeed himself, but may be re-elected at a later time.
  • §6 The seat of a Hegumen becomes vacant when he:
    • a. ceases to be a citizen of the Monastic Republic; or
    • b. becomes physically or mentally incapable; or
    • c. comes under any type of ecclesiastical or civil censure.

Article 65 [Call to Convene]

  • When a call to convene is issued, the Members of the Holy Synod shall appear in person at the seat of the Archimandrite. If a Member is unable to appear, he must, on receiving the first call to convene, notify the Archimandrite in a timely manner, stating the reason he is unable to appear and stating whom he has appointed as his protopapas.

Article 66 [Opening of the Holy Synod]

  • §1 Each session of the Holy Synod shall be opened with the Divine Liturgy with the Archimandrite as presider. All new Members shall take the following oath before the Archimandrite: “I swear to observe the Constitution of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain and the existing laws and to promote in the Holy Synod the welfare of the country, without any ulterior motives, to the best of my ability and conscience, so help me God!”
  • §2 Members of the Holy Synod not in the Orthodox Community shall shall not take part in the Divine Liturgy, except as permitted by Church Law.
  • §3 Members entering the Holy Synod later shall also take this oath before the Archimandrite.

Article 67 [Rules of Procedure]

  • §1 The Holy Synod draws up and modifies its own Rules of Procedure. With a majority vote of the Holy Synod, it fixes its budget and regulates the status of the staff at its service.
  • §2 A majority vote is required for all Holy Synod business, majority being defined as more than one half of the valid votes cast, unless otherwise mandated in this Constitution or subsequent laws.

Article 68 [Sessions]

  • §1 The Holy Synod sits in ordinary and extraordinary sessions, convened in the form prescribed in the Rules of Procedure.
  • §2 The Holy Synod meets quarterly for five days or until the business at hand in concluded, but for no more than five days. These sessions take place the second full week in January, the first full week in April (or the week after Easter Week), the first full week in July, and the first full week in October.
  • §3 The Holy Synod sits in its own building which is located in Karyes.
  • §4 Provision shall be made for a grammateus to record the meeting.
  • §5 A record of the public sessions of the Holy Assembly is printed in the Official Journal of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain.
  • §6 At least two electronic copies of the Official Journal of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain shall be maintained. Each shall be kept in a separate location.
  • §7 Editions of the Official Journal of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain shall be made available to the Citizens.

Article 69 [Extraordinary Session]

  • In the case of a vacancy in the office of the Archimandrite, the Holy Synod shall be convened to an extraordinary session within two weeks to receive the declaration of the Archimandrite as provided for in Article 6, §5, and to take the oath of allegiance.

Chapter II. Legislative procedure

Article 70 [Legislative Procedure]

  • §1 The legislative initiative corresponds to the Holy Synod.
  • §2 If at least 100 of the Citizens eligible to vote, whose signatures and right to vote have been certified by their respective towns, submit a request in writing, to enact, amend or repeal a law, such a request shall be considered at the next meeting of the Holy Synod.
  • §3 If the request from one of the organs referred to in Article §1 concerns the enactment of a law that has not already been provided for by this Constitution and the implementation of which would result either in a non-recurrent expenditure not already provided for by the finance act or in an expenditure over a longer period, such request shall only be considered by the Holy Synod if it is accompanied by a proposal to cover the necessary funds.
  • §4 An initiative concerning the Constitution may only be brought by at least one-third of the registered voters.
  • §5 Further detailed provisions regarding this popular initiative shall be laid down in a law.

Article 71 [Extreme Need]

  • In cases of extreme urgency and need, the Archimandrite may present the Holy Synod with an articled text for approval as a Law, in a vote on the whole text, within a period of forty-eight hours.

Article 72 [General Budget]

  • §1 The initiative of the Bill of the General Budget corresponds exclusively to the Archimandrite, who must submit it for Holy Synod approval at least two months prior to the July session, accompanied by a proposal for the taxes to be levied.
  • §2 For each expired fiscal year, the Archimandrite shall communicate to the Holy Synod, in the first half of the following fiscal year, exact evidence of the use of the revenues approved and levied in conformity with the budget, subject to the authorization of justified budget overruns and subject to the accountability of the Archimandrite in the case of unjustified overruns.
  • §3 Any savings attained with respect to individual budget items may not be used to cover excess expenditures with respect to other items.
  • §4 The Archimandrite shall administer the financial assets of the Monastic Republic in accordance with principles he shall determine in agreement with the Holy Synod. The Archimandrite shall submit a report to the Holy Synod together with the annual accountability report.

Article 73 [Bill of the General Budget]

  • §1 The Bill of the General Budget shall be given priority over other matters and it will be carried out in accordance with a specific procedure, as prescribed in the Rules of Procedure.
  • §2 The Bill of the General Budget shall be approved chapter by chapter. The transfer of funds from one chapter to another is not permitted, unless authorized by Law.
  • §3 If the Bill of the General Budget has not yet been approved on the first day of the corresponding fiscal year, the Budget of the previous year shall automatically be extended until the new one be approved.
  • §4 The fiscal year shall be July through June.
  • §5 The Bill of the General Budget comprises all those monies requested by the Archimandrite for the execution and operation of the administration of the government.
  • §6 The Bill of the General Budget may not impose taxes.
  • §7 The Finance Committee of the Holy Synod shall make an annual revision of the execution of the Budget.

Article 74 [Levying of Taxes]

  • §1 Without the approval of the Holy Synod, no direct or indirect taxes or any other national dues or general levies, however they may be designated, may be imposed or collected. The fact that such approval has been given shall be mentioned explicitly in the tax demand notice.
  • §2 The manner by which all public dues and levies are divided among and apportioned to persons and objects and the manner by which they are collected shall also require the approval of the Holy Synod.
  • §3 As a rule, the approval of taxes and dues shall be granted for one fiscal year.

Article 75 [Amendment of Bills]

  • §1 The Holy Synod has the right to amend any bills presented to them for approval.
  • §2 The Archimandrite may request that the Holy Synod not debate those amendments which imply an increase of expenditure or a decrease of revenue in relation to the amounts provided for in the Law of the General Budget. The Holy Synod, by a majority vote, may challenge that request by means of a reasoned motion.

Article 76 [Act of the Holy Synod]

  • §1 A Bill shall become an Act of the Holy Synod once it has been passed by the Holy Synod. The Archimandrite will then sign it, enact it, and order its publication in the Official Journal of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain.
  • §2 A bill vetoed by the Archimandrite shall be returned to the Holy Synod along with his objections, for further consideration and must then be passed by the whole Holy Synod.
  • §3 An Act of the Holy Synod shall be deemed ratified, and the Archimandrite shall promulgate it, if six months have elapsed from the date on which it was submitted to him by the Holy Synod without it being returned to the Holy Synod for reconsideration.

Chapter III. International treaties

Article 77 [Approval of Treaties]

  • §1 International treaties shall be approved by the Holy Synod by a majority vote in the following cases:
    • a) Treaties linking the Monastic Republic to an international organization.
    • b) Treaties related to internal security and to defense.
    • c) Treaties related to the territory of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain.
    • d) Treaties affecting the fundamental rights regulated in Title II.
    • e) Treaties implying the creation of new burdens for the Public Finances.
    • f) Treaties creating or modifying dispositions of a legislative nature or requiring legislative measures for their implementation.
    • g) Treaties dealing with diplomatic representation or consular functions, or about judiciary or penitentiary cooperation.
  • §2 The Archimandrite shall inform the Holy Synod of the conclusion of the other international agreements.
  • §3 The previous agreement of the majority vote of the Holy Synod shall be required for the repeal of the international treaties affecting the matters enumerated in paragraph §1.

Article 78 [Treaties of Relinquishing]

  • For the purpose of furthering the interests of the People and international progress and peace, legislative, judicial and executive functions may be relinquished only to international organizations and only by means of a treaty which shall be passed by a three-quarters majority of the Holy Synod.

Article 79 [Agreement on Treaty Texts]

  • §1 The Archimandrite participates in the negotiation of those treaties affecting the relations with other nations when dealing with the matters enumerated in article 82 §1, b and g.
  • §2 The Monastic Republic delegation with the task of negotiating the treaties mentioned in the previous paragraph shall be composed of the members appointed by the Archimandrite.

TITLE VI JUSTICE

Article 80 [Judicial Power]

  • Judicial power belongs to the Holy Synod who, according to this present Constitution, delegate full exercise of this power to the Court of Justice. The Court of Justice renders Justice in the name of the Holy Synod.

Article 81 [Judges]

  • §1 Justice is administered solely by independent Judges, with security of tenure, and while in the performance of their judicial functions, bound only to the Constitution and the Laws. All Judges must be citizens of the Serene Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain.
  • §2 The whole judicial power is vested in a uniform organization of Justice. Its structure, functioning and the legal status of its members shall be regulated by Law.
  • §3 The Judges administer Justice for the citizens of the Lowland and the Isles only.
  • §4 Misdemeanors and violations of monastic discipline by monks will be adjudicated by their own hegumens in accord with monastic law.
  • §5 A monk accused of a felony will be tried as a citizen in the presence of a Judge.

Article 82 [Jury]

  • The jury is established for all criminal matters, in addition to issues of political and media wrongdoings.

Article 83 [Rules of Jurisdiction and Procedure]

  • §1 The rules of jurisdiction and procedure applying to the administration of Justice are reserved to the Law.
  • §2 In all cases, judgments shall be justified, founded in the legal system and publicly declared.
  • §3 Criminal trials are public, notwithstanding the limitations provided for by the Law. Its procedure is preferentially oral. The judgment which ends the first instance shall be rendered by a judicial organ different from the one in charge of the proceedings, and this judgment may always be subject to appeal.
  • §4 The jurisdictional defence of the general interest may be carried out by means of popular action in the cases regulated by the laws of procedure.

Article 84 [The Courts]

  • §1 The judicial power is held by the Court of Justice and the Supreme Tribunal, as well as by the respective Judges of those courts, in accordance with the laws.
  • §2 The ordinary administration of Justice shall be carried out in the first instance by the Court of Justice, and in second instance by the Supreme Tribunal.
  • §3 The organization of the Court of Justice, its procedures, the duty of judges to recuse themselves, and its fees shall be laid down by Law.

Article 85 [Non-judicial Officials]

  • The handling of particular, precisely specified kinds of business pertaining to the administration of Justice in the first instance may be assigned by means of a law to specially trained non-judicial officials of the Court of Justice who are bound by instructions.

Article 86 [Authorities as Plaintiffs]

  • The fiscal authorities and the officials of the Lowland and the Isles shall be subject to appear before the Court of Justice as plaintiffs and defendants.

Article 87 [Civil Disputes]

  • §1 The procedure in civil disputes shall be regulated in accordance with the principles of oral proceedings, direct hearings, and free evaluation of the evidence. In criminal matters, the principle of ex officio prosecution shall also apply.
  • §2 In civil matters, the ordinary administration of Justice in the first instance shall be carried out by one or more individual Judges.
  • §3 The Supreme Tribunal shall be a collegial Court.
  • §4 In criminal matters, Justice shall be administered in the first instance by the Court of Justice or by the Juvenile Court.
  • §5 If a Judge is unavailable, the judge shall be substituted in the case at hand by an alternate judge. The substitution shall be undertaken by the principle of rotation from case to case.

Article 88 [Chief Judge]

  • The Judges of the Court of Justice shall elect one of their number to be Chief Judge and one to be Deputy Chief Judge. This Chief Judge shall exercise disciplinary powers in the first instance over the non-judicial officials of the Court. Re-election shall be permissible.

Article 89 [Res judicata]]

  • Judgments, once final, have the value of res judicata and may not be modified or quashed except in the cases provided for by the Law or when, in exceptional cases, the Supreme Tribunal, after the corresponding process of Constitutional appeal, decides that they were rendered in violation of certain fundamental rights.

Article 90 [The Supreme Tribunal]

  • §1 The Supreme Tribunal, as the organ of representation, direction and administration of the organization of Justice, watches over the independence and proper functioning of Justice.
  • §2 The Supreme Tribunal shall have overall supervision of the administration of Justice and shall exercise disciplinary powers over the judicial officials of the Court of Justice. It shall also serve as the second instance in disciplinary matters against the non-judicial officials of the Court of Justice.
  • §3 The Supreme Tribunal consists of five judges, one from each monastery group and one from the Citizens over thirty-five years of age, conversant with the administration of Justice. They shall be appointed by the Archimandrite in consultation with, but not with the approval of, the Holy Synod. These deliberations shall be confidential. The Supreme Tribunal is presided over by that Judge so appointed by the Archimandrite.
  • §4 The Supreme Tribunal appoints Magistrates, exercises disciplinary authority over them and promotes the conditions for the administration of Justice to carry out its duties with the means available. In order to fulfill this aim it may render its opinion in relation to the drafting of bills affecting the Judiciary or to report on the situation of the latter.
  • §5 Appropriate laws concerning the Judiciary shall regulate the functions and jurisdiction of this Supreme Tribunal.

Article 91 [Terms of Judges]

  • All Judges, whatever their rank, shall be appointed for a renewable five-year term, from academically qualified lawyers with the technical capacity for the performance of the judicial office.

Article 92 [Privileges of Judges]

  • §1 The office of Judge is not compatible with any other public post or with the exercise of commercial, industrial or professional activities. Remuneration of Judges is the responsibility of the General Budget of the Monastic Republic.
  • §2 While Judges hold office they may not be reproved, displaced, suspended, or removed from their post, unless pursuant to a sanction imposed on grounds of disciplinary or criminal liability, by means of a procedure regulated by the Law and with the rights of hearing and defense fully guaranteed. The same Law shall also regulate the cases of civil liability of Judges.

Article 93 [Cost of Miscarriage of Justice]

  • In accordance with the laws and notwithstanding the personal liability of those who caused them, the Monastic Republic shall cover the damages for the problems caused by the miscarriage of Justice or the abnormal functioning of the administration of Justice.

TITLE VII THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

Article 94 [Jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court]

  • §1 The Supreme Tribunal shall also act as the Constitutional Court. This Constitutional Court shall protect the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and decide in conflicts of jurisdiction between the Courts and the administrative authorities.
  • §2 The Constitutional Court shall also have jurisdiction to review the constitutionality of laws and international treaties and the legality of executive ordinances; in such matters, it may declare their annulment.
  • §3 The Constitutional Court is the supreme interpreter of the Constitution and functions jurisdictionally. Its decisions bind public authorities and individuals alike.
  • §4 The Constitutional Court decides on its own rules of procedure and carries out its functions subject only to the Constitution and the corresponding Law regulating it.

Article 95 [Voting of the Constitutional Court]

  • §1 The Constitutional Court makes its decisions by a majority vote. Its votes and its debates are secret.
  • §2 The judgments which partially or wholly uphold the appeal have to determine the scope and extension of its consequences.

Article 96 [Cases before the Constitutional Court]

  • The Constitutional Court tries:
    • a) Appeals of unconstitutionality against laws and executive regulations.
    • b) Requests of preliminary opinion of unconstitutionality about international laws and treaties.
    • c) Processes of constitutional appeal.
    • d) Conflicts of jurisdiction between constitutional organs. To this effect the Archimandrite, the Holy Synod, and the Courts are considered as constitutional organs.

Article 97 [Appeals]

  • §1 Appeals of unconstitutionality against laws or statutory rules may be lodged by two Citizens. The appeal shall be lodged within thirty days following the publication of the rule.
  • §2 The lodging of the appeal does not suspend the enforcement of the rule under appeal. The Court shall pass judgment within a maximum period of two months.

Article 98 [Request for a Decision]

  • §1 If, in the course of litigation, a Court has reasoned and founded doubts about the constitutionality of a law or a legislative decree, the application of which is relevant to its decision, it shall request in writing the decision of the Constitutional Court about the validity of the rule affected.
  • §2 The Constitutional Court may not admit the transaction of the request without further appeal. If the request is admitted, judgment shall be passed within a maximum period of two months.

Article 99 [Constitutionality of Treaties]

  • §1 The Archimandrite or any Hegumen may request an opinion about the constitutionality of international treaties prior to their ratification. The proceedings with that intent shall take priority.
  • §2 The judgment admitting the unconstitutionality of the treaty shall prevent its ratification. In all cases the conclusion of an international treaty including stipulations contrary to the Constitution shall require the previous revision of the latter.

Article 100 [Lodging of Appeals]

  • A constitutional appeal against the acts of public authorities impairing fundamental rights may be lodged by:
    • a) Those having been part of or accessory to the previous legal proceedings referred to in article 4, §12 of this Constitution.
    • b) Those having a legal interest related to non-enforceable provisions or acts of the Holy Synod.

Article 101 [Conflicts of Interest]

  • §1 Conflicts between the constitutional organs arise when one of them alleges that another is illegitimately carrying out the tasks which are constitutionally under the jurisdiction of the first.
  • §2 The Constitutional Court may provisorily stay the enforcement of the rules or acts under appeal, and when appropriate, give orders for the acts which originated the conflict to be stopped.
  • §3 The judgment shall determine and confer jurisdiction to one of the disputing parties.
  • §4 The lodging of a conflict of jurisdiction prevents the matter from coming before the administration of Justice.
  • §5 The Law shall regulate the cases in which a conflict of jurisdiction may arise on grounds of the non-exercise by constitutional organs of the jurisdiction to which they are entitled.

Article 102 [Legal Status of Constitutional Court Members]

  • A law shall regulate the legal status of the members of the Constitutional Court, the constitutional proceedings and the functioning of the institution.

TITLE VIII CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION

Article 103 [Suspension]

  • The Constitution may not in any way or at any time be suspended.

Article 104 [Revision]

  • §1 The right to initiate the revision, total or partial, of the Constitution shall lie with the Archimandrite or one-third of the Holy Synod.
  • §2 The revision of the Constitution shall require the approval of the Holy Synod by a three-quarters majority of the Holy Synod. Immediately after its approval the proposal shall be submitted to the Citizens of the Lowland and the Isles for ratification in a referendum.
  • §3 Once the procedure established in article 104, §2, has been carried out, the Archimandrite shall sign the new constitutional text for its promulgation and coming into force.

Schedule 1 - Order of Precedence of the Twenty Monasteries of the Holy Mountain

  • 1. St. Athanasios
  • 2. Annunciation
  • 3. St. John the Baptist
  • 4. Holy Cross
  • 5. Transfiguration
  • 6. Holy Archangels
  • 7. Sts. Peter and Paul
  • 8. St. Philotheus
  • 9. Presentation of Jesus
  • 10. St. George
  • 11. Theophany
  • 12. Ascension
  • 13. Forty Martyrs of Sebaste - Armenian
  • 14. St. George the Painter - Bulgarian
  • 15. St. John the Iberian - Georgian
  • 16. St. Sava - Serbian
  • 17. St. Panteleimon - Russian
  • 18. St. Nicholas - Cambrian
  • 19. St. Maroun - Maronite
  • 20. St. Thomas - Assyrian
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