The General Synod is the “parliament” of the Church and its highest decision-making body. The synod is chaired by the Archbishop.
The General Synod makes key decisions relating to the Church’s doctrine and ministry. It is also broadly responsible for the buildings, administration and finances of the Church, and has an important legislative function, drafting and presenting Church law for approval or rejection by the Finnish Parliament.
The General Synod meets in Turku for a week in May and November. It comprises all ten bishops as well as 96 members elected by the dioceses for four-year terms. Of these members, 32 are clergy and elected by their colleagues in each diocese and 64 are lay and elected by the laity in each diocese. The remaining three members comprise a government representative, the Chaplain General to the Defence Forces, and a representative of the Saami people, bringing the total number of the General Synod’s membership to 109.
The Bishops' Conference, the Church Council, diocesan councils, synod representatives and even ordinary parish members may submit proposals to the General Synod. Resolutions concerning the faith or basic doctrine of the Church, the Church's worship books, Church law and Church order require a three-quarters majority to be approved.