Friday, March 18, 2016

RTOC Bp. Stefan Announces RTOCA Autonomy

UpdatedSimply News-Sharing, without any comment from me: ( in English and Russian): from RTOC-Trenton, Bishop Stefan (Sabelnik)- Open reply

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Dan Everiss

AttachmentFri, Mar 18, 2016 at 10:48 AM

Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2016 13:30:25 -0400
Subject: Open reply

Good day Daniel,
I am attaching both Russian & English versions of my latest reply to Archb. Tikhon' personal email.
God bless
  +Еп. Стефанъ (Stefan)
Bishop of Trenton & North America
​       ​
I am pleased to announce that the confusion regarding our RTOCA’s {Russian True Orthodox Church Abroad} establishment of Autonomy has been resolved. I received a personal letter from His grace
Archbishop Tikhon – a response to my «Reply to RTOC Synod» dated 3/9/2016, in which he confirms our claim: “…therefore you have the right to freely rule your diocese within a regimen of autonomy, as had already been stated to you back in the very initial period of establishing the North-American diocese.”
      Please see the attached Excerpt. These seven paragraphs of the excerpt have not been altered of reconfigured in any manner. The first page of Archbishop Tikhon’s letter is being omitted because it concerns the state of affairs in Russia.” – which is of no consequence to the matter at hand.
 I wrote a letter to Archbishop Tikhon, thanking him for his archpastoral understanding and help in resolving the issue.
      I call on everyone to continue serving our Lord and His Church in unwavering truth, peace, and love in our Lord. We will resume work on (re)establishing a united, yet independent ROCOR administration with additional, equal-minded and canonical bishops. This will most likely take time, prayer, spiritual wisdom, and patience.
        A Pastoral Conference is in order in the near future, but I do not deem it to be physically possible before Pascha. We will stay in touch.
God bless everyone.

EXCERPTS from Archbishop Tikhon’s Response of  3/15/16

I agree with You that joint synodal sessions are practically impossible for us, and therefore You have the right to freely rule your diocese within a regimen of autonomy, as had already been stated to you back in the very initial period of establishing the North-American diocese.
When we reminded You of the restricted rights of an autonomous diocese, the issue was only one circumstance:   for complete independence it is imperative to have a minimum of two bishops.  That is the entire problem.  As long as there is not this number of bishops, an autonomous diocese does not have the ability of self-perpetuation, i.e., the consecration of other bishops.  It was namely this and only this of which we wished to make You aware, but we did this in a very clumsy way, for which we ask forgiveness, and we very much hope for understanding on Your part.
Concerning our mutual claims, that we do not inform each other of matters under the jurisdiction of our dioceses, I must say that I have examined our correspondence of the last years and have noted that indeed we had exchanged news in church life; we had informed You, You, on Your part had written to us of Your events.
Therefore this can be called nothing but a misunderstanding.  It is true that as of late indeed we ceased exchanging information, and this was caused by a definite cooling in our inter-relations.  But there is always the opportunity to correct mistakes, only one must not be afraid to do so.  
I wish to note, that the enemies of the rebirth of the True Local Russian Orthodox Church, inexorable parts of which are our RTOC and Your, still, for the time being North American Diocese, as a prefiguration of the future Synod of the ROCA, are doing everything possible in order to divide us completely, turning us into small marginal groups which would not be able to impede the enthronement of anti-Christ.
You are troubled that we do not openly publicize the minutes of our synodal meetings.  In this regard I can say the following:  We adopted such a decision because, after lengthy discussion we came to the conclusion that we can not divulge the details of our internal church life for outsiders among whom there are not few outright enemies of the True Church as well as specific departments.
The decision was adopted to relay synodal determinations through ruling bishops at clergy meetings, and then clergy could relay them to their flock.  This is our response to Your concern.

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