Friday, June 2, 2017

THREE official ROCA Statements

Corrected: THREE official ROCA Statements: ALL-ENGLISH: 1) Bishops' 2017 Pastoral Epistle, 2) Sessions of the Bishops' Council of 2017, and 3) "WE are not a fragment of the Russian Church, we are the remainder of the Russian Chu

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Dan Everiss

Sat, May 20, 2017 at 12:55 PM

ROCA: Pastoral Epistle of the Council of Bishops 2017
See then, that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:15-16)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ!
Christ is Risen!
Currently, the times are such, that when in both civil and ecclesiastical society, authority is crumbling, numerous false teachings are invented, and many groups refer to themselves as if Christ is among them. How can a person keep one’s balance in this chaos, where the media easily convinces a host of people that black is white and vice versa? It is not within a person’s strength nor within his ability to be able to understand such a variety of lies- it is possible only if God Himself opens the veil of Mysteries before him.

We believe that we have been vouchsafed God's mercy, and that His mercy has been manifested to us by pointing towards the direction of the historical Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, as the only true stewardship of the earthly flock of Christ of the Russian Church, through which the earthly Church is ruled by our Divine Savior.

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth like a branch, and is withered" (John 15:5 -6).

We believe that our Russian Church Abroad is the vine of Christ-  the vine on which a multitude of genuine spiritual fruits have  blossomed- including the parishes of the Catacomb Church, which were deprived of their centralized administration, and therefore have attached themselves to this vine. This vine is the source that gives us eternal life and salvation. If we lose that, we will lose God’s saving grace. That is why Holy Tradition, which is passed down from generation to generation by our spiritual Fathers, is what we must hold on to, in spite of all the trials and temptations. Whoever dares to revise this living Tradition and distorts and rejects it, will deprive himself not only of a spiritual foundation, but will deprive himself of a connection with Christ- a connection that is passed on like a continuous thread from the time of the apostles down to our days.

Sacred Tradition is the only solid ground on which one can protect the Church from schisms. Whichever winds of modernism  are raging about, if you stand on the firm rock of Tradition - they are powerless. However, if one gives in just a little to the “spirit of the times”  and allows oneself to think for but a moment that tradition is outdated and does not correspond to modern challenges – then one can easily slip from a solid foundation and thus be carried along the waves to eternal perdition.

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell: and great was the fall of it." (Mt. 7.24-27).

So will it be with those who reject the rock of living Holy Tradition, the canons and rules which the Fathers established, declaring them obsolete and not binding, and who justify their unlawful actions for lack of any arguments at all, with some imaginary "spiritual approach" and with the "demands of the times." This baseless justification for lawlessness can be compared to how the supporters of the traitor of the Church Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky), justified and justify his betrayal owing to his "special wisdom" corresponding to that time, but not within the boundaries of patristic Orthodoxy. Similarly, the enemies of Christ, the Masons, even blasphemously distort the meaning of the betrayal of Judas, which, supposedly, only those of their initiated can truly understand.
Of course, there are things within in the Church that change with time, subordinating itself to the current period. But this applies only to the external attributes, the forms of the exposition (presentations) of its invisible sacred content. One and the same truth can be conveyed, for instance, in different languages. In this case, the language can change, but the truth does not. The mistake that many make, is that they do not distinguish well enough  the difference between where the truth is, and where the form of its presentation is. Having the desire to make the truth more understandable, often and without knowing it - they distort it and smother it.

Nowadays, ecumenism is a particular, subtle evil - a heresy that often enters into the Church and into the soul of a person like some diabolical flattery, gradually and imperceptibly. Thus, unexpected for many, not only were the representatives of the well familiar-to-us official Orthodoxy susceptible to this heresy, but so were some separate old-calendar groups as well, professing that one could be saved in isolation from other Christians, that the Church has ceased to be the One, Holy and Universal, but rather has divided itself  into a multitude of supposedly self-sufficient "Church-Synods". It is precisely this thought, through which the heretical, false doctrine hides behind. Insofar as the Church of Christ has always been singular, so will it remain as such - being the only One (Church), according to the Savior's word, until the end of time.

The First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia Metropolitan Vitaly, had said that he believes that those whom the Lord has prepared for salvation, He Himself leads, simply guiding them along His pathways, and eventually  leading them to our Russian Church Abroad, and, accordingly, cutting off those who are headed towards perdition. Therefore, we must love and appreciate our Church and remember that it is singular, and that a schism in the Church means perdition, and that the (heretical) confession that all the various Churches in which one supposedly can also be saved, of which there are many – amounts to an ecumenical heresy, and to even greater perdition.
The Synod of Bishops warns all of its faithful children of the Church of Christ of the harmful nature of such a false confession of faith that contradicts the words of Christ Himself: "I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Mtt.16:18), and likewise the ninth article of the Creed: "I believe ... in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church." The Lord created one Church. Therefore, the Head cannot have many Bodies. Thus did the Lord create it, so the apostles taught, so believed the holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church. So do we also believe. "This is the apostolic faith, this the faith of the fathers, this is the Orthodox Faith, this faith confirmeth the universe!" (From the Service of the Triumph of Orthodoxy).

During these festive days of Pascha, The Synod of Bishops addresses our entire flock with a call especially relevant in our times of apostasy: "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Rev. 3:11).
Truly, Christ is risen!

Chairman of the Synod of Bishops
+ Metropolitan Agafangel
Right Reverend Bishops:
+ Archbishop George (Secretary of the Synod)
+ Bishop Athanasius
+ Bishop Kirill
+ Bishop Anfim
For Bishop Gregory and Bishop Nikon + Archbishop George (Secretary of the Synod)
April 20 / May 3, 2017,  St. Theodore Trichinas.

ROCOR: Journals (Sessions) of the Bishops’ Council 2017
The sessions of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia were held from April 19 / May 2 to April 21 / May 4, 2017 in Odessa, in the Synodal Mission.
In attendance: Members of the Synod - His Eminence Metropolitan Agafangel, Chairman of the Synod of Bishops of the ROCA, Archbishop Georgii (Secretary), Bishop Athanasius, Bishop Kyrill. The Most Reverend members of the Synod of Bishops Gregory (Vice-Chairman), and Bishop Nikon who participated in the meeting on Skype.
The Synod was attended by Bishop Anfim (personal presence) and Bishop Roman (on Skype).
They listened to the Chairman about the Agenda.
Resolved: To adopt the agenda for the session of the Synod of Bishops in the following form:
1. Report of the Chairman.
2. Notifications by the Most Reverend Bishops on the state of affairs in the dioceses.
3. Regarding our mutual relations with our fraternal old-calendar Churches.
4. On the actions and statements of the banned clergy who are under the leadership of Archbishops Andronicus and Sophrony, and the clergymen and lay people supporting them after the last Bishops' Council.
5. About the Synodal House.
6. Financial report.
7. Miscellaneous.
Listened: The report of the Chairman.
Resolved:  To take note of the Chairman's report.
Listened: Statements of the Most Reverend Bishops about the state of affairs in the dioceses.
Resolved: To take note of the statements of the Right Reverend.
Listened: To the Chairman regarding the letter from the secretariat of the Holy Synod of the GOC of Greece.
Resolved: To bless the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, His Grace Bishop Georgii, to send a written response to the Holy Synod of the GOC of Greece.
There was an assessment about the consecration accomplished by His Grace  Nikolai on Alexander Khitrov on the diocesan territory of the His Grace Athanasius without the permission of the latter.
Resolved: To consider the consecration performed by His Grace Nikolai over Alexander Khitrov on the diocesan territory of His Grace Athanasius without the permission of the latter, uncanonical. For Alexander Khitrov to make an appeal to His Grace Athanasius for the resolution of his canonical position. To warn His Grace Nikolai about the inadmissibility of repeating such violations.
Made assessments concerning the actions and statements of the archbishops banned from serving - Andronik and Sophrony - and the clergymen and lay people supporting them after the last Bishops' Council.
Resolved:  1. To approve the draft proposal of the Synod of Bishops of the ROCA concerning the actions and statements of  Archbishop Andronik and Archbishop Sophrony. 2. To convene the Bishops' Council from 11/24 to 13/26 October 2017. To invite, in accordance with the established canonical order, Archbishop Andronik and Archbishop Sophrony to the Council.
They listened to: The Chairman regarding the order of affairs of the Synodal house.
Resolved: To take note of the information regarding the order of affairs of the Synodal House.
Listened: To the financial report presented by the Chairman.
Resolved: To take note of the Synodal financial report.
We made an assessment regarding the procedures for the replacement, if necessary, of the temporary members of the Synod of the Bulgarian Old Calendar Church.
Resolved: In the case of the infeasibility for one of our bishops who are among the temporary members of the Synod of Bishops of the Bulgarian Old Calendar Church to be able to leave for Bulgaria, they can be replaced by other bishops of the ROCA, with the approval of both Metropolitan Photii and the Chairman of the Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR.
Listened: To Archbishop Georgii on the change of title for His Grace Anfim, vicar of the Kishinev diocese.
Resolved: To change the title of His Grace Anfim to the Bishop of Bassarabia, according to the name of the city of Basarabka.
Listened:To Bishop Kyrill, who asks to remove from the Synodal site the data of the former deacon of the diocese Dimitri Ilyinsky, from within the the list of parishes and clergymen.
Resolved: To take note of His Grace Kyrill’s request.
Archbishop Georgii recommends that hieromonk Nicholas (Zavyalov) be awarded to the rank of hegumen (abbot) owing the to length of his service.
Resolved:  To award hieromonk Nicholas (Zavyalov) with the rank of hegumen.
Bishop Grigorii recommends that archpriest Vladimir Petrenko be awarded with a palitsa, owing to the length of his service.
Resolved:  To award Archpriest Vladimir Petrenko with a palitsa.
Bishop Grigorii recommends that archpriest Alexander Ivashevich be awarded with a palitsa, owing to the length of his service.
Resolved: To award archpriest Alexander Ivashevich with a palitsa.
There was an assessment on the procedure for the raising up of special joint prayers of intercession during divine services.
Resolved: With the blessing of the Ruling Bishop, if in various parishes they want to establish special general prayers during worship, it is necessary to have the consent of all the parishioners. In the event of contradictions, for those who wish, there is a blessing to hold private moleben services, which would include the aforementioned special prayers.
We listened to: the Chairman, who presented the draft of the Synod's Pastoral Epistle.
We resolved: To approve the text of the Epistle of the Synod of Bishops of the ROCA, taking into account the amendments introduced.

The Chairman of the Synod of Bishops:
+ Metropolitan Agafangel
The Most Reverend:
+ Archbishop Georgii
+ Bishop Athanasius
+ Bishop Gregorii
+ Bishop Nikon
+ Bishop Kyrill
+ Bishop Anf

21 April/04 May 2017 № 224 (265)
Archbishop Andronik
(the former bishop of  Syracuse and St. Nicholas)

In accordance with the resolution of the Synod of the ROCOR of April 21/04 May 2017 on the convening of the Bishops' Council from 11/24 to 13/26 October in the Synodal Mission in Odessa, and  in accordance with the establishment of the canonical order, you are invited to the Council of Bishops, in order  to settle the current situation.

Chairman of the Synod of Bishops
+ Metropolitan Agafangel
Secretary of the Synod of Bishops
+ Archbishop Georgii 

21 April/04 May 2017 № 223 (264


Metropolitan Agafangel: "We are not a fragment of, we are the remainder of,  the Russian Church"
The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was formed due to forced circumstances- when the Russian civil war was raging, and the Russian people were split into two groups-  those who remained in the territory seized by the Communists, and those who were outside of that territory. Between the two groups, there was no communication (as it was not possible because of the war). As a result and for that reason only, a separate Church Administration was established abroad. Thus the Russian Church, being united in spirit, became divided into two independent administrations.
This division as was written about in the Status of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, in paragraph 1: "The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is an inseparable part of the local Russian Orthodox Church, temporarily self-governing on conciliar terms until the abolition of godless power in Russia, in accordance with the Decree of the Holy Patriarch, the Holy Synod and the Supreme Church Council of the Russian Church dated 7/20 November 1920,  № 362 ".
All forms of communion with the Church administration in Moscow by the ROCOR was completely discontinued in 1927 after the publication of the Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius. Since then, there has been no eucharistic communion between the ROCOR and the MP. In the same year of 1927, for the same reasons, the Church on the territory of the USSR was divided into a "Soviet church" with its administration in Moscow, and the Catacomb Church, which did not acknowledge the Soviet Church administration.
Thus, by virtue of external circumstances, the Russian Church was divided into three parts that did not have any communications with one another, which the ROCOR constantly stated. If the ROCOR had no contact with the MP not only because of the "iron curtain", but also on account of the soviet regime (and since 1961, because of the MP's entry into the heretical ecumenical community), then the ROCOR always declared full spiritual unity with the Catacomb Church.
After establishing the possibility to freely have contact with each other in the 1990s- in 2007, a part of the ROCOR joined the MP, turning a blind eye to Sergianism and the ecumenism of the latter ( to which was added the Latin heresy, which has divided the MP leaders). At that same time, a part of the Catacomb Church merged with the remnant of the ROCOR.
Thus, the part of the ROCOR, which did not join the MP because of the heresy of the latter (Sergianism) is no longer and cannot in any way be, nor can it consider itself in any form, a part of it (except, historically, until 1927).
As a matter of fact, we currently are not a part of the Russian Church, but rather its grace-filled remnant. I think we must confirm our status with a corresponding official Assessment of the Bishops' Council, which will be held in October of this year.

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