|Metr Ephraim of HOCNA|
The three Bishops of HOCNA have issued a clarifying statement, dated December 2 (New Style), backing away somewhat from “Bishop” Gregory Lourie, while remaining the first official confirmation that he in fact communed at Holy Transfiguration Monastery.
In a what appears to be a short official statement placed in the comments to our previous article, while not formally referring to name-worshipping as a heresy, the HOCNA Synod has allegedly backed away from any potential disputes “that have raged in the Russian Church for some one hundred years now. Nor do we intend to take sides in them.” The statement has no documentation, however, that between the Russian Synod’s judgments in the early part of the 20th century and Gregory Lourie’s resurrection of the controversy that this debate was “raging” at all.
Comparing their actions to mistakes of primates such as St Philaret and Archbishop Auxentios of Athens, the HOCNA Synod made clear that their only intention was True Orthodox unity. Exactly why, out of all the operating True Orthodox Synods in Russia, they chose a deposed and notoriously heretical soi-disant “Bishop”, who was “ordained” by two formally deposed ROAC Bishops– who never disputed their own depositions until Lourie met them– to demonstrate their commitment to True Orthodox unity is beyond us.
The statement follows.
STATEMENT OF THE HOLY SYNOD
of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America
We recently welcomed Bishop Gregory Lourie as a visitor to our monastery in
Boston. While here, he asked if he could receive Holy Communion, and after we
consulted among ourselves, and upon asking the counsel of other of our clergy, we agreed to share the Holy Mysteries with him.
By doing this, we did not intend to get involved in theological debates that have
raged in the Russian Church for some one hundred years now. Nor do we intend to take sides in them.
In hindsight, it would have been more prudent perhaps to wait until that time when this issue and other issues in the Russian and Greek Churches are addressed. At the same time, while we realize that many matters still divide them, we want to promote unity among all these groups. If we erred in our judgment, we ask forgiveness, since it was an honest mistake committed out of a desire to foster the oneness that must exist among all Orthodox Christians in the Holy Body and Blood of our Saviour.
It is true that, as they themselves admitted to us, our predecessors, St. Philaret of
New York and Archbishop Auxentius of Athens, also made missteps in the confused times and conditions that the Church now finds itself. But their love of the Truth, their purity of intention and their confession of Orthodoxy was also evident and true. We ask for your prayers that God may help us navigate in these turbulent waters that surround the Ark of the Church. We seek only your ― and our ― salvation, and we call upon the mercy of God to overlook our human failings. May God protect and shelter all of us.
November 19/December 2, 2011
Martyr Barlaam of Antioch