True Orthodoxy in Russia

The communion of four True Orthodox Churches has been ruptured, as is now evident from the fact that a Bishop of the Autonomous European Synod has been “accepted” by the Synod of the True Orthodox Church of the Patristic Calendar and granted the title of Exarch of Italy without a release from his previous Bishops the week of January 24 (New Style).

Despite behind-the-scenes wrangling to maintain peace among the Bishops of the four Synods, serious questions now remain as to the communion of the Churches, with both the Greeks and the Russians rescinding their previous acceptance of the union with Metropolitan Onufrie of Bergamo at the head of the Church in Italy. Metropolitan John of the Americas for his part has spoken against the uncanonical absorption of Bishop Seraphim (Del Fattore) by another Synod. The Greek Synod claims there is no longer a Synod for him to be accountable to.

According to internal documents, after discussion with Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Ecuador, Bishop Seraphim, previously Bishop of Sicily, decided to transfer allegiances, informing Metropolitan Onufrie of Bergamo after the fact.

Attempts at peace are now rapidly becoming impossible, with all sides accepting a status quo of separation. For their part, the Russian Synod under Metropolitan Raphael of Moscow has also broken communion with Metropolitan Onufrie on the claim that Metropolitan Varsanufie (Sopolov) of Chernivsi had been involved with the “Marian Center” run by the former Bishop John of Bereslavl of the Seraphimo-Gennadites. We await a response from their authorities on the veracity of the claim.

While some hope that these matters will be resolved in the typical July meeting of the hierarchs of Greece, Russia, and America, hopes are quickly dimming that peace will last that long.

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