Epistle of the ROCA Synod of Bishops
To It’s God-Loving Flock,
Dear brothers and sisters!Five years have passed since the time, when an attempt was made to destroy the Russian Church Abroad. This is ample time to make a final determination of what has transpired. But first one would like to ask: are those who joined the so-called Moscow Patriarchia aware that they lost one of the most precious gifts which the Lord gave His church – the gift of freedom? That freedom, without which there is no life in Christ? Freedom, in which the relationship between God and man is stripped of any foreign “intermediaries” as necessitated by commitments to the strong of this world?
The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has always called itself a free part of the Russian Church. This is what our church remains to this day. We are truly free from dependence on political manipulation, illegal business, superfluous property and the continuous need to lie.
If the Moscow Patriarchate, and with it the former members of the diaspora, now seriously consider themselves to be persecuted and serve molebens for the cessation of persecution of them, we continue to call ourselves a free Church and continually thank God for this freedom. Our former brethren, united by the Synod headed by Metropolitan Hilarion, are now so constrained that it even extends to the inability to achieve what they have declared for five years – to announce the end of the five-year plan of “non-commemoration” and forbid some of their brothers to not commemorate the name of the MP Primate Patriarch Kirill during services. They understand that this threatens yet another split. It seems that even five years were not enough for some to come to terms with the fact that Patriarch Kirill is now their primate. It turns out to be yet another deception on the part of the hierarchy: May 17 has passed, the five-year plan has not been completed and has been extended for an indefinite period, until the fruit of the lies does not finally ripen.
After five years since the day of the signing of the union, for us there is but one conclusion: we are completely certain that we have truly stayed with our fathers and did not break the thread of continuity through them to the historic Russian Church. At the same time it is obvious that those who joined the MP joined to everything which our fathers avoided, the reign of atheism in our homeland from which they guarded our Church all these years.
Since apostasy is now spreading around the world and Christian moral values are being denied right before our eyes even in leading European and American countries, the importance of Church Tradition takes on particular meaning. New, unavoidable mass persecutions of Christians are approaching and have even already begun quietly at the daily level: in some of the “civilized” countries one already cannot openly wear a cross, while the clergy cannot wear their clerical garb. Crucifixes have been removed from public institutions and prayer has been banned in schools. In the so-called developed countries, “sexual minorities” have more rights than other social groups, and their rights are more strongly protected than, say, the rights of Christians. Children have long been raised not on the basis of Christian values, but on the basis of humanistic values and even the rights of animals are equal to the rights of people. But perhaps the most dangerous is the formation of what might be called “social Christianity” – established and closely intertwined with all other religions, but which is in fact a fraudulent form of true Christianity, and “social Orthodoxy,” which is also inextricably intertwined with the world and is a fraudulent form of true Orthodoxy and of the true Church. It is obvious that in this new, truly terrible reality, Christians should not keep in step with the world, but should only remain faithful to Christ.
We, the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad appeal to anyone who may hear us and the words of Holy Scripture: “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16). Our path in life should not go lie with the world,with its ruinous illusory values, but to Christ, Who gives us salvation from the dying world and bestows eternal life. We continue to tread the narrow path, on either side of which there is perilous sectarianism and apostasy. May this be our way, commanded by the Lord, straight and true!
May 1023, 2012
Apodosis of Pascha
Apostle Simon the Zealot
Chairman of the Synod Metropolitan Agafangel
Members of the Synod: