Two different events were discussed and documented by the leadership of the TOC-Kallinikos and the RTOC under Archbishop Tikhon of Omsk, but unsurprisingly both dealt with the elevation of Bp Akakije for the TOC of Serbia by the RTOC: the former with the reorganization of the TOC mission in Serbia, the other with a description of events after the elevation of Bp Akakije by the RTOC. The hieromonk claimed that the TOC-Kallinikos had no intention of ever ordaining a candidate for a restored Serbian Church, while the TOC-Kallinikos has responded by claiming that Hieromonk Akakije was guilty of schism and conspiracy.
The documents indicate radically different perspectives of the same years in question as well as recent events and therefore we refuse, as always, to take sides on the matter. Sadly, the documents reflect that the possibility of union between the TOC-Kallinikos and the RTOC has reached a new low.
|TOC-Kallinikos: Clergy-Laity Synaxis in Belgrade|
On Saturday August 21st/September 3rd 2011 the Belgrade General Clergy-Laity Synaxis of the GOC Serbia convened under the presidency of His Beatitude Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and all-Greece. All of the clergy who serve in Serbia and Bosnia were present: Hieromonks Methodios Zaharic and Charalambos Bukovic, Priest Slavisha Lekic and Hierodeacon Joseph Mikic, as well as those Serbian clergy who accompanied His Beatitude the Archbishop from Greece, Hieromonk Averky Zlatkovic and Priest Athanasios Kristic and Archimandrite Kassian Angelov and Priest Martin Stanchev from Bulgaria. The massive presence of Serbian G.O.C. (several of which remained until the end of the four-hour session) verify that some 2/3 of the faithful remain committed to the canonical order.
This General Clergy-Laity Synaxis:
1. Expressed absolute condemnation of the arbitrary, sectarian and separatist actions of three clergymen and a small group of laity who followed them in order to flee unto the Russian Synod under Archbishop Tikhon so that one of them may be ordained a Bishop. This faction does not represent the voice of the G.O.C. of Serbia.
2. It affirmed the loyalty of the majority of the Serbian G.O.C. to their canonical ecclesiastical leaders, that is, the Holy Synod of the Church of the G.O.C. of Greece, who from the beginning was responsible to reestablish the Church of the G.O.C. of Serbia.
3. It decided to reestablish the Serbian Church as the “Church of the G.O.C. of Serbia”, a title which it bore from the beginning and which even the those who are now divided used a few months ago before changing it.
4. It decided to reestablish the ecclesiastical council of the parish of Belgrade (with -now- Hieromonk Joseph Mikic as serving priest) according to the new reality; of Smenderevo (with Priest Slavisha Lekic), to establish a parish and ecclesiastical council for Sambac (with Hieromonk Charalambos Bukovic as serving priest) and the convocation of a council in Pirkovtsi, Bosnia (with Hieromonk Methodios Zaharic as serving priest). After the reorganization of the parishes and ecclesiastical councils, the central coordinating body will operate which will really and without compulsion express the will of the clergy and people of the Church of the G.O.C. of Serbia and will operate based on a set of by-laws.
5. It started the processes to find a proper place to build the central ecclesiastical offices in Belgrade, also for the agreement of certain lawyers so as to found an appropriate legal person for the protection of the religious properties and the defense of the religious rights of the Serbian G.O.C.
The next day, Sunday August 22nd/September 4th 2011 His Beatitude and those clergy present concelebrated in the church of St. Steven Miloutin, in the city of Smenderevo in the presence of many faithful who were able to attend.
RTOC Statement on Meeting between Bishops of RTOC and GOC-Kallinikos, Released Sept 22, 2011 (Slightly modified Google Translation; we hope to have an official English translation shortly)