Protocol #51, 07.20.2005

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Protocol #51, 07.20.2005

Vlacherna Icon of the Mother of God

The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox (Autonomous) Church convened in the hall of the Hierarchical Synod building, and was presided over by its president, His Eminence Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal and Vladimir. The session began with the singing of: “O Heavenly King.”

Present, and Signatories of the Protocol:

Metropolitan Valentine, President

Archbishop Theodore

Archbishop Anthony

Bishop Irinarch

Bishop Sebastian

Bishop Ilarion

Bishop Geronty

Agenda:

Metropolitan Valentine’s account of his trip to the USA

Activity of the pre-conciliar theological commission

Internet activity of Fr. Gregory Lourye disseminating, or fostering the “Samobozhnik” heresy (name worshipping), his ministry to suicides, the reaction to his activity from the clergy and lay people, reaction from the press

Miscellaneous

Heard:

His Eminence Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal and Vladimir, who reported that he was away on an archpastoral visit to the United States of America, where he celebrated services, visited the Monastery of St. Barbara the Great Martyress, met with His Grace Anthony, various clergy, with representatives of the Orthodox Palestine Society, and with various parishioners and pious members of the Russian Orthodox (Autonomous) Church.

During his visit to the USA, Metropolitan Valentine examined petitions from several so-called “Orthodox bishops” who seek to be accepted into the bosom of the Russian Orthodox (Autonomous) Church in their present orders. Metropolitan Valentine said that he doubts the validity of their consecrations, and therefore refrained from promising them a positive answer, however, he said that he would leave the matter to the Synod of Bishops for a final decision.

Concurrently, Metropolitan Valentine examined the petition of the residents of one Old Rite monastery and their request to be received into the bosom of the Russian Orthodox (Autonomous) Church and be ordained to the priesthood.

Further, Metropolitan Valentine related that he was present at a reception for the 80th birthday of Anastasia G. Schatiloff, the editor of “Church News.” Among the guests were her friends and relatives, clergy and starostas from different churches. Included among the distinguished guest were Prince Golitzin, starosta of the cathedral church of the ROCOR Synod, and his spouse.

Resolved:

To take the Metropolitan’s report under advisement and to thank him for his labors.

To accept Metropolitan Valentine’s reservations about receiving the “Orthodox bishops” into the bosom of the Russian Orthodox (Autonomous) Church in their present orders, since their consecrations were done by “ Orthodox bishops” whose canonicity is extremely questionable. There are over one hundred of these so-called “Orthodox” jurisdictions in the USA.

Heard:

A detailed and substantial report of His Eminence Archbishop Theodore, Administrator of the Synod of Bishops, on the results of the pre-conciliar committee.

Resolved:

To express gratitude to all members of the pre-conciliar theological committee for their efforts.

To deem the questions raised by the pre-conciliar theological committee to be extremely urgent. However, on the basis of their importance and complexity, further preparation is needed in order to avoid making mistakes that could be a temptation for the faithful, recalling the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Woe to him, through whom temptations come.”

The Synod of Bishops considers that the date for convoking the council (September, 2005) is too soon, and that it is necessary to postpone convoking the council to a later date in order to give the members of the pre-conciliar theological committee more time to work on some of the questions and submit them to the Synod for a final decision.

To ask the members of the pre-conciliar theological committee to continue their work in strict accordance with the rules and regulations of the holy Apostles and Fathers of the Church.

Heard:

Letters read, which had been addressed to the Synod of Bishops, to Their Graces Bishop Ilarion and Bishop Geronty, articles from the press, letters, complaints, reports, petitions from the clergy, monastics and lay people, concerning the activity of hieromonk Gregory (Lourye) in the area of his internet dealings, his anti-ecclesiastical remarks, his introduction of the “name worshipping” heresy into the Russian Orthodox (Autonomous) Church, in order to discredit her in the eyes of other jurisdictions, with the sole aim being to tear apart the ROAC from within. The authors urgently demand an end to this anti-church activity, and for him to be deposed from the priesthood.

Archbishop Anthony said that he, together with the Metropolitan and other bishops of the ROAC, had personally warned and asked Fr. Gregory to discontinue disseminating the heresy of “name worshipping.” Fr. Gregory (Lourye) also promised the Synod of Bishops several times, and the Metropolitan personally, to obey the decisions of the Synod of Bishops. However, Fr. Gregory (Lourye) neither kept his promises, nor did he pay any attention to its advice and directives. For this he was relieved of his position.Then Metropolitan Valentine said Fr. Gregory (Lourye), early in 2005, asked to be reinstated in the ROAC and be assigned as a clergyman of the church of the holy Martyress Elizabeth in St. Petersburg, promising to mend his ways and be a model priest. Metropolitan Valentine believed that Fr. Gregory’s (Lourye) repentance was sincere and acceded to his request, but not even half a year later, Fr. Gregory again ended up on his former scandalous path, and began to spread the views and teachings of Bulatovich on the internet – Portal.ru.

After hearing Their Eminences and the written recommendations of the clergy and faithful, which called for not just suspending Fr. Gregory (Lourye), but for deposing him from holy orders, the Synod of Bishops

Resolved:

To remove Fr. Gregory (Lourye) from his obedience at St. Elizabeth’s Church in St. Petersburg without the right to perform any divine services or sacraments and to forbid him to serve.

To appoint Fr. Daniel (Elkind), a priest of St. Elizabeth’s Church in St. Petersburg, as temporary rector.

To appoint a committee to investigate the matter of Fr. Gregory (Lourye) and his internet activities, his participation in the suicide club, and his dissemination of the heresy of “name worshipping,” and to deliver their findings to the Synod of Bishops so that it might evaluate them and take the appropriate measures for the violation of its directives.

To name the following persons to the investigative committee: Archbishop Anthony (President), Archbishop Seraphim, Archimandrite James (Antonov), Archpriest Michael Ardov, Archpriest Arkady Makovetsky, Archpriest Nicholas Hirniy, Archpriest Nicholas Kobychev, Archpriest Valery Yeltsin, and Fr. Alexis Lebedev.

President of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox (Autonomous) Church,

+ Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal and Vladimir

Members of the Synod of Bishops

+ Archbishop Theodore

+ Archbishop Anthony

+ Bishop Irinarch

+ Bishop Sebastian

+ Bishop Ilarion

+ Bishop Geronty

Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church

Diocese of Suzdal

Diocesan Bishop

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