Reply of Met. Agafangel (ROCOR-A) to Recent GOC-K Letter

420625
Rome’s Rapid Downward Course by Dr. J. Joseph Overbeck (1820-1905)
November 10, 2014
recent raid
In Recent Raid on Esphigmenou Hostel Greek Police Arrest Monk Dying of Cancer
November 11, 2014

Reply of Met. Agafangel (ROCOR-A) to Recent GOC-K Letter

37203_600

November 11, 2014 (Source: http://internetsobor.org)

Originally reported on November 09

October 27 / November 9, 2014, №154 (226)

Martyr Nestor of Thessalonica

Members of the Synod of the Church True Orthodox Christians of Greece.

Your Eminence, Your Grace,

I’m really glad for your letter and thank you for your concern for the unity of our sister Churches, as well as the integrity of the Russian Church. You are quite right that we, wanting to multiplying the Russian Orthodox Church, were not always sufficiently careful and exacting to those who have contacted us with a request for admission, and now we have to reap the fruits of strife perpetrated by such people.

At the end of this month here in Odessa, will be held the Extraordinary Council of Bishops, which we will consider this issue, as well as some other issues about which you mention in your letter.

Regarding Jerusalem Patriarch Irinej, I can say that even in recent decades  the Russian Orthodox Church had no eucharistic communion with the Church of Jerusalem because of her stay in the ecumenical community, but the name of the Patriarch of Jerusalem is commemorated during divine services in the territory of his diocese, i.e., in the Holy Land, according to the traditions and local regulations. Of course, there can be no question of the commemoration of our current actions of the Patriarch Theophilus, convinced ecumenist. As for Patriarch Irinej, he was a longtime friend of the Church Abroad, and it is even possible that his elimination is also associated with the process of separation of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch as this was against joining the ROCOR to the ecumenical community. Nevertheless, his name we have not mentioned during church services outside of the Holy Land (which can be easily seen, because during the services we do a live broadcast), and this practice has not been adopted before in ROCA . As for the Holy Land, I passed on to Fr. Roman  that wish that we talked about in Athens. I’m sure you can come to a mutually acceptable final result, but in this matter there is confidential information that I can say only in person. That is, for the joint and the final decision of this question I would have to personally meet with representatives of your Synod.

I assume that you have received information regarding Patriarch Irinej that is somewhat distorted, since neither I, as is easily seen, nor our other bishops who do not have the rights to do that (unless, by mistake), do not commemorate his name for the service.

Continue reading… (Original Russian)

  • Diakrisis Dogmaton

    If these documents and translations are genuine, then we basically have an admission that the Kallinikos synod already has a limited connection to “World Orthodoxy” through the Agafangelites in the Holy Land who commemorate Irenaeus. The Cyprianites, in the past, used to brag about their connections to Diodoros of Jerusalem, Nicholas of Alexandria, and Augustinos of Phlorina—the last two being new calendarists. Chrysostomos Kiouses participated with Jerusalem once and did not fullfill the penance he was given by Archbishop Auxentios. Agafangel committed outright treason against Metropolitan Vitaly, Metropolitaan Valentine, and Archbishop Tikhon in the way he went along with Laurus’s treachery with Moscow, only to bolt at the very last second and created another ROCOR fragment. The recent Kallinikite/Cyprianite document defending the union does not deal adequately at all with the question of whether Agafangel’s group might accept the validity of heterodox sacraments. For many years Cyprian was in communion with ROCOR when it was in comunion with the ecumenist Serbs. The Cyprianites’ former bishop in Georgia gives the impression of being a wannabe member of Ecumenist “Orthodoxy” who was separated due to war, not issues of faith. Orthodox Christians with discernment should protest this unia and the ambiguous ecclesiology statement that permites this ambiguous connection of Kallinikos with Jerusalem and “World Orthodoxy.”

    Διάκρισις Δογμάτων

    • Diakrisis Dogmaton

      It has now been one year since the Greek old calendar synod of Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Phyle united with the Greek old calendar synod under Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens. A few days after that union, the Romanian old calendar synod under Metropolitan Vlasie and the Russian synod under Metropolitan Agafangel entered into full communion with the united Kallinikos-Cyprian synod. After a delay of many months, the Bulgarian Bishop Photiy of Triaditza (Sofia) also entered into full communion with these Russian, Romanian, and Greek synods. To mark the one year anniversary of the union, Metropolitan Cyprian distributed a document arguing that the union was God’s will. There are, however, several problems with this union — problems of a dogmatic nature. The union’s unclear teaching on the dogma of the unity of the Church and unclear teaching on the heretical nature of the Branch Theory are two of the problems of a dogmatic nature.

      All of the large True Orthodox synods that have a firmer confession of faith against ecumenism — the Russian True Orthodox Church under Archbishop Tikhon, the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, and the True Orthodox synod in Greece under Archbishop Makarios of Athens — have criticized the union because of the unclear confession of faith against ecumenism that is contained in the union’s declaration on ecclesiology. The union document glaringly refused to give clear agreement to the validity of the judgment against ecumenism proclaimed by the entire Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia under Saint Philaret the New Confessor in 1983. Without such a clear statement, the union document confuses, and indeed, betrays the faithful Christians.
      It leaves an opening for the false opinion that a so-called “major Pan-Orthodox synod” (which may never occur in reality) is necessary to condemn definitively the Branch Theory heresy and the Heterodox Sacraments heresy that are clearly taught by the ecumenists. We do not need a new super-synod to meet to do this. What we need is for the existing synods of Kallinikos, Vlasie, Photiy, and Agafangel to accept Saint Philaret’s 1983 anathema against ecumenism — a final judgment that all True Orthodox Christians are obligated to accept and which these bishops have refused to accept in a clear way. Until these synods do this, they should abstain from proclaiming to the world — in a self-congratulatory manner — that they are following the will of God.
      For True Orthodox Christians, the will of God was proclaimed through Saint Philaret’s judgment. It needs to be accepted, not as a mere “warning,” but as a valid judgment of the entire Orthodox Church. Otherwise, the synods that refuse to do so will be rejected by True Orthodox Christians in Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Serbia and Bosnia, Cyprus, and throughout the diaspora who have a clearer confession of Orthodox faith and a clearer Orthodox ecclesiology.

      Other, practical steps are necessary to convince True Orthodox Christians that these bishops are sincere. One necessary step is to break all ecclesiastical relations with the ecumenist “Patriarch Irenaeus.” Another necessary step is a clearly-implemented policy of not giving Holy Communion to the followers of ecumenist bishops. If the bishops under Kallinikos-Cyprian, Vlasie, Agafangel, and Photiy took these Orthodox steps, then maybe they could claim to be following the True Orthodox faith — and following the will of God, as they now claim to be doing.

      • The most puzzling thing about the GOC-SiR Union is that from the beginning, the GOC (the self-proclaimed only true synod prior to the union), has completely deferred to the SIR Hierarchs for all synod communications with regard to ecumenism and for answering criticism of the union.
        From the beginning the SiR insisted on formulating the ambiguous Union statement (The True Orthodox Church and the Heresy of Ecumenism: Dogmatic and Canonical Issues). They continued to produce documents about ecumenism and the false Pan Orthodox Synod of 2016, which frankly is irrelevant for Traditionalists. We already know that World Orthodoxy is without grace. Why does the GOC continue to talk about this Fake Synod, unless they think there is a hope of World Orthodoxy returning to the Truth? The GOC hierarch are showing that the GOC –SiR Union discussions where way above their heads. Just take a look at the situation in North American. The GOC Hierarchs, Moses, Demetrius, Sergius, Christodoulou’s and Paul had no say in the discussions with the SiR, but the SiR bishops Chrysystom and Auxentius participated in the formulation of the Union statement and translation
        I am part of the GOC and I am sick to see our hierarchs defer to the SIR and continually claim that this was a Blessed Union. Anathema!

        • Diakrisis Dogmaton

          Dear “GOC 4 Life”: Christ is risen! You are not alone in your — justified — feeling of being betrayed. Many people feel similarly to you about the Kallinikos-Cyprian union, both people under the union and other traditional Orthodox Christians outside the union. The Matthewites, although they are fragmented into at least four groups, clearly have always opposed the type of ecclesiological ambiguity that that union document of March 2014 exhibits. The mainstream Matthewite group, now under Archbishop Stephanos of Athens, may have given up a fanatical opposition to all things “Florinite.” But they would be right to criticize this hijacking of the Florinite tradition in the direction of Phyle’s errors. Other mainstream (non-Matthewite) traditional Orthodox synods: the synod of Archbishop Makarios of Athens, the Russian True Orthodox Church, and the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, have all rightly criticized the union document. The union allowed Metropolitan Agafangel to maintain ecclesiastical relations with the deposed (and ecumenist) Patriarch Irenaeus of Jerusalem. When the Kallinikos synod warned Agafangel about this, he justified this betrayal with excuses. He even claimed a “blessing” from Irenaeus for a recent episcopal consecration. Agafangel is not separate from the ecumenists, and the new Kallinikos-Cyprianite synod does not care enough about the Faith to correct the betrayal. If the Kallinikos synod really gave priority to an Orthodox confession of faith, then it would have re-started discussions with the Russian True Orthodox Church, or, it should have dropped some of its un-Christian hostility to the synod of Archbishop Makarios in Greece. Archbishop Makarios (who was consecrated by the venerable Metropolitan Kallinikos [Chaniotes] of Phthiotis [Lamia] and Thaumakos), has always maintained a clear confession of faith, as opposed to the Cyprianites, who have not. The Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, which was stabbed in the back by Agafangel, also is not guilty of supporting the errors of Phyle, as Agafangel has been. Archbishop Kallinikos chose to negotiate with the Cyprianites because they are wishy-washy. Archbishop Kallinikos spurned those synods that have a firm confession of faith against ecumenism.

          Even within the union, there is opposition. There is evidence that the Romanians involved in the union saw the inadequacy of the union document and they applied pressure for clarifications (later put into the new footnotes in the July re-release) that were more positive towards Saint Philaret’s Anathema against Ecumenism. However, neither the March version nor the July version actually accepts Saint Philaret’s Anathema as a final judgment. Now, Bishop Clement of Gardikion, one of the secretaries and spokesmen for the synod, says that the supposedly-future major synod of true Orthodox should use the Anathema as the basis for its own judgment against ecumenism. The problem is that Bishop Clement and the Kallinikos-Cyprianite union is 30 years behind. The Anathema was valid (and final) in 1983. If the Kallinikite-Cyprianite bishops finally adopt it down the road, they will only be doing what they should have been doing all along — but refused to do with the 2014 union/betrayal.

          There are many laypersons who feel as you do, “GOC 4 Life.” You are not alone. What they should do is to tell their priests and bishops that the union statement of 2014 was a betrayal of the flock, because it retreated from Saint Philaret’s Anathema. The union was based on a dilution of the faith. The union was a betrayal. It may be a sign that some of the Kallinikos bishops do not really believe the true Orthodox faith. If these bishops genuinely do love the Faith and the flock, they should admit to the flock their error in not making Saint Philaret’s Anathema the basis of the union.

  • The GOC-K’s recent publication concerning the “Union” (ie “The Ecclesiastical Union of the Orthodox Community in Resistance with the Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece: Objections, Concerns, and their Resolution”) made no mention of the issues outlined by Bishop Photios’ letter to Metr. Agafangel. That suggests there is significantly more internal discord than is made to believe. How can the all wise GOC-K enter into communion with the Cyprinanites not knowing they were in communion with Patriarch Ireneaus. Simple lay people knew about that.
    I think the critics of this union are proving correct as the days go on.