TOC-PC Takes Bishop from European Metropolia; Communion Broken

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TOC-PC Takes Bishop from European Metropolia; Communion Broken

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.

  • Joshua Speed

    Bickering, bickering and schism–this will be the downfall of the Orthodox. Maybe you need a central authority (the pope?)

    • NFTU

      We haven’t for 1000 years since the Pope created a centralized religion. But hey, since the last Pope just quit maybe you can loan one of our leaders the “infallibility ID card” till you get a new one. I bet we could fix it real quick with that handy tool!

      In Christ,
      Deacon Joseph Suaiden
      St Eulalia Orthodox Mission Chapel, Yonkers NY:
      *A Mission of the Orthodox Metropolia in North America*
      *Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles*
      *
      *
      “Let these canonical rules be established by us for you, O ye bishops; and if you continue to observe them, ye shall be saved, and shall have peace; but if you be disobedient, you shall be punished, and have everlasting war one with another, and undergo a penalty suitable to your disobedience.” *–Epilogue to the Apostolic Constitutions
      *

  • nicholasi

    Perhaps such articles could be illustrated with playsheets, diagrams, charts, etc., so we can keep all the characters and their infernal divisions and defections and reunions and anathemas and so on straight. My eyes glaze over until I can’t tell who’s what.

    • NFTU

      To be quite honest, I am not sure why this is even complicated. There are divisions mostly in Greece and Russia, and in other countries it’s the same jurisdictional jockeying that exists in World Orthodoxy but a little larger.
      It’s not so complex as far as I see it.

      In Christ,
      Deacon Joseph Suaiden
      St Eulalia Orthodox Mission Chapel, Yonkers NY:
      *A Mission of the Orthodox Metropolia in North America*
      *Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles*
      *
      *
      “Let these canonical rules be established by us for you, O ye bishops; and if you continue to observe them, ye shall be saved, and shall have peace; but if you be disobedient, you shall be punished, and have everlasting war one with another, and undergo a penalty suitable to your disobedience.” *–Epilogue to the Apostolic Constitutions
      *

      • nicholasi

        I don’t think of myself as illiterate or slow in comprehension.

        These matters are objectively complicated, and not assisted at all by the fact that the main characters and organizations have dizzyingly similar names — scores of Seraphims and Raphaels and what have you, passing back and forth from the True this to the Metropolitan of that but not there (where they are schismatics (but not in schism with those guys whom we are in communion with (except for that part that split off in 2008 (but the dissidents amongst them are also part of the…)))).

        Saying something is not complicated doesn’t make it uncomplicated.

        (And I never made or suggested any comparisons to the “jurisdictional jockeying that exists in World Orthodoxy”. I was speaking about the thing as it is, not saying “Well X is worse/better than Y!”)

        • NFTU

          Ok, where’s the complicated part?

          • Forgive me but at times this makes my head spin as well. I’ll find myself reading articles like this several times and still have no idea who’s who.

          • NFTU

            We will try to provide more background information.

            In Christ,
            Deacon Joseph Suaiden
            St Eulalia Orthodox Mission Chapel, Yonkers NY:
            *A Mission of the Orthodox Metropolia in North America*
            *Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles*
            *
            *
            “Let these canonical rules be established by us for you, O ye bishops; and if you continue to observe them, ye shall be saved, and shall have peace; but if you be disobedient, you shall be punished, and have everlasting war one with another, and undergo a penalty suitable to your disobedience.” *–Epilogue to the Apostolic Constitutions
            *

        • NFTU

          I was not implying you are illiterate. Far from it! In some ways, these situations are complicated, and I am speaking for myself when I say that I would not apply the normative criteria for determining “who’s right” outside of the basics, such as the Vincentian canon.

          But it is precisely because they are complicated that I generally advise against using a “scorecard”. The truth is that in times of heresy and upheaval, canonical abuses, even among the True Orthodox, often abound for the sake of “the greater”. Whether it truly is the greater or not is not usually clear. Therefore, the question of justification comes up, but the real answer to whether it’s justified or not often years after the fact. And the truth of the matter is that this has happened dozens of times in Church history, from periods ranging from a decade to a century or so.
          Honest self-reflection will keep us humble. None of us are “clean”, and it is a reminder that we are all in need of Christ’s saving power. Are all True Orthodox in all jurisdictions in the Church? Some would say that sounds like advocating an invisible Church. I would say there isn’t a point where many of these True Orthodox hierarchs and people became “invisible” to begin with.

          What we lack and lack too often is proper administrative procedure. And this is true whether or not groups are in communion with each other. Sometimes the fact that the communion is larger becomes an excuse to justify the violation of the canons (“well, what are they going to say?”) And that has the expected results.

          For me the dividing line is clear: ecumenism, modernism, and Sergianism, personal involvement, et cetera. Now, I am not going to announce that “Metropolitan so-and-so, gloriously reigning” is the undisputed leader in a particular area (which I would like to do some days, but our cross-jurisdictional organization here on the site keeps me from going there, thank God) because it isn’t honest. And honesty is the only way we are all going to leave this world maintaining what we were given. Otherwise, there’ll be nothing left– and then the end.

        • Jim jones Jr.

          Nicholas ask Deacon Joseph how many group his bishop John LOBUE has been in since he left the rcc church in 1978 lets see the old Catholic Church in America under Francis brothers in the early 80’s it was called the synod of orthodox. Bishops of the western rite then the Ukrainian orthodox church under the self proclaimed patriarch. Of Kiev and the orthodox group centered in Italy who broke relations to have a union with the Moscow church and now bishop LOBUE started the autonomous orthodox metropolitia of north and south Americas and the British isles That’s 5 different jurisdictions in 40 years

          • Jim jones Jr.

            Would you really take the advice from anyone associated with a man who could make his mind up on which church he wanted to be a part of

          • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU

            Sure. I’ll tell you.

            1) The Old Catholic Church became the Synod of Orthodox Bishops of the Western Rite.
            2) The Synod of Orthodox Bishops of the Western Rite joined the Milan Synod en masse in 1997.
            3) Milan did not join with Filaret but entered into communion with him and broke communion with him in 1999.

            4) Milan granted the American Dioceses autonomy.

            That sounds like basically one jurisdictional change (Milan).

            You are confusing jurisdictional changes with both corporate renaming (such as the “Russian-American Metropolia” to the “Orthodox Church in America) and granting of autonomy by a Mother Church to existing dioceses.

            Of course, you may well have already known that, and just want to present a dishonest picture. Maybe not. In any case, Christ is Risen.