July 15th marked the one year anniversary of the celebration of the signing of the tomos of communion between the True Orthodox Church of Russia under Met. Raphael, the True Orthodox Church of Greece under Met. Angelos, and the Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas and the British Isles under Met. John.
|from left to right: Met. Angelos, Met. Raphael, Met. John, and Met. Daniel|
Metropolitan John arrived on July 12th and greeted Met. Raphael. At which point greetings and informal discussion about ecclesial matters were discussed between the two Hierarchs.
On July 13th, the following day, Metropolitan Angelos arrived and was greeted at the airport by Metropolitan Daniel of the Russian Church. At which point they returned to the Synod house so that all the hierarchs could meet.
Unity day celebrations were held at the Stavropegial convent of St. John the Baptist, in which approximately 1,000 people were in attendance.The Liturgy was 3hrs with an hour procession afterwards.After which, discussion were held between the three First Hierarchs about about the important matters affecting the Orthodox Church, and the strengthening of friendship between the True Orthodox Churches.
|From Left to Right: Bp. Porphyrios, Met. Angelos, Met. Raphael, Met. John, and a Russian Translator|
Noticeably absent was the Bulgarian Synod; however, although they had been an original signatory of the agreement, communion was severed after Met. Gervasius refused to step down as head of his synod, following a scandal. This was followed by attempts on the part of the Russian, Greek, and American Churches to convince him of the necessity of doing this, and retiring to a monastery, and the replacement of the hierarchy. Following the inability to do this, additional attempts were made to reform a sister synod in Bulgaria, they ultimately proved futile for the moment, and it was decided that until such time as a stable hierarchy could be found, Bulgarian churches in communion with the other Churches would fall under respective jurisdictions of those conducting missionary activity in the region.
Metropolitan Onuphrius of Bergamo, the sole surviving bishop of the defunct ‘Milan’ Synod, was unable to attend the meeting due to financial and pastoral constraints, as he is in the midst of attempting to recover and re-establish a solid presence in Italy. His attempts have been successful, with the acceptance of the American clergy confession anathematizing ecumenism, sergianism, modernism, and the new calendar, a powerful tool was established for ferreting out problems.
Nevertheless, the discussions held between the different bishops in the recent meeting in Russia have proved fruitful. Many issues regarding inter-church relations were cleared up, and an over all attitude of conciliation, friendship, brotherhood, and spiritual joy was noticeably prevalent. The Hierarchs expressed their wish for the continual growth of True Orthodoxy in Russia, Greece, the Americas, and the other nations of the world. Additional meetings and discussions will follow developing the relationship between the Sister Churches.
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