In an interview with Portal-Credo today, Metropolitan Raphael of Moscow (who, since his confession of the Imyaslavie heresy, has become more and more of a “go-to” man on the website), made a few claims that need to be addressed for the sake of honesty.
Were one to take his words at face value, he would appear innocent of any wrongdoing over the past year– he claims now to have not ever “changed his position”, and claims full responsibility for his new “confession of faith”. As though to strike at the central justification for Metropolitan John of New York’s assumption of his innocence of the heretical text, he tells Alexander Soldatov, “If we have the same confession of faith (by the way, compiled without the involvement of Bishop Gregory and his assistants), if we belong to the same True Orthodoxy, then how can we not converge?”
If the above is true, well, that settles that. Despite the double-tongued answers sources tell us he’s been giving to the Synod of the True Orthodox Patristic Calendar Church under Metropolitan Anghelos of Avlonos to hold this fragmented communion together, Metropolitan Raphael’s position is straightforward and unapologetic: since his involvement with the heresiarch Gregory Lourie, he proudly confesses his new “faith”. He spends some time discussing the ridiculous possibility of union with Gregory Lourie, while then claiming that ROAC and Lourie’s “church” are one and the same:
Participants in the Council of Bishops really only have one question: why does ROAC have two administrative centers? If Bishop Gregory is Orthodox and canonical, and Metropolitan Theodore of Suzdal is also Orthodox and canonical, why they do not recognize each other, and should our church to take someone’s side in their dispute? These are legitimate and reasonable questions. But, unfortunately, what first was published on the Internet was a preliminary version of the protocol of our Council, which does not quite accurately convey the conciliar decision on these issues. We do not set Bishop Gregory’s transition into submission Suzdal Synod of ROAC as a condition for dialogue with us. Who is who and what is subject to ROAC and what are administrative centers is an internal affair of the Church. We did not create their general synod, each church is independent, maintains its administrative structure itself and must solve its internal problems. At our Sobor Bishop Gregory offered a full and clear explanation of how there was a ROAC Bishops’ Conference, and why it is not subject to the [ROAC] Synod of Bishops. Most of our bishops did not follow closely enough the events in RPATs in 2005-07, which led to the appearance of the two administrative centers there.
We would suggest perhaps the good Metropolitan (much as it pains me not to put that in quotes, he still hasn’t been formally condemned by the other Churches in the True Orthodox communion: neither the Metropolia, nor the TOC-PC) read a little bit about the history behind Gregory Lourie’s schism before assuming “oh, it’s all the same church!” The good Metropolitan is likely aware that the major reason the two “sides” don’t recognize each other is because one “side” is composed of two deposed ROAC bishops and a deposed, excommunicated ROAC priest “consecrated” after his deposition by said deposed bishops. Of course, since Archbishop Andrei of Pavlovskoe has been banned from visiting Russia, and it’s increasingly difficult to reach “the Suzdal Church” from outside, there’s no telling what’s happening.
On that matter, Portal-Credo, pretending to be a “news organization”, has been virtually silent on the existence of ROAC– the last articles on Metropolitan Theodore were about a lawsuit against a newspaper’s slander, and the giving of an award at St Xenia of Petersburg parish in Novaya Kupavna– where Bishop Alexander (Egorov) of Metropolitan Raphael’s Synod just “happened” to be a guest!
However, for those who think “what, me worry? No worries because I’m under Metropolitan Agafangel,” you wouldn’t believe where good Metropolitan Raphael has set sights next:
Of course, no one offered us a canonical communion with the ROCOR (A) right now, as some mockingly claim online. But we would very much like to hope and pray for such communications in the future. We all pray for each of the Liturgy “the unity of all” – in faith, in love, at one Chalice of Christ. And if the present Confession ROCOR (A) brings us closer to that goal, then why should we not welcome such a confession, and express a wish for dialogue? Of course, to start such a dialogue , all the conditions that push the ROCOR (A) should be heard and taken into account. At the level of individual bishops, because we have long been in contact with this church, it’s just necessary to develop new ground.
I have heard rumors of one or two ROCOR (A) priests in Russia sympathetic to the name-worshipping heresy. Already Portal-Credo has set its sights on Metropolitan Agafangel, looking for any idiot to condemn him on a local level after the Metropolitan clearly stated that name-worshipping is a heresy— something that some Americans are afraid to flatly state, perhaps lest they lose their name-worshipping “friends”.
Be assured– if Raphael Motovilov, Gregory Lourie and his “newspaper,” Portal-Credo, are posturing for union, the rats are already about.
Just don’t say people didn’t warn you.