Moscow Patriarchate

(Interfax) “There is no dissension among the believers of Chukotka. This scandal failed. There are some fanatics with Bishop Diomid, who constantly hides and avoids direct contact. Today he is altogether hiding in a remote northern village,” correspondent Hieromonk Agafangel (Belikh), who arrived at Chukotka with Archbishop Mark, the interim manager of diocese, reported to Interfax-Religion on Monday.

According to our subject, representatives of the clergy who came with Archbishop Mark “absolutely do not feel any opposition from local Orthodox community.”

“First,” Father Agafangel explained, there are negligibly few adherents of Bishop Diomid here: only 50,000 people live in Anyadyr and Chukotka; twelve to thirteen thousand, two dozen of them, are fanatical supporters of Vladika Diomid.”

The priest admitted that as he goes through the streets of Anadyr, he feels “the interest of friendly residents, who at the sight of the clergy often stop, and ask for an explanation of what happened to Bishop Diomid, of what is going wrong.”

“There is absolutely no aggression, except for two or three dozen of the same fanatics,” stressed Father Agafangel.

With regard to the clergy of Chukotka that share the views of Bishop Diomid, support is said is about 40% of the local priests (the total number of clergy here is ten).

Archbishop Mark, manager of the “transition period” for the Chukotka diocese, “talks with everyone who is willing to talk to him, trying his best to pacify the situation, not using tough methods, (!–NFTU) and bring it to an ideal form of Christian love,” said the priest.

According to him, Archbishop Mark serves his daily prayers in Anadyr and plans to be here as long as is required to wait until the next bishop, appointed by the Synod.

In summary, the priest suggested that the church situation in the Chukotka now “quite sound, and if establish normal spiritual life, which is, of course, was not, then all is soon forgotten as a nightmare.”

“There are the marginalized, of course, were always, everywhere and nowhere notwithstanding,” stressed the priest.

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