(Hat Tip: M.O.) Today’s news – about Bishop Artemije’s openly rebelling against the Belgrade Patriarchate after having promised not to create a schism – somewhat changes the outlook on this situation. Now it is obvious that a schism in the SOC will happen, and this, in itself, is not a bad thing. But an important question arises: Why did Bishop Artemije do this? Was he stimulated by Holy Zeal, by fighting to preserve the Orthodox Faith, or by something else? If the Belgrade Patriarchate were to give him his eparchy back, after everything that has occurred, would he go back in obedience to them?
With what does Bishop Artemije charge the Patriarchate as his main reason for his separation from them? Is it the taking away of his eparchy, or is it the heresy of ecumenism? If it is the second, why then did he not do something so radical while he was a lawful and effective bishop? In his current situation – expelled, forbidden to serve, between a rock and a hard place – Bishop Artemije looks more like someone who is struggling bitterly for his lost position in the realm of the World Orthodox SOC, if even in the role of a (supposed) extreme opposition.
To get to the point, let us ask this question: If he is truly a fighter and zealot for the Faith, why does he not go on the well-cleared path already trodden by the confessors of Faith of the Russian Catacombs, of the Russian Church Abroad, and the Greek and Romanian fronts for the defense of the patristic, traditional calendar – the path of True Orthodoxy? These are the true defenders of the Faith, who have, not once but many times, anathematized the heresy of ecumenism and brought forth true saints whom God has glorified through the revelation of their incorrupt relics. Will he lead the Serbs on some other path? To be precise, will he lead them down the wrong path of opposition to ecumenism by “fighting from within”? That path is not blessed by the Lord. As long as Bishop Artemije still acknowledges the Belgrade Patriarchate as the Church, he cannot oppose it effectively, for it is no longer a true Church, and therefore his “opposition” is undermined
by a false premise. And, furthermore, if he is confident that the Belgrade Patriarchate IS the Church, then he must be consider himself a schismatic for separating from it .
In the first place, Bishop Artemije, like all current bishops of the official SOC in the post World War II period, possesses apostolic succession connected to Patriarch German’s service to the godless communists and to super-ecumenism, now confirmed abundantly by long years of concelebration with many ecumenists, Sergianists, and New Calendarists. If he really wants to regularize his canonical position and come into union with True Orthodoxy, he must turn to the already-existing True Orthodox bishops, whether Russian or Greek.
If Bishop Artemije neglects to do this and instead creates his own PERSONAL church organization, not confirmed by anyone, it will be similar to the “church” of Mirash Dedeich, the Montenegrin metropolitan who created his own “church” which none of the “official” Orthodox Churches recognize.
In spite of all that we have said above, however, we can still congratulate Bishop Artemije and his followers on this bold step of open resistance to the Belgrade Patriarchate.
– an editorial of the blog Serbian True Orthodox
A FEW COMMENTS:
1) – The Serbian True Orthodox Church has Her faithful flock and sympathizers who understand the essential difference between World “Orthodoxy” and True Orthodoxy.
– Bishop Artemije has a flock and sympathizers who poorly understand the difference between World “Orthodoxy” and True Orthodoxy.
– At this moment, it is not clear what stance Bishop Artemije will take when he leaves the SOC and they defrock him. His position will certainly be even more tenuous and vague, since no one in World Orthodoxy will recognize him, while simultaneously he has no intention to become True Orthodox.
– What will his church organization be? Of course, no one is thinking about this now, because his followers are euphorically supporting him on the path of uncertainty onto which he is leading them.
– The clergy, monastics, and faithful who follow him on this path will find themselves in some kind of vacuum, neither cold or hot, which will be a new disaster for the Serbian people, from which may God save us!
– In a way, we are afraid of another church structure in Serbia which will lead the Serbian people onto the wrong path, because that kind of church organization certainly will not be canonical.
– We will wait and see in which direction Bishop Artemije’s separation from the SOC will head from the SOC in the creation of a new church structure on the territory of the Serbian land.
May God help us all!
2)The episcopal cadre in the SOC is not chosen by chance! All of these events in connection with Bishop Artemius can look like some kind of ‘conspiracy theory’ senario. If we compare this with the political scene and ‘opposition’ which is made by those who control and enthrone those in power, then we can make the logical conclusion that all of this is very possible. But we cannot judge anyone in advance. We will wait a bit, and time will make many things clear. Maybe a miracle of God will happen; maybe Bishop Artemius will take the helm of the Serbian TOC, as in the past Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina became the head of the headless Old Calendarist Greeks.