GOC-K Sends Official Letter to ROCOR-A Over Ecclesial Controvery

November 10, 2014  (Source: http://www.internetsobor.org)


NFTU: Below is a rough translation.  The original Russian text can be found here. Because some of the letters used are not commonly encountered in Russian anymore (for example, the ‘Yat, ѣ), google (or translate.ru) translate was not much help. When an official English version is made available in the future, it will replace that below. The letter was written by Bp. Photios of Marathon, Chief Secretary of the GOC-K Synod of Bishop; it was addressed directly to Metropolitan Agafangel (ROCOR-A) and three main issues were brought up. 1) Advice is given on how to be careful in administration of a Church; it is given mainly from the experience of True Orthodox Christians in Greece, and warning to avoid similar issues in the ROCOR-A Synod. Issues like the reception of clergy are brought up (the issue of triple immersion being mentioned, since it was an issue of discussion with Met. Agafangel in Greece over the practice of receiving MP clerics who had not been baptized by triple immersion).  2) The GOC-K pleads for Met. Agafangel to sever communion with Patriarch Irenaeus of Jerusalem unless he formally renounces World Orthodoxy and embraces a True Orthodox Confession of Faith (interestingly, a 2013 petition by Pat. Irenaeus to the hierarchs of World Orthodoxy was mentioned, in which he requests them hear his case).  3) The issues of Georgia and Ukraine.  There are some complaints about the ROCOR-A bishop assigned to Georgia; there are also admonitions to not let nationalist divisions (whether Ukrainian or Russian) create discord in the Church.


Your Eminence, beloved brother in Christ, bless!
At the meeting of our Sacred Synod on 8th / 21th October 2014, adopted a resolution to address this letter to Your Eminence, and at the same time send a copy to the Most Reverend members of Your Sacred Synod for acquaintance with two important issues.
At the same time, learn through an electronic network of the differences between which the bishops of Your Sacred Synod, please discharge sew us succumb brotherly request for preservation made miraculously your unity. Please take our word not as instruction but as a bright ray of sincere love in Christ and as a result of the bitter experience of previous decades, unto during which the Church of the True Orthodox Christians suffered  from many dissensions and divisions.  So, let us briefly describe the story, in order to avoid the example of the Greek Church.


From the mid-1960s to mid-1980s our Church makes mistakes starring difficulties which came later. The main causes of these errors were the following:


a)      The adoption unto our Church without proper attention of  clerics from the Official (new-stylish) Church, under the pretext of the need to get clergy for our parishes. Most of them did not come over for the love of Tradition and True Orthodoxy, but for other reasons. These persons then created discord and caused separation. Today they head schismatic groups in Greece. For many years, our Church does accept a cleric of the Official Church without careful study of their morals and beliefs. Only when we see the move is made from sincere devotion do we accept him. When he was baptized in the Orthodox manner, i.e., Triple Immersion he is received through Chrismation  and Cheirothesia. If he was not baptized correctly, he is received through Baptism and full Cheirothonia.

b)      During this time, the conciliar principle of governance of the Church in Greece was not working properly. This principle is set out unto the 34th Canons of the Apostles, which reads: “It behoves the Bishops of every nation to know the one among them who is the premier or chief, and to recognise him as their head, and to refrain from doing anything superfluous without his advice and approval: but, instead, each of them should do only whatever is necessitated by his own parish and by the territories under him. But let not even such a one do anything without the advice and consent and approval of all. For thus will there be concord, and God will be glorified through the Lord in Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”


Unfortunately, in Greece, within the specified time, the Archbishop acted without the Synod, but also members of the Synod without the Archbishop. As a result, there was no agreement, and peace according to the Apostolic Canon.  On the other hand, when the control was conducted on the principle of Catholicity, with the ever-memorable Archbishop Chrysostom († 2010), consent has been restored in our local church. Continued management of the peace on the principle of catholicity has brought even more fruit recently, as you well know. Therefore, we ask you and your Synod of Bishop, met with an example of suffering affliction, to act to prevent discrepancies and attract even more grace and mercy of God.  Whatever differences there were may, gather into a Sobor and solve them in the spirit of love and devotion of the Holy Fathers. We offer this as a preface before to present two main questions for which we write and about which we ask you to have the judgment of the synod, because of their special importance. and we must not allow it to be equaled or FM Immediately after our union last March, we have, on its own initsiativ, handed in your jurisdiction clerics in the Russian Federation in Ukraine, which until we obeyed However, as you know, two of these priests have expressed hesitation about the transition in your jurisdiction.  They refer firstly to the questions of pastoral practices that could live in a spirit of love and reconciliation. Similar issues were and our church and we have found ways to rshenya them.   But this is not something that takes us unto this letter.

Another question that these priests raise concerns remembrance of Jerusalem Patriarch Irinej. In this we IMLI detailed conversation with you during the Inter Orthodox monastery Sovschanya unto Virgin Mary unto Megara, Friday 8th / 21st March 2014  As you recall, our Pan-Orthodox Conference we agreed writing to you to convey to your priest in the Holy Land  o. Roman, that he remembered or another name, or – if the law does not allow this, as on Aѳon – to publicly commemorated as Zealots Holy Mountain, just “Our Archbishop” without a name.  Now, however, we learned that not only. Roman, but you yourself, like other clerics Arhierei and your, name commemorated Patriarch Irenaeus. despite the fact that on not renounced ecumenism and announced his transition unto True Orthodoxy.  Your Eminence, how much we do not respect the Jerusalem Patriarch Irinej personally, and how much he suffered unjustly, being deposed by his opponents, on never ceases to be a part – albeit under strong restrictions – The so-called World Orthodoxy, in communion with the ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

No need to lose sight of that while Patriarch Irinej was friendly mood and to the true Orthodox Christian in Greece and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia,  It was during his patriarchate Jerusalem Patriarchate again been accepted as a member of the organic “Vsemirnago ETDF Churches”,  after many years of absence from him when Patriarch Diodorus.  Your Eminence, if you understand the Patriarch Irinej, then you have a spiritual communion with him, in the same way as we, who remember your name.

Because the commemoration, as you know, is an expression of ecclesial communion.

We repeat, despite the fact that we treat personally with compassion to Patriarch Irene we do not wish to have a church fellowship with them through you. We wonder: what is the point to have a remembrance of you,  when it leads to the temptation and doubt among many.  As we emphasized during said Sovѣschaniya-Orthodox, in your presence It is possible that Patriarch Ireneus suffered unfairly from their counterparts arhierev, but he was not convicted of a question of faith.  He does not appeal to you that you have reviewed his case. Quite to the contrary, to reconsider his case, he requested the Primates World Orthodoxy in his letter of February 19 / March 4, 2013, which was published.  Since it is possible that you do not know it, the text accompanying it.     In view of all this, we can not understand the meaning of Remembrance you one byvshago Patriarha that – In spite of everything else – can not be regarded as confessors of Orthodoxy.

Practically, there is no liturgical communion with Patriarch Irinej, and can not exist, because it keeps unto the gate. So once again, at a loss, raising the question: what is the point of having such a commemoration? We urge you to reconsider this issue in order to remove the cause of division and discord.


B. The second question concerns the situation in Georgia. During your visit to Greece (and then there was talk about this problem),   You yourself have admitted that the consecration of Bishop Nicholas was a mistake, that you have been deceived on the need hirotonii bishop for Georgia. Although they do not live in Georgia,  he rarely visits his Diocese causes severe embarrassment among our flock unto Georgia (four priests, three parishes and several thousand believers), as Bishop of sister Churches, governs the diocese in Georgia, is a person totally unacceptable to all of them, for many reasons, that we put you in detail during your visit.  That is, let not that we interfere in the internal affairs of Russian Church Abroad, and then the temptation of our flock, that is a problem in our pastoral work.  Therefore, we ask you to reconsider this issue in the Synod.

Since this is essentially the bishop had not committed any case unto Georgia  and lives almost constantly unto Moscow if he considered worthy of the episcopal dignity could put it in a different diocese to remove the cause of temptation, causing new worries and strife. Beloved brother in Christ and Lord, we ask for forgiveness from you for our honesty, who asked not to take erroneously as teaching or comments,  but just as sincere brotherly request.  Between brothers must always reign complete sincerity. Therefore, we ask you that you are not difficult to point us as to what can be create any temptations (unwittingly, of course, because we never would have done it on purpose).


In conclusion, since we note,  that arise nationalist divisions in Your Holy Synod, about the military situation in eastern Ukraine , Allowing us to apply a hot request to you and to all the members of the Most Reverend and venerable Synod vozglavlyaemago you, to overcome any national addiction, you keep the unity and love for each other. The Church of Christ must be above such differences, for “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28) and “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” (Heb. 13:14) We are a new people, the people of Orthodox Christians and citizens of heaven Ierusalima.  Political leaders of the parties entangled in an armed conflict with the half-brothers, tomorrow will come to an agreement on peace, and during this time thousands of people have been killed and destroyed towns and villages.


Pray heartily, that the Divine Church Domostroitel not allow your Holy Synod has fallen victim to this conflict. The Church should be above such differences and pray for a speedy end to the war in the Ukraine.  This wish and we sincerely praying for reconciliation in the Ukraine, and also about the preservation of the unity Svyaschennago Synod of the Russian Church Abroad, This historic church, which gave birth to the Saints and today especially summoned to give testimony of Faith and Unity in communion with the true Orthodox everywhere, “The world may believe.”


Salute you in the Holy Spirit, remain with the love of the Lord, By order of the Holy Synod, chief Secretary, [Signature and seal of the Greek script], +Photius, Bishop of Marathon