New Interview with Bishop Ambrose: Patriarchal Clergy Serving in Our Parishes

An incredibly strange interview from Orthodox Tradition indeed! Bishop Ambrose talks about his new position as the SiR’s Bishop of Australia, yet apparently the churches are being served by clergy of the Serbian Patriarchate? Originally posted on Remnant ROCOR.

Excerpts from the recent issue of “Orthodox Tradition”, CTOS

Orthodoxy and Modernity

A first question deals with your new position as Bishop of Australia. Why did the Free Serbian Orthodox Church of Australia decide to break communion with the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate?

In the past, the main reason for the separation between the Free Serbian Orthodox Church and Belgrade consisted in the fact that the Communist régime imposed itself on the Patriarchate. There were other reasons too; for example, the Serbs abroad were almost all monarchists. Moreover, the Titoist régime organized expansive libelous campaigns against the Serbs abroad. In 1963, the Free Serbs abroad separated themselves from the Patriarchate, and the Free Serbian Orthodox Church, which was established at that point, gathered the greater part of the faithful in the USA, Canada, and Australia. All of this was accomplished thanks to the money that Serbs abroad raised wholly on their own, without any help from the Patriarchate in Belgrade.

In 1991, after the fall of the Communist régime, there was a reconciliation between the free Serbian Orthodox Church and the Church of Serbia. It was, however, just a liturgical reconciliation: they established mutual communion, but without any form of administrative unification. Two years ago, Belgrade decided to unify the Australian Diocese of the Free Serbian Orthodox Church and the Patriarchal Diocese. This was not accepted by the faithful, partly because of some ecumenist actions of the Patriarchal bishop which were considered contrary tot he Orthodox faith. So the Free Serbian communities, basing themselves on the legal statutes of the Free Serbian Orthodox Church of Australia, broke with the Serbian Patriarchate. They elected me as their new Bishop last December, though without my previous consent. Nonetheless, this was undertaken according to the legal statues of the Free Serbian Orthodox Church of Australia. Our monastery, episcopal residence, a summer camp for children, a cemetery, a large conference room, and the largest Orthodox Cathedral in Australia. These churches are served by patriarchal clergy, and for the moment this will remain so; it is not for us to expel them.