From October 18 to October 20, 2017 in the city of Azov, Rostov Region, the session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian True Orthodox Church was held. The Synod of Bishops adopted the following decisions:
1. The Consecration of Archimandrite Filaret (Klimakitis), dean of the Western European parishes of the RTOC, a bishop with the title “Pallinian and Western Europe”. To entrust the Most Reverend Filaret with the management of the Western European Diocese of RTOC, to include Bishop Filaret in the Synod of Bishops of RTOC.
2. To form the Gomel-Bryansk Diocese of RTOC. In connection with the needs of counseling for the flock, deep repentance and humble bearing of the penitentiary system of the Bishops ‘Synod of RTOC, to restore the status of the ruling bishop and member of the Bishops’ Synod of the RTOC, Bishop Hermogenes. To assign the title “Gomel and Bryansky” to His Eminence Hermogen and entrust Bishop Hermogenes with the management of the Gomel-Bryansk Diocese of RTOC.
3. For implication in the sin of schism, as well as for the arbitrary, unjustified cessation of communication with their ruling bishops and the actual deposition from the Synod of Bishops of the RTOC, for arranging a self-organized gathering and enthralling the seduced flock into schism, stating the persistence in the perfect sin of schism and turmoil, expressed in continuation of the performance of divine services and sacred acts after exhortation and prohibition in the ministry, for failure to attend the Church Court after a three-fold call to consider the case, according to the Rules of the Holy. Apostle 31, 13 Rules of the Double Council, 6 Rules of the Second Ecumenical Council, and others, to eject from the holy dignity of the following clergy of the RTOC :
- Priest Leo Stepanenko
- Hieromonk Hermogenes (Petrova)
- Priest of Sergius Chulkov
- Priest of St. Paul Ermolenko
- Priest Eugene Prokofiev
- Priest Valery Ivashov
- Hierodeacon Nile (Titova)
- Hieromonk John (Lyashenok)
4. To take the following form of commemoration at the divine service of Archbishop Tikhon, Chairman of the Synod of Bishops of RTOC: “We also pray for the Orthodox Bishopric of the persecuted Russian Church and for our Eminence Tikhon, Archbishop of Omsk and Siberia, First Hierarch of the Russian True Orthodox Church …” .
5. Particularly note the stagnation and obstinacy in disobedience to the Synod of Bishops of the RTOC and the absence of repentance by Bishop Stefan of the former diocese of Trenton and North American, now retired without the right to serve. To note that Bishop Stefan did not obey the decree of the Synod of Bishops of November 16, 2016 on retirement, nor did he recognize the guilt in accepting under his omophori those who committed the schism of the Omsk clergy; he continues to serve and entered into communion with the breakaway groups of Bishops of “Metropolitan” Agafangel “: Andronicus, Sophrony and forbidden in the ministry Bishop Irenaeus, who are in contact with the heretic Cyprianites; He also agreed to the uncanonical consecration of Hegumen Andrew (Erastov) and supports the new teaching of this group on the need to return the church administration to the level of supposedly primitive Christian times, basing their opinion on a false understanding of Decree No. 362 of November 7/20, 1920, of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon – the last legitimate Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. The last time to warn Bishop Stefan about the non-canonical nature of his position and about the lack of grace of his current rituals, because he was retired by an official decision of the Synod of Bishops of RTOC. In the case of Bishop Stephen’s persistence in his convictions, at the future session of the Synod of Bishops, the question has been raised of deposition of Bishop Stephen from the sacred dignity
6. Due to the fact that the glorification of [St. Theophan the] Recluse and the Ignatius of the Caucasus (Brianchaninov) at the Bishops’ Council of the ROCA in 2000 was accomplished only by including in the list of the glorified saints, the Synod of Bishops RTOC decided: to glorify the saints Ignatius of the Caucasus (Brianchaninov) , Feofan Vyshensky (Govorov) Recluse, as well as Innocent Khersonsky (Borisov) a full rank.
7. After reviewing the materials submitted, the Synod decided to place the Holy Father Confessors of the Catacomb Church, joined to the assembly of New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, priests Vasily (Baikarov) and Peter (Makunin), who were shot in 1931 under Article 58-11 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR in the city of Kazan. The materials of the investigation of the priests, life, photographs were submitted to the Synod of Bishops for consideration.
The above decisions, together with other decisions and issues discussed, are reflected in the official minutes of the meetings of the Synod of Bishops.
From the Chancery of the Synod of Bishops
Of the Russian True Orthodox Church