Response of Bp. Stefan of Trenton to RTOC Synod

Esteemed Vladika Tikhon and other Hierarchs of the RTOC Synod:

Having read Your Notification dated 11/24 February, 2016, my attention was involuntarily drawn to the undignified interference in the matters of another (my) diocese, which is strictly forbidden by the canons.  Furthermore you resorted to slander, which is worse than interference:  Yourpublic and false accusations against a fellow bishop even surpass any decency.

1)  When, on June 19, 2015 I pulled up to the church in Worcester and entered it, I encountered Archbishop Tikhon – alone – standing in the narthex (there was no service underway).  I greeted him and immediately invited him to come to Trenton in order to serve, but Vladika Tikhon replied, ”No, no, there is no way I can do this.  I have a lot of parishes in Russia and the Ukraine which I need to visit and I have to perform hierarchical rank services there.”  You, Vladika decided in Your Notification to turn my invitation into something vile, saying that since 2009 I have never invited you… Possibly Fr. Victor Melehov or someone else invented this slander, but since you, Vladika signed this Notification, then You are, if not the instigator, then at least a co-participant in this slander.  But if You signed the Notification without reading it, then everything else that has been signed is of no consequence!  There can be no excuse forthcoming from You.  You are responsible for the Truth before God and the faithful!!

2) Meanwhile, you (Archbishop Tikhon, Archbishop Benjamin and secretary Fr. V. Melehov) signed yet another cunning paper; all of you, including hieromonk Polycarp were present when I reported on the life of our diocese:  of awarding a mitre to Fr. Joseph Sunderland and the East American dean Protopriest Sergey Klestov.  I discussed other matters with you as well:  I told you, for example, that on the Sunday of Orthodoxy we anathematized Sergians, and You, Vladiko impeded this, saying that there was no such resolution…  Remember? Yet You accuse me saying, “We have not received any information about your activities as a diocesan hierarch for a long time”.  Then what did I deliver to all of you at our first meeting if not my report concerning my diocesan activities??  What is the reason for all these ridiculous accusations?  This is only excusable if you have a touch of dementia (don’t we all at our age??) and You do not remember what I said to You half a year ago.  Perhaps You should have re-examined your classified Minutes of that meeting prior to making this accusation against me…or do these Minutes not even exist??

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One thought on “Response of Bp. Stefan of Trenton to RTOC Synod

  • May 6, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Since this statement, Bp Stefan has sent a letter to his flock stating that the disagreement between the RTOC synod and himself has been cleared up. They remain in communion, though the North American Diocese has some level of autonomy. Here is the text, which I received in the body of an email
    on 18 March ns :

    Below is a public letter released by Bishop Stefan today

    Dear Fathers, Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

    I am pleased to announce that the confusion regarding our RTOCA’s {Russian True Orthodox Church Abroad} establishment of Autonomy has been resolved. I received a personal letter from His grace is grace HhArchbishop Tikhon – a response to my «Reply to RTOC Synod» dated 3/9/2016, in which he confirms our claim: “…therefore you have the right to freely rule your diocese within a regimen of autonomy, as had already been stated to you back in the very initial period of establishing the North-American diocese.”

    Please see the attached Excerpt. These seven paragraphs of the excerpt have not been altered of reconfigured in any manner. The first page of Archbishop Tikhon’s letter is being omitted because it concerns the state of affairs in Russia.” – which is of no consequence to the matter at hand.

    I wrote a letter to Archbishop Tikhon, thanking him for his archpastoral understanding and help in resolving the issue.

    I call on everyone to continue serving our Lord and His Church in unwavering truth, peace, and love in our Lord. We will resume work on (re)establishing a united, yet independent ROCOR administration with additional, equal-minded and canonical bishops. This will most likely take time, prayer, spiritual wisdom, and patience.

    A Pastoral Conference is in order in the near future, but I do not deem it to be physically possible before Pascha. We will stay in touch.

    God bless everyone.

    +Епископъ Стефанъ

    +Bishop Stefan of Trenton & North America

    Attachments area

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