ROCOR-A: Is Metropolitan Agafangel moving to New York?

Updated: 5/29 (NFTU) Rumors recorded by NFTU have been confirmed that Metropolitan Agafangel (Pashkovsky) has been given a residence in New York to act as a rebuilt Synod House for an extended presence in the Eastern America Diocese.

Apparently a local initiative to replace the 93rd Street location which has been marred in legal proceedings since the 2007 split in ROCOR, the existence of this new Synod residence was confirmed in meetings of the ROCOR-A, listed on the Synodal Website. The most recent Synod meeting in Voronezh indicated that in fact a property was located, and the cost of maintenance of a new Synod house was discussed.

Other liturgical issues were discussed such as the naming for the Russian land in the litanies, as well as the commemoration of those who attend parishes of Metropolitan Hilarion. It was noted by the chairman that this must be determined by the attitude of those in question towards the ROCOR-A, and Bp George further noted that those outside the Church could not be remembered at Proskomedia.

During the second session, it was suggested that candidates for the priesthood be elevated in Australia due to a lack of local clergy to serve the parishes. It was suggested as well that the catacomb dioceses’ previous recognition of Ivan the Terrible and Rasputin as saints could not be binding on the rest of the Synod nor officially recognized, notwithstanding personal devotion on the part of parishoners. In response to the Patriarchal election it was resolved to write a response in the spirit of previous responses to Patriarchal elections. The Synod noted that the Russian dioceses were peaceful overall, save for the separation of Hieromonk Adrian and his elevation to the Episcopate by the RusOC, which was regarded as invalid. As well, the qualifications for the granting of ecclesiastical awards was decided, as well as the decision to raise Catacomb Bishop John to Archbishop.

Hat-tip to R.D. — D.G. has made a translation of the minutes available.

Minutes Part I

of the Joint Meeting of the Russian Hierarchical Members,

Members of the Higher Church Authority,

and Clergy of the ROCA Central Russian Administrative District

May 720, 2009


The meeting opened at 1200 with the Paschal troparion, “Christ is risen from the dead…”

Attendees: Metropolitan Agafangel (Meeting Chairman), Archbishop Sofroniy, Bishops Georgiy, Ioann, and Afanasiy; HCA members – Archpriest Georgiy Petrenko, ArchpriestValeriy Kravets, Rev. Leonid Plyats; CRAD members – Rev. Evgeniy Koryagin, Rev. Sergey Kriulin, Hieromonk Nikon (Iost), Archpriest Roman Kravets, Rev. Sergey Televinov, Deacon Mikhail Buryakov, Deacon Antoniy Gunin, Rev. Aleksandr Martynenko (Odessa Diocese), Hieromonk Dula (Patoska) (Bolgrad Diocese), Y.V. Sosyurko (Odessa Diocese), V.S. Kozhakar (Bolgrad Diocese).

The Chairman reads the proposed Synod Agenda, consisting of 12 points, and notes that they can be added to or changed during the course of the meeting.

Abp. Sofroniy proposes to discuss the establishment of monasteries.

The Chairman proposes to discuss the terms of service for clergy to receive awards. At the conclusion of a discussion on this point, a proposed plan was formulated for approval by the Synod of Bishops.

The legal status of our Church was discussed.

Archpriest Georgiy Petrenko warns of the need to consider all legal aspects of this issue.

After discussing the matter, it was decided that all aspects of this matter must be considered thoroughly.

Chairman: A house has been bequeathed to the Holy Trinity Church in Astoria, NY, USA. At a meeting of the parish, it was decided to provide it to the Synod. There is a great need for such a residence, but how will we cover its expenses? Two to three thousand dollars a month are required. The travel expenses of members participating in meetings of the Synod must be provided for. They propose to establish a Synod Assistance Council to gather funds from donors.

The matter was discussed further with various comments from the attendees and answers from the Chairman.

The Chairman notes that the question of the SAAO’s status be decided.

The Chairman discusses the matter of establishing monasteries.

Archpriest Georgiy Petrenko notes the possibility of establishing a monastery or skete in Brazil.

The Chairman discuses the election of the new Patriarch of the ROC MP and what statement should be issued. We should express the traditional views of our predecessors and avoid apocryphal extremes, as well as comments infused with zealotry.

The Chairman reports requests have been received to define the ecclesiological position of our Church, and to annul certain documents, which were approved in the past and confuse the church members. Discusses the circumstances of the way in which the unfortunate letter to the Serbian Patriarch Pavle was written.

After a spirited discussion, the attendees decided that personal opinions regarding ecclesiological topics (ex. whether sacraments in the ROC MP have grace) should lead to renewed intolerance and a break in relations within our Church.

The Chairman expresses the opinion that all contentious issues should be decided with the spirit of pastoral wisdom and with the involvement of all sides of the question.

After a break for lunch, the meeting resumed at 1525.

The Chairman proposes that a Theological Committee be formed within the Synod to research and examine any such issues that may arise, to avoid any premature decisions. The work of the Committee will then be reviewed by the Synod of Bishops and the Council of Russian Hierarchics.

The attendees of the Meeting propose the Committee consist of Archpriest Konstantin Busygin, Archpriest Oleg Mironov, Archpriest Valeriy Alekseyev, Rev. Evgeniy Koryagin, Rev. Aleksandr Lipin, and Rev. Leonid Plyats. A proposal is made to name B. Georgiy as Chairman of the Committee. The possibility remains to include other members depending on the issues being considered by the Committee.

The Chairman raises the important, though delicate, issue that in his opinion, the episcopate needs to grow larger, speaks of the needs of South America, and proposes to ordain Archpriest Georgiy Petrenko as the bishop of this cathedra. All the attendees strongly support the Chairman’s proposal.

Archpriest Georgiy Petrenko asks that this decision be postponed, even though the attendees repeatedly ask for his agreement throughout the meeting.

Archpriest Georgiy Petrenko reads a report by Archpriest Vladimir Shlenev and Rev. Aleksandr Ivashevich of matters in Argentina; discuses a request by clerics in South America to decide the form of commemoration of the ruling bishop. He also proposes the issuance of awards to some of the clerics.

The Chairman speaks of the lack of clerics in South America and how this makes the situation there more difficult. The matter is energetically discussed by the attendees and Rev. Georgiy. They discuss likely candidates and their qualifications.

Archpriest Georgiy Petrenko asks for a clarification for commemoration of the “Russian Land” during the Liturgy, whether it should be “suffering,” or “long suffering,” or something else. After discussing it, the Chairman recommends having the Synod approve the use of “long suffering.”

Archpriest Georgiy Petrenko asks whether there should be a consistent usage of “from enemies seen and invisible” or “from the godless authorities” when saying “free us from…”

The Chairman explains that even though the Synod did approve particular usages, there was never a demand for complete uniformity. He offered additional liturgical examples. Uniformity is preferred, but one must be careful in certain circumstances.

Archpriest Georgiy Petrenko explains many of us have friends, acquaintances, fellow alumni from the seminary, who now belong to ROCOR(MP) or RTOC. Can we commemorate them during the proskomidia, or memorial services (Met. Laurus, B. Peter, etc.)?

The Chairman advises to consider whether that person would want us to commemorate them. If they consider us schismatics or heretics and avoids us, then it makes no sense to commemorate them.

B. Georgiy notes St. Simeon of Thessaloniki’s teaching that it is not possible to commemorate at the proskomidia those who are no longer within the church.

The Chairman says parishes have recommended that Archpriest Valeriy Kravets become the bishop for the parishes in the CRAD; others have suggested Hieromonk Nikon (Iost) from Siberia. Since they are present, he recommends choosing a candidate through secret ballot. A lively discussion ensued, even heated at times, at different ways to decide the issue. Among those who spoke out were, Rev. Evgeniy Koryagin, Hieromonk Nikon (Iost), Deacon Mikhail Buryakov, Deacon Antoniy Gunin, Rev. Aleksandr Martynenko,and others. It was discussed that bishops are needed for parishes in the Siberian, Saratov, Volgograd oblasts among others.

The Chairman suggests Hierarchs Ioann and Afanasiy help in with these parishes.

The matter of complaints against clergy was discussed. The Chairman decides if a Church member accuses another member, they must provide proof at a Meeting. If there is no proof, the accusing member must ask for forgiveness from the other at the Meeting and publish it in the appropriate forums.

The Chairman tells the attendees that requests have been received by bishops from other jurisdictions asking to establish relations with ROCA. The matter is discussed.

Rev. Evgeniy Koryagin adds that it is essential that such clergy have proper certificates of departure; including their status, where they are assigned, whether they have their own parish or not, etc.

The Chairman explains the difference between a priest without a parish, one who is assigned to a parish, and a certificate of departure to another diocese. He explains the significance in today’s world.

The matter is discussed by Abp. Sofroniy, B. Georgiy, and Rev. Georgiy Petrenko. Examples are given.

The first meeting day was concluded at 1730 with paschal troparions: “The angel cried…” and “Shine, shine…”

Minutes Part II

of the Joint Meeting of the Russian Hierarchical Members,

Members of the Higher Church Authority,

and Clergy of the ROCA Central Russian Administrative District

May 821, 2009


The second day of the meeting began at 1000 with the Paschal troparion, “Christ is risen from the dead…”

The attendees are joined by Rev. Valeriy Leonichev and Reader Aleksandr Khitrov, who arrived from Moscow.

The Chairman acquaints the new arrivals with the discussions that took place the day before and reminds them of the procedure of how to resolve accusations between members of our Church and taking responsibility for such accusations. He insists that all problems be resolved in a spirit of Christian love and agreement.

The minutes of the first day are read and corrections are made.

Reader Aleksandr Khitrov asks a general question about the Statutory Acts, which form the basis of the life of our Church.

The Chairman explains that our Church is informed by the Status of the ROCA of 1964, as well as Councils of Bishops and Synods of the ROCA before the signing of the Act of Eucharistic Communion with the ROC MP on May 417, 2007. Any changes must be avoided. It is possible that church bodies be created that will help with administering the Church and would have the right of a consultative voice, without making any changes to the Status.

Reader Aleksandr Khitrov asks on what canonical basis was the Council of Russian Hierarchics founded.

The Chairman explains there are corresponding decisions from ROCA Councils of Bishops.

Reader Aleksandr Khitrov asks that these decisions be published.

A discussion of the need and point of retaining the Council of Russian Hierarchics in the current circumstances ensues, with Archpriest Georgiy Petrenko, Rev. Evgeniy Koryagin, Reader Aleksandr Khitrov, and the Chairman participating. The benefit of the existence of this church body is confirmed.

The Chairman explains about letters received from Reader Aleksandr Khitrov about the canonization of certain saints performed by Bishops Ioann and Afanasiy, who recently joined ROCA. He offers to pass the letters to these bishops to review them and provide a written explanation. Later, the Theological Committee will also review them, as well as the Synod.

Abp. Sofroniy advises that such matters, which relate to the internal life of our Church, should not be published first on the Internet.

Reader Aleksandr Khitrov, on behalf of a meeting of his parish, announces there exists grievances against Rev. Evgeniy Koryagin and offers to provide a written explanation to the Synod.

The Chairman offers to discuss them in this meeting.

Hieromonk Ermogen (Petrov) arrives and joins the meeting.

After reading the grievances against Rev. Evgeniy Koryagin, a lively discussion ensues about life in the Moscow parishes, joined by the Chairman, Archpriest Georgiy Petrenko, ArchpriestValeriy Kravets, Rev. Evgeniy Koryagin, Rev. Aleksandr Martynenko, Rev. Valeriy Leonichev, and Reader Aleksandr Khitrov. In conclusion, the Meeting does not find any serious reasons for disagreement. All are called to reconciliation and forgiveness in a Christian spirit.

The Meeting ends at 1200 with paschal troparions: “The angel cried…” and “Shine, shine…”




of the Joint Meeting of the ROCA Synod of Bishops,

Council of Russian Hierarchics,

and the Higher Church Authority,

May 821, 2009


Attendees: Metropolitan Agafangel (Synod Chairman), Archbishop Sofroniy, and Bishops Georgiy (Synod Secretary), Ioann, and Afanasiy; HCA members – Archpriest Georgiy Petrenko, ArchpriestValeriy Kravets, Rev. Leonid Plyats.


  1. A short report from each hierarch of matters in their dioceses.
  2. A further elucidation of the status of the North American Administrative District.
  3. Regarding a house for the Synod.
  4. Commemoration of a bishop in South America.
  5. Registering the Synod Assistance Council.
  6. The creation of a Theological Committee attached to the Synod of Bishops.
  7. The creation of a convent in the USA.
  8. The creation of a convent in the St. Petersburg diocese.
  9. Regarding the newly-elected MP Patriarch.
  10. Regarding the borders of the dioceses and adding members to the episcopate.
  11. Regarding rules for awards.