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After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY






ROCiE-V Defrocks Three Bishops

Vertograd 97.4. The Synod of ROCiE-V Defrocks Three Bishops


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Vertograd

Sat, Mar 5, 2016 at 11:02 AM
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VERTOGRAD
Orthodox Journal
Newsletter No. 97.4, Saturday, March 5, 2016. 9:58 p.m.



The Synod of ROCiE-V Defrocks Three Bishops

On February 26, 2016, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile under the presidency of Archbishop Vladimir (Tselishchev) of San Francisco and Western America (ROCiE-V) defrocked three bishops who had left the jurisdiction of this Synod: Philaret (Semovskih), Cassian (Mukhin), and Anastassy (Surzhik), Portal-Credo.Ru reports.     

As such, ROCiE-V now has only one bishop in Russia: Bishop Victor of St. Petersburg and Northern Russia. 

In October of 2015, Bishops Philaret (Semovskih) and Cassian (Mukhin) joined a new ecclesial administration (jurisdiction) that had been organized at a Council in the village of Amosovka (Kursk Region). This jurisdiction (ROCiE-Ph) elevated Philaret (Semovskih) to the rank of Metropolitan. In mid-February of 2016, Philaret retired and suspended Bishop Cassian, who had gone over to the Orthodox Catholic Church of France. 

In October of 2015, Bishop Anastassy (Surzhik) joined ROCOR-A for a few days, but his flock did not support this action. Thereafter, he became fully independent of all existing jurisdictions. 

The Synod of ROCiE-V found Bishop Philaret’s actions to violate Canon 18 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council and Canon 14 of the First-and-Second Council of Constantinople.

While considering the matter of Bishop Anatassy, the Synod recalled the anathema that this bishop had issued to the Synod in 2014, which resulted in him not being admitted to the meeting of the ROCiE-V Synod of Bishops in 2015. The Synod, making note of Bishop Anastassy’s allegiance to heretical (Cyprianite) views, defrocked him on the basis of the same canons that applied to Bishop Philaret.

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Vertograd 98.4. Met Damascene on Healing the Schisms Within the TOC

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Sun, Mar 6, 2016 at 10:46 AM
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VERTOGRAD
Orthodox Journal
Newsletter No. 98.4, Sunday, March 6, 2016. 9:35 p.m.


Metropolitan Damascene on Healing the Schisms Within the True Orthodox Church

Translator’s introduction: When reading the following interview given by Metropolitan Damascene of Moscow and All Russia – who heads one branch of the “Russian Orthodox Church” (RusOC-D) – to Portal-Credo.Ru, it should be borne in mind that all such acronyms as ROCOR, ROCA, and ROCiE are in fact translations of the single acronym РПЦЗ. In the following translation, this Russian acronym is translated as “Russian Church Abroad” when used generically, and as “ROCiE-V” when referring specifically to the group headed by Archbishop Vladimir.

Portal-Credo.Ru: Vladyka, the Synod of the ROCiE-V has split into three parts. You know the majority of participants in the present schism personally. In your opinion, what brought about this new division?

Metropolitan Damascene: There is one indisputable truth in any schism within the Russian Church Abroad. It is not under wraps; it can be seen on church portals and websites. The problem is that few of the First Hierarchs care whether or not this is indeed the case. If you were to redirect your question to Vladyka Vladimir, to Vladyka Anastassy, or to Vladyka Philaret, none of them, when responding to it, would ask one another forgiveness or say: “I was wrong” or “we were wrong.” Each of them will insist upon his own truth, defend his own church, and call upon all the rest to follow him.

Which of these three truths is most akin to you?

To speak frankly, the truth of Vladyka Anastassy (Surzhik) is the most understandable and akin to me. There are traces of repentance and humility in it. On a human level, I feel sorry for both Vladyka Vladimir (Tselishchev) and Vladyka Philaret (Semovskih). I sympathize with them, and understand them very well, since I myself had to go through schisms. But all the same, I fell sorry for Vladyka Anastassy more than the others. There is still much that is childlike in him; more warmth and goodness are evident in him. Perhaps it is for this reason that the Lord has shown him a path that is more true and circumspect.

The remnants of the Russian Church Abroad continue to crumble. Is it possible to unite the splinters somehow? Or is it a done deal?

Many people are puzzled and say the same thing. I myself came to recognize our shared tragedy long ago. I tried somehow to correct the mistakes at the very beginning of the schisms. I asked forgiveness and tried to gather stones. No understanding was reached, however, and all my attempts and proposals have been rejected. Each time I ran into a wall of scorn and pride. Has anything changed today? Yes, there has been a change.  Almost none of the First Hierarchs are averse to meeting and talking. They are not personally opposed. And this could be done in the very near future, but there does exist a whole series of “objective” reasons to delay this meeting to a later date or even to render it impossible.

What are these reasons? Even heads of state sometimes meet and talk. But we live in the same country, come from the same root, share a common faith, and oppose ecumenism and Sergianism. Why shouldn’t we talk?

The reasons are the First Hierarchs themselves. Some are afraid of being misunderstood by those around them, some cite the negative opinion of their own bishops, others are just waiting to hear it, and so forth.

We came from the Catacomb Church and the Russian Church Abroad, we know one another well, and we continue to look at many things going on in the world in the same way, or almost the same way. It goes without saying that there are also things that divide us. But is there any point in exacerbating disputes and talking about it? How many polemics can there be?! Isn’t it more correct to focus our efforts on positive spiritual causes? After all, fighting against worldwide apostasy is both simpler and easier if done together. Decisive spiritual battles lie ahead, and we are still scattered and fragmented; moreover, we continue quarreling – to the delight of the enemy.  

If the hierarchs can indeed get together ­– then what? Can they unite into one big structure?

It’s by no means necessary to unite into one big structure. Several options are possible here. One of them is to recognize one another’s Mysteries. Such recognition was practiced across the board during Catacomb times. Our times are a little different. And whether it will get better, God alone knows.    

There is one last thing I’d like to emphasize (forgive me, Lord, for my lack of restraint). I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the refusal of Metropolitan Philaret’s jurisdiction to use the word “persecuted” in the Divine services represents the end of the same road that Metropolitan Laurus (Skurla) once set out upon.[1] 
      


[1] Translator’s note: This refers to the liturgical practice of commemorating “the Orthodox Episcopate of the persecuted Church of Russia.” While the adjective “persecuted” was once used by all parts of the Russian Church Abroad, it has been kept by some and dropped by others. 

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