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


Metropolitan Agafangel Address to those falling away

Metropolitan Agafangel: An Address to Those Breaking Away 

A new wave of discord has come down upon our Church. Two of the Hierarchs have announced that they will no longer submit to the Chief Hierarch and the Synod of Bishops, that is, to the Synodal life of our Church. They claim that they are doing this in the name of conciliarity, and that our Church lacks this quality. However, they do not present a single fact to confirm that the synodal structure of our Church has been violated. This is because they seem to think that a violation of conciliarity occurs on account of the very existence of God-appointed church order and the fact that the Synod of Bishops and Synods acts on its decisions. Thus, they seek to find their supposed conciliarity by nonconciliar means. They disregard the opinion of their fellow Hierarchs and that of their flocks, marginalizing those in disagreement with them and uncanonically calling forth diocesan meetings (without the selection of appointed parish-council members to represent their respective parishes) at which they make proclamations in the name of the entire diocese. They have also boycotted attempts by the Chief Hierarch and secretary of the Synod to gather and discuss the unfolding situation.

By his declarations of non-submission to the Synod of Bishops, in defiance of an agreement reached in the presence of representatives of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece, and also by planning to convene a self-styled gathering (under the name of an “All-Diaspora Synod of the Church Abroad”), Archbishop Andronik, together with those who do not wish to submit to the regulations and traditions of the Church Abroad, has essentially placed him-self at the head of a parasynagogue, as St. Basil the Great denotes it.* According to the Holy Fathers, a self-appointed gathering is but a step away from schism and is, in fact, the same as schism: a falling-away from the Church and her saving Grace.Therefore a parasynagogue cannot call together an All-Diaspora Synod, since, in accordance with paragraph 12 of the Regulations of ROCA: “In extraordinary circumstances a Hierarch, together with the Synod of Bishops may convene an All-Diaspora Church Synod, made up of of Bishops and members of the clergy and laity. The decisions of such an All-Diaspora Synods are binding and come into effect only after their confirmation by a Synod of Bishops presided over by the Chief Hierarch of ROCA, to take place simultaneously, or soon after, the aforementioned All-Diaspora Synod.” By no other means can an All-Diaspora be convened or can its decisions be made valid. 

The question remains open as to what exactly is motivating these new schismatics? Is it a desire to actualize their love of power by any means, or the compulsion by other Hierarchs to form another self-governing breakaway faction? Most likely both—whichever is more convenient. 
There is no doubt that the breakdown of the ROCA, which began from its founding in 1920, continues uninterruptedly. The different stages of this dissolution were the schisms of Platon (1926), Evlogios (1927), Sergianism (2007), and many other small, if we can speak thus, personal schisms. Without doubt, that which we see today in front of our eyes is the continuing warfare of the Devil against the Church of Christ.

Therefore, I hope that the Clergy and parishioners whom others are trying to lead into schism by lies will hear me. 

Stop. Do not participate in the dividing of the Russian Church! In this lies our confession and faithfulness to Christ: If you do not detect heresy, then do not follow schismatics who are dragging your souls into perdition! 

My duty as Chief Hierarch is to warn my flock against danger. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!” (St. Matt. 25:30).

Chief Hierarch of the ROCA, Metropolitan Agafangel 
17/30 August 2016,
Holy Martyr Myron the Presbyter 

* Parasynagogue, from the Greek “παρασυναγωγή,” is a self-appointed gathering, a form of falling-away from Orthodoxy, different from schism and heresy as such, because it does not concern matters of doctrine, but the violation of the Church’s Hierarchal discipline and lack of submission to the God-appointed Hierarchy. “In ancient times. . .they were called self-appointed gatherings—gatherings, comprised of non-submissive presbyters or hierarchs and the uninstructed laity; for instance, when someone has been found guilty of sin and suspended from serving, yet does not accept the punishment appointed, but continues to maintain his authority and to serve, and others follow him.” (St. Basil the Great, “First Canonical Epistle to St. Amphilochios of Iconium.”


Another Translation:
A new wave of disorders has befallen our Church. Two of the Bishops have declared that they are departing from obedience to the First Hierarch, the Synod of Bishops and the Council of Bishops - that is, from the conciliar life of our Church.
They declare that they are speaking out for conciliarity (sobornost), and allege that there is no conciliarity (sobornost) in our Church. Meanwhile, they do not cite even one actual fact of violation or distortion of the conciliar order of our Church, inasmuch as the very existence of the God-established ecclesiastical order, the very fact that the Hierarchal Synods and Councils issue decrees and enactments, in their understanding constitutes a violation of conciliarity. 
Thus, they themselves strive for an imaginary “conciliarity” by unconciliar methods: by ignoring the opinion of other hierarchs and the opinion of their own flock, by pushing aside those who displease them and by uncanonically convening diocesan meetings (without elections of representatives from parishes at parish meetings), at which declarations are adopted ostensibly in the name of the whole diocese. Along with all this they organise a boycot of the plea of the First Hierarch and the Secretary of the Synod to meet and discuss the prevailing situation. 
By his declaration of non-subordination to the Hierarchal Council and the Synod, contrary to the agreement reached in the presence of representatives of the TOC [True Orthodox Church] of Greece, and likewise by his announcement concerning the convening of an unauthorized assembly (under the name of an “All-Diaspora Council”), Archbishop Andronik, together with those not desiring to be subordinate to the ecclesiastical canons and the traditions of the Russian Church Abroad, has in fact, according to the definition of st. Basil the Great, announced the creation of a parasynagogue under his leadership.* According to the instructions of the Holy Fathers, an unauthorized assembly, standing a step away from schism, is just the same as a schism, a falling away from the Church and her saving grace.
Moreover, a parasynagogue cannot convene an All-Diaspora Council since, in accordance with Paragraph 12 of the Regulations of the ROCA, “In case of special need, the First Hierarch, together with the Hierarchal Synod, may convene an All-Diaspora Church Council, consisting of bishops and representatives of the clergy and laity. The enactments of such All-Diaspora Councils take legal effect and are carried out only upon their ratification by the Council of Bishops under the presidency of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which takes place at the same time or immediately after the conclusion of the All-Diaspora Church Council.” By no other way may an All-Diaspora Council be convened and its decisions take effect.
The question remains open as to what exactly is guiding the new schismatics: the realization of their lust for power by any means, or only the coercion of other hierarchs with the aim of obtaining their agreement for the formation of a new “schism” under their leadership? Most likely both – whichever succeeds.
There is no doubt that the work of destroying the Russian Church Abroad continues without interruption for even a minute. This work began at the moment of Her foundation in 1920, the main stages of which were the Platonite (1926), Eulogian (1927) and Sergian (2007) schisms, as well as a multitude of petty – if one may speak thus – individual schisms. That which is occurring today before our eyes is, without a doubt, the ongoing warfare of the devil with the Church of Christ.
Therefore, I would like for the clergy and parishioners whom they are now attempting by falsehood to lead into schism, to hear me.
Stop! Do not participate in a schism of the Russian Church! Our confession and the faithfulness of each one of us to Christ now consists exactly in this. If you do not see heresy – then do not follow the schismatics who are drawing your souls away into perdition!
My duty, as First Hierarch, is to warn the flock of danger. “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:43).
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
+ Metropolitan Agafangel
17/30 August 2016, Martyr Myron the Presbyter
* A parasynagogue (Greek, παρασυναγωγή – an unauthorized assembly) is a form of deviation from Orthodoxy, differing from schism and heresy in that it does not touch on matters of doctrine, but is the result of a violation of ecclesiastical and hierarchal discipline – disobedience to the God-established hierarchy. “The ancients…called unauthorized assemblies those meetings consisting of insubordinate presbyters or bishops and uneducated laity. For example, someone who, having been accused of a sin and having been removed from the sacred ministry, did not submit to the canons, but himself held on to his position and the sacred ministry, and certain others who deviated with him” (First Canonical Epistle of St. Basil the Great to Amphilochius of Iconium).

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