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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






Metropolitan Agafangel reply to schismatics

from Internet Sobor, "Message to those Departing"
translated by a senior ROCOR member
and shared on the Dutikow emailing list


The anonymous group calling itself "the Pre-Council Committee for the preparation of VI All-Diaspora Council," today wrote another newsletter, entitled "Questions and Answers".

One of the group members asked some questions and then he himself answered them. His first question: "What are the reasons for convening the VI All-Diaspora Council?" The answer "to restore the canonical synodical structure of the church disrupted by Metropolitan Agafangel".  That is to say, to make a revolution in the Church. Truthfully and frankly, there is nothing to comment here.

Second question; "What are the canonical violations made by Metropolitan Agafangel?" Anonymous replies: "Metropolitan Agafangel established his personal dictatorship in the Church, due to the fact that the majority of the bishops support him."  That means, the main problem is that most of the bishops support Metropolitan Agafangel. This brings us to some followup questions: what's wrong with that? And what kind of a dictatorship is it if the majority of bishops support the metropolitan? Dictatorship - on the contrary, is when the majority does not support. In spite of this, the anonymous author concludes that, since the majority support the Metropolitan, it is a violation of the sobornost of the church.

It would be more correct for the anonymous author to formulate a response as follows: "the majority of the bishops, headed by the Chairman of the Synod of Bishops and all the bishops of ROCOR, established the Church in their own personal dictatorship". I would personally add: "dictatorship", strangly provided by the canons of the Orthodox Church.

An example of "dictatorship" - the banning of the Izhevsk clergy. But they were banned for taking part in a rebellion in Naverezhe, after they had been warned not to attend the said meeting and did not receive a blessing to attend this meeting.  They still attended the meeting but did not repent for their actions. To this day, due to pride, they express no remorse for their actions. This is the best evidence of the validity of the imposed bans.  Placing a ban on a member of clergy is the responsibility of the Ruling Bishop.

Second example according to the anonymous author: retiring of Archbishops Andronik and Sophrony, "without any fault on their part".  Of course, the words "without any fault" are completely incorrect, since, according to the proceedings of the Church Court Archbishops Andronik and Sophrony: 1) voluntarily declared full independence from our Church, which violates the constitution and synodical structure of our Church; 2) of their own accord they violated the Bishop’s oath of allegiance to the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR, given by them in their consecration: that is they perjured themselves; 3) contrary to the Resolution of the Council of Bishops in 2014, "On the rules of the corret way to discuss public information," published in the online materials, which denigrates the honor and dignity of our members; 4) In addition, Archbishop Andronik willfully gave up his position as head of the Holy Trintiy Parish in Astoria. For EACH of these violations the Holy Fathers of Orthodox Church would strip the clergy of the rank of priesthood.

Thus, our Synod of Bishops can be accused of being unfair to Archbishops Andronik and Sophrony.   But this "injustice" came about, perhaps, from too soft a rulings with respect to them.   According to the Holy Fathers, stripping these Archbishops of their priesthood, the Synod of Bishops decided to retire these archbishops giving them the right to serve. This extremely soft decision was made in the hope that the rebels would come to their senses and return into our the folds of our Church.*

Later in his "Questions and Answers" the anonymous author claims about the non-recognition of the legal acts of the ROCOR under the pretext that the rebels are under "exceptional circumstances".  However, their supporters are few in number compared to the total church member.  The anonymous writer believes that all the dissenters, while, of course, in "exceptional circumstances", can "legally" arrange a split from the church.

The anonymous author concludes his reasonings by stating that in our day and age dogmas are a thing of the past. They are valid no longer - they do not attract anyone and, obviously, no attention should be paid to these dogmas.

From the above it can be concluded that, in this case, the anonymous author is hiding under a mask that is far removed from both the Holy Fathers, and the Church founded by Christ, who said: "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall not pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. "(Matthew 5.18).
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*
Our Synod of Bishops were truly unjust as the anonymous author states.  They were too soft, too lenient in judging the disobedient Archbishops.  According to the canons of our Holy Church (our Church Fathers) the just action would be total expulsion from our Orthodox Church. These Archbishops would be reduced to simple lay people who no longer would be members of our Holy Church. They would not be able to enter our churches, but could pray in the narthex of the church together with the catechumens (those seeking and preparing to enter the church or those who are repenting for their sins). Our Holy Synod of Bishops chose mercy over fair judgment. These rebel Archbishops were not stripped of their priesthood, nor restricted, but were simply retired.