ROCOR Bishops' Council of 2017
Proposed Amendments to ROCOR Statute
Metropolitan Agafangel: Proposal for Amendments to the Statute of the Russian Orthdoox Church Outside of Russia
ROCOR Bishops' Council of 2017
In Orthodoxy, the principle of the immutability of the laws established by God dictates also the immutability of the laws that the Church establishes for itself. But, unchanged, first of all, the spirit of these laws must be preserved, and the form can undergo some changes - just, with the aim of preserving the firmness of the spirit. In the Statute of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Paragraph 1 says: "The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is an inseparable part of the local Russian Orthodox Church, temporarily self-governing on conciliar terms until the abolition of godless power in Russia, in accordance with the Decree of the Holy Patriarch, the Holy Synod and The Supreme Church Council of the Russian Church from 7/20 November 1920 for No. 362 ". That is, the very existence of the ROCA is defined by the Provision as temporary , "before the abolition of godless power in Russia." The Soviet Union has disintegrated, and this devilish in essence and the God-struggling form of communist empire for many years already does not exist. The only Decree of the Entire Completeness of the Russian Church, published under the Patriarchate of Holy Tikhon and not yet lost relevance in the matter of relations between the Church and the civil authority, is Decree No. 362, namely, paragraphs 2, 3, 9 and 10. These paragraphs of the Decree prescribe after the termination of the persecution of all Orthodox bishops to unite and recreate the highest authority of the church authority (paragraph 2). What our ROCA repeatedly tried to implement.
The meaning and spirit of the ROCOR Ordinance, expressed in Paragraph 1, with the words that the ROCA as a part of the Russian Church exists only "before the abolition of godless power in Russia", directly requires the introduction of changes in the text of the Resolution in connection with the change in the situation specified in the Resolution, and our duty is to fulfill this instruction of the Supreme Church Authority.
The words "before the abolition of godless power in Russia", I believe, should be understood as "until the physical persecution of the Church is ceased for the purpose of its complete annihilation," which (the persecution), through strong pressure from the authorities, forced the Church to a forced, violent separation and the complete isolation of the formed groups and, accordingly, the inability to communicate parts of the Church to each other on the territory of the USSR, as well as with part of the Church that turned out to be abroad. Now there is no such pressure on the part of the state, the possibility of communication has been restored, accordingly, there should not be any previous isolation, since there are no obstacles to full unity of those who profess the Orthodox doctrine.
By abolishing the God-struggling power in Russia and the opportunity to establish a full-fledged communication and communication, our Council of Bishops and the Synod, since 2007, in accordance with paragraph 2 of Decree No. 362, attempted to enter into intercourse with the bishops of other dioceses of the Russian Church who adhere to words the basic Orthodox dogmas and traditions, kept by the Russian Church, for the organization of the highest authority of the ecclesiastical authority of the disparate parts. At various times we officially turned to all those who came out for various reasons from the once united Russian Church Abroad (of course, if these reasons can be accepted as sufficiently respectful, mainly because of the preparation of a criminal union with the Moscow Patriarchate). First they urged to gather for a common All-Diaspora Council, and after the last Council were invited to start negotiations. Not meeting any of the parties' desire to restore unity and not seeing the desire to form a higher authority of the Church for everyone, our Church carried out, in fact (even not of its own free will), the demand of Point 9 of Decree No. 362 on the severance of church communication "with the disobedient ". After this event, in conditions when there is a full and unhindered connection between the bishops, to affirm that we are "an inseparable part of the local Russian Orthodox Church," and at the same time do not have a prayerful and eucharistic communion and a common church administration with those who are words adheres to Orthodox dogmas and basic canons, means to profess an ecumenical heresy that affirms that the One Church of Christ apparently does not exist and is divided into branches or splinters.
In this regard, after repeated and unsuccessful attempts to reunite with individual Orthodox groups, considering also that the Moscow Patriarchate has not refused to confess the heresies of ecumenism and Sergianism (as the ROCA fathers hoped), adding to this the introduction of the MP to the Latin heresy, and not seeing no one else who could be a follower of the historical Russian Church, the ROCA henceforth does not have the canonical grounds to consider itself an inseparable part of the Local Russian Church, as indicated in paragraph 1 of the Statute of the ROCA. We can not, in accordance with the canons and rules, as well as the Tradition of the Holy Fathers, consider ourselves to be an inseparable part with heretics, dissenters and imposters who are finally determined in their status. In fact, today we are the remnant of the Local Russian Church, which preserved through the Russian Orthodox Church abroad the canonical succession and undistorted Orthodox faith.
Thus, I propose to affirm in the title of our Church the writing of the word "Abroad" together and with a capital letter, in contrast to how it is written in the Statute, and Paragraph 1 of the Regulations on the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is proposed to read as follows: "The Russian Orthodox The Church Abroad is preserved by the Russian Orthodox Church outside the USSR and the Catacomb Church in the USSR, the remainder of the Local Russian Orthodox Church, professing an undistorted Orthodox dogma."
Also, it is proposed to make the appropriate changes to Paragraphs 2 and 3:
Etc. 2. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia consists of dioceses with their parishes, ecclesiastical communities, spiritual missions and monasteries with holy shrines that are outside the Russian Federation and governed by the lawful hierarchy.
Etc. 3. The main task of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is: to preserve in Russia the complete independence of the Russian Orthodox Church from godless and anti-Christian forces and the all-round spiritual nourishment of the Orthodox Russian flock, in the dispersion of things, regardless of nationality, and in particular, concern for preserving and strengthening in the souls of the believing flock in the purity and integrity of the Holy Orthodox faith and concern for the upbringing of all the flock scattered all over the world in the devotion of their suffering Mother - the Local Russian Orthodox and the main church.
+ Metropolitan Agafangel
Odessa, 11/24 October, the Cathedral of the Monks of the Optina Elders