Monday, November 01, 1999

Back Issue: November 1999


Vertograd-Inform: The major heresies usually make their appearance in Church history in pairs. In the time of arianism, which divided the Undivided Trinity, modalist teachings also raged, teachings which confused the unconfusable Persons of the Divinity. In the time of nestorianism, which divided God from Man in Christ, there appeared monophysitism, which mixed up the Divinity with the humanity- In the time of ecumenism, which seeks to unite all religions, there has appeared phyletism, which reduces Orthodoxy to the element of national culture and substitutes cultural-ethnic divisions for religious ones. But ecumenism is not simply a heresy, it is a pan-heresy v that is, that heretical principle which provides the basis for uniting the many heresies of the past, present and future. There is something similar in phyletism: it is also a universal heretical principle, which in the final analysis substitutes a multitude of private and tribal ?truths¦ for the one Truth of God, and instead of seeking and defending Church Truth compels its adepts to spend their time in petty squabbles on national-state problems. Our bulletin has more than once pointed to the mutual connection between phyletism and ecumenism. However, phyletism as such needs a special examination, to which the ?subject¦ of this issue of ?Vertograd-Inform¦ is devoted.

Eugene Pavlenko.


1. The Bulgarian Schism

==== The emergence of the idea of the division of the Church in accordance with the national principle and its conciliar condemnation is bound up with the history of the Greco-Bulgarian schism, which is the source of all the polemics on this question and the basic arguments of its supporters and opponents. The first attempt to create a Bulgarian Church that would be independent of Constantinople goes back to the 9th century, but it is only in 932, during the reign of the grandson of Tsar Boris, Peter, that the Bulgarian Church received autocephaly from Constantinople, and the Bulgarian Bishop Damian the title of Patriarch. After the death of Peter the Bulgarian kingdom was conquered by the Greeks (in about 971), as a consequence of which the local Bulgarian dioceses were subjected to the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate. The Bulgarian Church preserved its independence only where the Bulgarians succeeded in defending their political independence. Thus there appeared the autocephalous Archiepiscopate of Ochrid, which passed, at one time to the Bulgarians, at another to the Greek, at another to the Serbs, depending on who controlled the territory of the Archiepiscopate. At the end of the 14th century Bulgaria was conquered by the Turks, and the Archiepiscopate of Ochrid continued to exist under the power of the Turks until 1767, but then it, too, was abolished. The Patriarch of Constantinople became not only the spiritual, but, according to Turkish law, also the civil ruler of the whole of the Orthodox population of the Ottoman empire.

==== In accordance with this, only that nation people had its ?own¦ faith or its ?own¦ Church had the right to be autonomous in the Ottoman empire. Thus, for example, the Greeks of Hellas, the Constantinopolitan Greeks (the Phanariots) and the Bulgarians (i.e. all the players in the future Greco-Bulgarian conflict) represented, on the territory of the Ottoman empire by the beginning of the 19th century, one people united by a common faith and one Church v the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate. The Ottoman empire played the role of ?that which restraineth¦ in this national and religious unity, and this was well understood by the progressive people of the time. K.N. Leontiev wrote concerning the relationship between the then zealots of Orthodoxy v the Phanariot Greeks v and the Turkish government: ?It is necessary, as far as possible, to preserve the Porte; the Porte must be served; it must be defended. And I agree with this point of view of the Phanariots: the pasha is better than the Hellene democratic nomarch (prefect): the pasha is more monarchical, more statist, cleverer, broader.¦[i] All the nations in this unity had their own national particularity, but then when, as we shall see later, as a result of the struggle they acquired their own national independence, they became similar to each other. ?So much for the national development,¦ exclaimed K.N. Leontiev, ?which makes them all similar to contemporary Europeans, which spreads- petty rationalism, egalitarianism, religious indifference, European bourgeois uniformity in tastes and manners: machines, pantaloons, frock-coats, top hats and demagogy!¦[ii]

==== The first to fall away from unity with the Greeks of Constantinople were the Greeks of Hellas. In 1821, as a result of the uprising against Turkish dominion, communion was broken between them and Constantinople. Then a Synod of independent Hellas was subsequently established, which therefore looked like a forced measure, but the Greeks had to apply no little effort to attain recognition of this Synod on the part of Constantinople. The basis for this was the independence of the kingdom of Hellas. A Council convened in Constantinople finally recognised the legality of the newly established Synod.

==== The impetus for the Bulgarian movement for ecclesiastical independence was provided by the issuing in 1856 by the Turkish government of a decree promising liberal reforms. In 1860 there followed a de facto refusal of the Bulgarians to submit to the Patriarchate, which did not satisfy their demands for the right to elect their own bishops in their own dioceses and the granting to them the possibility of occupying the higher Church posts on an equal basis with the Greeks. The Patriarchate of Constantinople made various concessions: it issued Divine service books for the Bulgarian clergy in the Slavonic language, and appointed archimandrites from the Bulgarians. Later, under the influence of passions aroused on both sides, the demands of the Bulgarians intensified and flowed out into the desire to have their own separate exarchate. In 1867 the Constantinopolitan Patriarch Gregory VI proposed a project for the creation of a separate Bulgarian exarchate, but no meeting of minds was achieved on this project. It was hindered not only by the impossibility of precisely delineating dioceses with Greek and Bulgarian populations, but also by the gradually formed striving of the Bulgarians to create their own national Church, in which every Bulgarian, wherever he might be v in Bulgaria or in Asia Minor, would be in subjection only to the Bulgarian hierarchy. Such a striving was leading to a situation of ecclesiastical dual powers and to schism, but the Bulgarians were no longer upset by this. They wanted a schism, they were seeking it. They wanted separation not only from the Greeks, but also from the whole of Orthodoxy, since such a separation made them an independent people. ?Look how willingly religion has been sacrificed for the same purely tribal principle, for the same national-cosmopolitan impulses!¦ said K.N. Leontiev in this connection.[iii]

==== In 1868 Patriarch Gregory VI of Constantinople attempted to settle the Greco-Bulgarian question by convening an Ecumenical Council, but without success. In these circumstances the Bulgarians decided to act through the sultan and submitted to him a petition concerning the re-establishment of the ecclesiastical independence which had been lost because of the abolition of the Trnovo Patriarchate. ?Asking the Porte to establish their national independent hierarchy,¦ wrote Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, ?shows that although the Bulgarians have had sufficient time to think over what they are doing, they still have the stubborn desire without having acquired understanding. It is possible to establish a new independent hierarchy only with the blessing of a lawfully existing hierarchy.¦[iv] In reply to this request of the Bulgarians the Porte put forward two projects. According to point 3 of both projects, ?in Constantinople, next to the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch, a pre-eminent Orthodox Metropolitan of Bulgaria must be introduced-, to whom the supervision of the administration of the Bulgarian churches is to be entrusted and under whom there will be an assembly, that is, a kind of Synod, occupied with church affairs.¦[v]= In point 5 of one of these projects the Bulgarian Church is also called ?a separate body¦, while the aforementioned assembly is more than once called a Synod.

==== It goes without saying that Patriarch Gregory VI spoke out against such projects that transgress the canons of the Church. The ecclesiastical decrees which forbid such dual power situations are contained in:

(a) the 8th canon of the First Ecumenical Council: ?Let there not be two bishops in a city.¦

(b) The 35th canon of the Holy Apostles: ?Let not a bishop dare to carry out ordinations outside the bounds of his diocese in cities and villages not subject to him¦, which is confirmed and clarified by the 22nd canon of the Council of Antioch: ?Let a bishop not go into another city that is not subject to him, nor into a settlement that does not belong to him, in order to ordain someone, and let him not establish priests or deacons in places subject to another bishop-¦

(c) The 34th canon of the Holy Apostles: ?The bishops of each people should know the first among them, and recognise him as their head, and do nothing exceeding their authority without obtaining his permission: but each must do only that which touches his diocese and those places that belong to it.¦

==== With regard to the words from the 34th canon of the Holy Apostles: ?The bishops of each people¦, there developed a polemic between the Bulgarians and Constantinople which was destined to have a long history. The Bulgarians considered that the words: ?The bishops of each people¦ meant the order of the joint administration of one and the same (geographical) district by several priestly hierarchies belonging to different nationalities. But this passage was interpreted in a different way by the Byzantine interpreters Zonaras, Balsamon and Aristene. Zonaras, in his explanation of the 34th Apostolic canon, says: ?With this aim (the prevention of ecclesiastical disorder) the present canon commands that the first bishops of each district, that is, the hierarchs of the metropolia, should be recognised by all the bishops of that district as their head.¦ Thus Zonaras considers the expression ?of each people¦ to be identical with the expression ?of each district¦. This interpretation is confirmed by the juxtaposition of the 34th Apostolic canon with the 9th canon of the Council of Antioch: ?In each district it behoves the bishops to know the presiding bishop in the metropolia- in accordance with the rule of our fathers that has been in force since ancient times.¦ Zonaras: ?Although this canon does not coincide completely in its wording with the 34th canon of the Holy Apostles, nevertheless as far as the meaning is concerned it agrees with it in everything.¦ Balsamon: ?The content of this canon is explicated by the interpretation of the 34th Apostolic canon.¦ Aristene: ?This canon has exactly the same teaching as the 34th canon of the Holy Apostles.¦ As we see, the authoritative Byzantine interpreters agree that by the expression ?the bishops of each people¦ ?the bishops of each district¦ must be understood, and so this canon agrees with all the remaining canons which forbid dual power in the Church.

==== The Patriarch-s refusal to make concessions elicited the irritation of the Turkish government, and in 1870 the sultan issued a firman, in which permission was granted to the Bulgarians to establish a separate exarchate with a specified number of dioceses. The administration of the exarchate was given to the Synod of the Bulgarian bishops under the presidency of the exarch, who had to commemorate the name of the Constantinopolitan Patriarch during the Divine service. The Synod was obliged to refer to the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate in connection with the most important matters of the faith, and after the election of its exarch it had to seek a confirmatory certificate from the Patriarch. The Bulgarians also had to receive chrism from the Patriarch. In accordance with the ecclesiastical canons (the 6th and 7th canons of the First Ecumenical Council and the 3rd canon of the Second Ecumenical Council), independent patriarchal sees and the Synods having equal honour to them have to be established in a conciliar fashion, and not on the orders of a secular power. Patriarch Gregory VI asked the Turkish government for permission to convene an Ecumenical Council to examine this question, but he was refused, and he resigned his see. In accordance with the decree of the Turkish government, the Bulgarian Assembly in Constantinople elected its exarch, who was presented to the sultan on April 4, 1872. However, the Constantinopolitan Patriarch, who was now Anthimus IV, did not agree not only to recognise, but also to receive the exarch, from whom he demanded written repentance for all that had been done. But the semi-independent existence of the exarchate no longer suited the Bulgarians, either. They longed for complete separation from the Greeks, which could only be achieved by means of an ecclesiastical schism. On May 11, 1872, after the Gospel during the Liturgy, which was celebrated in Constantinople by the exarch together with the other Bulgarian bishops and many clergy, an act signed by the Council of seven Bulgarian bishops was proclaimed, which declared that the Bulgarian Church was independent. On May 15, the Patriarchal Synod declared the Bulgarian exarch deprived of his rank and defrocked; the other Bulgarian bishops, together with all the clergy and laity in communion with them, were subjected to ecclesiastical punishments. A declaration was also made concerning the convening of a Local Council.

==== The feelings of the sides drawn in one way or another into the ecclesiastical conflict between the Greeks and the Bulgarians were described in detail on the eve of the Local Council of 1872 by K.N. Leontiev in his work, The Fruits of the National Movements. The Bulgarians affirmed that they would fight until ?the last Bulgarian village, even including those in Asia Minor, is liberated from the ecclesiastical authority of the Patriarch¦.[vi] The Bulgarians did not fear a schism, they found a schism convenient for themselves. While the Turks, in their turn, considered that a quarrel between the Orthodox would be useful for their disintegrating state. The liberally inclined Russians sympathised with the ?national-liberation¦ movement of the Bulgarians.. At the same time the Athenian Greeks were trying by all means to bring the matter to the convening of a Council and the ecclesiastical condemnation of the Bulgarians. Besides, they hoped that the Russian Holy Synod would finally come out openly in defence of the Bulgarians, after which they would be able to declare the Russians, too, to be schismatics, and having thereby separated themselves from the whole of Slavdom, tie their fate in with the peoples of Western Europe. The Athenian Greeks were drawn by the idea of a Great Hellas, the Bulgarians v by the idea of a Great Bulgaria. ?We must baptise the sultan,¦ they dreamed, ?merge with the Turks, become established in Tsargrad and form a great Bulgar-Turkish state, which instead of aging Russia would take up the leadership of Slavdom.¦[vii] ?Who has remained faithful to Orthodoxy?¦ cried K.N. Leontiev. ?It is only these same Greek bishops who are subjects of the Turks who have remained faithful to these foundations, to Orthodoxy and its ancient rules and spirit.¦[viii] He called these bishops Phanariots (after the Phanar, the quarter of Istanbul= in which the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate was situated). They cursed Bulgarian phyletism at the Council of 1872, but did not allow a break also with Russia. The Russian Holy Synod, which at that time supported neither side, made no mistake meanwhile. The Constantinopolitan Patriarchate could not without transgressing the canons break with us, to which they were being urged by the Greeks of Hellas. But Constantinople did not wish to transgress the canons. Both in relation to the Bulgarians and in relation to Russia the Phanariots remained unshaken and faithful to the laws and traditions, in spite of all the difficulties caused by our liberals- flirting with the Bulgarians.

==== The Local Council of Constantinople opened on August 29, 1872. 32 hierarchs and all the Eastern Patriarchs except Jerusalem took part in it. On September 16, in its third session, the Constantinopolitan Council confirmed the decision according to which all the Bulgarian hierarchs with their clergy and laity were declared schismatics, and the whole of the Bulgarian Church was declared schismatic. In relation to phyletism the Council made the following decision: ?-We have concluded that when the principle of racial division is juxtaposed with the teaching of the Gospel and the constant practice of the Church, it is not only foreign to it, but also completely opposed, to it.¦[ix] ?We decree the following in the Holy Spirit: 1. We reject and condemn racial division, that is, racial differences, national quarrels and disagreements in the Church of Christ, as being contrary to the teaching of the Gospel and the holy canons of our blessed fathers, on which the holy Church is established and which adorn human society and lead it to Divine piety. 2. In accordance with the holy canons, we proclaim that those who accept such division according to races and who dare to base on it hitherto unheard-of racial assemblies are foreign to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and are real schismatics.¦[x]

==== Phyletism comes from the Greek word ?phylon¦ v family, clan, tribe. This is how T.I. Philippov defines phyletism in his book, Contemporary Church Questions: ?Phyletism- is nothing other than the invasion into Church unity, which embraces and reconciles in itself every natural distinction (according to age, sex, social position, race, origin, nationality) and which knows- neither Greek nor Barbarian, neither slave nor free, but knows only man and mankind (it would be more exact to say Christian and Christianity). It is expressed in the striving to enslave the great idea of the unity of the Church of all races to the local, one-sided aims of this Divine union, and, as far as possible, to satisfy at the same time (as in the Greco-Bulgarian question) the demands of nationality and of the laws of the Church, rejecting the latter and sacrificing them completely in favour of the former.¦[xi] It should be noted that T.I. Philippov saw in phyletism only a particular instance of the sin of ecclesiastical division in general. Phyletism as a heresy was destined to have a long history. Arising in the 19th century, it attained its ?flowering¦ in the 20th century, when the co-existence of Churches on a racial basis no longer seems anything unusual for so-called World Orthodoxy.

2. The Georgian Autocephaly.

==== The autocephaly of the Georgian Church goes a long way back in history. In his interpretation of the 2nd canon of the Second Ecumenical Council Balsamon writes: ?The archbishop of Georgia is honoured (as archbishop of an autocephaly) in accordance with the decision of the Council of Antioch. Historians relate that during the time of his Holiness Peter, divine Patriarch of the city of Great Antioch, there was a conciliar decree that the Church of Georgia, which was at that time subject to the Patriarch of Antioch, should be free and independent.¦ The attempts to restore the Georgian autocephaly begin in 1905. In 1906 the Holy Synod raised this question to be reviewed by the forthcoming Local Council. In this connection, the question of a division along state or national lines as the foundation for ecclesiastical autocephaly was discussed at the Preconciliar Consistory established by his Majesty. Neither side was able to convince the other at that time. As a result, on March 12, 1917 an assembly of bishops, clergy and laity of the Georgian Church meeting in Mtskheta decreed that ?the autocephalous ecclesiastical administration of Georgia should be deemed to be restored¦. In the given investigation we shall be concerned, not with the history of the Georgian autocephaly, but with the phyletistic arguments of its supporters during the Preconciliar Consistory.

==== The sessions of the 2nd section of the Preconciliar Consistory ?On the organisation of ecclesiastical affairs in the Caucasus¦ were opened on June 2, 1906 in the Alexander Nevsky Lavra under the presidency of Archbishop Nicander of Lithuania and Vilno. At various times in these sessions the following took part: Bishops Stefan of Mogilev, Euthymius of Gori and Leonid of Imeretia, Protopriests T.Butkevich, F. Titov, I. Koyalovich and I. Vostorgov, Professors I.S. Berdnikov, M.A. Ostroumov, A.I. Almazov, V.Z. Zavitnevich, N.N. Glubokovsky, I.I. Sokolov, A.I. Brilliantov, I.S. Pal-mov and P.B. Mansurov. The project for the restoration of Georgian autocephaly was actively supported by Bishop Kirion of Sukhumi, the future (in 1917) catholicos of Georgia, and by Professors N.Ya. Marr, A.A. Tsagareli and N.A. Zaozersky. In the sessions of the 2nd section of the Preconciliar Consistory participants listened to and discussed the talks of Bishop Kirion, ?The National Principle in the Church¦, of Professor I.S. Palmov, ?Historical Analogies to the Question of the Autocephaly of the Georgian Church¦, of Professor A.I. Almazov, ?Canonical Data for the Resolution of the Question of the Autocephaly of the Georgian Church¦, the reply of Professor I.S. Berdnikov to Bishop Kirion-s report, ?The National Principle in the Church¦, and others. The polemic surrounding this question between Professor N.A. Zaozersky and Professor N.N. Glubokovsky then continued on the pages of the ?Theological Herald¦. The majority of those who spoke supported the state principle of Church division, but the minority insisted on a national or ethnic point of view. In winding up the 2nd section of the Preconciliar Consistory, participants accepted one of the two projects of Protopriest I. Vostorgov with the abolition of the Georgian exarchate and the formation in its place of two metropolitan areas, but the project for Georgian autocephaly was rejected.

==== The phyletistic argumentation of the supporters of the idea of Georgian autocephaly at the Preconciliar Consistory was sounded in its most complete form by the talk of Bishop Kirion, ?The National Principle in the Church¦.[xii]

==== This talk began by proclaiming the principle of nationality in the Church and by affirming its antiquity. In the opinion of the Bishop, Georgia ?has the right the independent existence of her national Church on the basis of the principle of nationality in the Church proclaimed at the beginning of the Christian faith.¦[xiii] What does principle consist of, and when was it proclaimed? ?It is sufficient to remember,¦ writes Bishop Kirion, ?the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, who immediately began to glorify God in various languages and then preached the Gospel to the pagans, each in their native language.¦[xiv] But in our view, references to the preaching of the apostles in connection with the affirmation of the national principle in the Church have no firm foundation. The preaching of the apostles in various languages was necessary in order to unite the peoples in the Truth of Christ, and not in order to disunite them in accordance with the national principle. That is, the principle of nationality is precisely that which Christianity had to overcome, and not that on which the Church must be founded. Since the Bulgarian schism phyletistic argumentation has characteristically sought support in references to the 34th Apostolic canon. ?The basic canonical rule,¦ writes Bishop Kirion, ?by which the significance of nationality in relation to Church administration is recognised, is the 34th Apostolic canon which is so well known to canonists- According to the direct meaning of this canon in the Orthodox Church, every nationality must have its first hierarch.¦[xv] But the 34th Apostolic canon, as we have already discussed above, has in view ?bishops of every territory¦ and not ?bishops of every people¦. The word ?ethnos¦, which is= employed in this canon in the ancient language and in the language of Christian antiquity, is translated in the dictionary of Liddell and Scott first of all as ?a number of people accustomed to live together¦, and only then as ?a nation¦. It is precisely the first sense indicated here that points to the territorial meaning of the Apostolic canon. So references to its national meaning are groundless.

==== An incorrect understanding and use of the principle of conciliarity v which phyletism has in common with ecumenism v sometimes brings them closer, as we shall see later, to the point of being completely indistinguishable. For the supporters of the division of the Church along tribal lines the principle of conciliarity is only a convenient federal form for the development by each people of its nationality idiosyncracy. ?- The federal system,¦ in the opinion of Bishop Kirion, ?gave our Eastern Church significant advantages from a national point of view.¦[xvi] While the preservation of this idiosyncracy v in his opinion v is prescribed by conciliar decisions: ?National religious-everyday and individual particularities and local ecclesiastical traditions, whose preservation is prescribed by conciliar decisions (cf. the 39th canon of the Council in Trullo), acquire a very important significance from the point of view of Church freedom.¦[xvii] But in the 39th canon of the Council in Trullo not a word is said about ?national religious-everyday and individual particularities¦ and the like, but there is mention of the rights of first-hierarchs over bishops and their appointment. ?Let the customs of each [autocephalous] Church be observed,¦ it says in this canon, ?so that the bishop of each district should be subject to his president, and that he, in his turn, should be ?appointed from his bishops, according to the ancient custom.¦ The émigré Church of Cyprus, of which mention is made in this canon, did not become the national Church of the Cypriots, but took into herself all the peoples of the Hellespont district where it emigrated. Where is mention made here of a conciliar sanction for the preservation of ?local ecclesiastical traditions¦ with the aid of administrative isolation?

==== ?Ecclesiastically speaking,¦ considers Bishop Kirion, ?each people must make use of the freedom of self-determination¦[xviii] and ?possesses the right to develop according to the laws of its own national spirit.¦ The extent to which Bishop sees the development of each Church possible ?according to the laws of its own national spirit¦ becomes clear from the following quotation cited by him: ?The Bulgarian Church, after a period of difficult trials and struggle, is near to the realisation of its age-old strivings without disrupting Christian peace and love. The enslaved Syro-Arabic Church is declaring its rights to national idiosyncracy more and more persistently. The Armenian, Syro-Jacobite and Perso-Chaldean Churches, which have also, because of regrettable circumstances, been separated from ecumenical unity for a long time, are also seeking reunion, but without the disruption of their national rights and those which have come into being historically."[xix] By ?regrettable circumstances¦ Professor Kavalnitsky and Bishop Kirion who quotes him apparently have in mind the Council of Chalcedon, which condemned the monophysite heretics. While by ?reunion¦ they have in mind, as becomes clear from the following sentence, the following: ?Unity between the Churches must take place on the principle of equality, and not of absorption.¦[xx] Thus both in the schism of the Bulgarians, and in the heresy of monophysitism, there is nothing to prevent union with them, but only, in the opinion of Bishop Kirion, ?the religious variety of the Christian peoples¦[xxi]! Before our eyes, Bishop Kirion, a defender of Georgian autocephaly at the beginning of the century, is making a path from phyletism to ecumenism, the union of which we have already distinctly observed at the end of the century. Here is the classical ?branch theory¦ in action. ?The peoples who accepted Christianity did not all assimilate its lofty teaching in the same way; each took from it only those elements of Christian life which it was able to in accordance with its intellectual and moral character. The Latin nations (the Catholics) developed a strict ecclesiastical organisation and created architecture of high artistic value. The Greeks, who were experienced in dialectical subtleties, worked out a complex and firmly based dogmatic system. The Russians, on accepting Christianity, mainly developed discipline and church rubrics, bringing external beauty to a high level of development. But the Georgians, having christianised their age-old national beliefs [giving their paganism a Christian form? v the author] and being completely penetrated with the spirit of Christianity, attached to it the sympathetic traits of their own character: modesty, simplicity, warmth, self-sacrifice, freedom from malice and strength. Although they did not receive Christianity, in the sense of assimilate the height and fullness of its heavenly teaching, in the same way, nevertheless all the nations enlightened by Christianity, as members of the one Body of Christ [one must suppose that Latins and Monophysites are included in this number v the author], strive for the one aim that is common to Christian humanity v the realisation of the kingdom of God on earth (?!)¦.[xxii] The idea of chiliasm v ?the kingdom of God on earth¦ v is a worthy crown of this union of phyletism and ecumenism. Fitting for a report at the assembly of the World Council of Churches, whose members are expecting the coming of ?the new era of the Holy Spirit¦?

==== From the example of Bishop Kirion-s talk it is clearly evident that the idea of the national Church, beginning with the division of the Church on national lines, leads to her ?union¦, not on the basis of the patristic faith, but on the basis of the idea of abstract ?equality¦ of separate, including heretical, churches, and through this to the idea of the coming earthly kingdom of the antichrist. Although the idea of Georgian autocephaly was rejected at the Preconciliar Consistory, the polemic centring on the 34th Apostolic canon between Professor N.A. Zaozersky and Professor N.N. Glubokovsky continued even after it on the pages of ?The Theological Herald¦. Interest in this polemic is elicited first of all by the phyletistic interpretation of this canon by Professor N.A. Zaozersky.[xxiii]

==== He begins with an affirmation of the necessity of a literal understanding of each canon with no reference to their links with the context. ?To establish the correct interpretation of the canon which concerns us,¦ writes Professor N.A. Zaozersky, ?as generally with all the 85 canons which are known under the name -Apostolic-, the strictest possible fulfilment of the basic principle of interpretation is required: the literal understanding of the canon with complete respect for every term contained in it.¦[xxiv] Such a requirement, in the opinion of Professor Zaozersky, is based on the two properties of this canon:= ?(a) on its editorial perfection, for there are no unclear, ambiguous expressions in it: both stylistically and logically it is irreproachable; and (b) on the fact that in its very terminology it bears the imprint of deep Christian antiquity v the imprint of the ecclesiastical structure of the first three centuries.¦[xxv] But this affirmation of his is groundless. The literal-historical sense of every canon is only its external and passing side, while the inner, imperishable content of every canon is revealed by its juxtaposition with other canons and with interpretations that are authoritative for the Church. Such a juxtaposition frees the canon from its concrete historical sense and reveals its inner spiritual content. Every canon is inconceivable without its relationship to the fullness of Church Tradition. To understand the canon literally-historically v which is what Professor Zaozersky and his supporters do v means to fall into the Jewish passion for the letter of the law and insensitivity to its meaning.

==== On the contrary, the meaning of this 34th Apostolic canon, is revealed through its juxtaposition with other canons, including the 9th canon of the Council of Antioch: ?It behoves the bishops in every district to know the bishop who presides in the metropolia- in accordance with the rule of our fathers that has been in force since ancient times.¦ ?The rule of our fathers that has been in force since ancient times¦ is the 34th Apostolic canon, and the word ?ethnos¦ is used in it, as was often the case in antiquity, in the meaning of ?district¦, not ?people¦. This what Professor Zaozersky writes in this connection: ?But as regards the 9th canon of the Council of Antioch I have to say that it is not concerned with the interpretation of the 34th Apostolic canon, but only refers to it as to an authority, ?a canon received from ancient times by our fathers¦, and applies it as a guiding principle and base in its definition of the rights and privileges in honour of the metropolitan.¦[xxvi] ?Is this really an interpretation?!¦ he exclaims. In the opinion of Professor Zaozersky, the 34th Apostolic canon and the 9th canon of the Council of Antioch exist as it were independently of each other. One canon has its sphere of definition, and the other v its sphere. They do not reveal one and the same content that is common for both, but co-exist with each other, each pointing to the other as to an example of equal significance, it may be even as ?a guiding principle and base¦, but from a different sphere! Later we shall see how phyletism, which is the ?Christian¦ formulation of the pagan ?national idea¦, can co-exist in peace with other ?national ideas¦, recognising that they are ?truths¦ equal to itself. The world, according to this understanding, is not the incarnation of one and the same Truth in various concrete historical forms, but consists of a multitude of truths bound up with concrete ways of life; their unity consists only in their equal right to exist. In relation to canon law, this ?methodology¦ amounts to a literal understanding and a separate application of each canon independently of the Truth that unites them in Tradition and their mutual interpretation.

=== In a similar manner Professor Zaozersky also ?deals with¦ Zonaras, who in his interpretation of the 34th Apostolic canon writes: ?To this end [the averting of ecclesiastical disorder] the present canon commands that the first bishops of each district, that is, the arch-hierarchs of the metropolia, should be recognised by all the bishops of that district as their head.¦ Here Zonaras clearly identifies the words ?of each people¦ with the words ?of each district¦, and there remains nothing for Professor Zaozersky to do but declare: ?Zonaras is generally an objective interpreter and is generally concerned with the philology of the terms in the canons that are being interpreted. But it is completely incomprehensible and inexplicable why, in his commentary on the canon under examination, he should have changed his method. It must have been that sin confused him![xxvii] Thus in the opinion of Professor Zaozersky, the 34th Apostolic canon exists by itself, and the interpretation of Zonaras by itself. The latter, if it has any relationship to the truth, is, in his opinion, just a private theological opinion of a Byzantine interpreter of a certain epoch v and nothing more.

==== But the general opinion is v and this is recognised by Professor Zaozersky himself v that besides the 9th canon of the Council of Antioch and the interpretation of Zonaras, ?in the great majority of canons it is political, territorial [and not national] distribution that is applied in the delineation of the borders of ecclesiastical administration.¦[xxviii] Professor N.A. Zaozersky explains this contradiction in the following way. ?In our opinion,¦ he writes, ?this constitutes clear evidence here that the 34th canon belongs to a different epoch, an epoch much older than that of the Ecumenical Councils v the first three centuries.¦[xxix] But can it really be that for this reason it contradicts the other canons which presuppose a territorial distribution? The word ?ethnos¦ (cf. the meaning of this word in the dictionary of Liddell and Scott that we have already mentioned) was used in antiquity to mean ?district¦, a population living on a defined territory, and by no means necessarily in the meaning of a unity along national lines. When applied to the 34th Apostolic canon, it signifies ?Christian people¦, the people of God, the community of people united by the faith of Christ and by living together on a defined territory, but by no means a nationality. This is a part of the Body of Christ, in which ?there is neither Greek nor Jew, neither male nor female, neither slave nor free¦, in which there still remain differences of the part in relation to the whole, but not national differences. The representatives of various nationalities can be present in the Christian people, but ?two Christian peoples¦ cannot live at the same time in one and the same place v ?Is Christ divided¦?

==== Professor Zaozersky concludes his phyletistic interpretation of the 34th Apostolic canon in the same way as Bishop Kirion, by the same crypto-ecumenist definition of the Church. "According to the exact meaning of the 34th Apostolic canon the whole Church of Christ represents a spiritual union or confederation of national, self-governing churches,¦ he writes.[xxx] But it is impossible to agree with this. In accordance with the sense of the 34th Apostolic canon and other canons of the Ecumenical and Local Councils, the Church of Christ is an organic unity of Body, in which the self-governance of separate churches is only the consequence of the territorial existence of their parts in relation to the whole. Christ Himself as the Head of the Church disappears from the ?spiritual union or confederation of national, self-governing churches,¦ as used by the supporters of national division, for: (1) differentiation according to nationality signifies differentiation according to nature, according to flesh and blood, which constitutes the unity of a body, but ?flesh and blood will not inherit the Spirit¦; (2) the absence of the organic unity of the Body and the existence of separate ?bodies¦ of national churches also signifies= the existence of separate ?truths¦ possessing equal rights. It is a ?union or federation¦ that is called to reconcile and unite such ?truths¦, and not the Truth of Christ.

==== The history of the conciliar examination of the question of the Georgian autocephaly demonstrates that phyletism, as the idea of the division of the Church along national lines, was already in that time striving to unite with the idea of the union of all the churches on the lines of their formal belonging to Christianity v that is, with ecumenism.

3. Phyletism and the Status of the ROCA

==== We have already seen, from the examples of Bulgarian and Georgian phyletism, how Christianity can serve as merely the dressing up of a national idea, which in the end leads ecclesiastical communities to canonical indefiniteness and schism. But there exist situations in which this dependence works in the opposite direction. Phyletism is always bound up with a loss of Church consciousness and indifference to the canons. The latter circumstance= ?psychologically¦ brings phyletism and ecumenism closer together; and although at times the paths of phyletism and ecumenism deviate from each other, they are always ready to come closer together on their common base v indifference to the canons.

==== Certain phyletistic tendencies that sometimes arise in the bosom of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad are bound up with her temporary and v in certain respects v canonically unprecedented status (the history of Church knows no examples of such a massive flight of Orthodox people as a consequence of persecutions). The attempts to make the canonical status of our Church ?constant¦ with the aid of the 37th and 39th canons of the Sixth Ecumenical Council in one way or another lead to phyletism, which also reveals itself in the actions and utterances of separate representatives of the ROCA.

==== However, a detailed examination of the history of the formation and ecclesiological nature of the ROCA herself is not part of the author-s task. The ?temporary status¦, and the canonical indefiniteness that is bound up with it, by no means signify uncanonicity.

==== If we look at the ROCA as a temporarily self-governing part of the Russian Local Church in exile, which exists on the basis of Decree no. 362 of his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, the Holy Synod and the Higher Church Council of November 20, 1920 ( that is precisely what the Statute of the ROCA says), then it becomes clear that the Church Abroad has no other canonical bases for such a situation than the decree in question. The point is that the canons do not assume the presence of such independent formations as ?a part of the Local Church in exile¦, while Decree no. 362, if we examine it in its international, rather than intra-Russian dimension, touches on the most general ecclesiological questions, which cannot be decided ?in a private kind of way¦ by any one Local Church. As for the attempts to rely, in giving a basis to the status of the ROCA, on the 37th and 39th canons of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, they lead to the following difficulties. According to the 37th canon, a bishop who is forced by circumstances outside his control to leave his see remains, nevertheless, a bishop of the same diocese which he left, and of the same people that finds itself on the territory of this diocese. Even a passing glance at the interpretations of Zonaras and Balsamon of this canon is sufficient to convince one that it is talking precisely about that very people and that very diocese. Zonaras: ?There should be no lessening of the strictness of the canons giving bishops the power to administer all those in their bishoprics¦. Balsamon: ?Bishops- are simply looked on as if they had set off for a country and occupied sees.¦ This v territorial v interpretation by the Byzantines of the 37th canon is nothing out of the ordinary. All the canons of the Church prescribe a division of the Church according to the territorial, and not the ?national¦ principle, and therefore a bishop can carry out his episcopal functions only in relation to his diocese and in relation to that people which finds itself on its territory. It goes without saying that it is impossible to apply the 37th canon in this form to the ROCA when, for example, Vladyka Anastasius, as Archbishop of Kishinev, carries out ordinations and dissolves marriages in Constantinople, that is, carries out episcopal functions in relation to the people (it is not important which people v Russian or otherwise) which finds itself on the territory of another diocese.= Therefore in order to provide a base for the status of the ROCA it is necessary to take from the 37th canon only that part which formally leaves the émigré bishops presiding over those dioceses which they left, while finding a basis for their carrying out episcopal functions on another territory in some other place. This grounding can be taken from the 39th canon, which, taking the example of the emigration of the Cypriot people, gives émigré bishops the possibility of carrying out episcopal functions on another territory. But for this it is nevertheless necessary, taking the example of this canon, that they should become bishops of that territory on which they have landed. Whatever way you look at it, all the Church canons are in complete agreement with each other in affirming nothing other than the territorial principle of Church division. Summarising all this, we can say that it is impossible to consider as justified the attempts made to give a basis for the status of the ROCA by taking a part of the 37th canon and a part of the 39th canon without paying attention to the basic point contained in these and in all other canons on this subject v the principle of the division of the Church along territorial lines.

==== In order to provide a solid foundation for the status of the ROCA the 2nd canon of the Second Ecumenical Council and the 13th and 22nd canons of the Council of Antioch could be used. These canons permit the metropolitan of a given district to invite bishops from outside to perform some episcopal function inside it, but when= such invited bishops, as, for example, the Russian hierarchs in Serbia, constitute a Council and a Synod, there are no canonical analogies to such a formation v except, again, one. Such an exception would be both of the projects of the Bulgarian bishops that were supported by the Porte but rejected by the Constantinopolitan Patriarch Gregory VI.

==== The very lack of clarity of the canonical position of the ROCA sometimes provides an impetus for the approval of the idea of the organisation of the Church in accordance with the national principle. In this connection let us examine the article, ?Towards the Coming Council of the Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad¦ (1962), from the book by Archbishop Averky, ?The Modern World in the Light of the Word of God. Sermons and Speeches. ?A basis for- the conciliar administration of the Church,¦ writes Vladyka Averky, ?is provided by the 34th canon of the Holy Apostles, which literally says: -It behoves the bishops of every people to know the first among them and to recognise him as their head, and to do nothing exceeding their authority without his permission: but each bishop must do only that which concerns his diocese and the places that belong to it. But also let the first bishop do nothing without the permission of them all. For in this way there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified in the Lord and the Holy Spirit, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.- Here, in this apostolic canon, which has such an important, fundamental significance, we should pay particular attention to the expression: -the bishops of every people- v precisely -people-, and not some definite territory with strictly delineated state boundaries. This expression clearly underlines the -popular-, or as it is now the custom for us to say, -national- (and by no means territorial) attribute of the Local Church, which must spiritually and canonically unite precisely the people, and not the territory.¦ [xxxi] ?The Church is constituted precisely by people,¦ writes Vladyka in another place, ?and by no means by a soulless territory. Otherwise the 34th canon of the Holy Apostles would not say what it says: It behoves the bishops of each people to know the first among them¦-, but would say: ?It behoves the bishops of each territory¦-= The bishop spiritually nourishes a people, not a territory.¦ [xxxii]

==== But the 34th canon does mean ?the bishops of each territory¦. As Professor S.V. Troitsky justly observes, the word ?ethnos¦ (people) mentioned in the 34th canon ?sometimes had with the Romans the significance of -province- because the basic element of the province was not so much the territory as its tax-paying population, its people¦ [xxxiii].[xxxiv] As we have already pointed out, the well-known Byzantine commentators of the canons Zonaras, Balsamon and Aristene interpret this canon in a territorial sense. Zonaras, in explaining the 34th Apostolic canon, says: ?To this end [the averting of ecclesiastical disorder] the present canon commands that the first bishops of each district, that is, the arch-hierarchs of the metropolia, should be recognised by all the bishops of that district as their head.¦ Thus Zonaras considers the expression ?of each people¦ to be synonymous with the expression ?of each district¦. This interpretation receives confirmation from the juxtaposition of the 34th Apostolic canon with the 9th canon of the Council of Antioch: ?It behoves the bishops in every district to know the bishop who presides in the metropolia- in accordance with the rule of our fathers that has been in force since ancient times

==== Here is another, more recent example. In his brochure ?A New Approach to the Greco-Bulgarian Question¦ (Sophia, 1985), Protodeacon Herman Ivanov-Trinadtsaty (ROCA) sees in the Bulgarian bishops v the inciters of the schism v ?heroes of the Bulgarian people¦, while he considers the schism itself to be a national renaissance. ?The Bulgarians should have included the names of the most important bishops in the pantheon of the heroes of the Bulgarian people, such as: Hilarion of Makariupol, Panaret of Philippi, Hilarion of Lobchan, Anthinus of Viden (later Bulgarian exarch), Dorotheus of Sophia, Parthenius of Nis and Gennadius of Veles, who together with the Bulgarian pastors were the soul of the above-mentioned renaissance.¦ ?The Constantinopolitan Patriarch,¦ he writes, ?presided at a Council consisting solely of Greek hierarchs, which paid tribute, in my opinion, to the very same national principle which he denounced in the Bulgarians.¦ In our opinion, for the Church it is of no importance whatever to what nationalities the hierarchs belong, because it is altogether indifferent to nationality. What is important is the canonicity of the decisions taken by them, and that the Church should not be divided in accordance with the national principle. In the opinion of Fr. Herman, national feeling ?strengthens the solidarity of the whole people and thereby allows it to apprehend the Orthodox faith in its own way, with all the features and particularities that are inherent to it, and it is thanks to this that we can talk about Greek, Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Arabic and- French Orthodoxy.¦ The idea that peoples should assimilate, instead of the fullness of Orthodoxy, certainly particularities that are supposedly characteristic of it and supposedly more suitable for one people and less for another, is very dubious.

==== The lack of clarity of the canonical position usually leads to the idea of the creation of a national church and v in time v to a rapprochement with ecumenism (the most vivid example of this phenomenon is Germany). Without departing from the path of ?the national church¦, it is possible to merge effortlessly into the ecumenist ranks of World Orthodoxy. But the point is not only the phyletistic argumentation of individual hierarchs and church writers. In the end, this is their personal opinion. As we have pointed out, phyletism is absent de jure from the official documents of the Church Abroad. But de facto phyletism is an indispensible constituent element in the life of almost all the churches of the American continent, and not only the American, but also the Australian, and the Western European v that is, of all parts of the world where Orthodox diasporas first appeared in this century. At the present there coexist on the territory of the USA Russian, Greek, Syrian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Belorussian and Albanian churches. Not all of these are old calendarist or recognise each other, but the fact remains. The organisation of churches on a racial basis continues in spite of the fact that phyletism has been condemned as a heresy, and the division of churches in accordance with the national and cultural principle contradicts the canons. This situation is a consequence of the general decline of Orthodoxy. Phyletism, like ecumenism, is an illness of our age; it does not destroy Orthodoxy as quickly as the latter, but it does it slowly and inexorably, for the agony of ecumenism is evident to all because of the obviousness of its loss of Orthodoxy, but the contraction of the Church into national and cultural churches is killing those who firmly believe that they are preserving Orthodoxy. The paths of phyletism and ecumenism, which seemed to part at the beginning of the century, are coming together today.


==== - With amazement and sorrow of heart we have learned that in recent days there have appeared people [?speaking perverse things¦ (Acts 20.30] within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from the midst of the pious Bulgarian people, who have dared to introduce from secular life in the Church a certain new teaching on racial differences and to form, in despite of the divine and sacred canons, a heretofore unheard-of self-ordained racial gathering.

==== Having in compunction of soul call down grace from the Father of lights and placed before us the Gospel of Christ, ?in Whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge"¦(Colossians 2.3), we have concluded, on juxtaposing the principle of the racial division of the Church with the Gospel teaching and with the constant mode of acting of the Church, that it is not only foreign, but also completely contrary to it.

==== At the same time, having examined again the illegal actions with which the establishment of the racial gathering of the above-mentioned persons has been accompanied, we have seen that they are all condemned by the sacred canons.

==== For this reason, ?accepting with joy¦, together with our holy and God-bearing fathers, the divine canons, and keeping without diminishment and unshaken the definitions of these canons as received from the all-praised Apostles, the trumpets of the Spirit, and from the seven holy Ecumenical Councils and those locally convened for the issuing of such commandments, and from our holy fathers, for they all, beingn enlightened by one and the same Spirit, have legislated in a useful way,= we decree the following in the Holy Spirit:

(1) We reject and condemn racial division, that is, racial differences, national quarrels and disagreements in the Church of Christ, as being contrary to the teaching of the Gospel and the holy canons of our blessed fathers, on which the holy Church is established and which adorn human society and lead it to Divine piety.

(2) =In accordance with the holy canons, we proclaim that those who accept such division according to races and who dare to base on it hitherto unheard-of racial assemblies are foreign to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and are real schismatics. [xxxv]

[i] K.N. Leontiev. Letters on Eastern Affairs. In the collection The East, Russia and Slavdom, Moscow, 1996, p. 362.

[ii] K.N. Leontiev. The Fruits of the National Movements. In the collection The East, Russia and Slavdom, Moscow, 1996, p. 560.

[iii] Ibid., p. 559.

[iv] K.N. Leontiev. Letters on Eastern Affairs. In the collection The East, Russia and Slavdom, Moscow, 1996, p. 360.

[v] T.I. Philippov. Contemporary Church Questions. St Petersburg, 1882, p. 97.

[vi] K.N. Leontiev, The Fruits of the National Movements. In the collection: The East, Russia and Slavdom, Moscow, 1996, p. 558.

[vii] Ibid., p. 559.

[viii] Ibid., p. 560.

[ix] T.I. Philippov. Contemporary Church Questions. St. Petersburg, 1882, p. 186.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Ibid., p. 225.

[xii] Journals and Protocols of the sessions of the Preconciliar Consistory Established by His Majesty, volume 3. On the second section on Georgia. St. Petersburg, 1907, pp. 55-58.

[xiii] Ibid., p. 55.

[xiv] Ibid.

[xv] Ibid.

[xvi] Ibid., p. 56.

[xvii] Ibid.

[xviii] Ibid.

[xix] Professor M.G. Kovalnitsky. On the Significance of the National Element in the Historical Development of Christianity, Kiev, 1880, pp. 3-4.

[xx] Journals and Protocols, p. 56.

[xxi] Ibid.

[xxii] Ibid., p. 57.

[xxiii] Professor N.A. Zaozersky. ?The Exact Meaning and Significance of the 34th Apostolic Canon¦, The Theological Herald, vol. 3, no. 12, 1907, pp. 770-784.

[xxiv] Ibid., p. 771.

[xxv] Ibid.

[xxvi] Ibid., p. 772.

[xxvii] Ibid.

[xxviii] Ibid., p. 774.

[xxix] Ibid.

[xxx] Ibid., p. 779.

[xxxi] ?According to the canons of the Orthodox Church, when an Orthodox hierarchy with its flock flees, as a consequence of persecution, into the territory of another Church, it has the right of independent oganisation and administration, as a consequence of which it is necessary to recognise that the Russian ecclesiastical hierarchy on the territory of the Serbian Church also has this right v of course, under the defence and supervision of the Serbian Church¦. From the book: Protopriest Michael Polsky, The Canonical Position of the Higher Ecclesiastical Authority in the USSR and Abroad. Jordanville, 1948, p. 126.

[xxxii] Archbishop Averky. The Contemporary World in the Light of the Word of God. Sermons and Speeches, volume 2, Jordanville, 1975, p. 122.

[xxxiii] Ibid., volume 1, p. 194.

[xxxiv] Professor S.V. Troitsky. Walling-off or Schism. YMCA Press, 1932.

[xxxv] T.I. Philippov. Contemporary Church Questions. St. Petersburg, 1882, pp. 185-186.

Editors- Afterword

=========== Before publishing Eugene Pavlenko-s paper on phyletism, we showed it to friends in the ROCA and asked for their comments.= Their chief criticism was that the article seemed to attack the ROCA-s canonical foundation.= This, however, was not the intent of the article, nor does the article even unintentionally argue that the ROCA is uncanonical.= The careful reader will note that in one place the author explicitly states that, simply because certain canons do not apply to the ROCA-s status, this does not demonstrate ?uncanonicity.¦=

=========== The author also clearly states that phyletism is not an official position of the ROCA.= He does, however, examine individual opinions from within the ROCA that differ from the Church-s stated position, especially the correct interpretation of the 34th Apostolic Canon.= The fact that the authors of these opinions, and especially the late Archbishop Averky of blessed memory, are highly respected does not preclude an objective assessment of their opinions on controversial issues.= Nor does it imply any disrespect to their persons on the part of the author.=

=========== Another criticism offered by our pre-publication reviewers was that the ?practical¦ purpose of the article was unclear.= By this, they meant that the author wrote the article in order to advocate his own specific assessment of the ROCA-s canonical foundations but stopped short of clearly stating his ?verdict.¦= This, however, is to miss substantially the point and purpose of the article, which was neither conceived nor written to advocate this or that assessment of the ROCA-s canonical standing.= What, then, does the article accomplish?=

=========== Concerning phyletism in general:

The article brings to the reader-s attention important and little known information concerning the 19th century phyletism controversy as well as the phyletistic opinions offered to advocate the Georgian autocephaly.

The article explores the nature of phyletism and its connection to ecumenism thoughtfully, with reference to the canonical tradition of the Church.= Simply to keep the problem of phyletism before our eyes, to continue this discussion, is critical, even if the various participants in the discussion do not have final or polished answers to all the questions raised.=


Concerning the canonical foundations of the ROCA:=

The ROCA-s existence and the conditions for its existence are extraordinary. =One can be tempted to distort a canon of the Church to fit a Procrustean bed of circumstances to which this canon may not in fact be applicable.= This is very dangerous, for, as the author points out, hazy thinking about the canons leads to the loss of Orthodoxy.==

The 34th Apostolic Canon simply does not justify creating separate local Churches based on race or language. The ecclesiological and canonical tradition of the Church has already rejected such an idea as heretical.= Our Church writers need to be aware of this and not fall into heretical opinions in defense of our own jurisdiction, though we are understandably eager to defend it.= Such a defense is not a defense, but an invitation to our destruction, chiefly from within.=

We should like to add that the real justification for the ROCA-s existence is not at all a formal canonical reason, but the preservation of Orthodoxy itself.= As the late Blessed Metropolitan Philaret of New York taught clearly: The providence of God allowed the ROCA to exist in order to be a multi-lingual, multi-?ethnic¦ bastion of True Orthodoxy for anyone fleeing to Her shelter throughout the world. When She does not function as such and degenerates into a ?Russian¦ enclave within World Orthodoxy, the canonical rules regarding territories of jurisdiction become pathetically irrelevant.=