Sunday, January 23, 2005

ROCOR News. Ecclesiastical Mismanagment Causes Two More Priestly Departures from the ROCOR

(Church Herald - - Vertograd: Omsk)

Two priests went under the omophor of Tikhon of Omsk and Siberia, of ROCOR ("Lazarite" branch), having left the Ishim Diocese of ROCOR (L)--Priests Constantine Kaunov and Victor Babitsyn. As stated in their open letter to ROCOR Bishop Evtikhii (Kurochkin), the reason for their withdrawal was the "retreat from the Holy Martyric path of the ROCOR (L) from confession of True Orthodoxy and the adoption of a course of union with the Sergio-ecumenist Moscow Patriarchate".

Fr Constantine Kaunov serves in a house-church in Novouralsk, with a sizable following of Old Ritualists. Fr Constantine himself regards the old rites with favor. Originally Fr. Constantine was part of the Volgograd Diocese of the MP, but for health reasons was allowed to be transferred back to his home in the Urals. Two years ago Fr. Constantine joined the ROCOR.

Fr. Constantine openly spoke against the new union of ROCOR (L) with the Moscow Patriarchate. As a result, after the establishment of contacts between MP Bishop Vikentii of Ekaterinburg and ROCOR's Bishop Evthikhii, the former published a Ukaz "suspending" Fr. Constantine. Referring to this edict, Bishop Evtikhii at the last diocesan meeting of the Ishim Diocese of the ROCOR (L) reported to the anti-union priest that he was forbidden from serving at the altar since he "disobeyed the prohibition of Archbishop Vikentii of Ekaterinburg".

The second priest--Fr. Victor Babitsyn--served in the Moscow Patriarchate, in the city of Pervouralsk. After a long period of reflection he went under the jurisdiction of the ROCOR (L) in March of 2004 through Bishop Evtikhii. However, not long after, ROCOR (L)'s vicar Bishop of Stuttgart, Bishop Agapit (Gorachek), arrived in Ishim with an order not to take in clergy from the MP. Bishop Evtikhii carried out this order, explaining on paper to Fr. Victor that he, "by mutual agreement with Archbishop Vikentii, could not be accepted (into ROCOR) without the matter first being tried by the MP."