American ROAC Clerics Visit Suzdal
(Vertograd: Moscow - Suzdal)
The Dean of ROAC in North America and pastor of Holy Resurrection Church in Worcester (Massachusetts), Protopresbyter Victor Melehov, the rector of the Church of St John the Russian in Ipswich (Massachusetts) Archpriest Spyridon Schneider, and rector of St Basil of Kineshema in Colorado Springs (Colorado) Archpriest Dionysus MacGowan visited Russia February 19-24. From February 19-21, they held Divine services in Moscow's Dmitrov neighborhood, where one of the communities of Fr Victor Melehov was founded.
On February 21, the American priests came to Suzdal, where they discussed with ROAC First-Hierarch Metropolitan Valentine a number of organizational and spiritual questions. Next day they celebrated liturgy with Metropolitan Valentine in The Tsar-Constantine Cathedral , during which ROAC's first Argentinean priest Siluan Dignac was ordained. Metropolitan Valentine celebrated with seven priests today, including a newly received priest of the Tula diocese of ROAC. This is already the third priest received into ROAC from the Moscow Patriarchate in February of this year. In the evening of February 22, the guests returned to Moscow's Dmitrov quarter, and on February 24 they returned to the USA.
Athonite Monks Express Judgment about Canonical Position of Metropolitan Vitaly
(Agios Agafangelos Esfigmenitis - Vertograd: Mt Athos)
The Athos Periodical of Zilotov, published by the True Orthodox Monastery of Esphigmenou, made a statement about the canonical position of Metropolitan Vitaly, first-hierarch of ROCOR (V). In the opinion of the publishers of the periodical, Metropolitan Vitaly remains the lawful first hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad.
Since truth was trampled upon, the statement argues, Metropolitan Vitaly had every right to take a complete "withdrawal from retirement". The basis for such is the rapprochement of a part of ROCOR which remained with Metropolitan Laurus with the the Moscow Patriarchate. Today's representatives of the MP and their predecessors are guilty, the periodical stated, of the death of millions of Russian orthodox martyrs, clerics and laymen.
Metropolitan Kirill Meets ROCOR (L) Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff
(Communications Department MP External Church Relations - Vertograd: Moscow)
On February 24 in the division of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, a meeting took place between Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, one of the most ecumenical hierarchs of the MP, and Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff, Rector of Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles and secretary of ROCOR(L)'s Commission on negotiations with the Moscow Patriarchate. In the encounter, Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, secretary of the MP's ECR Department for Inter-Orthodox Relations and the secretary of the commission of the MP on the dialogue with the Russian Church Abroad, was also present. Questions were discussed, connected with further activity of commissions. Besides that, in the course of conversation "the theme of spiritual values in the Orthodox Tradition in the presence of other faiths was touched upon".
Delegations of MP and ROCOR (L) to Meet in Paris
A Delegation of MP will leave on March 1 to Paris, under the auspices of the fourth joint session of the Commission for Dialogue with ROCOR (L). At the meeting, the consideration of various problems will continue, originally brought up during the official visit to Russia of First-Hierarch Metropolitan Laurus of ROCOR (L) during May 2004.
"At the present meeting, questions will be again discussed connected with status of the Church Abroad as the self-governing part of the local Russian Orthodox Church and by the canonical conditions of restoring full communion", commented Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, secretary for Inter-Orthodox relations of the division of External Church Relations of the MP. Discussion, according to him, will consist of problems, connected "with the clergymen of the Church Abroad who were ordained in the Moscow Patriarchate or other local Orthodox Churches", and also questions "on the organizations of the Church Abroad located on the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church". During the negotiations the theme of "Church and state" will also continue to be discussed.
DOCUMENT: Congratulatory Message of First Hierarch of ROCOR (L) To Patriarch Alexei II on the Occasion of His Namesday
To His All-Holiness, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexei
Your All-Holiness, most Holy Vladika!
With a feeling of spiritual joy, I greet you on your namesday! May your labors in rendering of the health, spiritual revival and the renovation of our God-loving people be blessed. It is my prayerful desire for you to be granted great benefaction and heavenly aid in the accomplishment of your high service. May it serve the glory of God and the strengthening in the faith of Christ for all Russian orthodox people.
With brotherly love in the Lord,
+ METROPOLITAN LAURUS, FIRST HIERARCH OF THE RUSSIAN CHURCH ABROAD
12/25 February of 2005
(Translated from the Russian by Vertograd)