Thursday, March 15, 2007

Three More American Clerics Left ROAC

(Vertograd, New York)

Three more American clerics have left ROAC. Archimandrite Ephraem left with St. Barbara's Monastery (New Jersey), Protopriest Michael Fresco left with the church of St.Maximus (California) and Deacon Nicholas Stanoschek left with the church of St.Basil of Kineshma (Colorado) that was the first parish of ROAC in America.

According to some sources Archimandrite Ephraem has already become a bishop in some "Hellenic True Orthodox Church".

Several years ago ROAC had more them 20 clerics in the USA. The failure of the mission of ROAC in America is connected with an unfortunate "personnel policy" of the First Hierarch of ROAC Metropolitan Valentine. At first he consecrated as a bishop of Colorado a scandalous and very unpopular Archimandrite Gregory (Abu-Assaly), and after Archbishop Gregory left ROAC, Metropolitan Valentine consecrated as a bishop inanimate Andrew (Maklakov).

Now Bishop Andrew has the following clergy: retired Protopresbyter Vladimir Shishkoff (he is not able to serve), Archpriest Fotios Roseboro (he was ordained two years ago and shortly after the ordination he was made a Archpriest by Metropolitan Valentine), and two priests that were received less than a year ago from ecumenical jurisdictions where they had been forbidden because of canonical problems (Father Elias Greer of GOARCH and Father Isaac Henke of AAOA).

Letter of Bishop Agafangel of Odessa (ROCOR(L)) to Mettopolitan Laurus Concerning the Meeting Of The All World Russian National Council In Moscow

Your Eminence Vladyka Laurus,

I was recently informed of the All World Russian National Council held in Moscow on March 5th through the 7th hosted by Alexy II of the Moscow Patriarchate. The participants of this Council were the representatives of governmental institutions of the Russian Federation; leaders of political parties; and businessmen representing themselves. There were also representatives of religious organizations, as far as I know, Orthodox, Old Believers, Muslims, and Jews. Also participating, acting as a member of this Council, was a representative of the ROCOR.

Questions of significance for Russia with regard to civil matters were put forth and discussed at this Council. This is all well and good for meetings of such a nature which may serve to consolidate the society and strengthen the power of the state. But only in such a case in which these types of meetings are of a solely civic character do I support.

However, I was very much taken aback by one characteristic of this meeting - that it was conducted in the worship area of the Church Of Christ The Saviour, under the presiding of the head of the Moscow Patriarchate, Alexy II. Amongst those persons participating in this meeting were those who believe in the clear image of Christ the Saviour, and those who refuse to believe in His image and in His sacrifice for us.

We remember very well the words of our Saviour, "Where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there I am in the midst of them." But Christ could *not* have been in the midst of this meeting, as the meeting was not at all held in His Name. For this Council was opened with a common prayer.

Now to whom did the participants pray? Not to Christ, but to the "father," addressing him, whom it is possible, according to Alexy II's past statement to the Jewish rabbinate of New York, that the "father" being the object of common prayer, applies to both Christians and Jews. And according to the logic of this conception, would apply even to Muslims as well.

However, is it possible to divide God the Father from God the Son and God the Holy Spirit? Is it possible to separate the unity of the undivided Trinity into disunited parts? Therefore they were not praying to "God the Father" either. Then to whom did they pray? I will not cite here the canons which place outside of the Church those who dare to pray with heretics and in heretical manner. These canons are well known.

What has occurred at this meeting was the ongoing activities of the ecumenist heresy, of which heresy the ROCOR has always spoken against. Now we ourselves are among the participants of ecumenical prayer. How was it then that a ROCOR representative took part in this meeting and read a statement as a ROCOR representative? Was it possible that this was done with the blessing of the ROCOR Synod of which you head?

I remain in the hope that all that occurred at this Council was a mistake and that the Synod of which you head will give a correct opinion of all that occurred at this sorrowful event. And that the Synod will convince the flock that in the future our representatives at such meetings will participate only when civic matters are discussed, and not those of the Faith. As for now, it seems that if the current trend continues, the next meeting held under the auspices of the Moscow Patriarchate will be held in a synagogue or in a mosque. And will a representative of the ROCOR be a participant at such a meeting once again?

Since that which has taken place has been published in all sorts of Mass Media and has shaken the consciences of many Orthodox believers, I am forced to publicly address my concerns to you with the hope that you will make the necessary steps to correct the error. As I count on your understanding of this matter, I remain a true follower of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

Odessa, March 10 2007

(Translated by "Church news")

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bishop Agathangelos of ROCOR(L) Headed Lenten Meeting of Clergy

(Web-site of Odessa Diocese – Vertograd, Odessa)

BishopAgathangelos of Tavria and Odessa (ROCOR(L) in the Ukraine) headed Lenten Meeting of Clergy of his diocese. More then 20 priests participated. They confessed on March 6 and had Liturgy on March 7. Then after the trapeza (dinner) they hold an annual meeting where they discussed the situation in ROCOR(L) on the eve of signing the Act of Communion with Moscow Patriarchate. Besides two commissions were formed: Youth Commission and Choir Commission. It was decided to start the Youth Camp in summer and Choir Conference.

The next meeting of clergy is scheduled right after May 17, the day when the Act of Communion is to be signed. The diocese is firmly against the union with Moscow Partiarchate on current terms, when MP had not denied anything concerning ecumenist or sergianism.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Crisis Develops in GOC Headed by Archbishop Makarios

("Omologits"– Vertograd, Athens /Greece/)

Three bishops have left “Kallinikates” GOC Synod in the last half-year and a number of priests and deacons have been punished.

On September 15, 2006 Metropolitan Niphon of Piraeus sent a document to the Holy Synod stating he had seceded and intended to remain autonomous. In a special meeting the Holy Synod decided to remove Metropolitan Niphon from his diocese as well as from all administrative services. As was expected, Metropolitan Arethas of Crete, a member of Metropolitan Niphon's brotherhood, followed him in seceding. In December 2006 the Synod of the “Kallinikites” forbid them from serving.

In January 2007 Metropolitan Angelos of Avlona left this Synod too. He proclaimed the Metropolia of Avlona and established communion with several ecumenical churches: Italian, Montenegrin, Bulgarian and Patriarchate of Kiev.

In December 2006 two priest of this church in the Ukraine were defrocked: priest Seraphim Medvedev and priest Ioann.

In January 2007 the following clergy of this church was committed for trial: priest Joseph Sunderland, priest Steven Allen, priest George Poullas, deacon Paul Brown, deacon Sergei Boulter, deacon John Somers.

Tension Grows Between Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal and Bishop Sebastian of Chelyabinsk

(Suzdal Diocesian Herald — Vertograd, Suzdal — Moscow)

The gathering of bishops of Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC) headed by Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal and Vladimir took an unusual decision against Bishop Sebastian of Chelyabinsk: "To deprive him from Holy Communion in the churches of his Diocese and other churches of ROAC for one year". This decision was not reported to anybody in ROAC for three weeks, it was published in Suzdal Diocesian Herald only on February 17, saying that the decision was taken on January 28.

The main reason of the punishment is that in November 2007 Bishop Sebastian concelebrated with Hegumen Gregory (Lourie) who was "defrocked" by Metropolitan Valentine without any trial or any court a year before.

The priests of Chelyabinsk Diocese of ROAC did not support the "punishment" and they count Bishop Sebastian as their ruling bishop, so soon the whole diocese of ROAC may be "punished". A number of other priests of ROAC support Bishop Sebastian as well.

The gathering of the bishops that took the strange decision included four more bishops that mostly live in Suzdal with Metropolitan Valentine: Archbishop Theodore of Borisovskoe and Otradnoe, Archbishop Seraphim of Sukhumi and Abhazia, Bishop Irinarch of Tula and Briansk and retired Bishop Ambrose (who was forced to leave his diocese because of his severe problems with alcohol addiction). The gathering called themselves a "Synod", but this group was never appointed by a church as a Synod: there was no Sobor in ROAC, so the rights and membership of a Synod were never determined. Metropolitan Valentine is the only person in ROAC who decides what bishops will participate this or that "Synod meting" to sign the decisions prepared by him. The membership of bishops differs for every meeting.

Bishop Sebastian of ROAC, Hegumen Gregory and other clergy and people are not planning to leave ROAC. "The Initiative Group of Clergy, Monks and Laypeople" have been formed in ROAC in order to instate the proper canonical order of ROAC.