Thursday, March 15, 2007

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")