We Support the Need For Dialogue at Every Level

Primate of the OCA issues Archpastoral Letter concerning recent developments in Ukraine

On Wednesday, September 26, 2018, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon addressed an Archpastoral Letter to the clergy, monastics and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America in reference to recent developments with regard to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Archpastoral Letter of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon in Reference to Recent Developments Regarding the Orthodox Church in Ukraine
To the Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America:

Christ is in our midst!

I write in reference to recent developments respecting the Orthodox Church in Ukraine which have received much media attention. The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America has been closely following these developments inasmuch as they have an impact in our own communities. Many of our parishes have been affected by the painful historical ecclesiastical divisions that have existed in Ukraine for decades. In recent years, these ecclesiastical divisions have been overtaken by significant violent geopolitical conflict and our Church has consistently called for the offering of prayers for the healing of such division and the peaceful and just resolution of all conflict.

Our Holy Synod has been apprised of initiatives by His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, to address this painful situation and has noted the various preliminary responses offered by other Orthodox Churches. In particular, we have received with sorrow, yet with understanding, the decision of the Moscow Patriarchate to cease liturgical commemoration of the Ecumenical Patriarch and suspend concelebration and participation by bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate in inter-Orthodox contexts.

We are deeply aware of the pain and trauma in the life of Orthodox people caused by ecclesial schism which weakens Orthodox witness and evangelism in society. Such pain and trauma have been wounds in the life of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine for several decades. Schism, division, and mutual antagonism are not only canonical problems—they are pastoral and spiritual challenges demanding the healing power of Christ and Christian faith. We are mindful of the Russian Orthodox Synod’s call to the local autocephalous Churches to “understand the common responsibility for the fate of world Orthodoxy and to initiate a fraternal all-Orthodox discussion of the church situation in Ukraine.”

The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America supports the need for regular dialogue at every level and appeals to all local Orthodox Churches to address the current crisis in Ukraine through the convening of a Pan-Orthodox synaxis, or similar conciliar process, wherein an authentic solution can be found to this problem. We are prepared to participate in such fraternal discussions and will be reviewing the on-going developments of this situation at our Fall Session.

In the meantime, we call on our clergy, monastics, and faithful to offer their support and fervent prayers for His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onufry, and all the bishops, clergy, monastics, and faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. May the Lord grant them continued strength and wisdom in their endeavor to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Relying on the healing power of Christ, we exhort all in the Orthodox Church in America to be steadfast in faith, hope, and love, maintaining collaboration and eucharistic communion with both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Patriarchate of Moscow, thus offering a sign of unity in the face of current threats to unity.

May our Lord Jesus Christ, the Chief Shepherd, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Spirit of Truth, grant to all parties the wisdom, peace, and humility to solve the problems that exist in Ukraine, so that working in unity all may turn their energy and attention to the singular and true mission of the Church, the preaching to the world of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Tikhon

Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All American and Canada

Catherine10/2/2018 6:54 am
Alexandra: it is true that Met. Tikhon spoke of supporting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church with prayer, but what you call "more legitimate means", is simply a call for dialogue. When a patriarch acts in such a rash and harmful manner, that could potentially lead to the martyrdom of the faithful at the hands of the schismatics and Ukrainian government, it would be more appropriate to see a reaction fitting such grave and dangerous behavior! Patriarch Kyrill tried dialogue and spoke of the damage that granting autocephaly to the schismatics would do, but it did not yield any results. Now is a time for action, that will, hopefully, lead to the repentance of Istanbul's Patriarch, BEFORE schism!
Alexandra10/1/2018 9:02 pm
Perhaps I did not read the same statement as the rest of the commenters here... did Metropolitan Tikhon not implore people to support the canonical church of Ukraine? Did he not express a desire to see the issue handled via more legitimate means than those rash actions of the ecumenical Patriarchiate?
Paok10/1/2018 5:04 am
I agree with Constantine. This was the biggest bunch of words without meaning and conviction, that I have heard in a long time. I think Obama may be a step or two more advanced in words without meaning than Met. Tikhon, but thats about it!

What a disgrace to the Holy Fathers of the Church. I fear that even the Russian Church will not go all the way, since they too are afraid of being demonized by the demonized! This makes no sense! The Orthodox Church seems to care more about its status before the godless elite of the west, than they do about their standing before Christ! Why? I hope and pray that I am wrong about Moscow, but politics seems to have infected every jurisidiction.
John9/29/2018 9:04 pm
Isidora, yes, seems people don't call "wolf" until its in their back yard. But better late than never.
Isidora9/29/2018 4:04 pm
This split will likely end in bloodshed, thefts and imprisonments as Kiev passes laws to enforce Philaret's new "authority."

I feel very disheartened by my beloved the Orthodox Church. Where were the World Orthodox calls for Pan-Orthodox council when Constantinople unilaterally imposed the Calendar break in unity? When "Orthodox" priests and bishops were participating in pagan rituals in Canberra? When priests started dressing like ordinary Joes because their priestly garb is just ceremonial? When Constantinople decided priests can check out women and remarry. When bishops commune with the Pope? They all said "Who cares!"

But now it's turf so they're standing on their hind legs, outraged.
Iakovos9/29/2018 4:06 am
The OCA needs to do whats right and forget about trying to please everyone. Don't worry, the academics in the Ecumenical Patriarch can handle it(if they even care where other Orthodox stand!)
Pray for Metropolitan Unouphry and the UOC!
Constantine9/28/2018 8:34 am
This article should be titled: "Primate of the OCA Speaks and Says Nothing!"
Honestly..... what was that statement? Could it be any more meaningless? No wonder they got rid of Metropolitan Jonah, since he was a true man and a true Metropolitan. If he would have spoken on this issue, he would would have said something of value and meaning! When I see and read such things, I just want to mourn, like an orphan with no parents! If these are our bishops and metropolitans God have mercy on us and protect us from the wolves, since these men are obviously not willing to do it!
Mikail9/28/2018 6:02 am
No mention of the uncanonical and illegal actions by the Patriarch of Istanbul? No mention of support for the non-commemorations or non-participation? Is not the OCA spiritually connected to Russia? This was a non-statement....a politically correct statement!
M. Woerl9/28/2018 4:49 am
Well, seems we can always depend on the OCA to come up with a wishy-washy 'let's please everybody involved' nothing.
Jamie Estevez9/27/2018 10:09 pm
It sounds to me like His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon is trying to support Metropolitan Onuphry and the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church while remaining in communion with Bartholomew. The problem is when a hierarch has fallen into grave error he must be rebuked and repent of that error or face excommunication and if Bartholomew does not correct his grave error to remain in communion with him would also be a grave error. I am a parishioner of an OCA parish and I love my parish community but if this festering schism becomes a reality the OCA will have to take a stand either with Bartholomew or with the Canonical Orthodox Church and if it chooses Bartholomew I'm going to ROCOR.
anthony9/27/2018 7:37 pm
"Our Holy Synod has been apprised of initiatives by His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, to address this painful situation". Hi.Very unfortunate use of words by our OCA Archshepherd Tikhon where along with good portions of this articel leaves open to personal interpretation as to whom the OCA really supports. The only real indication we get is when he expresses support for His Eminence Mitr. Onufry and the Canonical Church. No time for yidder yadder I'm afraid. Every Church needs to take a decisive position. Either for Christ and His Church. Or antichrist and his workers. The wolves in our midst. No sitting on the wall. Afterall we all remember what happened to Humpty Dumpty.
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