Statement of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

New York: October 18, 2018

    

The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia communicates to the plenitude of her clergy and faithful, and to her fellow Orthodox Christians throughout the world, her profound sorrow at the un-canonical undertakings perpetrated by the Church of Constantinople over the past days; in particular with regard to its Message of 11th October 2018. Simultaneously we express our complete support of the position taken by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow, following its meeting of 15th October 2018 and announced in its statement of the same date.

The illicit actions of the Church of Constantinople are able to suffer no canonical defence and constitute a grave and dangerous injustice against the traditions of Orthodoxy, as well as a shocking disregard for the spiritual welfare of the sheep of Christ (cf. John 10.3, 11). Having expressed its intention to establish stravropegia of its Church in the Ukraine, Constantinople thus solidifies its intrusion into another Local Church’s canonical territory, an anti-canonical violation of the highest order which the Synod of Constantinople has no power or right to undertake. We make explicit that under no circumstances will we consider such institutions to have any legal substance, nor will we acknowledge any legitimacy whatsoever to those who, deeming themselves shepherds, submit to these non-Church establishments.

Yet more grave is the decision of the Church of Constantinople to ‘restore’ to canonical status various schismatic individuals that have, on account of severe canonical violations, been deposed from their rank by the Bishops Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, with the assent of the other Local Orthodox Churches. Proceeding from a false assertion that the ancient prerogative of receiving appeals for pan-Orthodox mediation equates to an autonomous and unilateral power held by the See of Constantinople, that See now arrogates non-existent powers to itself in the attempt to justify its interference in the canonical contexts of other Local Churches. The reality, however, is that the Church of Constantinople possesses no such canonical authority and, in exercising this lawless abrogation of authentic primacy, distorts the true nature of the concept of being “First among equals,” directly opposing canonical Orthodoxy.

For the sake of the clear understanding of the present situation amongst the faithful, we hereby make explicit that the just anathematisation by the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of schismatics that persist in their errors, cannot be and has not been overturned by the unilateral action of the Church of Constantinople. In the eyes of God, and in accordance with the Holy Canons and the teachings of the Orthodox Church, these individuals remain under their just condemnation, and are considered in schism; that is, fallen away from Holy Orthodoxy. Moreover, we remind the faithful of the Holy Canons which clearly express the principle that those who intercommune with the justly deposed, themselves enter into schism from the Orthodox Church (cf. Antioch, 2). Therefore any who, following the lawless decision of the Church of Constantinople, enter into communion with these schismatic individuals, do thereby depart from Orthodox canonical unity into schism, and the mortal peril it represents to the soul.

The Orthodox Church of the Ukraine, under the Archpastoral care of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry and his martyric co-Archpastors, remains today, as it has since the Act of 1686, the sole canonical body within that blessed land. The present decision of the Church of Constantinople to ‘revoke’ the Synodal Letter of that year is simply meritless, and according to the Orthodox canonical tradition is by nature an impossibility. Despite the statement made by the Holy Synod of the Church of Constantinople on 11th October of this year, the faithful may rest fully assured that the Act of 1686 remains valid and binding, and that the canonical authority of the Church of Ukraine and of the Patriarchate of Moscow remain unaffected by this groundless presumption of power by the Phanar.

In light of these most grievous affronts to the very nature of canonical Orthodoxy, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has no option except, with profound sorrow and yet with full conviction, publicly to register her assent with the decision of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow, which recognises that continuing Eucharistic communion with the Church of Constantinople is impossible, at any level, until this ancient and once-glorious sister Church repents from its introduction of false and alien teachings about primacy and universal authority, contrary to the ancient Orthodox Faith, and ceases from its lawless actions.

We thereby inform our clergy and faithful that Eucharistic intercommunion with the Church of Constantinople is presently impossible, for Hierarchy, Clergy and Laity. So long as this situation remains, it is not possible for clergy of our Church to celebrate in any parish of the Church of Constantinople, or for clerics of that Church to celebrate in ours; nor is it possible for laypersons to partake of the Holy Mysteries performed in the temples of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. We further reiterate that the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia will not participate in theological inter-church meetings, or other dialogues, including the regional Assemblies of Bishops, which are chaired or co-chaired by clerics or hierarchy of the Church of Constantinople.

We call upon all the faithful to redouble their prayers for the peace of the Church, currently being so tryingly put to the test by the lawless actions of a novel ecclesiology and false teaching — and not to lose heart or grow faint, trusting that the Lord’s Wisdom conquers all falsehood, if only we hold fast to what is true and sacred. We implore the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches to reflect upon the current circumstances, in due course coming together to reach an authentic, canonical resolution to these urgent matters.

We firmly believe and hope that our Lord Jesus Christ, Who does not abandon His children and Who overcomes all human pride with the limitless love of Divine Truth, will strengthen His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry and the Hierarchy, Clergy and Faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and all Orthodox faithful of all tongues and lands.

See also
August 2018 Letter from Serbian Patriarch Irinej to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew August 2018 Letter from Serbian Patriarch Irinej to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Patriarch Irinej of Serbia
August 2018 Letter from Serbian Patriarch Irinej to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew August 2018 Letter from Serbian Patriarch Irinej to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Patriarch Irinej of Serbia
They do not seek an autocephalous Church because, allegedly, they are its faithful members, but they use it as suitable, but rather unsuitably , for the purpose of strengthening their worldly and essentially atheistic ideology, power and vulgar interests. In the last analysis, it is a question of an abuse of the Church and of the Faith.
Documents of the June 1992, 1994, and 1997 Bishops’ Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church Documents of the June 1992, 1994, and 1997 Bishops’ Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church
Official History of the Defrocking and Anathematization of Philaret Denisenko
Documents of the June 1992, 1994, and 1997 Bishops’ Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church Official History of the Defrocking and Anathematization of Philaret Denisenko
Documents of the June 1992, 1994, and 1997 Bishops’ Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church
The Sacred Bishops’ Council is now forced to note with sorrow that Monk Philaret did not heed the call to repentance addressed to him on behalf of the Mother-Church, but in the inter-Council period continued his schismatic activity, which he extended beyond the bounds of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Constantinople recognized all clergy of KP and UAOC as canonical—Patriarchal Exarch Constantinople recognized all clergy of KP and UAOC as canonical—Patriarchal Exarch Constantinople recognized all clergy of KP and UAOC as canonical—Patriarchal Exarch Constantinople recognized all clergy of KP and UAOC as canonical—Patriarchal Exarch
Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon, one of the two Patriarchal Exarchs in Ukraine, noted at a meeting with President Petro Poroshenko earlier today that the entirety of the clergy of the KP nand UAOC are now considered canonical clergy.
Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Regarding the Encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the Canonical Territory of the Russian Church Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Regarding the Encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the Canonical Territory of the Russian Church Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Regarding the Encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the Canonical Territory of the Russian Church Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Regarding the Encroachment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the Canonical Territory of the Russian Church
The reception of schismatics and one anathematized in another Local Church with all the “bishops” and “clerics” ordained by them into communion, the encroachment on foreign canonical provinces, the attempt to renounce their own historical decisions and commitments—all of this leads the Patriarchate of Constantinople beyond the bounds of the canonical field and, to our great sorrow, makes it impossible for us to continue Eucharistic communion with its hierarchs, clergy, and laity.
Experts on the Constantinople Patriarchate’s Scandalous Decisions Experts on the Constantinople Patriarchate’s Scandalous Decisions Experts on the Constantinople Patriarchate’s Scandalous Decisions Experts on the Constantinople Patriarchate’s Scandalous Decisions
Anton Pospelov, Yuri Pushchaev
Pravoslavie.ru asked clergymen and experts from Kiev and Moscow to comment on last week’s scandalous and shocking decision by the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate to revoke the Tomos of 1686 that transferred the Ukrainian Metropolia to the Moscow Patriarchate, and to remove the anathema from the heads of the Ukraine’s uncanonical structures—the “Kiev Patriarchate” and the “Ukrainian autocephalous Orthodox Church”, etc.
Statement on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Plans to Grant Autocephaly to Ukrainian Schismatics Statement on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Plans to Grant Autocephaly to Ukrainian Schismatics
Met. Seraphim of Kythira
Statement on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Plans to Grant Autocephaly to Ukrainian Schismatics Statement on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Plans to Grant Autocephaly to Ukrainian Schismatics
Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira and Antikythera
We now present here the full text of Met. Seraphim’s interview with Alexander Stefanopoulos, a Greek journalist in New York, for his “Greek American News Agency.”
Comments
Anthony10/20/2018 3:19 pm
@Redaer Seraphim. Beloved one! Greetings Sir! And many many thanks for your sanctimonious self righteous indignation. I think you misunderstand. Sir! The phanar's current actions are part of an ongoing pattern of anti-Orthodox, prideful behaviour that have culminated in his prelest leading down the road to his own potential anathematisation. The fact that basically all Churches have condemned his current actions are testimony to this fact so it has zilch to do with the Russian Church acting unilaterally. Perhaps you should try and understand things in a rounded manner looking at all issues as opposed to your knee jerk comments which make you look like a silly billy. Sir!
Editor10/19/2018 11:55 pm
Reader Seraphim: This dispute was born of politics, but the matters discussed in this statement are not political. One Local Church has seriously violated the holy canons and encroached upon the jurisdiction of another. It has established eucharistic communion with a schismatic who has been anathematized, and thus falls into schism itself. These are very serious ecclesiastical issues, and this is how the hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate have chosen to respond. They have a responsibility to respond according to the canons of our Church.
Мomčilo10/19/2018 11:50 pm
Christ is in our midst! Amen,to these news from ROCOR. Susan, yes Serbia actually cares, it is a matter of principle for our Patriarch and all Bishops. It is a matter that concerns everyone and world Orthodoxy. As for Macedoni, Serbian Church is very lenient and would almost certainly grant autocephaly to them if they repent and.come back to the bosom.of Mother Church and then ask for autocephaly. But they refuse to do so. Schismatics need to repent first.
Redaer Seraphim10/19/2018 10:41 pm
What right have these Synods to exclude any Orthodox Christian from communion on account of what is essentially a political dispute? It is not as if the EP has denied the Virginity of the Theotokos. The reality is that the Synods of the MP and ROCOR are abusing the Divine Mysteries, and that amounts to blasphemy.

Susan10/19/2018 7:08 pm
Mark, it was not "politics" that led to judas's betrayal, but greed, jealousy and a lust of power. These characteristics seems to exist in Bartholomew and the entire patriarchate of constantinople. I hope and pray that the local churches, such as Serbia, Romania, Georgia, Jerusalem and Alexandria will do what is necessary and end this mans dillusion and tyranny before it is to late. My fear is that many orthodox countries are to afraid to do what is right, since all except Serbia have been silent on this issue, and it appears that Serbia may only have been vocal because it was concerned about Macedonia. Now that pb has said he will not take macedonia will Serbia care?
Mark Karahalis10/19/2018 4:34 pm
Remember, there is ''One, Holy, Apostolic Church'', that politics was the downfall of Judas, our hierarchs are fallable men.
I forgive you all.
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