New York, November 11, 2019
Photo: eadiocese.org Last month, the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia announced that Archimandrite Alexander Belya, “betraying the trust and love of his archpastors, led the Cathedral of Blessed Matrona of Moscow in Dania Beach, FL, and St. Nicholas Monastery in North Fort Myers, FL, out of the structure of the canonical authority of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
Belya and his brother Ivan were under investigation for a number of serious accusations, and it is known that Alexander attempted to get himself confirmed as a bishop of ROCOR by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, despite the fact that he had not been nominated by the ROCOR hierarchs.
Alexander ignored his suspension and continued serving, now commemorating Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Archdiocese of America of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. He also announced that the Greek Archdiocese had taken control of the parish.
Unfortunately, the situation has repeated itself in New York, this time with Archpriest Alexander Belya, the father of Archimandrite Alexander and Ivan.
On October 24/November 6, on behalf of the Eastern American Diocese, Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), the First Hierarch of ROCOR, issued a notice stating,
It is our sorrowful duty to confirm to parishioners and friends of Saint John the Forerunner Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York, that the suspended Archpriest Alexander Belya, formerly rector of the parish, turning his back on his native and persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church, with whom the Russian Church Abroad is in full accord, has uncanonically departed from his ecclesiastical obedience and, in defiance of all Church order, illegitimately fled to the homophorion of a hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, with which we are not presently in communion.
This flight represents a violation of the vows given at his ordination and “has necessarily resulted in his canonical suspension from all canonical and administrative duties,” Met. Hilarion writes.
A full and final decision will be rendered by a spiritual court in the future.
“The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia laments this sorrowful betrayal of his Church and of his flock by the suspended Archpriest Alexander, who has placed himself in collaboration with a diocese external to the Church Abroad, which has no canonical or legal authority whatsoever to legitimize this schismatic act,” the notice reads.
Met. Hilarion also warns his flock “that following such individuals into schism or receiving sacraments from their hands is to place one’s own soul in profound peril,” calling on the faithful to begin attending other ROCOR parishes.
In conclusion, Met. Hilarion writes:
We urge the faithful of Saint John the Forerunner Cathedral to remain steadfast in this time of trial, secure in the knowledge that our Diocese and our Church will not leave its God-preserved flock destitute or uncared-for in the face of this sorrow. We do not put our trust “in princes or in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation,” as the Psalmist says, but in God Who is undivided and always protects those who abhor schism and personal gain, remaining steadfast spiritual children of our beloved Church.