Moscow, March 5, 2021
Two hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church have been banned from celebrating the Divine services by the Supreme Ecclesiastical Court for “ecclesiastical offenses incompatible with the administration of dioceses.”
The cases of His Grace Bishop Ignaty (Tarasov), formerly of the Diocese of Kostomushka, and His Grace Bishop Ignaty (Buzin), formerly of the Diocese of Armavir, were heard by the Court at Moscow’s Novospassky Monastery on Tuesday and Wednesday. Their cases were referred to the Court by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill in May after the Patriarchate received documented allegations against them, reports the site of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Having thoroughly examined the materials received and the testimonies of the clergy and laity interviewed during the investigation of the charges, and the explanations of both the hierarchs, the Court found them both guilty of committing ecclesiastical offenses and determined their punishment as being banned from celebrating the services.
The Court’s decisions will be sent for consideration by Pat. Kirill and will enter into force upon his approval.
In particular, having heard the case of Bp. Ignaty (Tarasov) on Tuesday, the Court found him guilty of conduct falling under Apostolic Canons 25 and 42, “which led to a significant disruption of diocesan life in the Diocese of Kostomuksha, previously entrusted to his administration.”
Apostolic Canon 25 reads: “If a bishop, presbyter, or deacon be found guilty of fornication, perjury, or theft, let him be deposed, but let him not be excommunicated; for the Scripture says, you shall not punish a man twice for the same offense. In like manner the other clergy shall be subject to the same proceeding.”
Canon 42 reads: “If a bishop or presbyter, or deacon, is addicted to dice or drinking, let him either give it over, or be deposed.”
In addition to his suspension, the Court also revoked his right to wear the episcopal Panagia and clothing. The question of his canonical status can be reconsidered once he has shown active repentance. The Court has asked the Patriarch to determine a monastery where Bp. Ignaty can live and offer his repentance.
Having heard the case of Bp. Ignaty (Buzin) on Wednesday, the Court also found him guilty of offenses falling under Apostolic Canon 25, noting that his actions “entailed significant disturbances in the diocesan life and caused deep spiritual harm to a part of the Church flock entrusted to him.”
Bp. Ignaty is also prohibited from wearing the episcopal Panagia and clothing, and Pat. Kirill will also determine his place of repentance.
The Court’s decisions can be appealed at the next session of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Church, currently scheduled to be held in November.
Another bishop, Flavian of Cherepovets, was defrocked by the Holy Synod in December, also on the basis of Apostolic Canons 25 and 42. After being released from diocesan administration in August, he was to reside at St. Paul of Obnora Monastery in the Vologda Diocese. Instead, he fled to London.