On the Canonical Aspect of Receiving African Clergy into the Russian Orthodox Church

    

At the recent Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, which took place on September 23–24, 2021, the “consequences of the Primate of the Alexandria Patriarchate’s concelebrating with the head of a schismatic structure active in Ukraine” (journal No. 61) were discussed. The resolutions passed were interpreted by many as saying that our Church will very soon receive into its jurisdiction those African priests of the Alexandria Patriarchate who have addressed the Moscow Patriarchate with a request to be received under its omophorion, after Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria recognized the schismatic OCU on November 8, 2019.

There has already been a move toward accepting African clergy

And although obviously, a final decision will be passed only at the next Synod session, it can already be said that a definite move toward a positive decision to accept the African clergy has been made.

Many in Russia rejoiced at this news, but there are also those who are troubled about it. In part, they have questions about whether this will be according to the canons, and will it not turn out to be an unjustified invasion into the canonical territory of another Local Church. In this article, I would like to provide an answer to these concerns.

Basically, there are two questions here:

  1. Can the Russian Orthodox Church create its own jurisdiction in Africa when the Patriarch of Alexandria considers Africa its canonical territory?

  2. Can the Russian Orthodox Church receive, under the current historical circumstances, clergy of the Alexandrian Patriarchate without them having a document of release from their hierarchs?

I will say up front that I would personally answer both questions in the positive, and will present below what I base my answer on.

Let’s begin with the first question. Right up to the beginning of the twentieth century, the title of the Alexandria Patriarch sounded like this: “Pope and Patriarch of the City of Alexandria, Libya, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, and all Egypt”. This is the canonical territory that is traditionally and generally accepted in Orthodoxy of the Alexandria Patriarchate. Egypt, Libya, Ethiopia—and that’s all. And according to the sixth canon of the First Ecumenical Council and the second canon of the Second Ecumenical Council, the authority of the Alexandrian bishop extended to no more than “all Egypt”. This is connected with the fact that historically on the African continent there were several Local Churches: the Alexandrian, Carthaginian, and Ethiopian Churches. And only after the Ethiopian Church fell into Monophosytism, and the Carthaginian Church disappeared under the Arab attacks, the Alexandrian Church remained the only Orthodox Church in Africa—claiming only certain of its northern regions as its canonical territory.

Only Meletius (Metaksakis) of sad memory, who occupied the Alexandrian see from 1926 to 1935, added to his title the words, “and All Africa”. This serious expansion of the Alexandrian Patriarchate’s jurisdiction was not the result of Pan-Orthodox discussion or any conciliar decision, but only the unilateral decision of one ambiguous historical figure. Moreover, this claim remained for a long time only on paper, and only decades later, in the second half of the twentieth century, did the Greeks begin missionary work amongst the native population of a number of African nations (in a number of countries in the African continent there is still not a single parish of the Alexandria Church).

It’s understandable that in light of the dramatic events of the twentieth century, other Local Churches had no time to discuss the jurisdiction of Africa, never mind engage in any conflicts over it. Although, I have heard that the Constantinople Patriarch recognized the Alexandrian Church’s jurisdiction over all Africa only in the 1970s in exchange for the transfer of the Alexandrian Exarchate in America to the jurisdiction of Constantinople.

    

Naturally, none of the above were what moved the Russian Orthodox Church to open its own jurisdiction in Africa; we have only provided a brief historical excursus. Nevertheless, it is appropriate to remember all this because now certain Greek hierarchs of the Alexandrian Patriarchate are telling their clergy that supposedly Africa always belonged to the Alexandrian Church, and only it can do anything there. This is simply not true.

But the reason for the Russian Orthodox Church’s actions is the above-mentioned recognition by Alexandrian Patriarch of the OCU on November 8, 2019. Here it is also appropriate to mention that there were already Russian parishes in a number of African countries. The majority of their parishioners were people from the countries of the Russian Orthodox Church’s canonical responsibility; the churches were built by Russians, and Russian priests have been serving in them—but at the Liturgy they commemorated the Patriarch of Alexandria and the local Greek hierarchs in their jurisdiction.

There are Russian Orthodox Christians in Africa who refuse to go to parishes of the Alexandria Church

The treacherous act of Patriarch Theodoros, who earlier supported the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, has placed the Russian Church in a complicated situation. It has on a number of occasions warned its flock against communion with schismatics, and now there was a situation in which the laity it baptized and the clergy it sent to Africa could be entering into communion with a schism through prayer and Eucharistic Communion with the Patriarch of Alexandria, who has accepted this schismatic organization as if it were a Church. And this is not an ephemeral problem; I personally know Russian Orthodox Christians living in Africa who, after Patriarch Theodoros’s above-mentioned act, refused to attend the parishes of the Alexandrian Church.

And so, in order to protect these people from communion with schismatics, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, on December 26, 2019, having recognized the impossibility of commemorating Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria in the Dyptichs, or of any prayer and Eucharistic communion with him, resolved to change the status of the “Representation of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia under the Patriarch of Alexandria” to the parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in Cairo; to take the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church located on the African Continent out of the jurisdiction of the Alexandrian Patriarchate, and give them stavropegic status” (Journal No. 151).

This marked the official opening of the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church in Africa. It has de jure and de facto existed for nearly two years in this form. Notably, at the time it did not evoke the perplexed questions that have arisen now. Practically all of the given resolutions were accepted as a matter of course.

If we do this for Russians living in Africa, then why not for the Africans?

Meanwhile, scores of requests began to be sent to His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow from clergy of the Alexandrian Patriarchate likewise expressing their desire to protect themselves and their parishioners from communion with schismatics. And here the question arises: If we have done this for Russians living in Africa, then what why should we refuse analogous requests from Africans? Because of the color of their skin? This would be racism, and the Russian Orthodox Church is against racism in principle.

There is no obstacle whatsoever to receiving African laity into the Russian Orthodox Church. But when we are talking about clergy, then questions might arise as to just how much a clergyman depends on his ruling hierarch. And in ordinary situations, without a release document from his hierarch, a clergyman cannot transfer anywhere.

But what if a hierarch has entered into communion with schismatics? This situation is unusual, but this is precisely what has happened in Africa. I remind you that the holy fathers unanimously teach that it is impossible to be saved in schism, and that schism is apostasy from the Church and a path to destruction.

“Do not be deceived, my brothers! Whoever follows after schism will not inherit the Divine Kingdom”, wrote Holy Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer.1

And Blessed Augustine said:

“We believe in the holy catholic Church. However, heretics and schismatics also call their communities churches. But in their false thoughts about God, heretics distort the very faith; and with their unlawful divisions, schismatics depart from brotherly love, even though they believe in the same things as we do. Therefore, neither heretics nor schismatics belong to the Ecumenical Church, which loves God, nor do schismatics belong to it.”2

And Holy Hieromartyr Hilarion (Troitsky) wrote:

“We know and are convinced that apostasy from the Church, be it into schism, heresy, or sectarianism, is complete destruction and spiritual death. If Christ created the Church, and the Church is His body, then to tear oneself away from His Body means death.”3

Thus, schism is by no means a trifle or an administrative disagreement, as Patriarch Theodoros is now trying to present it to the African clergy. Schism is a straight path to hell. And if we go to the Church canons, then we see that the second canon of the Council of Antioch says:

“It is not allowable to have communion with the excommunicated, or to enter their houses and pray with those who are outside of ecclesiastical communion: Those who have alienated themselves from the congregation of the one Church must not be allowed into another church. If any of the bishops, presbyters, deacons, or any other clergy are found to be communing with the excommunicated, they themselves shall be outside of church communion.”

Evstraty Zorya and Patriarch Theodoros. Photo: Romfea. Evstraty Zorya and Patriarch Theodoros. Photo: Romfea.     

According to this canon, entering into communion with schismatics makes those who do so excommunicated from ecclesiastical communion; i.e., they turn out to be in the same situation with regard to the Church as those schismatics with whom they entered into communion. We are speaking, I emphasize, not about any canonical violation, but about something that leads a person out of the Church and deprives him of hope for salvation—and that applies only to heresy and schism.

In the opinion of those who are asking the questions discussed here, a clergyman can only break from his bishop due to that bishop’s heresy. And even in the case of a threatening schism, he supposedly should not leave him. However, it would be difficult for me to call such a position something in accordance with Orthodox ecclesiology. For then we would have laity who, according to Patristic teaching, should not follow after a priest who has gone into schism, while a priest should follow his hierarch into schism? Such absurdity could in no way be called a “canonical approach”. I remind you that in the words of St. John Chrysostom, “Producing a division in the Church is no less of an evil than falling into heresy… the sin of schism cannot be cleansed away even by a martyr’s blood.”4

There is testimony that equates heretics with schismatics in canon six of the Second Ecumenical Council, where it says:

“And by heretics we mean both those who were aforetime cast out, and those… professing to hold the true faith who have separated from our canonical bishops, and set up conventicles in opposition [to them].”

The idea that supposedly a clergyman should follow after his bishop into schism contradicts the above-cited second canon of the Council of Antioch. In fulfillment of this canon our Church has broken Eucharistic communion with the Patriarch of Alexandria. Here we are not talking about a personal violation or transgression by a particular hierarch, but of the official position of a Church’s Primate. Patriarch Theodoros announced his recognition of a schismatic structure and openly entered into communion and concelebration with schismatics.

The Synod has testified that there is a schism between the Churches

The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on September 24, 2021 resolved that by these actions, he “is further deepening the schism between our Churches”. I remind you that the Synod’s status is that of a small council of bishops. That is, it has given conciliar testimony that between our Church and the Church of Alexandria a schism exists. And if we have recognized this, then how could we argue in favor of a refusal of the clergy who wish to guard themselves from schism?

According to the second canon of the Council of Antioch, the clergy under Patriarch Theodoros should be outside of communion with such a primate. However, according to the canons a priest without a bishop cannot serve. If a bishop were to be found in the Alexandrian Patriarchate who would oppose the Patriarch’s actions of entering into communion with schismatics, then those clergy should have appealed to that bishop.

But as our Synod noted in its resolution, “At the current time, none of the hierarchs of the Alexandrian Orthodox Church have refused to agree with the actions of Patriarch Theodoros in his support of schism in Ukraine.” Already after the Synod decision, Metropolitan Panteleimon (Lampadirios) of Andinois expressed his position:

“The decision of the Ecumenical and Alexandrian Patriarchates in connection with recognition of autocephaly of the ‘Orthodox church of Ukraine’ is uncanonical and contradicts the sacred canons of the Orthodox Church. Unfortunately, this decision has created more problems not only in Ukraine, but throughout the Orthodox world, especially in Africa… As for the priests of Tanzania who wish to join the Russian Orthodox Church, this is a matter that they must decide themselves. The only way to overcome this conflict is through true repentance on the part of Patriarchs Bartholomew and Theodoros, and Archbishop Hieronymos of Athens. They must withdraw their uncanonical decisions and restore peace and unity in the Church. Otherwise, they will encounter the Terrible Judgment of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because this has become a temptation for the faithful.”5

The Metropolitan demanded that the Tanzanian priest sign a document in support of Patriarch Theodoros’s actions

This bold statement by a hierarch of the Alexandrian Orthodox Church deserves respect; however, Met. Panteleimon is in retirement and is not a ruling hierarch. Neither does he take any action to gather African bishops around himself. If we were to talk about ruling hierarchs, then none of them has come out with such a statement. Although, as one example—when I met in early 2020 with the recently reposed Metropolitan Jonah (Luanga) of Uganda, in personal conversation he admitted to me that he categorically disapproved of Patriarch Theodoros’s actions on the Ukrainian question. But he did not make his position public, just like certain other hierarchs of the Alexandria Church who are wary of losing financial assistance from Greece due to their opposing opinion. Moreover, other hierarchs have distinguished themselves as fierce supporters of recognizing the Ukrainian schismatics,6 and have likewise begun to persecute and harass their clergy who signed the “Open Letter of the Priests of the Alexandrian Patriarchate”.7 Fr. David Lakvo was dismissed from his position as rector and as director of the Orthodox school, expelled with disgrace, and left without any means of livelihood. Fr. Ambrose Chavalu and a number of other Tanzanian clergy were “called to the carpet” by their Greek metropolitan, who demanded that they sign a document of approval for Patriarch Theodoros’s recognition of the OCU. When these clergymen refused, they were also kicked out of their churches and removed from their other positions. Moreover, threats were voiced they would be further persecuted even to the point of physical retribution.

Could we really refuse to accept these unfortunate African fathers who have suffered because they expressed their support for our Church?

I am writing this not to condemn the hierarchs of the Alexandrian Church, but only in order to describe the situation in which these African priests have now found themselves. Of course, not all of them are aware of the tragic events in Ukrainian Orthodox society; Ukraine is very far away from Africa, and not every local priest has access to the internet. Nevertheless, there are no few fathers who know what is going on, and want to guard themselves and their flocks from communion with schismatics.

What should they do?

Inasmuch as a ruling hierarch who categorically rejects the path of schism has not been found in the Church of Alexandria, then the only remaining possibility for these clergymen is to turn to a bishop of another canonical Church that has guarded itself from entering into schism.

Therefore, in light of the Orthodox teaching on the sin of schism and the second canon of the Council of Antioch (just like the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth apostolic canons) the acceptance of African clergymen within the present situation into the Russian Church (or any other Church that is not in communion with schismatics) is both possible and right. Perhaps as a temporary measure—until the Alexandrian Church is freed from communion with schismatics; or perhaps permanently, within the boundaries of the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church in Africa that was already established two years ago. This will soon be reviewed and decided at a Synod meeting, and then also at the Council of Bishops.

However, I repeat that the idea that supposedly, according to the canons, a clergymen must follow his primate into schism sounds just as crazy as the idea that one has to follow him into heresy “out of obedience”.

No one can criticize the Russian Orthodox Church for having little patience

And although now many Greek speakers connected with the Alexandrian Church are firing out wrathful diatribes at the Russian Church, trying to frame it as an aggressor, it is in fact—as is the whole of Orthodoxy—a victim of Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew’s recklessness and that of the primates of nearly all the Greek Churches who support his lawless actions. No one can criticize the Russian Orthodox Church for having too little patience or too few attempts at dialogue. But this Christian patience and humility was interpreted by the authors of this confusion as a sign of weakness, and they continued to deepen the schism. It is only left to the Russian Church to protect its flock from the deadly infection of schism and to stretch out a helping hand to those who want to keep themselves and their parishioners out of danger. This has already happened with the Russian exarchate and a number of individual clergymen of the Constantinople Patriarchate.

Now it’s Africa’s turn.

The authors of this ecclesiastical confusion have only themselves to blame. Moreover, the ideological basis of the Constantinople Patriarchate’s schismatic actions is in fact its acceptance of the heresy of new papsim,8 and the premises for the current movement of African priests are also the specific actions of Greek bishops in Africa;9 but I have already discussed these themes in other articles.

As for the questions cited at the beginning of this article, I hope that I have managed to explain why I personally answer them in the positive.

Priest George Maximov
Translation by OrthoChristian.com

Pravoslavie.ru

10/30/2021

1 Holy Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer. Epistle to the Philadelphians. // https://azbyka.ru/otechnik/Ignatij_Antiohijskij/poslanie-k-filadelfijtsam/

(Russian).

2 Blessed Augustine. On the Creed. https://azbyka.ru/otechnik/Avrelij_Avgustin/o-simvole-very/ (Russian).

3 Holy Hieromartyr Hilarion (Troitsky). On life in the Church and church life. // https://azbyka.ru/otechnik/Ilarion_Troitskij/o-zhizni-v-tserkvi-i-o-zhizni-tserkovnoj/ (Russian).

4 St. John Chrysostom. Exegesis on the Epistle to the Ephesianshttps://bible-teka.com/zlatoust/56/ (Russian).

5 Metropolitan Panteleimon (Lampadarios) of Antinois. https://zen.yandex.ru/media/id/5f244705fd3f2b5772973d28/edinstvennyi-sposob-preodolet-konflikt--istinnoe-pokaianie-patriarhov-varfolomeia-i-feodora-6167024e33373b5e80308676 (Russian).

6 https://www.ng.ru/ng_religii/2019-10-01/11_473_ukraina.html

7 https://pravoslavie.ru/126439.html

8 Priest George Maximov, “The Heresy of Constantinople Papism”. https://pravoslavie.ru/118507.html.

9 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9F1OklhFs-o

Comments
Editor11/7/2021 12:59 pm
Feiyu: Yes, of course you can translate it into Chinese. May God bless it.
Feiyu(Mainland China)11/7/2021 11:40 am
@Editor: Can I translate this article into Chinese? This article is very insightful,I can't wait to share it with my brothers and sisters.As this article said, not every Orthodox christian has access to the internet.I wish I could help them to guard themselves from communion with schismatics which caused by Patriarch Bartholomew and Theodoros.Of course I will mark the original author and the source of the article.
Alexander Leitner11/6/2021 12:48 pm
@Panagiotis! Thank you for your post! I know that there are traditional orthodox Christians also in the New Calendar Church. I am not against Greeks or the Greek Church in generell. I love Greeks and Greece. But I am sad and angered about what's going on there in the church. Not because of Ukraine etc...The Greek Gerontas, Gerontissas, Saints...they all want that the greek people return to their orthodox Glory. But I think it will not happen. May the Panhagia be with us!
Panagiotis11/5/2021 2:52 am
In Crete, Greece, the Churches are on new calendar and there are no pews in the churches in Crete and there are no organs or other nonsense in the churches in Crete... I do not know what they do in Athens or the mainland since they are a different kind of Greek there... The people in Crete are very conservative , the women have their heads covered in the new calendar churches in Crete, and the widows are all dressed in black from head to toe, and this is in new calendar churches.. the people have no choice but to attend the new calendar church because there are no old calendar churches there... in the USA , I once told a new calendar Greek priest that all the Greek churches should return to the old calendar and he agreed with me... This new calendar Greek priest was also against the ecumenical nonsense movement, and his wife was covered from Head to Toes and even his little daughters wear head covers and dresses to their shoes.. when Serbia was illegally attacked by the West, this new calendar Greek priest went to the Serbian Church and together with the Serbian Orthodox priest they said a special Divine Liturgy for the Serbian People, I should know since I was there praying with them... what I am trying to say is that not all new calendar Greeks are liberals, and in fact most new calendar Greeks are very conservative, but they have no choice but to go to a new calendar church because the diocese owns the church property and not the local congregation, and there are no old calendar churches close to these people.. these new calendar conservative Greek people are not schismatics....
Susan11/4/2021 7:25 pm
Alexander L and Panagiotis: "Holier than thou" was, as far as I know, never an accepted thing in Orthodoxy.
Alexander Leitner11/4/2021 3:28 pm
@Panagiotis: I know that there are serbian orthodox churches wirh pews! I have also seen Rusdian Orthodox Churches in USA. Neverless it is wrong, blasphemous and against Holy Tradition. In the Serbian Orthodox Church these are exceptions. Have you been to Serbia? I haven't seen even one Church in Serbia with pews! In Europe often Churches are received from Catholics or Protestants. If it is possible the pews are removed. Abd all other unorthodox stuff. I know a serbian orthodox church with an organ. I was not removed. But no one ever would play it. It was not against Greeks but against the Greek New Calendar State Church. In Old Calendarist Greek Churches I have not seen. It was in Florina I have seen a Greek Church following the orthodox Calendar, without pews, men stood on the right side and women on the left. Doing many prostrations, bows, all women had covered hair.... In the Greek State Church YOU WILL NOT SEE EVEN ONE! Not even in monasteries!!! Kids are running around, peopke are talking durubg Liturgy...sitting on chairs, mixed. In immidesr clothing. Sorry, but this has nothing to do with Holy Orthodoxy anymore
Panagiotis11/2/2021 3:25 pm
To Orthodox Brother Alexander Leitner: Before you criticize the Greek Church you need to take a look at your own Beloved Serbian Church... In the United States the Serbian churches have pews... in my area the Greek Church community is much more devout than the Serbian Church community... The Greek Church service is much longer than the Serbian Church service.... The Greek Church has more daily Church services than the Serbian Church.. Serbian women do not cover themselves in the Serbian Church ...I have seen Greek priests who have longer beards than the Serbian priests... I can go on and on ... I do not take any pleasure in saying this because I love the Serbian People, but I'm getting a little tired of you constantly putting down the Greek people, maybe you need to look in the mirror...
Editor11/1/2021 7:24 pm
Doug Carlson: You should direct your questions to the author himself. You can connect with him on Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/yurij.maximov/
Doug Carlson11/1/2021 6:00 pm
Editor, yes, of course I read the article, but it simply isn't convincing. Again I ask, what could possibly be the basis for receiving these clergy, given that there has been no Synodal condemnation of the Patriarchate of Alexandria? Fr. George addresses this, but erroneously. Based on one sentence from the Synod, he says there is no communion between the Russian and Alexandrian Churches, but the Russian Synod simply never made this decision. Yes, Patriarch Kirill doesn't commemorate Patriarch Theodoros, but even in its own practice the Russian Church acknowldeges that ceasing commemoration is not necessarily the same as breaking communion. Recall that the Russian Synod responded to Constantinople in two degrees: FIRST it authorized Patriarch Kirill to cease commemorating Patriarch Bartholomew, but this was NOT understood as breaking communion. The Synod only broke communion two months later, after Constantinople received Philaret and all those into communion. Thus, ceasing commemoration is NOT automatically breaking communion. Further, the Russian Synod explicitly authorized Patriarch Kirill to cease commemorating Archbishop Ieronymos of Greece a year later, but this never even happened with Patriarch Theodoros! There has been no Synodal decision considering him. Further, the cessation of commemoration of Patriarch Theodoros does not automatically apply to the rest of the Patriarchate, as Russian Church practice itself attests. In Greece and Cyprus, the Russian Church has broken communion only with those who explicitly support the schismatics, but in the case of Alexandria, Fr. George is claiming the Russian Church has the right to take clergy based simply on the silence of the bishops. What is the precedent for this matter? Fr. George does point to the Metropolitans of Nigeria and Tanzania, but the priests who are appealing to Moscow are not all from Nigeria and Tanzania. What about all the priests from Kenya? Even Constantinople outlets like Orthodox Times report that the Archbishop of Kenya probably quietly sides with the Russian Church on the matter of the schismatics. So will it refrain from taking Kenyan priests? That is just one of the major issues with Fr. George's argument.
Panagiotis11/1/2021 3:53 pm
To Orthodox Brother Alexander Leitner: My last post to you was prematurely and accidentally sent in error before I could correct the Google Voice errors and finish the message... What I was saying at the end was that I would bet that most Greek Priests in America are conservative and do not support the ecumenical movement nonsense as well as the environmental protection nonsense and other liberal nonsense... ... the vast majority of Greek Orthodox Christians in the USA and Canada are conservative...
Panagiotis10/31/2021 11:06 pm
Orthodox brother Alexander Boland I agree with you the woman should cover themselves in the church with a head scarf or something similar and they should also sit separate from the men... Also the new calendar should have never been adopted oh, we should all be on the old calendar... But most Greek priest contrary to what you have said do still have beards oh, and the services are long 2 to 3 hours, and I would bet most Greek priests in America are conservative and do not favor
James10/31/2021 9:36 pm
James: What makes a "Greek" jurisdiction in Africa any less absurd? Because there are Greeks living in Africa? Well, there are also Russians living in Africa.
James10/31/2021 3:55 am
The Russian Church has zero business operating outside of its canonical territory. Zero. It belongs in the canonical territory of 'All the Russias,' and that's it. Not in Africa, not in Asia, and not even in the New World. Missionary work abroad is to be commended, and having an 'exarch,' as it did in Alaska, San Francisco, and New York in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, is one thing. But this spread of multiple jurisdictions, like multiple denominations (!), around the globe, is a deeply disordered pattern, and is the pus that manifests the disease. If the Russian Church wants to give shelter and legitimacy to African clergy who are breaking with their local bishops ('taking them under its omophorion,' as it were), fine. This has been done throughout history, and it can be done through economia. But any talk of a *Russian* jurisdiction (what!) in *Africa* is the most absurd thing anyone has ever heard.
Editor10/30/2021 11:03 pm
Doug Carlson: This article was written by a clergyman who has been making missionary trips to Africa, and he answers the questions in your comment as he sees it. Did you read the article?
Alexander Leitner10/30/2021 9:45 pm
I repeat myself but the Greek Churches are not a problem because of ukraine but because they are almost in apostasy. All their innovations, with pews, new calendar, women do not cover, no one is making prostrations...etc..shortened services, priests without beards, neo-papism, ecumenism, ..are the reason for their schism.
Anastasia10/30/2021 8:10 pm
This African hears you well, Fr.???? Of course, I do pray and hope that things will be resolved. Squabbles aside, Africa would benefit from a joint missionary project, and is too big and too multi-cultural, to be at the hands of one jurisdiction.
Dimitri10/30/2021 8:06 pm
All actions depend on the accepted legitimacy or illegitimacy of the Ukraine Schism .
Doug Carlson10/30/2021 6:57 pm
I am very disappointed to see this article appearing on Pravoslavie.ru and OrthoChristian, which I assume means it has the approval of Metropolitan Tikhon. I had hoped he would prove to be a cooler head, a voice of reason. To be clear, I am 100% against the schismatics and any recognition of them, but that doesn’t mean you have to give space to a justification of everything the Russian Church tries to do in response. I had really hoped to see more discernment coming from OrthoChristian. I really appreciate your site, I read it here in West Virginia almost every day, and most of the time you do a good job of bringing news and perspectives from the whole Church, but then here it just seems like the site has slid into running the MP’s propaganda. It’s almost impossible to imagine that ANY other Church is going to back the MP on this. This will only deepen the split. And further, there hasn’t even been a Synodal condemnation of Patriarch Theodoros or any other Alexandria bishops, so what could be the basis for taking these priests? And why are we seeing two different standards at play here? In the case of Greece and Cyprus, the Russian Church said it’s only breaking communion with those who have explicitly supported or served with the schismatics, but in Africa, they’re preparing to take priests just based on the Alexandrian bishops’ public silence. As far as I know, most Alexandrian bishops have not explicitly come out in support of the Ukrainian schismatics and certainly haven’t served with them (with the exception of 2 or 3 bishops), so how does it make any sense for the Russian Church to take these priests? Sometimes it seems like the folks in Metropolitan Hilarion’s department are just intent on screwing everything up and angering even their allies.
Matthew10/30/2021 4:32 pm
What Fr. George has written makes sense, but I wish the response looked more multilateral. After all, why does it have to be the Moscow Patriarchate that accepts these African clergy? If there is a general acceptance that Constantinople is at fault because of the unilateral nature of its actions, then why not find a conciliar solution (obviously without Constantinople and Alexandria)?
Alex10/30/2021 2:57 pm
A most interesting situation...
Editor10/30/2021 2:27 pm
Menas, The African clergy have asked the Moscow Patriarchate to receive them. Others have not.
Menas10/30/2021 1:53 pm
Will the Russian Church do something similar in Greece, Cyprus and Turkey? There are clergy there who do not agree with the actions of their hierarchs
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