Russian Synod announces reception of 102 African priests into its jurisdiction, creation of African dioceses

Moscow, December 29, 2021     

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church met under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill in Moscow today.

Among its decisions, the Synod resolved to receive 102 African priests into its jurisdiction at their request, reports

The Synod heard a report from His Eminence Archbishop Leonid of Yerevan and Armenia on the appeals of numerous clergy from throughout Africa who reject Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria’s recognition of the Ukrainian schismatics and therefore want to come under the Russian Church.

With the blessing of Pat. Kirill, Abp. Leonid recently traveled to Africa and met with many of the appealing priests. Today, at least 100 parishes of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, together with their priests, have declared their desire to move to the Russian Church. Many of them first appealed in 2019, after Pat. Theodoros first began commemorating the schismatic head of the OCU, “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko.

After Pat. Theodoros liturgically concelebrated with Dumenko in August, the Russian Synod decided it could no longer ignore the priests’ appeals.

Thus, having heard Abp. Leonid’s report today, the Synod officially resolved “to accept 102 clerics of the Patriarchate of Alexandria from eight African countries into the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, according to the petitions submitted.”

Further, it resolved to form the Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa, consisting of the Diocese of North Africa and the Diocese of South Africa. Abp. Leonid has been named the Patriarchal Exarch of Africa.

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Theodoros 1/7/2022 3:06 am
Mr. Souliotis, The Ecumenical Patriarchate is first among equals. That is it. Constantinople has no right to grant autocephaly to any territory that belongs to another local Church. Ukraine has belonged to the Russian Church since 1686. In addition, Patriarch Bartholomew "granted" autocephaly to bishops who were either defrocked or have never received proper ordinations or consecrations. The people that Constantinople supports in Ukraine are not Orthodox because they are not members of the canonical Orthodox Church. This crisis has gotten much worse. Patriarch Bartholomew is watching the destruction in relations between sister Churches with indifference. Everything that has happened and continues to happen is entirely his fault and the fault of his synod. Without his intervention in Ukraine, none of this would be happening. Is the destruction of Orthodox unity a reasonable price to pay to remain obedient to one single bishop of the Church whose views on ecclesiology no longer coincide with the teaching of the Orthodox Church? I
This is ridiculous...Russia has no right to intervene in Alexandria Patriarchate jurisdiction...Moscow does the same in Cyprus and Minor Asia...Russian Church must accept it is the fifth in honour Church and stop acting as the third Rome..she is not and will never become the Third Rome...Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constatinople did right to give Autocephalous to Ukranian Church as only Ecumenical Patriarchate has this privilege like it happened with all the other Autocephalous Churches till now.All the other Orthodox Churches must denounce this practice of Moscow...
Stephen 1/2/2022 10:11 am
The African priests signed only in exchange of money. The African priests have no history in the conflict of the Ukrainian church and Moscow. They are just innocent. The African priests remain faithful to Alexandria patriarchate.
Alexander Leitner12/31/2021 1:52 pm
@Staphanos: I hope and pray that the Russian Church will receive the Old Calendarists back into communion. As it was in ROCA.
Alexander Leitner12/31/2021 1:50 pm
Can I donate money for building orthodox churches?
Alexander Leitner12/31/2021 1:48 pm
God bless the Patriarch of Russia! May the Holy Light of Holy Orthodoxy will shine brightly. These betrayers of Christ and Orthodoxy, these schismatics, modernists and ecumenists...should go to their "brothers" the protestants. I hope that many more will join the true Church and leave these schismatics.
Editor12/31/2021 11:33 am
It would be good to have more comments from Africans. We who live very far away from that continent and know very little about it could benefit from their point of view.
Sammy Kimaiyo12/31/2021 8:15 am
As long we are serving the Living Lord, the issue of jurisdictions does not matter. The issue in Africa needs to be looked upon with utmost good faith and care. Most priests in Africa are living in deplorable situations and this is the major concern which may push them to look elsewhere that may at least be uplifted from the abject poverty they live in. Who in this world does not want to live a better life? If Russian Patriarchate is ready to uplift the situation of the African priests, then this is most welcome. They say that when you build a priest, you build the church of Christ. That is all that I can say for now. Thanks
Iain MacLeod-Brudenell12/31/2021 1:55 am
Yet more splits in the Orthodox Churches! I hope Vladyka helps those in the new Exarchate with medical, educational and agricultural, as well as spiritual help. They desperately need all four! I too have helped support parishes in Kenya and Uganda. I supported other seminarians who turned out to be part of an uncanonical ‘Orthodox’ church evangelising from the U.S.A. Stability is needed
Cyprian12/31/2021 12:56 am
Question to Anonymous, why is it the Patriarch of Constantinople create a diocese in Asia when the Russians were established there first? Then was supportive of the Romanian Patriarch making their own diocese in Moldova when the MP said it didn't need to. The Russians had their church in GB and Western Europe at least 50 years before the Patriarch of Constantinople established one in the UK. In the US the Russian had their own diocese for at least 100 years before the Greeks had their own. Also its not just in Africa but in the USA and UK that some parishes have left that was reported on this site for changing to the MP. I think those should do less Russian bashing just because they can and take a look. Panayiotis, God will not bless stupid.
Raphael 12/30/2021 9:01 pm
Anonymous: are you the wife of a ROCOR priest? I If you don’t understand the difference between what happened in Africa and what happened in Ukraine then something is wrong. With all due respect the differences are incredibly important and you really should place everything in context before asking a question like that, because if you do, you will realize the differences and you also understand that timeline and various other factors plays a role. When a patriarch causes problems, like what PB did in Ukraine there will be ramifications, and those ramifications are seen here, in the priests who could not remain under the patriarch of Alexandria after he recognized and coliturgized with the schismatics. They left, just as historically many other Saints before them did when they were in the same situation. I know you don’t like P. Kyrill, but you shouldn’t defend
Raphael 12/30/2021 8:45 pm
Panagiotis: you have an opinion for sure, but it’s not humble and it’s not educated, it’s just blind prejudice. I hope you will convert from hellenism to Orthodox Christianity one day! Mariko: the schismatics are still in Ukraine birthed by your turkish patriarch. They didn’t go anywhere yet! Maybe you need to learn and properly understand what the word schismatic means, before you start judging and condemning, because according to your definition St. Athenasius and St. Maximos the confessor were “schismatics” because they too did exactly what these wise and inspired priests are doing; they left heretical and ecumenical bishops and united themselves with Orthodox bishops! You should try to do the same some time, it might save your soul!
Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis12/30/2021 7:35 pm
Anonymous, the difference is that Moscow could do it, because it is not longer in communion with Constantinople. And David, it is allowed to establish a new Orthodox jurisdiction in the midst of a heretical or schismatic jurisdiction. The Church has done that in its history. And Stephanos, it is not the Russian Church that should recognize the moderate Old Calendarists, but the Old Calendarists should recognize the Russian Church. I’ll give holy Communion to any Old Calendarist that comes to my church, but none of them will, because they call us “tainted” by being in communion with ecumenists.
Jason12/30/2021 6:55 pm
To use Pat. Bartholomew's words, "They'll just have to accept it. They have no choice..."
Panagiotis12/30/2021 5:10 pm
To Mariko, Steve, and Anonymous: God Bless all three of you for speaking the truth... ... Steve, your sarcasm was great. God bless you for becoming educated, and God has blessed you with intelligence. I hope all three of you continue to post your comments on this forum.. Just my humble opinion.
Mariko Hishamunda12/30/2021 3:37 pm
Who are the schismatics now? "Scribes and pharisees, hypocrites..."
Victor12/30/2021 10:06 am
Steve, those priests stay in Africa, but they'll be under Russian jurisdiction. That's my understanding.
David Sauls12/30/2021 7:21 am
Hi, Steve. I am a patron of one of the priests. They won't be moving to Russia, Moscow has created an Exarchate so they will continue to serve in Africa, but under the Moscow omophorion. These priests are all impoverished. Stipends are not regularly paid and they lack the sophistication and support of Orthodox clergy in the First World. I created a charity for one if them years ago to assist with his stipend and the school he founded. Pray for us! I will be be traveling to Kenya sometime next year.
Cyprian12/30/2021 4:35 am
Steve i think you need to read the article instead of jumping in with sarcasm. It makes you look silly and its immortalised on the internet.
Paul Kissel12/30/2021 2:48 am
Glory to our Savior who has directed. These priests to choose the Holy Synod as their new home.What a precious gift the Lord has bestowed on the Synod as we celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
George12/30/2021 1:15 am
@Steve12/29/2021 5:56 pm: Reading comprehension: the ability to understand and handle written texts.
Hieromonk Aidan12/30/2021 12:31 am
Historically, the patriarchate of Alexandria has never claimed these African lands as its territory. And now the Alexandrian patriarch has entered into schism by striking out at the very existence of the canonical Ukrainian Church, there seems no other option. I am saddened by this because it's unnecessary, but Alexandria will choose its own path.
Stephanos 12/29/2021 11:25 pm
May God bless them for their Orthodox witness and their faithfulness to Orthodoxy! Now, hopefully the Russian Church will recognize the moderate Old Calendarists of Greece. ????????
Acquah Nicholas Kingsford12/29/2021 11:23 pm
I will be happy to join the Russian priest
Mark12/29/2021 11:17 pm
@Steve I am not sure if you are joking or not, but patriarch Kirill is organizing these priests into an exarchate under the jurisdiction of the Russian Church. That means they are physically staying in Africa, while they are essentially trading their bishops.
geo12/29/2021 10:49 pm
Sad but great news! The priests needs help and guidance to keep the Faith alive and I believe that the Russian Church is a strong and right support! ... Better was that Patriarch Theodoros to protect the Church purity for the respect of our Lord, Jesus Christ!
David 12/29/2021 9:15 pm
Steve, that means there will be Churches in Africa which will be under the Russian Church, not that they will be moving to Russia. I don't know how to feel, this just increases the jurisdiction problem around the world, and it feels like getting into another Church's jurisdiction.
David Williams 12/29/2021 8:56 pm
No one said they were moving to Russia.
Rev fr Hezekiah Johnson Otara Hezekiah12/29/2021 8:38 pm
Wonderful reception
Anonymous12/29/2021 7:22 pm
Steve, they are not moving to Russia, they are asking the Russian church to accept them so the Russian church has and created a new diocese for them called the Patriarchal Exarcate of Africa. My question to the editor is this - how is it that Pat. Kyril was so upset that the EP created a new jurisdiction in Ukraine, yet it's ok that he went and did the same in Africa?
Raphael 12/29/2021 7:04 pm
Steve: this one really hurt you didn’t it? All authentic orthodox Christians who have a love for truth and their brothers in Christ will leave such bishops as P. Bartholomew and P. Theodoros.
José vera12/29/2021 6:42 pm
Steve12/29/2021 5:56 pm
Wow, all these priests are moving to Russia. Where in Russia will they live and serve? They will probably need much warmer clothing. It is generally much colder in Russia than in Africa. Perhaps there can be an appeal for warm clothing for these African priests.
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