Russian Synod approves internal regulations of African Exarchate

Moscow, March 25, 2022

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At its session held in Moscow’s Danilov Monastery yesterday, the Holy Synod of the Russian Church approved the internal regulations of the African Exarchate it created in late December.

The regulations state that the Exarchate “is a canonical subdivision of the Russian Orthodox Church established for the purpose of coordinating the religious and educational, publishing, social, educational and missionary activities of dioceses and other canonical subdivisions of the Russian Orthodox Church located on the territory of the Exarchate and included in its composition.”

The document stipulates how the Exarchate is to be governed, with the highest ecclesiastical authority within the structure belonging to its own Synod, which will include the Exarch, currently Metropolitan Leonid of Klin, and those who will be appointed as bishops of the Northern and Southern African Dioceses. The Synod is to meet at least once every six months, and its decisions are to be submitted for approval to the Russian Synod.

Like any other structure of the Russian Church, the Exarchate is also subject to the decisions of the Holy Synod, the Council of Bishops, and the Local Council of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Among the many points, the regulations stipulate that the Patriarch and the Patriarchal Exarch of Africa are to be commemorated in all services.

The Exarchate began with the reception of 102 African priests protesting the Patriarch of Alexandria’s decision to enter into communion with the schismatics of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”

The Russian priests George Maximov and Andrei Novikov then traveled to a number of African countries, distributing antimensions and receiving more priests into the new structure, which led to the Synodal Court of the Patriarchate of Alexandria ruling to defrock the priests for their activity on the Patriarchate’s canonical territory. However, the Russian Church doesn’t recognize Alexandria’s right to judge them.

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Ross Berry3/30/2022 5:48 pm
I wish that the Russian Church would approach the "African Orthodox Church " in the United States. This black-church Anglican-derived group has 12 parishes in the United States and spawned the groups in Kenya which later joined the Alexandrian Patriarchate.If they were brought into communion, it might lead to an Orthodox movement in the African-American community
Joseph Shabalala3/27/2022 4:10 pm
Dionysius Redington3/26/2022 1:17 am
"В сферу пастырской ответственности Экзархата входят следующие страны: Арабская Республика Египет, ... Государство Ливия..."---I hope that I am wrong, but my impression is that, while Pat. Bartholomew seeks to become the pope of a Roman-Catholic-style global 'Orthodox' church unifying all jurisdictions, Pat. Cyril is busy setting up Russian Orthodoxy as a 'major world religion', the compeer of Catholicism, Judaism, etc., and completely independent of all other Orthodox jurisdictions. It is hard to think of another explanation for the African Exarchate (uncanonically operating in Egypt and Libya); the refusal to grant autocephaly to autonomous subchurches; the strange birthday letters to the Pope, the patriarch of Addis Ababa, and others, implying that they are somehow his equal partners; etc. The emphasis on Africa shows that the goal is not simply to set up a church for the 'Russian World', but a genuinely international church; on the other hand, the ecumenistic language indicates that this church is not seen as the One True Church, but simply as a major denomination with roots in Russia and close political ties to the Russian state, as Anglicanism has roots in England and (in past centuries) close political ties to the British Empire. I hope I am wrong. All saints of Russia, pray to God for us. --Dionysius Redington
Rdr Daniel3/25/2022 9:41 pm
The more I hear about MP structure in Africa the more sceptical I am. Has this really been created to help those in southern Africa escape from a Patriarchate in communion with schismatics (bare in mind not all Alexandrian bishops agree with the decision and to my knowledge no schismatics have visited Africa so far unlike in Greece where no structure has been set up by MP) ? Or has it been created to give Moscow hierarchal, liturgical and cultural control over all of Africa? How many priest requested to join because of the situation in Ukraine compared to how many joined over local issues after being approached by representatives of MP? Why were they forced to sign an oath of loyalty to MP and what is the basis of such an oath in Tradition or cannon law? Why the rush to build Russin cathedrals? Why the division into north and south when all the flock are in the south and Egypt is canonically Alexandrian? What happens to the exarchate if Alexandria repents?
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