Patriarchate of Alexandria defrocks second Russian Exarch of Africa

Cairo, February 19, 2024

 Pat. Theodoros of Alexandria. Photo: Romfea Pat. Theodoros of Alexandria. Photo: Romfea The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria ruled on Friday, February 16, to defrock the Russian Orthodox Church’s second African Exarch.

After an extensive discussion on “the issue of the Russian Church’s encroachment on the spiritual and pastoral jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria on the African continent,” the Holy Synod resolved to defrock His Grace Bishop Konstantin of Zaraisk, according to the Synodal report published by Romfea.

The report states that Bp. Konstantin, who was appointed acting Patriarchal Exarch of Africa by the Russian Holy Synod on October 11, had settled for some time in Cairo, on the territory of the Archdiocese of Alexandria, where he committed a series of canonical offenses, including “encroachment on the jurisdiction of an ancient throne, distribution of antimensia, buying off native clergy, even defrocked clergy, factionalism, ethno-phyletism, etc.”

Bp. Konstantin commented simply: “The fact of the matter is that I am a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church. I am subordinate to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia as his vicar and to the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church as any of its bishops.”

Recall that the Alexandrian Synod ruled to defrock the first African Exarch, Metropolitan Leonid of Klin, in November 2022 for the same offenses, though the Russian Church formally rejects this decision. However, he was recently released from all his positions by the Russian Synod and awaits ecclesiastical trial for irregularities connected with his release from the All Saints Church in Moscow that serves as the headquarters for the Exarchate and the handing over of control to his successor.

In February 2022, the Alexandrian Synod also ruled to defrock Archpriests George Maximov and Andrei Novikov, the two most active priests of the Russian Exarchate in Africa.

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