Statement from Metropolitan Hilarion regarding the Conversion of the "Catholic Church of the East" to Orthodoxy

Source: Eastern American Diocese (ROCOR)

February 4, 2016


Over the past several months, the leader of an independent church movement called the "Catholic Church of the East," the former Archbishop Ramzi Mussalam, has begun a remarkable transition: to bring his entire movement, of over 60 parishes, into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). The former archbishop was received into the Orthodox Church and ordained a deacon and priest with the encouragement and blessing and by the hand of Metropolitan Hilarion, ROCOR’s First Hierarch. The former archbishop is now Hieromonk Elias. Father Elias grew up in the Scranton area of Pennsylvania as a communicant of the Polish National Catholic Church, in which he was ordained to the priesthood.

The process of Orthodox catechization has now commenced, with the gradual reception of the former clergy and faithful of the "Catholic Church of the East" into Orthodoxy, with their regularization within the canonical embrace of the Orthodox Church. It is expected that this will be a long and complex process but one of that will bear an abundant spiritual harvest. A number of parishes have already been received: St. Irene Church in Pittston, PA; St. Ann Church in Pottsville, PA and St. Mark Church in Milford, CT.

Let us welcome these people with joy and do all that we can to help them integrate into the Orthodox community. Let us give thanks to God that He has led Fr. Elias and his faithful people into Orthodoxy.

David11/11/2020 9:12 pm
This did not age well. "Hieromonk Elias" (who apparently never lived a single day in any monastic community, so how did that work ?) ended up getting himself quickly raised back to the rank of Archbishop when he fled into the waiting arms of some non-canonical "True Orthodox Church of Greece" schismatic group. Last I heard he was styling himself as “Archbishop Melchisedeck of the Palestinian Orthodox Church of America” . An interesting follow-up story would be to check in on where this grifter , Ramzi Mussalam (if that's even his real name?) is now. Is he still doing business as Archbishop Melchisedeck of the Palestinian Orthodox Church of America or has he moved on to some other scam by now ?
FR. RADU FROM CLUJ, ROMANIA7/6/2016 9:04 am
I think they are WR, but they are orthodox this is important! you know what St. Jhon Maximovici saz?!

i ask what mass/liturgy they serve, St. Gregory the Greath or St. Tihon?
David2/10/2016 4:44 am
Marco Mannino Giorgi - one would think they would be Western Rite from the looks of it , but according to the ROCOR Western Rite's Facebook page they (the "Catholic Church of the East" parishes ) are supposed to be coming in under the Eastern Rite , not WR.

In other developments, this Announcement from Metropolitan Hilarion about the reception of the wandering "Archbishop" (former PNCC priest) Ramzi Mussalam and his "Catholic Church of the East"/"Arabic Catholic Church" is no longer posted on the ROCOR website as of 02/09/2016. Just a temporary blip or does it mean something else? We shall see ...
Marco Mannino Giorgi2/6/2016 5:07 pm
Just a venial question: are they going to be Western Rite parishes?
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