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Clarification of the First Hierarch of the ROCA regarding the acceptance of the “Moscow Patriarchia” parishes

Synod of Bishops - Epistles from bishops Monday, 25 July 2011

Clarification

of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad regarding the acceptance of the “Moscow Patriarchia” parishes under the authority of the ROCA Synod of Bishops.

Since doubt and questions still persist regarding our acceptance of the parishes in Udmurtia as parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate under the authority of the ROCA Synod of Bishops, I decided to provide this clarification.

It is quite apparent that those whom we are used to calling the Moscow Patriarchia are actually not deserving of that name, since that name can only be used by the Local Russian Church.

There can be no doubt that as a result of persecution the Local Russian Church split into the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, the Catacomb  Church and the church subservient to the Soviet regime, led in 1943 by “Patriarch” Sergey (Stragorodskiy).  His enthronement was never recognized by the two other parts of the Russian Church – the Catacomb Church and the Church Abroad.  In spite of that, this church entity applied the name “Moscow Patriarchia” to itself and unfortunately over time it became the accepted term.  Our Russian Orthodox Church Abroad never recognized and does not recognize to this day the false-patriarchs of this false-patriarchia which were assigned by the Soviet regime.   ROCA First Hierarch Metropolitan Anthony considered this part of the church to be schismatic and without grace.  Subsequent First Hierarchs were of the same opinion.

To this day, the Church Abroad is the only legitimate Church Administration, formed by a decree of the Supreme Church Authority.  As a result of persecutions, the Catacomb Church was unable to retain its Central Administration (which existed in  the period of 1927 to 1937, when Metropolitan Joseph headed such a Central Administration).  After 1927, the Administration of the so-called Moscow Patriarchia was always considered uncanonical, since it had deviated from its redemptive role and its members were not elected by the Church, but assigned by the atheistic regime.

After the schism of 2007 in ROCA, a completely new period began in relations between the Russian Church Abroad and the so-called Moscow Patriarchia, characterized by an utter lack of hope of uniting the two parts of the Russian Church on the level of the hierarchs.  Though we continue to await the repentance of the episcopate of the Moscow Patriarchia for the heresy of ecumenism and the sin of sergianism, we conduct the affairs of the Church without the hope that this repentance will occur.  The priests that we accepted and will accept henceforth from that church entity, which continues to contain that heresy, sever all relations with their former church superiors and recognize the ROCA Synod of Bishops to be the sole canonical administrative entity in the Russian Church.  Any other legitimate Church Administration can be established only by a higher church entity.  In this case, it is a Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has not been convened since 1918.   We do not intend to nor are we capable of establishing administrative entities either for the Catacomb Church or the Moscow Patriarchia, as we do not have the authority of a Local Council of the Russian Church.  Similarly, we cannot recognize as canonical any other administrative entities that arose of their own accord within the Russian Church.

The ROCA Synod of Bishops, having acknowledged the existence of the two other parts of the Russian Church, considered it proper to accept under its care representatives of these parts of the Russian Church until a Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church can be convened, which has the sole authority to select the legitimate administrative entity for the entire church.

We await the convening of a legitimate Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church and are preparing to present an account of our actions and humbly accept its judgment of us.

+Metropolitan Agafangel

Odessa, July 1225, 2011.  Martyrs Proclus and Hilary.

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