Epistle of the Governing Synod Meeting of 26 January/8 February 2001

Having assembled for a regular session of the Synod of Bishops, we found it necessary to bear witness again to our inner unity and unshakable stand in the truth of the Church. We are alarmed by the discord which has drawn in certain parts of our ecclesial organism. In connection with this, we affirm that all of us, the members of the Synod of Bishops, presided over by our president, His Eminence Metropolitan Vitaly, unanimously stand by the decisions and statements adopted at the Council of Bishops, and we cannot agree with any attempt to introduce a spirit of doubt and disagreement into our midst.

Over the course of eighty years, we have sensed that our responsibility lies before the fullness of the Church of Russia, both abroad and in our much-suffering homeland. Our decisions and thoughts are always guided by this twofold responsibility.

It is not because we deserve it that we have inherited all the richness of the Church of Russia; yet we strive to preserve it and to pass it on. And now also we continue to occupy the steadfast positions of our confession of the Faith before the whole world,and we therefore naturally rejoice when we perceive positive changes occurring among our much-suffering Russian people.

The Constitution of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia itself defines our existence and binds our activities with responsibility before the entire Church of Russia. In our time, when it open persecution has ceased, our relations require interpretation and healthy assessment. With this aim in mind, the Council of Bishops which convened in the year 2000 set up several committees to study the paths of the Church of Russia, past and future. Such a step is not an innovation; rather it is organic, and consequently is an extension of our former path.

Reminding all the faithful children of our Church that it is essential not to submit to the attempts of the enemy of our salvation to rend the seamless garment of the Church, we call upon you all henceforth to stand firmly in the truth of the Church and to preserve the unity of love.

26 January/8 February 2001

Metropolitan Vitaly [signature]
President of the Synod

Members of the Synod
Archbishop Laurus
Archbishop Mark
Archbishop Alypy
Bishop Gabriel
Bishop Kyrill
Bishop Michael