Voices of Reason

 

Responses in Support of the Synod of Bishops of the ROCA

Answering Those Who Have Created a Schism In the Wake of the October 2000 Sobor,

As Well as Those Who Appear to be Preparing for Yet Another Schism in Reaction to Attempts at Rapprochement with the Moscow Patriarchate

 

          Note: In an effort to organize the material on this web page in a more user friendly fashion, some older documents and articles have been moved to this page.

 

The IVth All-Diaspora Sobor, and the Act of Canonical Communion

·        Documents of the IVth All-Diaspora Sobor

·        The Act of Canonical Communion

·        The Addendum to the Act of Canonical Communion

·        Epistle of the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR to the Faithful, December 9th/ November 26th 2006

 

Answers to those who oppose Reconciliation with the Moscow Patriarchate

·        The Heat of the Moment, and Historical Perspective, by Fr. John Whiteford

·        The “Russian True Orthodox Church”, by Fr. Michael Protopopov

·        Archpriest Nicholas Dalinkiewicz: Response to: Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, The Beacon of Light (Revised) by Fr Nikita Grigoriev

·        Fr. Peter Perekrestov: “The Church's Helmsman, Both Then and Now, is the Almighty Spirit of God” (25 Answers to objections to Reconciliation with the Moscow Patriarchate)

·        Fr. Pimen Simon's Address to the IVth All-Diaspora Sobor

·        Fr. Alexander Lebedeff: Canonical Assessment of the "Act of Canonical Communion"

·        Fr. Alexander Lebedeff: It is Time to Know Our History

·        A Post by Fr. Alexander Lebedeff on the question of whether the MP has sufficiently repented of Sergianism

·        St. John of Shanghai’s views of the Moscow Patriarchate, by Fr. Peter Perekrestov

·        Answers to Current Objections Against the Reconciliation with the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, by Fr. John Whiteford

·        “Status Quo, ROCOR?” A Response to objections to dialogue with the Moscow Patriarchate, by Fr. John Whiteford

The Dialogue with the Moscow Patriarchate

·        ROCOR Delegation visits Patriarch Alexei II in November 2003

·        “Our task is not to seek our own will”, by Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco

·        “We have a joint desire to overcome the division…”

·        Interview with Metropolitan Laurus

·        Both parts of the Russian Church are prepared for frank and constructive dialogue

·        Press release of ROCOR on the arrival of Metropolitan Laurus in official visit to Russia

·        The consecration of the Church of the New Martyrs at Butovo

·        Joint Statement of the MP and ROCOR, May 18, 2004

·        Documents Developed at the Joint Sessions of the Commission of the Moscow Patriarchate on Discussions with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Commission of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on Discussions with the Moscow Patriarchate.

 

 

The All-Diaspora Clergy Conference,

held in Nyack, New York, in December of 2003

 

·        Documents and talks from the Conference

·        Interview with Fr. George Mitrophanov

·        Thoughts of an old priest (Fr. Roman Lukianov)

·        The Majority of Clergymen and Laity of the ROCA support Rapprochement with the Moscow Patriarchate

 

Relevant Statements of Past ROCOR Bishops

·        The Meaning of the Russian Diaspora, by St. John of Shanghai

·        The History of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, by St. John of Shanghai

·        The Response to Elder Tavrion, including the "Declaration" of the ROCA Synod reiterating their official ecclesiology in the face of extremist views.  Note: This occurred during the time of Metropolitan Philaret.

 

Related Articles

·        The Views of the New Martyrs of Russia on the Sergianists

·        Not the First time: Even during the time of Metropolitan Philaret, the extremists were accusing the ROCOR of modernism and ecumenism.

·        It’s Dejavu All Over Again – Fr. Spiridon Schneider condemned Met. Vitaly as a heretic, using much the same language as he is now using to condemn Met. Laurus (ostensibly in his defense of Met. Vitaly).

·        1983 Council of Bishops Resolution on Ecumenism: discusses the 1983 Anathema; include comments by Fr. Alexander Lebedeff.

·        How Does the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad View the Catacomb Church and the Moscow Patriarchate?: comments by Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff

·        Is the Moscow Patriarchate the "Mother Church" of the ROCOR?, by Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff. Also includes a compilation of discussions surrounding the issue of Grace in the Moscow Patriarchate.

·        The Panteleimonite Schism: Articles on a very Similar Schism in the ROCOR’s Recent History

·        Various Articles on the ROCOR

·        More Historical Background on the relationship between the Moscow Patriarchate and ROCOR

 

Two Relevant Documents From the August 2000 Sobor

of the Moscow Patriarchate

 

·        The Social Concept Document

 

Which states in part:

 

"The Church infallibly preaches the Truth of Christ and teaches moral commandments which came from God Himself. Therefore, she has no power to change anything in her teaching. Nor has she the power to fall silent and to stop preaching the truth whatever other teachings may be prescribed or propagated by state bodies. In this respect, the Church is absolutely free from the state. For the sake of the unhindered and internally free preaching of the truth, the Church suffered persecution by the enemies of Christ not once on history. But the persecuted Church is also called to endure the persecution with patience, without refusing to be loyal to the state persecuting her.

 

Legal sovereignty in the territory of a state belongs to its authorities. Therefore, it is they who determine the legal status of a Local Church or her part, either giving her an opportunity for the unhampered fulfillment of church mission or restricting this opportunity. Thus, state power makes judgement on itself and eventually foretells its fate. The Church remains loyal to the state, but God's commandment to fulfill the task of salvation in any situation and under any circumstances is above this loyalty.

 

If the authority forces Orthodox believers to apostatize from Christ and His Church and to commit sinful and spiritually harmful actions, the Church should refuse to obey the state. The Christian, following the will of his conscience, can refuse to fulfill the commands of state forcing him into a grave sin. If the Church and her holy authorities find it impossible to obey state laws and orders, after a due consideration of the problem, they may take the following action: enter into direct dialogue with authority on the problem, call upon the people to use the democratic mechanisms to change the legislation or review the authority's decision, apply to international bodies and the world public opinion and appeal to her faithful for peaceful civil disobedience....

 

At the same time, there are areas in which the clergy and canonical church structures cannot support the state or cooperate with it. They are as follows:

 

a) political struggle, election agitation, campaigns in support of particular political parties and public and political leaders;

 

b) waging civil war or aggressive external war;

 

c) direct participation in intelligence and any other activity that demands secrecy by law even in making one's confession or reporting to the church authorities....

 

However, in the cases where the human law completely rejects the absolute divine norm, replacing it by an opposite one, it ceases to be law and becomes lawlessness, in whatever legal garments it may dress itself. For instance, the Decalogue clearly states: «Honour thy father and thy mother» (Ex. 20:12). Any secular norm that contradicts this commandment indicts not its offender but the legislator himself. In other words, the human law has never contained the divine law in its fullness, but in order to remain law it is obliged to conform to the God-established principles, rather then to erode them....

 

In everything that concerns the exclusively earthly order of things, the Orthodox Christian is obliged to obey the law, regardless of how far it is imperfect and unfortunate. However, when compliance with legal requirements threatens his eternal salvation and involves an apostasy or commitment of another doubtless sin before God and his neighbour, the Christian is called to perform the feat of confession for the sake of God's truth and the salvation of his soul for eternal life. He must speak out lawfully against an indisputable violation committed by society or state against the statutes and commandments of God. If this lawful action is impossible or ineffective, he must take up the position of civil disobedience (see, III. 5)."

 

·        The Attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church Toward Other Christian Confessions

Which states in part:

“…The so-called "branch theory", which is connected with the conception referred to above and asserts the normal and even providential nature of Christianity existing in the form of particular "branches", is also totally unacceptable. Orthodoxy cannot accept that Christian divisions are caused by the inevitable imperfections of Christian history and that they exist only on the historical surface and can be healed or overcome by compromises between denominations. The Orthodox Church cannot recognize "the equality of the denominations". Those who have fallen away from the Church cannot re-unite with her in their present state. The existing dogmatic differences should be overcome, not simply bypassed, and this means that the way to unity lies through repentance, conversion and renewal.  Also unacceptable is the idea that all the divisions are essentially tragic misunderstandings, that disagreements seem irreconcilable only because of a lack of mutual love and a reluctance to realize that, in spite of all the differences and dissimilarities, there is sufficient unity and harmony in "what is most important". Our divisions cannot be reduced to human passions, to egoism, much less to cultural, social and political circumstances which are secondary from the Church's point of view. Also unacceptable is the argument that the Orthodox Church differs from other Christian communities with which she does not have communion only in secondary matters. The divisions and differences cannot all be reduced to various non-theological factors…. It is inadmissible to introduce relativism into the realm of faith, to limit unity in faith to a narrow set of necessary truths so that beyond them "freedom in what is doubtful" may be allowed.