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Author Topic: Relations between ROCOR, World Orthodoxy, and the GOC  (Read 24620 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 31, 2009, 09:23:38 AM »

CONTEXT NOTE:  The following discussion split off from here:  Old Calendarist Churches ,"World Orthodoxy", and Maximos the Confessor  I did the best I could to make a clear distinction between this discussion and its parent, but there are still a lot of overlapping cross-currents, which may be confusing to some.  Please accept my humble apologies for this.   -PtA


Firstly, at least in my view Met Philaret has greater authority than Abp Anthony, who was the only ROCOR bishop not to sign the declaration of communion with Abp Auxentius and the Old Calendarist Synod.

The Russian Church Abroad made some errors of judgement in their dealings with Greek Old Calendarists.  After declaring for years that it was a too complicated situation for them to fathom, ROCA's wise hands-off policy was broken by Archbishop Leonty travelling to Athens in secret and consecrating the priest Auxentios Patras (sp?) without the approval of the Synod of bishops of ROCA.

Later we began to see how wise ROCA had been not to have any involvement when statements began to emerge from the Auxentiite Synod which had no common ground with the balance and moderation of ROCA on the Calendar question and grace in the New Calendar Orthodox Churches..

Here is a sample of an official Auxentite Statement: "The ministration of the Holy Gifts to the new calendarists has been forbidden since the beginning of the schism of the official Church; and you must observe this line of conduct unswervingly in a spirit of discipline towards our ecclesiastical traditions. If someone joins our ranks from the new calendar, an indispensable condition of his acceptance is the confession of faith and the condemnation of every heresy and innovation, including the new calendar, by the acceptance of which the Greek Church became schismatic from 1924, as the reformer Archbishop Chrysostom Papadopoulos himself averred, and in consequence of which its sacraments are deprived of sanctifying grace."

Notice the distressing statement that the Greek Orthodox Church has no "sanctifying grace."   No doubt your Church would extend that to all New Calendarists and those in communion with them which includes our own Russian Church Abroad.

Since we have no "sanctifying grace" do you baptize us when we ask to be received?  I have memories of Archbishop Auxentios re-ordaining one of our ROCA Portuguese priests who, I think, went on to become the founder of the Synod of Milan.
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« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2009, 09:49:40 AM »

Firstly, at least in my view Met Philaret has greater authority than Abp Anthony, who was the only ROCOR bishop not to sign the declaration of communion with Abp Auxentius and the Old Calendarist Synod.

The Russian Church Abroad made some errors of judgement in their dealings with Greek Old Calendarists.  After declaring for years that it was a too complicated situation for them to fathom, ROCA's wise hands-off policy was broken by Archbishop Leonty travelling to Athens in secret and consecrating the priest Auxentios Patras (sp?) without the approval of the Synod of bishops of ROCA.

Later we began to see how wise ROCA had been not to have any involvement when statements began to emerge from the Auxentiite Synod which had no common ground with the balance and moderation of ROCA on the Calendar question and grace in the New Calendar Orthodox Churches..

Here is a sample of an official Auxentite Statement: "The ministration of the Holy Gifts to the new calendarists has been forbidden since the beginning of the schism of the official Church; and you must observe this line of conduct unswervingly in a spirit of discipline towards our ecclesiastical traditions. If someone joins our ranks from the new calendar, an indispensable condition of his acceptance is the confession of faith and the condemnation of every heresy and innovation, including the new calendar, by the acceptance of which the Greek Church became schismatic from 1924, as the reformer Archbishop Chrysostom Papadopoulos himself averred, and in consequence of which its sacraments are deprived of sanctifying grace."

Notice the distressing statement that the Greek Orthodox Church has no "sanctifying grace."   No doubt your Church would extend that to all New Calendarists and those in communion with them which includes our own Russian Church Abroad.

Since we have no "sanctifying grace" do you baptize us when we ask to be received?  I have memories of Archbishop Auxentios re-ordaining one of our ROCA Portuguese priests who, I think, went on to become the founder of the Synod of Milan.

Actually, we have only declared the New Calendarist State Church of Greece to be schismatic; we have made no declaration about other churches. We have made a Proclamation on Ecclesiology which affirms that we will not allow communion with churches in the WCC, though we have not said anything about whether they are in schism or devoid of grace. You can read this proclamation here:

http://hotca.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29:a-proclamation-on-ecclesiology&catid=52:orthodoxy&Itemid=65

The ROCA did not break communion with us over the 1974 declaration anathematizing the new calendarists (which itself only repeated our position of 1935). The ROCA in fact made no declaration of any kind about the new calendarists, whether they were in schism or not. But their recognition of our hierarchs in 1969 surely proves that they were on our side.

The ROCA did break off formal relations with our Synod after that ill-advised action of Abp Auxentius, when he baptized the ROCOR priest John Rocha who had been received into Orthodoxy by chrismation only. However, although concelebration was discontinued (except for concelebration with Bp Petros of Astoria), laymen of both churches were still allowed to commune in the other church (see "The Struggle against Ecumenism", Holy Transfiguration Monastery 1998). This was the case at least until ROCOR entered into communion with Met Cyprian's group in 1994 (till 2006), and I understand intercommunion was practiced even after that, at least in America, until the union with the MP in 2007.

Reception into our church is basically a pastoral matter. Following the tradition of the Greek church and in accordance with the economy permitted by the Canons, we do not baptize those who have already been baptized in the correct form, with triple immersion in the name of the Trinity.
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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2009, 09:57:20 AM »

Firstly, at least in my view Met Philaret has greater authority than Abp Anthony, who was the only ROCOR bishop not to sign the declaration of communion with Abp Auxentius and the Old Calendarist Synod.

The Russian Church Abroad made some errors of judgement in their dealings with Greek Old Calendarists.  After declaring for years that it was a too complicated situation for them to fathom, ROCA's wise hands-off policy was broken by Archbishop Leonty travelling to Athens in secret and consecrating the priest Auxentios Patras (sp?) without the approval of the Synod of bishops of ROCA.

Later we began to see how wise ROCA had been not to have any involvement when statements began to emerge from the Auxentiite Synod which had no common ground with the balance and moderation of ROCA on the Calendar question and grace in the New Calendar Orthodox Churches..

Here is a sample of an official Auxentite Statement: "The ministration of the Holy Gifts to the new calendarists has been forbidden since the beginning of the schism of the official Church; and you must observe this line of conduct unswervingly in a spirit of discipline towards our ecclesiastical traditions. If someone joins our ranks from the new calendar, an indispensable condition of his acceptance is the confession of faith and the condemnation of every heresy and innovation, including the new calendar, by the acceptance of which the Greek Church became schismatic from 1924, as the reformer Archbishop Chrysostom Papadopoulos himself averred, and in consequence of which its sacraments are deprived of sanctifying grace."

Notice the distressing statement that the Greek Orthodox Church has no "sanctifying grace."   No doubt your Church would extend that to all New Calendarists and those in communion with them which includes our own Russian Church Abroad.

Since we have no "sanctifying grace" do you baptize us when we ask to be received?  I have memories of Archbishop Auxentios re-ordaining one of our ROCA Portuguese priests who, I think, went on to become the founder of the Synod of Milan.

Actually, we have only declared the New Calendarist State Church of Greece to be schismatic; we have made no declaration about other churches.

Since the New Calendarist State Church of Greece is on the diptych of every local Orthodox Church, yes, you have.

Btw, aren't the monks on Mt. Athos in communion with the EP?


Quote
We have made a Proclamation on Ecclesiology which affirms that we will not allow communion with churches in the WCC, though we have not said anything about whether they are in schism or devoid of grace. You can read this proclamation here:

http://hotca.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29:a-proclamation-on-ecclesiology&catid=52:orthodoxy&Itemid=65

If you do not allow communion, then they are excommunicate.

Quote
The ROCA did not break communion with us over the 1974 declaration anathematizing the new calendarists (which itself only repeated our position of 1935). The ROCA in fact made no declaration of any kind about the new calendarists, whether they were in schism or not. But their recognition of our hierarchs in 1969 surely proves that they were on our side.

Since they were in communion with Serbia and Jerusalem, who were in communion with the rest of us, then, well....you have a problem with your hiearchs seeking and gaining ROCA recognition.

Quote
The ROCA did break off formal relations with our Synod after that ill-advised action of Abp Auxentius, when he baptized the ROCOR priest John Rocha who had been received into Orthodoxy by chrismation only. However, although concelebration was discontinued (except for concelebration with Bp Petros of Astoria), laymen of both churches were still allowed to commune in the other church (see "The Struggle against Ecumenism", Holy Transfiguration Monastery 1998). This was the case at least until ROCOR entered into communion with Met Cyprian's group in 1994 (till 2006), and I understand intercommunion was practiced even after that, at least in America, until the union with the MP in 2007.

Reception into our church is basically a pastoral matter. Following the tradition of the Greek church and in accordance with the economy permitted by the Canons, we do not baptize those who have already been baptized in the correct form, with triple immersion in the name of the Trinity.
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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2009, 03:11:33 PM »

Irish Hermit posts this information:

""After the death of Metropolitan Chrysostom, the Florinites had no Bishops, and it is said that Metropolitan Chrysostom advised his flock to go under the protection of the Matthewite Bishops. Fearing the repercussions, however, the Florinites opted to seek a new hierarchy and appealed to Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR,  see "Outside Russia" below) to help them. In 1960, Archimandrite Akakios Pappas was made a Bishop for these communities without the official blessing of the ROCOR by Archbishop Leonty of Chile and Bp Theophilos Ionescu, a Romanian New Calendar Bishop under the ROCOR.  Later Bp Akakios and Bp Theophilos made 5 more Bishops, and they proceeded to elect Auxentios of Patras to be their new leader as Archbishop of Athens"

- This is most confusing. If the "1935 statament of Faith" is the cornerstone of the GOC's position how is it even possible that they would  accept the participation of a New Calendarist bishop who is "outside the Church" in the creation of their episcopacy? At the root this act contradicts their chief position!

Please explain this.
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« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2009, 04:05:55 PM »

Bishop Theophilus had joined the ROCOR from the Romanian Patriarchate and was given a blessing to continue on the New Calendar temporarily until he could explain to his flock why they were returning to the Old.

Archbishop Leonty arranged for the consecration of Archimandrite Akakios with Bishop Theophilus without telling Archmandrite Akakios that Bishop Theophilus was still serving on the New Calendar.  Archimandrite Akakios, when he became aware of this, was bothered by it, but it was explained to him that Theophilus's position was blessed by the ROCOR Synod and thus Akakios was assuased (one of our nuns was there and she told me that Fr Akakios demanded that Bp Theophilus state that he admitted the NC was wrong and that Arch Leonty read forgiveness prayers over him before the ordination, but that is obviously something that is not documented, although I take the eyewitness on her word).  Fr Akakios was in a difficult situation as he had a mandate from the GOC of Greece to return to Greece as a bishop (from ROCOR), period.  The only reason he was able to get out of Greece is that he had cancer and was also getting treatment here, if I recall correctly. Thus he did not exactly have a large window of opportunity to sit around and make other arrangements.

The difference between Bp Theophilus and the New Calendar Church bishops of Greece seems clear to me: Bishop Theophilus had left the collaborationist Romanian patriarchate to join the ROCOR for matters of faith; the issue of the New Calendar was seen as a pastoral matter in this case to be worked out.  I believe St John Maximovich acted in this way towards some of the Dutch and French people he brought in. The New Calendar bishops of Greece, on the other hand, were leaving the Old Calendar to go to the New, and on the basis of the ecclesiology of the 1920 Encyclical, which the GOC considers heretical.

Adoption of the New Calendar does not instantly render someone graceless is the obvious extrapolation.  The 3 bishops of the GOC who returned to the Old Calendar remained for 12 years in it in the hopes that the Synod would reverse its course. They left only when it was obvious it would not, and they issued the 1935 statement only after the NC Church of Greece condemned them as graceless first.  The 1935 statement was not intended to imply to the rest of Worldwide Orthodoxy; and the GOC of Greece accepted ROCOR's right to use economy vis a vis the New Calendar.

Bp Akakios went back to Greece and co-consecrated with Archbishop Leonty; and by the time the GOC and ROCOR opened full communion in 1969, Bp Theophilus was gone anyway. It is thus important to look at the reasons behind things when we investigate them.  No one that I know thinks the ordinations of Archbishop Akakios and Bishop Petros were canonically regular to be clear; the granting by ROCOR of ordination certificates in 1968 and 1969 to me was necessary to remove the veil of canonical problems from the ordinations; at the same time, however, there clearly was a real persecution going on, and we know that that sometimes warrants such actions which would otherwise be unjustifiable.
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« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2009, 05:18:51 PM »

Bishop Theophilus had joined the ROCOR from the Romanian Patriarchate and was given a blessing to continue on the New Calendar temporarily until he could explain to his flock why they were returning to the Old.

Archbishop Leonty arranged for the consecration of Archimandrite Akakios with Bishop Theophilus without telling Archmandrite Akakios that Bishop Theophilus was still serving on the New Calendar.  Archimandrite Akakios, when he became aware of this, was bothered by it, but it was explained to him that Theophilus's position was blessed by the ROCOR Synod and thus Akakios was assuased (one of our nuns was there and she told me that Fr Akakios demanded that Bp Theophilus state that he admitted the NC was wrong and that Arch Leonty read forgiveness prayers over him before the ordination, but that is obviously something that is not documented, although I take the eyewitness on her word).  Fr Akakios was in a difficult situation as he had a mandate from the GOC of Greece to return to Greece as a bishop (from ROCOR), period.  The only reason he was able to get out of Greece is that he had cancer and was also getting treatment here, if I recall correctly. Thus he did not exactly have a large window of opportunity to sit around and make other arrangements.

The difference between Bp Theophilus and the New Calendar Church bishops of Greece seems clear to me: Bishop Theophilus had left the collaborationist Romanian patriarchate to join the ROCOR for matters of faith; the issue of the New Calendar was seen as a pastoral matter in this case to be worked out.  I believe St John Maximovich acted in this way towards some of the Dutch and French people he brought in. The New Calendar bishops of Greece, on the other hand, were leaving the Old Calendar to go to the New, and on the basis of the ecclesiology of the 1920 Encyclical, which the GOC considers heretical.

Adoption of the New Calendar does not instantly render someone graceless is the obvious extrapolation.  The 3 bishops of the GOC who returned to the Old Calendar remained for 12 years in it in the hopes that the Synod would reverse its course. They left only when it was obvious it would not, and they issued the 1935 statement only after the NC Church of Greece condemned them as graceless first.  The 1935 statement was not intended to imply to the rest of Worldwide Orthodoxy; and the GOC of Greece accepted ROCOR's right to use economy vis a vis the New Calendar.

Bp Akakios went back to Greece and co-consecrated with Archbishop Leonty; and by the time the GOC and ROCOR opened full communion in 1969, Bp Theophilus was gone anyway. It is thus important to look at the reasons behind things when we investigate them.  No one that I know thinks the ordinations of Archbishop Akakios and Bishop Petros were canonically regular to be clear; the granting by ROCOR of ordination certificates in 1968 and 1969 to me was necessary to remove the veil of canonical problems from the ordinations; at the same time, however, there clearly was a real persecution going on, and we know that that sometimes warrants such actions which would otherwise be unjustifiable.

Thank you Father for the explaination.  Makes sense.   Is it true that "After the death of Metropolitan Chrysostom, the Florinites had no Bishops, and it is said that Metropolitan Chrysostom advised his flock to go under the protection of the Matthewite Bishops"?

I have heard this claim made also by the Matthewites.
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« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2009, 05:37:15 PM »

To my knowledge, he told them if there was a way to fix things with the Matthewites, try to fix them, but did not actually give them orders to do anything specific.  Met Chrysostomos's voluminous writings (over 11 volumes I believe) are collected in Greek, but I don't read Greek fluently (yet) so I can't really go into much detail concerning that.
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« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2009, 06:34:32 AM »

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Irish Hermit, is there a ROCOR Synodal declaration that the New Calendarists have grace and are in the true church? I don't think so. They didn't make any official declarations about the matter,

Dear Jonathan,

You are mistaken.  The Russian Church Abroad has always accepted the New Calendar Churches as having grace and as being in the true Church.  I have given, and so has ROCORthodox, two official Synodical declarations from ROCA.  See Message No. 166.
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« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2009, 06:53:28 AM »

"Irish Hermit, is there a ROCOR Synodal declaration that the New Calendarists have grace and are in the true church? I don't think so. They didn't make any official declarations about the matter, which does not mean you can claim they were on the new calendarists side, when from 1969 till 2006 they were in communion with old calendarists. The lone actions of Abp Anthony of Geneva are outweighed by the combined actions of all the other bishops."

- This line of thinking is not at all logicial.  When the GOC was in communion with ROCOR
she shared undivided communion with "world orthodoxy" as ROCOR was openly in communion with Jerusalem and Serbia. In the past Fr. Ambrose has posted a link to a late 1960's Greek Archdiocese yearbook stating that GOA was in commuinion with ROCOR.  In fact, there exists no official statement of ROCOR breaking communion with "world orthodoxy" even if there were at policies in place at a given time that ROCOR refrained from only from concelebrating with certain jurisdictions. The bottom line here which deserves a strait answer is - how can the GOC claim they were not in communion with "world orthodoxy" when they were in communion with ROCOR who was? Claiming "we didn't know" is not acceptable given the ROCOR monastic presence in Jerusalem!
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« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2009, 07:14:17 AM »


- This line of thinking is not at all logicial.  When the GOC was in communion with ROCOR
she shared undivided communion with "world orthodoxy" as ROCOR was openly in communion with Jerusalem and Serbia. In the past Fr. Ambrose has posted a link to a late 1960's Greek Archdiocese yearbook stating that GOA was in commuinion with ROCOR. 

Indeed yes.  Here is the entry from the 1968 Greek Orthodox Yearbook.
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« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2009, 10:37:46 AM »

Here is Metropolitan Philaret's and ROCOR's position in 1974 on the New Calender:

"Concerning the question of the presence or absence of grace among the new calendarists the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad does not consider herself or any other Local Church to have the right to make a conclusive decision, since a categorical evaluation in this question can be undertaken only by a properly convened, competent Ecumenical Council, with the obligatory participation of the free Church of Russia."

It follows from this official statament in 1974 that ROCOR and Met. Philaret did not find the 1583 Sigillion as meaning what the GOC posters here today are asserting it does.
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« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2009, 11:23:52 AM »

Fair enough. I accept that ROCOR as late as the early 60s made official declarations that they were in communion with the new calendarists, against my assertion that they said no such thing, and even after they made official declarations that they were now in communion with the old calendarists, they refrained from saying anything against the new calendarists. They did, as someone noted, cease concelebrating with new calendarists, and not only them but also the Serbians, in practice, except for Abp Anthony of Geneva. As Fr Anastasios said elsewhere, they were telling us that they were not in communion with world orthodoxy, even though in reality it continued here and there. But it was definitely not the normal practice to concelebrate with new calendarists or allow communion with them, so even if ROCOR did not feel competent to make a judgment on its own about the ecclesial status of the new calendarists without the opportunity to call a pan-orthodox synod, it's obvious whose side they were on in practice. Now you can choose to ignore the practice and continue to claim that because there was no unambiguous declaration that the new calendarists were outside the church, somehow ROCOR can still be considered to be in communion with them, but I don't buy it, because I don't think that kind of legalistic reasoning does justice to the actual position of the majority of the ROCOR, and particularly with the statements of the First Hierarch Philaret, who had greater authority than any of the other individual bishops, such as Anthony of Geneva. So we can agree to disagree on this matter if you are not convinced by my evidence, but you can't pretend that I don't have evidence to support my position.
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« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2009, 11:33:10 AM »

Here is Metropolitan Philaret's and ROCOR's position in 1974 on the New Calender:

"Concerning the question of the presence or absence of grace among the new calendarists the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad does not consider herself or any other Local Church to have the right to make a conclusive decision, since a categorical evaluation in this question can be undertaken only by a properly convened, competent Ecumenical Council, with the obligatory participation of the free Church of Russia."

It follows from this official statament in 1974 that ROCOR and Met. Philaret did not find the 1583 Sigillion as meaning what the GOC posters here today are asserting it does.

Not exactly. As I have stated previously before, it does not follow that we GOC members think the Sigillion instantly makes someone on the NC graceless. However, from our POV, the reaction of one local Church (the Church of Greece, i.e. the Old Calendar Church of Greece) applied the Sigillion to the in-its-view schismatic New Calendar Church of Greece in 1935, whereas ROCOR was stating that it did not view the question of grace as something that could be decided save for an ecumenical council.  Clearly we have two differing reactions to the problem.  However, the recognition and official communion with the GOC of Greece presupposes something clearly, namely that the ROCOR did not fully accept the New Calendar Church of Greece; if it did, it would have been violating the canons against transgressing others' canonical territory.  What "fully accepted" means is open to debate and discussion.
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« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2009, 11:39:02 AM »


- This line of thinking is not at all logicial.  When the GOC was in communion with ROCOR
she shared undivided communion with "world orthodoxy" as ROCOR was openly in communion with Jerusalem and Serbia. In the past Fr. Ambrose has posted a link to a late 1960's Greek Archdiocese yearbook stating that GOA was in commuinion with ROCOR. 

Indeed yes.  Here is the entry from the 1968 Greek Orthodox Yearbook.

Does anyone have the yearbook from 1969 and 1970, after the ROCOR entered communion with the GOC? I wonder when the GOA stopped listing the ROCOR.

The reason I ask is this: it seems to me that the ROCOR gradually moved away from communion with the other Churches, and always maintained a tentative association with the JP and Serbian Church, although differing bishops seem to have had differing views.  But I would be interested to know what really were the instances of any intercommunion, concelebration, participation in consecrations, etc.  It seems to me that when ROCOR made its decision to be in communion with the GOC, the instances of communion and other churchly acts with "mainstream Orthodoxy" dropped off. I have noted before that I have a letter that Archbishop Leonty wrote to Bp Petros of the GOC asserting that he is most definitely not in communion with the Serbian patriarch German.  At the same time, we have had posters here assert that they were communed in the ROCOR in the 1970's and 1980's.  I think that we are basically having a lot of anecdotal evidence being thrown about without a consistent criteria for how to judge it and process it in this discussion.  When I was in the ROCOR archives, I did not focus on the 1970's relations between ROCOR and the other Churches as it was not the focus of my thesis. But it would certainly be an interesting investigation to undertake.
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« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2009, 11:48:53 AM »

The Serbian Church and the Russian Church Abroad

They did, as someone noted, cease concelebrating with new calendarists, and not only them but also the Serbians,

No, no!

I was a monk in Serbia in the late 1970s and early 80s, in the monastery of Zica (kind of equivalent to the importance which Sergeev Posad holds in the history of the Russian Church and State.)  Any visiting priest from the Russian Church Abroad concelebrated at our daily Liturgy.

Bishop Mark of Germany was close friends of the holy Father Justin Popovich and Fr Justin's three disciples who became bishops.  Bishop Mark visited Serbia often and concelebrated with Serbian bishops.

The priest of the ROCA church in Bari was a Serbian priest on loan from the Serbian Patriarchate and he also served with the visiting ROCA priests who came to  venerate the relics of Saint Nicholas.

I myself, while a priest of the Serbian Church, was parish priest for 3 parishes of the Russian Church Abroad and served with the Russian Archbishop Paul (Pavlov) and Archbishop Hilarion (now Metropolitan) and of course with any visiting ROCA priests (including with Fr Herman Podmoshensky of Platina when he visited New Zealand - sorry to be a name dropper!)

So to say that concelebration with the Serbs ceased is not really true and somewhere you have picked up wrong information.
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« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2009, 11:54:39 AM »


Does anyone have the yearbook from 1969 and 1970, after the ROCOR entered communion with the GOC? I wonder when the GOA stopped listing the ROCOR.


1968 is the last year the Greek Orthodox Yearbook lists the Russian Church Abroad.  However that did not signify the complete end to concelebration.  In this country, with the Greek Metropolitan Dionysios, concelebration never ceased. 
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« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2009, 12:03:34 PM »

....and particularly with the statements of the First Hierarch Philaret, who had greater authority than any of the other individual bishops

No, my friend.  The Synod of the Russian Church Abroad has always been conciliar in the extreme, refusing to issue synodal statements unless there were a 100% consensus from the bishops.

To give an example, ROCA's Statement on baptism of converts was obliged to be toned down and baptism was made an optional decision of the diocesan bishops because some of the bishops would not agree with Metropolitan Philaret's insistence that it had to be mandatory.
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« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2009, 02:58:56 PM »

Irish Hermit, thanks for your personal recollections about concelebration between ROCOR and the Serbian Patriarchate. On the one hand, my understanding is that the European part of ROCOR was under Anthony of Geneva and Mark of Berlin at the time you were in Serbia, and we know they were at the 'liberal' end of the Synod. I have already pointed out that it doesn't seem historically accurate to take this liberal wing as representing the conciliar view of ROCOR with regard to the new calendarists or churches that had officially adopted ecumenist positions, like the Serbian patriarchate after 1965. Met Philaret, Abp Averky and others are on record as having much stricter views with respect to the Serbians. At the least, the ROCOR position to Serbia and Jerusalem can be called ambiguous, while its position with regard to the new calendarists I think is fairly called unambiguously against, at least in terms of the refusal to concelebrate with new calendarists. You did mention Dionysios; do you remember when and where concelebration with him was taking place?

Regarding our synodal position against the new calendarists, it is not quite the same thing as the ROCOR's position, since our Synod ought to have more competence to pass judgment on the Orthodoxy of the new calendarist hierarchs in Greece, their own local church, than the Russian church does. We don't have a Matthewite mentality about the issue of grace, however, that is we don't see the absence of grace in the new calendarist church itself to be a dogmatic issue. I know many in my church who do not believe the new calendarists are devoid of grace. My understanding of how we hardened our position is that it was basically a reaction to the hardened position of the new calendarists, as I indicated earlier. When the first three bishops declared for the old calendar, they issued that proclamation indicating that the calendar change invoked the anathemas of the 16th century, which, as they pointed out, was the argument of Chrysostom Papadopoulos himself before he became Abp of Athens and instituted the calendar change in 1923. The state church immediately deposed them for reverting to the old calendar and persecution started afresh, and this provoked the notorious encyclical which spelled out more clearly that the adoption of the new calendar made the state church schismatic and devoid of grace. Technically that has been our position since then, although Met Chrysostom of Florina's personal doubts provoked the Matthewite schism in 1937. It seems, however, that our strict position did not prevent the ROCOR from entering into communion with us and even consecrating bishops for us, despite the fact the ROCOR never made similar declarations about the new calendarists.

Do I personally follow this strict position? I am agnostic, and I don't feel it's useful to have an opinion in my interaction with new calendarists and other world orthodox. I did however feel bound by honesty to say that this was our official synodal position, unlike the Cyprianite old calendarists who officially hold the new calendarists have grace and are the Mother Church of the old calendarists. My own position has become more and more relaxed as time goes by, but I don't see my personal dithering as impinging on my determination to remain with the old calendarists and the struggle to restore the traditional calendar. Even if I came to believe the new calendarists were still grace-filled, why would I then abandon the struggle to restore the ancient calendar, renounce ecumenism and rejuvenate traditional Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2009, 03:27:56 PM »

An interesting episode related to this topic is that when the 1974 Encyclical was issued by the GOC, Bp Petros had some issues with it and he didn't sign it. He asked ROCOR what they thought and they send him back that 1974 statement on grace they issued.  On that advice, he refused to sign the Encyclical, and the GOC cut him off from communion...so ROCOR refused to concelebrate with him from 1974 for a few years because the GOC had cut him from communion and they were in communion with the GOC...(!).  I have a letter where Bp Petros writes the ROCOR bishops in utter confusion, stating basically, "I did what you told me to, and now you won't back me up."  Thankfully, in 1985 Bp Petros's position with the GOC Synod was restored, and he continued to maintain a kind of dual communion with ROCOR.  His last concelebration with ROCOR bishops was in 1996 at Jordanville if I recall correctly. He reposed in 1997.

His successor, Jonathan and my bishop Metropolitan Pavlos, continued to try and bridge the gap between ROCOR and the GOC; he attended Met Laurus's installation in 2001 and was invited in to the altar by Metropolitan Laurus.
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« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2009, 04:40:01 PM »

Fair enough. I accept that ROCOR as late as the early 60s made official declarations that they were in communion with the new calendarists, against my assertion that they said no such thing, and even after they made official declarations that they were now in communion with the old calendarists, they refrained from saying anything against the new calendarists.

This is all very simple (please forgive me if these items have FINALLY been addressed the the few previous posts earlier since my last post):

1.  ROCOR never broke communion with any of the NC'ists.  No such Synodal declaration exists.

2. ROCOR was "in communion" - even if there sometimes existed policies which forbade CONCELEBRATION - with the New Calendarists by the fact that they recognized them as being part of the One, Holy, Catholic Orthodox Church via our communion with other parts of the Church.

3. The GOC was in communion with ROCOR knowing at least full well that ROCOR was "in communion" with the Jerusalem  Patriarchate.   

4. The GOC posters have not explained how somebody can be in communion with one part of the Church and not be in communion with the rest.
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« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2009, 04:44:53 PM »



This is all very simple

Actually, it's not. That's why this thread continues on, and will continue on, ad nauseum.  Cool
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« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2009, 04:48:37 PM »

I have already pointed out that it doesn't seem historically accurate to take this liberal wing as representing the conciliar view of ROCOR with regard to the new calendarists or churches that had officially adopted ecumenist positions, like the Serbian patriarchate after 1965. Met Philaret, Abp Averky and others are on record as having much stricter views with respect to the Serbians. At the least, the ROCOR position to Serbia and Jerusalem can be called ambiguous, while its position with regard to the new calendarists I think is fairly called unambiguously against, at least in terms of the refusal to concelebrate with new calendarists. You did mention Dionysios; do you remember when and where concelebration with him was taking place?
 

With the deepest respect, this line of thinking misses the mark completely.  ROCOR's position on the JP or SP is defined by the very fact that we always remained in communion with them.  And the GOC was in communion with us during this time as well.  

At the root of this issue are these facts.  

We are left only with waiting for the explaination from the GOC posters is if there is only ONE undivided Church how it is possible to be in communion with one part of the Church and not the other parts?

This simple item should be understood first, no?
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« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2009, 04:59:53 PM »



This is all very simple

Actually, it's not. That's why this thread continues on, and will continue on, ad nauseum.  Cool


Lovingly and with sadness I assert this is only because the resistance position is faced with their own "catch 22" if they deal with the underlying question that stresses their general assertions.   Logically this question would have to be honestly addressed:

If there is only ONE undivided Church how it is possible to be "in communion" with one part of the Church and not with the other parts?    

Answer:  YOU CAN'T!

The whole issue is muddied by confusing "non-concelebration" with a break "in communion".  

Also, to claim "we didn't know ROCOR was in communion with the JP" is not believable given our monastic presence there.

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« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2009, 06:07:40 PM »

Irish Hermit, thanks for your personal recollections about concelebration between ROCOR and the Serbian Patriarchate. On the one hand, my understanding is that the European part of ROCOR was under Anthony of Geneva and Mark of Berlin at the time you were in Serbia, and we know they were at the 'liberal' end of the Synod.

That won't wash, dear friend.   A lot of these priests who very happily served Liturgy with the Serbian clergy in Serbia were pilgrim/tourists from the United States and I remember that some of them (think converts!)  appalled us with their fundamentalist outlook.  All the same, they concelebrated with us decadent ecumenism-ridden, Communist-Patriarch driven, horrible Serbs. 
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« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2009, 06:48:06 PM »



This is all very simple

Actually, it's not. That's why this thread continues on, and will continue on, ad nauseum.

It's a safety valve for the malcontents and curmudgeons.   It helps to contain us and prevents us erupting out all over the forum. laugh
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« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2009, 07:01:29 PM »

Maybe they felt bound to concelebrate with you because you were ROCOR like them. Doesn't mean they have to like the Red Patriarch.

My whole point is that whether ROCOR was 'in communion' with World Orthodoxy has to be judged by their practice. If they had synodically declared they were no longer in communion with WO, but they continued to do so freely and frequently in practice, I wouldn't believe their 'declarations', I would judge their position on their practice. So the fact they did not concelebrate or commune with new calendarists shows they did not have communion with new calendarists, regardless of whether they issued some declaration severing communion with them.

Serbia and Jerusalem were a little ambiguous because while they maintained communion even in practice with new calendarists, they maintained the traditional calendar. There were local circumstances which affected the ROCOR's attitude, e.g. the historical closeness between Serbia and ROCOR, and the old Russian missions in Palestine.

I think you need to turn the question around. Let's say that the issue of who is in communion with whom is rather too complicated to untangle completely. The fathers say not to have communion with heretics and schismatics, but in real life this is easier said than done. Now, given that I came to appreciate the importance of maintaining the traditional calendar, I had three choices when deciding which jurisdiction to join. I could ignore my conscience and join a new calendarist jurisdiction, or I could join an old calendar jurisdiction. The choice is easy enough. Why not ROCOR? Because ROCOR is now with the MP, and the MP while following the old calendar, supports all those churches that innovated, so you can't say it actually supports the old calendar, since it doesn't have communion with local churches that are struggling to maintain the old calendar in their own jurisdiction. So the MP is only old calendar by habit, not conviction; I am old calendar by conviction. That is why I chose the jurisdiction of the GOC of Greece.
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« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2009, 07:06:15 PM »

Maybe they felt bound to concelebrate with you because you were ROCOR like them. Doesn't mean they have to like the Red Patriarch.
.

No, I did not transfer into ROCA until 1996.  Up until then I was a very happy little Serbian priestmonk.
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« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2009, 07:07:00 PM »



This is all very simple

Actually, it's not. That's why this thread continues on, and will continue on, ad nauseum.  Cool


Lovingly and with sadness I assert this is only because the resistance position is faced with their own "catch 22" if they deal with the underlying question that stresses their general assertions.   Logically this question would have to be honestly addressed:

If there is only ONE undivided Church how it is possible to be "in communion" with one part of the Church and not with the other parts?    

Answer:  YOU CAN'T!

Ah, I get it, the thread only continues because we can't admit that we're wrong. Gotcha  Cool

I am not sure that your theory takes in to account such events as the dual hierarchies existing in Antioch in the 4th century, or other instances where the Church clearly existed in two parts that were not in full communion or relations temporarily (which is quite different than the Branch Theory where various Orthodox and heretics are still in the Church after hundreds of years of separation and divergent beliefs).  Or with the split between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, where each patriarchate broke communion with Rome individually and gradually.  The "communion ecclesiology" idea that floats about these days is appealing but it doesn't seem to hold up to me in light of Church history. But that is the subject of another thread.

Problem is, ROCOR is the one that in recent times employed the idea of breaking communion with one Church at a time.  ROCOR clearly said the Metropolia was schismatic (I am thinking of the sources in the booklet "The Truth about the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad"; ROCOR clearly taught that the patriarchs in Russia were illegitimate (I recall the Synodal resolution from 1990).  Yet ROCOR was with Serbia and Jerusalem, and thus it was the one that created the awkward situation.  We the GOC urged them to not celebrate with anyone in World Orthodoxy to be consistent, and we received the message on several times that they were not in communion with World Orthodoxy. The Matthewites would have never joined communion with ROCOR if someone in ROCOR were not telling them that they were not in communion with World Orthodoxy (and we can't blame it all on HTM!)

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The whole issue is muddied by confusing "non-concelebration" with a break "in communion".  

Actually, I agree.  I think that the situations may need to be more carefully distinguished. It seems that as two Churches move apart, first the episcopal concelebrations stop, while lay communion tends to continue on.  You can find examples of New Calendarists communing in our Churches throughout the tenure of Bp Petros. But did that mean we were "in communion with" the New Calendarists? No.  It seems to me that refraining from concelebration episcopally is a "break in communion" if you are not commemorating the others in your dyptychs reguarly, while intercommunion might continue. Eventually, it would cease if the problems are not rectified.  These measures are meant to be corrective and thus are not undertaken hastily.

I'd like to see examples of ROCOR and Serbian episcopal concelebrations throughout the 1970's. Not Archbishop Mark visiting Serbia and serving with St/Fr Justin. Big liturgies with multiple bishops on both sides serving together would be good. I am not asking anyone to do my research for me, but just saying it's something I'd like to analyze myself to better understand the situation.

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Also, to claim "we didn't know ROCOR was in communion with the JP" is not believable given our monastic presence there.

Again, not as obvious as you think it is.  I have read that the JP stopped allowing ROCOR bishops to celebrate in Jerusalem at some point, while the ROCOR priests in Jerusalem continued to commemorate the Jerusalem Patriarch due to the legal situation existing there. It's making some interesting investigation.

Far from being in a catch-22, however, I think it just shows that while the local Church of Greece (i.e. the Old Calendarists) moved to censure the New Calendarists immediately, ROCOR took a different approach, while not denying the seriousness of the issue.  It gradually moved away from relations at different levels with different Churches.  Some bishops apparently had different policies, which is to be expected on some level (witness our Bp Petros concelebrating with ROCOR in 1996 while the bishops in Greece would not have approved).  Establishing full communion and concelebration with the GOC of Greece in 1969 was certainly part of this, and was certainly had ecclesiological implications.  It actually reminds me of how the split between Papism and Orthodoxy occurred, where each patriarchate broke communion with Rome gradually.

So yes, either the topic is complex and admits to different approaches in history and different understandings now, or we GOC members are in a catch-22 and just can't admit it.  I think you know where I stand.  Wink

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« Reply #28 on: August 06, 2009, 07:10:36 PM »


My whole point is that whether ROCOR was 'in communion' with World Orthodoxy has to be judged by their practice. If they had synodically declared they were no longer in communion with WO, but they continued to do so freely and frequently in practice, I wouldn't believe their 'declarations', I would judge their position on their practice. So the fact they did not concelebrate or commune with new calendarists shows they did not have communion with new calendarists, regardless of whether they issued some declaration severing communion with them..

So let us judge it by the practice...... ROCA never stopped communing with New Calendar Churches, although concelebration gradually withered away (with no synodal decision.)   The only prohibition of which I am aware with communion was a prohibition to take communion in an Old Calendar Church, to wit, the Patriarchate of Moscow. 
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« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2009, 07:10:54 PM »



This is all very simple

Actually, it's not. That's why this thread continues on, and will continue on, ad nauseum.

It's a safety valve for the malcontents and curmudgeons.   It helps to contain us and prevents us erupting out all over the forum. laugh

Yeah, it's better to just keep beating a dead horse in one place than dragging it around and ticking off the neighbors  Tongue
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« Reply #30 on: August 06, 2009, 07:23:43 PM »


  I have read that the JP stopped allowing ROCOR bishops to celebrate in Jerusalem at some point, while the ROCOR priests in Jerusalem continued to commemorate the Jerusalem Patriarch due to the legal situation existing there.

I am not sure about that.  The Patriarchate would not allow a ROCA bishop to be appointed as Head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem since it saw that as an intrusion into its canonical territory.  For this reason the head of the Mission has always been an Archimandrite.

Naturally the ROCA clergy in Jerusalem have always commemorated the Patriarch and served Liturgy on antimensia with his signature and he has always been notifed of the election of Abbesses, etc..  What else would we expect within the canonical territory of his Patriarchate?
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« Reply #31 on: August 06, 2009, 07:27:32 PM »

My whole point is that whether ROCOR was 'in communion' with World Orthodoxy has to be judged by their practice.

That practice was exemplifed in services with the JP - and connected with all of the Orthodox Church - in the Holy Land!
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« Reply #32 on: August 06, 2009, 07:41:05 PM »

So the MP is only old calendar by habit, not conviction; I am old calendar by conviction. That is why I chose the jurisdiction of the GOC of Greece.

Holy Mother Russia was heading towards a Calendar change BEFORE Communism and BEFORE the creation of the Moscow Patriarchate and during the time when Patriarch Saint Tikhon was in the ascendancy.

The Calendar change was on the agenda for the momentous 1917 Synod but the Revolution prevented the bishops from covering all topics on the agenda.
\

Well it all kind of depends on things like the fact that the Russian church never changed the calendar. The fact that calendar change was on the table is about as interesting to me as the fact that calendar change was proposed in the East even before the Pope thought it was a good idea. Fr Basil's book I linked to lists all sorts of interesting episodes in church history where calendar revisions were proposed and rejected, because the Church doesn't care about 'astronomical accuracy', she cares about the unity of the Church as expressed in common worship following a common liturgical calendar. What matters is whether we celebrate the Feasts on the same days, not whether they occur in the same relation to the true solar equinox every year. If the whole Church had changed the calendar in 1923, I would admit I was on the wrong side. But she didn't. And it only counts if the whole Church changes at once.

Also it's disingenuous to treat the calendar change separately from the issue of ecumenism. The encyclical of 1920 which is seen as the first explicitly ecumenist statement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate states the calendar revision as one of only many changes to be made to bring the Orthodox closer to the Western churches. Also the 1923 council in Constantinople under Meletios had many additional ecumenist proposals in addition to the calendar revision which thankfully were never passed. So all in all I reject this innovation because it was not done catholically, but in certain jurisdictions only, which violates church unity, and it was done blatantly as part of an ecumenist program which I reject for doctrinal reasons.
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« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2009, 09:47:03 PM »

My hats off to you Fr. Anastasios and the staff here at OC. net for hosting - finally - a discussion on this item that can sensibly address this topic without going caustic.  Amazing!

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ROCORthodox: Church how it is possible to be "in communion" with one part of the Church and not with the other parts?   

Answer:  YOU CAN'T!

Ah, I get it, the thread only continues because we can't admit that we're wrong. Gotcha  Cool

Not wrong but perhaps not going deep enough.  I'll explain.

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I am not sure that your theory takes in to account such events as the dual hierarchies existing in Antioch in the 4th century, or other instances where the Church clearly existed in two parts that were not in full communion or relations temporarily (which is quite different than the Branch Theory where various Orthodox and heretics are still in the Church after hundreds of years of separation and divergent beliefs).
 

Full communion.  Can we agree that full communion means all relations operating at 'optimum' capacity?  By this I mean no constraints between laity and clergy participating in the local lives of each other's parishes, etc.  Partial communion would be defined in various degrees even to the furthest point of not serving together (most likely in context to administrative hostility).   These degrees are important PLUS we have help here from St. Basil in this context:

"Heresies is the name applied to those who have broken entirely and have become alienated from the faith itself. Schisms is the name applied to those who on account of ecclesiastical causes and remediable questions have developed a quarrel amongst themselves … [Concerning heresies] the question is one involving a difference of faith in God itself. It therefore seemed best to those who dealt with the subject in the beginning to rule that the attitude of heretics should be set aside entirely; but as for those who have merely split apart as a schism, they were to be considered as still belonging to the Church."

The Canonical Epistles, Or, More Expressly, The Ninety-Two Canons, Of Our Father Among The Saints, Basil The Great Interpreted, The Rudder, (1957), p 773

The point here is what it means to still remain "in the Church" amidst extreme differences.   The GOC of today's standard should not be able to proclaim that ROCOR (back when she helped and was in communion with the GOC) was a part of the Church.   This, I think, is the contradiction that presents a problem that tends to get avoided in these discussions.

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Or with the split between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, where each patriarchate broke communion with Rome individually and gradually.  The "communion ecclesiology" idea that floats about these days is appealing but it doesn't seem to hold up to me in light of Church history. But that is the subject of another thread.

Heretical Schism.

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Problem is, ROCOR is the one that in recent times employed the idea of breaking communion with one Church at a time.
 

Breaking full communion or is it nonconcelebreation/administrative schism where "those who have merely split apart as a schism, they were to be considered as still belonging to the Church


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ROCOR clearly said the Metropolia was schismatic (I am thinking of the sources in the booklet "The Truth about the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad"; 
 

What kind of "schismatic"?  We need to identify which kind. 

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ROCOR clearly taught that the patriarchs in Russia were illegitimate (I recall the Synodal resolution from 1990).

Yes. Higher Church Authority.  However, this is nothing new in the Russian Church history,


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Yet ROCOR was with Serbia and Jerusalem, and thus it was the one that created the awkward situation.

But not awkward enough to break communion or even to dictate nonconcelebration across the board. 

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  We the GOC urged them to not celebrate with anyone in World Orthodoxy to be consistent, and we received the message on several times that they were not in communion with World Orthodoxy.


How could this be given our position in the Holy Land with the JP?  Actions speak louder than personal opinions.  The Holy Land and the JP are kinda like the "gateway" to world orthodoxy.  Boots to the ground reality with pilgrams from all over the Orthodox world praying and communing.


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The Matthewites would have never joined communion with ROCOR if someone in ROCOR were not telling them that they were not in communion with World Orthodoxy (and we can't blame it all on HTM!)

When is the authoritive voice of the Orthodox Church a "somebody"?  History shows there is another "somebody" doing something to contradict another "somebody" but the conciliar, official voice of the Church is law.  Plus actions!
Did the Matthewites and the other GOC's turn a blind eye to the part of ROCOR who was concelebrating "outside of the Church".  Come on!  Proper order is spelled out.

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The whole issue is muddied by confusing "non-concelebration" with a break "in communion". 

Actually, I agree.  I think that the situations may need to be more carefully distinguished.

Honestly - and with great respect - I think this is more of an issue of finding people who are telling you what you want to hear for alterior motives in the moment.  Forget the so-called openly "ecumenist bishops" in ROCOR and the fact that ROCOR is serving with "world orthodox" in the Holy Land.   Our immediate needs require canonical ROCOR to help restore our episcopacy so let's ignore those we don't like and focus on those who we do.  The problem is the justification and criticism comes later.  Those who are rooted in those past decisions have to defend these contradictions retroactively. 

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It seems that as two Churches move apart, first the episcopal concelebrations stop, while lay communion tends to continue on.  You can find examples of New Calendarists communing in our Churches throughout the tenure of Bp Petros. But did that mean we were "in communion with" the New Calendarists? No


I don't mean to sound harsh here.  This is all good and well to claim now from the current GOC position but the GOC could not afford this luxury concerning ROCOR when in need back in the day.  The fact that the essential help came from ROCOR (in communion with "World Orthodoxy") at the time one needed help but now to trash that same status is simply bad form. 

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It seems to me that refraining from concelebration episcopally is a "break in communion" if you are not commemorating the others in your dyptychs reguarly, while intercommunion might continue. Eventually, it would cease if the problems are not rectified.  These measures are meant to be corrective and thus are not undertaken hastily.

A break of communion seems to me clear statements saying such, issued conciliarly by the governing espicopal body of the Church who's job it is do make such clear annoucements. 

Quote
I'd like to see examples of ROCOR and Serbian episcopal concelebrations throughout the 1970's. Not Archbishop Mark visiting Serbia and serving with St/Fr Justin. Big liturgies with multiple bishops on both sides serving together would be good. I am not asking anyone to do my research for me, but just saying it's something I'd like to analyze myself to better understand the situation.

Speak to some of the ROCOR clerics who are regulars through out the last 40-30 years in Jerusalem.

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Also, to claim "we didn't know ROCOR was in communion with the JP" is not believable given our monastic presence there.

Again, not as obvious as you think it is.  I have read that the JP stopped allowing ROCOR bishops to celebrate in Jerusalem at some point, while the ROCOR priests in Jerusalem continued to commemorate the Jerusalem Patriarch due to the legal situation existing there. It's making some interesting investigation.

As you indicate, this issue needs more than hearsay and deserves quality research. 

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Far from being in a catch-22, however, I think it just shows that while the local Church of Greece (i.e. the Old Calendarists) moved to censure the New Calendarists immediately, ROCOR took a different approach, while not denying the seriousness of the issue.


But it is a "catch 22" seeing as ROCOR was in fact in communion with JP, the epicenter of boots to the ground pan-Orthodox pilgrimage.

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It gradually moved away from relations at different levels with different Churches.  Some bishops apparently had different policies, which is to be expected on some level (witness our Bp Petros concelebrating with ROCOR in 1996 while the bishops in Greece would not have approved).
 

Agreed.  All about official statements vs. personal opinions.  We can "proof text" anything we want to suit our various needs at the moment.


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Establishing full communion and concelebration with the GOC of Greece in 1969 was certainly part of this, and was certainly had ecclesiological implications.  It actually reminds me of how the split between Papism and Orthodoxy occurred, where each patriarchate broke communion with Rome gradually.

Well by that measure we have almost a 200 year leeway.  Why argue when we are just getting warmed up?

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So yes, either the topic is complex and admits to different approaches in history and different understandings now, or we GOC members are in a catch-22 and just can't admit it.  I think you know where I stand.  Wink

The "catch 22" is the fact that ROCOR was in openly communion with world orthodoxy via the JP Holy Land epicenter when the GOC needed help and joined in communion with ROCOR but the doctrine the GOC holds now, this action would be unacceptable.  Either this fact was not a big deal back then - or if it was - it could be over looked due to "necessity" or the GOC has changed its positon since then to a more Matthewite-ish stand.   Speaking of which, why did the GOC not 'pursue' the Matthewites as suggested by the dying Archbishop Chrysostomos but instead utilized ROCOR?  It seems to me the Matthewites were preaching then what the GOC asserts now.

In a word, IMO, the GOC should not denouce ROCOR for being in communion with world Orthodoxy now when it was ROCOR in communion with world Orthodoxy then that gave her the help she needed.   


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« Reply #34 on: August 06, 2009, 09:57:57 PM »

I like the fact that I can chat with you ROCORthodox without getting upset. Clearly you and I share an interest in discussing things and getting to the bottom of the issue without being partisan. Would that all such discussions proceed thusly here.

If I have time tomorrow, I will try to address your points in depth, but for today I have to admit I am at my time limit.  One thing that would be helpful for me is if you could also address whether you think that the situation in "World Orthodoxy" is fundamentally the same today as it was in 1969? I'm sure you can imagine where I would be going with that question, but I'd like to know if you think things in regard to ecumenism, the calendar, etc, are a) better, b) worse, c) the same, d) it was never an issue e) none of the above before I spend time elaborating my thoughts on the matter.

in Christ,

Fr Anastasios
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« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2009, 03:40:39 AM »

"Heresies is the name applied to those who have broken entirely and have become alienated from the faith itself. Schisms is the name applied to those who on account of ecclesiastical causes and remediable questions have developed a quarrel amongst themselves … [Concerning heresies] the question is one involving a difference of faith in God itself. It therefore seemed best to those who dealt with the subject in the beginning to rule that the attitude of heretics should be set aside entirely; but as for those who have merely split apart as a schism, they were to be considered as still belonging to the Church."

The Canonical Epistles, Or, More Expressly, The Ninety-Two Canons, Of Our Father Among The Saints, Basil The Great Interpreted, The Rudder, (1957), p 773

Father Anastasios and Jonathan have been clear that the Calendar is a dogmatic issue.  It is one of heresy.   They have been able to prove this is the GOC teaching by citing official Declarations of the GOC as well as personal statements from such as Elder Savvas of the Holy Mountain.  The conclusion, following Saint Basil, is that they are right to judge New Calendarists (and those in communion with them) as heretics alienated from the faith and outside the Church.
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« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2009, 04:54:23 AM »

To Fr. Anastasios: I too enjoy the fact that this discussion can advance without rancor. We can use level heads to get to the bottom of this item.

To Fr. Ambrose: I am aware that the GOC position is that the NC is a heresy. My position is the ROCOR she was "in communion with" was basically "in communion" with heretics according to the GOC position I am seeing today.

I am trying to see how ROCOR's open communion with the pan-gatekeeper of "World Orthodoxy", the JP, could be acceptable given this doctrine.
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« Reply #37 on: August 07, 2009, 05:00:31 AM »

To Fr. Ambrose: I am aware that the GOC position is that the NC is a heresy. My position is the ROCOR she was "in communion with" was basically "in communion" with heretics according to the GOC position I am seeing today.

I am trying to see how ROCOR's open communion with the pan-gatekeeper of "World Orthodoxy", the JP, could be acceptable given this doctrine.


Yes, I do indeed see the dichotomy and I am keen to hear how the GOC was able to handle it in the past and today.
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« Reply #38 on: August 07, 2009, 05:56:11 AM »

I like the fact that I can chat with you ROCORthodox without getting upset. Clearly you and I share an interest in discussing things and getting to the bottom of the issue without being partisan. Would that all such discussions proceed thusly here.

If I have time tomorrow, I will try to address your points in depth, but for today I have to admit I am at my time limit.  One thing that would be helpful for me is if you could also address whether you think that the situation in "World Orthodoxy" is fundamentally the same today as it was in 1969? I'm sure you can imagine where I would be going with that question, but I'd like to know if you think things in regard to ecumenism, the calendar, etc, are a) better, b) worse, c) the same, d) it was never an issue e) none of the above before I spend time elaborating my thoughts on the matter.

in Christ,

Fr Anastasios

Father I know you addressed this to others, but if I may I'd like to lay out what I think. I think that you can pick a different letter for different parts of the Church. For instance, the Moscow Patriarchate from 1969 (I think) to 1987 gave communion to Roman Catholics. In 1987 they discontinued the practice without formally renouncing it. After the ROCOR anti-ecumenist propaganda of the 90s they came out with the 2000 statement which represented a considerable backtracking on ecumenism. So I would pick a) for the MP, better (but still not good enough for us since they are still in the WCC). For the Antiochian Patriarchate on the other hand, I would pick b), worse, since in 1991 they issued that statement mentioned by Fr Maximus that they were now in communion with the non-Chalcedonians and practice intercommunion and concelebration frequently. For an anti-ecumenist this is about as bad as it can get. For the Ecumenical Patriarchate, I think I'd choose c), about the same, since in hindsight, the EP had already gone pretty far by lifting the anathemas against the Pope in 1965, even though the Pope hadn't renounced what we see as heresies. There was already mutual prayer and so forth, but no sharing of the chalice with the Pope. In 2002 in Ravenna Patriarch Bartholomew did give communion to Roman Catholics, but generally I don't see that the EP has moved significantly further or back than the 60s in ecumenism (though we see it as way too far already). Obviously, as an anti-ecumenist I don't think d), never an issue, applies except to the GOC and to ROCOR pre-union.
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« Reply #39 on: August 07, 2009, 06:13:27 AM »

the Moscow Patriarchate from 1969 (I think) to 1987 gave communion to Roman Catholics. In 1987 they discontinued the practice without formally renouncing it.

Can you substantiate a 20 year period of communing Roman Catholics?

I am not sure if it played out as you say.  I remember this.  The Russian Synod approved giving communion to Byzantine Catholics who were cut off from the ministrations of their own clergy (because they had all been killed or run out of the Soviet Union.)    The Ecumenical Patriarchate made a great fuss about this and threatened to break communion with Moscow.  Moscow backed off. 

The Church of Russia even when it was "Holy Russia" was no stranger to communing Catholics.  Periodically throughout history it has taken place, sometimes as a means to attempt to bring the U-people back into the Church.
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« Reply #40 on: August 07, 2009, 06:42:06 AM »

the Moscow Patriarchate from 1969 (I think) to 1987 gave communion to Roman Catholics. In 1987 they discontinued the practice without formally renouncing it.

Can you substantiate a 20 year period of communing Roman Catholics?

I am not sure if it played out as you say.  I remember this.  The Russian Synod approved giving communion to Byzantine Catholics who were cut off from the ministrations of their own clergy (because they had all been killed or run out of the Soviet Union.)    The Ecumenical Patriarchate made a great fuss about this and threatened to break communion with Moscow.  Moscow backed off. 

The Church of Russia even when it was "Holy Russia" was no stranger to communing Catholics.  Periodically throughout history it has taken place, sometimes as a means to attempt to bring the U-people back into the Church.


http://rocorstudies.org/?part=articles&aid=10637

The practice of the pre-revolutionary in communing Byzantine Catholics is certainly interesting, but whether or not the practice was in conformity with Orthodox teaching, as you put it the motivation seems to have been bringing the Byzantine Catholics back into Orthodoxy. The intercommunion practiced by today's ecumenists is rather about patching over difference, that is, doctrinal differences. As this Ukaz indicates, it's as much about bringing the Orthodox closer to the Papacy as about bringing the Catholics closer to the Orthodox. I don't know about you but that does not seem Orthodox to me.



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« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2009, 06:44:22 AM »

The dates I got were from an appendix in the book Against False Union. As I indicate, I'm not sure about the first date; it was around 1970 at any rate. When I get home I'll look up their reference and send it to you.
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« Reply #42 on: August 07, 2009, 07:42:04 AM »

The practice of the pre-revolutionary in communing Unites is certainly interesting, but whether or not the practice was in conformity with Orthodox teaching, as you put it the motivation seems to have been bringing the unites back into Orthodoxy. The intercommunion practiced by today's ecumenists is rather about patching over difference, that is, doctrinal differences. As this Ukase indicates, it's as much about bringing the Orthodox closer to the Papacy as about bringing the Catholics closer to the Orthodox. I don't know about you but that does not seem Orthodox to me.

The Orthodox whom I know personally who commune Roman Catholics are Antiochian clergy.  But it does not seem to be with the aim of drawing closer to the papacy in particular since they also commune Anglicans and, at least one priest I knew in the past, Presbyterians and Methodists.

A few years ago we had the unique experience of being with an Antiochian priest on a visit to the Greek Metropolitan Joseph (Harkiolakis.)   The Antiochian priest mentioned that their clergy commune Catholics and Anglicans and the response was a lecture form the Greek Metropolitan of how extremely wrong this is, with a strong suggestion that some priests need to undertake some Orthodox study.
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« Reply #43 on: August 07, 2009, 08:18:21 AM »


".... the Bishops’ Council deems it necessary to introduce a stricter practice, i.e., to baptize all heretics who come to the Church. Any other practice, i.e., the acceptance of Roman Catholics and Protestants baptized in the name of the Trinity into the Church through a repudiation of their heresy and the sacrament of chrismation, may be permitted only if strictly necessary. It must be with the express permission of a bishop and be motivated by considerations of “economy” or pastoral condensation.

Yes, this is the synodal decision on baptism issued by the Synod of ROCA.   The phrase which gave bishops the authority to modify the decision had to be inserted because several of the senior bishops (including Canada) declared they would not baptize all comers but would continue to adhere to the ancient traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church  -you'll find these different means of reception in the Hapgood Service Book blessed for publication by Patriarch Saint Tikhon.

The Australian Diocese of ROCA never "received" this decision except in the breach.  The reception of Catholics and Lutherans other than by baptism has remained the norm.   

As a Serbian priest I had been used to baptizing all comers during 17 years, including 2 Catholic priests and a nun, all on the direction of the Serbian bishop.  But when I moved into the Russian Church Abroad in 1996 I was ordered by the Dean to stop these wholesale baptisms and adhere to what is outlined in Hapgood!    I have to admit that when I had to receive a Catholic mother and her little daughter not by baptism but by chrismation it felt a little strange to me.  It still does.

But I am content to be obedient to the age-old tradition of the Russian Church.  In fact it is more than simply tradition,.  It is a canonical demand from a Moscow Council in 1667 or 1669 that Catholics must NOT be baptized.   This is the last canon Russia ever issued on the matter so it is still in force.  Russian priests who baptize Catholics are acting uncanonically!  Odd thought, isn't it.




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« Reply #44 on: August 07, 2009, 08:29:52 AM »

The Reception of Fr Seraphim Rose

This is what the biography of Fr. Seraphim Rose published by his own
monastery (St. Herman's) has to say:

"On Sunday, February 12/25th, 1962, the commemoration day of his
patron St. Eugene of Alexandria, Eugene was received into the Church.
The service was performed by an archpriest of the Russian Church
Abroad, Fr. Nicholas Dombrovsky, in the San Francisco "Joy of All Who
Sorrow" Cathedral. Fr. Nicholas had been instructed by Archbishop
Tikhon to receive Eugene through the Sacrament of Chrismation."



I looked at the Wikipedia article at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seraphim_Rose
and it says that Fr Seraphim was baptized Methodist and received into
Orthodoxy by Chrismation.
______________
"Born the youngest of three children to Frank and Esther Rose in San
Diego, Eugene was raised in California, where he would remain for the
rest of his life. He was baptized in the Methodist faith when he was
fourteen years old....

"This culminated in Eugene's decision to enter the Church through
chrismation in 1962."
_____________

Chrismation would have been the canonical method since he was received
in 1962. That was long before some sections of ROCA conceived the desire
to baptize all converts. That began in the 1970s, about 10 years after Fr
Seraphim's reception.

At the time of his reception ROCA was adhering to the three different Russian
modes of reception given in the Hapgood Service Book and which are simply
the centuries old practice of the Russian Church. It would have been unthinkable
to receive Fr Seraphim by Baptism.



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