But I thought that Orthodox bishops only give priests 'releases' if the priests are going to other Orthodox bishops. Somebody going to a non-Orthodox group wouldn't get a 'release'; he'd be deposed, right? So ISTM the BOC is claiming the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch recognizes it (part of the Coptic Church and the Oriental Orthodox communion) as equal to the Eastern Orthodox churches.
I don't think we, the BOC, are claiming anything on behalf of the Antiocheans in the UK. I guess they need to speak for themselves. You must remember that 10 years ago there were many people from many backgrounds seeking after Orthodoxy. I myself was received into Orthodoxy a couple of weeks after Pentecost in 1994 when the BOC had been united with the COP and it seemed that God was making a plain path for me to follow. I had also been interested in the Pilgrimage To Orthodoxy activity led by the Antiocheans.
Father David Sennitt has been a good friend of and to the BOC for many years. He chose to enter the Antiochean Church 10 years ago. Circumstances change and he now has a home and ministry among the BOC.
It was only right and proper that Father David should seek a canonical release, I guess it was gracious of +Gabriel to provide one, but he also knows my own +Seraphim. Since it is clear to anyone that knows us well that we do not confess any heresy, and certainly Father David has not suddenly become a heretic in the time I have known him, it seems only reasonable from a human level that a canonical release should be provided.
I think it shows that at ground-level there are a great many changes taking place, and many things which it is best not to mention, but people who know each other and respect each other know whether the other professes a heresy or not.
So it is important but not of universal application. Elsewhere things might pan out completely differently. We have quite a few Eastern Orthodox in our churches, just as Eastern Orthodox often have isolated Ethiopians or Eritreans. On the ground there is more reconciliation than is obvious.
My bishop is a guest at the Phanar most years now when he visits the Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II. Of course this willl just prove the faults in the EP in some eyes, but it doesn't actually take too many questions and too long to find out if someone is a Nestorian or a Eutychian. And if they are not then it is surely sin to act as if they are.
Seeking your prayers