I just read the following, somewhat hard to understand info from the http://orthodoxwiki.org/Holy_Synod_of_Milan article on the Milan Synod:
On February 14/27, 2011, the Synod announced that it had granted full autonomy to its American Dioceses, elevating Archbishop JOHN of New York to the rank of Metropolitan and erecting the Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles.
Communion between the Autonomous Metropolia of the Americas and the British Isles and the Milan Synod ceased effectively April 4, 2011. The Milan Synod was required by Patriarch Kyril to cease communion with any previous sister churches. The American Metropolia responded by confirming the cessation.
Now, Why would the Milan Synod grant autonomy to their North American diocese and then break communion with them in the space of a few short months, and if the autonomous Church of North America and the British Isles is no longer in communion with their mother Synod then who are they autonomously under?
Well, considering this mess is two weeks old I think people watching are expecting a lot from us! Let's see if I can help clarify this situation. (Probably not, because any answers we give are colored by the personal perceptions of others.)
This is likely a "clean break" situation as existed in 1990 when the Portuguese Bishops left for the official Polish Church to pursue their ecumenical goals. However, at that time, there were already Bishops in sees that were originally independent within the Metropolia of Western Europe, so it was a simple matter of the remaining Bishops electing their head.
However, this was a more complex situation for a few reasons. Technically, the Americas were always a dependency of Western Europe, and it had been determined as far back as late last year that the Americas were going to be administratively free of Milan's intervention already, and were going to act as a daughter Church.
We discovered after the designation that a dialogue with the MP's Moldovan branch with a view to full recognition had begun after the feast of the Nativity, Archbishop Abundius of Lecco being the primary participant. (As I understand it, Abp Abundius was not present in Milan during Metropolitan John's visit-- he signalled his agreement remotely-- and thus no such information was mentioned while Vl John was there.) Assuming this was some sort of misunderstanding or misinterpretation, further clarification indicated that this union/absorption was well on its way to becoming a reality.
At that point, many of the clergy determined that as there was not yet a union, there was no reason for a break in communion until that occurred. Others called for a formal break in communion. A small -- but vocal- minority, supported by people in the ROCOR-MP, determined that they wanted to enter into union with the Moscow Patriarchate. Invariably, however, we discovered them after the fact, since they are being encouraged to act clandestinely to maximize the potential effects of a schism, which frankly have been extremely small (all defectors who left for the MP left alone, with no followers.
In the end, though, there was really no need for us to do anything. Abp Abundius declared that the Milan Synod had broken communion with ALL the Old Calendar Synods not in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate. Well, since we are not in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, that included us.
The thornier question, is of course: what of us, then? Well, that's not so much up to us as it is to Milan. At this point we are simply watching the process, and we retain communion with all our sister Churches. We know that this sudden change of course is a shock for many in Europe as well, so the prudent course of action is to wait and see how this pans out. Of course, there have been dialogues in the past with World Orthodoxy which failed for this or that reason. If this fails, we will probably simply take some initiative in restoring our communion if they don't.
If through some bizzare circumstance union is effected
, then we have a moral responsibility to take certain actions which I am not at liberty to discuss, but can be easily divined through a cursory reading of Church history during periods of schism.