I hope the above is genuinely indicative of a rebirth of piety. Of course, even if true, there would still be the problem of the dubious dogmatic positions of the official Russian Church vis-a-vis their continued membership of the WCC,
Please explain what is dubious about the position of the Russian Orthodox Church on the Non-Orthodox:http://www.mospat.ru/en/documents/attitude-to-the-non-orthodox/
What is unclear here about this official rejection of the “Branch Theory” by the Russian Orthodox Church?:
2.3. Nevertheless, while recognizing the need to restore our broken Christian unity, the Orthodox Church asserts that genuine unity is possible only in the bosom of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. All other “models” of unity seem to us to be unacceptable.
2.4. The Orthodox Church cannot accept the assumption that despite the historical divisions, the fundamental and profound unity of Christians has not been broken and that the Church should be understood as coextensive with the entire “Christian world”, that Christian unity exists across denominational barriers and that the disunity of the churches belongs exclusively to the imperfect level of human relations. According to this conception, the Church remains one, but this oneness is not, as it were, sufficiently manifest in visible form. In this model of unity, the task of Christians is understood not as the restoration of a lost unity but as the manifestation of an existing unity. This model repeats the teaching on “the invisible Church” which appeared during the Reformation.
2.5. 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.
2.6. 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.
2.7. 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.
Above is just a brief excerpt, but please read beyond this and tell us what is dogmatically incorrect about this statement.
Then tell us what you find objectionable about the ROC’s rejection of joint prayer with the non-Orthodox:
Moscow, May 12, Interfax - The Russian Church has once again reassured that it thinks impossible for the Orthodox believers to conduct services together with members of other Christian confessions.
"We would like once again to confirm our intention to refrain from participating in communal prayers with unorthodox believers," said a member of the secretary for interchristian relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Priest Alexander Vasyutin to Interfax-Religion.
In 2006, before being elected Patriarch, Met Kirill clearly explained why the ROC believed it necessary to continue as members of the WCC. Among other things, Met Kirill stated that if Christendom does not hear the voice of the Russian Church ‘it will hear other voices’, and I’m sure you will agree that it is best if Constantinople is not left as the sole voice of Orthodoxy at such a venue. It is not membership in the WCC that is inherently problematic, but what one does in this capacity. If there are no joint prayers, and no compromises in matters of faith, then there are no “dubious dogmatic positions”.
See Met Kirill’s comments here:http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=1914
See also the comments from Fr. Alexander Lebedeff (ROCOR) acknowledging the ROC’s reasons for continuing their involvement in the WCC:http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=2971
or their refusal to completely and explicitly repudiate the declaration of Met Sergius and its spiritual legacy of obedience to atheist communism.
Even as early as 1990, the Synod of the Moscow Patriarch stated:
“We do not at all feel bound by the Declaration of 1927, which remains
for us a marker of that tragic epoch in the history of our Fatherland.
We do not at all idealize this document, recognizing also its coerced
Patriarch Alexis II then stated in 1991:
"The Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius, of course, cannot be
considered voluntary, for, while sustaining terrible pressure, he was
to state things that were far from the truth in order to save people's
lives. Today we can say that there are lies mixed into his
Declaration. The Declaration does not place the Church into a correct
relationship with the state, in fact, the opposite, it destroys the
distance that in a democratic society, must exist between Church and
So, we see that even in 1990, the Moscow Patriarchate spoke of the
1927 Declaration and the period under Communism as “that tragic epoch
in the history of our Fatherland”. They did not praise Met Sergius
for his Declaration, but recognized it as the result of coercion and
in no way expressing the free and authentic voice of the Russian
Also in 1991, Patriach Alexis II said the following regarding this
“tragic epoch” in an interview published in "Izvestia" (No 137, June
"Being a person of the Church, I must take on myself responsibility
for all that occurred in the life of my Church: not only for the good,
but also for the difficult, the sorrowful, the erroneous."
"Today we can say that falsehood is interspersed in [Met Sergius']
Declaration, which stated as its goal 'placing the Church into proper
relations with the Soviet government.' But these relations--and in the
Declaration they are clearly defined as the submission of the Church
to the interests of governmental politics--are exactly those which are
incorrect from the point of view of the Church."
In the same interview, regarding the statements and activities of the
Moscow Patriarchate duringthe time of subjection to the atheist regime,
Patriarch Alexis II confessed:
"Of people, then, to whom these compromises, silence, forced passivity
or expressions of loyalty that were permitted by the Church leadership
in those days, have caused pain -- of these people, not only before
God, but also before them, I ask forgiveness, understanding, and
After the enthronement of Patriarch Alexis II, he got down on his
knees at the first Forgiveness Vespers after his enthronement at the
beginning of Great Lent and asked forgiveness for sins committed
during the Soviet period.
In 1995 (as recorded in the periodical “Alive in Christ”) Patriarch
Alexis II announced at the laying of the cornerstone for Christ the
Savior Cathedral, which was built to atone for the sins of the Russian
people in turning away from God:
"Having rebelled against God, condemned the sacred memory of our
ancestors, and without the least scruples of conscience destroyed the
labors of the best sons and daughters of our people, we have covered
Russian history with the stain of terrible iniquity. This stain
weighs on our conscience, and casts a pall on the spiritual life of
At the laying of the cornerstone of the same Cathedral, Moscow's mayor
Yuri Luzhkov added:
"Let the reconstruction of the main cathedral stand as symbolic proof
of hundreds of destroyed churches and millions of lost lives".
In 2004, Met Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad (now Patriarch
Kirill), who at that time was the chairman of the Dept for External
Relations, stated the following in a formal report to the Holy Synod
of the MP concerning dialogue with ROCOR and the 2000 document “The
Basic Social Concept”:
“[Our] Church freely and without any coercion has described the norms
of church-state relations, founded upon the word of God and the
witness of many centuries of Church Tradition, including, in part, the
experience of the New Martyrs garnered by the Church in the era of
persecution at the hands of the totalitarian godless regime. Many
spoke of the historical significance of the 'Basic Social Concept of
the Russian Orthodox Church' when this document was first adopted by
the 2000 Millennial Hierarchal Synod. Later it became clear: the
significance of the 'Basic Social Concept' is also in that this
expression of the Church's teachings opened new opportunities for
rapprochement with the Church Abroad. "The Church", states the third
chapter of the document, "preserves loyalty to the state, but above
that requirement of loyalty is the law of God. If the state forces
Orthodox believers to apostasize from Christ and His Church and also
towards sinful acts detrimental to the soul, the Church must refuse
obedience to the state."
“The free voice of the Church, heard especially clearly in this
Conciliar document, gives us the opportunity to see the 'Declaration'
in a new light. While completely understanding that the path of
relations with the state chosen in 1927 was based on the desire to
preserve the possibility of the legal existence of the Church, the
Hierarchal Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decreed that this
course did not accord with the true norms of church-state relations.
The epoch of the imprisonment of the Church has come to an end. In
this way, the problem in our relations with the Church Abroad—which
lasted for many years— as for all intents and purposes removed. This
was essentially recognized by the Hierarchal Synod of the Russian
Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in 2000. During the recent talks, it
became very clear that the chapter 'Church and State' in the 'Basic
Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church' is seen by both sides
as a faithful reflection of church teachings. Declarations
contradicting these norms, made by the church authorities on both
sides made in the past, under external conditions that were extremely
inhospitable to the Church, cannot in any way be seen by us as actions
having any validity for the Church.
Does the above not repudiate “Sergianism”? Does the glorification of the New Martyrs and Confessors, the 2000 document on Church and State relations, the declaration of the Soviet period as a “tragic epoch” in the life of the Church, and the dismissal of the 1927 Declaration of Met Sergius not constitute a “repudiation” of Sergianism?
In 2006, prior to the reunification, Fr. Andrew Phillips of ROCOR had
this to say regarding the repentance of the MP:
"Thirdly, we shall always rejoice when members of the Moscow
Patriarchate venerate icons of the New Martyrs, when they celebrate
our services to the New Martyrs, when they dedicate churches to them.
Our hearts rejoice when we see tears of repentance, running down our
own faces, faces in the Moscow Patriarchate, everywhere. In his last
sermon, like a Testament to the whole of the Russian Diaspora, the
great Metropolitan Antony expressed the thought that: `Only tears of
repentance can return our crucified homeland to us' (Letters of
Metropolitan Antony, Jordanville 1988, p.124). How can we not rejoice,
when Saul becomes Paul, when former persecutors become zealous for the
Also prior to the reunification of ROCOR and the MP, Fr. Andrew said
the following regarding the work of the joint commissions that were
established to discuss obstacles to reunification:
"Yesterday's publication of documents detailing the agreements on
former points of discord between the Moscow Patriarchate and the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) is a historic event. It
reflects the repentance of those who only ten years ago still rejected
and even scorned the central positions of the Church Outside Russia on
the New Martyrs and Confessors, Sergianism and Ecumenism. It reflects
the will of the Patriarchate to reunite with the historic path of
Truth of the whole Russian Church, faithfully adhered to by ROCOR, and
the will of ROCOR to recognize this. It now remains for all concerned
to agree on the Act on Canonical Communion in 2006."
The above quote is taken from Fr. Andrew’s article entitled “The
Triumph of Repentance and the
Vindication of Church Truth". In an article entitled "THERE IS NO
VICTORY WITHOUT REPENTANCE", Fr. Andrew writes concerning the
"The recent events in Moscow mark the triumph of Orthodoxy. However,
we should not think that they mark the triumph of Orthodox, rather
they mark the triumph of the repentance of Orthodox. For there is no
triumph of Orthodoxy without the repentance of Orthodox, no victory
without repentance. Only the mystery of repentance brings victory over
"We cannot but help remember the situation of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and the Russian Orthodox Church inside
Russia (MP), even only two or three years ago. Then, as ever, the
Church Outside Russia was a persecuted and despised minority, living
in poverty and isolation. Further back, when the New Martyrs and
Confessors were canonized in 1981, we recall how we were vilified in
the world media, whether Orthodox or secular.
"All those self-created enemies of ROCOR, if not now passed on, have
now repented or are repenting for their past attitudes towards us.
Even those modernists who, flown in from the West, only last January
were lobbying in Moscow against our common unity, are having to
rethink their positions, as their houses, founded on sand, are washed
away from beneath them by the floodwaters of repentance. Our ROCOR
positions on dying Ecumenism, on dying Renovationism and on dead
Sergianism, have now been adopted all through the Patriarchal Church
and are listened to widely in other Local Churches. Only those who are
prisoners of the past even think about such death-bringing matters."
The last sentence above is of particular significance for those who
have rejected the reunification. Fr. Andrew fully accepted the
reunification and sees it for what it is, the fruit of the repentance
of the MP for the compromises of the Soviet era, the most important
expression of which was the glorification of the New Martyrs and
For those who rejected this reunification and continue to speak against the MP,
Fr. Andrew offered the following words in the same article:
"To those few individuals who could not repent for their
quasi-Protestant, sectarian attitudes, who did not want to see the
unity of the Russian Church and in 2006 left the Patriarchate of
Moscow for the Patriarchate of Constantinople, or in 2007 left ROCOR
for some sect or other, we say, you are welcome to return. We all
make mistakes. The doors are not shut to you to return. Indeed, we
shall rejoice together with you, if you do so.
"Once past the initial euphoria of your decision to leave, the
euphoria that is always created in little groups when you break away,
you may wish to return. After the self-congratulatory excitement of
defensive self-justification, you will feel depressed, isolated and
abandoned in your sects. This is the normal psychological process,
created by the evil one, who casts us from one emotional extreme to
another, from euphoria to despondency. When that time comes, remember
these words, and remember that you are welcome to return. Your return
is your act of repentance and, automatically, our act of mutual
forgiveness for anything that was done or said in the past."
The fact is, the Russian Orthodox Church has officially repudiated syncretistic and heretical Ecumenism, has repudiated Sergianism; has glorified the New Martyrs and Confessors; and has dedicated much blood, sweat, money, and tears to the strengthening of the faith in Russia. It is unfortunate that there are still some who have never experienced church life in Russia under Soviet times, who have never experienced persecution, who have no understanding of what the hierarchs and clergy endured to spread the faith under these circumstances or to what extent there was any “compromise” – it is unfortunate to see such people reject hundreds of bishops in Russia and all who are under their care even while the entire Orthodox world recognizes them as Orthodox and true hierarchs of the Church.