According to an epistle to the flock of ROCOR dated 4/17 May, 2006, signed by all the bishops, it would appear rapprochement between the 'sundered' parts of the Russian Church is a done deal.........................?
Somehow I do not feel any joy in it!
It appears to be a done deal in that Laurus talked about calling an All Russia Council after the union.
Regardless that Archbishop's Agathangel's analysis showed this union to be premature as it's not in ROCOR's brief to decide such matters.http://www.ipc.od.ua/_jizn_tcervi_txt_060523.html
Notice to the flock of the Odessa and Zaporozh'ye Dioceses of ROCOR
regarding the conclusions of the IV All-Diaspora Council and Council
By the will of God, the IV All-Diaspora Council of the Russian
Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was conducted in the spirit of
unanimity and sobornost'. Regarding the union with the Moscow
Patriarchate, practically all those who spoke said that this union
was desired, but in our Church there are different understandings of
when and under what conditions such a union can take place.
The resolution of the IV All-Diaspora Council, accepted practically
unanimously (with but a few abstaining or voting against), states
that such a union is possible in the future, after the elimination
of the differences between us of a fundamental nature (ecumenism was
mentioned), and that this union can become final only at the Local
Council of the entire Russian Church, with the participation of
clergy and laity.
There is some evidence that the thrust of this document was inspired
by St. John. Maximovich, on whose relics were laid the preliminary
draft of the resolution while a moleben was served. Personally, the
invisible presence and influence of St. John on the work of the
Council are obvious to me.
Such was the divinely-inspired determination of the IV All-Diaspora
The Council of Bishops which took place afterwards confirmed this
determination of the All-Diaspora Council. The principal discussion
at the Council of Bishops concerned the Act of Canonical Communion ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢Ãƒâ€¹Ã¢â‚¬Â Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚Â¡
a completely confidential document, developed by the commissions for
discussion, the consideration of which had not been provided for
even among all the bishops of ROCOR and the reading of which was not
initially proposed even at the All-Diaspora Council. In view of its
questionable nature, references to this Act were intentionally
excluded both from the resolution of the IV All-Diaspora Council and
from the Epistle of the Council of Bishops.
At the Council of Bishops I gave a separate opinion about this Act.
In it is said:
"I consider the appearance itself of this Act of Canonical Communion
and, all the more, its consideration, to be premature, since the
differences of a fundamental nature between our sides - questions
about ecumenism and sergianism ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢Ãƒâ€¹Ã¢â‚¬Â Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚Â¡ have not yet been resolved.
Furthermore, we recognize that according to the decision of the
Local Council of 1918, the supreme authority in the Church belongs
to the Local Council with the participation of bishops, clergy and
laity. Only such a Council is empowered to select a church
administration which may act in the inter-conciliar period. The
fullness of the Russian Church has awaited and waits for namely this
Council since the time of the repose of Patriarch Tikhon and, since
such a Council has not been convened, we do not have the right to
arbitrarily establish a Supreme Church Authority, or ourselves
determine our canonical status. We only can temporarily, until the
convocation of the Local Council, mutually recognize or not
recognize the canonicity of the existence of various parts of the
Church with their existing authority, with the condition of the
acknowledgement of the absence to this day of a legitimately chosen
Supreme Church Authority.
The Act, however, without basis places one part of the Church above
the other and actually makes the authority of one of the parts of
the ROC the Supreme Church Authority (commemoration of the head of
one part of the Church by the other part, obtaining of Holy Myrrh,
the confirmation of hierarchs, etc.,), which is illegitimate.
Upon reaching unanimity on the questions of ecumenism and
sergianism, and mutual recognition of the authority in the ROC of
the coming Local council, we can establish eucharistic communion
without creating in this case, naturally, a common supreme authority.
In light of what has been presented, I consider it necessary to put
off the examination of the aforementioned Act, bearing as it does a
threat to the existence itself of ROCOR, until an agreement in
principle is reached on all the questions which divide us."(text
based on a draft of this document).
This separate opinion was appended to the protocols of the Council
The document was supported also by their Graces Daniel and Gabriel.
There was no vote on adoption of the Act and therefore I am not
completely clear on the provenance of the assertion that the
Act "was adopted and approved in principle." Neither does the
communication correspond to reality when it says that "final
confirmation of the text of the Act, as well as details as to its
ceremonial signing, was conferred upon the Synod of Bishops." The
question of the "final confirmation of the text of the Act by the
Synod of Bishops" was in fact raised (without reference to
the "details as to its ceremonial signing" ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢Ãƒâ€¹Ã¢â‚¬Â Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚Â¡ I read this word
combination for the first time on the Internet), but because of the
presence of different opinions it was postponed without a final
decision of the Council. Voting on this question also was not
conducted. Therefore the communiquÃƒÆ’Ã‚ÂÃƒâ€¹Ã…â€œ about the conclusion of the
Council of Bishops of ROCOR of May 19, 2006, placed on the official
site of our Synod, causes, at the least, bewilderment - indeed,
besides the above- mentioned, it actually contradicts the resolution
taken and affirmed by the IV All-Diaspora Council.
I believe that some time will be needed in order to comprehend all
that which occurred at the All-Diaspora and Bishops' Councils and
henceforth, until there has been a complete and final explanation of
Conciliar opinion, it will be necessary to abstain from various
categorical statements which contradict the spirit and letter of
both Councils of our Church. So far it can only be said definitively
that the Councils undertook no "revolutionary" changes in the life
of ROCOR, and it remains for us to live the same life as always.
There can only be a question about which direction (in relations
with the MP) this church life is given.
Glory be to our God!
+ Bishop Agathangel
Odessa, May 23, 2006