The Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Church Abroad have resolved the
remaining disputed issues.
MOSCOW: A final resolution on the signing of the "Act of Canonical
Communion" between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church
Outisde Russia, which is to take place on May 17, 2007 in the Church of
Christ the Saviour in Moscow, has been adopted.
"Those problems that had still remained unresolved, those issues that it was
necessary to reach an agreement upon, have found their agreement and
solution. We hope that on May 17, (2007), in Moscow in the Church of Christ
the Saviour, the solemn signing of the "Act of Canonical Communion" and a
joint Divine Liturgy (by the Primates [presiding hierarchs] of both parts of
the Russian Church) will take place", said Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk
and Kaliningrad to journalists this past Tuesday, in regard to the results
of the meeting of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia with the ROCOR
He noted that the issues which had remained unresolved for the most part
concern suspended clergy. "There are such clerics in the Russian Church
Abroad, and there are such clerics in the Moscow Patriarchate", noted
Vladyka, adding that there remained questions concerning the parishes of
ROCOR in Russia and in the Ukraine.
"At least the algorithm [plan for resolving] all these issues by May 17 has
been agreed upon between us", added Metropolitan Kirill.
In turn, archpriest Nikolai Balashov, the secretary of the Moscow
Patriarchate's commission for dialogue with the Russian Church Abroad, told
the journalists that after the signing of the Act, whose result will be full
Church unity, all the bishops of the Church Abroad will take part in the
resolutions of all general church problems, and "will be participants in all
Bishops' Sobors of the one Russian Church".
As was earlier announced, last December, the Synods of the Moscow
Patriarchate and of ROCOR approved the proposals of the church commissions
as to the time, place and order of signing the "Act of Canonical Communion",
which will mean that the division of the Russian Church due to the
revolution and civil war has finally been overcome. The Act was worked out
by the church commissions and ratified by the ROCOR Synod in September, and
by the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate in July, of 2006.
According to this document, among other things the Moscow Patriarchate
recognizes ROCOR as "an inseparable, self-ruled part of the Local Orthodox
Church of Russia,", which "is independent in pastoral, educational,
administrative, economic, property and civil matters", but at the same time
is "in canonical unity with all the fulness of the Russian Orthodox Church".
The Russian Church Abroad, as before, will be ruled by its own Synod of
Bishops, constituting its "higher spiritual, legal, adminstrative, judicial
and controlling authority", and electing its First Hierarch on the basis of
its own constitution. Then this election "is to be confirmed in agreement
with the norms of canonical law by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church".
Such important decisions as the formation or dissolution of dioceses of
ROCOR are also to be agreed upon with the Patriarch and Moscow Synod. The
election of new hierarchs by the ROCOR Sobor is to be confirmed "on
canonical basis" by His Holiness the Patriarch and the Synod of the Moscow
Patriarchate: because all newly elected bishops will become full members of
the Local and Hierarchical Sobors of the Moscow Patriarchate, and also will
received the right and position in their turn to take part in the work of
the Moscow Synod.
The highest instance of ecclesiastical authority for ROCOR will be the Local
and Bishops' Councils of the Moscow Patriarchate, the decisions of which,
like the decisions of the Holy Synod, apply in ROCOR, taking into
consideration those special conditions defined by the
"Act of Canonical Communion", by the Constitution of the Russian Church
Abroad, and by the laws of countries in which ROCOR carries out its serving.
[Tr. by JRS, Jan. 31, 2007]