Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!
I affirm that I support and profess the historic position of the Russian
Orthodox Church Abroad, as exemplified in the writings of the First
Hierarchs of ROCOR of blessed memory, Metropolitans Anthony, Anastassy, and
Philaret, and of our beloved preent First Hierartch Vladyka Vitaly.
Some have desired a fuller explanation.
>Resolutions of the Southern Deanery Clergy Conference of the Eastern
> >America Diocese Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
>November 13, 2000
>1. We, the participants of the Clergy Conference gathered together in >the
>parish church of the Holy Icon of the Mother of God "Joy of All >Who
>Sorrow" in Cummings, Georgia, under the omophorion of His Grace, >Bishop
>Gabriel of Manhattan, express our sincere gratitude to the >Council of
>Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad for its >efforts to the glory
>of God and His Holy Church, culminating in the >Conciliar Epistle issued
>by our hierarchs in the city of New York on >October 27, 2000.
It is impossible to express gratitude for the recent Sobor Epistle, for
there are serious defects in it, which have already been pointed out in the
responses made by Fr. Paisius of NY, Fr. Tikhon of Koenigsburg, Frs.
Vladimir and Sergei of Holy Transfiguration Skete in Mansonville - and many
others - which I absolutely support and agree with.
>2. As underscored in the Conciliar Epistle of the Council of Bishops, >it
>is imperative that spiritual growth among the clergy and faithful >of the
>Church be encouraged. Lack of piety results in a negative >impact on the
>witness of our Church. Time spent in condemning the
>faults of others is time wasted, time better devoted to prayer for >their
I catagorically reject the attempt to imply that the historic stand of ROCOR
and the other True Orthodox has been taken merely against faults. I remarked
on this in an article I wrote from the notes of Fr. Raphael Vereshack, a
ROCOR priest who sought refuge in ROCOR from the Metropolia/"OCA":
"Sergianism and Ecumenism are not personal sins. Rather, they are heresy,
attitudes which eat away at the doctrinal and pious integrity of our Church.
In this day and age they are brazenly promoted and openly taught principles
for "running" the Church, which infect the whole flock. How different they
are from the secretive and guilty actions of the traditores of the Fourth
Century! We see that they are not "personal sins" which would justify
charges of Donatism, but instead are soul-destroying heresies which every
sober and attentive Orthodox Christian still in a modernist Orthodox body,
be it the Moscow Patriarchate, the "OCA", or some other, ought to recognize
and flee with all possible speed."
I categorically reject any attempt to separate the idea of "spiritual
growth" from the defense of the Church against thses or any heresies, and of
the idea that speaking out in defense of Tradition precludes praying for the
conversion of those in error.
>3. We urge that, in making public statements, all members of our >clergy
>exercise caution, discretion and Christian love. Let us >remember that any
>and all pronouncements made by a clergyman may >reflect upon the entire
I affirm that speaking up when some even of our own hierachs and clergy make
erroneous statements is the correct and Orthodox thing to do. Remember that
St. Paul spoke of *himself* when he said, "But even if *we* or an angel from
heaven preach any other gospel, let him be anathema." I reject this or any
attempt to coerce the members of the Church into being silent in the face of
heresies, for silence is complicency. It is not without reason that Fr.
Victor Potapov entitled his work exposing the rise and rationale of
Sergianism "By Silence is God Betrayed"
It is the right and the duty of each Orthodox Christian regardless of rank,
even if he is a layman, to speak out against heresies and in defense of the
Faith. As Patrick Barnes excellently and succinctly put it, "It is the duty
of the entire Church, the Royal Priesthood of
Believers, to not only be aware of the issues, but to speak out
against clear and public violations of our Tradition in order to
preserve it: '...because the protector of religion is the very body of
the Church, even the people themselves...' (from the *Encyclical of the
Eastern Patriarchs*, 1848)"
This is likewise the tradition of the local Russian Orthodox Church to
which we belong. In the spirit of this Resolution no one could have spoken
out against Sergius and his Declaration, yet we know that Professor Andreyev
- a layman - was part of a delegation that went to protest Seergius'
Likewise, the renowned Russian lay theologian Alexis Khomiakov has written
"When an entire country is being calumniated, private individuals who are
citizens of this country have an unquestionable right to defend it, but they
have just as much right to face the slander in silence allowing the future
to exonerate their homeland... Not so in the matters of Faith or the Church.
Being the revelation of Divine truth on earth, the Church, in its very
essence, is intended to become the common homeland for all people, and It
does not permit any of Its children to remain silent in the face of slander
directed against It, and aimed at the distortion of Its dogmas and
principles... The only sword which It [the Church] may use... is the word.
For this reason every member of the Church not only may by right respond to
slander to which It is subjected, but is obliged to do so. Silence, in this
case, would be a transgression not only against those who have the happiness
to belong to the Church, but also, and even to a greater extent, againts
those who could have been blessed with the same happiness, if false concepts
would not have deflected them from truth. Every Christian, when hearing of
attacks againts the faith he confesses, is obliged to defend it to the
extent of his abilities and without waiting for a special sanction, because
the Church does not have any official advocates." (quoted from "Neskol'ko
slov pravoslavnago khristianina o zapadnykh veroispovedaniiakh", in
*Theological Works*, Prague, 1867, Vol. II, pp. 31-32)
This applies even and especially to those of us in ROCOR who affirm her
historic principled stand for True Orthodoxy against the heresies of
Sergianism and Ecumenism.
The Resolution speaks of love. It is love that compels me and each of us to
speak out against the Sergianist church and the other Ecumenist bodies of
so-called "world orthodoxy." As the sainted Metropolitan Philaret has said
in his First Sorrowful Epistle, "Can any one of us be silent if he sees that
many of his brethren simultaneously are walking along a path that leads them
and their flock to a disastrous precipice through their unwitting loss of
Or as the same holy First Hierarch of ROCOR of blessed memory said in
another place of those who tried to silence the defense of Tradition in this
same way: "'Love, you see,' [they said] 'should unite us, and there is no
need to emphasize our differences.' But such talk ceased when I cited the
words of one of the Holy Fathers which read thus: if we, supposedly in the
name of love, so as not to trouble our neighbors, are going to keep quite
about their error and not explain to them that they are on a false path,
then this is not love, but hatred! Does he do well who, upon seeing a blind
man approaching a precipice, does not tell him about it, so as not to
"trouble" him? Is that then love?"
May ROCOR Faithful who love her historic stand and care for those who may be
taken in by the Sergianists and Ecumenists *always* speak out and be not
With Christ's love,
# Reader Constantine Wright PO Box 774, Athens, GA 30603 #
# constantinew@... constans@...
# Personal Page- http://members.tripod.com/~constans_wright
# Joy of All Who Sorrow Eastern Orthodox Church (ROCOR) #
# Church Web Site - http://www.churchabroad.org/parish/htm
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