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6812The Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Church Abroad have resolved the remaining disputed issues.

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Feb 1, 2007
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      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]