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Moscow Patriarchate Statement regarding Church of England to allow women to serve as bishops

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    https://mospat.ru/en/2014/07/16/news105568/ 16.07.2014 15:33 Statement by Communication Service of the Moscow PatriarchateÆs Department for External Church
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 20, 2014
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      https://mospat.ru/en/2014/07/16/news105568/

      16.07.2014 15:33
      Statement by Communication Service of the Moscow Patriarchate’s
      Department for External Church Relations regarding the decision of the
      Church of England to allow women to serve as bishops

      At the session that took place on the 14th of July 2014, the General
      Synod of the Church of England made a decision allowing women to serve
      as bishops. The Communication Service of the Moscow Patriarchate’s
      Department for External Church Relations is authorized to make the
      following statement in this regard:

      The Russian Orthodox Church has been alarmed and disappointed to learn
      about the decision of the Church of England to admit women to the
      episcopate, since the centuries-old relationships between our two
      Churches had shown possibilities for the Orthodox to recognize the
      existence of apostolic succession in Anglicanism. As far back as the
      19th century, the Anglicans, members of the Eastern Church Association,
      sought “mutual recognition” of orders between the Orthodox and the
      Anglican Churches and believed that “both Churches preserved the
      apostolic continuity and true faith in the Saviour and should accept
      each other in the full communion of prayers and sacraments.”

      The decision to ordain women, which the Church of England took in 1992,
      damaged the relationships between our Churches, and the introduction of
      female bishops has eliminated even a theoretical possibility for the
      Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in the
      Anglican hierarchy.

      Such practice contradicts the centuries-old church tradition going back
      to the early Christian community. In the Christian tradition, bishops
      have always been regarded as direct spiritual successors of the
      apostles, from whom they received special grace to guide the people of
      God and special responsibility to protect the purity of faith, to be
      symbols and guarantors of the unity of the Church. The consecration of
      women bishops runs counter to the mode of life of the Saviour Himself
      and the holy apostles, as well as to the practice of the Early Church.
      In our opinion, it was not a theological necessity or issues of church
      practice that determined the decision of the General Synod of the Church
      of England, but an effort to comply with the secular idea of gender
      equality in all spheres of life and the increasing role of women in the
      British society. The secularization of Christianity will alienate many
      faithful who, living in the modern unstable world, try to find spiritual
      support in the unshakable gospel’s and apostolic traditions established
      by Eternal and Immutable God.

      The Russian Orthodox Church regrets to state that the decision allowing
      the elevation of women to episcopal dignity impedes considerably the
      dialogue between the Orthodox and the Anglicans, which has developed for
      many decades, and contributes for further deepening of divisions in the
      Christian world as a whole.
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