The MP Report on the Crisis in the Diocese of Sourozh
24 August 2006, 22:05
The Report of the Communications Service of the Department for
External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate on the Work of
the Commission for the Investigation of the Crisis in the Diocese of
The present report has been compiled from materials gathered by the
Commission investigating the crisis in the Diocese of Sourozh. This
is connected with the decision of the Diocesan Administrator, Bishop
Basil of Sergievo, to go over to the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The Commission was appointed by decree of His Holiness Alexis,
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, on 9 May 2006, and approved in
the Minutes of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church of 7
The temporary Administrator of the Diocese of Sourozh, Archbishop
Innokenty of Korsun, was appointed Chairman of the Commission. Other
members were Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain
(ROCOR), Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, Secretary for Inter-Orthodox
Relations in the Department for External Church Relations of the
Moscow Patriarchate (DECR) and Priest Michael Dudko, Secretary for
Church-Society Relations of the DECR.
The Commission examined oral and written evidence collected by it at
two meetings: on 27 and 28 May in Oxford and 29 and 30 May in London,
and also from 17 to 20 June in London. There were press interviews
with those who were directly involved in the conflict, as well as
those who witnessed it, and likewise documents and official
correspondence on matters concerning the Diocese of Sourozh. Also
there were documents of the Charity Commission, Trust Deeds and other
documents concerning Diocesan and Parish property, as well as minutes
of Parish meetings, meetings of the Parish Council of the Cathedral,
and meetings of the Diocesan Council and the Diocesan Assembly of the
Diocese of Sourozh. These documents totalled over 2,500 pages.
The Commission`s task was to make an objective and unprejudiced study
of the crisis which had unfolded in the Diocese, on the basis of
documents available to it, as well as oral and written evidence
presented to the Commission by those involved in the events linked
with the crisis, and by those who witnessed it.
The work of the Commission was timed to begin with the Annual
Conference of the Diocese of Sourozh in Oxford. All those present
were given the opportunity to share with members of the Commission
their views as to why the crisis had taken place. The clergy,
laypeople and members of parish councils at the Conference were all
asked for their views.
Members of the Sourozh Diocese were invited to meet the Commission on
several occasions, through announcements made after services at the
Cathedral and during the Diocesan Conference in Oxford. These were
also placed on the official website of the Sourozh Diocese and the
Cathedral notice-board. In particular cases, witnesses were invited
to give their testimonies in person, either orally or else in
writing. 52 individuals decided to do this before the Commission.
Apart from this, 17 written testimonies were sent to the Commission.
Despite being invited three times, Bishop Basil refused to meet the
Commission as a whole and he also declined a separate meeting with
Archbishop Innokenty and Archbishop Mark.
The Commission noted that materials placed on the website set up with
the blessing of Bishop Basil, www.dioceseinfo.org, in effect
recommended members of the Sourozh Diocese not to co-operate with
members of the Commission and this complicated the Commission`s work.
At the same time, the Commission had at its disposition publications
from the Russian and British press, as well as from the website set
up with the blessing of Bishop Basil. In these publications Bishop
Basil himself and his supporters set out their views on the crisis
and its causes. These publications were also scrutinized by the
All the information presented in this Communication is confirmed by
documents and testimonies collected by the Commission and made
available to the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.
the entire document is posted at