Reply of Bishop R.W.Dunkan, episcopal diocese of Pittsburgh, to Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad
28 August 2006, 13:55
Reply of Bishop R.W.Dunkan, episcopal diocese of Pittsburgh, to
Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, head of the Moscow
Patriarchate department for external church relations
May Grace and peace be multiplied upon you in Christ Jesus.
Your letter of 21st August, 2006, was received with very great joy. Your
fraternal care for us is a timely confirmation of our will to endure in the
face of hardship and adversity. Lamentably, our trial is being brought on
from within the Body of Christ rather than by forces outside. To you who
have suffered before us, we salute you.
For the Diocese of Pittsburgh (and the small number of dioceses who
continue to stand with us) to achieve the restoration of relationship with
the Russian Orthodox Church would be of the greatest significance
imaginable. May our Good Lord give us the means to make it so.
There is one matter, about which I must humbly advise you, that may impede
the recognition you so graciously propose. Among the dioceses that
Pittsburgh leads are dioceses that do ordain women to the diaconate and
presbyterate, just as do many of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion.
Under these circumstances would the Russian Orthodox Church still be
willing to recognize those dioceses in our fellowship that share this
practice, Pittsburgh being among them?
Let me assure you that the Diocese of Pittsburgh, together with each of the
dioceses banded together with us, share Your Eminence's profound conviction
that secular liberal political and philosophical ideas, however we may
treat them, cannot and must not change the Apostolic Tradition and the
understanding of New Testament texts guarded by this Tradition. Any attempt
to adjust Christian morality and especially the church order to the
political tastes of an external environment is dangerous as it threatens
with a loss of Christian identity. There must be no fear in the efforts to
keep faithful to Christ." It is this profound conviction that guides us and
As Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, and on behalf of those
Episcopal bishops and dioceses committed to the Faith once delivered, I
stand ready to carry forward whatever process might lead to the restoration
of those extraordinarily happy relationships, recognitions and mutual
undertakings initiated by St. Tikhon the Patriarch of All Russia and his
contemporaries, both Orthodox and Anglican.
With love, respect and gratitude in Christ Jesus,
The Rt. Rev. Robert Wm. Duncan,
August 24, 2006