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ROCOR Synod Approves 'Act on Canonical Communion' with ROC-MP

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  • Al Green
    http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/eng2006/9enaktko.html NEW YORK: September 6, 2006 The Synod of Bishops Makes a Decision on the Act on Canonical
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 7, 2006
      http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/eng2006/9enaktko.html

      NEW YORK: September 6, 2006

      The Synod of Bishops Makes a Decision on the "Act on Canonical
      Communion"

      The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
      Russia, at its regular session on August 24/September 6, 2006,
      considered:

      The report of the Secretary of the Commission on discussions with
      the Moscow Patriarchate, Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff, on the
      results of the seventh joint meeting of the Commissions held in late
      June of this year.

      After an exhaustive discussion of the matter, decreed:

      1. To take into consideration the report of Protopriest Alexander
      Lebedeff.

      2. On the basis of the decision of the Council of Bishops of May 15-
      19, 2006, to confirm and approve the "Act on Canonical Communion" in
      its revised form as prepared by the church Commissions at the
      seventh joint meeting, along with other materials developed by the
      Commissions.

      3. In accordance with the directions of the Council of Bishops of
      2006, to instruct the Commission on discussions with the Moscow
      Patriarchate, jointly with the Commission on dialog with the Russian
      Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, to work out the details of the
      ceremony of the signing of the "Act" and the Rite of establishment
      of canonical communion of both parts of the Russian Orthodox Church.

      4. Also, in accordance with the decision of the Council of Bishops,
      to authorize Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, Chairman of the
      Commission on discussions with the Moscow Patriarchate, to
      coordinate together with Archbishop Innokenty of Korsun the
      simultaneous publication of the "Act" which has been confirmed by
      both Holy Synods on the official websites of the two parts of the
      Russian Orthodox Church.

      5. To consider at the next expanded session of the Synod of Bishops,
      to be scheduled at the time of the feast day of the Kursk-Root Icon
      of the Mother of God this year, on the proposals prepared by the
      joint Commissions at their next meeting.

      6. To inform the flock through a special Address on the present
      state of the negotiation process and the proposed plans for the
      future.

      + Metropolitan Laurus President

      + Archbishop Mark

      + Archbishop Kyriil

      + Bishop Michael

      + Bishop Peter

      ***************************

      http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/eng2006/9enposlaniye.html

      Address of ROCOR's Synod of Bishops to the Faithful

      Dear in the Lord Fathers, Brothers and Sisters!

      For 90 years now, the dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church
      Outside of Russia have existed on all continents, along with
      monasteries, publishing houses and parishes. Everything that
      signifies church life: parish councils, sisterhoods, schools, youth
      groups, general parish meetings, magnificent choirs, altar boys,
      etc. gathered around them. All this arose as diocesan conferences
      and Church Councils convened, which regulated all of church life.
      Thus, through the chaos of the persecution of the Russian Church,
      the Russian Orthodox people gathered to stand around their
      Hierarchy, which found itself abroad, and strove to serve towards
      the emancipation and rebirth of their people on the foundation of
      the Orthodox Faith.

      Within the boundaries of Russia, persecution took the form of the
      absolute destruction of faith in Christ. Much was destroyed, many
      suffered. But the Lord did not permit the disappearance of the
      Church in our Homeland. In those places where ancient churches
      survived, people are once again gaining spiritual nourishment. That
      which was destroyed is being rebuilt. Church life is rising from the
      ashes. Archpastors, clergymen and believers are trying to rebuild
      Orthodox Russia anew. This process of renascence requires effort and
      the strength of will, since it is necessary to conduct spiritual
      educational work with the descendants of the generations of godless
      violence which touched absolutely every person without exception.
      Many obstacles remain on this path, but we see that these obstacles,
      and the remnants of Soviet times, are gradually being overcome.

      The day has arrived when we must seek the reestablishment of
      communion with the wellspring of our own traditions. For there are
      two wills at work—one being that of those Russians who are children
      of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, prepared in every
      way to cooperate in the reestablishment of church life and
      development of the spirituality of the people, and the other is from
      our brethren and sisters in Russia, who labor towards her rebirth
      and extend their hand to us.

      Positive changes in the church life of our Homeland spurred the
      Council of Bishops of October 2000 to establish a Committee on the
      unity of the Russian Church and to bless the organization of
      scholarly conferences on church history with the participation of
      the members of our Church and representatives of the Church in
      Russia. These conferences were held in 2001 and 2002. Then, in
      December 2003, a Commission on discussions with the Moscow
      Patriarchate was formed. At the same time, the Holy Synod of the
      Moscow Patriarchate decided to create a similar Commission on dialog
      with our Church. This bore witness to the earnest and good-willed
      effort of both parts of the Russian Orthodox Church to make sense of
      the tragedy of our common history, so that we "may discuss
      peacefully… whatever question there is which separates your
      communion from us," as we read in Canon 92 (103) of the Council of
      Carthage, which called upon the flock to trust their Hierarchy,
      which possessed the right to heal the divisions between the Orthodox
      and the Donatists.

      The "Regulations of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia,"
      the by-laws under which our Church lives, demand that we regularize
      the situation of the Local Russian Church. It is important to note
      that a commission to revise the "Regulations of the Russian Orthodox
      Church Outside of Russia" was established before the year 2000.

      This shows that even then it was apparent that our "Regulations" are
      in need of amendment. Since 2000, new possibilities emerged in this
      regard. Now, in connection with the adoption of the "Act on
      Canonical Communion," our by-laws can be reexamined, taking into
      account new possibilities.

      Still, it is necessary to point out that we are not discussing
      the "self-abolishment" of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
      Russia. Our Church will exist as before, as attested to by the first
      paragraph of the "Act on Canonical Communion:" "The Russian Orthodox
      Church Outside of Russia, conducting its salvific service in the
      dioceses, parishes, monasteries, brotherhoods and other
      ecclesiastical bodies that took shape through history, remains an
      indissoluble part of the Local Russian Orthodox Church." These words
      in the "Act" attest to the recognition on the part of the Moscow
      Patriarchate of our historical path and of the living bond between
      the entire Local Russian Orthodox Church and its part abroad, which
      always existed and which we never denied. This historical document
      will reestablish the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church, through
      this mutual act acknowledging the lawful status of the Russian
      Church Abroad and the Moscow Patriarchate in Russia. Each side,
      preserving its identity as a Church, will continue to exist in full
      legality and independence, but now recognizing the other side and
      declaring the unity of the Russian Church. For this reason, this
      means the reconciliation and mutual recognition of each other while
      yet preserving our administrative self-governance, for we understand
      the needs of our clergy and of our flock better than they understand
      them in Moscow.

      The IV All-Diaspora Council and the Council of Bishops that followed
      approved the steps towards reestablishing unity already taken by our
      Hierarchy, and blessed its continued progress.

      The above-mentioned "Act" has been approved and confirmed by the
      Synod of Bishops, but it will be finally adopted when it is signed
      by the Primates of the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church.
      Working out the details of this signing, and also the Rite of the
      establishment of canonical communion has been assigned to the
      Commission on discussions with the Moscow Patriarchate. It is
      expected that it will embark on this task jointly with the
      Commission on dialog with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
      Russia at their next meeting. Then, the results of this meeting will
      be considered at the next session of the Synod of Bishops, which
      will be held in December of this year.

      Dear in the Lord fathers, brothers and sisters! We do not intend to
      depart from our positions of principle, in particular with regard to
      the ecumenical movement. We intend to continue to firmly speak out
      in condemnation of the so-called "branch theory" and of joint prayer
      with heretics, which is emphasized in our anathema of ecumenism
      adopted by the Council of Bishops of 1983. This is reflected in the
      documents of the church Commissions confirmed by both Holy Synods
      and published in the official publications of the two parts of the
      Russian Orthodox Church. From this we see that in the Moscow
      Patriarchate, our attitude towards the heresy of ecumenism has long
      ago been absorbed. That is why we are not compromising the inherited
      principles which have always guided us. Still, we were always open
      to dialog with everyone, but on the condition that this be done
      without any hindrance to Orthodox teaching. In the decisions of the
      Councils of Bishops we always held fast to the ecclesiology of
      moderation, and never rejected the presence of grace in the Moscow
      Patriarchate or in other Local Churches.

      We will continue to maintain the spirit of our great fathers, the
      founders of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, following
      their legacy and the historical path of our Church. To carry this
      great inheritance to Russia is the mission we strive to fulfill.

      We will always remember that only in the Kingdom of Heaven will
      everything be perfect and good, that in the Church on earth we will
      perpetually experience difficulties caused by human passions,
      failings, temptations and sins, which must be overcome by means of
      beneficial fraternal dialog and cooperation, condescension,
      understanding and a Christian attitude towards each other, as
      Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians: "correct such a one in the
      spirit of meekness" (Galatians 6:1).

      In conclusion, let us remember Schema-Archimandrite Amvrossy
      (Kurganov) of blessed memory, the Abbot of Vvedensky Milkovo
      Monastery in Serbia, whence came several bishops of the Russian
      Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, since departed. The eminent
      church figure of the Russian diaspora, P.S. Lopukhin, writing on the
      Christian death of Fr Amvrossy, said: "I preserve in my memory this
      image of a man, weeping in joy on his death bed for Divine unity."
      Blessed Metropolitan Anthony said of Fr Amvrossy that in spirit he
      was closer to him than anyone.

      May God grant all of us to experience this feeling of "spiritual joy
      in Divine unity," leading us to the successful conclusion of the
      process of reconciliation of the two parts of the Russian Orthodox
      Church.

      May the Lord help us! Amen.
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