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5763Who we're in communion with

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  • Hristofor
    Apr 1, 2002
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      Dear Regina,

      I beg that you heed the words of the wise priest in this letter, as well as
      the advice of the parishonner in the next letter. May St John SF help you
      find the rightPath!

      Chris

      At 11:11 AM 3/30/2002, you wrote:
      >There has been some discussion on this list about who ROCA is in
      >communion with. We need to remember that there is a very real
      >distinction bet. prayerful communion and liturgical (full) communion.
      >In periods when heresies rage, the faithful cease from giving or
      >receiving communion from Orth. hierarchs who are in error. At the
      >same time, they withhold from breaking definitively from them until a
      >definitive ruling has been made, normally in the context of an
      >Ecumenical Council. Eg. when the Monophysite controversy began, there
      >were a number of Monophysite bishops w/in the Church. Many faithful
      >would refrain from receiving Communion from them. HOWEVER they were
      >not considered to be outside of the Church until an ecumenical
      >council condemned that heresy.
      >
      >The ROCA, then, is in Communion with all Orthodox local churches in
      >the sense that we recognize that we all are one Body. At the same
      >time, we have to acknowledge that some parts of this Body are ailing,
      >and we need to shield ourselves and our flocks from this infirmity,
      >viz. the heresy of ecumenism. The stock reply -- that we are in full
      >Communion with Jerusalem, Serbia, and certain Old Calendarist
      >churches -- though true on one level, can be misleading and can lead
      >to a sectarian mentality. It makes it sound like we are not in
      >communion with the rest of the Church. But Constantinople is
      >Orthodox. Antioch is Orthodox. Do they have problems? To be sure. But
      >these are problems *within* the Body. We have to be careful not to
      >treat these problems as if we were somehow dealing w/heterodox, which
      >is sadly how I see our people acting sometimes. When some of our ROCA
      >people are traveling and there is no ROCA parish where they are, I
      >learn that they do not attend services at all, even though there are
      >other Orth. parishes there. If there is an Orth. parish nearby, you
      >*must* attend services there. "Oh, Father, we're not ecumenists," I
      >hear. Excuse me, but an ecumenist is one who attends *heterodox*
      >services, not one who attends Orthodox services.
      >
      >So who are we "in communion with"? We are Orthodox, brothers and
      >sisters. We are members equally of one another. We all share the same
      >Baptism. Some Orthodox might be more, let's say, observant than
      >others, but no one is more Orthodox than anyone else. Schism is a
      >very serious matter. When I see people on this list struggling with
      >whether they should leave the Church Abroad and join the so-
      >called "Church in Exile" it grieves more than I can express in words.
      >In the past two years I have seen people leave ROCA, not because of
      >any accusation of heresy, but because of rumors. And not rumors about
      >what ROCA may have done wrong, but because of what ROCA *might* do in
      >the future. I can think of no other word for this than madness! 15
      >yrs. ago people left the ROCA because there was a rumor that we were
      >going to "join Moscow any day now". They've continued to say this to
      >this day. Now we have a new round of this rumor w/in ROCA. First
      >there is a rumor that there is a crisis, when there is none. Then
      >some people fly into a panic about this supposed crisis. Then others
      >see those who flew into a panic and conclude that such a panic must
      >have *some* basis, and so the rumors become self-fulfilling: if
      >people think there's a problem, it creates a problem: "See, we told
      >you there's a problem!"
      >
      >Brothers and sisters, schism is a serious sin. I know people that
      >jump in and out of the Church on whims. For those of you who toy
      >w/going over to the "ROCiE", be advised that a number of those who
      >did so have already come back. The few people I know who toyed with
      >going over changed their minds once they saw w/their own eyes what
      >was going on in Mansonville. Other "jurisdictions" are not
      >other "options" like a cafeteria. We do not jump from one to another.
      >You find a bishop who preaches Orthodoxy and you stay with him unless
      >he preaches heresy. I was originally under a bishop who actually
      >preached heresy. When I questioned him about his involvement in the
      >ecumenical movement he told me that not only did he (and the EP)
      >intend to united with Rome and the Monophysites, but eventually "with
      >all monotheistic religions". (I kept his letter to show skeptics who
      >downplay the danger of ecumenism.) We immediately fled to the ROCA,
      >which we consider the healthiest part of the Church. I have never
      >heard a bishop of our Synod teach heresy or support ecumenism. I
      >would like to ask those who have left ROCA in the past year or so
      >(and they are few in number) just what heresy did they hear preached
      >from the mouths of our bishops which prompted them to leave. There
      >has been no heresy. But someone shouts heresy and it's like
      >shouting "fire" in a crowd: Everyone starts running around like
      >madmen before they even verify whether there is a fire. There is no
      >fire. There is not even smoke. There are only a few ill-intentioned
      >people shouting "fire" and a few other good-intentioned people who
      >are running to the doors.
      >
      >God bless us all and grant us a spirit of sobriety and teach us to
      >save our souls.
      >
      >Priest Peter Jackson
      >
      >
      >
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      >
      >
      >
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