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9295Resolution of the Bishops Sobor of 1971

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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    Nov 2, 2003
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      Resolution of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
      Russia Concerning the Election of Pimen (Isvekov) as
      Patriarch of Moscow

      By Sobor of 1971

      The Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church
      Outside of Russia on September 1/14) 1971 considered
      the gathering which, calling itself an All-Russian
      Church Council, met in Moscow from May 30 to June 2 of
      this year for the purpose of electing a Patriarch of
      Moscow and all Russias. This gathering declared that
      Metropolitan Pimen was elected to the Patriarchal
      Throne. After considering all aspects of this
      election, the Council of Bishops, representing the
      free part of the Russian Orthodox Church, came to the
      following conclusion:

      I. For the election of the Primate of a Local Church
      it is essential that such an election take place
      according to the laws of the given Church and that it
      be free, representing a genuine expression of her

      2. In 1917 the All-Russian Council adopted a
      resolution restoring the Patriarchate in Russia, and
      elected to the Patriarchal See His Holiness Patriarch
      Tikhon. This council included all canonically
      consecrated bishops of the Russian Church,
      representatives of the monastic clergy and the
      Orthodox Theological Academies, invited by the Synod
      on the basis of the Regulation it had issued. All the
      representatives of the diocese were chosen freely at
      elections on three levels: parish elections, deanery
      elections and diocesan meetings. The actual election
      of the Patriarch took place in a fashion that
      guaranteed freedom in the nominating of candidates for
      election. The latter were established by a secret
      ballot, and at first a large number of candidates were
      named. From among them, by systematic balloting, the
      three who received the highest number of votes were
      picked, and of those one was finally elected by the
      drawing of lots. This system of election, guaranteeing
      complete freedom and confirmed by the All-Russian
      Church Council, was never abolished by a free council
      of equal authority. Therefore, and election of
      Patriarchs effected otherwise and not in a free
      manner, does not express the voice of the Russian
      Orthodox Church and is not lawful. Not only the
      election of the present Pimen, who claims to be
      Patriarch, but those of his two predecessors must also
      be regarded as unlawful. Their supporters can not
      defend these elections by saying that the external
      conditions caused by persecutions against the Faith
      prevented the realization of a lawful form of
      election, since, despite the obvious, they constantly
      insist on the supposed full religion's freedom in the
      Soviet Union. Similar decisions were made the now
      elected Patriarch Pimen. At all three patriarchal
      elections, no one attempted or had any possibility of
      nominating a candidate other than the one indicated
      beforehand by representatives of the secular

      3. The lawful succession of higher Church authority in
      the Russian Church has been broken since 1927, when
      the Acting Locum-Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne,
      Metropolitan Sergius of Nizhny-Novgorod, went against
      the order of the Metropolitan of Krutitsa whom he was
      replacing and signed an agreement with the atheistic
      secular authorities, to which neither Metropolitan
      Peter nor the other elder hierarchs agreed. The Soviet
      government began to throw all the hierarchs who did
      not agree with Metropolitan Sergius in prison, thus
      clearing the path for him to become head of the
      Russian Church. He, for his part, taking no account of
      the elder bishops, formed a Synod by his own personal
      choice and, while Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa, to
      whom by position the Moscow diocese belonged, was
      still alive, he unlawfully gave himself the title of
      "His Beatitude the Metropolitan of Moscow" with the
      right to wear two panagias. In 1943, by order of the
      atheist and the malicious persecutor of the Church,
      Stalin, he hurriedly (in four days) pulled together,
      in fulfillment of the latter's political plans, a
      Council consisting of bishops specially chosen and
      freed from prison for the purpose by Stalin, a Council
      which, counting Metropolitan Sergius, himself,
      consisted of only 19 bishops, and which elected him
      Patriarch. In 1945, after the death of Patriarch
      Sergius, Metropolitan Alexis of Leningrad gathered a
      Council, to which representatives of the other
      autocephalous Churches were also invited. This
      Council, besides recently consecrated bishops,
      consisted of representatives of the clergy and laity,
      picked without elections and prepared for the election
      of a Patriarch, and, submissively following the
      directions of the atheistic authorities, unanimously
      elected as Patriarch Metropolitan Alexis of Leningrad.
      After his death, in the same illegal manner the
      so-called All-Russian Council was convoked this year
      for the election as Patriarch of Metropolitan Pimen,
      known not so much for his devoutness or theological
      education, but rather for his diligence in carrying
      out the orders of the atheistic government, which are
      directed toward the destruction of the Church and
      toward fulfilling the political plans of the Soviet

      4. All of the elections of Patriarchs in Moscow,
      beginning in 1943, are invalid on the basis of the
      30th Canon of the Holy Apostles and the 3rd Canon of
      the 7th Ecumenical Council, according to which, "if
      any bishop, having made use of secular rulers, should
      receive through them Episcopal authority in the
      Church, let him be defrocked and excommunicated along
      with all those in communion with him". The
      significance that the Fathers of the 7th Council gave
      to such an offence is obvious from the very fact of a
      double punishment for it, that is, not only deposition
      but excommunication as well, something unusual for
      ecclesiastical law. The famous commentator on Canon
      Law, Bishop Nicodemus of Dalmatia, gives the following
      explanation of the 30th Canon of the Holy Apostles:
      "If the Church condemned unlawful influence by the
      secular authorities in the ordination of bishops at a
      time when the rulers were Christians, then it follows
      that She should condemn such action all the more when
      the latter are pagans and place even heavier penalties
      on the guilty parties, who were not ashamed of asking
      for help from pagan rulers and the authorities
      subordinated to them, in order to gain the episcopate.
      This (30th) Canon has such cases in view". If in
      defence of this position examples are given of the
      Patriarchs of Constantinople who were placed on the
      Throne at the caprice of the Turkish Sultans, one can
      reply that no anomaly can be regarded as a norm and
      that one breach of Canon Law cannot justify another.

      Taking into consideration all the above mentioned
      reasons, the Council of Bishops of the Russian
      Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, as the
      representative of the free part of the Russian Church,
      determines: The election of Pimen (Izvekov) as
      Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia at the gathering
      calling itself an All-Russian Church Council in Moscow
      the 2nd of June of this year, on the authority of the
      3rd Canon of the 7th Ecumenical Council and other
      reasons set forth in this decision, is to be regarded
      as unlawful and void, and all of his acts and
      directions as having no strength........