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Re: Appeal of Bishop Agathangel of Odessa to the Synod of Bishops

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  • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
    Some have questioned why the Appeal of Bishop Agafangel has not been posted to the official website of the Church Abroad. As the Senior Editor of the website
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 1 8:01 AM
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      Some have questioned why the "Appeal" of Bishop Agafangel has not been
      posted to the official website of the Church Abroad.

      As the Senior Editor of the website of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
      of Russia and as the Secretary of the Synodal Commission on Negotiations
      with the Moscow Patriarchate, I can answer the question directly.

      1) This letter is a letter from a Bishop of the Church Abroad directed to
      his Synod and Sobor.

      As such, it must be treated as a confidential communication among bishops
      of our Church--as are the deliberations of the Synod and Sobor. This should
      be elementary. Our bishops **must** have the ability to express their
      opinions openly and freely, and their discussions and deliberations must
      also be protected from public dissemination. What **is** disseminated to
      the public are the Resolutions that are passed--not the discussions or the
      written or verbal opinions of the various bishops.

      Bishops are free to express their opinions to the Synod or Sobor, or to
      their fellow bishops, and do so. However, inter-episcopal communications
      must be privileged. We have seen in the past how deliberate disclosure of
      privileged communications between the First Hierarch and other bishops has
      been exploited by enemies of our Church and has caused harm.

      2) This "Appeal" violates an decision made by the Synod of Bishops and by
      our First Hierarch that all working documents of the joint commissions of
      the Church Abroad and the Moscow Patriarchate would be strictly confidential.

      Once the commissions have worked out mutually acceptable documents, the
      next step in the agreed-upon process is that these documents have to be
      reviewed and approved by the Synods of Bishops of both sides. Until that
      time, they are still working documents, and should be kept confidential.

      In his statement, Bishop Agafangel himself writes:

      "I am writing this appeal out of concern that the documents submitted by
      our commission for negotiations with the Moscow Patriarchate may, if made
      public, lend themselves to more than one interpretation."

      And, at the conclusion, he speaks of the necessity of avoiding "the
      possibility of a range of interpretations of the documents submitted by our
      committee for negotiations with the Moscow Patriarchate," and avoiding "the
      possibly grievous consequences of such interpretations. . ."

      So it is clear to anyone who understands the process of delicate
      negotiations, that position papers, drafts, and other working documents
      must be kept confidential. Again, this is so elementary that it is
      difficult to understand why it has to be explained.

      Notwithstanding his own words, Bishop Agafangel proceeds to quote from
      certain working documents of the Commission of the Church Abroad and to
      make comments upon their content.

      Should the Church Abroad, in the middle of delicate negotiations, be placed
      in a position where it can be viewed as being unable to fulfill its
      commitment, made at the highest level, to keep working documents of the
      Commission confidential?

      I think not.

      This was brought to the attention of Bishop Agafangel, and he immediately
      proceeded to remove his "Appeal" from his diocesan website, where it had
      been originally posted.

      Should our own clergy then proceed to disseminate this document, in
      violation of the confidentiality of communications between bishops and
      their Synod, in violation of the commitment to keep working documents of
      the Commission confidential, and after Bishop Agafangel himself removed the
      document from his website?

      I think not.

      With love in Christ,

      Prot. Alexander Lebedeff





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • vkozyreff
      Dear Father Alexander, bless. You write, in a way that perfectly corresponds to the present sorrowful reality: This Appeal violates a decision made by the
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 3 4:47 AM
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        Dear Father Alexander, bless.

        You write, in a way that perfectly corresponds to the present
        sorrowful reality:

        "This "Appeal" violates a decision made by the Synod of Bishops and
        by our First Hierarch that all working documents of the joint
        commissions of the Church Abroad and the Moscow Patriarchate would be
        strictly confidential".

        I think that this secretive approach is typically MP (Soviet) in
        style. From here, it is obvious who leads the exercise (Nye Russkim
        dukhom pakhnyet). We should not play by their rules, because these
        rules are not orthodox (they violate our sobornost') and because we
        cannot challenge them on that field.

        Please see Vl Agafangel comments:

        "And in this fundamental question we shouldn't - not having the right
        to - adopt the methods and the practice of the MP. But on the
        contrary, we should protest against such practice as far and with as
        much strength as possible. Because the question is about the
        preservation of one of the most important characteristics of the
        Orthodox Church - its sobornost".

        Let us not try to be smarter than the Evil one: if we accept his
        rules, we are lost. Vl Agafangel knows what he is talking about. The
        Russians in the emigration have always underestimated the wickedness
        of the Bolshevik, especially when they want to attract us in their
        nets by using our naïve love for Russia and orthodoxy.

        I will always remember how my father (we were in Africa in those
        days) tried to dissuade his friend, a Russian surgeon born in
        Finland, to return to Russia in the fifties. Stalin had promised
        pardon to all those who would return to serve the fatherland. My
        father did not succeed. Our friend left with his wife and his
        daughter. He was never seen again.

        The important is not to know whether they call themselves communist
        or not (they have many aliases). It takes more than what we have seen
        to eradicate that abject infection which changes your very nature,
        like a virus.

        Who they are, that is the question. They used to dwell in the
        comunist structures, but did it never occur to you that they are
        perfectly able to migrate into other structures that can fool many
        (all those who want to be fooled, in fact)? The clearest sign (you do
        not like signs) is that they never repented. What other evidence do
        you need? Are we so childish to believe that if we very, very hard
        wish that they convert, they did?

        "Atheistic Marxism-Communism, or Bolshevism, the struggle with which
        is the chief task of all national-minded Russian patriots, is just
        one of the offspring, one evil result of this "worldwide evil." To
        struggle only against it means just to cut off the branches without
        noticing the trunk and roots which gave birth to them and nourished
        them.

        Unfortunately, many of us see only these branches, paying no
        attention to the trunk and roots. Even more: this root source of
        the "worldwide evil" seems to some quite inoffensive, even favorably
        inclined toward us and our church, and many of us are ready to look
        to it for aid for, ourselves and for support in the struggle against
        Communism".

        (Vl Averky of Syracuse)

        In God,

        Vladimir Kozyreff



        --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff"
        <lebedeff@w...> wrote:
        >
        > Some have questioned why the "Appeal" of Bishop Agafangel has not
        been
        > posted to the official website of the Church Abroad.
        >
        > As the Senior Editor of the website of the Russian Orthodox Church
        Outside
        > of Russia and as the Secretary of the Synodal Commission on
        Negotiations
        > with the Moscow Patriarchate, I can answer the question directly.
        >
        > 1) This letter is a letter from a Bishop of the Church Abroad
        directed to
        > his Synod and Sobor.
        >
        > As such, it must be treated as a confidential communication among
        bishops
        > of our Church--as are the deliberations of the Synod and Sobor.
        This should
        > be elementary. Our bishops **must** have the ability to express
        their
        > opinions openly and freely, and their discussions and deliberations
        must
        > also be protected from public dissemination. What **is**
        disseminated to
        > the public are the Resolutions that are passed--not the discussions
        or the
        > written or verbal opinions of the various bishops.
        >
        > Bishops are free to express their opinions to the Synod or Sobor,
        or to
        > their fellow bishops, and do so. However, inter-episcopal
        communications
        > must be privileged. We have seen in the past how deliberate
        disclosure of
        > privileged communications between the First Hierarch and other
        bishops has
        > been exploited by enemies of our Church and has caused harm.
        >
        > 2)
        >
        > In his statement, Bishop Agafangel himself writes:
        >
        > "I am writing this appeal out of concern that the documents
        submitted by
        > our commission for negotiations with the Moscow Patriarchate may,
        if made
        > public, lend themselves to more than one interpretation."
        >
        > And, at the conclusion, he speaks of the necessity of avoiding "the
        > possibility of a range of interpretations of the documents
        submitted by our
        > committee for negotiations with the Moscow Patriarchate," and
        avoiding "the
        > possibly grievous consequences of such interpretations. . ."
        >
        > So it is clear to anyone who understands the process of delicate
        > negotiations, that position papers, drafts, and other working
        documents
        > must be kept confidential. Again, this is so elementary that it is
        > difficult to understand why it has to be explained.
        >
        > Notwithstanding his own words, Bishop Agafangel proceeds to quote
        from
        > certain working documents of the Commission of the Church Abroad
        and to
        > make comments upon their content.
        >
        > Should the Church Abroad, in the middle of delicate negotiations,
        be placed
        > in a position where it can be viewed as being unable to fulfill its
        > commitment, made at the highest level, to keep working documents of
        the
        > Commission confidential?
        >
        > I think not.
        >
        > This was brought to the attention of Bishop Agafangel, and he
        immediately
        > proceeded to remove his "Appeal" from his diocesan website, where
        it had
        > been originally posted.
        >
        > Should our own clergy then proceed to disseminate this document, in
        > violation of the confidentiality of communications between bishops
        and
        > their Synod, in violation of the commitment to keep working
        documents of
        > the Commission confidential, and after Bishop Agafangel himself
        removed the
        > document from his website?
        >
        > I think not.
        >
        > With love in Christ,
        >
        > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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