Interview with Bishop Gabriel
- Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan Feels that the Differences Between the
Two Russian Churches Will Be Overcome
Moscow, October 6, 2005
The negotiation process between the Moscow Patriarchate and the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia will lead to the
unification of the two Churches. "I am certain that this will
happen," said Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan, Secretary of the Synod of
Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, who had
familiarized himself with church life in Russia, in an interview with
a correspondent from ITAR-TASS. Earlier, Bishop Gabriel was one of
the opponents of the rapprochement of the two Churches, reports ITAR-TASS.
The hierarch said that it is possible that this will not happen so
soon. "But we will definitely come to this decision, overcoming all
differences. We are heading in that direction," he remarked.
The bishop gave a positive assessment to the work of the two
Commissions working on overcoming the problems dividing the two
Churches. "A great deal of constructive work was done. This friendly
dialog will help in the decision to unite," pointed out Vladyka. At
the same time, the representative of the Church Abroad recalled that
the flock throughout the world is divided: "A large portion of them
regards rapprochement with the Moscow Patriarchate with caution."
The interviewee noted that it is difficult to foretell what will
happen at the All-Diaspora Conference to be held in San Francisco in
May especially to decide the matter of reuniting with the Russian
Orthodox Church. "The best case scenario," he said, "is that our
Church will, on the basis of the work done by the Commissions, come
to the conclusion that there are no serious obstacles for the Russian
Church to be one." Still, he did not exclude the possibility that the
Council will decide to continue dialog in order to "finally overcome
everything that divides us."
Bishop Gabriel thinks that "each person living abroad, for the
purposes of dismissing all doubt, should see with his own eyes what
is happening in Russia today, how the reestablishment of the holy
sites of Russia is occurring." His eight-day visit in our country, in
his words, "left a profound impression." Vladyka visited the churches
and monasteries of Moscow and its outskirts, saw the churches of St
Petersburg, traveled to Valaam and Solovki. "It was moving to see how
the people themselves are participating in the rebuilding of their
churches," he said.
The bishop noted in his evaluation of the religious life of the
country, that "more and more people are coming to know their faith."
Although there are not that many regular church-goers, "one can speak
of the rebirth of Orthodoxy in Rus," he said. He feels that "the
Russian people must make sense of the tragedy of the revolution.
After the terrible yoke of communism, the opportunity has finally
arrived to understand, that through faith, through the Church, Russia
can be reborn as the great Russian dominion," said the representative
of the Church Abroad.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]