Russian Orthodox Church could unite in 2007
Cologne, October 27, Interfax - The final restoration of unity of the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) with the Moscow Patriarchate
will probably come next year. The signing of the Act of Canonical Communion
between the two parts of the Russian Church is expected to take place in
This is the outcome of the 8th meeting of the negotiation commissions of the
Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Church Outside Russia, which completed
its work in Cologne Thursday night, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, who
participated in the meeting, has informed Interfax.
The work of the commissions, which has lasted for two and a half years, is
probably drawing to a close, he added.
According to the priest, the recent meeting of the commissions worked out
proposals for the date and order of signing the Act of Canonical Communion
between the Moscow Patriarchate and the ROCOR adopted by the Synods in
Moscow and New York earlier this year. The final date of the signing
ceremony is to be determined by the Synods of the Moscow Patriarchate and
the Church Outside Russia in coming December.
According to Father Nikolay, secretary of the Moscow Patriarchate
commission, the commissions have completed the consideration of questions
they were instructed to examine after negotiations the head of the ROCOR,
Metropolitan Laurus, held during his visit to Russia in May 2004. Agreed
statements have been drafted on all issues submitted to the Bishops' Synods
or Councils and adopted by them.
The remaining issues to be agreed upon include clarification of the status
of the clergy who once transferred from the Moscow Patriarchate or other
Orthodox Churches to the jurisdiction of the Church Outside Russia without
observing the prescribed canonical procedure and the status of the parishes
which the Church Outside Russia opened in the 20th century last decade in
Russia, Ukraine and other CIS countries.
The commissions' proposals for all these issues are to be considered by the
ROCOR Bishops' Synod on December 9. The Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate
will meet some time later - in the last week of this year.
'Most probably, the final restoration of the full canonical unity of the
Church inside and outside Russia will take place next year', Father Nikolay
The priest believes this event will become one of the most vivid pages in
Russian church history and attract much attention in society.
'Church unity is the spiritual foundation of the unity of our people. We are
restoring the link of times disrupted by the Russian catastrophe. And this
cannot but make our hearts tremble with emotion. We anticipate this joyful
and solemn day when our patriarch and hierarchs of the Russian diaspora will
celebrate the liturgy together for the first time', the secretary of the
Moscow Patriarchate commission said.
The Moscow Patriarchate commission is directed by Archbishop Innokenty
(Vasilyev) of Korsun. The commission of the Russian Church outside Russia is
led by Archbishop Mark (Arndt) of Berlin and Germany.
The commissions were set up in December 2003 and began their joint work in
David E. Cassens, M.A, M.L.I.S.
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