Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Statement of the Canadian Diocese of ROCOR

Expand Messages
  • gskok@istar.ca
    Bishop Michael has asked me to post this - it is my *unofficial* translation into English. George Skok, Reader Toronto STATEMENT OF THE CANADIAN DIOCESE OF THE
    Message 1 of 1 , May 26, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      Bishop Michael has asked me to post this - it is my *unofficial*
      translation into English.

      George Skok, Reader



      Having returned from Ottawa during the night of May 10-11, I found on
      my desk – sent to me by fax by our faithful priests – a
      certain statement, dated May 8th, 2001, seemingly from "the
      Clergy of the Canadian Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church of
      Russia." The subject of this document, or better, the initial
      reason for its having come about, would be the events which took
      place following the October 2000 Council of Bishops of ROCOR.

      This statement was not addressed to me. No-one, at any time, had sent
      it to me so that I could become familiar with it in advance. No-one
      had found the time to even let me know about its contents; in the
      entire eight months which have passed since the October Council, no-
      one among the undersigned of this document came to me with an enquiry
      regarding clarification of the subjects of that council. Not once had
      I received any kind of request to meet, so as to express and
      consider, in a brotherly ecclesiastical setting, all the doubts,
      concerns and bewilderments, if such had arisen. Therefore the news
      that had been dropped into the world wide web of the internet, that
      seemingly all the clergy of the Canadian Diocese were expressing
      their opinion – at the least does not correspond to reality, but
      resembles more a regular falsehood. It is impossible not to note
      especially the eight-month silence of those signatories who, because
      of their permanent residence in Montreal, are in direct proximity to
      me and can therefore in no way cite the difficulties of distance
      which would stand in the way of our meeting and conversing; they
      found it possible, however, to take part in this "measure",
      clearly directed against the council of Bishops of our Church.

      What has taken place witnesses to the fact that through the path of
      all-encompassing disinformation, the source of which is so far
      unknown, there is an attempt to destabilize the trust of our good
      pastors and their flocks in their hierarchy. They are being told
      that, supposedly, "the Council has changed the course of the
      Church Abroad, is leaning to the side of Ecumenism, is on the path of
      subjugation to Moscow…." Using the crudest of sophisms, they
      are being shown – as examples and proofs of these "conciliar
      deviations" – the extremely sorrowful events taking place in
      another Diocese of our church. And it is namely in that Diocese,
      through the same method of incitement and deception, that our clergy
      has been taken nearly to the point of no return. The thing is that
      here, in Canada, no-one knows the details, what events took place in
      those parts, and that is why the measures taken in respect of the
      clergy there cannot be correctly understood; more than that, the idea
      is being instilled of the injustice of the decisions taken, which
      arouses sorrow and, at times, anger. This is how the above-
      mentioned "Source" is attempting to drive our clergy and
      laity into the same dead end: MAY THIS NOT BE!

      Before I move to an explanation of the situation, I will address the
      reproach that the Pastoral Conference which, they seem to say, would
      have settled all the questions which have arisen here Abroad, has not
      taken place. All our clergy know that soon after the Council of
      Bishops, the Ottawa court case was being heard; we were building and
      preparing for the final move to the newly-rebuilt Cathedral of St.
      Nicholas; the Canadian diocese was visited by the Wonder-working
      Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God; the St. Herman Youth Conference
      was held; then, after the feasts of the Nativity of Christ and
      Theophany we were found worthy of a favourable decision in the Ottawa
      case which, naturally, obliges us to carry out a series of
      administrative actions; then Great Lent began and with it Unction
      services throughout the entire Diocese. At that time the questions
      mentioned were partially raised in discussions and there was talk of
      calling a Diocesan Conference in the fall. Following this, the Great
      Feast of Christ's Pascha was triumphantly and joyfully
      celebrated. So, God willing, the Diocesan Conference will assemble in

      may be divided into two parts:

      1. It talks about the "…actions and decisions resulting from
      this council", but not about the decisions of the Council itself.
      Since these actions are not taking place here (see below), someone,
      somewhere is observing them somehow, advises others about his
      observations, explaining what he has seen and heard according to his
      own understanding, and "after communication between
      ourselves", is collecting signatures below a three-line
      declaration, naming it: Statement of the Clergy of the Canadian
      Diocese…The procedure may be understood this way:
      · Certain clergy, it seems, had questions, but did not pose
      them in the course of eight months, as there was no opportunity to do
      so as there had been no conference;
      · They decided these questions among themselves, drawing in to
      their decisions the laity, strengthening their flock in such a
      temptation, which places a great responsibility on the pastors.

      2. Further we read: "after much prayer, we must follow the
      dictates of our conscience and make the following
      statement…," and the statement itself follows, which declares:
      · "We are in complete agreement with the position…,"
      and then follow the names of three bishops. The first name is a vicar
      of an overseas diocese, and the other two, the names of two ruling
      bishops of Russian dioceses, where the problems differ, as do the
      statements of these bishops made at different times.
      · Before us is the clear attempt to establish a "pressure
      group", made up of bishops without their agreement and also
      brought together only in the recent statement of the first of the
      above-named Bishops, who cites the other two, but more than this, as
      already stated, there is clearly a difference in the problems, and a
      difference in the statements.
      · In this manner, an anti-conciliar group of Bishops is being
      assembled in a completely artificial manner, and a number of clergy
      are inviting people to join them. This is a clear attempt to
      "start up the gears" of a real schism.

      The greatest bane of the "Statement" is that it contains not
      a word about the position of those whose "Statement" it
      supports. When people were asked to sign it, it is possible they
      agreed to do so for completely different reasons: some for the
      upholding of the traditional legacy, some against ecumenism, some for
      fear they "would be pulled into the MP," some – for
      witness, some who were generally unhappy about something, and so on.
      It was even given to children and teenagers to sign!

      Can it be that someone has already been able to fill these people
      with distrust towards the council of Bishops? Can it be that they
      consider that there is no Conciliar unity in the confession of our
      Faith? Can it be that there exists an organizational group of people
      whose goal it is to tempt the members of our church by all efforts so
      as to establish conditions for separation on any grounds, for any
      reason? Can it be that whoever signs such a petition does not see
      that in this way the basis of all Church order is violated: that we
      may all be one? Can it be that people joyfully separate from the
      Council a group of Bishops as their allies – against the
      Conciliar structure of the church, which, it seems, is being replaced
      by a party structure? Can it be that they hope for the possibility of
      manipulating the Bishops? What are you thinking? Who are you?

      For example, did those of you whose signature stands beneath the
      words "We are in complete agreement with the position…" know
      that this position states: "I wall off myself, my clergy, and my
      flock, from the above-mentioned bishops, until a conciliar review of
      this new course is completed…" (stated 28 February 2001) and
      "the so-called ecclesiastical regime is [itself] subject to
      indictment…we separate ourselves off from it, and recognize
      its decisions nor its prohibitions as being valid…" (appeal of 6

      Therefore, the "Statement of May 8th, 2001" is erroneous for
      three reasons:
      1. It is not a statement of the Canadian Diocese,
      2. There had not been at some time an enquiry concerning the
      convocation of the Pastoral Conference regarding the "painful
      3. The signatories were not fully informed about namely what
      they were being asked to sign.

      We would add that such an action cannot be included in the bounds of
      Church life, and the goal itself does not seem to us to be sensible.
      In my discussions with a number of priests who signed this statement,
      they expressed their regret and repentance for what they had done,
      for those who signed are de facto breaking themselves away from the

      Let us return to the subject which distresses those who see all
      this "agitation" concerning the decisions of the Council, and
      are perplexed – for what are they agitating? Here I will remind
      you of the fundamental concepts of the Epistle of the Council of
      Bishops of October 13/26, 2000.

      "…the Moscow Patriarchate actually confirmed its broad
      articipation in ecumenism, and took no steps towards protecting its
      own younger generations from that pan-heresy.
      Nor did we see the Council of the Moscow Patriarchate offer an
      honest assessment of the anti-ecclesial actions of Metropolitan
      Sergius (Stragorodsky), of his Synod and of their successors …
      … our Council has noted the complete misunderstanding by the
      Moscow Patriarchate of the position of the Russian Church Abroad,
      which has carefully preserved the heritage of the Russian Orthodox
      … our care for the purity of the Church compel[s] us to
      remain faithful to the course of the Church Abroad. Even now we must
      fulfill our historic mission of standing for the Truth, until all who
      have been redeemed by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are
      convinced of it…
      … The Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
      of Russia addresses its flock with a new, urgent call to be loyal to
      the end. Your archpastors must have confidence in your love and your
      trust in the Russian Orthodoxy of the Holy Fathers, which is being
      preserved by our Church, a loyalty which all the members of the
      Council of Bishops, without exception, confess again and again in
      …The oft-critical stand we take against social vices, against the
      departure of today's world from divine and moral laws, begets among
      us a lassitude toward personal spiritual peace; as a result, personal
      piety falls. It follows that, while criticizing apostasy, we
      ourselves become participants in the universal abandonment of
      …Yet our proclaimed stand for the Truth to the whole world
      will be in vain if the members of our Church prefer not the personal
      life of virtue but rather that of suspicion towards others, of
      discord, of forming alliances for the condemnation of others, and of
      other acts that splinter the life of the parish and diocese. This
      ruination, which draws into everlasting destruction everyone who
      participates in it, inevitably besmirches the face of our Church and
      weakens its witness…"

      As for the articles touching upon the relationship of the Russian
      Orthodox Church Outside of Russia with the situation of the Russian
      people within the borders of Russia today, here undoubtedly there
      remains a great need for additional explanations which, we greatly
      hope, will be given – and heard.

      I call upon all those who signed to recognize the non-ecclesiastical
      nature of their action, and upon Priests – to gain a more correct
      understanding of their obligations not only before their flock but
      also before their hierarchy.

      In anticipation of their personal statements,
      +Bishop Michael

      Montreal, May 19, 2001
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.