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EPISTLE OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS

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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    EPISTLE OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS APPEAL FOR PEACE AND UNITY http://www.synod.com/letters/2001-12-13-epistle-re.html (in Russian) From whence come wars and
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 16, 2001
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      EPISTLE OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS

      APPEAL FOR PEACE AND UNITY
      http://www.synod.com/letters/2001-12-13-epistle-re.html (in Russian)

      "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence,
      even of your lusts that war in your members?" (James 4:1)

      Honorable fathers, dear brethren and sisters in Christ:

      In connection with the flood of false accusations, personal ambitions
      and flaring passions, our Church is suffering a difficult time. For
      this reason we call all of you--both clergy and laity--to redouble
      your prayers and direct all of your efforts towards ending the
      dissension and towards restoring peace to our Church.

      Each of us, great and small, must become a peacemaker!

      "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye
      may know how ye ought to answer every man." (Colossians 4:6)

      Firstly it must be said that it was utterly unacceptable to employ
      force in the events of 9/22 November in Mansonville. We all deeply
      regret and grieve over this.

      If one examines the essence of these problems, then in fact, there is
      nothing to argue over. We all agree that Sergianism and ecumenism are
      evil, and none of the bishops is prepared to alter the fundamental
      course of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and no one
      is discussing unification with the Moscow Patriarchate or of the
      unilateral liquidation of our Church. Our values and ideals have not
      changed.

      What has changed is the attitude towards the Church in our
      much-suffering Homeland. For over 80 years, the Russian faithful have
      prayed to the Lord to emancipate our Homeland from the godless state,
      and He heard our prayers: without any external intervention, without
      bloodshed, communism suddenly collapsed.

      A spiritual rebirth is occurring in our Homeland-- perhaps not as
      quickly as one would like--but nonetheless: this process is rising
      from among the simple believing people, through the ranks of the
      clergy and is gradually infusing the episcopacy. We are all witnesses
      of the genesis of this spiritual rebirth, which was foretold by
      several saints of the revolutionary era.

      It remains for us to thank the Lord for this miracle and to patiently
      await the continued spiritual healing of the ROC/MP.

      In the recent Church events the most gratifying was the fact that all
      the sessions of the Council and Synod of Rocor were conducted in a
      businesslike and amicable manner. Everyone expressed his opinion and
      no one was forced to sign anything against his conscience. At these
      sessions, Vladyka Metropolitan Vitaly was in agreement with a
      majority of the bishops, thanked everyone several times for our unity
      of spirit and for the resolutions reached.

      Then suddenly, unfounded and insulting accusations against our
      episcopate poured forth bearing his signature. It immediately became
      clear that they were composed by someone else, and that they were
      presented to the elder-metropolitan for his signature. Being at the
      Synod, we all noticed that Vladyka Metropolitan quickly forgot what
      was just said. At all the sessions and meetings with Vladyka
      Metropolitan Vitaly, all the bishops treated him with respect and
      love. We are all witnesses to this. Even after he accused us, in
      writing, of falling into sin (though what sin was unclear), and that
      we comprised a "rogues' council," we all wished that the elder would
      return to the Synod and enjoy his esteem as the elder of the
      hierarchs. We understood that he fell under the influence of wicked
      church politicians who used his name for their own goals and
      ambitions. All of us bishops desired that the First Hierarch's staff
      would pass to the new First Hierarch, Metropolitan Laurus, as
      peacefully and serenely as it did from Metropolitan Anthony to
      Metropolitan Anastasy and from Metropolitan Anastasy to Metropolitan
      Philaret (Metropolitan Philaret died suddenly).

      And yet, alas! Those who surrounded Metropolitan Vitaly were able to
      besmirch the ceremony of the enthronement of our new First Hierarch
      Metropolitan Laurus, whom everyone loves and respects, both the
      bishops and the faithful flock. May God judge those who rend apart
      the Church and sow hatred! St. John Chrysostom said that there is no
      sin greater than inflicting schism on the Church. This sin is not
      washed away, even with the blood of martyrdom.

      Several words must be said about the newly-formed "Russian Orthodox
      Church in Exile" (it is to be noted that these "exiles" now once
      again call themselves the Rocor, and subsequently the Rocor [V]). The
      powers of the First Hierarch are great, but not unlimited. The Church
      canons require that the eldest of the bishops (in this case, the
      Metropolitan) accord all important decisions with the other bishops,
      as stated in the 34th Apostolic Canon: "the first hierarch may do
      nothing without the counsel of the rest." The Metropolitan had
      neither the right to remove suspensions meted out by the Synod, nor
      to consecrate new bishops unilaterally --especially after he
      voluntarily retired.

      The candidacies of the recently-made bishops, hastily consecrated by
      Metropolitan Vitaly were approved by no one. This fact alone makes
      their consecrations uncanonical.

      The first consecration was conducted by Metropolitan Vitaly and the
      former bishop Varnava, who not long before was defrocked, therefore
      all of his clerical acts are invalid. In fact, he is now merely a
      monk. It must be clarified that among the bishops, Bishop Varnava was
      known as an impetuous person, often acting thoughtlessly and
      repeatedly violating Church canons. As early as 1993, Bishop Gregory
      (Grabbe) insisted that Bishop Varnava must be removed from the ranks
      of the clergy; "The number of the canonical violations of Bishop
      Varnava is so great that it is impossible to enumerate them." The
      latest grave violation was the revolt he led against his ruling
      bishop, Bishop Ambrose, and the personal creation of his own diocese
      in Western Europe.

      It is known that over the last three years, Metropolitan Vitaly did
      not serve, and only attended services inside the altar, deferring to
      his infirmity. Here he suddenly performs consecrations of bishops,
      without the presence of a single lawful bishop, and seeking the
      counsel of no other bishops. These actions do not resemble the
      actions of the Metropolitan we know, who always stood in defense of
      the purity of Orthodoxy and canonical severity!

      And so the self-created new ecclesiastical organization in
      Mansonville appeared through an outrageous disdain for Church laws.
      It is our deep conviction that it is uncanonical and can bring no
      good. Since this was not a work of God, it will no doubt splinter and
      disintegrate, to the shame of its creators.

      It is painful unto tears that the wicked advisors of the elder
      Metropolitan, upon the sunset of his fruitful life, have defiled his
      good name.

      Let us all pray that Vladyka Vitaly is freed from the influence of
      these schismatics and returns to the bosom of the Church Abroad, for
      which he labored so much. Metropolitan Laurus is now attempting to
      meet with Metropolitan Vitaly to halt this unrest, but those who
      surround Vladyka Vitaly are thus far preventing this from happening.

      In conclusion, we call upon all of you, dear brothers and sisters, to
      unite around Metropolitan Laurus and support him in every way!

      "Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered."


      November 30/December 13, 2001
    • mwoerl
      ... As a loyal member of the Church Abroad, I have to ask: who writes these epistles? Why are we basically saying here that Bp. Varnava should have been canned
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 18, 2001
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        --- In orthodox-synod@y..., byakimov@c... wrote:
        > EPISTLE OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS
        >
        > APPEAL FOR PEACE AND UNITY

        > The first consecration was conducted by Metropolitan Vitaly and the
        > former bishop Varnava, who not long before was defrocked, therefore
        > all of his clerical acts are invalid. In fact, he is now merely a
        > monk. It must be clarified that among the bishops, Bishop Varnava was
        > known as an impetuous person, often acting thoughtlessly and
        > repeatedly violating Church canons. As early as 1993, Bishop Gregory
        > (Grabbe) insisted that Bishop Varnava must be removed from the ranks
        > of the clergy; "The number of the canonical violations of Bishop
        > Varnava is so great that it is impossible to enumerate them." The
        > latest grave violation was the revolt he led against his ruling
        > bishop, Bishop Ambrose, and the personal creation of his own diocese
        > in Western Europe.

        As a loyal member of the Church Abroad, I have to ask: who writes these
        epistles? Why are we basically saying here that Bp. Varnava should have
        been canned about 8 years ago, but was kept around? And, why in the
        world was he kept around? I really don't understand this . . . I know,
        Fr. Alexander Lebedev told me he was kept aropund because he and Met.
        Vitaly "shared an affinity for fine wines and brandies . . ." This is
        why a bihsop that 'repeatedly violated church canons' was like our own
        energizer bunny, and just kept on and on and on . .. this is not a
        beautiful thing . . .
        Michael Woerl
      • byakimov@csc.com.au
        Dear Michael You should not believe everything Father Alexander espouses. Bishop Gregory s opinion should be taken with a grain of salt as well. It was
        Message 3 of 5 , Dec 19, 2001
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          Dear Michael

          You should not believe everything Father Alexander espouses. Bishop
          Gregory's
          opinion should be taken with a grain of salt as well. It was always off
          with his head as
          long as it was not in reference to his son "Anthony".

          protodeacon Basil from Canberra



          "mwoerl" <mwoerl@...> on 12/19/2001 02:28:12 PM

          Please respond to orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com

          To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
          cc:
          Subject: [orthodox-synod] Re: EPISTLE OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS


          --- In orthodox-synod@y..., byakimov@c... wrote:
          > EPISTLE OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS
          >
          > APPEAL FOR PEACE AND UNITY

          > The first consecration was conducted by Metropolitan Vitaly and the
          > former bishop Varnava, who not long before was defrocked, therefore
          > all of his clerical acts are invalid. In fact, he is now merely a
          > monk. It must be clarified that among the bishops, Bishop Varnava was
          > known as an impetuous person, often acting thoughtlessly and
          > repeatedly violating Church canons. As early as 1993, Bishop Gregory
          > (Grabbe) insisted that Bishop Varnava must be removed from the ranks
          > of the clergy; "The number of the canonical violations of Bishop
          > Varnava is so great that it is impossible to enumerate them." The
          > latest grave violation was the revolt he led against his ruling
          > bishop, Bishop Ambrose, and the personal creation of his own diocese
          > in Western Europe.

          As a loyal member of the Church Abroad, I have to ask: who writes these
          epistles? Why are we basically saying here that Bp. Varnava should have
          been canned about 8 years ago, but was kept around? And, why in the
          world was he kept around? I really don't understand this . . . I know,
          Fr. Alexander Lebedev told me he was kept aropund because he and Met.
          Vitaly "shared an affinity for fine wines and brandies . . ." This is
          why a bihsop that 'repeatedly violated church canons' was like our own
          energizer bunny, and just kept on and on and on . .. this is not a
          beautiful thing . . .
          Michael Woerl




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        • Fr. Gregory Williams
          ... Forgive me, Father... but this was not in the least my experience of Vladyka Gregory. I found him kind, compassionate and wise, and often all too lenient
          Message 4 of 5 , Dec 19, 2001
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            >.... Bishop
            >Gregory's
            >opinion should be taken with a grain of salt as well. It was always off
            >with his head as
            >long as it was not in reference to his son "Anthony".
            >

            Forgive me, Father... but this was not in the least my experience of
            Vladyka Gregory. I found him kind, compassionate and wise, and often
            all too lenient in responding to problematical situations.
            --
            --Fr. Gregory Williams

            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
            1180 Orthodox Way
            Liberty, TN 37095-4366 USA

            Phone: (615) 536-5239
            FAX: (615) 536-5945
            E-mail: frgregory@...
          • Igumeniya Iulianiya
            Dear Michael WOERL One fine girl who lived in a Judean city then called Joppa (today s Jaffa), a harbor of the Hebrew nation, had the name Dorcas or Tabitha in
            Message 5 of 5 , Dec 20, 2001
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              Dear Michael WOERL

              One fine girl who lived in a Judean city then called Joppa (today's Jaffa), a harbor of the Hebrew nation, had the name Dorcas or Tabitha in Hebrew which means gazelle. Dorcas, the young girl of Joppa, was a much loved person in her community. She was not the daughter of some rich or prominent family; no, she was a poor girl, a seamstress who lived by her needle. But this poor girl was a noble human being who held a spiritual treasure in her heart. That spiritual treasure, which has nothing to do with worldly treasures, was her virtues. From the moment she believed in Christ, was baptized and become a Christian, Dorcas proved that she didn't simply want to be called a Christian but wanted to live according to the commandments of the Bible. The most important commandment the Christ brought to the world is the commandment of love: "Love one another." In her life, Dorcas applied this commandment to an absolute degree.Dorcas wasn't rich; she didn't have money enough to give alms to the poor. Many think that only the rich can give alms. "What can we give?" they say. "We need to be helped, not help others." However, Dorcas, this fine girl from Joppa, teaches us all that those who have love in their hearts can do a lot for others, even if they don't have money. Dorcas, as today's Epistle reading tells us, offered her professional abilities as a seamstress to the poor. She sewed clothes for orphans and widows for nothing. She performed many other kindnesses as well, which the Acts of the Apostles does not specifically mention but only says: "This woman was full of good works and alms deeds which she did." Dorcas wasn't, as they say, an empty glass but a glass full of the refreshing water of love. With it she watered and refreshed people who were thirsty for love, for help, and for benevolence. Dorcas was full of works of love and charity. What a blessed girl! While rich women and girls who lived in Joppa spent their time in vain amusement, paying absolutely no attention to the poor, the orphans, and the widows, Dorcas became a fountain of love - a fountain that flowed and gave charity to the world in spite of her poverty. When she became sick and died, all the poor, all the orphans, and all the widows who had found consolation and protection near her mourned. She had been an affectionate mother to this suffering world.The Christians of Joppa, the orphans and widows that Dorcas cared for, believed that whatever God does is done for the best. They were only expressing with tears the pain they felt at her death. They didn't want Dorcas to die but to live many more years and to be with them. That is why, as soon as Dorcas fell sick and they saw that day by day the illness was becoming worse and she was in danger of dying, they sent for the Apostle Peter, who was at a nearby city. But by the time Peter arrived, Dorcas had died. Seeing the sorrow Dorcas's death brought on, Peter kneeled, prayed, and then said to the dead girl, "Tabitha, arise," and the miracle happened. The dead girl opened her eyes, sat up, and started speaking! The miracle became known throughout the whole district immediately, and the people believed in Christ.Dorcas, this exemplary girl from Joppa, teaches us a lot. But pay close attention to a detail - the name of this fine girl. She was called Dorcas, and she proved herself to be a Dorcas. That is to say, just as the gazelle is an agile animal that runs everywhere and traverses great distances until it finds pure water, in the same way this daughter of Joppa ran and did not rest until she drank the water and was refreshed, or, to put it another way, until she could do good to other people. Doing good to others was like being refreshed herself. And just as the gazelle looks to the left and to the right so as not to fall into the trap of the hunters, this daughter of Joppa did the same thing. She was a very careful disciple of Christ. Spreading good works both to the left and to the right, she was careful not to fall into the traps of the Devil; she kept her body clean and freed from the sins of pride and vanity. Thus she lived up to the name that had been given to her. She was Dorcas not only in name, but also in deed.We, beloved, have names greater than the name that this noble young woman of Joppa had. We have Christian names, names that the saints had, these great heroes of our Orthodox faith. These names were given to us at the time we were baptized to remind us always that we must live as the saints did. What a shame to live contrary to the lives of those saints whose names we have. IT is like insulting them and dishonoring their sacred memories. Even worse is to blaspheme and dishonor another name, which is above all other names - the name Christian. Our names call to us: O Orthodox Christians, either change your name or change your behavior.May all of us who have Christian names realize our responsibility and live a perfect Christian life in accordance with the Bible so that there may be harmony between our names and our lives. Sermon on the epistle for the Sunday of the Paralytic








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