Dear Father Alexander, bless.
You wirte: "I would like Vladimir Kozyreff, Irina Pahlen, Serge Rust,
and others who have been defending the departure of their clergy into
the ROCiE (ROCOR/V)to read carefully the attached Appeal, written by
the Chancellor of the ROCiE, Fr. Victor Melehov and by the ROCiE Dean
of the West, Fr. Joseph Sunderland--who hold key roles in the ROCiE
I am deeply touched by you personal attention and I am grateful to
Please remember that I have never been in favour of the departure of
the clergy. It was imposed by what was perceived as the new path in
I have repeatedly, with all my heart and my soul advocated
reconciliation. I regret that the clergy have been excluded, because
I think that they were right in many aspects. I think that it was
wrong to demand from them a submission that was against their
conscience and to give them impractical conditions.
I feel that they have not created the schism, as I have explained in
previous postings. They have been pushed into walling themselves off
by the intransigence of those that have excluded them when they
requested a judgement, as though their departure ("purification" in
the words of MP's Father Michael Rahr) was the objective.
I pray you, dear Father Alexander, to use whatever influence you may
have to help the reconciliation. Our reunion is what Christ wants
from us, before we talk about reunion with the MP. Shall we board the
ship of sergianism and ecumenism, which is so clearly threatening our
souls, and which you and Father John have advocated so well?
We must board only a ship bound to the union in the Truth. This is
the only way we can help the Church of Russia.
--- In email@example.com
, "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff"
> Statements from ROCOR/V (ROCiE) Chancellor and Dean:
> "Our Church [ROCiE or ROCOR/V] is presently undergoing a severe
> are not able to hide this grievous truth. The situation is indeed
> catastrophic. In fact, our Church Ship is presently without
control and is
> being carried into a complete fog to parts unknown."
> "We ask all to refrain from the dishonorable act of taking
advantage of the
> infirm and elder Metropolitan, but rather try to seek his release
> evil imprisonment."
> I would like Vladimir Kozyreff, Irina Pahlen, Serge Rust, and
> have been defending the departure of their clergy into the ROCiE
> to read carefully the attached Appeal, written by the Chancellor of
> ROCiE, Fr. Victor Melehov and by the ROCiE Dean of the West, Fr.
> Sunderland--who hold key roles in the ROCiE administration.
> What they say confirms everything that the ROCOR has been saying
> that the elderly Metropolitan Vitaly is being taken advantage of by
> pursuing their own agendas.
> Isn't it time for you all to abandon the ship which your own key
> state "is presently without control and is being carried into a
> fog to parts unknown"?
> With love in Christ,
> Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
> An Appeal to the Clergy and Faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church
> St. John Chrysostom
> 13/26 November 2002
> Beloved in the Lord Vladikas, Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,
> With great grief, we are obliged to bear witness regarding the
> catastrophic condition of our Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
> Orthodox Church in Exile).
> A year has passed since the time of the dramatic events involving
> Metropolitan Vitaly setting the soul-saving boundary with the
> apostate false-brethren of the Synod of Archbishop Laurus. At that
> time, the faithful children of the Russian Church Abroad responded
> Metropolitan Vitaly's call, instructing all to stand firmly against
> the disastrous apostate course of uniting with the Moscow
> Patriarchate and other ecumenist churches. In spite of his forced
> announcement regarding his retirement, which could only be confirmed
> at a lawful Sobor of Bishops, Metropolitan Vitaly, seeing the
> catastrophic situation of the Church and hearing the pleas of the
> true pastors and faithful, resumed his leadership of the Russian
> Church Abroad, and called all of the faithful under his omophor.
> Subsequently, the extra-ordinary Sobors held in November of 2001,
> restored the hierarchy of the Russian Church Abroad, and witnessed
> concerning their faithfulness to the true Orthodox confession of
> The Sobor/Conference held in Mansonville, in December of 2001,
> out to be a broader extra-ordinary Sobor of Bishops, which is
> confirmed by the signatures of all the hierarchs under its
> resolutions. Here, a number of important decisions regarding the
> confession of Faith and the canonical establishment of church life
> were made. The resolution concerning the heretical ecclesiology of
> Metropolitan Cyprian was accepted. The Church administration (ROCA-
> ROCE) was organized. The Secretary and Treasurer were elected. The
> Deans were appointed. All of the participants of this Sobor
> the wonderful oneness of mind and soul which united all. In truth,
> there was the Spirit of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic
> Encouraged by his firm Orthodox confession, the faithful children of
> the Russian Church, both in Russia and abroad, gathered under the
> omophor of Metropolitan Vitaly. They fully expected the new Synod
> bring Church life back to order, since it was aware of the reasons
> which led to the ruinous schism of Archbishop Laurus. The faithful
> hopefully awaited a detailed confession of Faith as the foundation
> for the rebirth and rebuilding of the Russian Church.
> Alas, hardly any hope is now left. The situation is far from any
> grandiose plans. It has come down to a fundamental level of
> existence with the hope of saving perhaps a remnant of faithful,
> whose numbers are diminishing daily. Our Church is presently
> undergoing a severe crisis. We are not able to hide this grievous
> truth. The situation is indeed catastrophic. In fact, our Church
> Ship is presently without control and is being carried into a
> complete fog to parts unknown.
> Most significantly, this present condition and the reasons for its
> cause, were foreseen and recorded by Metropolitan Vitaly in his
> Spiritual Will which he provided as his Nativity Epistle for last
> year. Metropolitan Vitaly wrote the following:
> "Love of power is a great evil. Herod murdered children, in order
> not to lose power. But, Our Lord Jesus Christ came to conquer us
> with power, but with love.
> Modestly and imperceptibly, God became a man.
> So, let us forsake the wretched examples of life, set aside all
> pernicious sinful carnal desires in these Holy Days. And those, who
> oppress us, let us render them to the judgment of the Lord; as far
> we are concerned, let us arm ourselves according to the word of Our
> Savior: "In your patience gain ye your souls." (Luke: XXI, 19)
> We live in such times, when they can kidnap me and in my name they
> will begin to persuade you.
> Let it be known to you, that from prison, I will not be persuading
> Although the enemies of the Church were unable to kidnap Vladika
> Metropolitan, they were able to imprison him and deny him his
> freedom. This occurred quietly, without a scandalous and forceful
> seizing. This was accomplished through Ludmilla Rosnianskaya. Mrs.
> Rosnianskaya had made an agreement with Archbishop Laurus, where she
> promised to bring Metropolitan Vitaly to Archbishop Laurus for his
> control. Although Vladika Metropolitan refused to leave Canada with
> Mrs. Rosnianskaya, the chief objective of Laurus' Synod (i.e., to
> paralyze the activities of the Metropolitan as First-Hierarch, thus
> blocking the establishment of our own Synod) was accomplished.
> Under the guise of a concerned caretaker for the elder Metropolitan,
> Mrs. Rosnianskaya lives next to the Metropolitan in the men's
> monastery in Mansonville against canonical order (4th canon, 6th
> Ecumenical Council, 18th canon, 7th Ecumenical Council). Using her
> position, Mrs. Rosnianskaya impedes and hinders independent access
> and communication with the Metropolitan.
> However, what is most sorrowful, instead of removing such a
> scandalous situation, and guarding the elder Metropolitan from such
> destruction, our brethren in France (Vladika Varnava and his clergy)
> only serve to strengthen Mrs. Rosnianskaya's position. Having
> established an understanding with Mrs. Rosnianskaya, and using her
> influence over the elder Metropolitan, the French clergy obtain
> whatever decisions they deem necessary. Ruling, in this manner,
> according to their own understanding of the needs of the Church,
> they, apparently, do not realize that they are in the same camp with
> Laurus' Synod and the other enemies of our Church, who use every
> opportunity to ridicule and portray the elder Metropolitan as being
> unstable, constantly changing his mind, changing decisions of
> councils, and signing contradictory letters and documents.
> In this manner, for example, the French clergy stopped Metropolitan
> Vitaly's trip to Russia by convincing him to change the decision
> at the Sobor/Conference in April, 2002, in Mansonville. In
> retrospect, it is difficult to assess the influence such a trip
> have had on Church life. Nonetheless, the arrival of the lawful
> First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad (under the present
> circumstances, in fact, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church) on
> Russian soil would have, indeed, been significant. Alas, this
> opportunity was lost, and this historical event did not take place.
> Also, Archbishop Varnava and Archpriest Benjamin Joukov have
> and continue to impede, the convening of a Sobor. They succeeded in
> changing the date of the Sobor a total of three times. Finally, in
> August, 2002, they insisted on the creation of a pre-Sobor
> the entire formation of which Archbishop Varnava took upon himself.
> The committee's responsibility was to prepare for a Sobor. However,
> now, three months later, even the date for the Sobor remains
> unannounced, not to mention the agenda.
> Because a Sobor has not been convened for an entire year, our Church
> finds itself in a situation of canonical uncertainty. In fact,
> is no Synod, nor any lawful hierarchical rule. Complete chaos
> in Russia. This state was only compounded over the last year with
> the problems of Archbishop Lazar and Bishop Benjamin, which could
> have been avoided by convening a lawful Sobor.
> However, the most serious problem is the wavering encountered
> concerning issues requiring a confession of Faith. First and
> foremost, this is in reference to the position taken by Archbishop
> Varnava and the French clergy. The action of the Ukaze of November
> 8, 2001, regarding the cessation of relations with Cyprian of Fili
> (signed by all our hierarchs, including Archbishop Varnava) was
> stopped on November 20, 2001, through the initiative of Archbishop
> Varnava. Then, the resolution of the Mansonville Sobor with a
> detailed conclusion concerning the heretical ecclesiology of Cyprian
> was signed by all the hierarchs, including Archbishop Varnava.
> However, certain clergy, who are active defenders of Cyprian's
> (i.e., Protodeacon German 13th) called this resolution the local
> opinion of the Canadian clergy, and Archbishop Varnava's signature
> was referred to as a "misunderstanding." To date, no comment or
> correction regarding this statement has been made by Vladika
> Varnava. Therefore, it remains unclear. With whom is Archbishop
> Varnava in agreement, the protodeacon in his diocese, or the
> hierarchs and clergy of the ROCA (ROCE)?
> Without an accurate confession of Faith, especially without a well-
> grounded ecclesiological position, it becomes impossible to perceive
> the reasons for Archbishop Laurus' schism. It becomes impossible to
> correct all of the previous mistakes and deviations. Wavering on
> such questions places the very existence of our Church as a part of
> the Body of Christ in danger. Under such circumstances, how can one
> begin to contemplate the rebirth and rebuilding of the Russian
> Because of this, first and foremost, it is most important for us
> clearly confirm the confession of Faith of our Church.
> We call on all the pastors and faithful of the Russian Church to
> unite on the foundation of an Orthodox confession of Faith, and to
> resist destructive tendencies. We ask everyone to renounce various
> ambitions and vainglorious thoughts which stand in the way of
> rebuilding the Church. We ask all to refrain from the dishonorable
> act of taking advantage of the infirm and elder Metropolitan, but
> rather try to seek his release from his evil imprisonment.
> Only then will it become possible to think about the future
> restoration of our Church. This can only be accomplished on a firm
> foundation, a true Orthodox confession of Faith along with lawful,
> canonical order.
> Protopresbyter Victor Melehov
> Russian Orthodox Church in Exile
> Archpriest Joseph Sunderland
> Dean of Western America
> Russian Orthodox Church in Exile
> With love in Christ,
> Prot. Alexander Lebedeff