Saint Basil of Kineshma Russian Orthodox Church has been Closed!
His Grace, Vicar Bishop ANDREI of Pavlovskoye has decided to close the mission parish of Saint Basil of Kineshma Russian Orthodox Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, so effective immediately the "Bulletin" section will return to a general Russian Orthodox news page, but will also archive the former news from the past.
Persecutions Against The ROAC In Russia Increase
In Russia, at the MP's request, the Russian government has increased its attacks on the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC). Even though the current ROAC temples have all passed inspections, the government is now reinspecting all of the ROAC churches and declaring them either not improved enough, or improved in unapproved ways! This excuse is used for the government to grab these temples and give them to their MP. In addition, Metropolitan VALENTINE has been getting repeated calls telling him to leave Russia for good while he still has time. Please pray for the faithful in Russia that are under these attacks purely for standing firm in the faith and not capitulating to the demands of the MP.
Vladyka Valentine Has Returned To America
His Eminence, Metropolitan VALENTINE of Suzdal and Vladimir arrived in the United States of America yesterday for his bi-annual pastoral visit to the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church of America. Please contact His Grace, Vicar Bishop ANDREI of Pavlovskoye if you would like to request an audience with Vladyka Valentine while he is here. UPDATE: Metropolitan VALENTINE has now returned to Russia.
Vladyka Valentine Is In America
On 27 April/10 May, Metropolitan VALENTINE of Suzdal and Vladimir arrived in the United States of America for his annual visit to the ROAC of America parishes. Please call Father Andrei if you would like to get in contact with Vladyka. Pictures and articles of this vist, as always, will appear on http://nstanosheck.LiveJournal.com. UPDATE: Metropolitan VALENTINE has now returned to Russia.
Metropolitan VALENTINE, First Hierarch Of The Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, Beaten, Robbed, By Unknown Assailants In Suzdal
On Thursday, October 13th, eve of the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, unknown criminals burglarized the Synodal headquarters and residence of Metropolitan VALENTINE, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church.
Between the hours of 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM, the Metropolitan was home alone, recuperating from an illness. At around 7:00 PM, Archbishop THEODORE, returning from services, was unable to enter the Synodal headquarters due to a malfunctioning lock on the front door. However, Vladyka quickly figured out how to get the door open and discovered Metropolitan VALENTINE tied up and lying on the floor unconscious. All of the cabinets had been opened, and their contents were strewn around the room.
The criminals, probably two or three of them, used axes, sledgehammers, and breaker bars to get into the house through the garage after breaking through four metal doors, which lead from the attached garage to the altar of the Synodal house chapel dedicated to the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God.
According to Metropolitan VALENTINE, he was standing with his back to the entrance of his living quarters when he heard a noise from behind him just before receiving a hard blow to the head, which knocked him down. He fell and lost consciousness. Then, the criminals repeatedly beat him about the stomach and liver, tore the bandages from his ulcerated foot, then they dragged him to a large room where they bound his hands and feet with lamp cord and a towel, taped over his mouth, and rolled him up inside a rug, which had been torn off of a couch.
Police at the scene also constituted the facts of the robbery. The thieves grabbed two silver chalices, three valuable panaghias, which had formerly belonged to Metropolitan ANTHONY (Khrapovitsky), Bishop GREGORY (Grabbe), and Metropolitan ANTHONY (Romanovsky), and several very old icons, from cabinets in the living room. The criminals also tried to break into the office safe, which contained important documents. A very old icon of Saint Dimitry of Rostov was stolen from the Synodal chapel. In their hurry to escape,the thieves abandoned several very old and heavy icons at the doors of the garage.
Doctors arrived by ambulance and administered first aid to Vladyka Metropolitan. Vladyka quickly regained consciousness. A quick examination revealed signs of concussion, as well as trauma to the face, entire body, and Vladyka's ulcerated feet.
In all probability, the main goal of these criminals was not robbery, but to cause physical harm to the aged and ailing Metropolitan. In Suzdal, in anticipation of mayoral elections being held on October 16th, several members of the extremist organization "Chechen Veterans Union," also known as "Nashe Delo" (Cosa Nostra), were seen around town again. These people engage in negative PR for hire, and everyone in Suzdal remembers their activity during the last mayoral elections in February/March, 2002, which were marked by a long drawn out campaign of harassment against the First Hierarch of the ROAC and the Russian Church, including beatings of several of the clergy and active lay members of the ROAC in Suzdal. The press played a particularly active role in persecuting the Metropolitan. The Vladimir regional newspaper "Prizyv," and the newspaper "Russian Messenger," called for direct physical reprisals against Metropolitan VALENTINE. This time, Metropolitan VALENTINE arrived in Suzdal from Zheleznovodsk, and on the eve of the elections, was preparing to publish a statement addressed to the authorities and citizens of the city.
All of this is going on against the background of general persecution against the ROAC carried out by the local authorities, who, as a rule, are guided by directives from the Moscow Patriarchate. In December of 2002, Archbishop Evlogy of Vladimir (MP) gave the church award called the Order of Daniel of Moscow 3rd class to the head of the bureau for state security for the Russian Federation (FSB RF) in the Vladimir region, a Mr. P. V. Sivanov, in advance, for his "help in returning property belonging to the ROC, which was in the hands of schismatic religious factions." To this day, the Suzdal diocese has not been able to get the deeds to its church properties belonging to the ROAC in Suzdal (Church of the Holy New Martyrs of Russia), and in the town of Pavlovsk, Suzdal region, (Nativity of the Forerunner Church). In Zheleznovodsk, the MP is trying to seize control of the Church of Saint Olga by hook or by crook. Everywhere, ROAC communities are being denied the right to incorporate. Churches belonging to the ROAC in and around Suzdal have been repeatedly robbed. The smear campaign in the press continues non-stop, especially by "Orthodox" journalists like Cyril Frolov. And now, it has come to physical violence. The facts of these events have caused the City of Suzdal's investigative authorities to open a case.
His Eminence Metropolitan VALENTINE Performs Funeral Rites For His Grace Bishop ANTHONY (Grabbe)
On September 13th, 2005, Metropolitan VALENTINE arrived in New York and proceeded directly to the funeral home where the late Bishop ANTHONY was lying in state, and served a pahikhida together with ROAC clergy. Present at the pahikhida were relatives and friends of the deceased, as well as several clergymen from the ROCOR, in particular, Fr Alexander Lebedeff, Fr Peter Kholodny, and others. On the following day, September 1/14, 2005, Metropolitan VALENTINE performed the funeral service together with other ROAC clergy. When the funeral was finished, Metropolitan VALENTINE gave a short sermon, after which the coffin containing the remains of the deceased was carried out to the singing of "A helper and protector". At the cemetery, Metropolitan VALENTINE and the other clergy met the coffin with the remains of the reposed and escorted it to the place of burial. A short memorial service was served at the grave of the deceased, which was attended by relatives and friends of the deceased, as well as clergymen from the ROCOR. After the burial at Novo Diveevo Cemetery was ended, a mercy meal was offered in two halls of the Tolstoy Foundation. During the mercy meal, Metropolitan VALENTINE and Lazar Djurdjinovich gave speeches, which expounded on the life and work of the deceased. While at the Novo Diveevo Cemetery, Metropolitan VALENTINE served a panikhida for the repose of Bishop GREGORY (Grabbe).
On September 17th, 2005, the All-night Vigil was served, and on the following day, the Divine Liturgy, during which Metropolitan VALENTINE elevated Igumen Andrew (Maklakov) to the rank of archimandrite, awarded the mitre to Archimandrite Ephraem Bertolette, rector of Saint Barbara’s Monastery, and elevated Father Fotios Roseboro to the rank of archpriest. After the Divine Liturgy was finished, a pahikhida was served for the repose of Metropolitans Anthony and Anastasy, Bishop Gregory, and the newly-reposed Bishop Anthony. The Divine Liturgy was attended by parishioners from New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, France and Greece.
On September 19th, Metropolitan VALENTINE departed for Moscow.
Eternal Memory, Vladyka Anthony
His Grace, The Right Reverend Bishop ANTHONY (Grabbe) of New York has reposed in the Lord. Please pray for his soul, especially over the next 40 days. Pictures from the funeral can now be seen at http://nstanosheck.LiveJournal.com.
Metropolitan VALENTINE Has Returned To America For His 2005 Pastoral Visit
Metropolitan VALENTINE of Suzdal and Vladimir is back in Russia after a three week pastoral trip to America, having visited the grave of Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) of blessed memory and celebrating the 80th birthday of Church News editor Matushka Anastasia Shatilovna.
On Wednesday, May 18th, 2005, His Eminence Metropolitan VALENTINE arrived at Kennedy Airport in New York City for a visit to his American flock. He was met at the airport by Father Igumen Andrew Maklakov. On Friday, May 20th, Vladyka Metropolitan paid a visit to His Grace Bishop Anthony Grabbe. On Sunday, May 22nd, the feast of the translation of the relics of St. Nicholas from Myra in Lycia to Bari, Italy, the Metropolitan served the Divine Liturgy, together with the clergy, at the St. Nicholas parish in Elmwood Park, New Jersey. During the Divine Liturgy, the Metropolitan awarded Fr. Fotios Roseboro the nabedrennik (epigonation) and the kamilavka. After the Divine Liturgy, all were invited for trapeza. On Monday, May 23rd, Vladyka served a panikhida at the grave of Bishop Gregory Grabbe. On Tuesday, May 24th, Vladyka traveled to Middletown, New Jersey, where he visited St. Barbara’s Monastery. The V. Rev. Archimandrite Father Ephraem, abbot of St. Barbara’s Monastery greeted Vladyka with the traditional ringing of the bells and bread and salt. Vladyka inspected the monastery premises and the new chapel, which is being built there. After their conversation, Fr. Ephraem invited the visitors to trapeza.
On Sunday, June 5th, Metropolitan VALENTINE served the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Parish in New Jersey. On Monday, June 6th, after bidding farewell to all of the parishioners and guests, and speaking to other clergy by telephone, Vladyka boarded a plane at JFK airport for his return flight to Russia.
Contrary to false allegations on the website of former Archbishop Gregory of Colorado (that had been investigated by American clergy and finally answered by Matushka Anastasia on www.roac.tk last year) that the United States government had subpeonaed the Metropolitan on smuggling charges, the Metropolitan was not approached by law enforcement.
Arbitration Court In Stavropol Decided To Give St Olga Church Building Of Roac To Local Diocese Of MP
On April 6, the Arbitration court for Stavropol decided to transfer the the St Olga Temple belonging to the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church to the jurisdiction of the Stavropol Diocese of the MP. This decision is a reversal of the previous one from July 22, 2004, which acknoweleged the right of the community to its own Church building.
The parish of Saint Olga has more than 2,000 parishoners, not only from Zheleznovodsk, but from other districts of the Caucasus, including from Pyatygorska and Essentuki. A temple was built in 1989 on the community's facilities. The Moscow Patriarchate, neither through its Stavropol diocese nor through the city administration, did not pay a penny for the foundation of this Church, according to Priest Roman Novakovsky. Only recently the building of the temple was even officially recognized, and before this the city refused to help the community in any way. All the while, the city authorities tried to disperse the ROAC community.
Mayor Anatoly Zubtsov of Zheleznovodsk, through Decree #891 from October 3, 2003, deprived the Saint Olga Church community the right to the lot of land on which their Church was built on. They had held the land since 1993. Then the ministry of justice attempted to deprive the community of legal registration. These efforts were yet unsuccessful. Finally, the Civil Court acknowledged the right of the community to the domain of their temple and obliged formal registration to be drafted for the recognition on the part of the civil authorities of the building.
This decision determined by the law was not appealed and it was given legal force. But then it was abolished in an appellate court. The Stavropol Diocese of the MP attacked with two lawsuits — one for illegal domain of the property and one to evict the community from the building.
The Saint Olga Community of ROAC has the originals of all the financial and estimate documents on the building of a temple, work agreements, et cetera. In the same area, the Stavropol Diocese of the MP has only the documents about the formal recogniztion of the building, hurriedly made by Mayor Zubtsov of Zheleznovosk. He claimed that BTY, the city land committee, designed all the documents on the domain by building and by an area on the name of dioceses. Already a diocese by next day had certificates about all the structures, despite the fact that the question of ownership was already examined by the court.
ROAC's Saint Olga Church community is currently arguing a complaint in Appellate court.
Axios! Axios! Axios!
We wish Father Siluan and his Matushka Nadia many years! Siluan Dignac, the ward of the Vladimir Mother of God Mission in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Spanish-language moderator of the Euphrosynos Cafe Internet Forum, was ordained to the sacred Diaconate on Sunday and to the holy Priesthood yesterday in Suzdal by Metropolitan VALENTINE of Suzdal and Vladimir, the first hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC). The ordination marks the beginning of the free Russian Orthodox Church's mission to Latin America.
We have just received word that Hieromonk Gerasim (Romanoff) of ROAC's Saint Nicholas Russian the Wonderworker Orthodox Church in New Jersey has fallen asleep in the Lord. Please remember him in your prayers, especially over the next 40 days.
ROAC Priest In Stavropol Evicted From His Home At The Request Of The Local Moscow Patriarchate Bishop
Persecutions continue against clerics of the Russian Church in the Stavropol region. Now being a member of a ROAC is the all that is needed to be persecuted, Vertograd reports.
MP Bishop Theofan (Ashurkov) has successfully orchestrated an eviction from the apartment of Priest Andrei Fedyunin, the rector of the ROAC parish of the village of Kursavka. In June of 1999, Father Andrei and a number of the parishioners of the Saint Michael Church in the village of Kursavka left the Stavropol diocese of the MP, after serving in the parish for more than five years. During Father Andrei's service in the MP local authorities granted the family a permit to live in a specified local residence. When Father Andrei withdrew from the MP there were no questions of the legality of the stay in their home. But soon after the passage of Father Andrei into the Free Russian Church was publicized in the local press, articles began to appear about "American sectarians" taking over the Kursava village temple, courtesy of the MP's Stavropol diocese.
In 2001, the parishioners of the local MP church concocted a statement under advisement from Kursavka's village administration, where it was determined that a direct transfer of residential property was needed for the MP community, which happened to be the same property where Father Andrei lived with his family for five years. Of course, they "forgot to inform" the priest of this fact, leaving him no time to seek any legal recourse prior to this decision. Priest Andrei Fedyunin repeatedly turned the procuratorship of the Andropovsk region of Stavropol with complaints of illegal actions on the part of the village administration, but the procuratorship found nothing illegal in these actions. Meanwhile, the MP Saint Michael Parish filed a motion to the court evicting Fr Andrei from from the apartment he lived in. In response, Father Andrei filed a counter-motion arguing that the building transfer to the MP was illegal, but in the course of two years, nothing was done.
Assigned this past year to the MP's Stavropol diocese, Bishop Theofan (Ashurkov) turned to the deputy representative of the President of the Southern federal region, Korobeynikov (a native of s. Kursavka) with the request to assist taking the apartment occupied by FatherAndrei "by any means". In spite of all their difficulties, the parishioners of ROAC's Saint Vladimir Church in Kursavka and their rector, Father Andrei, believe that the small community of the Free Russian Church, with God's help and through the might of prayer, will overcome all disorganization and oppression in which it finds itself.
Eternal Memory! Archimandrite Michael (Graves) Found Dead
On Thursday, November 26, 2004, Archimandrite Michael (Graves), administrator for the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church's Haitian mission, was found dead in the bathroom of Maison Orthodoxe, the mission's administrative center. The official report states that the cause of death was cardiovascular failure. The circumstances surrounding his death are unclear; he was found alone by two young boys some time after his actual repose. There were no reports of Father Michael having health problems before.
Father Michael singlehandedly started the mission to Haiti two decades ago, and he along with his attached parishes joined the Russian Autonomous Church in June of this year. An active speaker in defense of the Metropolitan during this period, he gained the respect and admiration of almost everyone he dealt with, except his most bitter enemies.
In his most recent semi-weekly newsletters, Father Michael's tone became peculiarly ominous, including in his second-to-last edition a prediction of his own incarceration or death due to the political circumstances in Haiti. Father Michael had a number of enemies ... Yet his views were consistent with the Gospel; he refused to recognize any nearby government as Christian in nature and was more concerned with consistency with the Gospel above all else. Without a full investigation in Haiti, it is currently impossible to determine whether Father Michael simply died of stress-related heart failure or whether this was a skillfully executed murder on the part of local warlords, who had imprisoned and killed Roman Catholic priests in recent weeks for political views similar to Father Michael's.
The Hierarchical Synod of the ROAC issued the following Statement on the death of Archimandrite Michael: "The news of the repose of Father Archimandrite Michael has shaken the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church. We extend our sincerest sympathies to all of Father Michael's relatives and to all who were close to him. We pray that the Lord grant rest to his soul and admit it to where the righteous repose. The President and Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church"
Archimandrite Michael will be buried with his parents in his native New Jersey, United States.
Saint Basil Of Kineshma Day In The State Of Colorado
The Honorable William Owens, Governor of Colorado has declared 31 July to be Saint Basil of Kineshma Day in the State of Colorado! Here is a link to the official Proclamation.
Appeal From The Parishioners Of Saint Basil Of Kineshma
Dear in Christ,
As you may know, there has been some turmoil that has put our parish in a terrible bind. We, the parish of Saint Basil of Kineshma, will not be able to keep our temple and rectory.
Unfortunately this means Father's family has to quickly pack up and find a new rectory and temple. Over the past few months our parishioners used all of their extra money to build this temple that is now being taken from us. While our hard work will be someone else's gain, it has left us without extra money to pay for a down payment, the first month's mortgage bill, taxes and insurance for a new home in addition to renting a moving truck and buying moving supplies for Father's family.
If anyone knows of a property in the region, we would be grateful for your help. Also, even though we really do not like having to ask, if anyone has the ability to help us pay for a moving truck, supplies, or a down payment on a new home, we could really use the help. Even $20 would help us if you can spare it.
Please send any contributions to our deacon's mailbox, as we are unsure when and where our archpriest and family will be moving to, as finding a place for a family of seven is difficult. Checks should be made out to Father Nikolai Stanosheck, the church treasurer. His mailing address is as follows:
The Rev Dcn Nikolai Stanosheck
3419 Galley Road, Unit #118
Colorado Springs, Colorado
80909-4319 United States of America
May God bless you all for your generosity and prayers in this time of great need.
Axios! Axios! Axios!
At Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker Russian Orthodox Church on Staten Island, New York, on the 14/27th day of June in the 7512th year after the foundation of the world & 2004th year after the Incarnation of the Word of God; the Feast of Patriarch Methodius of Constantinople; The Reverend Deacon Fotios Roseboro of Saint Basil of Kineshma Orthodox Christian Church was ordained to the Holy Priesthood for Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called Russian Orthodox Church in Virginia and Nikolai Stanosheck was ordained to the Holy Diaconate for Saint Basil of Kineshma Russian Orthodox Church in Colorado. May God grant Fathers Fotios and Nikolai many years of service to His Church! Here is a link to a picture diary from the blessed event.
Official Statement From The Synod Of Bishops Of The Roac Regarding Metropolitan VALENTINE
The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church relates that on April 18, 2004, Thomas Sunday, His Eminence Metropolitan VALENTINE celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Dormition Skete. Serving with him were His Grace Bishop Gregory of Denver and Colorado, Hegumen George, Hieromonk Andrew, the priests Dionysi McGowan and John Claypool, and Archdeacon Peter. After the liturgy was ended, there was a trapeza in the monastery refectory to which all of the monastery brotherhood and all of the faithful were invited.
After the trapeza, the clergy and some of the faithful met with the Metropolitan in order to discuss questions relating to the life and activities of members of the R.O.A.C. in the USA. This meeting lasted until late in the evening.
At 11:30 PM, Vladyka Valentine became ill. The brotherhood of the monastery feared that Vladyka was having a heart attack and called 911. Vladyka was taken by ambulance to the emergency room of the hospital in Salida, which is the closest hospital to the monastery. After an initial examination, he was admitted to the hospital. The following day, Dr. Amatelli, the cardiologist there, decided to transfer Vladyka to the cardiology center of Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs.
Almost immediately after arrival, Dr. William Barry, a cardiologist, did an angiogram of Vladyka’s heart, and determined that Vladyka needed surgery very soon. The operation was scheduled for Wednesday, April 21st. It was performed by Dr. James T. Anderson, one of the leading heart surgeons in the country. He was assisted by the anesthesiologist, Dr. James Taylor. The open heart surgery took about nine hours. Four of the bypasses were made from arteries taken from Vladyka’s arms, and one was made from a vein taken from one of his legs.
Immediately after surgery, Vladyka was transferred to the ICU. After a couple of hours, the nurse noticed a greater than usual amount of drainage coming from Vladyka’s wound and called the doctor. Dr. Anderson returned to the hospital and after looking over Vladyka’s situation, decided to reopen the chest cavity and look for the source of the drainage in order to stop it. This second open heart surgery took about three hours. Dr. Anderson was aided this time by the anesthesiologist, Dr. Martin Read.
For the next three days, Vladyka was in the ICU. On Saturday, April 24th, Vladyka was transferred to a room on the ninth floor, where all of the heart patients are sent for recovery. However, he was only there for about three hours. He became extremely ill. His temperature rose to about 105 F., and he became delirious. The doctors were concerned about the possibility of a stroke. Vladyka was hurriedly returned to the ICU. Then there followed a whole range of tests. Many specialists were called in including: Dr. John Newcomer, a pulmonolgist, Dr. Donald Strandberg, an infectious disease specialist, and Dr. Thomas D. McDonald, a neurologist. They were able to determine that there had been no stroke, but in order to prevent one from taking place, the temperature of Vladyka’s body had to be lowered quickly. Vladyka was wrapped in a special blanket through which cold water was passed. In this way, wrapped in a near freezing blanket, Vladyka lay throughout that entire terrible night, and the temperature slowly returned to normal. As a result of all of the tests, the doctors were able to determine that Vladyka had succumbed to a staph infection of his blood (staphylococcus aureus). A course of antibiotics was ordered in order to overcome it.
Thanks to the antibiotics, Vladyka’s condition gradually began to improve. Several days later, it was decided that he was in good enough condition that he could be returned to the ninth floor. During this time the following doctors assisted Vladyka with their expertise: Dr. David Albrecht, cardiologist, Dr. Michael Barber, cardiologist, Dr. James Simon, Urologist, Dr. James Stewart, surgeon, Dr. Bulgarin, pulmonologist, Nicole Montoya, physician’s assistant, Christine Poprocki, physician’s assistant, and Svetlana Gorbunova, physician’s assistant.
After several days of tests, the source of the infection was located. During the first open heart surgery, a special balloon pump for assisting the beating of the heart had been inserted through a catheter in the groin. This wound is where the infection developed. A minor operation was ordered to open and clean out this wound. Dr. John Randono was the surgeon for this procedure. He was assisted by the anesthesiologist, Dr. John Marda.
Finally, the infectious disease specialist, Dr. Donald Strandberg decided that Vladyka could be released from the hospital, but under certain conditions. It would be necessary for Vladyka to continue the intravenous antibiotic therapy for six weeks, and it would be better for that to be done somewhere close by the hospital. And so, on May 5th, Vladyka moved to the house of the local priest, Fr. Dionysi McGowan, where he continues to receive the whole course of the needed antibiotics.
In connection with the colossal efforts on the part of the doctors and staff involved with the treatment of Metropolitan VALENTINE (Anatoly Rusantsov), the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, together with the clergy, monastics, and faithful, not only in Russia, but from around the world, express their deeply felt gratitude for saving the life of the head of our Church. We offer our redoubled prayers that the Lord grant strength and vigor to all of the doctors and staff of Penrose Hospital, that they might be able to continue the work of their noble calling. Your labors in this regard serve as a model and example for all of the doctors of the world to emulate, no matter what their nationality or faith might be.
The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church
Vladyka VALENTINE Has Returned To America
His Eminence, Metropolitan VALENTINE of Suzdal and Vladimir has arrived in the United States of America for his annual pastoral visit to the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church in America. Please contact Father Vladimir Skishkoff if you would like to request an audience with Vladyka Valentine while he is here. UPDATE: Metropolitan VALENTINE has now returned to Russia.
More Arsons In Suzdal
On Sunday morning, August 3rd, two fires were started on church buildings in Suzdal. The first fire was started on the big metal hangar that is situated next to Synodal House at Teremki Street and and the second one was at the garage in a yard of Rizopologenskij convent at Vasilievskaja Street.
At 4:30 in the morning, casual by-passers noticed a blaze rising over the hangar building that is used as a garage of Synod and also as a storehouse of construction materials and fuel. Five minutes earlier pilgrims, who were at the building next door to hangar, heard the sound of a car departing in a quick manner. In it, in all probability, were offenders, who set on fire.
The starting point, of the fire was in a firewood storehouse added to the hangar. Arsonists splashed liquid fuel through a crack in a wall of the storehouse. As a result, their stored saw-timber burst into flames. Soon a metal wall of the hangar glowed because of the fire, and it started to split. Then flames enveloped shelves with car spare parts, wheels and paints.
Archpriest Nicholas and Protodeacon Vladimir did their best to prevent an explosion of cars, which were in the garage, and they succeeded: one car was rolled out into the street and the other, which was left inside, was continually cooled off by pails full of water. Miraculously the fire didn't spread to areas with fuel, among which was tank with twelve tones of solar oil. A consequence of such a possible explosion of such quantity of fuel could be placed on the same footing as a serious terrorist act.
In the building next door to hangar was Bishop AMBROSE, several clerics and pilgrims, among whom were two children aged from 7 to 9. They hastily left the building when a pungent smell of smoke began to penetrate in its corridors. Fire brigades arrived in five minutes after the conflagration was revealed. They coped with the fire in about half an hour. As a result of the conflagration several cubic meters of board, slate, other construction material and also motorcycle of subdeacon Ivan Kostin were burned. According to the most modest count, an injury caused by conflagration amounted to 50 thousand rubles. Protodeacon Vladimir, who was near the seat of the conflagration for a long time was poisoned by coal gas. Urgently needed medical help was given to him.
The second arson took place approximately at 9.30 in the morning. An incendiary splashed petrol from a jerrycan (which was later found) and threw a match inside a crack in the back wall of a garage. The fire was noticed at once and in several minutes nuns and workers of the monastery extinguished it. As a result, saw-timber and plywood stored in the garage were slightly burnt. Also walls of the garage became covered with soot.
It is far from first time that church buildings in Suzdal become objects of arson. In the last summer a conflagration took place in the Rizopologenskij monastery at Vasilievskaja Street, where a petrol bomb was thrown through window. The building was so damaged that its repair hasn't been completed yet. "Osetrovtzs" also set on fire to chapel on Znamenskoe cemetery in Suzdal and to a church house on Slobodskaja Street, where elderly nuns-invalids live. Several years earlier an unfinished building of women cloisters in the name of Saint John (patronymic Maximovich) was burnt down. Perpetrators of all these arsons, who are well known to many inhabitants of Suzdal "aren't ascertained" by investigation even up to now and criminal cases by majority of such incidents are closed. ARSONS IN LATVIA
Around five in the morning of the 28th of August, the day of the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, unknown hooligans gathered in Daoobavrelse and burned the Cathedral Church of the Holy Equal to the Apostles Prince Vladimir, belonging to the Autonomous True Orthodox Church of Latvia — the Latvian Eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church. The fire in the church was at once discovered by Archbishop VICTOR.
According to the report of the Latvian firemen, there were discovered two canisters of gasoline, one of which was full, the other empty, which proved the fire was maliciously set. The flames of the fire seriously damaged the roof of the church, the interior, and church property. The damage is estimated at $9000 U.S. dollars.
According to Archbishop VICTOR, about five in the morning he was woken by a neighbor lady, who informed him that the church was engulfed with flames. At that point the fire was burning the staircase on the second floor where the bishop slept. To flee the burning church, Archbishop VICTOR was helped by our Saviour. Vladyka was taken to the clinic with numerous burns. Later it became evident that the culprits threw bottles with a flammable mixture straight into the window of the Archbishop's residence.
Archbishop VICTOR had reported that he had been threatened continuously during the previous two months. Whoever threatened the hierarch referred to themselves as Christians.
The result of the fire was that the bishop's entire bedroom, the trapeza and the Eparchy's boardroom were burned.
Three Churches Robbed In Suzdal
In the middle of May new acts of blasphemy and sacrilege with respect to the churches of the Russian Orthodox Church in Suzdal were committed by unknown criminals. Some icons and pieces of church plate were stolen from the church of New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia which was constructed in 2000 on the initiative and under the guidance of Metropolitan VALENTINE in a new district of Suzdal; the bell tower of the church of Saint Anthypa in Teremky street — which is near the building of ROAC Synod of bishops — was left without its bells.
The citizens of Suzdal consider those crimes resulting from provocative statements of the former archpriest Andrew Osetrov on Vladimir TV. This person who slandered the head of ROAC and initiated his prosecution claimed that Metropolitan VALENTINE was concealing "innumerable treasures" which should be passed to the parishes. As a matter of fact, the former archpriest called for the expropriation of those mythical "treasures" — that caused a new wave of crimes in Suzdal.
Several days later, in the night of May 23-24 four icons dating XIX century were stolen from Tsar Constantine Cathedral in Suzdal, a total value of which is estimated approximately at 40 thousand rubles. The burglar penetrated into the Cathedral in the interval between 2 and 4 a.m., having cut metal window bars with the help of hydraulic cutting pliers and having sawed a piece of the window frame in the side-altar in honor of All the Saints of Vladimir. The thief managed to get into the church through the Holy Gates.
At 4:30 the candle-lighter revealed a burglary and called for the police who reached the spot in more than an hour. Judging from the remaining tracks and prints the experts came to a preliminary conclusion: the crime was committed by two persons at least, one of them being a child or a lean juvenile who entered the temple through the window. The thief was gloved. In order to get inside the temple the criminals climbed over the fence. The burglars had to be in a hurry — it seems that they knew what to do and which pieces could be taken away.
It is the second burglary of Tsar Constantine Cathedral — which totally repeated the attempt of burglary undertaken a year ago on August 27. That time the burglars succeeded to bite window bars and got into the side-altar but were scared off by the presence of the candle-lighter and ran away having left a military radio transmitter and camouflage. The malefactors still remain undiscovered. The parishioners use to note that the number of crimes sharply increased during the period mayor Ryzhkov being in power. Local authorities remained indifferent to the declarations of Church representatives earlier, and it seems that at present they don't have any inclination to carry on criminal investigation and to punish the guilty. It seems that the outburst of crime admitted by the present Suzdal administration and ineffective activity — or inactivity — of the police which refuse to provide safety of ROAC believers and their temples will continue being part of the campaign; the aim of which is to discriminate against the ROAC.
Church Of Saint Olga In Danger
Theophan (Ashurkov), the new bishop of Moscow Patriarchate in Stavropol suddenly came into ROAC church of SaintOlga in the city of Zheleznovodsk. He attentively looked at the interior, then went to church lodge and announced that women there should take a blessing from him and "return to the mother-church". He made off when he was suggested to talk to the priests.
Later it became known that on the MP clergy meeting this bishop, Theophan, promised to do all his best "to return" the church of Saint Olga to MP (this church was built by its Rector Father George Novakovski and it is a copy of Tsar-Constantine church in Suzdal, some time ago they had to fend off several serious attacks of a previous bishop of Moscow Partiarchate). Bishop Theophan of the Moscow Patriarchate has already prepared some documents for court to seize the building, also he is planning to start publishing different dirty articles in the local press.
December 2001 ROAC Synod Meeting
The Bishops' Synod of ROAC was held in Suzdal December 1-3 to discuss consecration of the bishop for the church communities in the USA, the position with regard to the new division in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and other questions.
The first meeting was addressed by Metropolitan VALENTINE who spoke about his visit to the USA. Speaking about the latest events in the ROCOR, Metropolitan VALENTINE noted a certain increased closeness of the relations between the ROAC and the Synod formed by Metropolitan VITALY. The Primate expressed also regret that the Synod of Metropolitan VITALY refused to sever the relations with the Kyprianites. The meeting ruled that communion with the Synod of Metropolitan VITALY can only be established after it ceases the communion with "the Synod in Resistance".
Considered were petitions from ROCOR clerics wishing to join the ROAC, and the procedure was established — to admit clerics from the ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate: through repentance, confession of the faith, and bringing the oath. Ordination is prescribed for "doubtful cases" only.
The meeting appointed Archbishop THEODORE as the chairman of the Theological Commission and gave the blessing for opening a priest-training course under the Suzdal Diocese.
The Synod decided to begin preparation for the 1st Bishops' Council of the ROAC with participation of clerics and lay worshippers.
The Synod reiterated that "the ROAC stays outside of any politics and its clerics must not be members of any political party". It was noted in the Synodal definition that "every shepherd and every member of the Church of God must educate one's flock, relatives and friends in the spirit of patriotism with regard to the Church of God and to the Fatherland, and keep one's conscience in purity. Orthodox Christian must not share a state political ideology which is contrary to the evangelical laws and the Orthodox doctrine".
Metropolitan VALENTINE’s 2001 Pastoral Visit To America
Metropolitan VALENTINE, head of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, arrived in America on Friday October 12, 2001. He flew into Denver, Colorado, and was met by Archimandrite Gregory and the faithful who drove him to Dormition Skete, a monastery three hours driving distance from Denver, in the mountains of Colorado. Despite the elevation of 9,000 feet (2,743 meters), Metropolitan VALENTINE’s health remained strong and vigorous. He was greeted at the monastery by the brotherhood of Dormition Skete, Mother Mariam of Holy Apostles Convent, and faithful parishioners from across the country.
On Saturday, Vladyka met and interviewed candidates who had prepared themselves for ordination: Michael Fresco from southern California, and Paul Kalamaras from Virginia. Michael is starting a parish in California named for St. Maximos the Confessor, and Paul will serve at the Church of St. Basil of Kineshma in Virginia under Fr. Dionysi. Fr. Dionysi arrived on this day with his family for a three day visit. In addition to the above candidates, two monks from Dormition Skete were interviewed in preparation for ordination, Hierodeacon Fr. George and Fr. Peter.
On Sunday morning, the feast of the Holy Protection of the Theotokos, Vladyka served the hierarchal Liturgy and ordained Hierodeacon George to the holy priesthood and Michael Fresco to the holy deaconate. During this liturgy, the abbot of the monastery, Fr. Gregory, was made a mitered archimandrite according to the Russian practice. Fr. Dionysi was honored with the Nebednik and the Scufa.
On Monday morning, Fr. Deacon Michael Fresco was ordained to the holy priesthood and Paul Kalamaras to the holy deaconate. Because Vladyka Valentine’s trip was accomplished in short notice, the above-mentioned clergy were not able to arrange for a longer visit than the weekend. They had to return home quickly, having work commitments on Tuesday.
Fr. Peter was ordained a deacon on Tuesday morning by Vladyka on the third consecutive hierarchal Liturgy. Then, on Wednesday, Vladyka was involved in much ecclesiastical work dealing with ROAC, writing letters and sending and receiving faxes.
The faithful parishioners, who were not able to come and meet Vladyka on such a short notice, called from all over Colorado, and also from the states of Virginia, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Alabama, Florida, and Kansas, and even from Toronto, Canada. They called to greet Metropolitan VALENTINE, hear his voice, receive his blessing, and wish him a pleasant and fruitful visit to America.
On Thursday October 18, Dr. Jerjis T. Alajaji flew from Pennsylvania and arrived at Dormition Skete for a five day visit, to get Vladyka’s blessings, be spiritually nourished by the daily cycle of holy services, and get to personally know better Vladyka Valentine, Archimandrite Gregory, Fr. George, Fr. Peter, and Brother John. In addition, Fr. George’s brother Clement came for a one day visit with his wife Elizabeth and his two daughters, Emily and Zoe.
The translators for Vladyka were initially Maximos Kotyarov, who came from Denver for the first two days, and then throughout the visit of Vladyka, Vladimir Mskhiladze, who traveled from Albuquerque, New Mexico. During his stay, Vladyka walked the grounds of the monastery, and visited Buena Vista and the Twin Lakes, a scenic area north of Buena Vista.
On Friday afternoon, a special gift for Vladyka arrived from the Ioanna Phillips and her family in Portland, Oregon. The gift was a splendid hand-beaded ostrich egg of the kind which normally hang beneath the icons on the choros which surrounds the chandelier in an Orthodox church [as they do now in our own Church of the Dormition thanks to the God-given talent and generosity of Ioanna]. Vladyka was very impressed by the gift and promised to remember her family especially in his prayers. He said the egg will hang from the chandelier in his church in Suzdal.
On Saturday, Joseph and Anna Johnson arrived from Utah on a two day visit, and John Mills came from Colorado Springs, Colorado (John Mills is Fr. George’s brother). On Sunday, Joseph and Anna Johnson spoke with Vladyka and departed on their twelve hour journey back to Utah. Also on Sunday, Vladyka provided Dr. Jerjis T. Alajaji with a lesson in the basics of the Russian language.
On Sunday, Vladyka served his last hierarchal liturgy of this trip at Dormition Skete. It was very emotional. The Metropolitan blessed the brotherhood and the Church of the Dormition.
On Monday, after the trapeza, Vladyka prepared to travel on to San Francisco, where he will venerate and pray for his flock before the incorrupt relics of St. John the Wonder-worker of Shanghai and San Francisco, and from there to visit Fr. Vladimir Shiskoff in New York, before taking the long flight back to Russia. Archimandrite Gregory, Hierodeacon George, Dr. Jerjis, and Vladimir Mskhiladze accompanied the Metropolitan to the Denver airport, where they received his blessing and bid him farewell. Security at the airport was very tight, but Vladyka made it through with no problems.
All of us in America cannot express the gratitude that we have for Vladyka Valentine’s sacrifice in coming half-way across the world to meet with us. We all wish him good health and many years in his labors for true Orthodoxy.
Two Arsons In Suzdal
Late in the evening on the 30 of September 2 houses of ROAC were set on the fire in Suzdal.
One is the old wooden house (on Slobodskaya street) where Archimandret Irinarch lives along with some other monks and old people, including blind nun (mother of Hieromonk Symon) and paralyzed old man.
The enemies doused the whole house around with gasoline, surrounding all the house with gasoline "path", and then set fire. It was at 23:30. Luckily Father Symon was praying in his cell at that time, and the fire came to his window (because of the thin wooden decorations that surround the window). He saw the fire and immediately called everyone out. They used the water from the huge rain can standing nearby and the earth from the garden that is located near the house, so they managed to stop the fire quickly. Otherwise it would be difficult to avoid victims.
On the same night the wooden constructions surrounding the chapel that is being built by Vladyka at the cemetery of Suzdal was burned out. The walls of the chapel became black.
The firemen found a 5-liter empty can from gasoline near the house. But the police behaves very strange. They say that there was no fire.
The unknown criminals broke open the Church of "Joy of All who Sorrow" in Suzdal and stolen an old beautiful icon. Vladyka called the militia (police) but they refused to investigate the matter and said that Vladyka had stolen this icon himself.
On the next day, after 9 p.m., 4 people (2 in militia uniform and 2 in civil) came to Synodal house on Vasilievskaya street. They asked for the book of registrations and said that they will heck the documents of all the people who live in the house (this is a large building, with a monastery on the firs floor and a number of people leaving on the second floor). Vladyka said that the house is new and they still did not get the book of registrations. "OK, then we shall just check the documents of all the people here," — said the guests, but Vladyka showed them out. "We shall investigate by other means," — said the guests instead of "Good-bye".
A number of old catacomb nuns (who never received soviet passport) live or come to Suzdal. In Russia living without a passport is a sort of crime. Saint Philaret the New Confessor
ROAC Canonized Metropolitan Philaret
The celebrations of the canonization by the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC) of Metropolitan PHILARET (Voznesensky) of New York and East America, the third First-Hierarch of the Russia Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), were held April 30 and May 1 at the Tsar Constantine cathedral here with participation of five bishops, about 30 clerics and dozens of laity from Russian provinces and former USSR.
Taking part in the rites were Metropolitan VALENTINE of Suzdal, Archbishop FEODOR of Borisov, Archbishop SERAPHIM of Suhumi, Bishop ANTONY of Yaran and Bishop AMVROSY of Khabarovsk.
The text of the Act of Glorification notes the deeds of the canonized, including the canonization in 1981 of the Synaxis of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, the denouncement of the ecumenical doctrine in 1983, the support of the Catacomb Church in Russia, and the "Sorowful Epistles" to the leaders of the Orthodox Churches. The Act states that after the passing away of Metropolitan PHILARET, certain bishops of the ROCOR "took the Church astray and off the straight road that it traveled under Metropolitan PHILARET". The Act expresses surprise that in 1998 the ROCOR rendered to the mould the uncorrupted relics of Metropolitan PHILARET that were acquired at the Holy Trinity monastery in Jordanville, USA. It has been determined to celebrate the memory of Metropolitan PHILARET on November 21, the day of his passing.
During the rite of the oils presented was an icon of Metropolitan Philaret embroidered by Elena Kudravzeva, a member of the Moscow Brotherhood of the ROAC. She worked over this icon for about 3 years, after her son was healed by the prayers to SaintPhilaret. The service of SaintPhilaret was written at the SaintPetersburg parish of Grand Princess Elisaveta Feodorovna.
Metropolitan VALENTINE noted in his address the importance of the canonization in the context of the division of Orthodoxy according to adoption or non-adoption of the traditions of the Holy Fathers.
Bishop Ambrose Threatened
Bishop AMBROSE of Khabarovsk, who was attacked physically last March, has received an anonymous letter with threats. The letter was delivered at bishop’s home although the envelope carried no address or mail service stamps. The computer-printed text contains a number of insulting expressions directed at the bishop, some of them, like «Satanist», being clearly «religious». The fact that the anonymous writer belongs to a religious organization is also proven by specific phrases.
«This was your first and last warning. I give you one week to get out of our glorious city. Or else you leave it in a cerecloth of wood».
Metropolitan VALENTINE thinks that the authors of the letter are seriously scared by the appearance in the city of a bishop «of an alternative jurisdiction», whose missionary work may «damage the dominant confession». Bishop Ambrosy was a cleric of the Khabarovsk Diocese of the ROC in late 1980s and early 1990s, he was off the staff for several years, before he joined the ROAC. Last November he was chirotonized to bishop.
March 22 unknown persons beat the hierarch and accompanying priest, and he was hospitalized, staying in a life-support unit for several days.
Bishop Ambrose Attacked, Hospitalized
Unknown criminals beat in an apartment house hall March 22 Bishop AMBROSE of Khabarovsk and accompanying FatherDimitry. They were attacked after the Liturgy that they served in the apartment of nun Xenia.
When Bishop AMBROSE and FatherDimitry entered the apartment house that they visit very often, somebody attacked them from behind, starting to beat them with batons. Vladyka immediately lost conscious, but Father Dimitry noticed 2 young men. He remembers only one of these two that looked about 25 years old, his hair was cut short, and he acted with the baton rather professionally. People in the house heard the noise and run out. The guys run away and jumped in a white old Toyota (the most frequent car in Khabarovsk), its numbers were closed. One parishioner tried to stop them, but they slightly hit her by the car and run away on the Toyota.
Bishop AMBROSE was without conscious he for several hours. He was hospitalized and put into intensive-care unit,
On March 24 Vladyka AMBROSE was discharged from the hospital on his requeSaintHis face is beaten, with numerous blue spots, a torn lip, and possibly a brain concussion. Medics say though that his vital organs have not been seriously damaged.
Right before the incident Vladyka AMBROSE gave an interview to one Khabarovsk newspaper, discussing church problems. The interview was in a very nice and intelligent style, without condemning anybody.
Vladyka AMBROSE was rather active — he planned to build in Khabarovsk a church of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God and found a convent in the suburbs of the city. FROC Archbishop VALENTINE and Synod.
March 2001 ROAC Synod Meeting
On March 2/15, 2001, the day of the appearance of the Reigning icon of the Mother of God, a session of the Hierarchical Council of the Russian Orthodox Church took place in the Synodal house in Suzdal.
The President of the Hierarchical Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, Archbishop VALENTINE, made the suggestion of glorifying Metropolitan PHILARET (Voznesensky), President of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, among the ranks of the saints. His Eminence THEODORE, Archbishop of Borisovskoye and Sanino, concurred with this opinion, and also gave the information that "the chancellery had sent out telegrams to their Graces requesting them to come to the session of the Hierarchical Synod and compose their opinion on the question at issue. As regards my relationship to the glorification of Metropolitan PHILARET," added Archbishop THEODORE, "I consider that our Synod must carry out the will of God and do that which the Synod of the Church Abroad is no longer in a position to do — glorify the holy Hierarch Philaret among the ranks of the saints."
Those present were acquainted with the opinions on the question at issue of all the Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church: his Grace VICTOR, Archbishop of Laugavpis and Latvia, gave the following reply: "Having acquired a preliminary acquaintance with the given material, and having now received the good news of the intention of the Russian Orthodox Church to glorify Metropolitan PHILARET (Voznesensky), who preserved the Church in difficult times — I, humble VICTOR, archbishop, bow my knees before those who have initiated this holy act. I support and encourage the Glorification of the holy Hierarch Philaret (Voznesensky), whom the Lord Himself has already chosen, by the Orthodox Church."
His Grace HILARION, Bishop of Smelyan: "Who can and will dare to oppose the holiness and purity of life, faith and service to the Church of Christ of the holy Hierarch Hilarion (Voznesensky) The whole of his life and service, and even his incorrupt body, testify to the holiness of his soul. May God grant that his intercession in prayer before the Most High Creator and his present glorification may be reflected by the manifestation of grace also upon our Russian (Autonomous) Church. I belief that all of us, in glorifying the holy Hierarch Philaret, will not be deprived of his protection in this and in the coming world.
"I also profoundly believe that the holy Hierarch Philaret is now among the number of the heaven-dwellers and speaks to us as it were in the words of G. Derzhavin: 'I am nothing! But Thou, O Lord, shinest in me, by the majesty of Thy goodness. In me Thou dost form Thyself as the sun in a small drop of water.'
"I profoundly believe that the glorification of the holy Hierarch Philaret will bring grace-filled strengthening also to our Russian Orthodox Church, and, uniting my feeble voice, I beseech: O holy Father and Hierarch Philaret, pray God for the prosperous, peaceful and true stand of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, for her Hierarchs, servers and for all her spiritual children!"
His Grace Bishop TIMOTHY and His Grace Bishop GERONTIUS also completely supported the glorification of the holy Hierarch Philaret (Voznesensky). The same opinion was supported by all the Hierarchs present. And so the decision was unanimous:
1. Taking into account that fact that the Hierarch PHILARET (Voznesensky) was the helmsman of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and led her Orthodox ship amidst the sea of life in accordance with the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church, not entering into compromises with the sergianists and in accordance with the popular veneration of the ever-memorable Metropolitan PHILARET by the members of the Russian Orthodox Church, and also with the incorruption of his relics in Jordanville at their reburial: TO GLORIFY the holy Hierarch Philaret (Voznesensky), Metropolitan of New York and First Hierarch of the ROCA in the Emperor Constantine cathedral of the God-preserved city of Suzdal after holy Pascha.
2. To establish the day of the celebration of the holy Hierarch Philaret on the day of his death, November 8/21, the feast of the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other bodiless Heavenly Powers.
Further, the President of the Hierarchical Synod of the ROAC, Archbishop VALENTINE, informed that recently a series of petitions to the Hierarchical Synod of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church has come from clergy and believers of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, requesting that they be received under the omophorion of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church.
The clergy and believers gave as the reason for their exit the fact that the hierarchs of the Church Abroad have departed from the truth and adopted a course bringing them closer to the Moscow Patriarchate and other ecumenists.
The participants in the session expressed the opinion that it was necessary to receive the clergy without a canonical release, since they were leaving their bishop because of his coming closer to the heretics and ecumenists. The basis for this is laid by the 15th canon of the First-and-Second Council of Constantinople: "Those who depart from communion with their President for the sake of some heresy condemned by the Councils or Fathers, when, that is, he preaches heresy publicly, and teaches it openly in the Church, even if such people separate themselves from communion with the so-called Bishop before conciliar examination, not only are not subject to the epitimia laid down by the canons, but are worthy of the honour befitting the Orthodox. For they have condemned, not bishops, but false bishops and false teachers, and have not divided the unity of the Church by schism, but have tried to preserve the Church from schisms and divisions."
Passing to the second question on the agenda, his Grace Archbishop THEODORE read out the addresses and suggestions of the Hierarchs presented by them at the Session of the Hierarchical Synod of the ROAC. In their addresses, for the good of the Church, their Graces suggested examining the question of the future leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church by a Hierarch in the rank of Metropolitan. In connection with this they simultaneously suggested raising Archbishop VALENTINE of Suzdal and Vladimir to the rank of METROPOLITAN. "My opinion," said Archbishop THEODORE, "is the following: the President of the Hierarchical Synod of the ROAC, Archbishop VALENTINE, has already led the Suzdal Diocese for ten years, keeping the tiller of Church administration on the course bequeathed by the First Hierarchs of the Church Abroad. For this he deserves this high rank, and being raised to the dignity of Metropolitan and being named First Hierarch of the ROAC."
A similar opinion was expressed by Bishop HILARION of Smelyan: "From the time of its last council, the ROCA has ceased to exist as a true bearer of Orthodoxy. Her hierarchs have signed up to a secret aggiornamento — that is, they have transferred to the path of the Moscow Patriarchate. Therefore the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church is in urgent need of a First Hierarch — Metropolitan, for the restoration of the fullness of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. I write to you as a cleric of our Church that the Providence of God has from the beginning chosen Vladyka VALENTINE as the instrument for the restoration in Rus' of the True Orthodox Church of Christ, and he has suffered much in the carrying out of this providential act. His Grace Bishop HILARION went on to write: "I, as a feeble, unworthy and sinful Hierarch of the Church wish to see and commemorate in my ecclesiastical service Archbishop VALENTINE in the rank of Metropolitan of the ROAC, and I raise my hierarchical voice and with joy and for all to hear I cry: AXIOS, AXIOS, AXIOS!"
His Grace Bishop AMBROSE added to this that the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church was worthy to be a Metropolitan having the right of wearing two panagias. And the eldest Hierarchs after the First Hierarch — Archbishop THEODORE, Archbishop SERAPHIM and Archbishop VICTOR — were worthy of the right to wear a cross on their klobuks. This corresponded to the situation of the Russian Church and would serve for the strengthening of her authority.
The participants in the session decreed:
1. Taking into account the suggestions of their Graces the Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, for the good of the Church of God, from now on the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church is to be led by a Hierarch in the rank of METROPOLITAN.
2. Taking into account the labours of Archbishop VALENTINE for the glory of the Church of God, and taking into account the desires of their Graces, the Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, TO RAISE TO THE RANK OF METROPOLITAN with the right of wearing two panagias his Eminence Archbishop VALENTINE of Suzdal and Vladimir.
3. To count their Graces Archbishop THEODORE, Archbishop SERAPHIM and Archbishop VICTOR worthy of the right to wear a cross on their klobuks. Further, questions relating to the internal life of the Russian Orthodox Church were examined. His Grace Bishop AMBROSE voiced the opinion that the time had come for the Hierarchical Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church to issue a decree on the gracelessness of the sacraments of the Moscow Patriarchate. The members of the Hierarchical Synod agreed with this and decreed: to begin work on the given problem, in order to examine this question in more detail at the next sessions of the Hierarchical Synod, having asked the opinions of all the Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church.
This session of the Hierarchical Synod of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church ended with the chanting of the prayer "It is very meet to bless thee".