AN ADDRESS TO THE MEMBERS OF
THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH ABROAD (LAURUS)
By Bishop Gregory of Denver and Colorado
I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, asking that His mercy be with you. In the spirit of love, I am writing to you in this time of crisis, hoping that you will receive my words in that same spirit.
As you know, in this coming month, the ROCOR bishops under Metropolitan Laurus are meeting to discuss the future “reunification” of the Russian Church (as if the Russian Church has been divided.) This is a time when a final decision has to be made by the God-loving faithful and clergy of the ROCOR who wish to uphold the Orthodox traditions of the glorious First-Hierarchs Metropolitans Anthony, Anastassy, and Philaret. I hope and pray that you, my friends in the ROCOR, will not be deceived.
The ROCOR bishops and many of the clergy are attempting to cleverly mislead the faithful to follow them into a tragic and destructive sin. They are telling you that the Moscow Patriarchate (MP) has repented and has met all of their requirements to accomplish the “reunification” of the Russian Church. Archbishop Mark has openly worked for this union for over a decade, and now in his recent interview with “Nezavisimaya Gazeta/religii”, has said that there is no obstacle in the way of union, yet this union itself will be an obstacle to your salvation if you follow him and Metropolitan Laurus. The MP has not repented, and I believe cannot repent of its irreversible course. They do not believe in repentance; otherwise, they would have done so long ago. This is the institution, not founded by God, but founded by Stalin; therefore, it is rightly called “the Soviet Church”. The true Orthodox Church of Russia, because of the persecutions of the godless government, was forced into the Catacombs and Abroad. What remained visible in Russia throughout these decades is the present-day MP, headed by bishops who are communists. Has anything changed? Do not be deceived if they tell you: “yes”. This is a lie.
This is the same MP that persecuted the New Confessors of Russia and caused their martyrdoms. This is the same MP that fell under the anathema of St. Patriarch Tikhon and the All-Russian Council of 1917-18. This is the same MP that was anathematized by the Russian Catacomb Church, whose New Martyrs, e.g. St. Andrew, Archbishop of Ufa, said:
“All followers of the lying Metropolitan Sergei are themselves filled with lies and evil and have fallen away from the truth of Christ, they have fallen away from Christ's Church” (M. Zelenogorsky, The Life and Work of Archbishop Andrew," p. 216).
This is the same MP about which our Metropolitan Anthony and the whole ROCOR episcopate declared: “Metropolitans Sergius and Evlogius ...have now fallen away from the saving unity of the Church and have joined themselves to the enemies of Christ and of the holy Church” (“Open Epistle”, signed by all the bishops; July 28 O.S., 1928, No. 892). This is the same MP, which is now headed by the Communist Patriarch Alexei II [KGB code-name: “Drozdov”]. Let no one deceive you to think that he leads the MP in confessing the truths of Orthodoxy. As if the heresy of Sergianism was not enough, they have also become the leaders in the heresy of Ecumenism. They will never change course and break communion with all the heretical, pseudo-Orthodox Patriarchates of “World Orthodoxy”, as did St. Metropolitan Philaret. You should bear in mind the holy words of St. Theodore the Studite, who said that “not only heretics, but also those who have communion with them, are enemies of God” (Epistle to Abbot Theophilus).
This is the same MP that persecuted and has caused misery and hardship to millions in Russia and continues to do so to this very day. Our Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC) has suffered over 75 acts of arson, vandalism, beatings, and other kinds of violence within the past two years alone. The MP cannot tolerate the fact that 400 churches have united under Metropolitan Valentine, about 200 from the MP and 200 from the Catacombniks. Therefore, they have slandered and fabricated false charges and trials against our Metropolitan Valentine to the end that they may destroy the Church by imprisoning him and even causing his death. We know this is instigated by the MP because the Prosecutor openly declared to Metropolitan Valentine before many witnesses that, if he would return to the MP, all charges would be dropped and cases dismissed.
The time has come for the followers of Metropolitan Laurus to make a crucial decision: (1) to be in communion with false shepherds and enemies of Christ, or (2) to search for and seek the true shepherds of the Russian Church. In my mind, and, I believe, in the eyes of God also, there is only one answer - ROAC, where God has preserved a Synod of 13 canonical and right-believing hierarchs. Our Savior, in His providence, has kept for Himself a remnant of true confessing bishops. This cannot be said of Metropolitan Laurus and his synod who are about to commit another betrayal. This cannot be said about Metropolitan Vitaly, who in all honesty, is the cause of the ruin of the ROCA and admits it, in that he now declares heretical all the wrong actions in which he himself participated in the past. He has also started a new Synod on a foundation of canonical disorder. When it comes to the Faith, there is no allowance for a Bishop to make an error. Orthodoxy must be maintained, in all its purity, at all times.
The true confession of Faith of the much-suffering Russian Church is maintained only by the Synod of Metropolitan Valentine, which is a true offspring of the confessing Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and which has and will always continue to condemn Sergianism, Ecumenism, Modernism, Masonry, and all other demonic inventions, which are opposed to Christ. You should know that Metropolitan Valentine, myself, and all the other hierarchs of the Russian Church are willing to help you in every way we can. All your spiritual needs will be met by uniting yourself to those who love and sacrifice themselves for Christ. We will suffer with you, if need be, and as good shepherds of Christ, we will not deny Him or betray you.
May God help you to follow His will in this matter.