Bishop Gabriel of ROCOR— No communion with MP, JP or Serbi

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Bishop Gabriel of ROCOR— No communion with MP, JP or Serbi

Post by Lounger »

Sunday, 27 Oct./9 Nov. 2003 Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan made some very firm statements at the Southern Orthodox Conference in regards to talks with the MP and the Anathema of 1983.

He firmly stated that there must be a decisive renunciation and abandonment of Ecumenism and Sergianism by the MP before union could even be considered. He also stated that the Synod of Bishops DID "anathematize" Ecumenism, and that that Anathema is STILL in effect.

He also stated that we may only commune in those Orthodox Churches with whom we are in communion; ... only the TOCs of Greece (Metropolitan Cyprian), Rumania and Bulgaria. He stated that we have a special relationship with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and may commune in Jerusalem at the Holy Sepulchure, but that we refrain from communing in JP parishes elsewhere in the world. :o

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Post by Reader Mark »

His Grace has been the voice of reason during these unsettled times.

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Seraphim Reeves
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Post by Seraphim Reeves »

Unfortunately, Bp. Gabriel is in the minority. Even his list of "who ROCOR is in communion with" is flagrantly ignored, and outright contradicted, at all levels of the ROCOR.

This is besides the troubling Cyprianism of the various TOC's he mentions, and the nonsensical nature of the following comment...

He stated that we have a special relationship with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and may commune in Jerusalem at the Holy Sepulchure, but that we refrain from communing in JP parishes

That makes no sense whatsoever.


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Post by rebecca »

Are we in communion with the Serbian church or not? I see concelebrations going on all the time.

Also, my priest and bishop both said that lay people could commune in any Orthodox church as long as they prepare themselves.

This whole thing frustrates me. A church is either Orthodox, or it is not. If it is, we should have full communion with it. If it isn't, we should cease to call them Orthodox.

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Post by Lounger »


Looking over Church law (the Apostolic Rules, those of the Councils
and the Fathers, that is to say, the canonical base of the Orthodox
Church's legislation), it is not hard to see that the basic — if not
the only — goal of these rules is the spiritual wellbeing of the
flock. Everything else, as for example the elevation of individual
hierarchs or individual Local Churches, is relatively secondary and
cannot overshadow this basic principle. Therefore, in resolving
questions of Church administration, one must always consider whether
or not a given resolution benefits the souls of the flock. Neglect of
this principle has led to sad developments, such as the fall of the
Roman Church from the fullness of Orthodoxy.

As is known, the Orthodox Church consists of several separate
Churches, united in the unity of faith, but independent one from
another. Their number has never been a subject of doctrine and could
vary at different times. (Rome recognizes only one church, the Roman,
to which, in their view, all must be subordinated).

The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, or the Church Abroad, was
founded entirely canonically, on the basis of the Ukase of Patriarch
Tikhon, as a temporary church administration. No one, at the time,
could have supposed that her existence would go on for more than 80
years! The founders of our church anticipated that as soon as the
godless communist regime fell, all the refugees, for whose spiritual
benefit it was formed, would at once rush back in a throng to Russia,
and then there would be no need for a separate church abroad to
exist. But 80 years went by, there is no more Soviet regime, and yet
our flock has not thrown itself back into Russia, for the reason that
it is no longer made up of those refugees who fled Soviet rule, but
of their children or even grandchildren. (I personally know of only
one (!) such case of someone returning). Besides that, our church
includes many converts to Orthodoxy from other confessions, not of
Russian origin at all, who can hardly be expected to think
of "returning to Russia". Their number is growing. It may be that
this is the true calling of our church: to bear witness to Orthodoxy
in the midst of a non-Orthodox world.

Having once obtained its ecclesiastical independence ("autocephaly"
is too controversial a term, but in essence amounts to the same
thing), our church must be concerned with the spiritual life of its
flock, not worrying too much about the formal claims of other

One can hardly object to an improvement of relations with the Moscow
Patriarchate, since this would be beneficial to both sides: the
Church Abroad has many years' experience in the free world, without
subordination to any secular authority, while the Moscow Patriarchate
unites around itself the majority of the Orthodox in Russia. Such an
improvement in relations can, in time, lead to the restoration of
liturgical unity between both churches, but this will be possible
only if the Moscow Patriarchate gives up any claims against the
independence of the Church Abroad and any desire to swallow it up.

By some, the reunion of the Church Abroad with the Moscow
Patriarchate is envisioned as follows: the Church Abroad renounces
its independence (i.e. its autocephaly), which it has had for the
past 80 years, and is absorbed into the Mother Church, even if on the
most advantageous terms (autonomy), as a metropolitan district, or
otherwise, but with absolute subjugation to that church and her head,
the patriarch. Discussions of autonomy can seem attractive for
persons who know little about it, but do not change the basic issue.
In other words, in this case the Church Abroad would have to abolish
itself, under the cover of euphemisms.

Such a reunion is completely unacceptable for the Church Abroad. One
cannot even speak of such a reunion, because the Church Abroad has
never belonged to the present Moscow Patriarchate. The very use of
the expression "Mother Church" shows the flaw of this opinion. Every
birth is, at the same time, also a separation: what is born is a
separate organism, separate from the identity of the one that gave
birth to it. It is connected only by the fact of birth. That which
was born cannot go back into its mother's womb by the same way it
came out of it. It could go in, but only into the stomach, and not
the womb; and not one mother would devour her children.

The Church Abroad came to be independent back in the time of
Patriarch Tikhon, without any hostility to its mother-church. After
that, there were great changes in the Moscow Patriarchate. At first,
the church in Russia was persecuted by the godless Soviet state.
During the Second World War, the church was no longer persecuted as
much, and after the war, Stalin condescended to allow the election of
a Patriarch, which was Metropolitan Sergius, besmirched as he was by
active collaboration with the Soviet regime. His successors acted in
the same spirit, and the present Patriarch was no exception. They all
collaborated with the Soviet state and were obliged to it for their
elevation. The fall of the Soviet regime came about independently of
them, and if that had not happened, they would have continued in
their service to the state, and been stained by the blood of millions
of Russian people and a multitude of clergy. But now, the leadership
of the Patriarchate behaves as if none of this had ever happened, and
as if they represented the same Moscow Patriarchate from which we,
supposedly, fell away.

From its very beginnings, the Russian Church was part of the
Patriarchate of Constantinople, and recognized the Constantinopolitan
Patriarch as its head: he assigned the ruling metropolitans. But, in
the 15th century, the so-called Union of Florence came about, which
was an attempt to unite with the Roman Catholic Church, and the
Patriarch of Constantinople was a participant. The Russian Church
could not remain under his authority, without placing its Orthodoxy
in jeopardy. Therefore, due to necessity and without the permission
of the Mother Church, it became independent, and elected St. Jonah as
its Metropolitan. Reconciliation came about only at the end of the
16th century, but there could be no question of going back under the
authority of Constantinople. With the agreement of the Eastern
Patriarchs, the Metropolitan of Moscow obtained the title of
Patriarch, and the Russian Church became independent once and for all.

Something similar has happened in our time. In the 1920's, the
Russian Church Abroad separated from the church in the fatherland,
since Russia was enslaved to godless Soviet rule, and now has lived
for these 80 years in independence. It is not obliged to go back
under the leadership of the present Moscow Patriarchate. It lives in
different circumstances than the church in Russia does, and during
these 80 years has adjusted to them. Why should it now be subjugated
to Moscow? What benefit could that bring to the flock?

An improvement in relations with the Moscow Patriarchate should be
seen as desirable, so far as it is feasible, but absorption by it
should be rejected, as that would mean the abolition of the Church
Abroad, and we have no moral right to that. In the event of
subordination of our church to the Moscow Patriarchate, those of us
and of our flock for whom subjugation is unacceptable, would be left
without a church, and that is contrary to the main goal of all church
law, as we said at the beginning. Therefore it would be better for us
to stay as we are at present, albeit in a difficult position, but the
only one that is conscientiously correct.

If we join the Moscow Patriarchate, then we would have to recognize
the autocephaly of the OCA, or Orthodox Church in America, with which
we have little in common, due to its extreme modernism. We would have
to be closer to the Greek new calendarists, which would drive the Old
Calendarists (Greeks and others) who are in communion with us, away
from us. For the flock of the Church Abroad, such a union is not

But for the Moscow Patriarchate, it would also not bring great
benefit. In size, if far exceeds the other churches, and has no need
for gaining a small number of parishioners abroad.

Having become independent of the church in Russia, we did not cease
to be Orthodox; and in uniting with the Patriarchate, we would not
become Orthodox, since we had never ceased to be. Therefore such a
union is without benefit for us.

If anyone finds the independence of our church not to their liking,
then such people belong to it through a misunderstanding. No one is
holding them: they can go into subordination to Moscow, or wherever
their soul leads them; but, of course, without a flock and without
church property. We have no right to donate to the Patriarchate,
either our flock or the property obtained with much labor by our poor

The Moscow Patriarchate has a field of work that has not even been
started. This is the spiritual education of the many millions of
Russian people, who have gone wild spiritually during the years of
Soviet rule, when people were deprived of any religious education and
when atheism was taught forcibly in all schools. In this, we can wish
them every success, but swallowing up the Church Abroad would bring
them no gain in this, and would only be a needless undertaking.

All that has been said above comes out to the following:

Improved relations with the Moscow Patriarchate?

Yes, so far as possible.

Unification with the Moscow Patriarchate?

Definitely not, because that would mean the self-abolishment of the
Church Abroad.

Bishop Daniel
Oct. 7/20, 2003.

[Translation by Fr. John R. Shaw]

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Post by Daniel »

Thanks for posting that, Lounger!!! /\

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Post by rebecca »

Excellent statement! Exactly what I've been trying to sort out!

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