When Ignorance Gets Started It Knows No Bounds!

When Ignorance Gets Started It Knows No Bounds!

Priest Victor Dobroff
3/16 June 2007

+ Dear fathers, brothers and sisters!

Here again there has appeared in the path of our salvation another very dangerous stumbling block.  It was outlined recently as a kind of "neo-sergianism of Church Abroad", which offers the faithful of ROCOR a compromise with one of the most fundamental issues related to the Moscow Patriarchia.

It offers after the signing of the Act of May 17, 2007 of the canonical communion of ROCOR with the MP, to remain under Metropolitan Laurus and his Synod and to create a group of parishes, where they will not commemorate the Patriarch of Moscow, but will continue to commemorate in their services their Metropolitan of The Russian Church Abroad.

Before turning to the substance of the matter, it is worth remembering that not commemorating the Patriarch of Moscow is not an unprecedented new action, - it has already happened inside the MP.  Where are all these priests and their parishes, the so-called, truth-seekers? - Were not all the rebels severely punished, and their parishes returned under the control of the MP?  It is safe to predict that a handful of "non-commemorators" of ROCOR should also expect such a fiasco to befall on themselves, with the only difference being that if our Russian brothers tried but could not get out of their cage to obtain the spiritual freedom they so longed for – the ROCOR's dupes with their solemn chants are heading to the cage by their own will.

  Let us now consider the situation of non-commemoration in more detail.

In the fifth section of the "Act of Canonical Communion" it is clearly stated that the Primate of the united Russian Orthodox Church is the Patriarch of the MP.  This Act was approved by the ROCOR Synod, and after the ceremonial signing of it in Moscow the members of our church, that is, those who chose to remain in submission to the Synod of Metropolitan Laurus, essentially must recognize its legitimacy.

Under normal canonical conditions no bishop or priest, independently from his Primate can enter into Catholic space to serve the Divine Liturgy, so therefore the commemoration of the Primate of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church is imperative, mandatory and is therefore strictly regulated.  The essential condition of the possibility of entering into Catholic space, [catholicity, i.e., belonging to the Universal Church], i.e., the Guarantor of Grace in the Sacraments performed in the church is the church's canonical Primate that is-the head of the local church.  The criterion for a canonical Primate, in turn, is the legitimacy of his Apostolic Succession as well as his genuine Orthodox Faith which professed by him establishes his liturgical relationship with God Himself.

As a general rule, the head of an Autocephalous Church is its' Primate and only in liturgical union with him the entrance into Catholic space is possible.  In order to perform church sacraments the name of the Primate must always be commemorated at the proper times and in the litanies however in the Mystery of Mysteries –  the Holy and Divine Liturgy, this memorial is arranged in a special way: the Order of the Holy and Divine Liturgy prescribes that for the Primate of the Church the serving priest is to withdraw the first remembrance particle from the prosphoron in the Liturgy of the Oblation and to offer up and pronounce out loud his name at the Great Entrance and during the Eucharistic Canon.

ROCOR's Primate status is irrefutable and is recognized in the entire Orthodox world.  Perhaps among the various Primates of other local churches he is the "smallest" of all as mentioned in the humble words of Blessed Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) in his Sorrowful Epistles to the Ecumenical Throne – but the issue here is not about "comparative importance".  What is truly important is that by establishing a connection to a legitimate Primate his priests are able to administer to the believers the Blessed Mysteries unquestionably Filled with Grace, and therefore the believers are able to have mysterious communion with God.

An irregular state is observed in the Moscow Patriarchia for all its seeming modern amenities and outward impressiveness.  Without calling to remembrance all the vexing questions of the internal life of the MP, not touching on the topic of the questionability (to put it mildly) of consecrations of all its bishops, their stubborn commitment to Ecumenism, all their political justifications for harmlessness of their actual slipping into secularism from True Orthodoxy under the excuses of logic or the subject of new forms of Sergianism, which are already so common in the MP much like a chronic disease.  We find it surprising that in such a deranged canonical society as the MP that the unspeakable mercy of the Creator and His Divine Grace can still be communicated to its members.

  At the moment we only care about one question: whether "non-commemoration" can be the temporary shelter where the faithful of the Church Abroad will be able to ride out this "time of troubles" under "seeming" spiritual safety.

Let us begin with questions relating to the Primate of the MP.  We should note that this question is not connected to their individual personalities. Today, the Primate of the MP is Alexy II (Ridiger) and tomorrow it could very well be Metropolitan Kirill Gundyaev, or some other candidate, but actually it does not really matter.

Without tiring the reader with numerous quotations from the Conciliar and Synodical Definitions and Resolutions of ROCOR, we recall that since 1943, that is, since the very inception of Stalin's MP none of the Soviet Patriarchs including the current Patriarch Alexis II, have ever been recognized as legitimate Patriarchs and hence Primates by the Church Abroad.

It is known that seven years before his election metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) – the future first Soviet Patriarch, was himself part of the schism in the Local Russian Church.  He perpetrated that schism in 1936: when the news of the death of the legal Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa was announced, and he (metropolitan Sergius) without delay, did not relinquish his rights to his (Metropolitan Peter's) deputy, and he did not voluntarily hand over the helm of the Church to Metropolitan Kirill (Smirnov) who was still alive then and who had been elected as the legitimate Locum Tenens, by Patriarch Tikhon and by the Local Council in 1918.

Thus, violating the will of Patriarch Tikhon and the will of the Russian Orthodox Church – its Local Council, uncanonically, he seized that which did not belong to him – the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority, and so the supreme ecclesiastical authority, represented by Metropolitan Sergius and his Moscow Synod, committed schism, by creating a new church structure which was not sanctioned by the Supreme Church Power – The Local Council. Therefore in this canonical separation from the Local Council, the Moscow Synod has lost the main feature of the Orthodox Church – its Catholicity (Sobornost') which is professed by Christians in Article 9 of the Creed of the Orthodox Faith, "I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" (the Nicene Creed).

This undeniable fact of church history is coupled with another equally important event: staying committed in his Schism, in 1943, Metropolitan Sergius was elected as Patriarch – not by the Local Council as prescribed by the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1918, but by the Bishops Council.  (Can we call it the Bishops Council - the unanimous voice of a group of scared to death by Stalin bishops, who were delivered for election in Moscow in two days time at the command of the "Great Father and Teacher?" [Joseph Stalin'].  Was it not the "father to all nations" who proclaimed and "blessed" this installation?)  This culminated in the most unfortunate and disastrous event in the history of MP: the spiritual thread of the Lineage of Apostolic Succession of their Primate was torn.  Consequently the Cathedra of Patriarch, the institution of the Soviet Patriarchia from its inception is uncanonically set by a secular (and what is even more tragic – Atheist) government in isolation from the Church represented by its Local Council.

The Moscow Patriarchia – was from its beginning and to this very day a self-formed, self-proclaimed schism created in 1943 as a quasi-church organization by the Soviet government and headed by an uncanonical illegitimate Primate – and from these facts the following conclusions are directly related to our topic.  It would seem at first glance that the non-commemoration of an uncanonical Primate might be the most effective resolution to this quagmire – however, let us look more closely.

The Great Gift of God to be the Primate in the Church, as with any of His gifts requires the utmost vigilance and care on the part of the recipient in order not to repeat the Old Testament story of Esau who sold his birthright for a bowl of pottage.  Tragically it has already happened in ROCOR formally and legally just as soon as Metropolitan Laurus signed the synodal document with ROCOR approval of the Act of Canonical Communion with the MP and thus, recognized the Primacy of the Patriarchs of Moscow over the Metropolitans of the Church Abroad.

In order to lose his canonical and spiritual "birthright" once and for all, Metropolitan Laurus openly and publicly (according to the protocol laid down in the ceremony of the signing of the Act of the Canonical Communion with the MP) – during the liturgical concelebration with the Patriarch in the Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow had to to take out in the Proskomedia, a particle "For the Great Lord and our Father, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II" and to commemorate his name out loud at the Great Entrance.  On May 17, 2007, Metropolitan Laurus did just that, and from that moment on he who acknowledged and proclaimed the Primacy of another above himself-metropolitan Laurus lost his own Primacy.

For all ROCOR members, who accepted the Act of Communion with the MP, metropolitan Laurus will remain as First Hierarch as senior in rank among the other bishops of ROCOR, but their Primate is another man – Patriarch of Moscow Alexy II.

The tragedy of this situation is as follows:  Voluntarily forfeiting his Primacy, Metropolitan Laurus took it away from ROCOR as well – instead of Genuine Primacy rising to the level of Patriarch Tikhon, he offers us an uncanonical illegitimate graceless Primacy of the MP – one born in schism and defiled by sergianism and ecumenism.

What is perhaps, the most tragic of all is that the whole Russian nation of Orthodox believers, by losing their legitimate Primate, who was only found in the Church Abroad – the Russian People have in effect been cheated out of having a legitimate Primate through which Divine Grace can be transmitted and the Russian nation can be reborn and be the beacon of the True Faith as many are hoping it one day will be again.

We must conclude that the commemoration of the non-canonical Patriarch of the MP can not provide grace in Sacraments performed by the clergy of the Synod of Metropolitan Laurus just as it can not convey grace with the further commemoration of the Metropolitan of ROCOR who voluntarily relinquished his Primacy.

Unfortunately, the canonical consciousness in ROCOR is at its lowest level.  Recognizing the spiritual malignancy of this Act of Canonical Communion with the MP many are fleeing in all directions!  There are among us, even those who "temporarily" seek refuge in sects like Tikhon Pasechnik's RTOC, or Vladimir Teleschev's ROCiE.

The validity (Grace) of the sacraments in the Church is provided by its canonicity and its Orthodox Faith.  By joining and submitting to the MP, which is a schism of the sergianists as well as a heresy of ecumenism anathematized by ROCOR in 1983, deprived of any legal Primate – the ROCOR of metropolitan Laurus represents a pseudo-church structure where the Grace of the Mysteries is logically impossible.

The non-commemoration of the Patriarch of the MP and the continued commemoration of the ROCOR Metropolitan is meaningless, because after May 17 neither of them is a canonical Primate in the Russian Church.  This fact is not taken into account by those who call themselves the "non-commemorators" and therein lies their spiritual error which is leading them to a profound canonical Schism – not only into a division of the Local Russian Church but into separation from The Church Universal, for the Church ceases to be Apostolic if it does not correspond to Article 9 of The Nicene Creed mentioned earlier, being presided by a Primate without Apostolic Succession.

Unfortunately, the canonical consciousness in ROCOR is at its lowest level.  Recognizing the spiritual malignancy of this Act of Canonical Communion with the MP many are fleeing in all directions!  There are among us, even those who "temporarily" seek refuge in sects like Tikhon Pasechnik's RTOC, or Vladimir Teleschev's ROCiE.

Some have gone so far as to even consider staying in the canonical field of The Act of Communion after May 17, 2007 under the Patriarch of Moscow and under the metropolitan of ROCOR [ROCOR-MP] but who petition to appoint for them, some ROCOR bishop for the liturgical commemoration-
When ignorance gets started it knows no bounds!

source (includes Russian original):

No comments: