Epistle to faithful members


An Epistle of the conference of ROCA parish representatives to all faithful members of the ROCA

…If the public so desires, it can come pray with me.
 If it does not, there is nothing to be done – I will pray alone. 
If I assemble enough followers, then our church group
will establish some organizational structure…
From an interview with Patriarch Tikhon,
after his release from detention,given to a
reporter of the Russian news agency, June15/28, 1923.
An Epistle of the conference of ROCA parish representatives
to all faithful members of the ROCA
            Gathered here in the Church of the Holy Trinity in the God-fearing city of New York, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA) parish representatives make known their sorrow and concern regarding the decision of a part of our Church to join the Moscow Patriarchate, which continues to engage in ecumenism and sergianism.  This sorrow is made even more severe, as this decision was made in contradiction to the sobornost of our Church, the decision of the Pastoral conference in Nyack, the IVth All-Diaspora Council, and without the approval of a corresponding declaration of the ROCA Bishops’ Council, and even by violating the regulations of the Bishops’ Synod.  It was undertaken in ways foreign to ROCA in earlier times, but sadly, typical of the Moscow Patriarchate, a part of the Church dependant on secular authorities.
            We share the sincere desire of all faithful members of our Church to see a united Russian Orthodox Church.  We desire no less, though, to see the Russian Church based in Truth.  In this instance, we observed how the representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate demanded loyalty to their principles of ecumenism and sergianism, while our representatives surrendered to their insistence.  At the same time, having strayed from one of the fundamental tenets of the Russian Church Abroad – the free existence of the Church in the world around it, they entered into a type of dependence to this world, to the extent which results from the participation in matters of ecumenism and sergianism.  The assertion of some of the ROCA representatives that one can avoid involvement in heresy and be in Eucharistic communion at the same time, contradicts the dogmas, canons and the entire Sacred Traditionof the Orthodox Church.
            In these circumstances, we believe it is essential to keep our Church free from serving the spirit of the this world, as we recognize only one Master – our Master, Jesus Christ.  The Provisional Supreme Church Authorityof the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, made up of members chosen by us, has as its goals to organize the canonical order of our dioceses and parishes and to prepare for the convening of the Vth All-Diaspora Council, which will reinstate the canonical foundation of our Church.
            For us at this time, the preservation of our ROCA and the restoration of its organizational structure is important above all else.  That is why we accept the idea of the union of the different parts of ROCA as proposed by Bishop Agafangel:  “The reason and goal of uniting the parts of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad is to preserve the Russian Church Abroad in the state in which it existed under our hierarchs of blessed memory – Metropolitans Anthony, Anastasiy, Philaret and Vitaliy.  That is why we may unite only with those who wish to remain in, or those who want to partake of, the spiritual legacy of the Church Abroad, and through this legacy, to be a part of the Sacred Traditionof the Universal Church.” 
We consider it possible to begin a dialogue with representatives of the other parts of ROCA on the basis of the principles proposed by Bishop Agafangel.  In the future, with God’s help, we hope also to begin a dialogue with other parts of the divided Russian Orthodox Church, so as to not give credence to the false assertion that we do not wish to see a united Russian Church .  In the meanwhile, we will concern ourselves with the building and strengthening of ROCA , as much as it is possible in our current circumstances.  To that end, we place great importance on the furthering and widening of brotherly relations between our Church and the Old-Calendar Churches of Greece , Romania and Bulgaria .
Again, let us remind all our faithful members that our main task is the restoration, regulation and strengthening of the life of our dioceses and parishes.  We must emerge from this difficult period with honor, so that we may continue to witness true Orthodoxy to the world, as the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has always done with such success.
May God help us in this calling!
Conference Chairman,
Most Reverend Agafangel,
Bishop of Taurida and Odessa ,
Temporary Ruling Bishop of the Zaporozhiye,
Buenos-Aires and South American Dioceses

Conference Members

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