To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: Recent Statements Regarding Vl. Agafangel's Church/Tikhon of Omsk, etc
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 18:44:36 -0600
Sunday of the Blind Man, 2008
After reading your blog sites, plus that http://news-nftu.blogspot.com, I feel compelled to respond.
Firstly, our ROCA is not an equal to Tikhon of Omsk's jurisdiction. Our ROCA is the sole legitimate/canonical continuation of the old ROCOR, and therefore there CANNOT be a joining together (organizationally) with that non-canonical entity....even though we both DO share many similar positions on a variety of church-controversies, etc. But, simply sharing some similar positions is not sufficient for real church-unity. It never was.
Therefore, we (our ROCA) can only leave our door open for individual people from that entity (& others) to come to our church.
Specifically, regarding that epistle signed by all three of our sister-SIR churches, dated 9/13/2007....it was regretable, erroneous, and mostly biased in favour of the Tikhon of Omsk's group....who at that moment was calling upon it's lengthy-friendly-rapport with, especially Bp. Fotios, to pressure them (the entire SIR Synod) to NOT help Vl. Agafangel (especially to not help us make new bishops)....whom THEY! saw as their RIVAL/ENEMY. Soon after this epistle, after consultations with Vl. Agafangel & his representatives, the whole SIR (with, apparently Bp. Fotios still -secretly, not really in sympathy with us!) stated their whole-hearted support for Vl. Agafangel and for thus, HIS CANONICAL position, declaring about Tikhon of Omsk's group:...since they are not in communion with Vl. Agafangel.......we cannot be in communion with them! This, they publically stated in an official pronouncement at the time. So, that entire epistle of 9/13/2007 was virtually of none-effect before the ink was dry on it!
To quote from our recent official declaration about "RTOC": ..."Regarding RTOC: The decision of ROCA's Holy Synod on May 3/16, 2003, to forbid Archbishop Lazarus and Bp. Benjamen from serving, remains in force. Therefore, all of their later actions as clerics, may not be considered as valid".
Further, just to clarify one important point: our V. Agafangel early opened his door to direct talks with Tikhon of Omsk (who often is himself in the city of Odessa!) to meet and talk together. And.....every time, Tikhon of Omsk found some lame excuse for not keeping the agreed-upon meeting.....and then launched a new outburst of verbal attacks upon Vl. Agafangel. Attack, attack, attack! has been his main effort at "friendliness".
On Vl. Agafangel's blog-site, he has stated that the various fragment groups (including Tikhon of Omsk) have either refused any attempt to speak together, ...or to follow the canons themselves...so...that he "has no choice but to let them go their own way, the path which THEY have chosen".
Regarding "Bp" Stefan Sabelnik: Yes, he has written many good/wise words about church history & against the union, etc....and he has had a long & distinguished clerical history, etc,.........but!...he has chosen wrongly as to who "consecrated him" and to which churchly-entity he is loyal to.
He is NOT a valid Orthodox bishop!.....no matter what he says, or where he says it, or in what languages he proclaims it.
And, by the way, our Vl. Andronik HAS privately met & spoken with him........about 6 times! Obviously, to no effect.
So, we may indeed still WISH for some sort of unity among the various fragment-groups, etc........but......for now, any real organizational-jurisdictional unity.....is utterly impossible, indeed counter productive.
But, on a local level, there is no reason that we cannot TRY to befriend and communicate with.....any and all kindred anti-MP/pro-genuine Orthodox people.....mostly especially fellow laity.
The main dictum of The Ecumenical Movement: "We are all equally right.....and equally wrong!" simply does not apply to our current post-Act Russian Orthodoxy.
Vl. Agafangel's position is THE correct one, and these others (about l8 totally) are.....bogus.
Anyway, Joanna, these are just a few thoughts.