Appeal From Kursk Clergy

 Appeal of the Clergy of Kursk to Metropolitan Vitaly
(circa 2001 -jh)

Your Eminence, Deeply Esteemed Archpastor and Father, Vladiko Metropolitan Vitaly!

The end of the 20th century brought difficult temptations and trials upon our Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. True, many of these were significant mainly in a symbolical way, but symbols may be quite important. We had hardly adjusted to the loss of the Iveron myrrhgushing icon, the martyric death of its guardian Jose Munoz, the brazen theft of our Holy Places in Palestine, the murder of Archpriest Alexander Zharkov in Saint Petersburg, and the translation to eternal life of the noted ecclesiastical writer and theologian Archpriest Lev Lebedev; and the Church had barely recovered from the disturbances caused by the actions and proclamations of His Grace Mark, Archbishop of Berlin and Germany, when new troubles shook the Body of Christ. Without any exaggeration, it may be said that nothing so grievous as these has befallen the Church during the past ten years.

We, the clergy and laity of the God-saved city of Kursk, received a unique Nativity present this year in the form of a number of documents connected with the Sobor of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad held in October. (Important church information generally reaches our parishes in Russia only after a considerable delay.) It is difficult to believe that these were signed not only by Your Eminence (so well known for unshakeable faithfulness to the traditional path of confession of the Church Abroad)*, but by all the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Nevertheless, it is so.

It is our deep conviction that the most significant of these documents for the future of our Church in the homeland and the diaspora is the letter to Patriarch Paul of Serbia. Its central theme is expressed with such frightful clarity that it is impossible to explain it away, saying that the true sense is distorted by an unfortunate choice of words. Literally, the letter says the following: "Being your brethren by blood and faith, we have always held dear the eucharistic intercommunion of our sister-churches and we wish to preserve this consolation until the end of the ages... We ask Your Holiness not to sever liturgical communion with us, for we all wish, with one mouth and one heart, to glorify our Saviour, Christ God, with you forever." Therefore, dear Vladiko, you and all the bishops announce that our Church had, has, and hopes to have in the future liturgical communion with the Serbian Patriarchate. This much is entirely clear. Confusion sets in when reference is made to the text of the Anathema of 1983 against Ecumenism, confirmed by the Sobor of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad held in 1998. In it, mention is made not only of those who preach heretical ecumenist theories (the so-called "Branch Theory" and "Baptismal Theology" *), but of "those who have communion with these heretics, enable their doings, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love and the restoration of the broken unity between Christians." All these fall under the anathema.

Forgive us, Your Eminence, but to explain how we have not fallen under our own anathema, one must assume either that Patriarch Paul and the Serbian Patriarchate as a whole are not involved in Ecumenism, or that the anathema proclaimed by our Church (and ,by implication, all the decisions of our sobors of bishops) consist of mere empty words. The second assumption, of course, is malicious blasphemy. In our opinion, the first (i.e., that with regard to the Serbian Patriarchate) is no less a falsification.

This Patriarchate to the present day refuses to separate itself from the World Council of Churches even fictitiously, as have the Georgian and Bulgarian churches. The ecclesiastical and secular press regularly report ongoing contacts and common prayer involving the Serbian hierarchs and representatives of every heresy. For example ,we read in the Russian Orthodox information bulletin Vertograd Inform: "At the invitation of the Serbian Patriarchate* , a delegation of the Catholic bishops of the member-states of the European Union was received from July 13-17 in Serbia. The program of the visit included a three-day discussion of theological and pastoral questions between the Catholic and Orthodox hierarchs, visits to churches and monasteries of the Serbian Patriarchate, and a visit to a refugee camp in Belgrade. A joint communique was issued... This document states: ‘We bishops, members of the delegation of the Commission of the Episcopacies of the European Union, assembled for a three-day meeting in Belgrade. Praying together and conducting fraternal dialogue, filled with a prayerful feeling of reverence for and enraptured by the holiness of the Serbian Orthodox Church, we became even closer to one another. The fact that our contacts have continued unbroken, even by war, to the present jubilee year fills us with profound joy... For three days we prayed together, spoke, and heard one another...’ Bishops Sabbas of Shumadisk, Lawrence of Shabach and Valevsk, Constantine of Central Europe, Ignatius of Branichevsk, and Irenaeus of Bachkovo signed this communique on behalf of the Serbian Patriarchate.*" We also bring to your attention another document, from the same source. This is the letter from Patriarch Paul of Serbia to Pope John Paul II of Rome in connection with the "kind invitation" of the latter to the former to be present in Assisi in January 1993 for prayer with the representatives of various religions. No doubt the boldest apostates among the "Orthodox" Ecumenists envy the brazenness of this scandalous manifesto of ecumenist ideology.

Vladiko, we find especially worthy of attention the passage in our Sobor’s letter to Patriarch Paul which speaks about the "spiritual unification of the two separated parts of the Russian Church: that in the homeland and that abroad." These words are addressed to the Serbian Patriarch: "We ask Your Holiness to facilitate this," that is, the establishment of eucharistic intercommunion between the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and the Moscow Patriarchate. From this, two conclusions are unavoidable. First, the Moscow Patriarchate is clearly identified as part of the Russian Church; second, our Sobor has taken a step of a practical character toward the attainment of unity with the Moscow Patriarchate. Mention is made of the Serbian Patriarch’s role as a mediator. It is obvious that when one requests the services of a go-between one intends in the near future to begin negotiations. Notwithstanding, in 1998 the Sobor of Bishops proclaimed: "The Sobor of Bishops finds it necessary to explain that our Church has never conducted and does not at present intend to conduct negotiations with the Moscow Patriarchate regarding a union, that is, a self-liquidation of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad."

We will return to this later, but now it is necessary to touch upon another document issued by our Sobor. In it, eucharistic unity with our erring brethren the Old Ritualists is discussed. Most certainly, we welcome this possibility. What could bring greater joy to the heart of any Russian Orthodox person, than the return to the Russian Church, after three-and-a-half centuries, of Russian people who have fallen away from the Church, but remained faithful to Orthodox ecclesiastical and Russian national traditions! That is, if only our archpastors viewed the matter precisely in this light: as the return to the Church of those who have fallen away from her. Unfortunately, the Sobor’s appeal to the representatives of Old Ritualism is couched in terms that leave it uncertain just who is in schism from the Church, we or our erring brethren the Old Ritualists.

Truly, the self-abasement of the Sobor of Bishops knows no bounds! In the name of our entire Church it does not merely ask the Old Ritualists’ forgiveness for past offenses and cruelties (a request that would be altogether justifiable and with which we would entirely concur), but literally proclaims the schismatics great confessors of Orthodoxy. This could not be expressed more plainly than in the Sobor’s epistle: "In this we wish to follow the example of the holy Emperor Theodosius the Lesser, who translated the relics of St John Chrysostom to Constantinople from the town where his parents had mercilessly exiled the saint. Paraphrasing his words, we cry to the persecuted, ‘Forgive, brethren and sisters, the sins committed against you out of hatred. Do not regard us as guilty of the transgressions of our forebears; do not hold us responsible for their rash deeds. Although we are children of your persecutors, we have done you no evil. Forgive their trespasses, that we may escape the blame they deserve. We cast ourselves at your feet and entrust ourselves to your prayers. Pardon the reckless violence of those who wronged you, for through our lips they repent for what they have done to you and ask forgiveness...’ For this passage to be completely comprehensible, it would seem necessary only to add, ‘We humbly beg you to receive us into communion and unite us to the Holy Church.’ How so? If the Old Ritualists are true spiritual heirs to the holy hierarch John Chrysostom, then they are true confessors of Orthodoxy. In this case we, the Orthodox, are true spiritual heirs of the lawless persecutors of the father and teacher of the Church, heirs of impious apostates. As for the Emperor Theodosius II (408-450) mentioned in the epistle, he is no saint of the Orthodox Church, as anyone can learn by examining the list of saints in the Jordanville calendar. Rather, he is infamous in ecclesiastical history for having convened the "Robber Council" of 449,* immediately before his death.

The bizarre self-flagellation of our bishops (may Your Eminence forgive us for using such a phrase!) reaches its apogee with this astounding statement: "We sorrowfully admit that the fierce persecution of our Church during the past decades may, at least partially, be God’s punishment for the persecution of the children of the Old Rite by our predecessors." Thus the holy hierarchs glorified by the divine Spirit, for example Tichon and Metrophanes of Voronezh, Demetrius of Rostov, and Joasaph of Belgorod, become in part responsible for the grievous woes that befell the Russian Orthodox Church! After all, they had recourse not only to ecclesiastical-disciplinary measures, but to governmental-administrative ones as well in battling the Schism. Furthermore, guilt may be imputed to all the saints who lived after the schism, as not having come to the defense of the unjustly persecuted "Orthodox confessors." In the end it follows that the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia suffered to a considerable degree deservedly, paying with their blood for the sins of the Church! For some reason, however, our archpastors chose to make no mention of the fact that the gory bacchanalia which was the Russian Revolution was in no small measure financed by Old Ritualist capital.

We ask you to understand us, revered Vladiko: we do not regard every action even of men adorned by God with holiness as correct and infallible. Perhaps they were too severe in dealing with the Old Ritualists. Notwithstanding, we believe it is important to consider the general stance of the saints and the Church of Russia. Whatever economy they employed, they always regarded the Old Ritualists as outside the Church. We can also understand that pastoral compassion, condescension to human weakness, and the development of an historical understanding call, not for accusations or theological polemics against the devotees of the Old Ritual, but for a delicate call to unity through mutual forgiveness of offenses (and indeed, the Old Ritualists have sinned against us and thus given us reason to forgive). We cannot, however, reconcile ourselves to unity with the Old Ritualists on the basis of total spiritual capitulation. We are sincerely convinced that the maximal concession possible on our part is to lift all the bans and the anathema on the pre-reform divine services and to request forgiveness for persecutions and cruelty. This, but not in the form it takes in the epistle issued by the Bishop’s Sobor.

The next important theme of the documents of the Sobor of Bishops is the question of our relations with the Moscow Patriarchate. Significant changes are in evidence here as well. Since the Moscow Patriarchate is now, as noted earlier, indubitably regarded as part of the one Russian Church, the Sobor of Bishops proclaims that it sees in Russia "the beginning of a true spiritual awakening." It ties this "spiritual awakening" to concrete decisions of the Bishop’s Sobor of the Moscow Patriarchate: the glorification of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia (including the Royal Martyrs) and the acceptance of the new "Social Doctrine of the Russian Orthodox Church."

Most revered Vladiko and First Hierarch, it seems to us that only a gross misunderstanding of ordinary Moscow Patriarchate propaganda measures could evoke such an enthusiastic response on the part of our bishops. Has it not always been the method of the administration of the Moscow Patriarchate to deceive by means of fine statements and reassurances? Her entire history is replete with radical changes of position in response to the political situation. Yesterday it was celebrating the October Revolution, today the glorification of the New Martyrs...

What in fact has happened? After almost ten years of religious freedom, during which time a Jordanville image of the New Martyrs has appeared in every icon corner in Russia; after many temples of the official Church have been adorned with representations of the holy Royal Martyrs, to whom Molebens are openly served as to locally revered saints; after even secular society began to revere the struggle of the sufferers for the faith and note the spiritual stature of the Royal Passion-bearers, the Moscow Patriarchate was compelled to surrender and went through the motions of glorifying the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.* So doing, "it provided no justification, excuse, or explanation for why it bore false witness and slandered the holy New Martyrs for over seventy years, saying there were no martyrs in Russia, only political prisoners, and no persecution of the faith," as His Grace Bishop Eutychius notes in his address. Furthermore, having for a long time maliciously sabotaged attempts to number the Emperor Nicholas II and the Royal Family with the saints, the hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate dared to mar the act of their canonization, when it finally occurred. To this end they opposed the term "passion-bearers" to that of "martyrs," inventing a legalistic and artificial divergence in the meaning of the two words. In their opinion the life of the Tsar-martyr and his actions as ruler were unworthy of a martyr, and he is to be considered a "passion-bearer" only because he humbly endured deserved sufferings in his last year or so on earth. By their telling reservations with regard to the Tsar-martyr, the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate revealed anew their fundamental spiritual orientation. The first manifestation of this was, of course, Metropolitan Sergius’ pitiful, notorious "Declaration." Proclaiming that "every blow against the Soviet Union, including the murder in Warsaw,* is a blow directed against us," he emphasized his spiritual kinship with the slayers of the Tsar. Now, in their turn, his spiritual heirs proclaim to the whole world that they reject the official actions of the Tsar- Martyr: not this or that individual deed of his, but his activity as a whole. The undertakings of Nicholas II as a ruler, as he that withheld the mystery of iniquity,* as he who so greatly benefitted the Orthodox faith and Church, are unacceptable to them. Truly eloquent testimony!

Can this be regarded as a true glorification of the New Martyrs? Better to call it mockery! It is absolutely clear that this canonization resulted, not from religious motivations, but from purely political considerations: from concern to preserve the Moscow Patriarchate’s hold on the mass of simple believers, to snatch a "trump-card"out of the hands of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, and to strengthen the forces in our Church favorably inclined toward the Patriarchate. Unfortunately, we must admit that the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate have succeeded beyond the wildest expectation in respect to the last point. Our archpastors did not confine themselves merely to expressing reserved optimism and approval for still-superficial changes in the Moscow Patriarchate. They said significantly more: firstly, that the canonization does away with "one of the causes of division between our Church and the Moscow Patriarchate"; secondly, that "at the Moscow Patriarchate’s Sobor of Bishops another cause of division was partially abolished, i.e., ‘Sergianism.’ " Thus, only Ecumenism remains as an obstacle. In view of the declaration of unity with the Serbian Patriarchate, however, it is not clear how much longer Ecumenism will still be viewed as an impediment to unification with the Moscow Patriarchate.

Sergianism... How much our martyrs, confessors, and ecclesiastical authors in the homeland and the diaspora have written about this enormous wound in the flesh of the Moscow Patriarchate! Everything they have said can be summed up as follows: Sergianism is the underlying sin of the Moscow Patriarchate, consisting of a conscious betrayal of Christ and His truth, coupled with a nearly complete adherence to the letter of the dogmas and outward liturgical order. All the other diseases afflicting the organism of the Patriarchate spring from this sin. One can devise various formal definitions of Sergianism, calling it a heresy, or a new, apocalyptic phenomenon, previously unknown to the Church, but these do not capture the essence of the problem. Reflecting as it does Judas’ betrayal of Christ and the Church, Sergianism cannot merely be equated with Metropolitan Sergius’ "Declaration" and the other anti-canonical deeds of that bishop and his successors. Like cancer that has metastasized, it affects every aspect of the Moscow Patriarchate’s life and has given birth to a unique psychological type, to a special form of pastoring. Its main characteristics are fundamental lack of principle and demonic shiftiness, at the root of which lies a willingness to serve the powers of Antichrist, regardless what political guise they may assume. It is, in plain language, the spirit of Antichrist. Therefore, we regard as merely ironical the empty words of Patriarchal pronouncements, such as those which made such a strong impression on Vladiko Eutychius, "If the authorities attempt to compel the Orthodox faithful to renounce Christ and His Church, or to commit sinful, soul-destroying deeds, the Church must disobey the government." My, but what an achievement: at the end of the second millennium after the Nativity of Christ, the hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate have finally convinced themselves of the necessity for a basic fidelity to Christian truth! This is excellent, who denies it? But what does it amount to, if the main issue is not even addressed, if there is no clear condemnation of the "Declaration" of 1927, Metropolitan Sergius, and his whole system of church-state relations? And why are they not condemned? The only convincing explanation, in our view, is that there is still no desire to rupture spiritual and ideological continuity with the founder of the Soviet Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Sergius (Starogorodsky). The double-dealing of the Moscow Patriarchate is clearly visible here, and in how it relates to the question of Ecumenism. Everywhere the Patriarchate’s well-known mode of operation is in evidence: to appease, to offer something to the "right" and the "left," to the Orthodox and the Ecumenists, to "yours" and "ours," without the slightest pretense to consistency, but never throwing off the load of past sins. It is impossible for the Soviet Patriarchate to act otherwise, for this would require it to commence the struggle of spiritual rebirth, which it stubbornly refuses to begin.

Ten years ago, in his pamphlet "Why I Placed Myself Under the Russian Church Abroad," Archpriest Lev Lebedev wrote, "If the Moscow Patriarchate remains unyielding and does not repent, it will undertake to serve the new political forces that will embody the spirit of falsehood in the circumstances arising from the ruins of the "temporal homeland" of Sergianism, the Soviet Union. In this case it is highly probable that the Moscow Patriarchate will renounce the letter of Metropolitan Sergius’ ‘Declaration,’ laying the blame for it on the Stalinist regime; it will canonize the New Martyrs of Russia, including the Royal Family; it will even condemn the Communists, if its new masters permit this. But the Patriarchate will never renounce Ecumenism and service to the spirit of falsehood, whatever concrete political form the latter may take. For this, true repentance is required!" Prophetic words...

Vladiko Evthiky, whom we all respect, has a different way of looking at this. Let us "call a spade a spade." It was his proposal to take the first practical step toward union with the Moscow Patriarchate, that is, to establish a Synodal "Permanently Functioning Commission for Dealing with Questions Concerning Relations with the Patriarchate." Our bishops accepted his proposal and organized the "Commission for Questions Relating to the Unity of the Russian Church." It is still too early to know exactly what this committee will accomplish, but it is possible to say beforehand what, in principle, it ought to do, if the members of our Church who are faithful to its historical path of confession are to concur with its work. The committee should formulate, concretely, all our expectations of the Moscow Patriarchate. For our part, we naturally await - before any talk of the establishment of eucharistic communion - the fulfillment by the Moscow Patriarchate of a series of important preconditions. The list would be something like the following:

1.) The current membership of the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate, with Patriarch Alexius II at its head, must retire. Further judgment on it shall be referred to a free local sobor of the Russian Church, in which the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad would participate. In any case, the members of the Patriarchate’s Synod shall be deprived of their episcopal cathedras.

2.) Metropolitan Cyril (Gundyaev), Vladimir (Kotlyarov), and other hierarchs who are active participants in ecumenical activities and known for their ecumenist ideology are to be deprived unconditionally of their sees. Their cases are to be examined by a spiritual court.

3.) A spiritual court shall examine the cases of hierarchs suspected of sodomy and illicit cohabitation with women. Those convicted of these offenses are to be deposed.

4.) The ecclesiastical authorities shall investigate and put an end to the scandalous commercial ventures of the clergy, which utilize the Church’s infrastructure, in the trade in alcohol and tobacco. All anti- canonical activity in this sphere is to be halted.

5.) A sobor of bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate shall anathematize the "Declaration" of Metropolitan Sergius and subsequent documents of a similar character, as well as the anti-ecclesiastical actions of Sergius and his successors: namely, their condemnation of the confessors of faith and the sanctions they took against them, as well as their collaboration with the organs of the Communist Party and the Soviet government, informing on believers and allowing the secular authorities to administer the inner affairs of the Church.

6.) A sobor of bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate shall anathematize the Ecumenical heresy (the "Branch Theory ", "Theology of Revolution," "Baptismal Theology," and so forth), all the Patriarchate’s previous ecumenical activity, and all the ecumenist documents the Moscow Patriarchate has hitherto endorsed. It shall also announce the Patriarchate’s withdrawal from all ecumenical organizations. Those who have participated in common prayer with the heterodox are to repent and be suspended from serving for prolonged periods of time. The "Funeral Rite for the non-Orthodox" found in the Book of Needs printed by the Moscow Patriarchate is to be condemned as anti-canonical. Eucharistic communion with all "official" Orthodox churches, except for that of Jerusalem,* is to be ruptured.

We should note that these are absolutely minimal requirements of faith. Nevertheless, for the Moscow Patriarchate to agree to them, a veritable revolution would have to occur. It is inconceivable that the Patriarchate would voluntarily submit to them. Regarding this, we have no illusions. Likewise, we do not delude ourselves in respect to the "Commission for Questions Relating to the Unity of the Russian Church." In the light of the above, we expect its activity to be at best useless.
Let us now summarize our conclusions:

1.) The Sobor’s epistle to the Old Ritualists is, in our opinion, a document that not only humiliates the Orthodox Church, but evinces a non-Orthodox ecclesiology. It in fact equates the Old Ritualists with confessors of Orthodoxy. The Sobor of Bishops firstly permits them to remain in their error, actually closing to them the path to repentance; and secondly, either teaches that genuine confession of the truth can take place outside the Church, or that the Church can be divided into parts, existing for centuries without eucharistic intercommunion. Both in its manner of expression and in spirit this epistle represents a complete break with the patristic Tradition of the Russian Church.

2.) All former principles relating to how our Church regards the Moscow Patriarchate have been overturned. Our archpastors have now plainly expressed their view that the Moscow Patriarchate is a part of the one Russian Church and that only the ecumenical activities of the Patriarchate pose a real obstacle to eucharistic unity with her. Two concrete measures of a practical nature were taken, to the end of preparing for spiritual and canonical unification with the Moscow Patriarchate. One is the endorsement of the request addressed to the Serbian Patriarch Paul asking his cooperation in this matter, the other the establishment of the "Commission for Questions Relating to the Unity of the Russian Church." The resolution of a whole series of extremely complex problems connected with the Moscow Patriarchate has been reduced by our bishops to the simple issuance by the Patriarchate of extremely inconsequential, double-minded half-measures.

3.) Beyond a doubt the document most fraught with dangerous spiritual implications is the letter to Patriarch Paul of Serbia, which violates the anathema enacted by a Sobor of our Church. It is difficult to recall a more extreme example of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad’s self-humiliation at any point in her history. The bishops of our confessor-Church have reduced themselves to the status of schoolboys, entreating the ecumenist Patriarch not to deprive them of eucharistic communion with him! From the above it is hard to avoid Vladiko Eutychius’ conclusion that, practically speaking, only the question of Ecumenism separates our Church and the Patriarchate. Our archpastors have put themselves in a most unenviable position. It is now difficult to refute those who condemn our Sobor of Bishops for hypocrisy and playing politics: Ecumenism does not prevent them from being in communion with the Serbs, but it does stop them from being in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate. Doubtless our critics will say that it is obvious that the reasons for our separation from the Patriarchate are political, not spiritual and ideological, as we have always maintained.

Dear Vladiko Metropolitan, in recapitulating all this, we cannot escape the conclusion that the Church Abroad has been smitten by a blow more powerful than any in the past ten years; indeed, than any in her entire history. Her assailant is not an external foe, but a sobor of our own bishops. For the first time the source of profound scandal is not some individual bishop or isolated document, but the entire episcopacy and its common decisions. We still cannot understand how this happened. Nothing, it seemed, gave hint of even a minor squall; now lo, a mighty tempest! The vessel of our Church is in imminent danger of being broken up or sunk. This is not a question of local problems in church life and mistaken decisions regarding them being made by the bishops. Our fidelity to Orthodoxy has been brought into question. Our future in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad is in doubt. We did not leave the ecumenist Moscow Patriarchate to be in communion with the equally ecumenist Serbian Patriarchate and in the end return to the clutches of the totally unregenerate Moscow Patriarchate. We did not give complete assent, before God and our own consciences, to the anathema against the Ecumenical heresy, in order to burden ourselves again with an unbearable yoke. Therefore we do not request, but enjoin you, Vladiko, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ: raise up your voice as First Hierarch; overturn and condemn the epistle to the Serbian Patriarch; and firmly proclaim as a matter of principle the impossibility of union with the Moscow Patriarchate, until it categorically condemns all its old and new sins, and takes real and not merely nominal measures to correct church life! Renounce "conciliarity" that makes you and us participants in a common sin against the Church.

Your Eminence, you simply have no right to cast the precious pearl of the whole previous struggle of your confession of the faith beneath the feet of swine who wish to devour our Church. It is our firm conviction that the moment has come to exercise episcopal authority with full force. The decisions of the Sobor of Bishops represent a brilliant triumph for the pro-Patriarchal faction in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. It is impossible to restrict oneself any longer to mild pronouncements or indirect statements. The situation demands a critical review of both the decisions of the last Sobor of Bishops and the actions and declarations of Archbishop Mark in 1997-98.

In the name of all that is holy, halt the fall of our Church into the abyss!

Your Eminence’s lowly servants and intercessors in prayer,


Priest Vyacheslav Lebedev, rector of Holy Trinity Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in Kursk

Priest Valery Rozhnov

Priest Vladimir Tsykanov, rector of the Parish of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in Kursk

Priest Vadim Pakhomov, rector of the Parish of the Icon of the Mother of God "Searcher for the Lost" in Voronezh

Monk Diodorus (Pashentsev), warden of the Parish of the Icon of the Mother of God "Searcher for the Lost"

Priestmonk Porphyrius Katunin, rector of the second Holy Trinity Parish in Kursk

P.S. - We beg your forgiveness, esteemed Vladiko, but in view of the extreme importance of all the questions touched upon in this appeal for the future of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, it is essential that we circulate it as widely as possible.


Actually, Bishop Barnabas of Cannes did not sign all the documents. (Tr.)
The erroneous theory that the Baptism and other sacraments of heretics are grace- bearing. (Tr.) 
Emphasis here and elsewhere provided by us- the clergy of Kursk (or the translator)
Vetrograd Inform, No. 7-8 (64-65), 2000, p. 19 
This false-council exonerated Eutyches, founder of the Monophysite heresy, and condemned Saint Flavian of Constantinople. (Tr.) 
Even so, the Moscow Patriarchate failed to glorify Saint Joseph of Petrograd, who may be regarded as the "founder" of the Catacomb Church. This can hardly be considered an oversight. ( Tr.) 
Of Boikov, one of the executioners of the Royal Family, by a Russian living in Poland
II Thes. 2:6-7 
The authors do not explain why they propose this exception. (Tr.)


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