November 24, 2008
Dear in the Lord Bishop Gabriel!
I received your “accusatory” letter. I thought long and hard, what to write back. Finally, I put pen to paper and followed your example.
I’ll begin by reminding you how, in April of 1992, the Most Reverend Mark, Archbishop of Berlin and Germany, accepted me into the ranks of the clergy of the England diocese of the Church Abroad without a so-called “release.” At that time, he demonstrably explained to me that I was leaving a SCHISM and joining the TRUE CHURCH.
Along with that, I was required to repent that I was part of the “sergianist schism.” Fifteen years went by and it turns out that what we called a schism is now called the true church. Our bishops suddenly understood something or another which they did not understand in 1992. While those distinguished diaspora priests, who cried out louder than everyone else about the disgraceful actions of the Moscow Patriarchate, and wrote books, and made accusations in the pages of newspapers and magazines, and spoke on the radio, and staged demonstrations in the 1970’s against the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of America, now convince their flock of just the opposite. That the Moscow Patriarchate is not a schism, but our Mother Church, and that the diaspora never considered it to be in schism. Forgive me, dear Bishop, I did not know that the term “sergianism” was thought up in the MP and not in ROCA. Is it possible that for over 50 years, in our seminary in Jordanville, no one ever heard of the “sergianist schism,” though the so-called “karlovtsy schism” was well known to all in the MP? Your parents and teachers were a part of this schism. You were born, baptized, tonsured and ordained in this SCHISM.
In my opinion, the Moscow Patriarchate made a heroic act in accepting the “karlovtsy schismatics” WITHOUT THEIR REPENTING. It knowingly committed a violation of the Canons, and not those, which you use against me. (Those dutiful citations which the bishops always use, though they did not prevent them from remaining in schism.) The MP trampled the basic principle of territorial sovereignty of the local churches, and also violated the Tomos of 1970 it had with the American church. This was all done for the sake of love and unity within the One Orthodox Family.
I do not judge you or Metropolitan Hilarion. Who am I? A simple Russian priest. I do not have the right to denounce or judge all of you bishops. You certainly have your reasons for which you deserted the Church Abroad. Apparently, you think you are right. My relationship to both of you has not changed because of it. I continue to love both of you and continue to consider you my friend.
But you made your choice. Why do not you let others make their choice? Even if they are wrong from your point of view. But it is their choice. The choice of our brothers is not to be under the omofor of the Moscow Patriarchate. What are we going to do, punish them all, so that it “does not happen again”? Where did our bishops get the idea that they are always right? They thought they were right while in the “karlovtsy schism,” and now they are right while in the “sergianist schism.” Or perhaps a bishop’s ordination imparts wisdom? Though, as we know, “even in the emptiest of heads, love often begets extreme fabrications.” (Cosima Prutkov)
You never considered why out of all the priests of our diocese who did not want to leave ROCA for the MP, I was the only one who was censured. Why, right after I received your letter, did I receive the grave order from Metropolitan Hilarion announcing the dismissal of the parish council, and making claims on our parish property, parish accounts, etc.? Is it possible that Metropolitan Hilarion is interested only in our property? He is after all one of God’s Bishops, and not a synodal clerk. Why “engage in this farce” of censure and “threaten” the priest?
Is it possible that you still do not understand that there is no place for me in your new system? And that is not because the Metropolitan wants it that way. It is because his “lackeys” (excuse me for calling them that) want it that way. They are the true administrators of ROCOR(MP) and receive their orders from their real bosses in the Moscow Patriarchate. I watched this farce for a whole year. Forgive me, dear Bishop, I cannot do it any more. You can continue putting up with it alone. Maybe with time, you will understand me and forgive me. I do not believe it is possible to have a serious conversation with your superiors. They have already made up their minds about me.
I deeply appreciate your letter.
ROCOR-MP Bp. Gabriel's letter which prompted the above response:
UPDATE: VERY STRANGE - SEE JANUARY 22, 2009 OF THIS BLOG