16/29 June 2007
St. Tychon, Bishop of Amathus in Cyprus
To His Eminence
The Most Reverend Bishop Photii of Triaditza
Your Eminence, beloved in Christ Vladyka!
We appeal to Your Grace again with a fraternal epistle on account of the events in the life of our Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
As you are informed, on 4/17 May this year, in the day of the Lord's Ascension in the church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow took place the solemn signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. According to this Act, the Russian Church Abroad remains independent “in the pastoral, educational, administrative, economic, property and civil matters”.
We acquainted ourselves with some of your pronouncements regarding the process of restoration of the unity in the Russian Church. We are sincerely regretful of the fact that, under circumstances not cleared up yet, you did not receive from the Chancellery of our Synod of Bishops our last letter, in which we enunciated our high appraisal of our steadfast stand for the preservation of the Orthodox Church Calendar and other primordial traditions, and expressed our intent to preserve with you good fraternal relations.
We asked you to treat the process of reconciliation with the Church in Russia with understanding and the awareness that this is an internal act of the Russian Church. It is our sincere conviction that the revival process of the Church in our much-suffered Motherland after the fall of the atheist authorities is, by God's Grace, so radical and all-encompassing, that we cannot remain aloof and not join it.
We have no intention in whatever way to retreat from our witness of the True Orthodoxy before the entire world, and shall continue to condemn both the pernicious ecumenism and modernism.
We cannot but agree with the following of your words which were published recently:
“Here we ought to admit honestly and frankly that very unfortunately with respect to the Moscow Patriarchate, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad did not always hold to a theologically and spiritually consistent position, because all the overly stark criticism and the qualifications of the Moscow Patriarchate such as 'graceless assemblage', 'Soviet' and 'the red church' etc., are journalistically expressed extreme opinions rather than per ipso theological assessment with regard to the extremely heterogeneous and intricate organism which the Moscow Patriarchate is.”
“In this regard we cannot apply, in a way both fanatical and schematic, the maxima: if their ruling Bishops are such then all of them are such and therefore they lack Grace”.
“Too many errors were allowed in relation with the rash establishment of parishes in Russia and especially with the rash and unconsidered consecration of Bishops there. And there errors, regrettably, very quickly and in rather short terms destroyed the high authority of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.” (From the talk of Bishop Photii of Triaditza with the congregations in Plovdiv, Pazardzhik and Blagoevgrad, which took places on 16 and 27 November 2006).
Precisely in relation with these pronouncements of yours, we consider it to be the duty of our conscience to forewarn you in a brotherly manner that the leaders of the “opposition” of the reconciliation process are namely those people of fanatical frame of mind, who do not comprehend our balanced and moderate position and deny the presence of Grace in the Moscow Patriarchate.
And the head of this opposition, the suspended Bishop Agathangel is precisely one of the Bishops you condemn who were rashly and inconsiderately consecrated [for Russia].
Another leader of this opposition, the suspended priest Victor Dobrov, is an extremely fanaticised denouncer of the Moscow Patriarchate and our Hierarchical Synod, who indulges in the usage of such expressions in the regard of our Bishops and Priests which none could use and yet consider themselves to be still Orthodox.
The third oppositional leader, Dr. Evgenii Magerovsky, on the whole preaches the necessity that a new form be established of ecclesiastical administration, according to which the clergymen and the laypeople not only would be entitled to participate in the higher governing of the Church but also have the veto to [all] decisions made by the Bishops at the Councils or the Synods.
We earnestly ask you, Vladyka, not to become involved with such “oppositionists”, who only bring discredit to the witness of Orthodoxy and attempt to establish a schismatic structure passing off as “preserving” the genuine Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
We are very much alarmed that some of your Old Calendarist brethren have expressed their readiness even to take part in the consecrations of Bishops for the groups in opposition, which would only bring about the further fragmentation of the flock of Christ.
We trust in God's mercy in this difficult time and ask your holy prayers.
With brotherly love in Christ,
+ Metropolitan Laurus
+ Archbishop Mark
+ Archbishop Kyrill
+ Bishop Michael
+ Bishop Gabriel
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