Редакция Православного альманаха






Протоиерей Иосиф Сандерленд, благочинный Западно-Американский, присоединяется к ИПЦ Греции под омофором Митраллиника





Протоиерей Иосиф Сандерленд, стоявший у истоков организации структур Русской Зарубежной Церкви в Изгнании, покидаеn де-факто более не правящего Митриталия, использующегося ныне филетистами-киприанитами как ширма для своих амбициозных, не церковных и весьма личных разногласий с Митр.Лавром. Редакция «Романитаса» доводит до своих подписчиков подлинный текст его скорбного и твердого заявления.




Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


Christ is Risen!   Truly He is Risen!


Many of you have enquired over the last few months concerning the sad state of affairs in the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile.  Protopresbyter Victor Melehov and I published two Appeals in part to answer these questions, and to try according to our ability to avert the disaster that now afflicts the ROCE.  I subsequently published a reply to Bp. Vladimir’s dissemination across the Internet of an Ukaz banning me from the performance of my duties as Dean of Western America for the ROCE.  The time has come to speak further of this sorry condition.


It must be crystal clear by now that the ROCE is simply a schism from the ROCOR.  The French have made very clear that their only objection to Met. Lavr and his Synod is their personal grievances against Bp. Ambrose, who was assigned their ruling bishop.  The French and their followers clearly have no ecclesiological or theological differences from the ROCOR because they steadfastly refuse to condemn Cyprianism as heresy.  Indeed, their stated objections to Met. Cyprian are of an ethnic and personal nature, and border on philetism, a condemned heresy. 


Even their objections to the rapprochement between the ROCOR and the MP have no theological basis because they accept the same theology – grounded in Cyprianismthat the MP is in fact the ROCOR’s Mother Church.  The ROCOR has not yet officially concelebrated with the MP, and all of the tendencies toward the deal in the making either can be explained away, as indeed the ROCOR regularly does, or are nothing different than what has been going on at least since the ROCOR, headed by Met. Vitaly, established communion with Met. Cyprian and formally accepted his ecclesiology. 


To date, no bishop of either the ROCOR or the ROCE has offered repentance for this act.  Thus, the French and their followers can cite no cogent or compelling reason for breaking when they did and how they did.  They simply attempted to mask their actions in sophistry because they understood they were wrong.  I made a mistake believing what they said and in joining them.  I ask your forgiveness for this, and for anything I said or did to mislead you into following the ROCE schism.


The fact is the ROCE is neither credible nor canonical.  They condemn themselves.  Bp. Vladimir, the French and their cohorts violently objected to our Appeals, even lying in their pathetic attempt to claim they did not know Fr. Victor’s biography when they accepted him.  The thrust of their argument is that no one has the right to question the actions of their hierarchy, and that we erred in publicizing their illegal, uncanonical and egregious actions.  However, their own statements published widely when they contended with the ROCOR contradict this opinion.  So do the Holy Canons and the Traditions of the Church.  If Fr. Victor and I are wrong in what we said and did, then the French and their followers stand self-condemned and deposed by the ROCOR, lacking any authority other than as laymen.  If they were correct in similarly publishing their appeals to the ROCOR, than they now stand self-condemned as violators of the Holy Canons and breakers of the Faith, or outright heretics.  Either they were wrong to challenge the ROCOR hierarchy then or they are wrong now to chastise us for the same thing.  They can’t have it both ways.


Moreover, the 3rd Ecumenical Council decrees that a bishop who retires and is replaced “shall have the name, and the rank, and the communion of the episcopate on this condition, however, only, that he shall not ordain, and that he shall not take and minister to a Church of his own individual authority; but that [he shall do so only] if taken as an assistant, or when appointed, if it should so chance, by a brother and fellow-bishop, in accordance with the ordinance and the love which is in Christ” (Canonical Letter Concerning Met. Eustathius of Pamphylia).  Met. Vitaly’s circumstances match this, and indeed, he has been living as a retired hierarch since he left New York.  The ROCOR deposed Abp. Varnava, who offers no canonical reason for his schism.  Thus, the ordination of new bishops clearly violates the decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, and must be suspect.  Indeed, none of the new bishops acts as if he believed his consecration conveyed any Grace.  If they don’t take themselves seriously as bishops, who else can?


Beyond this (assuming they are canonical), the bishops of the ROCE have provided no spiritual direction, leadership or pastoral care to the flock entrusted them.  The 36th and 58th Apostolic Canons declare that a bishop who fails to undertake the care of the people committed to him should be excommunicated and deposed, and Ukaz No. 362 of Patriarch Tikhon instructs the faithful without a bishop to seek a neighboring bishop.  The 46th Apostolic Canon decrees a bishop who acknowledges heretics have Grace be deposed and the 15th Canon of the 1-2nd Council instructs the faithful to flee heretics, even before a Council condemns those heretics.  Rather than address any of these issues or the crisis in which the ROCE has wallowed for the past 18 months, the leaders of the ROCE have chosen to expel us from their midst.


Given all of this, and taking direction from the letter the Holy Hierarch Metropolitan Philaret addressed to Archbishop Auxentios and signed by eleven ROCOR hierarchs on 18/31, December, 1969 (please see attached), the St. Joseph of Petersburg parish and I have placed ourselves under the hierarchal protection of his Beatitude, Metropolitan Kallinikos and his Synod who, recognizing the legitimacy of Archbishop Auxentios, continue the Apostolic lineage of the True Orthodox Church of Greece, and the Orthodox Ecclesiology which we had been previously taught in the ROCOR under the presidency of our Holy Hierarch, Metropolitan Philaret.  And they bring love and peace to our souls.






Archpriest Joseph Sunderland                        Prophet Jeremiah


1/14 May 2003


ROCOR Recognition of the Synod of the TOC of Greece (Archbishop Auxentios)

18/31 December, 1969


To His Beatitude Auxentius,


Archbishop of the Church of the


True Orthodox Christians of Greece


Your Beatitude,


Your Beatitude’s fraternal letter of 25 November 1969, was read by us at a meeting of our Synod today.


The many trials which the Orthodox Church has endured from the beginning of its history are especially great in our evil times, and, consequently, this especially requires unity among those who are truly devoted to the Faith of the Fathers. With these sentiments, we wish to inform you that the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad recognizes the validity of the episcopal ordinations of your predecessor of blessed memory, the reposed Archbishop Akakios, and the consequent ordinations of your Holy Church. Hence, taking into account also various other circumstances, our hierarchical Synod esteems your hierarchy as brothers in Christ in full communion with us.


May the blessing of God rest upon all the clergy and faithful of your Church, especially during the coming days of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.


The President of the Synod of Bishops


+Metropolitan Philaret


The Members:


+Nikon, Archbishop of Washington and Florida,


+Seraphim, Archbishop of Chicago and Detroit


+Vitaly, Archbishop of Montreal and Canada


+Anthony, Archbishop of Los Angeles and Texas


+Averky, Archbishop of Syracuse and Trinity


+Anthony, Archbishop of Western America and San Francisco


+Sabbas, Bishop of Edmonton


+Nectary, Bishop of Seattle


+Andrew, Bishop of Rockland


+Laurus, Bishop of Manhattan