Редакция Православного альманаха
Епископ Денверский Григорий, викарий РПАЦ в США, выступил с «Открытым Письмом к Митр.Виталию, клирикам и мирянам РПЦЗ», способным вызвать осложнение диалога.
Епископ Денверский Григорий, гражданин США арабского происхождения, викарий Суздальской Епархии РПАЦ в Америке, издал «Открытое Обращение к Митрополиту Виталию, клириками и мирянам РПЦЗ(В)». Смысл этого обращения сводится к тому, что, по мнению Еп.Григория, РПЦЗ в течении восьми лет, после принятия в общение Синода Митр.Киприана Филийского, находится фактически вне Церкви из-за «разделения его ереси». Еп.Григорий призывает Митрополита Виталия и всех его клириков перейти через покаяние (вероятно, имеется в виду Третий Чин) в РПАЦ, которая, по Еп.Григорию, и есть, собственно, неповрежденная Русская Церковь.
Столь радикальный публичный взгляд на РПЦЗ Еп.Григорий исповедует не впервые, хотя от него он в свое время отказался (при совершении над ним епископской хиротонии в РПАЦ). Если же говорить по-существу, то, как нам представляется, подобные документы достигают вовсе не поиска христианского взаимопонимания с братьями во Христе, но, напротив, того, что теряется самая возможность восстановления общения. Истина состоит в том, что нынешний Синод Митр.Виталия совершенно не повинен в исповедании киприанизма. Синод РПЦЗ(В) от него отказался. Что же до Синода РПЦЗ, то на момент принятия Митр.Киприана в общение он состоял из большого числа будущих отступников – сторонников сближения с Московской Патриархией, и потому для него данный союз был естественным. Сам же Митр.Виталий был в меньшинстве. Так что, по сути, инкриминируя Митр.Виталию «киприанизм» в его прошлом, необходимо взаимоувязывать сей вопрос с тем, должен ли он был уходить от православных с элементами не правомыслия (назовем их так) раньше срока, необходимого на их вразумление, или должен был уходить, не исполнив свой христианский долг по их увещанию?
Радикальные заявления, подобно обсуждаемому документу, способны вызвать серьезное осложнение диалога. Зададимся вопросом: кому это выгодно? Впрочем, ответим позже. Постольку поскольку данный взгляд, Слава Богу, не является мнением Архиерейского Собора или Синода РПАЦ, но, напротив, является мнением одного викарного Епископа, попробуем с ним христианскою совестью не согласиться:
Епископ Григорий в своем обращении пишет:
«Потому что если вы вступаете в общение с еретиками и сослужите с ними литургию, причащаясь из общей чаши, вы становитесь тем же, что и они, по учению нашей веры. Вот, что пишет св. Василий Великий: «Что касается тех, которые говорят, что исповедают Православную веру, но находятся в общении с людьми, держащимися иных мнений, если они предупреждены и остаются упрямы, с ними нельзя не только оставаться в общении, но даже и называть их братьями» (Patrologia Orientalis, Vol. 17, с. 303). В этих богодухновенных словах св. Василий обвиняет тех, кто называет себя православными и находится в евхаристическом общении с людьми «иных мнений».
Однако Еп.Григорий «забывает», что свт. Василий Великий сам долгое время находился в общении с еретиком Евстафием в надежде вразумить его, в то время как другие Православные Епископы давно отделились от него, за что они подозревали самого Василия Великого в нарушении благочестия.
В завершении темы необходимо сказать, что дело, как нам представляется, все-таки не столько в позиции Еп.Григория… За данным его выступлением, с такой очевидностью расходящимся с мнением Первоиерарха РПАЦ, которое, по данному вопросу, определенно известно коллективу нашего альманаха, равно как и соборным мнением Епископов РПАЦ, клириков и всего церковного народа РПАЦ, скрывается что-то иное… Череда последних соборных православных решений Синода РПЦЗ(В), как представляется нам все четче и яснее, для кого-то в РПАЦ составляет серьезную проблему. Ведь именно эти православные решения с неизбежностью ставят вопрос о необходимости объединения или взаимного признания. Объединения и взаимного признания с сильной церковной общностью, которая не будет мириться с собственным «не официальным» не правомыслием уже в самой РПАЦ, исходящим из группы, возглавляемой человеком, фактически строящем в РПАЦ «Церковь в Церкви» и стремящимся сделать так, чтобы РПАЦ отказалась практически от всех духовных традиций Зарубежной и Катакомбной Церкви.
Историк Церкви Владимир Мосс и ряд других мирян и клириков РПАЦ дальнего зарубежья высказали озабоченность сложившейся ситуацией и все мы в мире и любви надеемся на ее позитивное разрешение. В качестве приложения приводим для наших читателей публичную переписку чтеца Владимира Мосса и Еп.Григория, инициированную «Открытым Письмом» последнего и размещенную в американском Интернете.
В завершении хотим повторить вновь: по нашему мнению решиться на подобный шаг, очевидно расходящийся с вероисповеданием самого Еп.Григория в момент его епископской хиротонии, когда с его интернет-узла по настоянию Синода РПАЦ и по искреннему желанию самого Еп.Григория, были убраны обвинения против Митр.Виталия, Еп.Григорий вполне мог под влиянием тех, кто крайне не заинтересован ныне в налаживании общения РПЦЗ и РПАЦ. Кто стремится вести данный диалог с РПЦЗ(В) с "позиции силы", чтобы одновременно оправдать себя его формальным наличием и, в то же время, сделать невозможным восстановление общения по существу. Это предположение тем более имеет основания, что необходимо учитывать нынешнюю болезнь Первоиерарха РПАЦ и невозможность связи с ним по электронной почте в момент выхода данного послания. И именно это обстоятельство вполне могло быть использовано данными силами для того, чтобы убедить Еп.Григория в том, что позиция Синода и Первоиерарха РПАЦ не расходится ныне с той, что отражена в американском послании.
OPEN LETTER TO BISHOP GREGORY OF DENVER
Your Grace, Dear Vladyko,
With great respect, I am making so bold as to make some comments on your
recent open letter to Metropolitan Vitaly and and Fr. George’s post to
Patrick Barrett. I am doing this publicly, because it seems to me that the
many people both in our and other jurisdictions who read your letters are
getting a distorted picture of the position of our Church on three questions:
1. Our attitude to the ROCiE (Metropolitan Vitaly).
2. Our attitude to the Matthewites.
3. Our attitude to the Pan-Orthodox anathemas against the new calendar.
Briefly put my point is this: whereas your attitude to all three of these is
negative in the extreme, our Church, to my knowledge, has rejected neither
Metropolitan Vitaly, nor the Matthewites, nor the Pan-Orthodox anathemas.
1. The last time I spoke to Metropolitan Valentine on this subject, in
September, 2000, he called the ROCA “our brothers”. Of course, this was
before the catastrophic Sobor of October, 2000. But I have seen no official
change in our Church’s position since then. Only the heretic Fr. Gregory
Lurye has allowed himself to condemn both the ROCiE and the ROCOR as
graceless - even, in a recent comment on a web-forum, as no better than the
Catholics!!! But why should we pay any attention to this heretic, who even
says that the Russian Synod of 1914 was “a power not from God”, and that all
those who reject the heresy of name-worshipping (i.e. all Orthodox
Christians) are “fighters against the Name” and themselves heretics?! Last
week I visited Bishop Sergius of the ROCiE in Montreal, and was warmly
received as a true Christian. And this is only natural. Since the split
between the ROCiE and the ROCOR, the main troublemakers who caused the split
with our Church, the ROAC, in 1995 – Archbishop Mark and Bishop Evtikhy –
have departed, so the prospects for reunion between us and the ROCiE must be
much brighter than before. And gradually other obstacles, such as the
acceptance of the Cyprianite ecclesiology, are being removed. We should
encourage this process, not demand that they beg forgiveness from us. But if
we declare that they have been heretics and graceless for eight years, a
proposition with which nobody, to my knowledge, agrees on this side of the
Atlantic, we are not only not encouraging that process: we are hindering it,
and accelerating the woeful disintegration of the TOC of Russia. Besides, I
think we are in no position to demand repentance from any other jurisdiction
as long as we harbour such open heretics as Fr.Gregory Lurye within our
midst. “Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone.”
Metropolitan Vitaly, whatever mistakes he and his Synod have made in the past
(and I have been pointing them out for much longer than you), is NOT a
heretic. Fr. Gregory Lurye is.… Again, Fr. George writes that the ROAC is
“the rightful heir of every single parish on this continent”. Are we, then,
to take it that you are the only true bishop in North America (except for
Bishop Anthony), and that every Orthodox Christian not already in the ROAC
must repent before you?! Please,Vladyko, you may not have meant this, but the
impression created is, to put it mildly, unfortunate!!
2. I have been frankly dismayed by your extreme hostility to the
Matthewites.And it puzzles me: where does it come from? Certainly not from
our Church. Nor from the Lamians, who have their criticisms of the
Matthewites, but who, as I have been told by them, were not in favour of your
intention to publish a book against the Matthewites. Fr. George writes: “By
the actions of the Matthewites, they renounced the decrees of 1935, and the
16th century, as well as the uncanonical activities of Matthew and Maria,
nun.” Forgive me, but they did not! Whatever interpretation one puts on the
union of 1971, the cheirothesias, and the ROCA’s commentary on them(which, in
my view, was deliberately ambiguous), the Matthewites were not required to
renounce any of their beliefs. As a matter of fact, that is what makes their
rejection of the cherothesias in 1984 the more unacceptable, in my view. But
the fact remains: whatever mistakes the Matthewites may or may not have made
in the past, our Church has never declared them to be graceless, and to say
so in public now can only harm the prospects for true unity among the True
3. As for the Pan-Orthodox anathemas against the new calendar in 1583, 1587
and 1593, to my knowledge, no Synod of the Russian Church has ever rejected
these. I know that Archbishop Theophan of Poltava, the deputy president of
the ROCA Synod, explicitly accepted them – and accepted the consequence that
the new calendarists were schismatics. The fact that certain hierarchs of the
ROCA continued, intemittently, to have communion with new calendarist
hierarchs is their sin, and in no way overturns the conciliar decisions of
the Orthodox Church, which we are obliged to obey unless they are uncanonical
(and who can dare to say that the Pan-Orthodox anathemas against the new
calendar were uncanonical?). When our parish broke communion with Archbishop
Anthony of Geneva in 1976 because of his communion with new calendarists, St.
Philaret told me explicitly in Boston (you were in the monastery at the time,
I remember) that we were right… Later you joined the TOC of Greece, and you
still accept the canonicity of the Lamians. I think you will find that all
the Greek Old Calendarist Synods accept the validity of the Pan-Orthodox
anathemas. Your laudable struggle against Ecumenism and Cyprianitism will
hardly be helped if you reject them.
Forgive me, Vladyko, if my tone sounds exasperated at times. But my
exasperation is in direct proportion to my respect for you, your zeal for the
truth and the excellent series of books you have produced. I, like every
member of the ROAC, long for the success of your mission in North America. I
beg you, do not allow an excessive zeal against certain jurisdictions to
damage that success.
Asking for your holy prayers,
With love in Christ,
April 10/23, 2002.
God bless you!
First of all, let me say I'm glad you returned from the Holy Land before it erupted. Greet Olga for us and Father Augustine.
I am doing this publicly, because it seems to me that the
many people both in our and other jurisdictions who read your letters are getting a distorted picture of the position of our Church on three questions:
Vladimir, I think you are getting a distorted picture of my position, therefore I would have wished that you had done this questioning privately. My position has been very clear from the very beginning.
I was ordained to and vowed to uphold the Faith as it was handed down to me from the Russian Church. That Faith, which came down to me, I believe in and uphold with all my heart. It came through the Russian Church Abroad, through holy people, who apparently have a different understanding of Orthodoxy than yourself.
With regard to the Matthewites, I do believe that they are schismatic and that it is harmful to be with them, and I believe that your affiliation with them has had a detrimental effect on you. The attitude that I am referring to is the extremism which they take towards topics which may suit themselves, to proclaim themselves as the only Orthodox left on earth, their extremism with which justify themselves in breaking the canons and any other tradition which suits them. This extremism and fanaticism was just yesterday displayed in Patrick Barret's post, wherein he attacked and ridiculed me without me provoking him by any word. Indeed, I have not written a single post throughout the Fast, I believe, and yet the Matthewites have this continuous demonic desire to attack me and through me, our Church. Do they have a hatred for me because I believe that there is one Russian Church and that this Church is the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church? Apparently they do not accept this, nor me, as evidenced by their uncanonical opening of parishes on the canonical territory of the ROAC in Russia.
Concerning the Pan Orthodox Synods:
Their Pan Orthodoxy in itself is a question, since the Slavic Churches were not represented at them. But the Russian Church, of course, accepts the precepts outlined in these pronouncements. Saint Philaret did not reject these, but he did interpret them differently than the Matthewites, obviously. The Matthewites, according to their traditional extremism, look upon a change in the Greek Menaion as a change in dogma. The Paschalion was deceitfully not changed by the new calendarists, so as to avoid the condemnation of the First Ecumenical Council and these so-called Pan Orthodox Synods. The Matthewites overlook that the Paschalion was not changed, which was the central issue of these councils.
In Evsevios' Church History, there is a story about Pope Victor who threatened to excommunicate and call unorthodox the bishops from Asia Minor because they followed a different Paschalion. Saint Irenaeos of Lyons, among others, sharply rebuked him (so much for Papal Infallibility) for attempting to cut off people from the Church over a calendar issue, when their faith was Orthodox. This was before the First Ecumenical Council, obviously. After the First Ecumenical Council, we have the example of the Irish Church, which obstinately kept to their own Paschalion, despite the decree of the First Ecumenical Council. They were not considered outside the Church.
In other words Vladimir, when the Council of 1583, fighting against Uniatism, condemned Purgatory, Infallibility, Unleavened Bread, Indulgences, Communing of only the Body, and the Filioque, etc, these were understandably dogmatic issues. They also condemned the Menaion and the Paschalion of the Pope together. But as we see in history, the Menaion is not universal in every Church. There are slight variations. The Council of 1593 specifically condemns only all violations against the First Ecumenical Council's decree on the Paschalion. It is interesting to note that in the Council of 1583, three Patriarchs condemned those who accepted both the Menaion and Paschalion of the Latins. In 1593, apparently they found a need to gather again, obviously this time changing their focus. This time four Patriarchs, including two of the original three Patriarchs of 1583 gathered, and yet they condemned *only* the acceptance of the Papal Paschalion. The heretics haven't yet changed the Paschalion, nor have they accepted the Latin Menaion of Saints. This raises the question: when the 1583 Council condemned the Papal Menaion, was it understood by the Orthodox at that time that they were condemning not a ten or eleven day change in dates, but a Menaion which included "saints" from the West who were obviously outside the Church, which the Uniates at that time accepted?
Be that as it may, when our Russian Church under Saint Metropolitan Philaret (and when I say Saint, I understand it as he did not make a mistake when it came to matters of Faith), when Saint Philaret, I say, said that our Russian Church looks upon the New Calendar as a mistake but not serious enough for us to break communion with those who have accepted it, this is my position also. Of course, understand this all changed after ecumenism became official and he did break communion with those who espoused a heresy. This is the position of the Russian Church, and this is a very sound and Orthodox position, despite what others may believe. And if they believe otherwise, they are wrong.
The above opinion is also that of Saint John Maximovitch, who had parishes which followed the new calendar, and even experimented with the Western Rite. This is why the Matthewites dislike him so much. We just heard yesterday from Greece that there are pictures circulating around Greece, criticizing Saint John as an ecumenist, and portraying him at the World Council of Churches Assembly in New Delhi with John Meyendorff in 1961. Saint John is allegedly pictured, I am told, wearing a papal tiara. Don't laugh. This is all for a purpose, and some Greeks are believing that this is true. I wonder who is circulating this information? :~) It doesn't take much to figure that one out and why.
Let us go now to ROCE.
I don't understand how you can defend and accept the Matthewite position regarding the 16th century councils to no end, but then go and overlook ROCE, which has violated the 1983 anathema, violated so many Ecumenical Council decrees, and yet you still deem them as part of the Church?
You said that your last contact with our Metropolitan Valentine concerning Met. Vitaly was in 2000, and yet you visited Bishop Sergei last week? I think it would be more advisable to be in contact with our bishops, rather than the schismatic ones. Therefore, you would be in a better position to know their opinions. The Metropolitan has publicly stated that the ROCE is uncanonical. Back in 2000, there was no ROCE. For Metropolitan Valentine to call ROCA "our brothers" back in 2000, doesn't imply that they are part of the Church.
As far as your open criticism of Father Gregory Lourye, I believe this is uncalled for and detrimental to the Church. When I say open criticism, I mean you going to those outside the Church and explaining your opinion of a priest's errors. Where have we ever seen such a thing in Orthodoxy? This criticism should only be vocal within our Church. If we disagree with one of our priests, we go to our bishop and complain to him. Then we have fulfilled our obligation, and must now wait for the decision of our Bishops. Going outside the Church and complaining to others is so detrimental to our Church. This is so out of Church order. But, if you have a mentality that every Old Calendar Church is the Church of Christ, and that you can overlook their differences as microscopic, then I could see the source of your mistake.
Father Gregory Lourye answers to his bishop. His Bishop will have to answer for him. Forgive me Vladimir, but is this overreaction to Fr. Gregory again a symptom of your Matthewite associations?
To recapitulate, I accept and uphold the position of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad under Metropolitans Anthony, Anastassy and Saint Philaret, and also of Metropolitan Vitaly, up to 1994, which includes, thank God, his ordination of Metropolitan Valentine. God's providence was such that he passed the faith of a pure confession to bishops in Russia. Four years later, he lost it. In a way, he fulfilled the mission of the ROCA, which was to preserve the Faith, while Russia was subjugated to communism, and then deliver back the precious pearl to the homeland. If anybody disagrees with the above, I consider them in error, and I have the councils and the canons, and Church Fathers to uphold my position.
If you desire to continue this discussion with me, it will be done privately.
Your Grace, Dear Vladyko,
Let me first address the issue of public versus private. On the questions of
the Matthewites and the Pan-Orthodox anathemas, I believe you have known my
views for some time as expressed on this and the True Faith list.You ignored
them. Well, that’s your privilege. But you can’t say you didn’t know them.
As regards Metropolitan Vitaly and the ROCiE, do you remember mysending you a
private e-mail a few weeks ago, after your first public broadside against
ROCiE, in which I warned you that your comments had been translated into
Russian and published by “Vertograd”, whose editor added the note that this
was NOT the official position of the ROAC? Forgive me, but it seems to me
that your comments about keeping things private apply to yourself first of
all.You made this issue a public one, not me. And now that you have made the
issue public, you cannot censure all discussion of it by others in public.
With regard to the Matthewites, my “affiliation” with them ended some 21
years ago. I learned a lot from them, a lot that was good and some that was
bad. I learned to venerate the memory of Bishop Matthew, a great saint, who
cured my wife of a serious back ailment. And I learned that the issue of the
calendar was not a minor one, as you seem to think, but the beginning of the
heresy of ecumenism and the cause of the falling away of the new calendar
churches. The miracle of the sign of the cross in the sky over Athens in 1925
was a sign from God that all True Orthodox Christians had to separate from
the new calendarists now. The Greek Old Calendarists, to their eternal glory,
paid heed to the sign and separated immediately. The Russians,unfortunately,
were slower. But eventually they did, too.
I left the Matthewites because (there were other reasons,but I won’t go into
them now) I could not take their view that they were the only True Orthodox
in Greece, and that 75% of the Greek Old Calendarists were in fact graceless
schismatics. And since then I have developed a spiritual allergy, if you
like, to any group, Greek or Russian, which starts to proclaim itself the
*only* True Greek or Russian Church. The ROCA never made that claim, except
for a short period in the 90s. The ROAC has never made that claim. As a
matter of fact, we *cannot* make such a claim because our existence is based
on Patriarch Tikhon’s ukaz no. 362, which blesses the existence of autonomous
groups of bishops like ours, but does not bless any single group claiming
jurisdiction over the rest. I would respectfully ask you to read that ukaz
before you again lay claim to every parish in North America.
I don’t believe the Matthewites on this list hate you, but I do believe that
you have sorely provoked them. This is not good for you, and it is not good
for our Church in general. If our Church had proclaimed the Matthewites to be
graceless schismatics, you would at least have her authority to repeat what
the Church has said. But the Church has not said it. Or if I am wrong could
you please quote the relevant decree verbatim?
With regard to the Pan-Orthodox Councils, they actually represented several
Slavic as well as Greek Churches. They represented the Slavic Churches of
Serbia, Bulgaria and the Ukraine (which was under the Patriarchate of
Constantinople at the time). Only the autonomous Muscovite metropolia was not
represented. And yet the Muscovite metropolia was raised to the rank of a
patriarchate by the same patriarch, Jeremiah II, who condemned the new
calendar. There is no record of the Muscovites in any way contesting the
decisions against the new calendar. And if they had they would have been
wrong, since the mind of Church has been expressed with complete clarity on
this point many times.
As you correctly point out, the Pan-Orthodox Council of 1583 anathematised
the new, papist menaion. So the present-day new calendar churches fall
directly under that anathema, which has never been revoked. And the sign of
the cross in the sky proved it.
You write that “when Saint Philaret, I say, said that our Russian Church
looks upon the New Calendar as a mistake but not serious enough for us to
break communion with those who have accepted it, this is my position also”. I
know of no such statement by St. Philaret. Please give the exact quotation.
If this is your position, then I have to say that it is wrong. It contradicts
the whole basis of the Old Calendarist movement throughout the world (in
Romania and on Valaam, as well as in Greece), which *unanimously* – whatever
position was taken on the question of grace in the new calendarist churches –
agreed that it was absolutely necessary to break communion with the new
calendarists. I believe that even the Cyprianites agreed on this necessity.
The views you have expressed seemed to echo that of your former spiritual
father, Abbot Panteleimon of Boston, who considered that the new calendar
church had grace until he left it(in 1965). I hope this is coincidental…
Yes, St. John Maximovich allowed some covert parishes to continue using the
new calendar temporarily. This was an act of economy which didn’t work (for
long), since the parishes left True Orthodoxy after his death. However, the
very fact that these parishes came under the omophorion of a TrueOrthodox,
Old Calendar bishop means that they came (temporarily) out of the schism of
the new calendar and into the True Church. For the mortal sin of the new
calendar schism consists not in the 13 days’ difference, but in the *schism*
that it created. If a parish keeps the new calendar but remains under an Old
Calendar bishop, it is sinning, but at least it is not sinning through
*schism*. Of course, when these parishes returned to World Orthodoxy after
St. John’s death they returned into schism…
You write: “We have the example of the Irish Church, which obstinately kept
to their own Paschalion, despite the decree of the First Ecumenical Council.
They were not considered outside the Church.”
Forgive me, but after the Council of Whitby in 664, which decided in favour
of the Roman-Byzantine Paschalion, all Celtic Churches which kept the Celtic
calendar (by that time they were mainly in Wales and Scotland) were
considered to be schismatics. Thus St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (+687), who
had been brought up in the Celtic calendar but accepted the Synod of Whitby,
ordered his disciples not to allow his body ever to fall into the hands of
the “schismatics” – that is, the “Celtic calendarists”. Again, St. Columba
of Iona (+597), who lived all his life in the Celtic calendar, appeared to
St. Egbert and told him to convert his Iona monks to the Roman calendar,
since “they were ploughing the wrong furrow”. Again, St. Theodore “the
Greek”, Archbishop of Canterbury (+690), ordered all those returning from
“the Scottish schism” to be received as schismatics with appropriate
penances. If you read Latin, you will find St. Theodore’s decrees on this
subject in Haddan & Stubbs, “Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents relating
to Great Britain and Ireland” (Oxford, 1871, 1964), vol. III, p. 197.
Differences in customs, and even calendars, can be tolerated in the Church so
long as these differences are the result of ignorance or isolation, not of
stubborn opposition to the expressed mind of the Church. But when the mind of
the Church has been expressed in Council, stubborn refusal to change and
accept the Church’s decision constitutes the mortal sin of schism.So the
issue is not in the difference of days as such, but in the schismatic
mentality that continued adherence to that difference in the face of clear
warnings from the True Church expresses.
You write: “I don’t understand how you can defend and accept the Matthewite
position regarding the 16th century councils to no end, but then go and
overlook ROCE, which has violated the 1983 anathema, violated so many
Ecumenical Council decrees, and yet you still deem them as part of the
First: my position on the 16th century councils is not “Matthewite”, but the
common position of all Old Calendarists. I am sad you do not share that
position. Secondly: immediately a competent Council of the True Church
condemns the ROCE as graceless on the basis of the holy canons, I will accept
that. But no such Council has done that, and since the ROCE is beginning to
withdraw from its previous errors, I think it is unlikely that such a Council
will be convened. For example, both you and I publicly protested against the
communion of certain of the ROCA’s hierarchs with ecumenist heretics. But I
know of no such communion inthe ROCE now. So things are getting better. Why
such rancour when there should be rejoicing? Certainly, there are other
things which need to be corrected – especially the unjust “deposition” of
our hierarchs in 1995. But give it time.Things are moving in the right
direction. The old bishops who caused most of the trouble have gone, new
bishops with a clean record have been ordained. And let us not forget that
uncanonical things have been done by every single TOC jurisdiction, including
I deem the ROCE part of the Church, because your and my metropolitan and your
and my Synod deems it part of the Church, or at any rate has not said that it
is outside the Church. If you can prove the opposite, please give an exact
quotation from the decrees of our Synod.
Now let us turn to the question of the heretic Fr. Gregory Lurye. You have
only very recently joined our Church, Vladyko, and you don’t speak Russian,
so perhaps you don’t understand what is going on here. To put it bluntly: for
at least eighteen months Fr. Gregory Lurye has been preaching a whole series
of heresies *publicly*, from the ambon, in printed books and journals, on the
internet, in many internet forums, etc. His views are,unfortunately, very
well known in Russia far beyond the bounds of our Church. In fact, in some
ways the rank and file of our Church, being composed to a large extent of
provincials and catacombniks who have no access to the internet, is less
informed about his activities than other churches like the MP. His influence
is spreading fast both within and outside our Church. I know of one Russian
Kallinikite priest who thinks like him on name-worshipping. And the
Kallinikites are not the only Greek TOC jurisdiction that has been penetrated
by his corrupting and evil influence. The official web-site of our Church is
*owned* by one of Fr. Gregory’s closest supporters. Two out of the three
priests of our Church in Moscow are close supporters of his, and one of them
publicly endorsed name-worshipping in an interview he gave for “Vertograd”.
And “Vertograd” itself is edited by another of his supporters. So basically
the whole public relations system of our Church is in the hands of the
heretics. That is what has happened in the course of little more than
eighteen months. True, none of our bishops has supported name-worshipping,
thank God. But bishops are not the only people who matter in the Church.
Arius was only a priest…
You think that this is a private matter between Fr. Gregoryand the
metropolitan, and involves nobody else. But the metropolitan involved me by
appointing me to conduct a semi-official dialogue with Fr. Gregory to find
out what his views were. And I think that every conscious Orthodox Christian
in our Church – and outside our Church – should and must be involved in what
is a serious threat to the salvation of every one of us. Publicly expressed
heresies are of public concern and need to be addressed publicly. The genie
is out of the bottle – and it was not I who let it out. I am sounding the
alarm, and will continue to sound it, as loudly and as frequently as
possible.And you very well know that the canons and tradition of the Church
are on my side on this one. Arianism was not a private matter between Arius
and his bishop…
It would at least help, Vladyko, if you would publicly condemn
name-worshipping as it was preached by Fr. Anthony Bulatovich at the
beginning of this century, as a heresy. In this you would not be going beyond
what the Russian Church has proclaimed, for the Russian Church twice – the
second time under Patriarch Tikhon in 1918 – officially condemned both
Bulatovich and his teaching. (The Ecumenical Patriarchate also condemned it
twice.) You have the relevant information because I sent it to you in my
article “The Name of God and the name-worshipping heresy”.
Since you are eager to condemn the uncondemned Matthewitesand ROCE, I think
you will not hesitate to condemn the already-many-times-condemned heretic
Bulatovich and his teaching.
I look forward to your striking a much needed blow against heresy and in
defence of Holy Orthodoxy.
Asking for your holy prayers,
Yours in Christ,
April 11/24. 2002.