Epistle of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church
To the God-loving Flock in Christ
Dearly beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord!
The entire Orthodox world can now bear witness to the fact that the prophetic words of the holy Apostle and Evangelist St. John the Theologian as recorded in the Book of Revelation: “And it was given unto the dragon to make war with the saints, and to overcome them” have come to pass.
The study of the Orthodox Faith lies at the foundation of the spiritual life of each man. However, the signing of the Act of Canonical Union between the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and the representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate (MP), who are stained with a multitude of sins from the period of the atheistic madness in Russia, is a huge blow against the Orthodox Faith.
The path leading to perdition upon which the leading bishops of the ROCOR have now embarked, led by Archbishop Mark of Berlin, was supported by the present Metropolitan Laurus in America, who recently stated in an interview that his decision to unite with the MP was made as long ago as 1980. Therefore, the path leading up to the official signing of the “Act” has been nothing other than one of lies, intrigues, hatred, and spiritual murder towards those who bore the ideals of True Orthodoxy and of Holy Russia.
In Russia, it is constantly being said that there is separation of church and state. However, when the leaders of the MP and of the ROCOR make known to the whole world, as they did at the time of the signing of this wretched “Act,” the tremendous contribution that the union of these two churches will mean for the politics of the government of the country, it casts doubt that such separation indeed exists.
The wounds are still bleeding, that were inflicted by the MP upon the ROCOR, which, as they proclaimed, is the bastion of political operatives working for the USA, where right-wing clergy, “un-neutralized” White Guardists, reactionary Cossacks, and the Russian traitors of Vlassov’s Army found safe haven. Now, however, the leader of the MP asserts the opposite: it now seems that during his childhood, he met with representatives of the Church Abroad, and can attest to their devoted service to Russia and to the Church.
There are still some people alive who can witness how, after World War II, some bishops of the MP, offering the “hand of friendship” to the bishops, priests, and faithful abroad, fooled some into returning to the motherland. Together with the atheistic governmental authorities, they offered them forgiveness and a carefree life. But after they arrived in the USSR, what they found waiting for them was article 58 of the criminal code and decades long prison sentences.
We remember and hold in high regard the First Hierarch of the ROCOR Metropolitan Vitaly, whom, in order to reach the goal of union with the MP, they needed to depose using deceptive means, and then proceeded to demand that he be subjected to a psychiatric evaluation in order to establish his presence of mind.
They treated Metropolitan Vitaly, who was opposed to union with the MP, the same way that the leadership of the MP once treated Archbishop Germogen, who worked against the closure of churches in his diocese and the dissemination of fanatical antireligious propaganda during the thaw of Khrushchev’s time; using deception, they removed him from his duties as a ruling bishop, and sent him to a monastery to “retire” under strict observation. Perhaps the presently flourishing clergy of the ROCOR could expect the same fate?
As the MP bishop Diomid bears witness, his church organization has sullied itself by apostasy, heresy and betrayal. It is worth noting that this is not the testimony of some “schismatic tainted by pridefulness and rising up against the leadership of Mother Church,” but of one of the members of its own leadership.
Now the fall if the ROCOR is finally complete, brought about by the betrayal of Her ideals by those who were sworn to uphold them and to preserve that grace-filled fire that had been ignited by Her founders and those who strove to keep the traditions of Holy Russia—Metropolitans Anthony, Anastasy, and St. Philaret.
Dearly beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord!
Let us not become despondent by what we have seen take place, but let us rather place our hopes in the mercy of God. Let us find consolation for ourselves in the prophecies of the holy elders of Optina, who said that the ship of the Church has broken up, but salvation can still be found on the pieces that have survived.
As the time for new tests of our faith and loyalty to holy Orthodoxy approaches, let us hold our tongues back from pronouncing judgment upon those who have been seduced by the false union and fallen to it. Let us rather set our attention upon our own hearts and souls, for salvation depends not on the quantity of our words, and in arguments there can be no condemnation of others when a man, in humility, patience and meekness for the sake of Christ seeks to save not the Church, as Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) thought he was doing when he founded the MP, but his own soul.
There were many in the ROCOR who stood up for what is right, and many who tried to expose the evil that was taking place, but unfortunately, there were also many who were swayed by outward appearances and superficial beauty, and because of which they failed to see and could not differentiate between right from wrong.
Let us redouble our prayers, let us prepare our hearts and souls for the coming trials. Hoping in the mercy of God, and in the prayers of the holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, let us work out our salvation in all piety and purity.
May 24, 2007