Interview with bishop Irinarch of Tula and Bryansk in connection with difficulties of ROAC priests in Bryansk
Question: Are there peculiarities in the attitude of the clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate towards ROAC communities in the region and how bitter a fight is there, in your view with the MP administration such the special features of the attitude of the clergymen of the MP with alternative Orthodox groups?
Bishop Irinarch: In all representatives of Moscow Patriarchate, I assume an identical relation to our communities. It only slightly varies depending on the personality of one bishop or another.
The existing groups of ROAC believers meet with resistance practically everywhere - clergy of the MP with the aid of local power structures strive by any means to suppress ROAC communities, preventing their registration, and also attempting to avert people from them. Our church is most visible, first of all, by the defense of the purity of Orthodoxy, and we are the carriers of the idea of the retaining of the pure Orthodox faith. And how people see this is their matter. We, in turn, we will only attempt to keep the flock in its purity.
To fight for or to seize temples or parishes is not our policy. On the contrary, the motives of the actions of the MP are evident, that in fact they have launched a war against us. In the essence, the Patriarchate is using whatever means possible to preserve its predominating position, and firstly, its influence on the authorities.
Q: Why, as you see it, do believers and priests, for example, in the Bryansk province and other regions, they come to ROAC and leave the ruling and most politically and financially influential church in our country?
B.I: If men from the Moscow patriarchate came to us, this means thattheir eyes were opened. Such believing Orthodox in saw all the sins, the entire rot and entire yeretichnost' of State Orthodoxy with their own eyes. The ROAC realizes also those beginnings, on which the Patriarchate is built, which was created by Stalin, also, on his orders in 1943. Until this moment there was no Moscow Patriarchate whatsoever. Glory to God, people began to understand the nature of that structure, which is considered to be the Russian Orthodox Church.
In the believers' spiritual vision of that fact is increasingly more clear to enter into the MP and follow its leaders ruins their souls.Any believer must leave such a church, being in heresy, since responsibility for the misdeeds of ecumenical contacts, dishonest business, political activity falls upon the entire church.
Many speak of frequently having nowhere to go and nowhere to turn. And It goes without saying, we do not have possibility to spiritually nourish everyone who desires it on Russia. But also in the Soviet times, catacomb communities existed which never entered into MoscowPatriarchate - they for a period of many years prayed and preserved the purity of orthodoxy.
Q: For the majority of the population of Russia, the MP is precisely the symbol of cultural wealth and stability of the religious traditions of the people. Where is the place RPATS in the contemporary spiritual history of the country?
B.I: First of all, we do not consider, that the Moscow Patriarchate is the keeper of the intellectual values of Russian people. From the side of the MP, which does not have canonical succession with the pre-revolutionary Russian Greek-Catholic Orthodox church, statements about their exceptional cultural and spiritual role in the country are simply the usurpation of this position, but by no means deserved.
Besides this, certainly, it is pitiful, that a substantial part of the people superficially relate to the native Orthodox Faith. The majority do not examine that, what and where is the jurisdiction, what priests are serving. Those, who look more deeply see, where is clean, and where is dirty water. The Lord opens to man the way to salvation, to the true Church. Indeed the Church, the body of Christ, can be only one.