A RESPONSE TO THE VERTOGRAD ORTHODOX JOURNAL NEWSLETTER POSTING
In response to the March 5th, 2007 posting by the VERTOGRAD Orthodox Journal Newsletter, we take this opportunity to correct the claims that their newsletter is trying to purport.
First, one must understand that VERTOGRAD is a publication owned, operated, and controlled by the few followers of Gregory Lourie. This explains its obvious slant and perspective. Our Synod not only defrocked Gregory Lourie, but even worse, excommunicated him and those who pray with him. Today, there are only a handful of people in St. Petersburg who follow and support him.
Second, Metropolitan Valentine has been (and continues to be) unequivocally endorsed by the other Bishops of the ROAC Synod. On numerous occasions, our bishops have not only reaffirmed their vote of confidence in his wisdom, but have unanimously insisted that he continue as President of the Synod of Bishops in spite of his ill health.
Third, one must remember that in Russia, it is nearly impossible for all the bishops of ROAC to meet at one time. Often, Metropolitan Valentine has only those hierarchs available who are nearby or those bishops who are able to travel with short notice. Consequently, it is not unusual for Metropolitan Valentine to meet with a different set of bishops when making Synodal decisions.
Additionally, the word in English “synod” can sometimes be confusing in its use. Often, it denotes an entire group. For example: “one belongs to our Synod”, meaning ROAC in general. In other instances, it can represent more specifically those particular bishops who have been chosen to belong to the Ruling Synod of a group for the exclusive purpose of handling the affairs of the entire Church. At this time within ROAC, we have not determined which particular bishops comprise the Ruling Synod and thus any combination (or all of our bishops) can serve on the Ruling Synod for the purpose of doing the Church’s business.
Fourth, it is true that Bishop Sebastian of Chelyabinsk did celebrate with Gregory Lourie who has been previously defrocked and expelled from our Church. Bishop Sebastian’s action was not only provocative, but mutinous and was dealt with accordingly by our Synod. Whether or not Gregory Lourie and his few delusional followers have plans to leave ROAC is a moot point. The fact remains that Gregory Lourie has been excommunicated from the Church.
Finally, remembering that the Church is instituted by God and is a tree which is rooted in the Heavens, it does not operate as a democracy. Hence, its authority flows from the top down (and not from the reverse direction) as the unity of the Orthodox Church is always expressed by the harmony of Her bishops, by Her common Faith, common Law, and common Spiritual life.