The head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate (DECR MP), Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), confirmed that “take place” requests for admission to the Moscow Patriarchate of those clergymen of the Alexandrian Patriarchate who do not agree with the recognition of the “Sacred Church of Ukraine” (SCU) by their Patriarch Theodore Khoreftakis. Moreover, Met. Hilarion admitted that “We are not talking about isolated cases, but about mass appeals of clerics from different African countries”…
“We have a sincere desire to provide them with all possible support,” – Vladyka shared the feelings of the DECR staff.
However, should the clergy be guided by feelings, even the highest ones? Or the duties assigned to them by the Church Fathers and Her Founder Himself? Is it not the duty of the clergy to ensure the salvation of human souls who do not want to be left outside the Salvation Ship?
According to the canons, the Alexandrian Patriarchate can no longer be considered a church, for all its bishops are in prayer communion with the traitor to the Church and open heresiarch Khoreftakis. Parish priests understand that their prayer communication with their own ruling bishops draws both themselves and their flock into the funnel of disastrous schism. They are waiting for a lifebuoy, shouting: “Save our souls!” And what do they answer from the captain’s bridge of the ship, decorously sailing by? “We do not want to deepen the divisions that, due to the recognition of Ukrainian schismatics by Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria, already exist among Orthodox Christians in Africa,” – the head of the DECR MP explains the decision to refrain from accepting the faithful into the jurisdiction of the Russian Church. If it’s simpler, “We still do not lose hope that Patriarch Theodore will abandon his decision”… And, continuing the thought of the Metropolitan, while we indulge ourselves with hopes of enlightening this Theodore, thousands of souls will be deprived of the saving mysteries: to enter life unbaptized, to leave unconfessed and unrepentant.
However, how justified are such hopes?
The entire chronicle of the fall of the Alexandrian Patriarchate indicates not only the thoughtfulness of the actions of its leadership, but also that the DECR MP had more than enough opportunities to make sure that the fear, so to speak, “Deepen the divisions that already exist”, to put it mildly, is unfounded.
In August 2019, the Metropolitan of the Patriarchate of Alexandria prayed with the Ukrainian Epiphanes at the service ruled by Bartholomew of Istanbul. There was no reaction from the DECR MP to the flagrant violation of the canons. Is this not what gave confidence to the supporters of the recognition of the CCU in the episcopate of the African Church? The very next month, at the service with the participation of Bishop Chrysostomos of Mozambique, the “Bishop of the NCC” was praying.
And then the DECR MP finally woke up. Met. Hilarion sent a message to the Mozambican expressing deep concern. The concern was most likely righteous, but did the “head of the church Foreign Ministry” have the right to address the African bishop directly through the head of the Alexandrian DECR? The very fact of such a message worked as an incitement. And was it not thanks to this that Horeftakis untied his hands, recognizing the SCU?
At the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church that was closest after the Alexandria betrayal, it was decided to break off Eucharistic communion with Khoreftakis and to re-subordinate Russian Orthodox parishes in Africa to the Moscow Patriarchate. However, at the same time, church communication with those bishops of the Alexandrian Church who did not support the “legalization of the Ukrainian schism” was preserved.
We already warned about the danger of such a compromise: “Yes, the bishops of the Alexandrian Patriarchate did not vote for Theodore’s decision. But it is unlikely that any of the African bishops (as a rule, ethnic Greeks) – even those protesting in their hearts against the recognition of the SCU – will sacrifice Greek solidarity for the sake of Christ and break the Eucharistic communion with their own patriarch. This did not happen in the Church of Greece, where the opposition of a dozen bishops and two hundred ordinary priests to Archbishop Jerome of Athens was generally open. This means that sooner or later their joint prayer with those in prayer communion with the Ukrainian Epiphanes is inevitable. And then they themselves lose their canonicity. In its turn, if the ROC does not break off Eucharistic communion with them, it means that it also endangers itself with the loss of canonicity… That is why the decisions of the ROC Synod on the Hellas and Alexandria Churches (to remain in communion with a part of their episcopate) are not just half-hearted, but extremely fraught … Compromises are impossible here. Only anathema to Bartholomew, Jerome and Theodore with their like-minded people is able to raise the issue point-blank for those in Turkey, Greece and Africa who wish to make the final choice between Christ and Beliar… So “the ball remains in the half” of the ROC. The decisions of the Synod for the Greek Churches are just a way out of their own penalty area. Do not lose at least this pace. “
And this pace, even before the joint meeting of the ROC Synod and the Supreme Church Council of the ROC on December 25, 2019, was set by a letter from 27 priests from Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda in support of the position of the Russian Church. A year later, hundreds of priests of the Alexandrian Church turned to the Moscow Patriarchate with petitions for transfer. But … As explained in November 2020, the deputy chairman of the DECR Archbishop. Vladikavkaz Leonid, “We are a decent church that adheres to the canons … we have in our genes help for our neighbor.” Therefore, “we, as we can, restrain these clerics, because even in a situation where we were betrayed, we still adhere to the “rules of the game” (bold by us. – D.S.)that were established between the churches; we do not break this word “…
In a situation where we have been betrayed, we adhere to the rules of the game … Imagine: after Hitler’s attack, Stalin decides to “stick to the word” given in the Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and the USSR … Someone will say: how can you compare! From what! The treachery of Bartholomew and Theodorov is not just a “violation of the rules of the game” (the holy canons, in general). This is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, Who led the authors of the canons.
“Well, then what will happen – confusion and vacillation? – continues the deputy head of the DECR (MP) to explain why the Moscow Patriarchate refuses African priests. – And then how will you put this genie in the bottle? How shoud I understand this? What is happening now in the Alexandrian and Ecumenical Patriarchates, which, according to the definition of the ROC Synod, “Are outside the canonical field”, – is it “peace and grace”? And the return of the faithful to the canonical field is confusion and vacillation! Interesting understanding “Helping one’s neighbor” “is in the genes” DECR staff! The neighbor is, obviously, the same genie who for some reason needs to be driven into the bosom of the Church. Moreover, according to Archbishop Leonid, the “genie” sim is controlled by the Greek Foreign Ministry, from where “the legs of the US State Department” stick out.
The functions of the DECR MP include maintaining relations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. However, it seems that the facts about the “legs of the State Department”, which stick out from everywhere, do not always reach colleagues from the Foreign Ministry. The FGC has already written that the Greek Foreign Ministry forced the Alexandrian patriarch to recognize the SCU. Meanwhile, during the recent congratulations on the 200th anniversary of the Greek uprising from the lips of the Russian official congratulators, we did not hear a hint of the latest betrayal on the part of the “Balkan brothers of the same faith.” But the Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis, receiving colleaguesMishustin did not fail to say something about the problem with “human rights” in Russia …
Will the Russian Church itself remain a Church with such expectations for the “enlightenment” of heresiarchs? How many years is OECR “Will not lose hope” and “Do not aggravate divisions”watching the souls of hundreds of thousands of fellow believers perish outside the saving ordinances? Who is more important to our church diplomats – traitors or faithful?
If you notice an error in the text, select it and press Ctrl + Enter to send the information to the editor.