Resolution of the Syracuse and St. Nicholas, Ottawa and Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Diocese

Resolution of the Diocesan Conference of the Syracuse and St. Nicholas, Ottawa and Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Dioceses

  We can no longer reconcile ourselves with the situation that has developed in our Church. Owing to his selection of certain people, Metropolitan Agafangel is now in the position that any of his decisions are approved unopposed by a majority of bishops obedient to him. The Synod serves only to approve the Metropolitan’s decisions. Such a situation, though seemingly lawful, is in essence anti-canonical. Metropolitan Agafangel is violating the sobornost of the Church, placing it under his personal control. The Metropolitan is not the Pope of Rome; the Metropolitan is the first among equal bishops. He does not have the right to be in command of the dioceses of other bishops.

The Church is not ruled by the bishops, but by the Holy Spirit. The Church does not live by the will of the Metropolitan, but by the will of God, to which the members of the Church freely submit. No one can impose his will on the Church, regardless of his rank. The situation where a group of bishops, who happen to be in the majority, impose their will on other bishops and the entire Church is unacceptable. This is not compatible with the spirit of freedom and love, by which the Church lives.

It is appropriate here to cite a quote from the “Epistle of the Temporary Higher Church Administration of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad to its Faithful Members” signed by the Metropolitan himself on September 4, 2008; “We consider the main goal to be the need to establish a solid conciliar structure, so that the Church is led and administered not by a small group of people, but by the entirety of the Church, including clergy and laypeople, that will take the most active role in resolving the primary matters of the whole Church in the spirit of the edict of the Local Council of the Russian Church in 1918. Only by such a conciliar arrangement of our internal life, can we resist all the temptations and seductions that seek to overpower us.”

Apostle Paul states that religious authority is given for the building up of the Church, not for tearing it down (2 Corinthians 13:10). While for Metropolitan Agafangel and his Synod, it has become commonplace to dispose of undesirable clergy and laypeople without a trial. We hear all the time that the Synod has censured someone or threatens someone with censure. We exist in a state of terror. Nothing like this existed in the ROCA of old; bishops were loved and respected, but not feared. The bishops of the Odessa Synod have adopted the dictatorial traits of the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchia, while forgetting that which is said in the Gospel, “may the first among you be the servant of all.” The good shepherd, according to the Gospel, leaves the 99 sheep and goes in search of the one that is lost, while our “shepherds” without hesitating, cut off hundreds of rational sheep from the Church.

In accordance with the Statute of the ROCA, a metropolitan is tried by the Council of Bishops of the ROCA. However, in our situation when a majority of the bishops are obedient minions of the Metropolitan, such a trial can become just another farce. The way out of this crisis can only be the convening of an All-Diaspora Council with the participation of the clergy and laypeople. To that end, we announce the need to create a pre-council committee made up of clergy and laypeople. Moreover, since the Council will be convened to try the Metropolitan and his Synod, they may not take part in the preparations for the All-Diaspora Council.

Until the All-Diaspora Council, we are switching over to temporary self-rule under the charge of the bishops of our Church. We are not breaking with the bishops, clergy and laypeople that are under the authority of Metropolitan Agafangel.

The diocesan conference has approved the rescinding of Abp. Andronik’s signature from his statement of August 3\16, 2016. The diocesan conference has decided to create a pre-council committee made up of members of the Syracuse and St. Nicholas, Ottawa and Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Dioceses.

The decision was approved to conduct a meeting on September 7, 2016, at which the committee must present proposed issues for discussion before the convening of the Council, in preparation for the All-Diaspora Council.

Archbishop Andronik Chairman

Fr. Dmitriy Amelchenko Secretary

August 13\26, 2016 Apodosis of the Transfiguration