Why we did not agree to Met. Agafangel’s proposal to hold the All-Diaspora Council in Odessa
The charge has often been heard that we (the Pre-Conciliar Committee) convened the All-Diaspora Council in defiance of the canons, and after refusing Met. Agafangel’s proposal to hold the All-Diaspora Council under his chairmanship.
In answering this charge it must be noted that the unrest caused in the Church by the canonical violations of Met. Agafangel himself are the primary reasons the All-Diaspora Council was convened. In such circumstances, how could Met. Agafangel chair a Council that was called to review his very own violations? Not only does this not make sense in respect to the canons, but to logic itself! Holding the All-Diaspora Council in Odessa would have become yet another costly spectacle paid for by church funds.
The Status of the ROCA stipulates that a metropolitan is judged by the Council of Bishops. However, as stated in the Resolution of the VI All-Diaspora Council, “The current membership of the Council of Bishops has shown itself incapable of resisting the dictatorship of Met. Agafangel and restoring sobornost (conciliarity) in the Church. The members of the Council of Bishops were willing or passive accomplices in the Metropolitan’s canonical violations and share in the responsibility for them.”
The latest shameful action by the Council of Bishops was that they unanimously signed a resolution that accused Abp. Andronik and Abp. Sophroniy and their clergy of engaging in the heresy of “schismoecumenism.” Accusations of heresy are very serious, as heretics alienate themselves from God and the Church. By accusing their brothers in Christ of heresy without anyreason, only to curry favor with the Metropolitan, the Council of Bishops in Odessa, in our opinion, finally lost all spiritual authority.
It is quite cynical to accuse us of heresy, when Met. Agafangel himself has consistently expressed the same views for which he now calls us heretics for espousing. It is interesting that he himself has been accused of heresy for such views. This was said of him in 2011 in the Newsletter of the Southern Russian Diocese of ROCA(V) (http://soborrussia.ucoz.ru/news/opolozheniirpc_segodnja/2011-03-22-17):
“I feel truly sorry for those who trust him (Met. Agafangel). I also feel truly sorry for those who believe his heretical idea that all the parts of the ROCA that fell away from it are still parts of it, which he is trying to unite under one group. Is this not the ecumenical “branch theory,” simply in another form? Therefore to avoid being tempted by the heretical ideas of Vl. Agafangel, it is necessary again and again to remind those who still have not recognizedhim, beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.” (A speech by Fr. V. Rozhnov.)
Perhaps this is where charging us of “schismoecumenism” arises from?
Thank God all of this is behind us! The All-Diaspora Council has cleared the road for a conciliar, canonical life in the church, free from falsehoods, intrigues and hypocrisy.