APPEAL of the Diocesan Conference of Canada
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord!
We, the clergy of the Canadian Diocese, gathering on the days
of the Holy Elders of Optina, 10/23 October, at the Church
of the Holy Trinity in the God-preserved city of Toronto,
for our Diocesan Conference under the presidency of His Eminence
Metropolitan Laurus, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside of Russia, appeal to the flock entrusted to
us by the Lord with words of lvoe and consolation.
Through our sinfulness, this past year has truly been difficult
for all of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
We must say, also, that these difficulties have taken an especially
heavy toll on the Canadian Diocese. Under the presidency of
the First Hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, with
His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan, the President of the
Diocesan Council of Canada, we, to the best of our abilities,
have tried not to succumb to fruitless arguments and complaints.
Times of trouble often serve more beneficial for the work
of the Church, and so we tried to invoke God's help, tried
to find the paths of the speediest resolution of our problems.
A half a year has elapsed since our last Diocesan Conference,
held in Kanata (Ontario), at St. Xenia of St. Petersburg Church.
We deign to say with joy that many of the troubles of the
Diocese have been alleviated. This is first of all seen in
the noticeable calming of church life, as well as in the administrative
organization of the diocese.
Still, we are far from saying that the Diocese's problems
have all been resolved. Divisions have not yet been eliminated,
and our financial situation is particularly difficult. The
rebuilding of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Montreal, damaged
by fire, upon which enormous sums have been spent, is not
yet finished. The parish and diocesan treasuries are practically
empty. We are also alarmed by the fate of the Millennial Memorial
Protection Church in Ottawa; a great debt has been laid upon
it, in connection with an extended legal battle with those
who, in their blindness, attempted to tear the church away
from those who built it, from the Russian Orthodox Church
Outside of Russia.
Raising fervent prayers to the Most-Holy Mother of God and
the Ever-Virgin Mary, the participants of the Diocesan Conference
discussed the means at our Church's disposal which could help
these two especially-suffering parishes. The urgent needs
of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Montreal were examined. Its parish
is selflessly seeking a way out of the situation and is trying
to find funding for the resumption of the project. But they
cannot do so without the help of their brethren in other dioceses,
and from the Synod of Bishops.
The Cathedral city of the Diocese, its spiritual capital,
cannot be abandoned in its time of need. The participants
of the Diocesan Conference made the decision to support St.
Nicholas Cathedral in every way possible. Some parishes of
the Diocese, on the initiative of their rectors, are conducting
special collections for Montreal. The problems of St. Nicholas
Cathedral were discussed at the session of the Synod of Bishops
in San Fransisco. The decision was made to assist the Cathedral
from Synodal funds. The Conference in Toronto adopted the
decision to take all necessary steps to reestablish parish
life in Protection Church in Ottawa, the flock of which is
in need of pastoral guidance. An appeal for support for the
Ottawa Church is being sent to our kind brethren, whose selfless
support has more than once aided a storm-tossed ship. The
participants of the Diocesan Conference know and believe that
now our appeal will be heard.
To our sorrow, divisions have not all been overcome. Those
who have departed from us, unfortunately, stubbornly continue
in their errant ways. We do not condemn them, but suffer over
them and call them to come to their senses and return to the
bosom of the Church, where they will be met with brotherly
The participants of the Diocesan Conference pray over the
health and salvation of Metropolitan Vitaly, who led our Diocese
for many years, and we grieve over the sufferings he has been
forced to endure. The Conferees express the desire that as
soon as conditions permit, the possibility will present itself
to calmly and in good faith to discuss various plans to resolve
the trying and spiritually-harmful disagreements over property.
The Conference once again touched upon the question of our
relationship with the Moscow Patriarchate and church life
in the Homeland. In response to these questions, His Eminence
Metropolitan Laurus and His Grace Bishop Gabriel cleary reiterated
that the course of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
Russia remains unchanged, as it had been determined by our
First Hierarchs of blessed memory: Metropolitans Anthony,
Anastassy and Philaret. This means that the more difficult
ecclesiastical questions are left to final resolution by a
future All-Russian Church Council. But it follows also to
attentively, soberly, and more than anything, with love, to
observe church life in our Fatherland, in which one cannot
but see good changes--but also to do everything necessary
for our voice to be heard by all of Orthodox Russia.
The Conference meetings coincided with the day of the election
of our First Hierarch. On this occasion, the Conferees expressed
their wishes for his good health and strength from the Lord
to continue to steer our Church ship in the direction prepared
for her by his predecessors, in the spirit of peace and Divine
Let us remember also, dear brothers and sisters, the words
of the Apostle: "I...beseech you that ye walk worthy
of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness
and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another
in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the
bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as
ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith,
one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all,
and through all, and in you all." (Eph. IV:6).