Pastoral Conference, Day Two, and the Feast Day of the Protectress
Day Two of the All-Diaspora Pastoral Conference of the Russian
Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was on Tuesday, 9 December.
After divine liturgy at Protection Church, lectures, a round-table
and discussions were held at the church hall.
It is worth noting the organizational aspect of the Conference.
Each lecturer is limited to 35 minutes. The time allotted
to round-table participants is 8 minutes. After lectures and
round-tables, each participant of the Conference is given
the chance to express his opinion and ask questions at one
of three microphones in the hall. Opinions and questions are
limited to three minutes. Specific questions can be asked
of one of the presenting clergymen at the round-tables.
Day Two of the Conference opened with a speech by Protopriest
Nikolai Artemoff (Germany) on the topic "Sergianism and
the Russian Orthodox Church in Accordance with Ukase No. 362."
Fr. Nikolai devoted his lecture to the notion that our rejection
of "Sergianism" must be accompanied by condescension
and be more understandable to the faithful in Russia. It is
necessary to take into account the differences that have developed
in the perception of some of the basic points in order to
facilitate the correction of our contradictions. A series
of the more venerable clergymen of the Russian Church Abroad
shared their memories of the difficult conditions they lived
through in the Soviet Union in the years of World War II.
Noted were the previous Epistles of the Council of Bishops
of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on "Sergianism,"
on the need for clear decisions on this matter, and also the
question of the illegitimacy of the suspensions issued by
Metropolitan Sergius upon those who disagreed with his positions.
George Mitrofanov and Michaeol Protopopov.
on "The Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)
During the Soviet Era" hosted presentations by four priests.
Priest Andre Papkov (Eastern American Diocese) spoke on the
inhumane conditions of the militantly atheist state. Protopriest
Michael Protopopov (Australian Diocese) confirmed this, and
also reminded the participants of the Conference of the Parable
of the Wayward Son. Protopriest John Shaw (Chicago Diocese)
shared his opinion on the manifestation of "Sergianism"
outside of Russia, when many are in disagreement with certain
church events and manifestions of parish life, yet remain
silent. Protopriest George Mitrofanov (St. Petersburg, ROC-MP),
touched upon the question of the succession of ecclesiastical
authority in Russia after St. Patriarch Tikhon. He spoke of
three currents among the opponents of Met. Sergius. In conclusion,
Fr. George said that the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)
now admits the validity of the church path of the Russian
Orthodox Church Abroad and the Catacomb Church (in the persons
of the hierarchs who did not accept the path of Metropolitan
Sergius: Metropolitans Agafangel, Kyrill and others), and
the best proof of this is the fact that the opponents of Metropolitan
Sergius' path were glorified in Russia and are now set as
examples for the faithful. The glorification of these saints
in 2000 was a turning point in the ecclesiology of the Church
in Russia, although even now there are persons who resist
this internally. Over the course of the discusseions, the
following topics were touched upon: the "rehabilitation"
of the New Martyrs, the attitude of the Church in Russia to
the White Movement, the Russian Liberation Army and the Russian
Corps, and also the trip of the delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate
to to ecumenical prayers in Assisi.
After lunch, Protopriest Peter Perekrestov (Western American
Diocese) expounded on the views of St. John of Shanghai and
San Francisco the Miracle-worker on the Russian Church in
the 20th century. Three fundamental positions which weave
throughout the thoughts of St. John on the Church in general,
and the Russian Church in particular are:
- the Church is universal and one of her
main goals is the dissemination of the faith in Christ among
those who do not yet know the Truth,
- the gates of hell will not prevail over
the Church, despite all the heresies, schisms, despite the
unworthiness and apostasy of many even highly-placed servants
of the Church, and
- the council of wicked possessed Russia,
but through repentance and renewal, she would rise again.
greeting of the First Hierarch.
arrived at the Cathedral of the Sign at the Synod in New York
for all-night vigil for the feast day of the Kursk-Root Icon
of the Mother of God. The Metropolitan was greeted by 140
priests. Vigil was served by Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov.
During the polyeleos, the First Hierarch Metropolitan Laurus
emerged from the altar, along with a host of archpastors and
priests. The magnification was sung to the Mother of God and
St. Seraphim of Sarov. An icon was painted especially for
this holiday: the Healing of Prokhor (later St. Seraphim)
before the Kursk-Root Icon. Vladyka Laurus gave a sermon before
the veneration of the icons on the holiday and called upon
the worshipers to strengthen their prayers.
Protodeacon Eugene Burbelo
December, Metropolitan Laurus officiated at divine liturgy
along with Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, Archbishop
Hilarion of Sydney and Australia/New Zealand, Bishops Kyrill
of San Franciso and Western America, Ambroise of Geneva and
Western Europe, Evtikhii of Ishim and Siberia, Alexander of
Buenos Aires and South America, Agapit of Stuttgart and Peter
of Cleveland. Synodal administrator Fr. Andrei Sommer was
awarded the rank of protopriest during the minor entrance,
and Synodal priest Fr. Serafim Gan was given the gold pectoral
cross. Some 200 clergymen partook of the Holy Gifts. The worshipers
at the Synodal Cathedral this day noted the great spiritual
elevation during the services.
After a service of supplication to the Mother of God and St.
Seraphim, a festive luncheon was held at a hall near the Synod.
During the trapeza, Metropolitan Laurus welcomed everyone
and recalled the words of St. Seraphim: "Save yourselves,
and thousands around you will be saved."
Seraphim, pray to God for us!
the Conference continues in Nyack. It is presumed that the
plenary session at the end of the day will begin the drafting
of a resolution.
This review is not an official report of the Synod of
Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia,
but only a brief personal account of one of the participants
of the Conference, and so does not pretend to be a complete
description of the Conference.