Expect Mutual Recognition of Each Other as Parts of One Russian
an interview with Archbishop Mark
Patriarch Alexy II, in his Epistle to the Council of Bishops of
the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, speaks of the Òneed
to restore unity.Ó At the same time, in the Epistle of the Council
to the Flock, it says that the agenda included the Òmatter not of
the confluence or unification of the Churches, but of the establishment
of normal ecclesiastical relations between two parts of the once-united
Russian Church.Ó It would seem that the aims of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside of Russia do not coincide with the aims of the Moscow
Patriarchate. What can be expected then from dialog between the
Russian Orthodox Church of the MP and the Church Abroad?
must expect the mutual recognition of each other as parts of one
Russian Church. Only when we achieve that can we move to the painstaking
work of creating unity both in prayerful/eucharistic life and in
the organization of the administrative structure of our Churches.
We are speaking of the recognition of autonomy of the Church Abroad
which exists in fact, on the basis of canonical norms of the Russian
opinion, what should the scenario of rapprochement be?
It must be
constructed on a strictly conciliar basis. These questions must
be resolved by church councils of the Russian Orthodox Church of
the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
of Russia. Concrete proposals made at these councils must be developed
by special committees formed by both sides. I would not guess as
to the proposals made by these committees, but I would advise everyone
to preserve their creative freedom until these committees begin
questions are expected to be resolved during the visit to Russia
of Metropolitan Laurus?
visit of Metropolitan Laurus to Russia must serve as an official
beginning of the pre-conciliar process.
of your interviews, you said that the Russian government requires
the transfer of property of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
of Russia to the ownership of the Russian Federation. Was this in
fact discussed during the discussions with the Russian Orthodox
Church of the Moscow Patriarchate? How do you see the resolution
of the property question?
discussions with the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate
in November of last year, the property matter was not raised. In
my view, the church property of the Church Abroad, wherever it may
be, must remain the property of the diocese, as is required by canon
of any unity with the Moscow Patriarchate is impossible without
the problem of clergymen in Russia of the Russian Orthodox Church
Outside of Russia, who in the opinion of the Russian Orthodox Church
of the Moscow Patriarchate were ordained uncanonically. Is there
a chance that Moscow will reconsider this position?
I feel that
in this area, one must act pragmatically. We cannot allow ourselves
to continue criticize each other. Otherwise the status of clergymen
of the Moscow Patriarchate in the West can be raised. How is their
status different from that of clergymen of the Church Abroad in
criticism leveled by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
against the Moscow Patriarchate is the cooperation with the godless
state. How do you view the Russian government today?
I do not live in Russia, and, unfortunately, do not travel there
often, it is difficult for me to judge the new Russian government.
But, looking from the outside, it seems that it is sufficiently
neutral towards the Church.
Church accept financial and political support from the present government?
Can today’s Russian government regulate church-state relations or
cooperate in the improvement of inter-ecclesiastical relations?
In my opinion,
the Russian government is indebted to the Church. It robbed the
Church over the course of decades and now is obligated to support
the Church and cooperate in her rebirth and free development. As
far as inter-ecclesiastical relations are concerned, the state can
only encourage and cooperate in the resolution of difficult problems.
you view the present canonical status of the Moscow Patriarchate?
For even in 1990, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
deemed it impossible to recognize the appointment of Patriarch Alexy
II as the expression of the conciliar will of the Russian Church.
people have made their choice. They recognized the present Russian
Orthodox Church in Russia and her hierarchy. We must accept this,
despite possible objections by some members of the Church Abroad.
In the beginning of the 1990’s, we could not accept the processes
occurring in Russia as they are accepted today. Life in Russia followed
a different path that the ÎmigrÎs imagined.
accept the repentance of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II, and do
you consider the matter of mutual repentance of the Churches resolved?
repented on a personal level, and we accept it as his personal podvig.
Still, it seems to us that the repentance of the Russian Church
must be on a church-wide basis, that it must be affirmed by a conciliar
document. We speak of this not only to satisfy some personal feelings
and resentments, but solely in order that negative manifestations
do not occur in thefuture.