Diocesan Conference Held at St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

A Conference of the Diocese of Eastern America and New York was held at St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Lakewood (Howell), NJ, on 21 October, 2005. A moleben "before good works" was performed by Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov. His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus then opened the Conference in the parish hall with a short address, noting that according to the Diocesan By-Laws, general Diocesan Conferences are convened every three years, but the Diocesan Council decided to organize this extraordinary session to elect delegates to represent the Diocese at the IV All-Diaspora Council, and to clarify some questions relating to the latest events in the life of the Russian Church Abroad. His Eminence called for the calm consideration of these matters and expressed the hope that the Lord, heeding the prayers of all the participants of the moleben, would "come and enter unto us," and bless the Conference's work. Protopriest Gregory Naumenko was appointed Vice President of the Conference, and Mitred Protopriest George Larin and Priest Serafim Gan—Secretaries and protocol officers.

The Vice President then presented the Rector of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles, Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff, Secretary of the Commission on talks with the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, who read a detailed report on the progress of the discussions with the Moscow Patriarchate's Commission. The Rector of St John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC, Protopriest Victor Potapov, gave a lecture on the work of the Pre-Council Committee. He gave an overview of the All-Russian Council of 1917-1918 and the three preceding All-Diaspora Councils and laid out the program of the forthcoming Council, approved during a session of the Synod of Bishops in May of this year.

It became clear from the discussions which followed that there are two differing viewpoints in the Diocese on the process of reconciliation with the Moscow Patriarchate, from full endorsement to decisive rejection and condemnation. Some who spoke out in support of the position of the Synod of Bishops see this process as the expression of the will of God for the Russian Church, while others, pointing to the seizure of Church property in Hebron and Jericho in the late 1990's, made arguments over property and the "devouring" of ROCOR, stating that many still have insufficient trust for the Moscow Patriarchate.

After lunch, representatives of the parishes of the Diocese began electing members of the delegation to represent the Diocese of Eastern America and New York; these were Mitred Protopriest John Sorochka, Protopriest Mark Burachek, Priest Victor Boldewskul, Priest Victor Dobrov, A Belyaeff, K DesRosiers, T Kleider and J Qualls. Voting was held in accordance with the procedure approved at the last meeting of the Diocesan Council on September 13 of this year.

In closing the Conference, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus called upon everyone to preserve brotherly love, unity and fervent prayer for the peaceful resolution of all questions at the forthcoming Church Council, for the archpastors and pastors of our Church, stressing that the process of rapprochement with the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate abides in the hands of God.