from the Pastoral Retreat and Conference of the Eastern Canadian
A Pastoral Retreat and Conference was held at St. Nicholas Cathedral
in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) from 1/19 until 6/20 March for the
clergy of the Eastern Canadian Diocese, headed by His Eminence Metropolitan
Laurus of Eastern America and New York, the First Hierarch of the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and His Grace Bishop
Gabriel of Manhattan, the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops. Working
sessions of the Diocesan Council of the Canadian Diocese and the
Directors of the Brotherhood of St. Job of Pochaev, under the same
leadership, were also held at St. Nicholas Cathedral.
In his opening address, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus reminded
everyone that such pastoral and fraternal meetings during Great
Lent, now an annual occurrence in the Canadian Diocese, have as
their main goal the purification of souls, so that the Lord grants
us to greet blamelessly the Bright Holy Days of the Resurrection
His Grace Bishop Gabriel, addressing the Conferees, spoke of the
heartening pacification and organization of church life in all the
parishes of our Diocese.
The meetings included detailed discussions of parish and diocesan
matters. In part, the selfless labors of St. Nicholas Cathedral
Parish were noted with joy, where reconstruction of the church building
continues under very difficult circumstances, with the number of
parishioners growing. With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan
Laurus, the rectors of the parishes of the Eastern Canadian and
Eastern American Dioceses will discuss with their parish councils
means of providing financial aid to St. Nicholas Cathedral in Montreal.
The Parish Council of St. Nicholas Cathedral is mailing appeals
which will provide details on the present reconstruction of St.
The situation concerning Holy Protection Memorial Church in Ottawa
(Ontario, Canada) was also discussed, where individuals are relentlessly
pursuing litigation in an attempt to seize Memorial Church and St.
Vladimirís Home for Seniors. Still, the appointment of a new rector
is helping Protection Parish gradually gather strength.
During the meetings, questions were posed to His Eminence Metropolitan
Laurus on his forthcoming trip to Moscow and other cities of the
Fatherland. His Eminence once again stated that our Church Abroad
is not intending to “unify” or “reunify” with the Moscow Patriarchate,
as is sometimes reported in the antagonistic or misinformed media.
The canonical and administrative status of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside of Russia remains unchanged. We are only making an
effort to iron out good relations with the Church in the Fatherland,
which, we hope, will be helped by the forthcoming trip to Russia.
The complicated legal correspondence with the Bureau of Corporations
in Quebec, lasting for over six months thus far, was reported at
the meeting of the Board of Directors of the Brotherhood of St.
Job of Pochaev, presided over by its administrator, His Grace Bishop
Gabriel, along with the participation of the spiritual leader of
the Brotherhood, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus. Persons who have
left our Church, establishing a new religious corporation calling
itself the “Church in Exile,” are pestering the Quebec government
was unfounded complaints, demanding that our Brotherhood, since
its foundation an inseparable part of the Russian Orthodox Church
Outside of Russia (as stated in the By-Laws of the Brotherhood),
be re-registered to their benefit. The baseless nature of these
demands is heightened by the fact that the named individuals were
removed from the Board of Directors of the Brotherhood in 2001 by
decree of the retired Metropolitan Vitaly. The complaint filed by
the “Church in Exile” drains the already-sparse funds of the Canadian
diocese and the Brotherhood.
The participants of the Great Lenten Conference at St. Nicholas
Cathedral in Montreal humbly appeal to all the clergymen and laypersons
of our Church, who, influenced by the troubles and confusion, left
the boundaries of the Church and joined the so-called “Church in
Exile” and other such temporal organizations. We implore upon all,
in these last days of Great Lent and Passion Week, to carefully
and soberly ponder the situation and accept the legacy of our Holy
and God-bearing fathers. We pray the Lord to help our dear and beloved
brothers and sisters, whom we do not forget for an instant, to come
to their senses and recognize the situation in which they now find
themselves. We continue to hope that they will all return home,
for then all divisions and insults will be forgotten, all suspensions
and accusations, and no one will any longer remember the past. We
pray to the Lord to grant that we greet the coming Pascha of the
Lord together at one table.