Great Lenten Pastoral Conference and Retreat of the Eastern Canadian Diocese

On March 30-31, the annual Pastoral Conference and Retreat of the Eastern Canadian Diocese was held in Montreal , as well as a meeting of the Diocesan Council. Divine services were led by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus of Eastern America and New York , First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, along with His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan , Administrator of the Eastern Canadian Diocese. On Friday, March 31, after the meeting of the Eastern Canadian Diocese, Metropolitan Laurus and Bishop Gabriel, along with the Senior Priest of St Nicholas Cathedral, Protopriest George Lagodich, visited Archimandrite Sergei (Kindjakov) in Royal Victoria Hospital . Fr Sergei has been unconscious since suffering an apoplectic seizure on Saturday, March 25. He was with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia for many years, where he received the grace of priesthood and monasticism, but in recent years departed for the so-called "Mansonville schism" (Church in Exile), was suspended from serving, but was never defrocked, as has been reported. His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus gave his blessing to serve a moleben at St Nicholas Cathedral on Sunday for the health of the gravely ill Fr Sergei, which was performed. The participants of the Pastoral conference adopted the following document:

Resolution of the Pastoral Conference of the Eastern Canadian Diocese

We, the clergymen of the Eastern Canadian Diocese, gathered at St Nicholas Cathedral in the God-preserved city of Montreal for our annual Great Lenten Pastoral Retreat and Conference, and to participate in the meeting of the Diocesan Council. This joyous fraternal meeting, headed by our dear First Hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, and the Administrator of the Eastern Canadian Diocese, His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan, was held in a spirit of love, and helped all the participants strengthen their hearts in hopes of greeting the greatest and most mysterious Celebration of Celebrations—the Holy Resurrection of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Of greatest importance for us was confession and communion, prayer and Divine services. The prayerful mood enabled the calm and meek discussion of all matters connected with the daily life of our much-suffering diocese, once one of the wealthiest and healthiest in our Russian Church Abroad, but now suffering many difficulties. Yet our merciful Lord has not abandoned us. Diocesan matters are gradually improving, the number of our parishioners is constantly growing, those who at one time could not bear the troubles and had unwittingly left the bounds of the Church in recent years are returning almost on a daily basis. The Lord punishes man, and yet the Lord mercifully restores and returns a hundredfold, which we see happening before our eyes today. During our meetings we tried to exhaustively examine one of the key events in the history of our Church—the forthcoming All-Diaspora Council, at which the main question will be the relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church in the Fatherland. Upon the conclusion of this discussion, we have grounds to state: there is not and cannot be among our Diocese's clergymen anyone who would resist Church unity. All disagreements in this regard, when they arise, are connected with searching for the right path to such unity, the means of attaining it in the Spirit and Truth of Christ. Only in this is there a "sign which shall be spoken against" (Luke 2:34). Such "speaking against," we hope, will lead not to division, but to the opposite—to conciliar wisdom, which is granted by the Lord in response to the persistent prayerful appeal of a heart seeking the Truth. We believe that the Spirit of sobornost' [conciliarity, catholicity], that is, true wisdom, through our common earnest prayers will be sent down into the hearts of our good archpastors, so that any decision connected with the desired unity of the Russian Church would be adopted in Christ's Truth, without which true Church unity cannot exist.