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NEW YORK: February 22, 2007
Statement From the Press Office of the Synod of Bishops

A report recently surfaced in the press regarding the US visit of Valentin Rusantsov, the leader of the "Suzdal schism," whose followers are not in communion with canonical Orthodoxy. This report states that during a meeting with clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God was brought to him from the Synod of Bishops. This is not entirely correct.

As is customary in the Russian Church Abroad, the Icon is given to one of the parish rectors of the Diocese of Eastern America and New York with the purpose of visiting elderly and ailing parishioners at their homes and hospitals. One such priest was invited to visit a home-bound parishioner. It turned out that Mr Rusantsov was there at the time, who asked that he be permitted to venerate the Icon. There was, therefore, no special meeting between a group of clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, who ostensibly brought the Kursk-Root Icon to the defrocked Rusantsov, to discuss "current church matters."