JERUSALEM: May 16, 2007
The Situation in the Holy Land (statement by the Abbesses of Ascension and Gethsemane Convents)
During Great Lent, the nuns of both Convents, on the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane, more and more frequently came to hear alarming reports of the impending departure of their spiritual father, Hegumen Andronik, Deputy Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission. We had all hoped that these were no more than rumors. Alas, after Pascha, from the lips of Fr Andronik himself, along with the joyful greeting “Christ is Risen,” we heard “I am leaving. It is decided. I entrust you to the Mother of God!”
How many tears were shed, how the nuns pleaded! Fr Andronik had served his obedience in Jerusalem for over twenty years. He enjoyed universal love and respect. For us this is a harsh blow and a terrible loss. Despite the fact that we in the monasteries had already known of the impending departure of Fr Andronik, the hierarchy, in the persons of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and Archbishop Mark, Overseer of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, was not informed. Only the recent visit by Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart shed light on the matter. Hegumen Andronik, in a conversation with Bishop Agapit, declared that he is not in agreement with the decision of the Synod and the forthcoming signing of the Act of Canonical Communion. On the basis of this declaration, it was decided to relieve Fr Andronik from his duties as Deputy Chief of the REM, while allowing him to continue to conduct divine services until his departure for America after Ascension. The Abbesses and the nuns many times tried to prevent Fr Andronik from making this step, but he remained determined.
We hope and pray that the day comes when Fr Andronik realizes that this is not the right path, but a departure from the Church, and, coming to his senses, will return to his home at the Convent on the Mount of Olives, to the universal joy of all the residents of our Convents.
Mother Moisseia and the sisters.
Mother Elizabeth and the sisters.