Bishop Stefan, our diocesan bishop, recently wrote a statement regarding the union of the Synod in Resistance (SiR) with the Genuine Orthodox Church (GOC). Here is the text of his statement:
STATEMENT CONCERNING THE UNION OF
The Synod in Resistance & the GOC
† Bishop Stefan of Trenton and North America
The following statement is not the official statement of the RTOC, but my personal observations and concerns. Many faithful do not know what to make of this union, and have brought some questionable details to my attention. This statement is a reply to some of these concerns.
Many see this unity in a positive light and now say that we must also join the GOC Synod under Archb. Kallinikos, saying that the Church in Resistance has renounced Cyprianism. This, however, does not appear to be genuine – and talks with the hierarchs of this new Union are not possible until points of contention are cleared up.
The Old Calendarist Association (Koinotita) has sent a certain number of letters to the GOC Synod before and after their union with the Synod in Resistance in order to have details of it. The Association could never get an answer to the most critical questions regarding the position of the former Cyprianites. The cyprianists seem indeed to practice the double speech saying to their flock that they changed nothing in their teaching and that their departure was justified whereas at the same time the union is presented to the flock of GOC-K as a repentance of the cyprianites. To add more to the confusion, the permanent silence of the synod is worrying. Since the union, the key documents are still missing.
(Par Theophylactere – Publie dans : orthodoxie-libre)
The following is an excerpt from a letter to the GOC from the Greek Religious Community of the True Orthodox Christians (Athens):
There is the claim that these Cyprianites Bishops have signed precisely the opposites of what they preached in the presence of their flock with “uncovered/naked head” and that the signed documents are hidden in the offices of the Holy Synod, which none from us has ever seen, even though we requested for them repeatedly.
We do know that all taking place in hiding and with severe confidentiality for matters of faith are not acceptable because our Lord and God accepts only those things that the Bishops preach “uncovered/naked head’, in the presence of their flock. Deceitfulness in Orthodoxy is unacceptable, i.e. to preach one thing and sign another.
These Bishops assured their flock a few days prior to the concelebrating (12.3.2014) that the things they believed in up to that moment were correct (i.e. they insist upon their heresy). At this point it must also be noted that the Cyprianites Bishop Chrysostomos of Etna (attachment 4) while informing his flock, he declared the following: Firstly you must be certain that none of our principles, none of our temperance and none of the spirit that was bequeathed to us by the previous Reverend Archbishop Cyprianos have been put aside (revoked).
What is most troubling is the fact that this new union [the GOC & the Church in Resistance] continues to renounce our anathema on Ecumenism, which was declared in 1983, – a time when both these churches were in communion with ROCOR. This, as well as their failure to recognize our anathema on Sergianism [placing Christ’s Church under the full control of a secular government whose goal it was to destroy the Church] continues to impress upon their faithful that the uncanonical & heretical practices of the MP & other Ecumenical Entities do not rise to the level of a false church. This brings us to the question; what is ‘a Church?’
Many have come to terms with the idea of there being three so called categories of churches:
1. A false church – Catholic, Anglican etc.
2. An Orthodox church with questionable and/or unacceptable practices such as the new calendar, ecumenism etc. –an “ailing church”.
3. An Orthodox True church – the Church of Christ: “Even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it…That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, without flaw, or wrinkle, or any such thing: but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5: 25, 27)
The concept of three categories is incorrect. Since the times of the first Christians there were heretical teachings. The Saints and Holy Fathers made every effort to put a stop to the false teachings, and when the heretics refused, they were placed under anathema; cast out of the Church. The faithful were told – as they are being told to this very day – not to follow their teachings and not to pray with them. ‘End of story’ as they say. No where do we find further speculation concerning the breath of the Holy Spirit and validity of sacraments of those who are outside the Church.
There is only one church of Christ. It is the One True Church. There is no second rate or ailing church with wrinkles and blemishes. They are all false churches. The blessed Saint Metropolitan Philaret [of New York] considered the MP a false church. Metropolitan Vitaly considered it a false church. If it is not a false church, then – the church created by Metrop. Sergius and Stalin – is an integral part of Christ’s true church!
It comes down to this: Do the hierarchs of this new union consider the MP & any other church that is practicing ecumenism a ‘church of Christ’ or ‘a false church’? There can be no mincing of words. It has to be one or the other. If they avoid responding to this question, or continue to insist that there are churches in this second category, they are preaching Cyprianism.
Likewise, if the complaints of deception and continued non-disclosure of documents are true, they have a problem that we cannot be a part of.
This reminds me of two corporations who have been going through litigation for many months, or even years. Then, through arbitration, they come to a settlement for an undisclosed dollar amount – with neither party admitting any wrongdoing.
Ascension of our Lord.
May 29, 2014
The statement can also be found on the Bishop’s website, by clicking here.