From Bishop Stefan:
Response to “Edict” #09/2014 of the Moscow Patriarchate Bishops Abroad
Esteemed former brethren in the bosom of the ROCA:
Seven years later you decided to depose us, the eight bishops who did not go with you in your pernicious move to unite with the Moscow Patriarchate.
Immediately, unwittingly, the falsehood written in your “edict” stands out, that we “did not heed the several admonitions and suspensions from your ruling hierarchs”. I, over the course of the last seven years never received anything like that from anyone – neither admonitions, nor suspensions, nor letters, nor words. My last exchange of words with any one of you, was with Metropolitan Laurus on 29 May/11 June, 2007.
When Met. Laurus saw that he was not able to persuade me to follow your traitorous path, he asked me in writing to hand over to him the Antimins, holy myrrh, and book of records. I traveled to Jordanville and personally handed him all that he had requested. The conversation was brief. I fulfilled his request and he fulfilled my desire for me and my parishioners to be left alone and we parted forever. No suspension from my “ruling archbishop” ever followed!
I attach a copy of the receipt from that day (29 May/11June, 2007) with the personal signature of Metropolitan Laurus, which states: “Herein, Protopriest Stefan is relieved of all duties with regards to the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (75 East 93rd St., New York, NY 10128).”
This falsehood of yours is trivial and forgivable compared to your unification with the false Moscow Patriarchate.
- All of our hierarchs, including Metropolitan Vitaly asserted that “the Church Abroad in preserving its purity, should not have any canonical, prayerful or even simple daily association with the Moscow Patriarchate” (Metropolitan Anastasy).
“Can a church have grace when it has united with theomachists?! The answer is clear!” (Metropolitan Philaret of New York).
And you, despite the fact that within the Moscow Patriarchate nothing has changed and they have remained strangers to repentance, you stubbornly continue to assert that the MP in some incomprehensible manner has suddenly become canonical and with grace? Since when did it become a church with grace?! They insist that they always had and continue to have grace, and you are leaving this matter without clarification.
- The MP not only justified the betrayal by Met. Sergius, but it praises it, considering that even in the future, for its self-preservation the church can save itself by means of union with the godless and with pagan-worshippers which has become known as “Sergianism”. But your position with regards to this anti-Christ innovation also remains without clarification.
- The MP established its “church” with the assistance of godless ones and performed uncanonical consecrations of godless KGB agents, and others appointed by the secular authorities. Ordinations of such appointees are invalid and without grace, and as such, cannot be the recipients of the grace of Apostolic Succession. Who knows how many pseudo-hierarchs who did not have apostolic succession have since continued their unlawful consecrations. Now it is no longer possible to determine who among the MP hierarchs have apostolic succession, for without apostolic succession, the church is not Apostolic, but a false, grace-less pseudo church. This same church, consisting of unlawful bishops and clergy is the one with which you are in Eucharistic inter-communion.
- Patriarch Alexei II supposedly took upon himself all the sins of his colleagues.
Blasphemously, by this statement alone, he released the persecutors of the Church of Christ, those who lifted up a hand against the Annointed One, who killed clergymen, destroyed the temples of God and defiled our fatherland, from responsibility and anathema. No court would allow a father or mother to assume responsibility for the murder committed by their son, in order to absolve the son of responsibility. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I never heard that in the history of the Christian Church someone would have dared consider that he, like Christ, has been given the authority to take upon himself the sins of the world?! Do you believe this to be admissible?! In this matter, your position remains enigmatic.
- The MP continues to participate in the World Council of Churches and despite your “hopes” to dissuade them from associating in prayer with heretics, it continues to actively participate in ecumenism. Everyone knows that the MP does not recognize our 1983 anathema against ecumenism. Do you recognize it? Whether you recognize it or not, you are under this anathema because of your association in prayer with them, and not only with them but with the others participating in ecumenism. It turns out that for seven years you were waiting for us to “repent”, but now you say you depose us because we “did not heed your many admonitions” (your edict) and did not join you in your anathema!?
- By your compromises you have brought such disorder into your churches, that the faithful laugh, saying, “We now celebrate Nativity twice. The children particularly like this because now they find gifts under the tree twice.” Having celebrated Nativity on December 25th new style, for them meat-eating begins, despite the fact that these days are still within the Nativity Fast. And the strictest day of this fast, the Eve of the Nativity of Christ, again they break the fast, celebrating the Theophany. Some of them, on the following day, come to your churches in order to again celebrate the Nativity. I will not delve deeper into details concerning the other disorder to do with the Peter Paul and Dormition fasts, with the Paschalia, etc.. It is possible that by some means you have found a way out of this situation, but for us any compromise is foreign, and what is happening in your situation is unacceptable.
- In our Church Abroad, just as in ancient times, the people elected the clergy.
When the bishop ordained, he pronounced, “axios” – the people in approval repeated thrice “axios”. If they disapproved, they shouted “anaxios”. The body of the faithful always was and is the foundation of the spirit of faith and the fear of God. In your part of the Church Abroad this no longer exists! When you recognized the MP as your mother church and its head as lawful patriarch, you ceased to be considered hierarchs of the Church Abroad. From that day when you went under the yoke of the MP and submitted to their regulations and requirements, you became hierarchs of the Abroad part of the Moscow Patriarchate. From that day on your suspensions are invalid.
We have not changed anything, nor are we changing anything, but we hold and value everything as was commanded by the Holy Hierarch Philaret and the sacred Laws of God. We did not leave the Church Abroad, have not deviated from the Church laws and have violated no canons. When we saw that you entered into association with heretics, which is strictly forbidden by the Church, we acted pursuant to the 15th Rule of the Council of Constantinople, stepping away from you so as not to be co-participants in your betrayal. Not we, but you violated the testaments of our Church Abroad and went through the wide gates into the embrace of the powerful of this world.
We do not wish you evil, but wish your salvation. With God all things are possible. It is likewise possible that at the current time you are not interested in any statements of fact or proof. Therefore I will only ask one thing of you – Leave us alone.
Trenton and North-America
1/14 November 2014
This statement can also be found on his website, here.