Wednesday, March 13, 2013

“for those who cherish the Russian [Orthodox] Church Abroad”

A Positional Statement of Metropolitan Agafangel Regarding Himself and our ROCA, and Our Relationship with Others, etc.

English (amplified for clarity & unofficial)

Comment: All that our Metropolitan Agafangel declares  here, is nothing new.  He has been steadily saying these same things, for a very long time, and reaching out his hand of friendship to those who sincerely  want to have a dialogue.

Metropolitan Agafangel:
“for those who cherish the Russian [Orthodox] Church Abroad”

Published on the Internet after Nativity [Christmas] 2012 was the video program “Transfiguration” [(Преображение) Issue 4, Part 2], in the course of which Metropolitan Agafangel was asked numerous questions.
In particular, its animator, Fr. Sergy Kondakov, read out a question that is in the  heart with many [Orthodox]: There are ... “fragments” of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad; and how do you view the possibility to unite these “fragments”?

Metropolitan Agafangel replied as follows:
"The untruthfulness in this question is in the fact that it affirms that I want [as if] to unite under my omophorion all [and any] “fragments”... I have never even had such thoughts – to unite under my omophorion all “fragments”. I’d like to see these “fragments” united, but then under whose omophorion and in what form would it be?
This I have always said that it should be decided by our All-Diaspora Council. All we together have to think about how can the highest authority in our Church  be organized. And I am not planning to come [on stage] as some [kind of] dictator and demand that all have to obey me. Because, unfortunately, in our time, it is impossible to convince others that  they – you see – are mistaken in something. There, [each and] everyone thinks he did the right thing in the situation that had developed. But [just] maybe it is like this, in general. Everyone has one’s own truth.
And I held on there (not officially yet departing from the other bishops), until the 17th of June, 2007, only because they asked me to. Though,  I felt very heavy, past all bearing, to witness this – the falling away of the [Russian Orthodox] Church Abroad, and its  submission  to the Moscow Patriarchia. It was hard for me to witness that process. They simply persuaded me to wait until the last [minute] when that act would be signed. For I had came to New York, to the Synod, I came intending to say at the Synod to all the bishops what I thought about it. At that time we had already stopped commemorating Metropolitan Lavrus for quite a long time. And I was ready (I’d come specifically for this) to say that I, too, disagreed with this. But, there came other [ROCOR]  priests from other parishes in America, we had a meeting, and I was simply talked into it:[i.e. to wait before official departing], “there, because of us, our flocks, so that we might all be together until the actual signing of the act”. And it was not willfully that I opposed them. But  that was really the right [thing to do], as time has shown, in hindesight. They straightened me [up], they corrected me, those people. I am very grateful to them, those  priests, that it all went that way. It so happened that we still waited to see the time of the signing, that final time of falling away.
And the fact that others had gone earlier, I do not think that this is any [kind of] fatal mistake of their. “Different people”, as Metropolitan Kirill (Smirnov, new priest martyr), “different temperaments”. In general, some did so earlier, others did it later, still others may be [did so] even after the signing, they too would have right.
It’s unnecessary to clarify here in this situation who is to blame more; we must return to some form of conciliarity. All [of us] need to meet, talk and decide what are we to do next, how are we to arrange the life of our Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
Of course, this is for [implies] those who cherish the Russian [Orthodox] Church Abroad. If anyone out there went his own separate way, and is not interested in the [Russian Orthodox] Church Abroad, and [he is] not an authority, then there is nothing we can do. But those who think they have emanated from the [Russian Orthodox] Church Abroad, ... that they belong to the [Russian Orthodox] Church Abroad, with such people we need to try and establish some kind of a dialogue, even if only for a start.
And word here is not about me personally, [not] about my omophorion. I’ve written earlier that I am even ready to write a statement to the All-Diaspora Council to step down from this post [I hold]. And let the Council decide this – who is to be chosen as Primate. If they reckon to disgard  me, then they will; if they consider someone else, if the Council so decides, that’s how it would be. This is to say, I’ve never insisted that all this must take place under my omophorion.
We believe, unconditionally, that we are on the right path, that what we have done, we did the right thing, that everything with us is canonical, that everything with us is legal, we have not stepped away from the tradition of our fathers. But still, we must understand that the unity of the Church is also – a very large and important point in our lives. And still, we can make some concessions for the sake of church unity, for the sake of fraternal communion with other Orthodox.
This is my personal opinion ...
Again, I do not insist that I alone speak the only correct  things, [and] in general, I may be wrong, as I’ve just said in this case with the point that until the act [of signing] we had  held on...
So that, I have always invited and keep inviting others, the so-called “fragments” to a dialogue, a talk. Let’s sit down and talk about how we should go on living. Not to be at emnity [enemies with each other], with each other, but to establish peaceful relationships for a start, and then [on], God will judge. < ... >
We are ready to talk with all, but simply we may offer different things. Of course, there are those to whom we can only say: Come back to us, so to speak, on our terms; and there are those with whom we can negotiate how to arrange that union so it may be as seamless as possible for our flock, for their flock. But it’s all a process, and quite a longish process.
But most important is the [presence of] willingness for that process to begin.”

kindly translated by

Vladimir Djambov, Eng
00359.885.455.189 - M/cell
00359.2.855.62.62 - H
En <> Bg translation, interpreting

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