An Extraordinary Session of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops is Held

Metropolitan Hilarion

Metropolitan Hilarion

Source: Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

On Wednesday, July 10, 2013, an extraordinary session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was held, presided over by its First Hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York. Participating in the meeting were permanent members of the Synod of Bishops: His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany; His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America; His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada, and His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland, Administrator of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America. 

Deliberating on the matter of Bishop Jerome of Manhattan, the Synod of Bishops made a decision as follows:

“During a meeting of the Synod of Bishops on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, presided over by the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, A DECISION WAS MADE: on the activities of Bishop Jerome of Manhattan, Vicar of the President for the Administration of Western Rite Parishes.

After exhaustive deliberation, IT WAS DECREED:  

1) To halt the ordination of new clergymen for parishes adhering to the Western Rite.

2) To censure Bishop Jerome for his willfulness in administering the parishes adhering to the Western Rite, and in performing various ecclesial services not approved by the Synod of Bishops, and for criticizing his brethren in letters to clergy and laity.

3) To deny recognition of the ordination of a group of individuals by Bishop Jerome during a single divine service, and to regularize them following a thorough examination of the candidates.

4) To release Bishop Jerome from all duties, including those of Vicar of the President in administering Western Rite parishes, designating him as retired without the right to serve in the Synodal Cathedral “of the Sign” in New York, or to perform ordinations or award clergymen, and designating his place of residence at St Vladimir Memorial Church of the 1000th Anniversary of the Baptism of Russia in Jackson, NJ.

5) To bless Bishop Jerome to perform divine services within the confines of the Eastern American Diocese with the consent of its Ruling Bishop.

6) To release Monk Anthony (Bondi) from all of his administrative duties and from the spiritual ministry to the Vicariate of Western Rite Parishes.

7) To establish a commission to examine the means of integrating clergymen and communities of the Western Rite into the liturgical life of the Russian Orthodox Church, consisting of: Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, President; Bishop George of Mayfield, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese; Protopriest David Straut of the Eastern American Diocese, and Protopriest Anthony Nelson of the Mid-American Diocese.

8) To address an epistle to the clergymen and communities of the Western Rite regarding the need for them to adopt the order of divine services of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church, while preserving, when necessary, certain particularities of the Western Rite.

9) To emphasize our adherence to the rules and traditions of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church in general and of the Russian Orthodox Church in particular.

10) To deem this decree immediately valid and to submit it to the members of the Council of Bishops in the form of a questionnaire for confirmation.”

The meeting concluded with the singing of “It is Truly Meet.”

Originally posted on July 12, 2013.


 

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Comments

  1. The shocking and foolish decision taken by the ROCOR Synod against its Western Rite Deanery, the saintly Bishop Jerome and the truly reverend and capable Father Anthony is just another setback for Orthodoxy in America. I am personally acquainted with the bishop and Father Anthony and have the highest regard for them personally and as great, foresighted leaders in the Orthodox Church. The decree in question is the result of the machinations of a few ill-intentioned and fanatical priests (converts who are “more Orthodox than the Orthodox”) and a bishop (+Peter) who thinks that if the rites involved are not Byzantine (read “Russian”) then they are not truly Orthodox. The dozens of clergy and communities which came into Holy Orthodoxy due to the efforts of the two censured men are now to be cast aside or forced into adopting the Byzantine rite instead of continuing to use the ancient, venerable and Orthodox rites of the ancient western Church (Orthodox for over 1,000 years) – which have functioned as an answer to the spiritual needs of westerners who are attracted to Orthodoxy but have and want to continue to use approved western forms of worship and prayer. To describe Bishop Jerome as “willful” is untrue and offensive – nothing could be further from the truth. He is a dedicated, pious man who became Orthodox at a young age and has an immense knowledge of theology, history, liturgy and knows several languages fluently; in short, he is a bishop of vision, something sorely lacking in our Church. The issue of his ordaining several men at the same Liturgy is a false issue, created by ignorant and invidious people. There is NO theological reason why, especially in certain circumstances, more than one man cannot be ordained to the priesthood at one Liturgy. The far-sighted Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese did so and those men have been among the avant-garde of Orthodoxy in America – men like the great Fr. Peter Gilquist. Prohibiting Bishop Jerome from serving at the cathedral in Manhatten, where he is loved and respected, is another slap in the face to a man who has served Orthodox faithfully and well all his life. We should all pray that Metropolitan Hilarion and his brother bishops open their eyes and get rid of the blinders which saddle them against opening the doors of Holy Orthodoxy to those who have come knocking.

  2. Iyad Jabbour says:

    What should I say? That living sometimes in dictatorship countries is better due to the fact that people don’t deserve democracy in church. This is a case where not having one American Orthodox Church is a problem.

    If we had one there will be only one rite and one of everything. those who will convert into Orthodoxy will convert to what all the Americans are using and worshiping.

  3. Michael Boris says:

    This is a more complicated issue than people realize. The ‘ancient’ western Orthodox rite disappeared into antiquity not long after the Great Schism of 1054. There are no authentic surviving texts, books or anything that tells us exactly what the western rite was like. Liturgical experts and scholars have only (roughly) pieced together half of the Orthodox western rite liturgy based on what the Old Catholic Church uses now. Add that to the fact that many western rite parishes use unleavened bread in the Eucharist further murks the issue. Is it right to do that? No, certainly not. (Does Orthodoxy have their own western rite Uniates?)

    St. John Maximovitch used the western rite as a temporary bridge for converts coming into Orthodoxy…until they were acclimated into the eastern rite. It proved to be quite a headache. There were schisms, clergy suspensions, court cases, etc., in France and Belgium. And, that’s why St. John and ROCOR later distanced themselves from the folly. When people bring up the fact that “St. John Maximovitch approved of and used the western rite… .” they fail to mention the later part. He knew that it was a failure and moved on.

    What it comes down to is that there really is no true, ancient western Orthodox rite anymore. It’s gone…forever. It’s the will of God. Let’s face it folks. The vast majority of converts coming into Orthodoxy readily and lovingly accept the eastern rite, so what’s the problem?

    • Fr Anthony says:

      Michael, the problem is the ignorance of people who make remarks that are totally unfounded. Tell me of one ROCOR Western Rite priest who uses unleavened bread? You will not find one because there is none. I could waste me time showing you how the Western Rite continued in various ways and places up to the current time but you mind is made up and we do not want to confuse you with the facts.

      If you knew anything about the provenance of the liturgy of St Gregory (the old Roman Mass) and how it has changed less than the liturgy of St John Chrysostom you would not be writing the things you do.

      You are somewhat correct in saying: “The vast majority of converts coming into Orthodoxy readily and lovingly accept the eastern rite, so what’s the problem? ” The problem is that the Greeks, Russians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Serbians do not readily and lovingly accept the converts and marginalize them by continuing to purposely speak foreign languages in their midst thereby letting them know they are NOT included….just tolerated.

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