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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Letter to WR Clergy and Communities, July 15, 2013

=========== transcription of letter from Metropolitan July 15, 2013 =============

75 E. 93rd Street, New York, NY 10128 Tel.: (917) 848-9706, (917) 543-5199.

July 15, 2013
No. 7-12 / 13

To the Clergy and the faithful of the Western Rite communities of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia:

Christ is in our midst!
The Synod of Bishops has convened and discussed ways in which the Western Rite communities could better be integrated into the larger Church structure in order to promote a closer sense of unity, fellowship, and participation in the fullness of Orthodoxy within the Church. To that end, the Synod of Bishops has made some administrative changes that will help the Western Rite communities work toward and achieve that unity, fellowship, and participation in the rich spiritual life of the Church as we work together to serve the Lord in His vineyard and build up the Kingdom of God in Holy Orthodoxy.
The Western Rite vicariate structure and administration model that were previously in place, as well as those formerly in charge and holding administrative roles such as Pastoral Vicar and the Vicar Bishop, have been released as a result of these decisions of the Synod of Bishops, in order to more effectively implement this new vision for the continued spiritual growth and existence and strengthening of the church communities in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
To this end, all Western Rite communities will be directly under the oversight and omophorion of the President of the Synod of Bishops, Metropolitan Hilarion. A committee has been formed and blessed by the Synod of Bishops to assist the clergy and communities in implementing and monitoring measures for their well-being and growth.

Holy Scripture reminds us, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 132).

While it is inevitable and somewhat natural for people to feel apprehension or uncertainty in times of change as we move forward, we feel that this decision and emphasis on bringing the current Western Rite communities into closer integration with the fullness of the Church will spiritual enrich the faithful and witness to Holy Orthodoxy to the world.

+ Hilarion [signature]
Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

And here is a scan of the original letter:


Fr. Aidan said...

Thanks be to God! Deo gratias!

The most salient points seem to be:

1. The Vicariate structure is gone. So we have ROCOR Western Rite, still directly under the Metropolitan, but no ROCOR Western Rite Vicariate.

2. The Western Rite is to be strengthened and there will be better coordination between the Church as a whole and the Western Rite as a part of Her.

Again, Deo gratias!

Tom said...

I had understood that the epistle would address liturgical matters. Or will that be a different epistle?

From the decrees:
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.

Unknown said...

Yes, I see that the news of the western rites death has been greatly exaggerrated.

You must know even Mr. Maddox of Ancient Faith Radio reported that the ROCOR WR was now closed. Over 10 blogs and forums on the internet reported it being closed.
This IS a public relations disaster. The commission must react to this more strongly than it has.

Because of the exagerration and miscommunication or misreading of the July 12 ukaze/decree on the internet it has led to a feeling that ROCOR is less trustworthy than before.

Fr. Aidan, I believe that a significant number of the people who were interested being part in the western rite missions have been scared off. (Some of these people are my own friends). If nothing is done to reassure them by the commission and Met. Hilarion, the ROCOR WR may not recover or regain trust for many years to come.

The Antiochian WR a few years ago has had a slightly similar situation where it was having a growth spurt but than had the trust eroded and its growth has been very very slow because of these types of scenarios.

I do not feel that enough clarity has been given on these matters.

People are fickle and easily read the worst into unclear statements.

Perhaps in a decade or so when the Orthodox Church in the USA is a single unified jurisdiction with a single Primate it will appear more trustworthy.

Fr. Aidan said...

Bubba, you are correct that this is a public relations disaster which will scare off those who were thinking of joining the Church. And indeed, because our own house has not been in order, we do not seem attractive at the moment. However, although there will be no instantaneous ordinations, the long and sober process of getting to know us, and letting us get to know them, and working together on preparing the ground, and determining how catechesis and guidance will be imparted to them, is not known to be impaired.

Tom, I don't know if the epistle put out by the Metropolitan is the same as the epistle which the WR was to be awaiting as described in the Synod document.

A unified jurisdiction in America is not on the horizon really, right now. The Russians are not going to go under the Greeks, and the Greeks are not going to go back under the Russians, and autocephaly is not maybe for this century. So there will be multiple jurisdictions for the time being.

But a unified jurisdiction would not necessarily be good for the survival of the Western Rite. So it's just as well. Besides, spiritual unity is more important than administrative unity. Administrative unity, we can do without just fine.