Письмо игумена Иоакима — английский текст

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Отправлено МаксимЪ, Православный, 20:29:10 12/09/2001
в ответ на: Re: Письмо игумена Иоакима (Парра), принятого вместе с его монастырем из РПЦЗ под омофор Святейшего Патриарха Алексия Второго, отправлено Listok, Верный РПЦЗ, 18:23:17 10/09/2001
По пришедшим просьбам, привожу ангийский текст письма о. Иоакима.
My Journey From The Church Abroad To The Moscow Patriarchate
Igumen Joachim (Parr)
The fall of the Communist State in Russia was a very critical point in
the historic life of the Church Abroad. It was at this point that many
believe that the last possible verifiable circumstances of division stood, that
is, the rule of Communism in the Land of Russia and the fact that the
Church was subject to its rule. When the authorities within the Church Abroad were questioned as to why she did not respond to the fall of Communism and unite with the Moscow Patriarchate, the response was that the Church of Russia, i.e. the
Moscow Patriarchate, is not free but that she is still under the control of
the atheistic government and that Sergianism is still in control of the
The proof offered by the Church Abroad was that the Moscow Patriarchate
still would not refute the compromise it made with the Communist State and
that it would not recognize the New Martyrs, most especially, the Tsar and his
family. The argument was given, that when this happens, it will show
that the Church is free.
In the year 2000, the Church of Russia held its Sobor and in that Sobor, the
Royal Martyrs were glorified and the Church recognized in its documents
that cooperation with any state may never be done at the cost of going
against the fundamental principles of the Church Dogma. The Church Abroad also held
its Sobor in the year 2000 in the month of October. In that Sobor the
Bishops recognized the good that they saw in the Sobor of the Moscow
Patriarchate and praised the good movement. The Church Abroad also wrote a letter to the Patriarch of Serbia, Pavle, and requested of him that he assist the
Church Abroad in facilitating the restoration of the union of the Russian
This letter was signed by all of the Bishops present at the Sobor but
one. Shortly after the Sobor, a division began in the Church Abroad over the
fact that any type of suggestion of beginning talks with the Moscow
Patriarchate had been agreed upon. Objections were made to the committee set up for
Dialogue. This faction, headed by Bishop Varnava, protested the
appointment of a ruling bishop of Western Europe, whom they said was Ecumenistic
and pro-Moscow Patriarchate. To this very date the division stands. There
were also some bishops within the land of Russia, belonging to the Church
Abroad, that also objected to this letter to the Patriarchate of Serbia and
requested that their signatures be removed.
The turmoil spread from Europe and Russia to Canada and the United
States. Some of the clergy and people both in the United States and Canada
joined in support for the actions of Bishop Varnava and his clergy. The divisions
were widening and the opposition was increasing. The Metropolitan wrote
several Epistles of his own that countered those things that he had agreed upon
with the council of the Sobor, he being a full and active member of that
Sobor. This furthered the division within the Church Abroad.
Many clergy within the Church had very strong opinions about all of
this. Discussion with local bishops at clergy conferences following the Sobor
resulted in several epistles supporting the statements of the Sobor of
October and encouraging the positive movements towards dialogue. In the
course of the next several months, two Synod meetings were held in
which the bishops stressed their common understanding and support for that which
was published by the Sobor of October. Factions continued to work towards
the reversal of the statement of the October Sobor in respect to the
desired dialogue with the Moscow Patriarchate and the letter to the Patriarch
The divisions and confusion continued within the body of the Church
Abroad throughout the time from the October Sobor of 2000 until the Synod
meeting of 10 July 2001. At this Synod meeting, among other items discussed and
decided upon, Metropolitan Vitaly was retired, a Sobor was set for October 2001
and an epistle of the Synod was published in which it stressed that there
was no urgency among the bishops to bring about the Union of the Russian
Church and that the Church Abroad was continuing of the same path that she has
been on for the past 80 years.
The above statement is most disturbing. The Church Abroad has NOT kept
the same path that she has been on since her inception. When the Church
Abroad came into existence, first in Constantinople and the Serbia, she was in
Eucharistic Communion with all of the other Orthodox Churches through
the world. Now, in the year 2001, the Church Abroad is not in Eucharistic
Communion with any other Orthodox Church. This is indeed a crisis for
the Church Abroad.
Hope was given to many within the Church Abroad with the Epistle of the
Sobor of October 2000. But the Synod epistle of July 2001 demonstrates the
direction of the Church Abroad in practice. At the Sobor of October 2000, I was appointed as the Director of the Office of External Church Relations. When I approached the hierarchs who informed me of this position, I asked what was the job description for the position. I was told, “there is none;” “you will have to create one.” I did just that. When I went to Jordanville to speak with Archbishop Laurus of the position and his perspective, he told me to go slowly and to perhaps to go
around to parishes or write a newsletter to the churches in the Church Abroad and
inform them of the Office. I told him that I believed that this was
Internal Church Affairs, not External. Again, no job description was given. When
I offered some ideas that I had to begin the process, such as inviting
clergy representatives from the various Orthodox jurisdictions in New York
City area, he told me that some jurisdictions being invited to the Synod
building might cause a stir among those living there or in the faithful at
large. He suggested that I not invite them. I did not have an open invitation
sent out to the other jurisdictions.
When I returned from Jordanville to New York, and this conversation
that I had had with Archbishop Laurus was related to the bishop at Synod, his
response was, “the position you have was given by the Sobor and it is
the Sobor that you answer to; do what you think is necessary.” No mention
was ever made by any of the hierarchs that I should not speak with, contact
in any manner, nor have any dealings with the Moscow Patriarchate. Since I
had the approval of the bishops to create the position, I did just that,
including the visits to Moscow and speaking with the Patriarch.
I met with Metropolitan Kyrill, Director of the Office of External
Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate in November of 2000. This was our
first meeting. I met with him while he was in New York City on an official
visit. The Metropolitan was most gracious and we had a very wonderfully open
and candid discussion on the issues that confront the Russian Church, both
the Moscow Patriarchate and the Church Abroad. At the conclusion of our
eveing’s conversation, Metropolitan Kyrill invited me to come to Russia for a
visit and see for myself the situation of the Church there. I told the
Metropolitan that I would see what I could do and I would get back in contact with
him after the Nativity of the Lord.
Prior to the October Sobor, I had asked my bishop if I could visit
Russia and see things for myself. He told me that many people were going and that
there was no reason for my not going. He asked me when I wanted to go. I told
the bishop that at that time I had no idea of when I would go, when I would
get the time, or when I would have the money.
I went to Russia on a personal visit ten days prior to the Ascension.
At the time of my visit to Russia, my bishop was on vacation out of the States
and gone for several weeks. I went to Russia without an invitation from the
Moscow Patriarchate or from any official. I went simply as a tourist. I
took along with me a Russian native-speaker to assist me and to translate
for me.
I did not want to be influence in my visit. We came unannounced. We had
no guides, nor did we ask for any assistance from the Patriarchate in
going about the Church. I went to the Department of External Relations to
visit with Metropolitan Kyrill, but I did not get a chance to see him until I
had been in Russia for a week. I made it perfectly clear to the
Metropolitan that I was not there in any official capacity, that I was there as a tourist on my own. The assistant of Metropolitan Kyrill offered me any assistance
that I might need, and we parted with the appointment of getting together for
a supper and discussion with Metropolitan Kyrill before I left Russia. I
asked the Metropolitan’s assistant if I might be able to meet with the
Patriarch, and he informed me that since I did not have an appointment or
invitation,and in as much as the Patriarch was not expecting me and considering
his very busy schedule, it was most unlikely that I would be able to meet with
him. The Metropolitan’s assistant told me that he would try to see if he
could get an appointment for me to meet the Patriarch.
I was invited to the nomination of Archimandrite Seraphim as bishop.
This took place on a Friday afternoon in the Patriarchal building at Danilov
Monastery. I was invited to speak with the Patriarch privately after
this service. I spoke with the Patriarch for over 45 minutes in private,
with a translator. The visit was wonderful for me. After the usual exchanges,
I stressed to the Patriarch that I was there on a private, not official
visit.During our conversation, the Patriarch expressed his desire and the
desire of the entire Russian Church for the healing of the division and the union
of the Russian Church. The Patriarch pointed out to me the wounds that had
been inflicted upon the Church of Russia by this division, not the least of
which was the ordaining of bishops for the land of Russia by the Church
Abroad, and then the leaving of the Church Abroad by Bishop Valentine and the
enormous harm caused to the faithful of Russia by both Bishop Valentine and the
Church Abroad. The Patriarch stressed over and over in the conversation we had
for the desire for union and the healing of the division. We said that we
must come together in Christ as brothers. We cannot begin with a list of
demands for the other to fulfill. Love and forgiveness will heal the rift.
In the course of our warm conversation, the Patriarch shared with me
some of his personal faith experiences. I was then invited to the Ordination of
Archimandrite Seraphim on the following morning. I went to the
Patriarchal Cathedral in Moscow and was a witness to the wonderful ordination. I
did not serve. I did not vest. I did not partake of the Holy Eucharist. I was
invited to participate as clergy, but I made it clear that I could not do so at
this point in the relationship that our churches share. Everyone who knew
about my presence there were very welcoming and gracious. I was invited to the
banquet after the Ordination and there too I was made to be most welcome. Upon
my return to the United States, I wrote a position paper concerning
Eucharistic Communion and the stand of the Church Abroad being outside of
Eucharistic Communion with the rest of Orthodoxy. I presented this paper to clergy
for their input. I also shared this position paper with two of the bishops
of the Church Abroad. There was input into the paper and much encouragement.
After the July Synod meeting, there began to be division within my own
parish over my ideas on Eucharistic Communion and the ecclesiology of the
Church Abroad in relation to her stand with the full order of Orthodoxy. I
have been struggling with the issue of our position in not being in communion
with any Orthodox Body for many years. There are bishops in the Church Abroad
who can testify to this. The response has always been, it is not time, when the
Church is free, etc.
I called a meeting of my parish at the end of July and presented to
them the issue of Eucharistic Communion and where the Church Abroad was at this
time in relation to this question. I voiced that I wanted to present this
problem to the Sobor meeting in October and that I felt that this is the most
critical issue facing the Church Abroad at this time. I believe that
nothing else is as serious a problem for the Church Abroad as Eucharistic
I again returned to Russia. This time I went to Russia with an invitation
from Metropolitan Kyrill to join him in Smolensk for the Feast of the
Mother of God. It was indeed a wonderful experience. During my visit to
Smolensk, I had the wonderful opportunity of again spending a considerable amount
of time with Metropolitan Kyrill in speaking about the concerns of the Church
and about the need for unity.
Upon my return to the United States from Russia, I received a telephone
call from my bishop asking me where I had been. When I told the bishop that
I had been to Moscow and to Smolensk, he told me that I had had no blessing
to do so. He asked me if I had seen the Patriarch, and I told him that I had
not. The bishop then asked if I told my people that I believed that they
should be in full Eucharistic Communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church, and
I told him that I had said that because this is what I believe to be the
essence of the Church. The bishop then told me that I was suspended,
and could not function as a priest in any way. That was over the telephone.
After I collected my thoughts—I had just gotten off the plane from Moscow,
an 11 hour flight with a three hour delay—I went to bed and called the
bishop in the morning.
I asked him if the suspension meant that I could not commune as well,
and he said yes. I asked him to give me a written copy of the suspension,
which I picked up from him on Saturday at the Synod. When I met with the bishop
he again asked me about my ecclesiology and if I indeed believed that we
should be in communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church. I again responded
that I believed this totally and that I cannot understand how anyone can say
he is in the Church and not believe this. The bishop told me that I would
remain suspended from all priestly functions until such time as I came before
my congregation and asked them their forgiveness and told them that my
ecclesiology is wrong and that I accept fully the ecclesiology of the
Synod as he expressed it. I told the bishop that I could not and would not do
The bishop said that he would convene an ecclesiastical court to remove
me if I did not do this by the time of the Feast of the Dormition.
If I agreed to state that my ecclesiology is wrong and ask for forgiveness,
he would allow me to serve by the Dormition. The bishop then told me
that he was sending another priest to serve on Sunday with my second priest.
This priest was to read a letter to my people from the Altar and this would
give the bishop’s position on me and what I had said. This letter has been
sent over the internet.
In this letter from the bishop to me, he states that my ecclesiology is
diametrically opposed to the ecclesiology of the Church Abroad, that
is, that the Eucharistic Communion among the Orthodox churches is of the essence
of the Church and that the Church Abroad is outside of that body
Eucharistically. The bishop also stated in this letter that all of the
parishioners are to direct their obedience to the bishop and not to me
and that my monastics are to do the same. In this letter there were many
inaccuracies that were never addressed. I was told by the bishop that I
was not to do anything but to ask for forgiveness and say that I have been
wrong in what I am teaching. I said nothing to the people.
In this past week, I wrote a letter to the bishop requesting that he
grant me a release from the Church Abroad to the Moscow Patriarchate. My second
priest has also done the same. I have not received any answer from the bishop.
I have been told that the bishop stated in a meeting that he held for
members of the parish, to discuss this entire matter, that the bishop said that
he would not give a release to any priest who is asking for a release to
any church that the Church Abroad does not have communion with. When asked
what this would mean for me and my priesthood, the bishop is quoted as
saying that I am a defrocked priest. The bishop says that I defrocked myself by
going to a church that is not in communion with the Church Abroad.
There is a very happy side to all of this tale. I now find myself, and
many of my flock, within the full body of the Orthodox Church under the
Omophor of the Moscow Patriarchate. In such a very short time God has blessed us
so much with this move.
It is with great joy that I go to the Moscow Patriarchate and it is
with sorrow that I leave behind in the Church Abroad so many wonderful
people. But I believe that this is only the beginning. Many clergy of the Church
Abroad and some bishops have voiced to me that they too agree that the Union
is necessary and that the issue of Eucharistic Communion is essential to
the Church. The atmosphere within the Church Abroad at this time is not a
healthy one as I see it. There is much fear, confusion, mistrust, and unfounded
information. Many of the clergy of the Church Abroad have traveled to
the land of Russia and have been greatly impressed by the Church they saw.
Many have a very difficult time living with their Church’s ecclesiology.
Many clergy have told me that they too want to make the move that I have
made but there are many considerations. Many within the Church Abroad are
suffering these days with the ecclesiology of the Church Abroad and her attitude
which she expresses towards those who do not agree with it and how she
behaves towards the voice of difference. May God free His people from division and
oppression. The Church Abroad has done much good for the Orthodox
Church over the time of her existence. Now the Church Abroad must be as courageous
in her stand and come to the fullness of truth and bring about the Union
necessary to heal the wounds that she continues to open by the very stand of
non-dialogue and non-communion to which she clings.
Igumen Joachim

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