Fundamentals of Orthodoxy

  • His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel visited parish of Holy Trinity Church, Windsor, ON

    To be published soon.

  • Epistle of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia .

    Buchendorf: June 16, 2017
    Epistle of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

    We, the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, gathered for a Council of Bishops in the God-preserved city of Munich during the celebration of the Pentecost, in the blessed presence of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign.” This year we remember with sorrow the hundredth anniversary of the terrible, bloody events of 1917; we are at the same time filled with joy over the anniversary of the restoration of the patriarchate and the tenth anniversary of the reestablishment of unity within the Russian Church.

    We remember those who labored towards the reestablishment of unity, and those who continue to work towards strengthening of our spiritual bonds. On the feast of the Ascension of the Lord, we prayed together with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church and the President of the Russian Federation at divine services during the consecration of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ and the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia at Lyubanka, and we conclude our assembly with the great consecration of the Cathedral of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in the city of Munich, the only church of the Russian Church Abroad where His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia once served, who had together with Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory signed the Act of Canonical Communion. We always knew that the external unity that was once rent asunder was always preserved in the spiritual plane.

    With gratitude with God, we also mark the hundredth anniversary of the birth of a New Martyr of Russia who manifested the phrase “the blood of Christian martyrs is the seed of faith.” St Alexander (Schmorell) of Munich spilt his blood in Germany. The hundredth anniversary of his birth is marked by the completion of the construction of a church not far from his grave. The cathedral was consecrated by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onouphry of Kiev and All Ukraine along with the Primate of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, along with all of his fellow bishops, bishops from Russia and Ukraine and of other Local Orthodox Churches. In the global podvig of the Russian New Martyrs, among them St Alexander, the East unites with the West.

    The restoration of the patriarchate at the All-Russian Council of the Russian Church, the hundredth anniversary of which we now celebrate, was a positive step towards the return to our Christian roots, to the 1,000th year of existence of our Church organism. A leading role in the reestablishment of the patriarchate was played by a hierarch who himself became the first Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev and Galicia of blessed memory. Based on the work of the Pomestny Sobor [All-Russian Church Council] of 1917-1918, he and his brother archpastors preserved church sobornost’[collegiality] in distant lands, and in this way, fealty to the legacy of the Mother Russian Church. The theology of Metropolitan Anthony returned the cognizance of the Church to her patristic roots; it cleansed Russian theology from imposed alien influences and in many ways determined the theology of the Church Abroad, and manifested itself in the legacy and practice of pastoral ministry.

    The triumph of the sobornost’ of the Russian Church and her New Martyrs lies in the fact that despite the crumbling of the Orthodox empire and the imposition of a regime whose ideological goal was to fight God and everyone who believes and worships Him, faith in the truth and the Church could not be destroyed. In light of the apostasy that began in earnest in the 19th century, the podvig of bearing witness to the faith “even unto death” is especially significant, just as the image of the purity of family life of the last Russian Emperor was. We are all called upon to make sense of the spiritual life of the peoples of Russia and of the whole world.

    The spiritual catastrophe of the Russian nation led to the destruction of a mighty state and to terrible sufferings. How could it happen that a significant portion of the people, who for almost 1,000 years had borne the name of Christ, turned against the Church? St John of Kronstadt often prophesied about the consequences of turning away from the Church. “Ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5) became the slogan of a new order, and people strove to establish a world without God. “Faith in the word of Truth, the Word of God, has disappeared, and was replaced by faith in human reason,” wrote St John. “Children no longer obey their parents, students their teachers… Marriage is mocked, family life is decaying.”

    Today entire peoples both in the Fatherland and abroad face a choice: spiritual cultivation of the soul or utter devotion to material well-being. God forbid that we once again see the brutal consequences of the deceptive spiritual and moral choice of willingly sacrificing our souls to evil substitutions. That is why once again raise the call to conscientious purification, not in the political sense, but for the sake of obtaining spiritual succession, gazing upon the path of the New Martyrs, and to bid farewell to the symbols of militant atheism, rid ourselves of the old glorification of murderers by naming cities and towns after them, streets and plazas, train stations and parks; we call for the removal of the body from the central square of the nation of the one whose name is connected with the establishment of the militant atheist state, which led to the sacrifice of millions of lives to its ideology.

    Returning to our Christian roots is our moral choice. It is built on the search for God, church life, learning about faith, growth and strengthening of our moral podvig. It is from our parents that we must receive our first experience of knowledge of God, of prayer, participation in the Mysteries—we call upon all parents to tend to their own spiritual edification, and not only in word, but to teach their children by example. It is the family itself, the “little Church,” that the full understanding of church life is created.

    The expulsion of multitudes of people from Russia introduced the Wes to Orthodox Christianity. Divine Providence, even the loss of goodness had positive results. Today, Orthodox Christians living in the West, where the family unit is in crisis, are called upon to serve as an example of moral purity in their own lives in their communities, both in Christian family life and in the monastic service.

    Bearing all of this in mind, let us courageously declare in the shining joy of the Church, together with Holy Apostle Paul and St John of Kronstadt, the Martyred Royal Family and the multitude of New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

    With love in Christ,

    Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
    First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

    Signed by all the participants of the Council of Bishops.

  • Parish Feast at Holy Trinity Church, Toronto, ON

    To be published soon.

  • Apostles’ Fast

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  • May 11 (new calendar May 24) – The memory of the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles brothers Methodius and Cyril (in Scheme Constantine), the first teachers of the Slovenes. Name day of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.

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  • Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

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  • Annunciation of the Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

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  • Epistle of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on the 100th Anniversary of the Tragic Revolution in Russia and Beginning of the Godless Persecutions

    From the Editors: As reported today from the Chancery of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York gave his blessing to read the following Epistle on the Second Sunday of Great Lent from all church ambos to mark the 100th anniversary of the appearance of the “Sovereign” Icon of the Mother of God.

    Beloved in Christ Brothers and Sisters:

    This year, the entire world, especially we all, will remember the great tragedy of the 20th century which disrupted the fates of millions of people. This calamity literally touched the lives of every Russian family, wherever they may have been. We remember now the hundredth anniversary of the bloody and destructive revolution in Russia. As a result of the betrayal of the government and military leadership, the Tsar was forced to abdicate the throne, which led to unavoidable consequences: the demise of the state, the martyric death of the Tsar himself and of his Most August Family, the brutal internecine war, and the unprecedented persecution of the Orthodox Church and of faith in God in Russia.

    In 1909, Peter Arkadievich Stolypin declared: “Give the government 20 years of peace, internal and external, and you will not recognize the Russia of today!” Alas, the Russian Prime Minister was only to live another two years. He was killed in the presence of his Sovereign in a theater in Kiev in 1911.

    The fact that Russia was making enormous strides forward was recognized far beyond the borders of our Fatherland, even so far as the United States of America. In November, 1914, the magazine National Geographic published a noteworthy issue devoted to Russia. Social and economic analyses of the day showed that by the date targeted by Stolypin, all key economic indicators would show that Russia would have achieved unstoppable growth. The only thing that hindered it was a revolution organized and supported by the Western nations. Our Fatherland was not given even 20 days of peace. It is important to note that the constant denigration of Russia on the part of “Western civilization” we see today existed a hundred years ago and, in fact, much earlier. The world despised the Russian Empire, the heir to Holy Orthodox Rus. Neither adherence to the duty to Russia’s allies, nor the unceasing readiness for cooperation by the Russian Tsars could change that. The renowned British statesman, Lord Palmerston, succinctly stated: “How difficult life is in the world when no one is at war with Russia.” He was referring to the mid-19th century, but sadly it went unheeded.

    In the beginning of the 20th century, St Makary (Nevsky), Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomensk, cautioned: “We are now experiencing times of trouble. Russia has survived periods of tribulation, but they were never as dangerous as today. Then, everyone was for God, everyone wished to know His will, but today it is different. Then they supported the Tsar. Today that has changed. Today we hear blasphemy against God and plots against His anointed one…”

    The educated classes in Russia, raised in so-called “Westernizing” traditions, pushed Russia with almost suicidal relentlessness into the abyss, pushing the Russian people in every way possible to reject their faith, their Tsar and their Fatherland. One cannot help but remember the words of the Psalmist David: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalms 14:1).

    But even in the darkest times of persecution, the Lord did not abandon His people. Thus, this year we mark another no-less-important 100th anniversary-the restoration of the Patriarchate in Russia. This happened precisely when an intercessor and sufferer for the entire Russian Church was especially needed. The enthronement of St Tikhon, Patriarch of All Russia and Confessor, took place on November 21/December 4, 1917, in the Uspensky Cathedral in Moscow’s Kremlin, on the feast day of the Entrance into the Temple of the Most-Holy Mother of God. But even before, on the very day of the abdication of the Anointed of God, Tsar Nikolai Alexandrovich, March 2/15, 1917, the miraculous “Sovereign” Icon of the Mother of God was revealed to our people as a sign that the Most-Pure Queen would not abandon her care for the suffering Russian land, which from days of old was known as the House of the Most-Holy Mother of God.

    Even now, when in the words of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, “The Lord replaced wrath with mercy towards Russia,” all Russian people are Divinely granted the opportunity of returning to their Orthodox Christian roots. We must now make sense of our history and understand the reasons why Russia fell into such terrible tribulation. One of the reasons for those tragic times was the apostasy and neglect of faith in Christ, and the rejection of the Divinely-ordained government. We must not under any circumstances justify the actions of those responsible for the deadly revolution. A symbol of reconciliation of the Russian nation with the Lord would be to rid Red Square of the remains of the main persecutor and executioner of the 20th century, and the destruction of monuments to him. They are all symbols of catastrophe, tragedy, and of the destruction of our God-given Sovereignty. The same applies to the cities, oblasts and streets which are deprived of their original historic names.

    During those times of troubles, the Russian Church Abroad always deemed it her sacred duty to express the full truth about Russian history, which was impossible to do in the Fatherland. Now we must, first of all, remind the Russian people of the path of the Cross of the New Martyrs. This is not a political matter, as some might insist, but a matter of spiritual conscience. Truly, we must know to the fullest extent possible the history of the podvig of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. Then, we hope, every Russian person will follow the commands of his own conscience and come to the conclusion that in his God-preserved nation, there is no place for the symbols of the godless state and the names of militant atheists.

    Ten years ago, during the great consecration of the church in Butovo Square, Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory, addressing all those in attendance, said, “The land here is abundantly soaked in the blood of the martyrs, and it is planted with their bones; may it be as an altar unto Christ our God. A prophet said long ago about the persecutors of the Church of Christ: ‘I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found’ (Psalms 37:35-36). May their memory be wiped away in the hearts of men, and the Church of Christ established forever in the Russian land!”

    We call upon our entire flock, and upon all Orthodox Russian people, in the Fatherland and in the diaspora: preserve as the apple of your eye the gift the Lord has given us-the holy and saving Orthodox Christian faith, remember always the words of Christ: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Amen.

    With love in Christ,

    Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
    First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

    + MARK,
    Archbishop of Berlin and Germany.

    + KYRILL,
    Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America,
    Secretary of the Synod of Bishops.

    + GABRIEL,
    Archbishop of Montreal and Canada.

    + PETER,
    Archbishop of Chicago and Mid-America.

    Bishop of Manhattan,
    Deputy Secretary of the Synod of Bishops.

  • The Sunday of Orthodoxy

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  • The Meeting of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.

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