Pastoral Retreat & Assembly Of the Priests & Clergy of the Diocese of Montréal & Canada March, 2017

27 March 2017

Resolution of the Clergy of the Montreal and Canadian Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

Toronto, Ontario

March 22, 2017

The clergy of the Montreal and Canadian Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, with our Hierarch, Archbishop Gabriel at our head, gathered at the Church of the Life-giving Trinity in Toronto, greet all of you, our beloved parishioners, with the mid-point of Great Lent.

At the beginning of the fast the Church sang the following words:
“Come, ye faithful, … let us cast away every unjust accusation against our neighbour, … Let us lay aside the pleasures of the flesh, and increase the spiritual gifts of our soul. Let us give bread to those in need, and let us draw near unto Christ, crying in penitence: O our God, have mercy on us” (Stichiron at “Lord I have cried” on Friday of the first week of Great Lent).

These words remind us that Lent is a time to rededicate ourselves to Christ and to excel in Christian virtues. We pray that you will take these words to heart and spend the remaining days of the fast in spiritual struggle.

One hundred years ago, a new atheistic world order descended on humanity with the godless Communists seizing power in Russia. This new world order spread hatred and death throughout the Russian Land and after the 2nd World War enslaved many other lands and peoples, including most of the Orthodox world.

We support the recent 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 the Beginning of the Godless Persecutions. The bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, as in the past, continue to speak out according to their conscience and the traditional standpoint of our flock, even when our position may be unpopular or politically incorrect.

During this dark time, the Russian Orthodox Church was persecuted most fiercely. “Countless new-martyrs and confessors, holy hierarchs, royal passion-bearers and pastors, monks and layman, men, women and children… blossomed in the spiritual meadow of Russia,” refused to compromise their faith and willingly suffered a martyr’s death for Christ (Troparion to the new-martyrs of Russia).

Many of these saints, before their martyric death, participated in an historic event, the All-Russian Church Council of 1917-1918. This council (August 28, 1917 – September 20, 1918) of 564 delegates included not only the hierarchs of the Church, but also elected representatives of the married clergy, the monastics and the laity. Such a comprehensive gathering, full of so many saints, had never before been convened in Russia, nor has such an authoritative council been held since.

Time after time this gathering of saints, through the documents and decrees produced at the All-Russian Council, called all the faithful to participate fully in the life of the Church. This meant that the laity, both men and women, was invited: to participate in the administration of the parish by serving on the parish council, to teach in parish schools, to perform missionary work, and to participate more fully in the liturgical life of the Church.

We are grateful that this year we will mark the tenth anniversary of the union between our Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia.

On the 15th of July 2016, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church instructed the Synodal Theological Committee to study the documents of the Pan-Orthodox Council held on the Island of Crete in 2016. We hope to soon be able to read this report.

It is our fervent hope that you, brothers and sisters, will strive to live a holistic Orthodox Christian way of life. This comprehensive Christian life includes becoming true spiritual children of the new-martyrs of Russia able to courageously withstand all of the temptations of our age. It also embraces an active participation in all aspects of parish life.