BOSTON – The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in its recent meeting dealt with the ecclesiastical coup perpetrated by the Patriarchate of Moscow in its canonical jurisdiction, calling it an “immoral invasion and intrusion.”
The following was decided:
“A) To advise the Venerable Ecumenical Patriarchate and the local Churches through their Primates, by delivered Patriarchal Letters, which will describe the ‘plague’ of confusion which has fallen on ‘our children born in Christ,’ the faithful Africans, a consequence of [both] the manifest and invisible actions of the commissioned persons of the Russian Church, and;
“B) The faithful and direct application of the provisions of the Divine and Holy Canons, of Ecclesiastical Penalties, to the transgressors.”
It was written in the official announcement after the Synod that, “for the last two years, due to the recognition by Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria of the Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, we have suddenly faced the immoral invasion and intrusion of the Russian Church through non-canonical and indecent methods [contrary] to ecclesiastical practice and tradition, which was respected by all the predecessors of Patriarch Kiril.”
The Patriarchate of Alexandria emphasized that the Moscow Patriarchate essentially “acquired” clergy of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, in retaliation and consequently for the purpose of blackmail or revenge.
Also, it spoke of an attempt to alter Orthodox Ecclesiology, “for spiteful reasons, infected with the virus of ethnocentrism, which was condemned by the Synod of 1872.”
The full announcement of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa follows:
In the name of the Triune God, we gathered in the Great City of Alexandria at the invitation of His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa and with feelings of responsibility towards its flock and its centuries old historical Apostolic journey, the Hierarchs of the legendary and Ancient Patriarchate of Alexandria, following its meeting, examining in multiple and in various ways the canonical parameters of the anticanonical and anti-ecclesiastical incursion of the Russian Patriarchate to create new “ecclesiastical formations in Africa,” announces the following:
Already in the past few years, due to the fact of the recognition on behalf of His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, of the Autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, we suddenly received the immoral invasion and incursion of the Russian Church by methods of denying the ecclesiastical way and tradition, which all the late predecessors of Patriarch Kirill of Russia, respected, for the acquisition of native Clergy of our Patriarchate, as a direct imposition of retaliatory measures and consequently of blackmail or revenge against us. Already, following announcement of the 29th of December 2021, by the Patriarchate of Moscow, we now have the official decisions, and from them, statements of the Church of Russia and interviews of its executives, regarding the completely illegal establishment of an ‘Exarchate’, on the basis of its internal ‘statutes’ and not canonical provisions, within the boundaries of our Patriarchate, consisting of clergymen who have removed themselves, or those who under penance and of other unknown origin self-described as Orthodox, but never having belonged to the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
Through these actions, an attempt is made to alter Orthodox Ecclesiology in many of its individual parameters, but mainly in the issue of the limits of the administrative conformation of the structures of the Church of Christ, with motives starting far from the Orthodox Tradition. It is with regret that we understand that these always stem from reasons of ill will, and are infected by the “virus of ethnic hatred” condemned by the Synod of 1872.
Of course, the secular spirit is not absent from these decisions, still referring to the parameters of ‘neo-colonialism’ and claiming world primacy, known from times past οn the afflicted African continent, and not in agreement with the sacrificial [spirit in ministry] of our sanctified Orthodox Tradition.
The Synod of the Hierarchy of the Alexandrian Throne, in distressed astonishment, protests to the Patriarch of Russia and to his Synod. Astonished, because for us “the followers of our Holy Fathers,” the boundaries of each sister local Church are clear, geographical, and mapped by Ecumenical Synods and are worthy of respect.
We protest because in practice we have never been involved in the borders of any local sister Church, much less in the Russian Church. This is not only because the message of evangelical love is altered in this way, but also because having fought for a century and coexisting with various denominations and religions in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding, we receive a non-fraternal blow from Russians who have the same religion.
We consider that through these methods the essence of our Orthodox faith is once again brutally violated and most especially in the sensitive field of Mission in Africa, which is “nourished” by us “as an infant with milk and not by solid theological sustenance” according to the expression of Paul, which is for us a principle and measure, which guides our Apostolic efforts.