Theologian substantiates admission of clerics of Alexandrian Church to ROC

Priest Georgy Maksimov. Photo:

After Pat. Theodore concelebrated with the head of the OCU, a number of clergymen of the Alexandrian Church rebuffed communion with schismatics, Father Georgy writes.

The Russian Orthodox Church can create its jurisdiction in Africa and receive clerics of the Alexandrian Patriarchate without letters of leave from their bishops after Patriarch Theodore recognized the schismatic structure of the OCU, theologian Priest Georgy Maksimov believes. His article “On the Canonical Aspect of Receiving African Clergy into the Russian Orthodox Church” published on the Pravoslavie.Ru website, provides grounds for these actions following the decision of Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria to concelebrate with the head of the OCU.

In particular, the theologian writes that until the beginning of the twentieth century, the title of the Patriarch of Alexandria sounded like this: "Pope and Patriarch of the Great City of Alexandria, Libya, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, and all Egypt." And only Meletius (Metaxakis), who led the Alexandrian See from 1926 to 1935, added the words “and of All Africa” to his title. "This serious extension of the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria was not the result of Pan-Orthodox discussion or any conciliar decision, but only the unilateral decision of one ambiguous historical figure," the priest notes. He believes this should be a response to the statements of some Greek bishops of the Alexandrian Patriarchate that Africa allegedly always belonged to the Alexandrian Church.

At the same time, it was the recognition by the Patriarch of Alexandria of the schismatics from the OCU on November 8, 2019 that caused the ROC to open its jurisdiction in Africa, since in a number of African countries there were already parishes whose parishioners were predominantly from countries of canonical responsibility of the Russian Church. “The churches were built by Russians, and Russian priests have been serving in them, but at the Liturgy they commemorated the Patriarch of Alexandria and local Greek hierarchs in their jurisdiction,” writes Priest George Maximov. “The treacherous act of Patriarch Theodoros, who earlier supported the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, has placed the Russian Church in a complicated situation. It has on a number of occasions warned its flock against communion with schismatics, and now there was a situation in which the laity it baptized and the clergy it sent to Africa could be entering into communion with a schism through prayer and Eucharistic Communion with the Patriarch of Alexandria, who has accepted this schismatic organization as if it were a Church."

After the opening of jurisdiction in Africa, the clergy of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, who did not want to enter into communion with the schismatics together with the parishioners, began to appeal to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. As the theologian writes, in ordinary situations, the acceptance of clergymen without a release document from his hierarch would be impossible. But now no one of the bishops of the Alexandrian Orthodox Church has expressed disagreement with the actions of Patriarch Theodore to support the schism in Ukraine. “Inasmuch as a ruling hierarch who categorically rejects the path of schism has not been found in the Church of Alexandria, then the only remaining possibility for these clergymen is to turn to a bishop of another canonical Church that has guarded itself from entering into schism," says Priest George Maximov.

As reported by the UOJ, the ROC intends to admit clerics of the Alexandrian Church who did not recognize the OCU.

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