U.S. hierarchs demand Phanar to cancel consecration of deposed ROCOR cleric

Alexander Belya. Photo: stmatrona.com

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States is jeopardized due to the possible consecration of cleric Alexander Belya, banned by the ROCOR.

U.S. Orthodox Bishops from the Antiochian, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian Churches and the Orthodox Church in America wrote a collective letter to the head of the Phanar Archdiocese in the USA, Archbishop Elpidophoros. It is opposed to the hierarchal consecration of Alexander Belya, who was defrocked by the ROCOR. The letter was published on the National Herald website.

The hierarchs note that if Belya is elevated to the episcopacy, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States will no longer be able to participate in the Assembly.

“It was with pain of heart and great dismay that we learned from Your Eminence of the decision to proceed with the episcopal consecration of Alexander Belya, a former cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, whose canonical discipline and ultimate deposition is accepted and recognized as a canonical action by us all. In addition to our canonical concerns, we have serious questions about his character based on past direct and indirect interactions with him and his family. We feel duty bound as your brothers and concelebrants at the Holy Altar to plead with you and your Patriarchate to reconsider this decision for the sake of our common devotion to Orthodox unity and canonical order,” the letter addressed to the head of the Phanar Archdiocese in the USA reads.

Alexander Belya is known for the fact that, being a clergyman of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, he tried to receive episcopal consecration in Moscow on the basis of a fake decision of the ROCOR Synod, as it turned out. The fact that Archbishop Elpidophoros received him in his current rank has already caused tension in the US ecclesiastical environment.

“Moreover, we must flee from any action that risks the broader Pan-Orthodox unity that exists among all of us. As is well known to Your Eminence, many of us officially protested the creation of the so-called Slavic Vicariate precisely because of its consequences for our Orthodox unity and the questions raised about the canonical status of Alexander Belya. There are those of us who have explained to you that we find it impossible to concelebrate with him and the vicariate. Naturally, then, we cannot continue participating in the Assembly itself if this man is elevated to the episcopacy and thereby becomes an Assembly member. With great sorrow, we must question our ability to continue our in-person meetings and precious concelebrations,” the letter notes.

“As we approach the Feast of the Holy Apostles, having celebrated the bestowal of the Holy Spirit – the Paraclete that calls us to unity – we respectfully entreat you and the Ecumenical Patriarchate to reconsider this decision, which imperils the unity for which we yearn,” the hierarchs exhort the Archbishop.

Earlier, the UOJ reported that the Phanar Archdiocese in the United States would change its policy on harassment of the clergy.

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