ROCA Bishops Council Epistle

The Bishops Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad greets its faithful members in these joyous days with the Paschal salutation:

Christ is Risen!

In many ways, the future of our Church depends on each of its members.The faithful of the Church must understand that the Christian way of life is yet another embodiment of the sermon of the Gospel. The entire way of the Church is the way of unity in Christ. As an example of such unity, the past of the Russian Church Abroad is with us to this day, and since it is a Holy Legacy, we desire to remain faithful to it. We bear in mind the admonitions of the Saint Patriarch Tikhon and all our First Hierarchs – Metropolitans Anthony, Anastasy, Philaret, and Vitaliy – and we stand firm in that immaculate Orthodox confession, to which the entire Orthodox Church has held throughout the years. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8).

In the manner of our Lord, we have strived to unite everyone and offered an invitation to members of the divided ROCA to begin a dialogue, but unfortunately our voice has not been heard by many to this day. Nevertheless, we do not cease to hope that the flock which finds itself in disunity will respond one day to our call to gather our Church together.

In these sorrowful days, the actions of many of those who call themselves Orthodox attest to their loss of the spirit of Christ. Having conducted and justified praying together with heretics and entering into arrangements with the mighty of this world for the sake of their material well-being, they have lost the very ability to distinguish good and evil. Still we call upon our flock to not become bitter and continue to entreat God to turn the hearts of those who recently were our brothers and who are now our persecutors.

In light of the new wave of harassment which Christians are experiencing from the governments of the lands they find themselves in (we are experiencing this in Argentina), as well as from the Moscow Patriarchate, we call upon all of you, dear fathers, brothers and sisters to stand firm in the Truth. Neither tribulation, nor distress, nor persecution, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor sword will keep you from Christ’s love! (Romans 8:35) God will give those who Love Him the strength to overcome all tribulations!

May the words of the Victor over this world console us in these days and for all time: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

+Metropolitan Agafangel
+Archbishop Andronik
+Archbishop Sofroniy
+Archbishop Ioann
+Bishop Georgiy
+Bishop Afanasy
+Bishop Gregory
+Bishop Kirill
+Bishop Dionisiy

Odessa, 2010