January 18, 2007

 

Dear Bishop Gabriel:

 

It was with sadness that I read your letter to our dear Father Wsevolod.  He is all that a good Russian Orthodox priest should be and while I think your letter was hurtful to him I do not think that it will sway him from his faithful stand on behalf of our Holy Church. His flock recognize him as their good shepherd .

 

It will be truly sad if you start legal action but perhaps it will not be as easy as you seem to think.  The political climate is changing as President Putin slowly but consistently returns Russia to the Soviet Union. Every day there are news from Russia that show that the Act of Union was premature . I assume that you have read Archbishop Mark's interview where he foresees that in Germany there will be inevitably only one diocese.  Does not your diocese and all ROCOR dioceses suffer the same situation?   Since the Act of Union was signed, is it not equally forseeable that ROCOR inevitably will blend seamlessly with the Moscow Patriarchate?   Yet we believe that the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has a God given mission that has not been completed.  

 

Vladyka, you yourself first alerted me several years ago to the possibility of a union with the Moscow Patriarchate. You asked me and others to do what we could to oppose such a union. As a result I wrote several letters to His Eminence Metropolite Lavr, as did others. Until May 17 you staunchly opposed the union.  You have since then undergone a radical and unexplained change of  position.  We have not.  What was true for Your Grace, for myself and for others three years ago is still true for us today. Yet you reprove  Fr. Wsevolod for believing what you yourself believed in the years before May 17, 2007.

 

In any event, church buildings have only a relative importance and the powerful of this world usually have their way ( but only on earth!). As for ourselves, we will be blessed if we can pray together, anywhere, provided that we have a priest and a bishop who stand firm against a union with the Moscow Patriarchate because such a union at this time contradicts our beliefs. 

 

No matter how convinced you may be of the righteousness of your decisions, nevertheless this is probably a very painful time for you, as it is for all of us.  If only the Synod of Bishops had not rushed into this union, we would not be so divided today.  But what is done cannot  be easily undone and we must now follow our consciences in the expectation of the Lord's Judgement

 

Asking Your Grace's blessing , I remain a faithful daughter of the Holy Orthodox Church.

 

kn. Irina Sergeyevna Bagration Moukhranskaya