Positive resolution at last

Monday, May 27, at St Tikhon's Monastery: From left: Bishop Michael, Archbishop Benjamin, former OCA Metropolitan Jonah, current OCA Metropolitan Tikhon, ROCOR Metropolitan Hilarion, Bishop Melchizedek, and Bishop Mark.

Monday, May 27, at St Tikhon’s Monastery: From left: Bishop Michael, Archbishop Benjamin, former OCA Metropolitan Jonah, current OCA Metropolitan Tikhon, ROCOR Metropolitan Hilarion, Bishop Melchizedek, and Bishop Mark


“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;

As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”

-Psalm 133 KJV (132 LXX)

As many of you may have read via oca.org, e-mail, or the OCA Facebook page, Metropolitan Jonah’s ecclesiastical and financial situation with the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) has finally been resolved. As reported on the OCA website here, Metropolitan Tikhon invited Metropolitan Jonah to meet with him and members of the OCA Holy Synod this past Monday at St Tikhon’s Orthodox Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania to reach a consensus on his situation.

It appears that all has at last been settled, and that the hierarchs and senior clergy in the OCA have agreed to honor Patriarch Kirill’s admonition in his November 2012 congratulatory letter to Metropolitan Tikhon that “through the efforts of Your Beatitude the American Church will restore full-fledged relations with other Local Orthodox Churches, restore peace and harmony within herself and make comfortable the further life of your predecessor at the Metropolitan See of Washington.” (Emphasis mine). Glory to God that after months of uncertainty, this at last has been accomplished!

Here is the text of the short article posted on Monday on OCA.org:

May 27, 2013

Metropolitan Tikhon, Holy Synod members meet with Metropolitan Jonah

SYOSSET, NY [OCA]

A brief statement with regard to the retirement of His Eminence, Metropolitan Jonah was issued by the Office of Archpriest John Jillions, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, on Monday, May 27, 2013.

The text of the statement reads as follows.
“At the invitation of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, His Eminence, Metropolitan Jonah met with a number of members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery, South Canaan, PA and reached an understanding with the Holy Synod concerning his retirement. Following their meeting, Metropolitans Tikhon and Jonah, together with hierarchs of the Holy Synod and guest hierarchs, including His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, concelebrated the Divine Liturgy marking the 109th annual Pilgrimage to the monastery.”

On Monday, May 27, Memorial Day, Metropolitans Tikhon, Jonah and Hilarion concelebrate the Divine Liturgy in the belltower of St Tikhon's Monastery, South Canaan, PA.

On Monday, May 27, Memorial Day, Metropolitans Tikhon, Jonah and Hilarion concelebrate the Divine Liturgy in the belltower of St Tikhon’s Monastery, South Canaan, PA.

Additionally, from this article on the pilgrimage to St Tikhon’s Monastery posted yesterday, May 28, on the OCA website, one may read the following excerpt:

“. . . In the revival of another custom that had faded in the 1980s, the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the monastery bell tower, rather than the pavilion, on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27.  Concelebrating with Metropolitan Tikhon were Metropolitan Jonah; Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia; Archbishop Benjamin; Bishop Melchizedek of Pittsburgh; Bishop Michael; and Bishop Mark.”

In terms of the details of the agreement reached between the hierarchs, Metropolitan Jonah has been awarded a monthly stipend along with insurance coverage to support his continued ministry in the life of the Church, and he will not be expected to absent himself from both Dallas and Washington, D.C. as some senior OCA leaders had previously demanded, but will free to live where he likes. He be listed as the OCA’s most recently retired former Primate and Metropolitan, and he will keep the style of Metropolitan, since he was consecrated to this primatial honor by the grace of the Holy Spirit at his enthronement at St Nicholas Cathedral in November 2008. 

Joyfully, Metropolitan Jonah is also free to serve wherever he likes and will be at liberty to eventually start a monastery in the DC Metropolitan area, as he has wished to do for some time. Plans are currently underway to look into acquiring a rural Maryland site near Washington, D.C. which has a host of beautiful buildings. Evidently, the OCA hierarchs have agreed that they will no longer oppose his transfer to another Orthodox jurisdiction (as some had previously) in the event that another jurisdiction requests his reception.

Metropolitans Jonah and Tikhon exchange the kiss of peace during the Divine Liturgy on Monday, May 27, 2013 at St Tikhon's Monastery in South Canaan, PA.

Metropolitans Jonah and Tikhon exchange the kiss of peace during the Divine Liturgy on Monday, May 27, 2013 at St Tikhon’s Monastery in South Canaan, PA.

In the meantime, two weeks ago Metropolitan Jonah launched a new seminar at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St John the Baptist in DC, “Orthodoxy 101”. Here are links to the YouTube video recordings of the first and second lectures, respectively. For this seminar series, Vladyka has encouraged us to do additional readings and out-of-class research, in the manner of an engaging university seminar.

It is my sincere hope, as it is the hope of so many Orthodox Christians who have either remained in their parishes or found their spiritual home in another jurisdiction, that the OCA senior hierarchs will offer a public apology for the deeply offensive letter they released on July 16, 2012 which contains many falsehoods about Metropolitan Jonah. In time, I hope that the OCA hierarchs will realize that this simple step – a public apology for issuing a letter containing so many false allegations about their primate – will do more than any continued silence to bring about a fullness of healing to the faithful within the OCA. This is my hope, but not my expectation.

Still, these are joyous developments, and I am very glad that things have at last been resolved in a dignified and fair way. Glory to God for His providence which brings good out of evil and causes us to rejoice after sorrows.

Joyfully in the Risen Lord,

-Silouan

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Commemorating the four year anniversary of Patriarch Kirill’s enthronement

Video

This beautiful video is essentially a synopsis of parts of the Friday, February 1 festal Liturgy at Moscow’s restored Christ the Savior Cathedral commemorating Patriarch Kirill‘s enthronement four years ago.

The ethereal singing of the Meet is is/ Dostoino ‘yest to the Theotokos as His Holiness processed into the Cathedral and venerated the main icons and relics deeply moved me. Among the senior metropolitans con-celebrating at the cathedral with the Patriarch were His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

It was also a joy to behold the Patriarch’s profound reverence for the divine presence in the consecrated Eucharist following the epiklesis. I had never seen a bishop or priest fall completely prostrate before the altar as he did! In his prostration before the consecrated elements, his deep piety here shows his awareness and integration of his symbolic and liturgical role as the spiritual leader of the Russian Church, offering the prayers of all Russian Orthodox people before the altar.

It also struck me that the Church allowed cameras in the altar area itself, so what the viewer sees happening in the altar is truly remarkable- the intense emotions on the face of the Patriarch during the anamnesis and epiklesis itself. His deep reverence reminded me of how I imagine the most pious and devout of the High Priests at the Temple of Jerusalem would have been!

Following the Liturgy, His Holiness gave a sermon in which he outlined what he believed were the achievements of the past four years in the life of the Russian Church, and where he hoped additional developments would occur. Here is a YouTube recording of his sermon in Russian.

President Vladimir Putin, in his capacity as head of state of the Russian Federation, sent Patriarch Kirill a congratulatory telegram, while Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev, as chairman of the Russian Government, met with the Patriarch along with his wife, Svetlana Medvedeva, who works closely with the Moscow Patriarchate coordinating joint Church-state efforts to ease the plight in orphanages, assist drug addicts, and advocate for traditional moral causes.

February 1, 2013- Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Svetlana Medvedeva congratulate Patriarch Kirill on the fourth anniversary of his enthronement.

February 1, 2013- Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Svetlana Medvedeva congratulate Patriarch Kirill on the fourth anniversary of his enthronement.

On Saturday, February 2, following a solemn Divine Liturgy, the Holy Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church under the presidency of Patriarch Kirill convened in Christ the Savior Cathedral.

February 2- the Holy Council (Synod) of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church convened in Christ the Savior Cathedral under the presidency of Patriarch Kirill

February 2- the Holy Council (Synod) of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church convened in Christ the Savior Cathedral under the presidency of Patriarch Kirill