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Letter of Met. Petros of Astoria Concerning His Loyalty to Russian Church Abroad's Ecclesiology

Ordination of Fr. Nikodimos Kalantis... L-R: Archimandrite (later ROCOR Bishop) Mitrophan (Znosko-Borovsky) of Boston; Deacon Emmanuel Kolombos; ROCOR Archbishop Leonty of Chile; Bishop Petros of Astoria, newly ordained Fr. Nikodimos Kalantis; ROCOR Archbishop Averky of Jordanville. At St. Markella’s in Astoria, July 22 / August 4, 1966.

Holy Diocese of Astoria

New York, America

To the devout Christian faithful of the Church of Greece

My beloved Children in the Lord,

It is safe to say that the latest events have become known to all of us, which have had as its result the (uncanonical) “removal” of my name from the members of the Holy Synod, precisely because I did not want to sign the encyclical of June 5th, 1974 (number 1191) that has been distributed as of late. And, also, as it is understood on page nine of the packet: “THUS DO WE BELIEVE, THUS DO WE SPEAK,” I have repeatedly refused my signature on this, as, in this case, it does not express the truth and at the same time suggests a blatant overstep of the rights of a local Synod of Bishops (see also “Orthodox Word”, October 1974, page 3 in my related article).

The truth of the above came to persevere lately and was distributed as an excerpt from the notes of a Synod meeting of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. In it, the following which refers the issue which we have concerned ourselves is as follows:

The first resolution of the Holy Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia pertaining to the questions set forth by the Old-Calendar Church bodies in Greece:

“The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia considers the introduction of the new calendar as a mistake, bringing irregularity into the life of the Church and in the final end causing a schism. Therefore, she did not accept it, does not accept it, and will not accept it and avoids concelebration with the new calendarists. As to the question regarding the presence or non-existence of grace among the new calendarists, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia does not regard itself or any local Church as having the authority to reach a final decision, since a definitive ruling in this matter can be made only by a properly convoked, competent Ecumenical Council, with the indispensable participation of the free Church of Russia.” 17/25 September 1974. (For the entire document with photocopies of the original, see “Orthodox Word” November - December 1974.)

Consequently, I believe it is a good time for me to say once again that absolutely no reason exists for my aforementioned “removal” as a member of the Holy Synod or for the imposition of any punishment against me; but, on the contrary, let it be, as can be seen from the text above, unto my praise and honor.

For this reason, with an eye towards the lifting of all scandal from your souls and unfair exploitation of what has come to pass, I demonstrate once again to all that I remain firm and faithful in the healthy and Orthodox rank of our Holy Struggle, having ecclesiastical communion only with our Holy Synod and that of Metropolitan Philaret.

In addition and on the occasion of the upcoming feast of Christ’s Nativity, I wish all of you the wealth of grace of He Who became man and was born in the cave for our salvation, Jesus Christ, our true God.

I remain, with fatherly prayers

PETROS of Astoria

Athens, 12/20/74


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