Moscow patriarchate publishes Black List of disputed clerics


Credo.Press, 20 November 2020


The Moscow patriarchate has started composing a public list of "false priests, including schismatics," who are conducting "illegal activity." A corresponding department has appeared 19 November on the website of the Department for Relations of Church and Society and News Media of the Moscow patriarchate.


"The problem of the activity of false priests in social media has become critical. Several persons are posing on the internet as priests, while they either never were such or they have been inhibited from ministry or expelled from the church. False priests are conducting blogs and channels on church topics on social networks, are offering pastoral advice, and receiving donations while they are deceiving believers," quotes an explanation.


Actually, a number of persons included in the list have been inhibited or expelled or are unordained only from the point of view of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (RPTsMP). In other jurisdictions to which they belong, some of these clerics have legal canonical status. And some of these jurisdictions are registered as religious organizations in accordance with procedure established by law.


In the first version of the "Black List" there are ten names. Among them are "former schehegumen" Sergius Romanov. Also identified as "false priests" are Mikhail Makhov (a former archpriest of the Ivanovo diocese of the RPTsMP); Alexander Lipin (a former deacon of the Vologda diocese who joined the "schism of the Sekachevtsy," actually a priest of the Vologda diocese of the ROCOR(A); Veniamin Filippov, a former priest of the Tula diocese of the RPTsMP (who is under the omophorion of Bishop Diomid); monastic priest Mikhail (secular name, Sergei Kucherov); monastic priest Antony (secular name, Petr Shliakhov); and schema monk priest Dimitry (secular name, Vladimir Bakanin). One other cleric, named Eduard Agee, is an archbishop of one of the "Diomid" dioceses, who heads a monastery in Pskov oblast and has been subjected to prosecution by Russian security forces. The last person on the list is Vladimir Golovin, who was stripped of clerical status in 2019.


It is noteworthy that clerics of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (RPATs) or several other "fragments" of the ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia), who have become active on the internet, were not included in the list.


Besides this, the website of the Department for Relations of Church and Society and News Media of the Moscow patriarchate has posted a list of internet sites that conduct unsanctioned collection of donations from persons of the patriarchate. Several of these sites provoke suspicion of fraud, the head of the synod's department, Vladimir Legoida, reported. (tr. by PDS, posted 21 November 2020)



Vzgliad, 20 November 2020


"The most obvious cause for the composition of the Black List was the activity of the Urals schema hegumen Sergius, who was inhibited from ministry," the religious studies scholar Roman Lunkin told Vzgliad newspaper. This is how he commented on the decision by the RPTs (Russian Orthodox Church) to publish a list of self-proclaimed priests, as well as fraudulent sites that are collecting funds in the name of the patriarchate.


"This is a unique step on the part of the Synod. Never before has it issued such Black Lists. The main reason for such a gesture is the appearance of a noticeable number of those who had previously been priests but subsequently broke with the RPTs and rejected its authority," the director of the Center for the Study of Problems of Religion and Society of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Roman Lunkin.


In the past, disgraced priests usually were marginalized, but now, thanks to the internet, their preaching continues to draw numerous viewers there and their popularity grows. The two most obvious examples are the former schema hegumen Sergius (Nikolai Romanov) and Vladimir Golovin, who also was removed from ministry in Tataria. They have the most subscribers in the social networks, [Vzgliad's] interlocutor noted.


Without the appearance of the social networks, there would not be such a Black List. In fact, the patriarchate cannot do anything about them. Thus the publication of a list is a warning for all genuine Orthodox, those who heed the opinion of Patriarch Kirill and want to follow the line of the leadership of the RPTs," Lunkin explained.


"The authors of the list were guided by the decisions of church courts regarding inhibition from ministry. Rather many of them have accumulated. In this way the patriarchate has entered into an ideological struggle with those who appropriate its symbols and authority," the religious studies scholar concluded.


On Thursday, the synodal Department for Relations of Church and Society and News Media published a list of false priests and fraudulent sites that are collecting funds in the name of the Russian Orthodox Church. In particular the list mentions the Urals schehegumen Sergius, whom a court of the Ekaterinburg diocese expelled from the church in September. It is noted that the schema monk was punished for insubordination to the church leadership and the decision stripping him of clerical status. Despite the ban, Sergius has continued to perform liturgies. (tr. by PDS, posted 22 November 2020)


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