Ultra-conservative Russian church leadership meets in Moscow


Credo.Press, 24 January 2019


A council of bishops of the All-Russian Metropolia of the Orthodox Catholic Church (Pravoslavnaia Kafolicheskaia Tserkovā€”PKTs) was held in the Moscow residence of the synod of this church on 23 January. As the official website of the PKTs reports, eleven bishops participated in the council, another five bishops sent to the council their written opinions, and two bishops of the PKTs serving outside Russia sent greetings to the council. The official website does not cite the names and titles of council participants.


According to the official report, the council reviewed "texts of the circular letters of the episcopate of the All-Russian Metropolia, addressed to bishops, clergy, monastics and laity of the Orthodox Catholic Church," although, as council participant Bishop Manuil told the portal Credo.Press, these messages were not adopted. The council reviewed "critical matters of church life regarding specifics of the conduct of episcopal and clerical ministry in the contemporary world and also the paths of monastic activity in circumstances of modernity, . . . the question of the place and role of women in modern church life, considering especially the question of the ministry of women in the church as deaconesses, which evokes disputes and misunderstandings in the Orthodox world," and issues of the liturgical calendar. Nothing is said in the official communication about the adoption of decisions on these matters.


The council of bishops confirmed that "the Orthodox Catholic Church is a church of scriptures and tradition, and, responding to the challenges of the modern world, it always has as the foundation of its church life the careful preservation of the treasure of the Christian tradition. And in this sense the All-Russian Metropolia has been, is, and always will be a traditionalist church, not accepting 'modernism' and 'novelty' for the sake of 'accommodation' of the church to the morals, customs, and opinions of humanity that are constantly changing in the 'spirit of the times.'"


Bishop Manuil partially revealed in conversation with a correspondent of the portal the decisions of the council, particularly the attitude of the PKTs to ecumenism. He said "No kind of 'ecumenism,' proposing some 'unification of churches,' is possible in principle within the Catholic Church. . . . There is only one church, and there cannot be any kind of other churches in principle, and therefore ecumenism is unthinkable for the Catholic Church."


The council recognized the ministry of deaconesses in the church as possible, but without special ordination and vesting with a deacon's stole. Regarding the use in services of the new calendar style, the council appealed to the resolution of the Holy Governing Synod of 1911, according to which parishes in the kingdom of Finland were permitted under some circumstances to use the "new" style for holidays of the non-movable cycle of the church year. At the same time, it was recognized that it is necessary for all parishes of the PKTs to observe Pascha in accordance with the "Alexandrian" paschalia.


The centralized religious organization Metropolia of the Orthodox Catholic Church was registered in the Russian Ministry of Justice on 12 July 2017. It has existed as a separate legal entity with the name Russian Orthodox Catholic Church since the early 1990s, when Greek Catholic Bishop Vikenty ordained, presumably concelebrating with someone of the bishops of the RPTsMP, Bishops Mikhail (who is now the primate of the PKTs) and Alexis. The PKTs considers itself a continuation of the "Daniel branch" of the catacomb church of the 1930s. It is estimated that the PKTs consists of about 20 parishes, some of which perform the divine liturgy in accordance with the Latin rite and use the "new" calendar style. (tr. by PDS, posted 24 January 2019)

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