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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bishop Basil of Sergievo

My joy of what has been going on between ROCOR and the MP has been somewhat overshadowed by recent events to do with the aforementioned retired bishop of the Patriarchate of Moscow. I was so looking forward to the positive effect that a reunited Russian Orthodox presence here in Britain could have had on missionary activity. Yet, at the same time this was seeming more like a reality, Bishop Basil has done this thing, with the aid of the Oecumenical Patriarch, no less.

I know very little about the current situation. It is my understanding that the Moscow Patriarchate's investigation is still ongoing and that they wish to hear Bishop Basil's testimony before taking further action, yet he refuses to submit to the authority of his Patriarch and the Holy Synod, considering himself to be under the jurisdiction of the Oecumenical Patriarchate and now calling himself the Bishop of Amphipolis. I usually don't go in for grapevine politics but I understand that he has been summoned for a third time to appear.

Does anybody know more about this? When is this to take place? If he doesn't turn up, (which is most likely to be the case), how is this likely to affect already strained relations between Moscow and Constantinople? I know that a large part of the reason that talks of union between ROCOR and the Holy Synod of Milan were thwarted because of the latter's refusal to conform to the canonical norms in light of the fact that they had previously accepted a deposed (defrocked?) priest of ROCOR and consecrated him as a "bishop". Is this a similar situation? Should Moscow accept the reality that Bishop basil has already set up his exarchate under Patriarch Batolomeos or would this set an unhealthy and dangerous precedent for DIY religion in Orthodoxy, with no regard for the canons and decency of Church order? Should Constantinople rescind its acceptance of Bishop Basil, at least temporarily, pending a decision from Moscow? Is this whole affair just another in a long line of examples of Constantinople's power-grabbing in light of the grim reality that Orthodoxy is almost non-existent on his own geographical territory?

I'd love to know more. As for the outcome, I suppose we can only wait and see, all the while praying that we don't see a complete severing of communion between Constantinople and Moscow.

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