Послание Архиерейского Собора РПЦЗ от 14/27 октября 2000 г. вызвало недоумение и возражения среди клира и мирян РПЦЗ. Многие такие отзывы верных чад РПЦЗ были суммированы здесь.
Через пять недель после опубликования этого Послания, в праздник Введения во Храм Пресвятыя Богородицы, Первоиерарх РПЦЗ Митрополит Виталий написал комментарии по поводу Послания Архиерейского Собора, которые приводится ниже. Будем надеяться, что архиереи РПЦЗ пересмотрят своё Послание в свете замечаний Владыки Виталия.
Послание Митрополита Виталия Первоиерарха Русской Православной Зарубежной Церкви
Возлюбленные братья и сестры!
По окончанию нашего Архиерейского
Собора я, как Первоиерарх Святой Русской Зарубежной Церкви, считаю своим
долгом уверить всех вас, что наша Церковь, которая уже 80 лет идет прямым
Христовым путем, не будет уклоняться ни в какие сомнительные трущобы. С другой
стороны, мы не можем быть безразличными и молчаливыми во всех вопросах и
действиях духовных явлений в России.
The Epistle of the Council of Bishops of ROCOR of October 14/27 2000 raised doubts and controversy among ROCOR faithful. Many of these comments are summarized here.
Five weeks after publication of the Epistle, on the day of Feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God in the Temple, First Hierarch of ROCOR, Metropolitan Vitaly, commented on the Epistle of the Bishop's Council, as presented below. Let us hope that ROCOR Bishops will review their Epistle in the light of Metropolitan's remarks.
Beloved brothers and sisters!
Now that the meeting of the Bishops' Council, or Sobor, is over, I consider it my duty, as First Hierarch of the Holy Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, to assure all of you that our Church, which has followed along the straight path of Christ these 80 years, will not turn aside into any dubious byways. On the other hand, we cannot be indifferent and silent as regards questions affecting what is happening on the spiritual level in Russia.
The Moscow Patriarchate has now glorified the Royal Martyrs, whom we have glorified long ago, and we have sent thousands of icons of them throughout the whole of Russia. In this way, the whole of Russia became aware of the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. Now many people cannot help wondering why the Moscow Patriarchate did not simply recognize our glorification and adopt it for itself. The answer is very simple. To recognize our glorification would mean recognizing our Church Abroad as a lawful Church which had left the borders of the fatherland and existed these 80 years beyond the borders of Russia, with the blessing of the last lawful Patriarch of Russia, Patriarch Tikhon. This is something, which the Moscow Patriarchate to this very day cannot and will not do. Meanwhile believers in Russia demand a glorification. Therefore, the Moscow Patriarchate decided to perform an act of political machination and undertake its own glorification, with the sole aim of quieting the voice of its believers and thereby managing to prolong its own existence. In other words, the Moscow Patriarchate, which is the direct heir of the Soviet executioners, arrayed in the fleece of an innocent sheep put on over its wolf's hide, is now glorifying the murdered and tormented victims of its own communist leaders. Before that, for years the Moscow Patriarchate was in full concord with the Bolsheviks and the rulers in the USSR who exterminated hundreds of thousands of believers. Despite this, it was clear that the Russian people could not be torn away from the Church of Christ. That Pascha would always remain the peoples' greatest festivity. That red Easter eggs, kulich and cheese-pascha would adorn everyone's table at Easter time and even the state bakeries would sell the special Easter kulich while calling it sweetened bread. Seeing all this, Stalin was brought to a state of wild fury and said, "Obviously we can't turn all Russians into Bolsheviks; so we and only we will give them a Patriarch, as well as all the reverend clergy they need, and we'll open churches, which we will sell to them and increase taxes the whole time until they have no more means to exist."
The silent answer of believers in Russia to this was that they started to pray in their homes, and in each such apartment they made a house church with an iconostas and icons and even made their own incense using the resin from pine trees and drops of rose oil. Churches like this exist up to the present day. Despite the wonderful church buildings of the Patriarchate, the sumptuously arrayed clergy and splendid choirs, many believers prefer the crowded conditions of these apartments. Even at Pascha, when the processions are taking place in the official churches to the resounding peals of bells, there are people in apartment buildings, in corridors, quietly going in single file with candles in their hands, and singing in a whisper "Christ is Risen!" You cannot but ask yourself, "Who are these people?" They are believers who, while living in Russia alongside all the others, understand and feel precisely what the Moscow Patriarchate is, and what is its purpose and direction. These very people look to us, seeking our protection and understanding. Up to this day, they have received this from us and I want to assure all the children of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia that nothing has changed. As we have continued fearlessly on our path these 80 years, so we shall continue further. Our path is a very lonely one, because we stand for the Truth, but fear not, little flock, the Lord is with us! And if the Lord be with us, who shall be against us?
Now I want to return to the questions that are so disturbing to many of you. Firstly, I want to express my profound gratitude to all of you for your trust and love towards me, and in order to reassure you I want to explain the following. The Epistle from the Council of Bishops, in accordance with the laws governing a Council – an Assembly, or Sobor (since the very word "Sobor" means a common decision) must be signed by all. If any of the bishops has his own personal opinion, he has the right to express it separately in writing. The fact that I signed the Epistle is far from meaning that I am in agreement with each and every statement in it and I know that there are other bishops who thought as I do, but to compose an Epistle with which all would be completely satisfied is virtually impossible.
There is one further point that is of great concern to many of you. This is the establishment of a Synodal Committee to discuss questions of the unity of the Russian Church. I myself questioned what unity could be under consideration, when it should be quite clear to all that the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, which has preserved its spiritual freedom these 80 years, will never accept unity with the Moscow Patriarchate.
And so, faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, know that our Church has not betrayed its path and that we also, if we desire our salvation, must follow her path. There will be many trials and temptations, but remain as always faithful to the Lord and His Church, and do not forget that the most terrible thing for us is to depart from the Truth – which is to say, from Christ Himself.