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Russian Church creates Exarchate in Africa

Deacon Lance

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MOSCOW. Dec 29 (Interfax) - The Moscow Patriarchate is establishing a Patriarchal Exarchate in Africa following the decision by Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria to recognize the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) founded by Constantinople.

https://interfax.com/newsroom/top-stories/73502/
 

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This schism to me is more disastrous than Moscow-Constantinople. Receiving 102 clergymen and starting and exarchate in a land already occupied by Alexandria is a stretch too far by Moscow (especially considering their constant cries about respecting their own canonical territories. The hypocrisy is stunning).

Moscow, in playing itself as the righteous victim, shows itself to be an ambitious bully with no real motivation other than dominance of the Eastern Orthodox.
 

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Lord, have mercy.
 

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I say right away: I do not understand this issue. But there is an indirect, but quite reliable, criterion: Tell me who your enemy is, and I'll tell you who you are. If the admission of African clergy to the jurisdiction of the ROC irritates Catholics and figures such as Deacon Andrey Kuraev or abbatus_mozdok, then there is a non-zero probability that this was a good, correct decision :p
 

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May God have mercy on us. Schism is never easy to deal with.

I will say in my opinion that from a Pastoral side, having a diocese of Cairo and North Africa, and a dicoese of Johannesburg and South Africa is the right move. The continent is way too large to be under one Patriarch.
 

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The continent is way too large to be under one Patriarch.
Why? It’s not like a singe guy has to deal with the whole continent. Patriarchs have you know other bishops under them.

It should be under a local patriarch though. Doesn’t really make sense to have a patriarch from another continent.
 

ndigila

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Why? It’s not like a singe guy has to deal with the whole continent. Patriarchs have you know other bishops under them.

It should be under a local patriarch though. Doesn’t really make sense to have a patriarch from another continent.
Yup you're right. Most of the Bishops are Cypriot Greeks who spend more time in Cyprus than in the Continent. I believe we are down to 3 African Bishops. His Grace Neophytos of Nyeri, His Grace Silvestros of Gulu, and His Grace Innocentios of Burundi
 

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Why? It’s not like a singe guy has to deal with the whole continent. Patriarchs have you know other bishops under them.

It should be under a local patriarch though. Doesn’t really make sense to have a patriarch from another continent.
The only person involved in American ecclesial life who should make a comment is a member of the OCA; otherwise every other US Jurisdiction finds its ultimate Synodal authority on another continent.
 

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I say right away: I do not understand this issue. But there is an indirect, but quite reliable, criterion: Tell me who your enemy is, and I'll tell you who you are. If the admission of African clergy to the jurisdiction of the ROC irritates Catholics and figures such as Deacon Andrey Kuraev or abbatus_mozdok, then there is a non-zero probability that this was a good, correct decision :p
MP's position viz-a-viz Ukraine is, "Don't meddle in our affairs in our undisputed sovereign territory." Now, to spite those that they believe have actively done so or have supported such a move, they are doing the same - meddling in the affairs of another Patriarchate on their undisputed sovereign territory. Instead of raising the dialogue, they are lowering themselves to their caricature of their "enemies."
 

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Russia is probably saying to other autocephalous churches tempted to recognize the Ukrainian autocephaly: behave or else we’ll set up shop in your backyard. I guess a lot also depends on the specific national legislation: how easy it difficult is força new ecclesiastical identity to be recognized by the respective states, but smaller churches living in majority non-orthodox lands are probably most at risk of being wrecked by future
Muscovite interventions.
 

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Most of the Bishops are Cypriot Greeks who spend more time in Cyprus than in the Continent. I believe we are down to 3 African Bishops. His Grace Neophytos of Nyeri, His Grace Silvestros of Gulu, and His Grace Innocentios of Burundi
Didn’t know that. A shame really. Hopefully you’ll get more or we finally get union with OOs. Or both.

Not comparable since there’s no unified local church in North America.
 

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Yup you're right. Most of the Bishops are Cypriot Greeks who spend more time in Cyprus than in the Continent. I believe we are down to 3 African Bishops. His Grace Neophytos of Nyeri, His Grace Silvestros of Gulu, and His Grace Innocentios of Burundi
Wow, and this has come down from a much larger figure, hasn't it? That's sad.
 

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I believe we are down to 3 African Bishops. His Grace Neophytos of Nyeri, His Grace Silvestros of Gulu, and His Grace Innocentios of Burundi
While this isn't a good situation (to have the number so low), I know that one of the contributing factors is that the Patriarchate has paid for celibate clergy to go overseas and obtain additional education/training (like Bp. Neophytos did, for example) - and some of those clergy don't return to serve in Africa. It's a risk all jurisdictions take, but I think it's more painful for Alexandria. May the Spirit stir the hearts of good archpastors to enter into the Lord's service for His people!
 

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While this isn't a good situation (to have the number so low), I know that one of the contributing factors is that the Patriarchate has paid for celibate clergy to go overseas and obtain additional education/training (like Bp. Neophytos did, for example) - and some of those clergy don't return to serve in Africa. It's a risk all jurisdictions take, but I think it's more painful for Alexandria. May the Spirit stir the hearts of good archpastors to enter into the Lord's service for His people!
Thank you for this information. We often don't know enough but are quick to draw our own conclusions. Lord have mercy and provide according to Your will.
 

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MP's position
Greece in Ukraine: "We take a handful of schismatics, self-ordained, defrocked, and in general any scum, if only they were against Russia, and call it Church."
Russia in Africa: "We will go towards the people who do not wish to be in communion with the schismatics, and take them in [real] Church."
I can't put an equal sign between these two events, in any way.
 

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Why? It’s not like a singe guy has to deal with the whole continent. Patriarchs have you know other bishops under them.

It should be under a local patriarch though. Doesn’t really make sense to have a patriarch from another continent.
Another continent...like European Cyprus or Greece.
 

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This schism to me is more disastrous than Moscow-Constantinople. Receiving 102 clergymen and starting and exarchate in a land already occupied by Alexandria is a stretch too far by Moscow (especially considering their constant cries about respecting their own canonical territories. The hypocrisy is stunning).

Moscow, in playing itself as the righteous victim, shows itself to be an ambitious bully with no real motivation other than dominance of the Eastern Orthodox.
Alas, the continent is not occupied by Orthodox after they placed themselves under Philaret's anathema. Also, the Ecumenical Councils only recognized Northern Africa under Alexandria.
 

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Didn’t know that. A shame really. Hopefully you’ll get more or we finally get union with OOs. Or both.



Not comparable since there’s no unified local church in North America.
Greece? Estonia?
 

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Should these numerous priests and their flocks be left without episcopal oversight? This is just the first of many steps that will need to be taken to protect the flock. New dioceses will be created in all countries where there are no longer Orthodox hierarchs. Let's not forget that the EP just met with schismatics from Macedonia.
 

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Alas, the continent is not occupied by Orthodox after they placed themselves under Philaret's anathema.
This is an unprecedented position on this kind of timetable. With the exceptions of those situations created by anathemas of Ecumenical Councils, the Church never rushed to "fill the void" immediately upon schism. She's always understood that these, with time, could be healed.

Also, the Ecumenical Councils only recognized Northern Africa under Alexandria.
Moot point - Moscow has taken the position in the past that Russian-speaking parishes in sub-Saharan Africa belong under the AP.

Should these numerous priests and their flocks be left without episcopal oversight?
They have bishops, and should submit to them. Presbyters don't have the right or authority to go Hierarch-shopping.

This is just the first of many steps that will need to be taken to protect the flock. New dioceses will be created in all countries where there are no longer Orthodox hierarchs.
Read: Moscow is imitating Beijing in projecting national interests.
 

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Lord have mercy. I really hope this will help the faithful in Africa (instead of damaging them) and in missionary outreach there, against which Greek ethnophyletism is propably a stumbling block to as it is anywhere else. Also don't forget that the claim of the AP to the whole of Africa was a pretension of Meletios Metaxakis going back to the 1920s, and not some kind of historical and ancient and undisputed prerogative.
 

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Besides, to look at it a bit more cynical - competition is good for the "customer". The American Orthodox landscape would certainly look a lot different and certainly worse if GOARCH were to be the only jurisdiction there. To make this endeavour pay off for the Russian Church, they have to make sure they substantialize the illegitimacy of the AP's claim to Subsaharan soil. That is only feasible through missionary work - and there is not a bad chance that in ten years the Russian Exarchate will outnumber the AP.
 

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Alas, the continent is not occupied by Orthodox after they placed themselves under Philaret's anathema. Also, the Ecumenical Councils only recognized Northern Africa under Alexandria.
By this way of thinking, all churches which have not broken communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Patriarchate of Alexandria are by extension under the same anathema, and Moscow, for its failure to break communion with all of those churches, itself falls under the same anathema. This common dictum that communion with schismatics renders a bishop himself schismatic falls into absurd incoherence when its application is understood as being an immediate and automatic process. Moscow does not have the authority to pronounce that entire churches have departed from the Orthodox Church (though one could be forgiven for having the impression that Moscow wishes to have this kind of abusive papal power, a form of lunacy that presaged the departure of the papacy from the Orthodox Church), and this is borne out by the fact that other churches which Moscow itself recognizes as Orthodox continue to keep the patriarch of Alexandria in their diptychs.
 

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Interestingly, canonical objections are quite possible against the admission of African clerics to the ROC.
The conducted canonical analysis allows us to draw the following conclusions:

1. Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria and other bishops of the APC, having entered into communion with the so-called "Orthodox Church of Ukraine", committed a grave canonical crime.
2. Bishops who have entered into communion with the OCU, however, are canonically legitimate bishops of the Orthodox Church who are awaiting trial over themselves.
3. The crime committed by them gives grounds for other Churches to sever canonical communion with the perpetrators. Thus, the decision of the Synod of the ROC to break off communication with those who have entered into communication with the OCU can be recognized as legitimate and fair.
4. At the same time, the canons do not punish in any way those who, having no communication with the OCU, maintain communication with these bishops.
5. Clerics subordinate to these bishops cannot legally stop their commemoration and transfer to the ROC.
6. At the same time, they should not obey the requirement to communicate with the OCU (if they are required to do so).
7. Africa is the canonical territory of the Church of Alexandria. Any orders of the ROC on its territory or in relation to its clerics contradict the canons.
8. The only canonically legal way to resolve the current situation is the judicial verdict of the Ecumenical Church in relation to the canonical crimes of the Patriarchs of Alexandria, as well as the Patriarchs of Constantinople (for example, in the form of a decision of the Pan-Orthodox Council). Only such a council is a legitimate ecclesiastical authority for the episcopate of Constantinople, Alexandria and other autocephalous Churches. Only he can revoke the non-canonical decisions of the hierarchy of these Churches and, if necessary, condemn them as violators.
However, mostly political ones are heard. Well, where your treasure is...
 

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Have you tried to consider issues of faith from the standpoint of faith, not politics?
All the time, believe me. But it can be a hard thing to disentangle with Moscow, for example, when the MP forbade Church funerals for Ukrainian soldiers who fought against Russian incursions into Ukrainian territory but allowed them for Russian-backed insurgents and Russian military dead. I'm 100% against the intertwining of the Church into State interests if they hamper the Church from doing its job and exercising its voice, regardless of the location (Russia, Greece, Cyprus, etc.).

Lord have mercy. I really hope this will help the faithful in Africa (instead of damaging them) and in missionary outreach there, against which Greek ethnophyletism is propably a stumbling block to as it is anywhere else.
Uh, you mean the Greeks who translated the divine services into indigenous languages, until recently paid for local cleric salaries out of state funds, promoted development of local music, etc.? Greeks don't have their hands clean everywhere (read: Antioch, Jerusalem), but the missionary efforts in sub-Saharan Africa have been genuine. I'm all for every autocephalous Church helping with the missionary efforts, provided that the missionaries and clerics are under obedience to the canonical hierarchs (i.e. the bishops appointed by Alexandria).

Interestingly, canonical objections are quite possible against the admission of African clerics to the ROC.
Uh, they've been made. The fact that some won't listen to them unless they come from a Russian language source is telling in its own right.

However, mostly political ones are heard. Well, where your treasure is...
Misapplied scripture. Political aspirations are seen where they are obvious. Good faithful Ukrainian Orthodox Christians have been accusing the MP of being too swayed by politics for years; the fact that the OCU isn't the ideal solution to the problem doesn't diminish the fact that, to those both around Kyiv and outside Ukraine, Russian interests seem to be backed by the MP unquestioningly. There's no sense of the internal tensions that marked, say, the SOC under Pat. Pavle of blessed memory, or the public negative commentary of the CoG against government policy in Athens. If it's there, then it's well hidden from those living outside Russian borders - but my suspicion, in this modern age of information sharing, is that it doesn't exist, which isn't a good thing.
 

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It’s not that complicated. MP is right when it comes to Ukraine but wrong when it comes to Africa. The latter is exactly for the same reason why MP objects EP actions in Ukraine. Ukraine belongs to MP and Africa belongs to AP.
 

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While this isn't a good situation (to have the number so low), I know that one of the contributing factors is that the Patriarchate has paid for celibate clergy to go overseas and obtain additional education/training (like Bp. Neophytos did, for example) - and some of those clergy don't return to serve in Africa. It's a risk all jurisdictions take, but I think it's more painful for Alexandria. May the Spirit stir the hearts of good archpastors to enter into the Lord's service for His people!
If African celibate clergy will now go to Russia to obtain additional education/ training, they may be very happy to return to Africa rather than staying. This alone may increase the number of native born African Bishops.
 

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hurrah, for using racial slurs and for debate and polemics in Christian News, I'm giving you 200 points for 2 weeks. If you wish to appeal, you may do so via PM. --Ainnir
All the time
)))))
Now, to spite those that they believe have actively done so or have supported such a move, they are doing the same - meddling in the affairs of another Patriarchate on their undisputed sovereign territory. Instead of raising the dialogue, they are lowering themselves to their caricature of their "enemies."
Read: Moscow is imitating Beijing in projecting national interests.
Politics. The African clergy turned on their own initiative, and the reason for this was the canonical crime of the Alexandrian hierarchs. We can discuss the canonicity of this initiative, but to talk about what is happening the way you do is to throw Cold War slogans.

Russian incursions into Ukrainian
8 years ago, outright Nazis came to power in Ukraine, killing people - primarily civilians, including children - for all these years just because they are Russians. Imagine that Tennessee invaded Georgia on the basis of "what these (removed --Ainnir) allow themselves" and with a program to "cut and burn (removed --Ainnir)." Do you approve?

The fact that some won't listen to them unless they come from a Russian language source is telling in its own right.
Firstly, this text is the first clear objection to the substance that caught my eye; secondly, I brought it to this topic myself - and you accuse me of bias?

Misapplied scripture. - Norm applied.

Good faithful
Nazi.

Ukrainian Orthodox Christians have been accusing the MP of being too swayed by politics for years; the fact that the OCU isn't the ideal solution to the problem
OCU is not "not an ideal solution to problems", OCU is the problem - first of all for the eternal salvation of all those involved in it. And yes, this is politics.
***
We can do this endlessly. One person somewhere on the Internet is not able to defeat the propaganda machine.
 
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Ariend

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MP's position viz-a-viz Ukraine is, "Don't meddle in our affairs in our undisputed sovereign territory." Now, to spite those that they believe have actively done so or have supported such a move, they are doing the same - meddling in the affairs of another Patriarchate on their undisputed sovereign territory. Instead of raising the dialogue, they are lowering themselves to their caricature of their "enemies."
I think basic logic will find a completely understandable reason why many MP clergy feel they have to establish parishes and monasteries in Africa under the MP.
Their logic:
1. The Patriarchate of Alexandria is schismatic.
2. It endangers one's soul to to be in a schismatic Church.
3. Ergo, churches under the Patriarchate of Alexandria are endangering people's souls.
4. So, it is necessary to establish parishes in Africa where the African people can truly find salvation (i.e., under the MP), and where their souls will not be in danger.

Also, remember that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is not convening a pan-Orthodox council on this matter, despite calls from several different primates for a pan-Orthodox council. His stubbornness isn't helping in the healing of this schism. Both sides are at fault.
They have bishops, and should submit to them. Presbyters don't have the right or authority to go Hierarch-shopping.
Except these bishops may or may not be schismatic. Remember, the view that Orthodox Christians should no longer be members of the EP, the Church of Greece, the Church of Cyprus, or the Alexandrian Patriarchate is now a legitimate view in the Orthodox Church. So even though the opposing view is also a legitimate view in the Church, you have to understand why many priests believe they can no longer remain under any of these 4 autocephalous Churches, for the sake of the salvation of their own souls and the souls of their flocks.
 

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I think basic logic will find a completely understandable reason why many MP clergy feel they have to establish parishes and monasteries in Africa under the MP.
Their logic:
1. The Patriarchate of Alexandria is schismatic.
2. It endangers one's soul to to be in a schismatic Church.
3. Ergo, churches under the Patriarchate of Alexandria are endangering people's souls.
4. So, it is necessary to establish parishes in Africa where the African people can truly find salvation (i.e., under the MP), and where their souls will not be in danger.

Also, remember that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is not convening a pan-Orthodox council on this matter, despite calls from several different primates for a pan-Orthodox council. His stubbornness isn't helping in the healing of this schism. Both sides are at fault.

Except these bishops may or may not be schismatic. Remember, the view that Orthodox Christians should no longer be members of the EP, the Church of Greece, the Church of Cyprus, or the Alexandrian Patriarchate is now a legitimate view in the Orthodox Church. So even though the opposing view is also a legitimate view in the Church, you have to understand why many priests believe they can no longer remain under any of these 4 autocephalous Churches, for the sake of the salvation of their own souls and the souls of their flocks.
That’s not how that works. According to canons 13-15 of the First-and-Second Council, the only justifiable reason for a priest to break communion with his bishop is if the bishop publicly preaches or teaches some heresy which has been condemned by a council. According to the same canons, such a priest who breaks communion with his bishop who has not preached heresy publicly and before he has been condemned by synodal judgment is himself liable to deposition
 

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Interview with the new Russian Exarch:

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon assured each other of mutual prayers and exchanged information on the situation with regard to the spread of Covid-19 in the United States and Russia. They noted with regret that, due to the epidemic situation, the expected meeting of the two Primates in November in connection with the celebration of the 75th anniversary of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill could not take place, but expressed their hope that, under favorable circumstances, such a meeting would be held in the spring of 2022.


So this apparently took place the day before the African move.
 

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The only person involved in American ecclesial life who should make a comment is a member of the OCA; otherwise every other US Jurisdiction finds its ultimate Synodal authority on another continent.
Yey, I can comment.
😇
 

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By this way of thinking, all churches which have not broken communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Patriarchate of Alexandria are by extension under the same anathema, and Moscow, for its failure to break communion with all of those churches, itself falls under the same anathema. This common dictum that communion with schismatics renders a bishop himself schismatic falls into absurd incoherence when its application is understood as being an immediate and automatic process.
I want to answer you in the FFA section in case it could be debating.
 
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I want to answer you in the FFA section in case it could be debating.
I responded here in message #280:
 
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