DIOCESE OF EASTERN AMERICA AND NEW YORK: March 19, 2009
Resolution of the Eastern American Diocesan Assembly
Representatives of the parish clergy and laity of the Eastern American Diocese, having gathered on March 16-18, 2009, for a Regular Diocesan Assembly, under the holy aegis of the relics of the Lord’s Life-Creating Cross, His Raiment, and His Life-Creating Tomb, under the sacred canopy of St Vladimir’s Memorial Church dedicated to the Millennial Celebration of the Baptism of Russia, and under the presidency of His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, raised up their prayers to the Lord of Hosts for the repose of the souls of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy, and His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, the latter having passed away on March 16 of last year, on the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, and of those builders of this majestic church here buried: Archbishops Vitaly (Maximenko; +1960) and Nikon (Rklitsky; +1976). Our meeting opened with the serving of a pannikhida for these departed hierarchs, led by our First Hierarch and concelebrated by Bishop Mercurius, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the United States, Bishop George of Mayfield, and Bishop Jerome of Manhattan.
We rejoice in the Lord over the election of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who in his sermons has called us to repent “in newness of life” (Romans 6:4), and to an apostolic mission among the people and in society, in spreading the good news of Christ’s Light, which “enlighteneth all.” To this we are called also by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, who said the following in his opening address: “We must have pastoral care for those who have always lived and remain within the Church, nurture them, show attention to them, take part in their life, travel with them on the path to God. There are also children of the Diocese who have come from the lands of the former Soviet Union in more recent times, and who, yearning for the Homeland, find it in our churches. For their churching and enlightenment we must not only take thought, but intercede in prayer before the throne of God. We must actively provide them with the good news of Christ, the Gospel, and the Church… We must extend a helping hand to those who live next door to us; that is, we must engage in missionary work. We have the possibility to share with local Americans the rich legacy of the Russian Orthodox Church, its traditions and spirit, the ideals of Holy Russia.”
In his presentation, Bishop George of Mayfield continued those thoughts on missionary service expressed by His Eminence, while Bishop Jerome of Manhattan shared his memories of the renowned archpastoral efforts and legacy of Archbishop Nikon, who selflessly served the fortification and growth of our parishes in North America, and who fostered in our midst a truly Orthodox worldview. Over the course of our discussions, which passed in a spirit of brotherly love, the question of Ecumenism arose, a teaching which continues to disrupt the peace of members of the whole Russian Orthodox Church. Here, His Eminence, Vladyka Hilarion, reminded the participants of the Meeting of the decisions of the Councils of the Moscow Patriarchate, condemning both the “branch theory” and joint prayer with heretics, and of the declaration of Patriarch Kirill, who emphasized at a Local Council that deciding the issue of Ecumenism is absolutely necessary to help quell misunderstandings that lead to fighting within the Church, brought on by supporters of one view accusing their ideological opponents of betrayal and apostasy. Participants at the meeting echoed their support for these statements, and continue to grieve for those who have fallen away from us through misunderstanding. We pray for them, awaiting their return, that we may “in oneness of mind and ceaseless love” once more praise the name of God “with one voice and one heart.”
With heartfelt gratitude we thank our merciful father and hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, and the Bishop’s Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, who provided our Diocese with Bishops George and Jerome, for fatherly care of us.
We raise up prayers of thanksgiving to God, who allowed us to meet at His holy altar, to pray together, and to commune from a single Chalice the Holy Mysteries of Christ, in these days of our “spiritual spring.”