MONTREAL: March 9, 2010
Great-Lenten Resolution of the Pastoral Retreat and Assembly of the Canadian Diocese
Of the Pastoral Gathering and Diocesan Assembly of the Canadian Diocese
During the saving days of the Great Lent, we, the clergy of the Canadian Diocese, gathered at the St Nicholas' cathedral in Montreal (Quebec) for our annual pastoral gathering and Diocesan assembly, wherein the laity also took part. This, joyous for all of us, meeting headed by His Grace Gabriel, Bishop of Montreal and Canada, who has already spent a year at the head of the now united Canadian diocese, was held in the spirit of love and helped all the participants to strengthen their hearts in the hope of the meeting of the greatest and most mysterious Feast of Feasts: the Holy Resurrection of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
During the meeting, not only the specific life of the Diocese, but the life of the entire Russian Church, both in the Fatherland and in the Diaspora, was discussed. In the years that passed since the reestablishment of the Eucharistic and canonical unity, we had the opportunity to be affirmed in the belief that the decision regarding such reestablishment, made by our Hierarchy, headed then by the ever-memorable His Holiness Alexis II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, the Very Most Reverend Metropolitan Laurus, is truly the grace-filled and healing will of God. Constantly, we feel the good fruits of the unity. At the same time, our gathering expressed a concern with the known growth of statements in support of drawing closer to the Roman Catholics, and of accepting their mysteries, which becomes a direct contradiction to the Holy Canons. Such opinions, especially expressed by those in the rank of a Hierarch, are capable of causing a confusion and temptation in the Church. It was most recently, on the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, that we heard the awesome words, directed by the Church to those, who deviated from the Truth of Christ, as it is expressed in the Symbol of the Faith, confirmed by the Ecumenical Councils.
This year, the Russian Diaspora celebrates the 90th anniversary of the existence of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which came to be by the special providence of God during the years of the Russian upheaval. We believe that to this day the need for our ministry beyond the borders of the Fatherland is far from filled and that is wisely foreseen in the Act for the reestablishment of the Canonical and Eucharistic communion in the Russian Church.
Most important for all the participants were the preparation, prayer and Divine services. Specifically, the prayerful state of spirit helped in the discussion of the fairly complex questions, which demanded quick resolution and were related to the daily life of our Diocese. At some time, one of the richest and well functioning Dioceses in our Russian Church Abroad, the Canadian Diocese in recent years is having a multitude of difficulties. However, at the same time the merciful Lord does not abandon us. The life of the Diocese is gradually getting better. Calling upon the help of God, in the course of our meeting, we tried to find the ways to restore that, which at some time used to be the foundation of the life of the Canadian Diocese: spiritual strength, unwavering stand in Orthodoxy, together with successful administrative life, both at the parish and at the diocese level. Yet discussing the administration, we tried not to forget that the Lord humbles, and He again mercifully raises up and restores a hundredfold, which is now happening before our eyes. The only way to establish Church life correctly is in the perpetual following of the commandment, given to us by the Holy Apostle Paul: "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2).
February 17/March 2 - February 18/March 3, 2010