On Erring Hierarchs and Ecclesial Elitism

Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky) 1873-1965

First Hierarch of ROCOR 1936-1964

Archbishop John [Maximovitch] says that we have not deviated from the right path pointed out to us by Metropolitan Anthony [Khrapovitsky]. We are a part of the Russian Church and breathe with the spirit of the Russian Church of all ages. But it is dangerous to draw from this the extreme conclusion that we are the only Church, and that we need pay no attention to the others or reckon with them. We are going along the right path, and the others have declined from it, but we must not proudly despise the others, for there are Orthodox hierarchs and priests everywhere. The words of Maximus the Confessor are often cited: ‘if the whole universe were to communicate [with the Ecumenical Patriarch], I alone would not.’ But he said: ‘if’. And when the Prophet Elijah thought that he alone kept the faith, the Lord revealed to him that there were still 7,000 others… (New Zion in Babylon IV pg. 143 by Vladimir Moss)

The false policy belongs to the church authority and the responsibility for it falls on its leaders. Only heresy adopted by the whole Church tarnishes the whole Church. In this case, the people are not responsible for the behavior of the leaders, and the Church, as such, remains unblemished. (Synodal Archives, Council of Bishops 1953, Protocol No 5, 3/16 October, p. 16 excerpted from Nun Vassa [Larin] The Ecclesiastical Principle of Oikonomia and the ROCOR Under Metropolitan Anastassy)


  1. Are there any quotes on the issue of schismatics and the Old Calendarists by Met. Philaret? I know of the synodal statement of ROCOR from 1971 which states they do not, nor does any individual church have the canonical right to condemn another church as heretical, but is there anything specifically from Met. Philaret himself? Thanks

  2. 1974, my mistake.

  3. Aaron,

    Not yet. ROCOR officially accepted the ordinations of the Greek Old Calendarists and went into communion with them in 1969, by the mid-70’s they broke communion with them due to all the infighting. ROCOR also maintained communion with World Orthodoxy through Jerusalem and Serbia.

    Met. Philaret sent the Matthewites the ruling of 1974 in a letter, but he was of the opinion that the MP and the Metropolia/OCA were “graceless”; much has been made of this. Quite surprising, however, ROCOR was in talks with the OCA and the Matthewites at the same time. Met. Philaret acknowledges this fact in his letter to Solzhenitsyn:
    Not long ago, when the American Church declared herself autocephalous, we invited her to unity anew, but our invitation went unheeded. In spite of this, in painful consciousness of our lack of unity, our Council recently decided to approach our brothers with another invitation. And still we sincerely and warmly hope for unity, and are convinced that, with goodwill on their side, conditions of unity could be found, as they were in America in 1936.(Reply to A. Solzhenitsyn)

    God willing, I’ll be posting more quotes.

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