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)