Sofia, February 27, 2023
According to a recent decision of its Holy Synod, the clergy of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church are to refrain from concelebrating with the Russian Orthodox Church’s Exarch of Africa, at least for the time being.
At its regular session on Friday, February 24, the Synod examined a letter from Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria “informing it of the non-canonical actions of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia in the canonical (geographical) territories of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the imposition of ecclesiastical punishment on Metropolitan Leonid Gorbachev (Moscow Patriarchate) and his return to the rank of monk, as well as the suspension of commemoration of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia for an indefinite period,” the Bulgarian Church reports.
Recall that on Patriarch Theodoros stops commemorating Patriarch Kirill, Russian Exarch declared defrocked by AlexandriaToday’s decision from Alexandria marks the first time another primate has ceased commemorating Pat. Kirill.
“>November 22, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria resolved to defrock Met. Leonid after nearly a year of the Russian Church’s African Exarchate operating on its territory. The Alexandrian Synodal Court also ruled to defrock Archpriests George Maximov and Andrei Novikov Patriarchate of Alexandria rules to defrock two Russian priestsThe priests were tried in absentia. Fr. Andrei has already returned to Russia, while Fr. George remains in Africa but did not appear at the trial.”>in February 2022, citing their activity on the Patriarchate’s own canonical territory.
The Bulgarian Synod unanimously voted to send Pat. Theodoros’ letter to the Synodal Canon Law Commission to investigate the ongoing problem in Africa in detail and then further acquaint the Synod.
The hierarchs also voted 8-3 that clergy of the Bulgarian Church are to refrain from serving with Met. Leonid until the Synod makes its final decision.
The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece took a firmer stand earlier this month, resolving to recognize the defrocking of Met. Leonid and to inform all dioceses of the Greek Church of this decision.
Russian Synod rejects Alexandria’s defrocking of Russian hierarch and clergyDue to Pat. Theodoros’ communion with schismatics and “proceeding from the universally recognized principle rooted in the canons and Tradition of the non-jurisdiction of the clergy of one autocephalous Church to the court of another autocephalous Church,” the Russian Holy Synod ruled yesterday to consider the defrocking of Met. Leonid and the other Russian clergy “as having no canonical force and invalid.”
“>In December, the Russian Holy Synod ruled Alexandria’s defrocking of Met. Leonid and Frs. George and Andrei “as having no canonical force and invalid.”
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