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Beyond 17 May 2012

17 May 2012 marks the fifth anniversary of the reconciliation of the Moscow-based part of the worldwide Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church Inside Russia, and the New York-based part, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). Various measures will be taken to commemorate this event and to iron out misunderstandings which have occasionally occurred between the two parts.

It must be said that these misunderstandings all relate back to the past, when the Church Inside Russia was subject to atheist persecution. In the past, both parts suffered therefore from isolation from one another. Now that excesses and extremes on both sides have moved out of the Church, our essential and unbreakable unity is clear to all of good will. The common Voyage to the Centre, to the mainstream, has brought all together. The tired polemics of an ever more distant past have retreated to the museums.

‘United we stand, divided we fall’, says the proverb. Now, together and therefore much stronger, our unity ever more reinforced, we can move ahead. If our worldwide Russian Orthodox mission is to bear fruit, there is much to do - and time is short . Having brought together our own peoples, our next duty is to appeal to those who claim to be of our Tradition, but are still cut off from us in tragic self-isolation, especially in the Americas and in France. Our duty after this is to all the peoples of the world.

But how shall we commemorate our unity beyond this fifth anniversary? These are my wishes, but perhaps some of them at least may strike chords with others:

1. Let this date, 17 May, henceforth be known as ‘The Day of Unity and Faithfulness’ (День Единства и Верности). For unity is not possible at any price. True unity only comes with faithfulness to our common Tradition in the purity of Orthodoxy, avoiding all extremes, both to the left and to the right.

2. Let a monument be raised up in a suitable site in Moscow, perhaps outside the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, and also in Paris, outside the new Cathedral that is to be built there. And let copies of this monumental sculpture be raised up in North America, in South America and in Australia. And let this monument be dedicated to émigré Russia, to all those exiles who struggled for Faith and Rus (За Веру и за Русь), to all who were ‘persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’. Let it take the form perhaps of a banished White officer and his family, standing beneath the Cross, looking towards the centre of Moscow, waiting for the Day of Resurrection of Russia.

3. Let one of the 200 churches which are to be built in Russia be dedicated to St Alexis and St Laurus and let it become the metochion (подворье) of all Russian Orthodox Outside Russia, whether, for the moment, within the jurisdiction of Moscow or of New York.

4. Let the new Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Paris be dedicated to the Royal Martyrs.

5. Let the relics of Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev and Galicia be moved from Belgrade and let them be taken to the New Jerusalem Monastery outside Moscow, where they shall find their proper resting place.

As God wills!

Archpriest Andrew Phillips

8/21 November 2011
Feast of St Michael and all the Holy Archangels and Bodiless Hosts

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