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On the history of disagreements between the ROCOR and the Western European Exarchate

Commenting on the prohibition of ROCOR priests to serve together with the clergy of the Archdiocese of Western European parishes of the Russian tradition, the Orthodoxy and Zombies Telegram channel notes that the ban on concelebration without an official announcement of a break in Eucharistic communion had already been practiced in the ROCOR earlier.

“So, without formally breaking off communion with the Serbian Church, the Council of Bishops of the ROCOR forbade its priests to concelebrate with the clergy of the Serbian Patriarchate after Patriarch German of Serbia became vice-president of the World Council of Churches (ecumenism for ROCOR is heresy),” writes Telegram- channel.

According to the authors, “the topic of the schism between the ROCOR and the Archdiocese of Russian parishes in Western Europe is still more interesting.

The first person in the ROCOR who forbade his priests to celebrate the liturgy with the clergy of the Archdiocese was not Archbishop Mark of Berlin (Arndt), but Bishop Irenaeus of London and Western Europe (Steenberg). One of the reasons for this was the transfer at the end of August of nine ROCOR clerics from England to the Archdiocese without a letter of leave. <…>

But the roots of this decision go even deeper. In December 2020, Archbishop John Renneto accepted the Greek Catholic priest James Siemens, who served in Wales, as a clergyman of the Archdiocese. Bishop Irenaeus considered that Siemens needed to be re-ordained and attacked John Rennetau with public criticism, and also issued a directive prohibiting concelebration with the clergy of the Archdiocese. At the same time, the patron of Irenaeus, Metropolitan Hilarion, for example, received in 2010 the present dignity of Catholic Gabriel Bunge, which did not prevent them from serving together. <…>

The real reason for the split, it seems, lies in the figure of Archbishop John Renneto himself. He regularly shocks the episcopate of the ROCOR and the MP with his actions. For example, by visiting the enthronement of the new Metropolitan of Gallic Demetrius (Constantinople). For church government, he is a problematic figure. They say that the bishops of the ROCOR refuse to go to the Bishops’ Council of the ROC if Archbishop John is there, ”writes the Telegram channel.

Earlier, Metropolitan Mark (Arndt) of Berlin and German ROCOR forbade the clergy of his diocese to concelebrate with the clergy of the Archdiocese of Western European parishes of the Russian tradition, headed by the Archdiocese administrator, Metropolitan of Dubna John Renneto.

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