Metropolitan Leonid of Klin (Gorbachev), the Patriarchal Exarch of the Russian Orthodox Church in Africa, denied accusations against the Russian Church, which has formed its structure on the territory of the African continent, Interfax reports.
According to him, only two weeks have passed since the historic decision of the Holy Synod, so it is too early to talk about all the steps taken.
“We hoped to the last that the leadership of the Alexandrian Orthodox Church would understand the tragedy of their steps and take the only correct decision, refusing to support the schism. We did not prepare for anything in advance, but, believe me, we will not hesitate. Now a full-scale program is being created not only for the development of parishes, but also for the full-fledged presence of the Russian Orthodox Church on the continent, including liturgical, educational, social, and humanitarian components.
Every community has its own characteristics. Orthodoxy is unique in that it does not eliminate, does not erase national traditions, culture – it unites everything and everyone in Christ. I have spoken about this many times, carrying my obedience both abroad and within Russia. We will not break local foundations and traditions. Orthodoxy has always been characterized by patience and love. Therefore, on the contrary, let us support and preserve the individuality of each community on the continent, if its peculiarities do not contradict the teachings of the Church. These traditions will not affect the course of the service,” says the Patriarchal Exarch.
Also, answering the question about the possible acceptance by the Russian Church the representatives of other Churches who do not agree with the recognition of the Phanar`s project in Ukraine, Metropolitan Leonid replied that the ROC is not interested in expansion, but protects those who disagree with the schism.
“The Russian Orthodox Church is not expanding. The Patriarch of Constantinople committed a canonical crime by entering into church communion with schismatics. A number of Orthodox churches supported this illegal decision and co-served with people who do not have canonical, that is, legal, ordination, who are not clergy. We know that, according to the teaching of the Church, “he who communicates with schismatics himself becomes a schismatic.” We have defended and will continue to defend the Orthodox, who refuse to associate themselves with the schism,” the hierarch promises.
As previously reported, about half of the clergy can leave the Patriarchate of Alexandria.