MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 6th, 2011
During a 2011 visit to Moscow for pastoral purposes, His Beatitude Met. ANGELOS, then President of the Holy Synod, along with His Vicar Bishop of Martyropolis Bp. Porfyrios, had a meeting with the Chiefsecretary of the True Russian Orthodox Church under His Holiness the Archibishop of Moscow and Metropolitan of Russia RAFAIL, Archimandrite Daniel Mogutnov, who expressed the wish of His Holiness to proceed in Eucharistic Communion.
The discussion carried on and came to fulfillment in the residence of Metropolitan Sergios, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the True Russian Orthodox Church.
As a result, a FULL EUCHARISTIC COMMUNION was agreed to be established between the two Churches. The first official Concelebration was scheduled take place in the Holy Synodical Convent of Theotokos the Birthgiver (Theogennitoros) in Avlona of Attica on the 14/27 of March 2011, Sunday of Cross-Veneration.
B. SIGNING OF “AGREEMENT FOR COMMUNION”
ATHENS, MARCH 27th 2011
From left: Bishop Cherubheim, Archbishop Andreas, Archimandrite Daniel, Metropolitan Andreas,
Metropolitan Sergios, Metropolitan Angelos, Archbishop Andreas, Bishop Porphyrios
How admirable your Gifts are, Our All-Holy Mother Theotokos, we could rightfully cry out towards Her, for the Lavish Grace she granted us during this period of time!
As known in the Ecclesiastic World, our Holy Synod was established by the Will of God since we had tried everything possible in our powers to find a viable ecclesiastic course. In this regard, we proceeded very carefully and after much prayer, employing the tactic of the “Open Door”, like Apostle Paul used to do. As a result, we are at the time of the establishment of this communion, we were in the pleasant position to announce that the Hierarchs constituting our Holy Synod, already numbered seven, after the addition of two famous (for their spiritual work) Georgian Hierarchs: Metropolitan of Abhazia and Sconditsky IOATHAM and Metropolitan of Tbilishi and Khartlinsky CHRISTOPHOR.
A big, wide and very clear door has been opened for us, with the Blessing of our Lord. His almighty Hand, led us in an Historical Ecclesiastic Communion. Here is the Chronicle of this unique event:
In the beginning of February 2011, Metropolitan Angelos together with His Vicar, Bishop Porfyrios of Martyropolis, visited Moscow especially for this matter. Discussions began in the middle of January with a very immediate and clear proposition for Ecclesiastic Communion, coming from the Legendary Catacombian Church (nowadays Genuine Orthodox Church of Russia) under the Omoforion of His Holiness, Metropolitan Raphael. For this reason, we traveled to Moscow, in order to discuss this issue face to face.
First, the headsecretary of this Holy Synod, Archimandrite Daniel, visited us in our Hotel and gave to us all the documents about the Russian Synod. Being satisfied with what he read, our Metropolitan agreed to proceed further. So, we continued our discussions at the residence of the Russian synod’s Director of Foreign Affairs, Metropolitan Sergiost. His Eminence proposed we arrange a Concelebration. After a short discussion, we arrived at this resolution:
1. We would study carefully the documents.
2. Then we could arrange a Concelebration in Athens to establish the Communion.
3. Finally, we would arrange a major Concelebration in Moscow, for the confirmation of the Communion.
The very next day, we started this process.
First of all, a few words for the Russian Church itself. This very church, is coming from the historic Church of Catacombs. The CC was founded by two Metropolitans: Joseph of Petrogrand and Kyril Smirnof, with the written permission of St Patriarch Tikhon. Joseph and Kyril were exeuted in 1937. (They were recently Canonized as saints by the Russian Patriarchate). Then, other Churches from Abroad helped them by concecrating Bishops for them. These Churches included the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, Patriarchate of Georgia and even the ROCOR (Metr. Vitalii). The RTOC bishops today come from this very line, having canonical succession. As a proof, the Russian state has recognized the canonicity of this particular Synod, by registering it, which is a unique act of recognition!
Finding out all this, Metropolitan Angelos was pleased enough to give his blessing for the first Concelebration. Thus, March 26, 2011, our Holy Synod, under the leadership of our Father, went to the International Hellenic Aeroport to welcome the Russian Delegation, consisting of :
Metropolitan of Mavrovouni and Exarch in Balkans, SERGIOS.
Metropolitan of Kiev and Galikia and Exarch of Ukraina, ANDREI.
Archibishop of Tver and Kashini, MARK.
Archibishop of Volokolam, ANDREI.
Archimandrite Daniel Mogutnov, Chief Secretary of the Holy Russian Synod
Subdeacon Oleg and Subdeacon Dimitry.
Having welcomed them, we went to our Synodical Monastery of Theogennitoros where our Clergy also welcomed the Hierarchs. A Monastic Trapeza followed.
The next day, the Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross, the majestic event of the impressive Concelebration occured.
During the Matins, the ritual of Signing the Document of Agreement for Communion, took place. Metropolitan Sergii on behalf of the Russian Church and Bishop Porfyrii on behalf of the Greek Church, signed the Document, after His Beatitude our President mgr Angelos, blessed the Communion by reading a special prayer.
Speeches were delivered, after which Metropolitan Sergii decorated our Father, with the precious Silver Star of the spiritual order “Star of Life”, for his effort on promoting the Inter-Ecclesiastical Communion and spiritual co-operation.
A magnificent Liturgy followed, with the Church filled to capacity by the more than one thousand people present. At the end, a Litany of the Holy Cross took place, and this great religious event ended in joy and glorification. The multitudes of people, took the blessings of the Hierarchs and wished them a good spiritual work in the name of Christ. After the festive Trapeza, a discussion was made, in which all of the Hierarchs together decided that the major Concelebration for confirming the Holy Communion, will take place on July, in Moscow, after the Holy Apostles Fast.
On Monday, the Russian delegation, escorted by His Beatitude Met. Angelos and His Grace Bp. Porfyrios, visited the Parishes and the Monasteries of our Synod and admired the spiritual work of our Father’s, the same impression they had had on Sunday evening, when they visited the Archangel Michael men’s Monastery.
On Monday, again, in our Convent of Fastlistener, a tasty Monastic Trapeza took place, for our dear guests’ sake. That evening, the farewell Trapeza took place in the Convent of Theogennitoros, during which, the Russian Hierarchs expressed their love and devotion to our Metropolitan Angelos, with enthusiastic, as well as heartfelt words.
Finally, on Tuesday morning, the Delegation departed from our International Airport, on their way back home. Once again they expressed their true love to our Father (“never I felt this way for an Hierarch, like I did for Metropolitan Angelos, my new True Brother” said Metropolitan Sergii, “your beloved Father, is now my Father as well!” Archimandrite Daniel added). Glory to our God for all of his precious gifts and especially for this Gift of establishing Ecclesiastic Communion with the Sister Russian Church! May He preserve for long-long years this gift of communion as a testament to the holy work of our beloved Father, Elder, Guide, Master and Metropolitan Angelos, for the good of His Church and the glorification of His Almighty name, AMEN!