2006-08-23 14:58:00

Moscow Patriarchate in solidarity with American Episcopalian bishops who refused to support the woman leader of their Church

Moscow, August 23, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church has expressed its support for the bishops of the Episcopal Church in the USA who decided to refrain from recognizing Catherine Jefferts-Shori as the leader elect of this organization.

‘I would like to assure you that I fully share the stand you have taken... the Russian Orthodox Church supports your act and expresses willingness to restore relations with your diocese’, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad says in his letter to Bishop Duncan of Pittsburg, Bishop Salmon of South Carolina and Bishop Scofield of San Joaquin.

Earlier they signed a letter explaining that they refused to support the new leader of the Episcopal Church because the old church tradition was violated.

The metropolitan reminded his addressees of ‘not an easy step’ taken by the Russian Church on December 26, 2003, when it discontinued contacts with the Episcopal Church in the USA because of the episcopal ‘consecration’ of Jene Robinson, an open homosexual.

‘Through this act, the sinful way of life strictly condemned by Holy Scriptures has been supported by church leaders - the fact that defies any reasonable explanation’, the metropolitan stressed.

He expressed the conviction that liberal secular ideas, whatever one’s personal attitude to them may be, ‘cannot and must not adjust the Apostolic Tradition and the understanding of New Testament texts guarded by this Tradition’.

‘Any attempt to adjust Christian morality and especially the church order to the political tastes of an external environment is dangerous as it threatens with a loss of Christian identity’, the Russian church hierarch affirmed.

He also added that earlier the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Churches stated its openness ‘to contacts and cooperation with those American Episcopalians who remain faithful to the gospel’s moral teaching’.

See the full text of the letter under the Documents heading.