2009-09-11 18:47:00

Former Russian Church Bishop in Britain who almost split the local diocese offers his resignation

London, September 11, Interfax – Bishop Basil (Osborn) of Amphipolis who had illegally changed the Moscow Patriarchate for Constantinople, announced his retirement.

He told his London parish he would leave his post for health reasons, the Sourozh Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church reported to Interfax-Religion correspondent on Friday.

Russian parochial clerics of the British vicariate of Western Europe Exarchate received circular letters from Bishop Basil saying that their canonical status would be discussed at the next assembly of this Constantinople structure on November 28. Archbishop Gabriel of Komana is to chair the session.

Besides, it cleared out that Bishop Basil was going to leave Great Britain and move to France.

The Diocese source said, “Bishop Basil’s retirement looks rather logical” on the background of the legal proceeding around the Dormition Cathedral of the Sourozh Diocese lost by the vicariate.

In 2006, Bishop Basil, who then headed the Sourozh Diocese, decided to leave the Moscow Patriarchate for Constantinople. Some clerics of the Sourozh Diocese followed him and thus aggravated the situation both in the Diocese and in relations between the Moscow and Constantinople Churches as the latter accepted clerics of the Russian Church without a letter of release.