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BOR – Canonical Releases

Author: Patriarch (Patriarhul) Daniel
March 12, 2010
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ROMANIAN PATRIARCHATE
CHANCERY OF THE HOLY SYNOD
Decision # 892 - Feb. 24, 2010.

Unofficial translation of excerpts from BOR’s Holy Synod Decision #892 issued Feb. 24, 2010.

Your Eminence,

With brotherly love, we announce that the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church [BOR], in its Feb. 11, 2010 working session, examined … the necessity of updating [its] Decision # 2844/2008 … regarding the movement of a cleric into another eparchy of BOR, or into the canonical jurisdiction of another Orthodox Church, this also applying to monks and nuns, those completing theological training in Romania, and also in regards to the organization of pilgrimages…

… As a consequence of the unanimous vote taken, the Holy Synod has decided:

Taking into account the proposals formulated by the Holy Synod Chancery, the text of the Holy Synod’s Decision # 2844/2008 is to be completed and reformulated as follows:

1) In the spirit of what is seen in Article 10 point 6 of the BOR Constitution … that: “the decisions of the central deliberative and executive organisms are obligatory for the whole of BOR” then, all BOR local Bishops will apply the Holy Synod’s Decision # 2891/2007, in letter and spirit,  completed and reformulated as follows:

a)The Canonical Release Letter of a cleric (either a monastic or not) from the Romanian Patriarchate will be issued by the Romanian local Bishop, at the request of a foreign Hierarch, belonging to a canonical Orthodox jurisdiction, but only with the accord of the Romanian Patriarch;

b)The cleric (either a monk or not) who receives a Canonical Letter to join an eparchy belonging to another canonical Orthodox Church can serve only in the communities of said foreign jurisdiction and not in Romanian Orthodox communities which may be in those respective Orthodox eparchies.

c-i)Monks who wish to leave various Romanian Orthodox eparchies from within and outside Romania to go to Mount Athos or in monasteries of eparchies belonging to other canonical Orthodox Churches, have the canonical requirement of obtaining, in advance, written approval from the Romanian local Bishop, at the request of a foreign Hierarch belonging to a canonical Orthodox jurisdiction, but only with the accord of the Patriarch of Romania;

c-ii)Hierarchs from eparchies belonging to BOR from outside the Romanian borders will inform the Romanian Patriarchate about the change in status of any cleric or student studying in foreign lands, and this for informational purposes and to avoid situations of tension between sister Orthodox Churches.

d-i)Graduates of Orthodox theological learning institutions from Romania may solicit ordination for a Romanian Orthodox community in Romanian Orthodox eparchies outside the borders of Romania only if they have written approval from the Romanian local Bishop who granted his blessing for their studies, and with the accord of the Romanian Patriarch;

d-ii)In the “Oath” taken by graduates of the faculties of Orthodox theology at the completion of their studies, it will be foreseen that these individuals will be able to go into the jurisdiction of another canonical Orthodox Church only given the recommendation of their local [Romanian] Bishop, and with the accord of the Romanian Patriarch.

2) Delegates of the Romanian Orthodox Church will discuss with sister Orthodox Churches in order to come to an agreement on the missionary-pastoral level, regarding the offering of adequate pastoral care for Romanian Orthodox in those respective countries and Churches.

3) The theological-educational section of the Romanian Patriarchate is obliged to solicit from each eparchy of BOR from within and outside Romania, the list of all students and graduates from institutions of theological learning in Romania who have gone to study in foreign lands, with or without the blessing of their local [Romanian] Bishop, and inasmuch as it is possible to do so, report on the actual status of such individuals.  As well, they [each BOR eparchy] must inform the faculties of Orthodox theology of the Romanian Patriarchate regarding their decision on the completion/ of the above-mentioned “Oath” as prescribed by the present decision of the Holy Synod.

4) Hierarchs who wish to go on pilgrimages to holy Orthodox places outside the boundaries of Romania, must have a letter of recommendation from the Romanian Patriarch in order to avoid unhappy situations in relations with [other] canonical Orthodox Churches.

5) Clerics, monks and nuns, who wish to go on pilgrimages to holy Orthodox places outside the boundaries of Romania, must have a letter of recommendation from their Dean (or Abbot/Abbess) and the approval of their local Bishop.  The pilgrimage is to be organized, in principal, only through the pilgrimage office of the Romanian Patriarchate or of the eparchy in question.

6) Clerics (either monks or not) who leave eparchies of the Romanian Patriarchate without the approval of their local Bishop and without the accord of the Romanian Patriarch will be defrocked by the eparchy they leave.

7) Inasmuch as Metropolitan Nicolae of Banat issued a Canonical letter in conditions that contravene the Holy Synods Decision # 2844/2008 regarding the passing of Romanian Orthodox clerics into other Orthodox jurisdictions without the accord of the Romanian Patriarch, he is requested to withdraw the Canonical Release letters, and this within one month, granting Fr. Aurel Popescu and Deacon Cristian Popescu to pass into another Orthodox jurisdiction without the accord of the Romanian Patriarch, underlining the fact that in future, Hierarchs who do not respect the present Holy Synod decision will have to answer to the Holy Synod.

8) It is agreed that at the beginning of 2010, which the Holy Synod has proclaimed as “The year of Homage to the Orthodox Credo and Romanian Autocephaly in the Romanian Patriarchate”, and this in the context of the 125th anniversary of BOR becoming autocephalous and the 85th anniversary of BOR becoming a Patriarchate, the hierarchs of the Holy Synod are addressing a Heartfelt appeal to all Romanian Orthodox clerics and faithful abroad, who are, without blessing, in other sister Orthodox Churches or in non-canonical church structures, to restore their direct communion with the Mother Church, that is in the canonical jurisdiction of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church.  This appeal was published with the title: “Appeal to unity and Romanian dignity” (on the Patriarchal website - www.basilica.ro).

Bringing you up to date with this Holy Synod decision, we ask that you take the necessary measures to put in application and to publish in your Eparchial press the above, ensuring that clergy, monks and nuns, and institutions of learning from within your eparchies respect these decisions.

With an in Christ brotherly embrace,

President of the Holy Synod

+DANIEL

Patriarch of BOR

Secretary of the Holy Synod

+Ciprian Campineanu

Hierarchal Vicar of the Patriarchate

11 Comments to “BOR – Canonical Releases”


  1. Hailemarqos Weldehazen Says:

    So, in effect, in the future no one will be transferred from the Romanian Orthodox Church to the American Orthodox Church since most of those transfers have been to the latter’s Romanian Orthodox Episcopate in America. This seems rather petty, especially since the OCA released the abbot of its Romanian Orthodox men’s monastery to the BOR to become its bishop for Australia and New Zealand…


  2. Toma Says:

    OCA didn’t release him, our Archbishoop did.


  3. Admininsrator Says:

    Toma, and to what jurisdiction does ROEA’s Archbishop Nathaniel belong if not the OCA? Firstly, it is unlikely our Archbishop Nathaniel would make that kind of decision without OCA consent. Secondly, even if, for whatever reason, the Archbishop Nathaniel would have unilaterally decided something the OCA Holy Synod would not support, what do you suppose would then happen? THEY WOULD WORK IT OUT, but some noise on the topic would leak out. Thus, it would seem that the OCA approved of the Archbishop’s decision, since nothing has trickled down on this topic.


  4. Anonymous Says:

    The besiegied ROEA just got cut off its ‘water’ supply.
    Unless there is a strategy to recrute Romanian clergy we can foresee that this will impact especially the Romanian speaking parishes… the ramifications of this issue is broader than some would think.


  5. Rico Says:

    [Toma,] you are mistaken in saying “transfers have been to the latter’s Romanian Orthodox Episcopate in America”. The ROEA (Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America) is not a part of the Romanian Orthodox Church. We are (and have been for nearly 50 years) part of the OCA.


  6. Toma Says:

    If you knew any [canon law] you would know that our Archbishop does not need
    any synod aproval… because the situation was in the Romanian jurisdiction.


  7. Admininsrator Says:

    Toma, “need” is a big word. In fact, one could argue (using canon law) that anything done by a Diocesan Bishop should not be overturned by any other Bishop, including an Archbishop, Metropolitan or Patriarch, unless canon law or dogma was in question (and even then …), and yet we see this happening more and more frequently. In our case, we are referring to the present Bishop Mihail Filimon of Australia; a scholar, a monk, who at the time of his release was an ROEA-OCA priest and abbott, someone possibly being groomed for an OCA Bishop’s mitre. His was not a regular case and it would have been normal for his situation to be discussed at the OCA level prior to his being released from our jurisdiction.


  8. Anonymous Says:

    When Romanian Patriarchate starts preventing transfers to ROEA then I would be concerned. But until such a case would arise, I wouldn’t be so quick to judge that it’s aimed at ROEA.


  9. Admininsrator Says:

    The Romanian Patriarchate now has given itself the weapon to control the life of each BOR cleric, in and out of Romania, AND that of each theology student graduating in Romania, wherever they may be residing, or born for that matter. The intention is clear - CONTROL - not only here but everywhere. Why else bother to implement this incredible weapon?


  10. Toma Says:

    Why should you have had Mihail become a bishop in the OCA? This is where we can see how you contradict yourself. If you want an American church, American OCA, use American clerics. Stop using Romanians. You diss the Romanian patriarchate, but yet continue to use the clerics formed “in the Romanian schools.” You depend on Romanians, yet throw all kinds of negative acuzations againsts BOR. Can you say hypocrite?


  11. Admininsrator Says:

    It should be understood that some years ago, Father Mihail Filimon, a monk from Romania, wanted to leave the Romanian Patriarchate and join our Episcopate (ROEA), which is a Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Clearly, he ASKED to join our Episcopate. So, after going through the process set out by our Vatra Episcopate on these matters, he received his canonical release papers from his Diocesan Bishop in Romania and was officially accepted into the ROEA-OCA. He was a monk at our St.Andrew’s monastery and he then became the Abbot. There was even discussion of his becoming a Bishop in the ROEA-OCA because many who met him were impressed by his qualifications and personal qualities. And you ask: “Why should you have had Mihail become a bishop in the OCA?” We ask: ‘why should he not have been considered for such a position, simply because he came from Romania?’

    Many clerics have immigrated here from Romania, deciding to leave BOR and choosing to join the ROEA-OCA. The ROEA decided long ago to accept these priests as long as they understood that joining the ROEA meant leaving BOR and joining the OCA. Remember, on immigrating to America, each one had the option of joining the ROAA-BOR OR the ROEA-OCA. The vast majority of clerics and laity chose the ROEA-OCA, and this was also Father Mihail Filimon’s choice. That they choose to leave BOR on arriving here and join the OCA is a fact. When asked why they do it many reply with the question: “why do you think we left Romania in the first place? We wanted a better life and that includes the ROEA-OCA over the ROAA-BOR!” So, these clerics prefer the ROEA-OCA to the ROAA-BOR. This is also fact. So, how dare you call us hypocrites! You who stay in the ROEA-OCA, when you claim you really want to be in the ROAA-BOR are the hypocrite! Do us all a favour and go to the ROAA where you say you wish to be. We really wonder why people like you do not … and then again, maybe we do know why … I guess you’ll never know what you think we do not know … or is it the other way around?!

    In any event, most of the clerics and laity who chose to leave BOR upon arriving here are happy with their choice of opting for the ROEA-OCA, otherwise they would have left by now. A few, like Father Mihail, changed their minds along the way and asked to go back under BOR. Our Episcopate did not want to keep Fr. Mihail against his will and thus released him back to BOR. Very soon after, he became a Vicar Bishop at the Bucharest Patriarchate, and very quickly after that, he was named the BOR Bishop for Australia where he presently resides. It would seem that that these are the reasons for his leaving the ROEA-OCA.


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