Friday, February 05, 2016

Statement from Metropolitan Hilarion regarding the Conversion of the "Catholic Church of the East" to Orthodoxy

Over the past several months, the leader of an independent church movement called the "Catholic Church of the East," the former Archbishop Ramzi Mussalam, has begun a remarkable transition: to bring his entire movement, of over 60 parishes, into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). The former archbishop was received into the Orthodox Church and ordained a deacon and priest with the encouragement and blessing and by the hand of Metropolitan Hilarion, ROCOR’s First Hierarch. The former archbishop is now Hieromonk Elias. Father Elias grew up in the Scranton area of Pennsylvania as a communicant of the Polish National Catholic Church, in which he was ordained to the priesthood.

The process of Orthodox catechization has now commenced, with the gradual reception of the former clergy and faithful of the "Catholic Church of the East" into Orthodoxy, with their regularization within the canonical embrace of the Orthodox Church. It is expected that this will be a long and complex process but one of that will bear an abundant spiritual harvest. A number of parishes have already been received: St. Irene Church in Pittston, PA; St. Ann Church in Pottsville, PA and St. Mark Church in Milford, CT.

Let us welcome these people with joy and do all that we can to help them integrate into the Orthodox community. Let us give thanks to God that He has led Fr. Elias and his faithful people into Orthodoxy.

Source

Thanks to blog reader Thundercat for the link.

9 comments:

David said...

Well, that's very interesting and I hope it all works out for everyone involved to glorify Our Lord and for all involved to embrace the Orthodox Faith ever more deeply.

I still think there are many things that could be made more plain to avoid confusion and doubts going forward. For example , the statement says: "Father Elias grew up in the Scranton area of Pennsylvania as a communicant of the Polish National Catholic Church, in which he was ordained to the priesthood." But in many places online Ramzi Musallam has made reference to growing up in Jerusalem . So , was he born in Jerusalem and grew up there as has been reported , or did he grow up in the Scranton area of Pennsylvania ? It doesn't help anyone to add another layer of confusion to the story.

http://www.theprogressnews.com/default.asp?read=8873

http://wnep.com/2012/06/27/arabic-church-vandalized/

Also the relationship to the Polish National Catholic Church should be made very clear : he was in fact deposed as a priest in the PNCC and has been functioning out of bounds as an epicopus vagans , leading an illicit Catholic group for many years. If this has all been renounced in confession as part of "former delusions" held prior to becoming Orthodox then I will loudly proclaim: "AXIOS!". But who knows if it been confessed and renounced ? Hard to tell ... there are mixed messages with the continuing existence of a website of the "Catholic Church of the East" which seems at odds with ROCOR on many key points. (read the doctrinal statement on "Our Faith" on the current "Catholic Church of the East" website. It's not in accord with Orthodoxy.) So to avoid any doubts, why not just turn out the lights on the former "Catholic Church of the East" ?

I'm not trying to be a naysayer , but there are many tangled webs that were weaved over many years that should be straightened out and swept away in a sincere, full embrace of the Orthodox Faith , if that is what is truly happening.

David Nethery said...
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Prior Martin said...

I agree, there are too many unanswered questions. Several years ago I recall ROCOR announcing, with great fanfare, the reception and conversion of numerous priests and parishes, from what they called Anglicanism, into the Western Rite Vicariate. The group in question was in reality a non-canonical Orthodox jurisdiction. Then in the summer of 2014 the Western Rite Vicariate was dismantled and placed in a sate of limbo............the Orthodox version. With ROCOR all strange things are possible.

Gregory Soloviev said...

Prior Martin, in connection with your comment. I also saw that group come in and was a bit skeptical, and while some parishes and their former leader did end up leaving again a good percentage have stayed in the canonical Orthodox church. So we are faced with this dilemma, should we reject those who come and seek Orthodoxy based on their background, or should we accept them and trust that God will work things out for the best? I think that everyone, whatever their background, deserves and should be in the Orthodox church, so we just have to always be ready to forgive and accept.

Samn! said...

Didn't take long for that announcement to be pulled from the website...

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

ROCOR needs to properly vet these groups. They appear to care more about increasing membership than the quality of the people they bring in. It will never end well if they keep doing this.

Anthony

John (Ad Orientem) said...

I am not at liberty to discuss details. However, something has happened and the project may be in doubt. Met. Hilarion is directly involved and dealing with the situation. Please pray for all concerned.