METROPOLITAN OF EASTERN AMERICA AND NEW YORK
FIRST HIERARCH OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OUTSIDE OF RUSSIA
75 E. 93rd Street, New York, NY 10128 Tel.: (917) 848-9706, (917) 543-5199.
July 15, 2013
No. 7-12 / 13
To the Clergy and the faithful of the Western Rite communities of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia:
Christ is in our midst!
The Synod of Bishops has convened and discussed ways in which the Western Rite communities could better be integrated into the larger Church structure in order to promote a closer sense of unity, fellowship, and participation in the fullness of Orthodoxy within the Church. To that end, the Synod of Bishops has made some administrative changes that will help the Western Rite communities work toward and achieve that unity, fellowship, and participation in the rich spiritual life of the Church as we work together to serve the Lord in His vineyard and build up the Kingdom of God in Holy Orthodoxy.
The Western Rite vicariate structure and administration model that were previously in place, as well as those formerly in charge and holding administrative roles such as Pastoral Vicar and the Vicar Bishop, have been released as a result of these decisions of the Synod of Bishops, in order to more effectively implement this new vision for the continued spiritual growth and existence and strengthening of the church communities in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
To this end, all Western Rite communities will be directly under the oversight and omophorion of the President of the Synod of Bishops, Metropolitan Hilarion. A committee has been formed and blessed by the Synod of Bishops to assist the clergy and communities in implementing and monitoring measures for their well-being and growth.
Holy Scripture reminds us, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 132).
While it is inevitable and somewhat natural for people to feel apprehension or uncertainty in times of change as we move forward, we feel that this decision and emphasis on bringing the current Western Rite communities into closer integration with the fullness of the Church will spiritual enrich the faithful and witness to Holy Orthodoxy to the world.
+ Hilarion [signature]
Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia