Monday, June 10, 2013

Metropolitan of HK not happy with Russians opening church

I'm told this Russian effort to reopen parishes in Taiwan is being done with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. As has been reported here over the years, the Russians and Greeks have been at odds over their discrete (if sometimes overlapping) attempts to bring the Church back to life after years of Communist suppression. Excommunicating other canonical clerics is a decidedly drastic next step in this feud. If that is what is indeed happening - other reports are conflicting with this account of things. Time will tell.

(OMHKSEA) - Encyclical of His Eminence Metropolitan NEKTARIOS of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia to the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Members of the Orthodox Communities of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.

Dear Brethren in Christ,

I regret to inform you that the following individuals, who reside in Taiwan,
  1. Kiril Shkarbul
  2. (Name removed by request)
created a schismatic “church”, the so called “Taiwan Orthodox Church”, and thus they excommunicated themselves and abandon the Orthodox Church-the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I consider them as strangers to the Body of the Orthodox Church and I inform you that they have no the right to call themselves as “Orthodox Christians” and to participate in the Holy and Sacred Sacraments of the Orthodox Church.

If any laity or clergy join them he shall have no partnership with us or with the Orthodox Church in general. I pray for their repentance and their return to the Orthodox Church.

May the Lord Jesus Christ save you from the injuries of the adversary and keep you as a good seed for all kinds of virtues and keep you all in true faith with good works and obedience to your Canonical Bishop and to your Spiritual Mother, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

+Metropolitan Nektarios

of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia


  1. that's what I heard from a firend who spent some time in Taiwan

    According to the letter dated June 2, 2012 (last year) from his bishop, Bishop IOV, the MP Vicar of the Moscow Diocese in Edmonton, Canada, Fr. Kirill Shkarbul, a Canadian citizen was blessed "as long as he is allowed" by the EP rector of Holy Trinity Church to celebrate as a priest in that church. So no indication of the MP stepping out of line. In fact it looks like the MP asked the EP for permission for Fr. Kirill to serve in their church while he was studying in Taiwan. Someone should look on the MP website to see if the MP has said something.

    1. One of the two men is not a clergyman at all. There is a Russian letter affirming their work.

  3. So... is this the ROC and EP disagreeing about who should be doing what?

    Or are these two rogue people setting up an independent Orthodox church not answerable to the ROC, EP, or anyone else?

  4. The parish' website claims it was founded with an approval from Patriarch Cyril and Bishop Mark of Yegorievsk

  5. There is a video at this site:

    But I was not able to open the link to watch it.
    "Metropolitan Nektarios visits Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Taipei, and explains why the newly established "Russian" church in Taipei is schismatic."

    1. I used to attend that church for many years and I know the persons involved (except the Bishop-I knew of his predecessor but not him). There are basically two views from the Greek (oh yes! They ARE Greek -- I will explain at the end of this post) Orthodox side. The first is that this is about jurisdiction due to the order mandated by Orthodox tradition. i.e., if there emerges a situation where there are two bishops in one ... diocese/region/area/whatever, then this makes out the Orthodox claims of unity under one God and one bishop inaccurate. Well, we all know how that theme went. Nektarios himself says that there are indeed areas like the USA and Australia etc where there are different bishops (he fails to mention that that is exactly due to the demands of people for their own language and culture, however traditional this may be or not) but that is "a problem." He will not, of course, dare say that these other areas are schismatic or heretic because, well, he will have a lot to answer for to the Ecumenical patriarchate. The other view is that one of the Russian (or canadian / Russian or, basically, non-Greek) priests acted in a deceiful manner, failing to come to the liturgy and proskomidi on time in order not to commemorate Nektarios, as the Greek priest must do in that Church, other accomplices handing out petitions to (presumably Russian?) members of the Greek-dependent congregation to join the new, Russian one, etc. First, I do not see any mischief there because I do not think that the Russian priest would have to keep coming late in order to maintain consistency between cocelebrating liturgy AND not commemorating the Greek Bishop. I suspect that anyone who is THAT detail-orientated and wishes to avoid doing something that goes against the proper order (like wanting to start a church under another bishop and therefore avoiding to commemorate the current one) would see that the rest of the liturgy is still understood as under the blessings of the current bishop. Thus, cocelebrating in such a liturgy does not let someone off the hook just because that someone escaped the first few minutes of the proceedings where the current Bishop's commemoration was taking place. Simply put, if Kyril (the Russian guy) was trying to avoid anything that entailed accepting the current (Greek) Bishop's authority, he would have simply NOT cocelebrated in that church. I cannot see why he would not have been able to just contact the members of the Greek-rependent Church outside liturgy times and announce the beginning of the Russian parish. As, in fact, this seems to have happened, according to the same people who complained against the Russian initiatives, by the Russian entourage (non-priestly, not partaking or anything, but just being there with the congregation) who were in fact getting people to sign the petition for a Russian church.

      Now, with regard to how Greek that church is, there is a lot to be said, but I will skip all the gossip and I will just concentrate on the facts which are easily found. The Patriarchate may be under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical throne in Istanbul but the money comes straight from very conservative and very (but VERY) nationalistic Greek sources. I am not providing here any details because these thiongs are not exactl;y unknown, and because well, I am not sure if anyone is interested. If asked, I will, however, offer proof (it's all over the internet anyway, by the admission of the Greek priest himself).