Monday, April 29, 2024

ROCOR defrocks clergy who left for EP

The process of accepting clergy without proper release is happening in both directions. It is almost as if both sides prefer to take clergy without the paperwork. 

(Orthochristian) - At its session on March 5, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia dealt with the issue of a number of clerics who departed from ROCOR and joined the Slavic Vicariate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America without a canonical release.

In particular, the Synod considered the cases of Abbot Tikhon (Gayfudinov), Archpriest Andrei Pastukh, Archpriest Edward Chervinsky, and Protodeacon Vladimir Oliynyk, “who wrought disturbance in the church life of several diocesan parishes.”

The Synod reports:

Having discussed the resolution and the circumstances of their cases comprehensively, including actions undertaken by all four that have been a cause of temptation for both clergy and flock, to the point of departing beneath the omophorion of a separate jurisdiction without a release from their ruling bishop, it is with sorrow that the Synod of Bishops adopts the following resolution, provided here in brief:

To ratify the resolution of the Spiritual Court of the Eastern American Diocese regarding the laicization of the former Abbot Tikhon (Gayfudinov), Archpriest Andrei Pastukh, Archpriest Edward Chervinsky, and Protodeacon Vladimir Oliynyk.

OrthoChristian reported last April on former Igumen Tikhon (Gayfudinov), who not only personally switched jurisdictions, but took the Holy Protection Skete in Buena Vista Township, New Jersey, with him.

A lawsuit is currently underway concerning the monastery property.

The head of the Slavic Vicariate, former Archimandrite Alexander (Belya), is also suing the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, the Eastern American Diocese, and a number of other ROCOR clerics after he failed to secure his election as Bishop of Miami in the summer of 2019.

The Vicariate was then created in 2020 as a haven for Belya, who was defrocked by ROCOR after he abandoned the jurisdiction without a canonical release. GOARCH has tried to make Belya a bishop, but the hierarchs of other jurisdictions have loudly protested.

His father, former Archpriest Alexander Belya, also left ROCOR and was later defrocked together with several clerics who followed him.


  1. It's hard for me to take seriously any church in the "Satanic West", as branded such by Patriarch Kirill, that still commemorates him as their Primate. However, I am sure that the government authorities, wherever they be, are taking ROCOR very seriously, especially since there has been a large influx of zealous and politically-minded converts to ROCOR in recent years who especially seem to have interest in the "culture wars".

    By contrast, the interesting thing about the group known as the "Slavic Vicariate" is that these are not recent zealous converts. When mature people leave as they have, probably even expecting ROCOR to retaliate against them, it suggests there is something deeper and fundamentally broken in the ROCOR administration.

  2. I substantially agree with Joseph L above. The Russian Church has gone completely off the rails. See this excellent short essay...

    1. The eerie thing is that ROCOR has been completely silent about Patriarch Kirill's approval of a "Holy War" against the "Satanic West". Yet they will give their voice to laicize a few clerics who have departed them without release. It boggles my mind.

  3. There's a lot of irony here given that the Synod Abroad used to take anyone and everyone from other jurisdictions with nary a blessing or canonical release in sight...

    1. Or shameless hypocrisy? My wording might have been off...