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Patriarchate of Moscow: Annuls Alexandria’s decisions on the “Exarch”, launches threats against the Romanian Patriarchate

by Efi Efthimiou

The Moscow Patriarchate rejected as “illegal and invalid” the decision of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria regarding the dismissal of the “Exarch” of the Russian Church in Africa.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Church convened on Tuesday, 12 March 2024, at the Danilov Monastery under the chairmanship of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

During the session, the decision of the Patriarchate of Alexandria about a month ago regarding the dismissal of the “Patriarchal Exarch in Africa”, Bishop Constantine Zaraisky, was discussed. He was found guilty of several canonical offenses, while the novel ecclesio-political “theories” regarding the spread of the Russian world throughout the world based on ethnicity were once again condemned.

The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow declared this decision “null and void” and at the same time confirmed Bishop Constantine Zaraisky as the “Patriarchal Exarch of Africa”.

It is recalled that on 22 November 2022, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria defrocked the first “Exarch in Africa” of the Patriarchate of Moscow, former Metropolitan Klin.

The Synod of the Russian Church also discussed the recent decisions of the Patriarchate of Romania regarding Ukraine and Moldova.

During the session of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Romania at the end of February, decisions were made for the creation of a new religious structure within the borders of Ukraine.

In addition, the Metropolis of Bessarabia (under the Patriarchate of Romania) received into its ranks several clergy who left from the Metropolis of Chișinău (of the Russian Church).

The Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate, in its statement after yesterday’s session, notes “with deep regret that the resolutions of the Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church are in direct contradiction with the sacred canons.

It warns that further implementation of the resolutions “will inevitably lead to serious consequences both for bilateral relations between the Russian and Romanian Churches and for the unity of the Orthodox Church as a whole.

It further notes that the Romanian Orthodox clergy who returned to the Metropolis of Bessarabia “did not belong to it, nor the Romanian Patriarchate as a whole. They were punished for the violation of their clerical oath and other canonical offenses, and not for their status in the Romanian Orthodox Church, to which they cannot belong due to the absence of a letter of dismissal.

In addition, the Synod of the Russian Church instructed Metropolitan Antony of Volokolamsk to further study the issue of the actions of the Romanian Patriarchate and to “immediately submit proposals for consideration by the Holy Synod”.