Communiqué of the Ecumenical Patriarchate regarding the restoration of unity in the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia

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Metropolitan Rastislav of Presov (L) and His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (R).

16/1/15

The Holy and Sacred Synod further continued its deliberations today, January 14, 2016, chaired by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

During this session, it was unanimously decided that, for the sake of restoring unity, Metropolitan Rastislav of Presov be recognized as Primate of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, on the following conditions accepted both by himself and his supporting group, as well as by those in opposition:

  • His Eminence Metropolitan Rastislav will express his apology publicly for whatever inappropriate and offensive statements he has likewise publicly made against the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Mother Church of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, from which the latter received the faith in Christ, but also against the venerable person of the Ecumenical Patriarch, as well as against Greek-speaking Orthodox Churches.
  • Both opposing groups of the Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia only recognize as valid the Patriarchal and Synodal Tome issued in 1998 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate pertaining to the proclamation and blessing of the Autocephaly of this Church (Prot No. 1058, of August 27, 1998).
  • A Mixed Committee is created, composing delegations of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia (with the participation of representatives from both hitherto divided groups), whose task is to harmonize the articles of its Constitution with the regulations of the abovementioned Patriarchal and Synodal Tome issued in 1998, being the founding document of the Autocephalous Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, as well as generally to review the Constitution according to what is envisioned by the Holy and Sacred Canons with a view to securing the unity and tranquility of this Church.
  • His Eminence Metropolitan Simeon of Olomouc and Bmo is recognized as an actively valid and canonical Metropolitan of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, freely exercising in his Eparchy and in the Sacred Synod of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia all the rights and obligations deriving from the Holy and Sacred Canons as well as the Constitution of this Church.
  • Despite the manner of their election, the following will be recognized, by dispensation as canonical Hierarchs of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, without establishing canonical precedent:
  • Hieromonk Mihail Dardar, as Metropolitan of Prague, and Archimandrite Isaiah Slaninka, as auxiliary bishop to the Metropolitan of Olomouc and Brno, with the title of the Bishopric of Sumperk.
  • Both groups assume the obligation before God and the Mother Church to respect and adhere to the above conditions without deviation, respecting the position and service in the Church of all clergy and monastics belonging to both mentioned groups, without advancing to any action that could further disturb the unity of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, and restoring the clergy and monastics dismissed from their former positions during the conflict period.

The text of the letter of apology addressed to the Ecumenical Patriarch, whose publication was accepted by His Beatitude in his recent letter dated December 21, 2015, reads as follows:

«Archbishop of Presov, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia

Presov, 19 th of October 2015

To His ALL-HOLINESS BARTHOLOMAIOS ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE – NEA ROMA ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH

Your All-Holiness, dearly beloved co-celebrant of Christ’s Divine Mysteries, First of all, I would like to greet You cordially and to wish You the fullness of the blessings of our Lord in Your demanding service to the well-being and unity of the Orthodox Church of Christ Your All-Holiness,

I would like to reassure You that I have never doubted the specific and unique role which both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and You personally have in the inner life of our beloved Mother, the Orthodox Church of Christ. Therefore, I would like to ask You to kindly employ Your love and fatherly wisdom and overlook any statements to the contrary, which may have caused you pain and offence and which were pronounced in the state of emotional agitation reflecting the sorrow and pain over the turmoil within our local Church and which were not meant for any wider public. Moreover, I would like to assure You that none of our hierarchs has ever wished to question Your authority or mutual good relations.

Your All-Holiness,

Every human family suffers from misunderstandings from time to time. It is always a sign of wisdom and love of those whore are elder to look down with understanding and forgiveness to any partial mistakes of the younger and less experienced in order to preserve unity and mutual love within the family. Therefore, I would like to ask You for Your condescension in this case as well.

Your All-Holiness,

I am looking forward to meet You personally at the Synaxis of the first hierarchs of the autocephalous Churches, where we are called to bring to completion the process of the preparation of the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church, which is a long-time desired manifestation of unity and Christian witness of the Holy Orthodox Church to the contemporary world.

Your All-Holiness,

I would like to ask You to kindly keep this letter of mine which is directed to You personally confidential, so that no space is given to any speculations of those who do not wish the victory of unity and love within the Holy Orthodox Church.

Looking forward to our meeting and common Celebration of the Eucharist I remain,

Yours in Christ and brotherly love,

+ Rastislav Archbishop of Presov,
Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia»

***

At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, on January 14, 2016 From the Chief Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod.

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