1964 (3) Epistle of the Sobor May 14

from Orthodox Life magazine 1964 (3)




Epistle of the Sobor of Bishops
of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad to the Faithful
Christ is Risen!

With these ever-joyful words do we greet you, our beloved flock.  In the holy, after-Pascha days, when all of God's creation rejoices spiritually; when the Church's children, enlightened by the solemn feast of the Resurrection, embrace and forgive each other, and when in our earthly existence Our Saviour’s wish receives fulfillment: as thou, Father art in me and I in them that they also may be in us... we, bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, free from the yoke of godlessness, obedient to the call of our Primate, the ever-honored and beloved by us, Most Eminent Metropolitan Anastassy, gathered in Sobor (General Council) in New York City on May 4/17, 1964.

The main task of our Sobor (in accordance with the expressed desire of the Lord Metropolitan,) was the election of his successor.  This election was carried out under his chairmanship with his blessings, and on our part — in full brotherly harmony and love.  On Sunday, May 4/ 17, we bishops jointly celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Synod’s cathedral and all received the precious Body and Blood of Christ, so that all of us, as communicants from the one Chalice, be united by Our Lord in the Holy Spirit.

By singing a Te Deum before the miracle-Working icon of Our Lady of Kursk, we left the act of electing the metropolitan to the will of Our Most Pure and Most Gracious Queen of heaven and earth. “Most Gracious Mother of God, save us and guide us!” — we invoked her with faith and hope.  And We believe that we were heard.

Knowing that it is not mortals who decide the fate of Christ's Church but that it is the Almighty who leads her with a firm hand and divine strength; that human life is edified not on human devices but on the blood of martyrs, on selfless deeds and on prayer, we raised as from one mouth and one heart our burning prayers to those of God’s great saints, whose memory was celebrated on the days of our sobor conferences.

On May 8/21 we invoked the aid of the great Apostle and Evangelist, St. John the Divine, that Apostle of Love and divinely-inspired foreseer of the entire fate of Christ’s Church.  On May 9/22 we prayed to the great Prelate and Miracle-Worker, St. Nicholas, knowing how closely he took to his heart the establishment of good order in the Church at the First Ecumenical Council.  On May 11/24 we glorified the great organisers of the Slavonic Churches, those co-equals of the Apostles and saintly brothers, Methodius and Cyril.  On May 12/25 we invoked assistance in our sobor labors of Russian's great and holy martyr, His Holiness Hermogen, Patriarch of Moscow and of all the Russias.

Finally, on the day of mid-Pentecost, having been strengthened by the prayers of these saints, we unanimously elected as metropolitan and head of our Church, Philaret, the Bishop of Brisbane, Australia.  At the same time the Sobor unanimously decided to elect His Eminence Metropolitan Anastassy honorary chairman for life of the Sobor and Synod of Bishops, with the title of “His Beatitude”.

We believe and profess that this is good to the Holy Spirit and to us.  We summon you, our beloved flock, to view this election as the obvious will of God, manifested through us sinners.  We beseech you to remain in complete obedience to the newly-elected metropolitan, so that in our brotherly unity of mind and love, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, may remain with us all.

May 14/27, 1964           New York City.

Honorary Chairman of the Sobor of Bishops 
Metropolitan ANASTASSY

Chairman of the Sobor of Bishops Metropolitan PHILARET

JOHN, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America. 
ALEXANDER, Archbishop of Berlin and Germany. 
ATHANASIUS, Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Argentina. 
STEPHEN, Archbishop of Vienna and Austria. 
PHILOPHEUS, Archbishop, Comptroller of the North-German Vicariate. 
LEONTY, Archbishop of Santiago, Chile and Peru. 
SERAPHIM, Archbishop of Chicago and Detroit. 
NIKON, Archbishop of Washington and florida. 
VITALY,-Archbishop of Montreal and Canada. 
ANTHONY, Archbishop of Los Angeles and Texas. 
AVERKY, Archbishop of Syracuse and Holy Trinity. 
NIKODIM, Bishop of Richmond and England. 
SERAPHIM, Bishop of Caracas and Venezuela. 
ANTHONY, Bishop of Geneva and Western Europe. 
ANTHONY, Bishop of Melbourne. 
SAVVA, Bishop of Edmonton. 
NEKTARIUS, Bishop of Seattle.

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