This past Saturday, Metropolitan Hilarion and several bishops from the Russian Church Abroad hosted and celebrated with Metropolitan Jonah and bishops from the Orthodox Church in America. The O.C.A. site has several photographs of the liturgy at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign. You may read the story on the O.C.A. page as well as the fire dousing statement on the R.O.C.O.R. site:
ROCOR remains committed to its conservative, traditional positions, and so does the Moscow Patriarchate. Therefore we are not compromising any principles by normalizing relations with the rest of the Orthodox Church.
The Church Abroad was formed for the purpose of uniting the Russian communities outside of Russia, who desired to remain faithful members of the Orthodox Church of Russia, awaiting its revival, and from the beginning also carried on the missionary function of spreading the Orthodox faith among non-Russians, wherever possible. These roles remain unchanged.
I am heartened that the Synod cares enough about its cautious flock to reassure them with such statements. Count me among the wary sheep. However, I am also pleased that our bishops are showing support for the O.C.A. primate in his efforts to maintain orthodoxy and orthopraxis in his jurisdiction, especially when he appears to get so little encouragement from his own synod. What should we expect from an atmosphere where, just years ago, the faithful of the Russian Church Abroad were customarily villified as backward sectarians and schismatics? Verily, verily, we are building bridges and moving on in Christian charity, though I am reminded of Basil Fawlty’s commentary from “The Germans”: “Yes, well, forgive and forget, Major . . . God knows how—the bastards!” Trust will take much time.
Update: The Synod’s site now features a proper news article about the concelebration, which includes many other photographs: “The Primates and Synod Members of the Russian Church Abroad and the Orthodox Church in America Concelebrate for the First Time.”