Due to Ukase of the Chairman of the Synod of Bishops of the RTOC Tikhon, Archpriest of the ROCOR Dormition parish of the city of Trenton (NJ, USA) Stephan Sabelnik has been appointed as an archpriest of the Trenton parishes of the ROCOR.
Archpriest Stephan Sabelnik
The Ukase of Archbishop Tikhon on the name of archpr. Stephan declares: «Due to urgent necessity of restoration of the normal Church life on the parishes of the East-American Eparchy of the ROCOR which left without priests, and which are under RTOC omophor temporary in this difficult period of Russian Church being abroad, and for putting in order of the receiving of clergymen which does not have the desire to join the MP, you are appointing as an archpriest of Trenton ROCOR parishes of the North-East part of the USA».
Due to Ukase Stephan Sobelnik has the right to receive of ROCOR clergy’s petitions about their temporary going over under omophor of the Russian true Orthodox Church with the further forwarding of the petition to Archbishop Tikhon, the Chairman of the Synod of Bishops. In the case of difficult situations, for resolving of complex questions «it is recommended to archpriest Stephan to coordinate the actions brotherly with Anatoly Trepatschko, Archpriest of the East part of the USA or make a request directly to the Chairman of the Synod of RTOC».
Thus two Dioceses are acting under omophor of the Russian true Orthodox (Catacomb) Church are acting on the US territory: Diocese of the East part of the USA ruling by archpriest Anatoly Trepatschko and Diocese of Trenton at the head of archpriest Stephan Sobelnik. As is well known, six diocesan districts acted in the East-American Eparchy of the ROCOR before the joining of the ROCOR (L) with the MP; it is not inconceivable that these dioceses will be reestablished in the future and will be the base for the rebirth of the East-American Eparchy of the true Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Archbishop Tikhon and archpriest Anatoly Trepatschko
Besides, there is the Synodal Podvor’ye of the ROCOR by the Holy Dormition Church of Safford (Virginia).
After disruption of the abroad bishops into the union the ROCOR eparchies lost the administrative control and therefore it is impossible to make the formal delimitation of the ROCOR territory. Thus, the territories of the ROCOR eparchies without bishops, priests and laity of which does not have the desire to recognize the union with the MP and have the desire to be it True Church Abroad as before, are the missionary territories. Something like this was in the beginning of 1990th when after the collapse of the atheistic USSR the Synod of the ROCOR declared Russia, Byelorussia and Ukraine as «the missionary territory» up to normalization of the valuable Church life at Homeland and establishing of the strict administrative-territorial division on the eparchies. The situation repeated but Abroad now. Clear administrative-territorial definition (restoration) of the Eparchies’ and dioceses’ boards can be possible just after imposing of the true-Orthodox bishops in the USA and other countries of the Russian dispersion and eparchies of the True ROCOR will be restored.
«In the existing Church situation, when no true bishops Abroad yet, the more optimal can be the position when ROCOR clergy will have the possibility to make a request to that person they want to: either to First Hierarch directly or to different priest of the ROCOR passed to the omophorion of the Russian True-Orthodox Church, they know well and entrust to». Therefore «… some of them can make a request to Anatoly Trepatschko and the other – to archpriest Stephan Sabelnik, the third – to the First Hierarch directly. In the present conditions of the missionary status it is better to have as more as possible representative spiritual centers until valuable Church structures of the True ROCOR will be restored Abroad and in the USA directly. You see, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few», the Chairman of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian True Orthodox Church Archbishop Tikhon clarified the position of the Synod.
As for affiliation under the RTOC omophorion of the ROCOR clergy «… the ROCOR clergy is not clergy of the heretical MP which is in need of improvement, trial period, etc. This is clergy of the former ROCOR and the requirements we apply to the applying clergy from the different jurisdictions are not acceptable to the ROCOR clergy. It is not allowed to stipulate that clergy move to the RTOC only. They need to stay in the cherished ROCOR if they wan to, as many priest of the Church Abroad did it in the USA, Canada, Australia and Europe».
As in the Notification of the Synod Chancellery explained «…the Synod of Bishops not for the creating of its own RTOC structures abroad has made these canonical arrangements but for the help to the ROCOR in reestablishing of its canonical episcopate and independent Synod of Bishops, i.e. rebirth of the true ROCOR which will be in prayerful and eucharistic communion with the Russian True Orthodox Church in Russia. The Synod of the RTOC confirmed by his own decision from 11/24 November 2006 that these parishes with the clergy and flock “moved not into the different Eparchy but they are situated in the former ROCOR eparchies, and they moved away not from ROCOR but from fell away from the ROCOR and betrayed to the Orthodoxy and to the Church Abroad bishops”. Therefore as the RTOC Synod decreed “our vision of the prospective way to the reestablishment of the Church Administration Abroad is the following: we are not creating of our structures abroad, our common with abroad clergy goal is to keep the canonical ROCOR, to help of our Church Sister Abroad in the difficult period of Its life. Therefore it is necessary to keep all the approved by ROCOR Councils eparchies”. “The Russian Church will be consisted of two equal parts – RTOC and ROCOR, having the different Church administrations but common Eucharistic communion and spiritual unity, as it was during the life of Saint martyr Metr. Peter Krutitskiy and as the legitimate First Hierarch Metropolitan Vitaly desired and blessed with”».
In present time West Europe Eparchy of the ROCOR, two ROCOR dioceses in the East part of the USA and Australian Diocese of the ROCOR are restored with assistance of the Synod of Bishops of the RTOC. The canonical status of the number of parishes of the Abroad Church in Canada and West part of the USA has been regulated also. It is proposed to create a number of dioceses in the USA and the other countries, archpriests of which will establish the joint Counsel of ROCOR Dioceses, and later on basis of it the Eparchy of the ROCOR (or several eparchies) can be restored in the USA and the other countries.
The Church service in the Holy Assumption temple of the RTOC Synod Podvor’ye in USA
«Due to the RTOC Synod’s mind the union with the MP is nothing else than joining of the New York Synod to the Moscow Patriarchy. Abroad hierarchs, clergy and flock will finally fell of Russian Orthodox Outside of Russia after joining to the MP and become a part of Sergius-ecumenical schism - Moscow Patriarchy even if they will join to MP as an autonomous part. From the point of view of church-canonical law the ROCOR-MP, creating by Metr. Laurus and his Synod is actually the new structure having nothing in common with the historical Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and its glorious spiritual heritage, though some of representatives of the former ROCOR will come into its structure.
At the same time the Synod of RTOC considers that despite on evident fell away of some of ROCOR(L) bishops into the schism it is not right to say about final collapse and disappearance of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia as there are healthy Church members abroad in the person of commendable clergy and numerous Orthodox congregation keeping the fidelity to confessors course of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia» (see Notification of the Synod Chancellery of the Russian True Orthodox Church). Therefore in place of eparchies and dioceses of the ROCOR-L, which moved to the union with the Moscow patriarchy, need to be reestablished Eparchies and Dioceses of the True Church Abroad, after that on the joint Council of the RTOC and ROCOR the legitimate Synod of Bishops of the true Russian Church Abroad will be restored.
Those from the ROCOR clergy which will have the desire to arrange their canonical position and to be accepted temporarily under RTOC omophorion until the restoration of the legitimate hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, need to make a written Request for the Synod of Bishops of RTOC ether by one of Archpriest in the USA or Australia or directly to Archbishop of Omsk and Siberia Tikhon the Chairman of the Synod of Bishops. The autobiography, consecration and reward charters copies need to be attached to the petition. Chairman of the Synod will give the forwarded documents for the approval by the Synod.
The temporary moving under the omophorion of the RTOC abroad parishes are under direct subordination to Chairman of the RTOC Synod and Synod of Bishops of the Russian True Orthodox Church.
You can contact with Archbishop Tikhon the Chairman of the Synod of RTOC Bishops to the address:
644047, Omsk-47, 3rd Remeslennaya Str., 34
Cathedral Temple of Holy Tsar Martyrs
You can contact to Archpr. Stephan Sobelnik Archpriest of Trenton diocese of the ROCOR:
789 Shady Ln
Trenton, NJ 08619
Tel.: (609) 586-54-55
You can contact to Archpr. Anatoliy Trepatschko Archpriest of East part of the USA:
39 Red Hill Dr Stafford,
Tel.: (540) 286-1657
1. Sorrowful Epistle of Tikhon, Archbishop of Omsk and Siberia and the Chairman of the Synod of the RTOC, to the clergy and laity of the suffering Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Скорбное Послание Архиепископа Тихона Омского и Сибирского, Председателя Синода РИПЦ, духовенству и пастве страждущей Русской Православной Зарубежной Церкви (на английском языке)
3. Notification from the Synod Chancellery of the Russian True Orthodox Church (RTOC)
Извещение от Канцелярии Архиерейского Синода Русской Истинно-Православной Церкви (на английском и русском языках)
4. Open appeal to my dear co-pastors and clergy of our Sacred Church Abroad
Открытое обращение к моим дорогим со-пастырям и клиру Заветной Зарубежной Церкви (на английском и русском языках)
5. An appeal to the clergy and laity of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
Обращение к клиру и мирянам Русской Православной Церкви Заграницей
(на английском и русском языках)
7. Address-Appeal to the Clergy and Faithful Sons and Daughters of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad from the First Hierarch of the Synod of the True Orthodox Church Archbishop Tikhon
Обращение - Призыв Председателя Архиерейского Синода Русской Истинно-Православной Церкви Архиепископа Тихона к духовенству и верным чадам Русской Зарубежной Церкви (на английском и русском языках)
8. Three anniversaries. The MP solemnly noted Sergius Stragorodsky''s anniversary, after beginning the gradual preparation of their flock for his "canonization"
Три юбилея. В МП торжественно отметили юбилей Сергия Страгородского, начав постепенную подготовку паствы к его “канонизации” (на английском и русском языках)