Executive Director of the St. Gregory the Theologian Foundation and permanent member of the Committee for Old Believer Parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate Leonid Sevastianov has proposed Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk, the Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, as the bishop for the Edinoverie Old Believer community, reports Interfax-Religion.
Met. Hilarion is also the Chairman of the Commission on Old Believer parishes and cooperation with the Old Believer community.
“Do we have a candidate for the role of Edinoverie bishop? I will respond on behalf of all Old Believers: We do. Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev). It would be a great honor for us if he, in addition to his other obediences and the leadership of the commission for the Old Believers, would also become the bishop for the Edinoverie parishes,” Sevastianov told journalists yesterday.
According to the committee member, the need for an Edinoverie bishop was already recognized at the 1917-1918 Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“After the restoration of the patriarchate and the enthronement of St. Tikhon, even despite the civil war that had begun, the holy fathers of the Council (I am especially emphasizing that they were holy because 50 of them became New Martyrs, which is unheard of and unprecedented in history) considered it necessary to have an Edinoverie bishop and bequeathed this to the Church,” Sevastianov stated.
The feast of the holy fathers of the 1917-1918 Local Council was recently established by the Russian Orthodox Church, to be celebrated annually on November 5/18.
He also noted that the first Edinoverie bishop, Hieromartyr Simon (Shleev), was consecrated by Pat. Tikhon himself according to the old rite, with the concelebration of other holy New Marytrs, and the bishop had the status of a patriarchal vicar then, and visited all the Edinoverie parishes. The first Edinoverie bishop was also “accounted worthy of being a martyr for Christ.”
According to Sevastianov, “the metropolitan, a member of the Holy Synod, the head of the Department for External Church Relations, becoming the manager of the Edinoverie parishes, would raise the level and status of the Old Believers to that level that the holy confessors and fathers of the Council dreamed of.”
The Edinoverie are a group of Old Believers who, beginning in the 18th century, have returned to the Moscow Patriarchate, with a blessing to retain their older liturgical rites.
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