STATEMENT OF THE HOLY SYNOD
of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America
We recently welcomed Bishop Gregory Lourie as a visitor to our monastery in Boston. While here, he asked if he could receive Holy Communion, and after we consulted among ourselves, and upon asking the counsel of other of our clergy, we agreed to share the Holy Mysteries with him.
By doing this, we did not intend to get involved in theological debates that have raged in the Russian Church for some one hundred years now. Nor do we intend to take sides in them.
In hindsight, it would have been more prudent perhaps to wait until that time when this issue and other issues in the Russian and Greek Churches are addressed. At the same time, while we realize that many matters still divide them, we want to promote unity among all these groups. If we erred in our judgment, we ask forgiveness, since it was an honest mistake committed out of a desire to foster the oneness that must exist among all Orthodox Christians in the Holy Body and Blood of our Saviour.
It is true that, as they themselves admitted to us, our predecessors, St. Philaret of New York and Archbishop Auxentius of Athens, also made missteps in the confused times and conditions that the Church now finds itself. But their love of the Truth, their purity of intention and their confession of Orthodoxy was also evident and true.
We ask for your prayers that God may help us navigate in these turbulent waters that surround the Ark of the Church. We seek only your ― and our ― salvation, and we call upon the mercy of God to overlook our human failings.
May God protect and shelter all of us.
November 19/December 2, 2011
Martyr Barlaam of Antioch