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True Western Orthodox Christianity

Information about Orthodox Western Fathers, the Orthodox Western Rite, and Church Services for major feasts. Also answers some of the false claims made by those who prefer the post-schism traditions of the West to the genuine Western Orthodox tradition.

Unless otherwise noted, Western Liturgical texts are taken from The Medieval Monastic Psalter, St Gregory's Press.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Fr. Michael (Wood) Leaves ROCOR-MP

A widely circulated note, on the ROCOR clergy list, and now on others, has appeared. It is from Hieromonk Michael (Wood). Abbot Michael (Wood) has since joined the True Orthodox Church.

-In Christ,

Hieromonk Enoch 

Fr. Michael's Letter

 Most reverend archpastors and fellow clergy,

In 1997 as a former Anglican, born and brought up in the Church of England and a clergyman of the Continuing Anglican church, I was received, Baptised, Chrismated, Ordained and Tonsured in the Orthodox Church by his Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion.


At that time ROCOR was barely in communion with any outside jurisdiction, reckoned by many (most?) as uncanonical and yet highly regarded as holding fast to genuine Orthodoxy. It had for many years been led by a series of First Hierarchs of the greatest integrity, men held in awe by many Orthodox people around the world.

ROCOR eschewed false ecumenism, regarding it as an heresy, it did not recognise the "sacraments" of any non-Orthodox church.

I felt thoroughly in tune with the ROCOR of those days.

When the rapprochement with the Moscow Patriarchate was first mooted, I was unhappy, having served in a position where I was privy to the communist government's fifty year control of its 1947 creation, and in particular of its complete control of the DECR and its use of it as an adjunct to other government external agencies.

However I and other clergy in ROCOR decided to sit it out, since we did not expect it to happen in under ten years. We were surprised at the sudden crumble of ROCOR into almost instant rapprochement. Nevertheless we decided to continue in ROCOR and see what happened.

Since that time, I have seen nothing so disappointing as the vast changes within ROCOR, even evident on the clergy email list. The ready acceptance of Moscow's misleading statements designed to cover their real motives regarding the so-called ecumenical movement, their acceptance of Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) and his ongoing flirtations with Rome, their readiness to accept as "traditional' anything that Moscow presently does. So the whole of liberal Moscvism surges through ROCOR leaving perhaps a few isolated islands of old fashioned Orthodoxy.

This has weighed heavily on my conscience for the past few years but against that I had to balance my loyalty to my Metropolitan who had received Baptised and Ordained me. A few weeks ago, as you know, I was suspended and retired. What you may not know is that there was no warning and I have not seen the evidence against me nor been given any chance by my bishop (the Metropolitan) to defend myself.

Regarding the accusations in the decree of suspension-retirement: As to “bringing disrepute to the Orthodox witness of the Western Rite movement” I am at a loss and if I didn't consider the situation tragic I might laugh. ROCOR's Western Rite Vicariate is largely composed of rapidly received ex-vagantes whose history and behaviour has already brought disrepute of a magnitude I could never produce (what else do you call it when another jurisdiction has to intervene to prevent an ordination?) and will – as many of you have stated recently – bring much much more major scandal in the near future. I have no recollection of disrespecting the patriarch, in fact the last thing I said about him publicly was that he was very well placed to lead the re-evangelising of Europe if he so chose.

My friends and I have received a barrage of vicious pseudonymous email recently (and for some years in the past) from two sources in ROCOR – forgive me – too stupid to cover their tracks. I have seen episcopal injustice (spurious charges and no opportunity to reply) and summary dismissal. Bishops in ROCOR and other jurisdictions have observed all this and have warned myself and some others of us of the likely consequences of incompetent leadership. They have characterised some of these matters as blatantly uncanonical.

I think the time has come for me to part company with ROCOR.

I have accordingly, held a meeting of the main people of our Hobart mission, where I explained to them what has happened, the vicious politics and the changes in ROCOR. I told them that I could no longer stay in ROCOR. They were already aware of some of my feelings. The Mission will remain intact under Metropolitan Hilarion, with Fr Barry in charge - as has been the practice for some considerable time.

Hieromonk Michael (Wood)

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