Responsabile delle Diaspore fuori dalla Russia


Andrei Archbishop of Pavlovskoye and Rockland brd

His Eminence, The Most Reverend Andrei Archbishop of Pavlovskoye and Rockland

By decision of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, taken on May 13/26, 2006, (Protocol #54) Archimandrite Andrei (Maklakov), rector of St. Nicholas Church in New Jersey (USA) was chosen to become the Bishop of Pavlovskoye, Vicar Bishop of the Suzdal Diocese. Archimandrite Andrei's consecration to the episcopate was performed on June 8/21, 2006.

Fr. Igumen Andrei's candidacy (Maklakov) was originally put forth by the American clergy of the ROAC in 2004. At the Synod of Bishops meeting on December 13/26, 2004, it was resolved that Fr. Andrei should be considered a candidate for the episcopacy, and that his biography and that this recommendation together with his biography should be sent to all of the bishops for their response.

Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal and Vladimir, First Hierarch of the ROAC, presided at the all-night vigil held in the Tsar Constantine Cathedral for St Theodore, the first Bishop of Suzdal and Enlightner of the entire Suzdal region. Concelebrating with him were the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Theodore of Borisovsk and of Otradnaya, and His Grace Irinarkh of Tula and of Bryansk, together with a large number of clergy from the Suzdal Deanery as well as clergy who came in from other cities throughout Russia. Following the dismissal at the First Hour, in the center of the church, the Order of Election to the Episcopacy was performed. The next morning, following the blessing of water, the akathist to St Theodore, and the Hours, Archimandrite Andrei, Bishop elect for the see of Pavlovsk, made his confession of faith before the Gospel and the Cross, pronounced his oath and hierarchical vows to be loyal to the holy Canons of the Church, to the First Hierarch and the Sobor of Bishops in all things, even if the people or the powers that be in this world should require him to apostasize.

After the little entrance and the singing of the thrice holy hymn, Archimandrite Andrei was consecrated as Bishop of the see of Pavlovsk. The consecration was performed by Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal and of Vladimir, Archbishop Theodore of Borisovsk and of Otradnaya, and by Bishop Irinarkh of Tula and of Bryansk. The newly consecrated bishop partook of the Holy Mysteries of Christ from one chalice together with the rest of the clergy, and then received their congratulations.

Following the end of the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Metropolitan Valentine handed the bishop's crozier-the symbol of episcopal authority-to the newly consecrated Hierarch, and told him that God had been preparing Fr. Andrei for this moment for a long time, testing his patience, humility and loyalty to the Holy Church, and the dogmas and Canons of Orthodoxy, through many and various temptations. His service included time spent in Rome and in Denmark. Vladyka briefly described Vladyka Andrei's life journey, and cautioned him that, above all, a bishop should not be a scandal for anyone, and should not lead anyone into the sin of judging, but should lead his flock along the path of Christ, swerving neither to the left nor to the right. Vladyka Andrei will be mainly performing his archpastoral service in the USA, tending to the True Orthodox Christians of the Russian Church.

Afterwards, all present were invited to a banquet held in the church next door to the cathedral, which has been arranged as a trapeza. After the banquet was ended, Bishop Andrei conversed with the parishioners and answered a multitude of questions. Vladyka said that he is an American himself, who has lived for more than thirty years amongst the Russian Orthodox diaspora. He was ordained to the priesthood in the ROCOR by St Metropolitan Philaret, and that he had been under the spiritual tutelage of His Eminence Archbishop Andrei (Rimarenko) of Rockland, who himself was a spiritual son of the last Optina elder Nektary. Vladyka explained that in America, his flock is not large, but that at the present time there is a split taking place in the ROCOR, and that many people, priests and lay people alike who do not want to join the MP, do not know where to go. Many of them are casting an eye in the direction of our Church since it has kept the essence of Orthodoxy and continues to hold on to the best traditions of the ROCOR. "Unfortunately," said Vladyka Andrei, "the most important thing for many in the ROCOR has been the keeping of their 'Russianness,' and not their Orthodox Faith. Four years ago, the so-called Patriarch Alexis sent a letter to the Bishops of the ROCOR, in which he said that without us, i.e. without the MP, you can certainly be Orthodox, but you can't remain Russian for long. But for us, for believing people, the most important thing is not to be Russian, but to be Orthodox. We do not believe in and worship Russia, but we worship Jesus Christ, Who spared not His own Jewish nation, spared not the Roman empire, nor the Byzantine empire, and will not spare Russia either, if it does not keep the True Faith. For us, what is important is to be Russian Orthodox, with the emphasis on the Orthodox part, rather than to be Russian, but apostates."

"Many in the diaspora," continued Vladyka Andrei, "fail to understand what is going on inside Russia at the present moment, and think that the massive effort to rebuild churches and regild their domes is a sign of a genuine religious renaissance in Russia and amongst the Russian people. Many are not aware that there are still catacomb Christians in Russia, who never for a moment belonged to the MP, or else belonged in ignorance. These people have remained unbroken by the difficulties that they experienced, have remained loyal to the Canons and the dogmas of the Faith, have striven to keep their faith and their consciences pure, and never stained them by joinging with the false church, which is the MP. And having come to Suzdal, I can now say that I am convinced that this is so."

"In America, we have absolute freedom of religion; this is one of the founding principles upon which our government was established, and therefore it is impossible that there should be any kind of governmental force, which weighs upon our conscience there. We are deeply in awe at the experience of your Faith, here in Russia, pressured as it is by the state authorities and their sanctioned church authorities in turn, which you have had to endure in order to preserve your spiritual freedom. Of course, the American authorities understand that the MP represents a "church of spies," and that just as earlier it served the purposes of the Soviet government, so now it serves the interests of Putin's government. But the government in the US does not understand our church matters well enough that they could defend the Church Abroad, or Her canonical and dogmatic purity."