To the clergy and children of the Overseas Australian-Canadian-American Diocese of the Belokrinitskaya Metropolia.
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us!"
Honorable and honest Fathers, dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
"May grace, mercy, and peace be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love" (2 John 1:3).
I address our Old Believer communities of the Australian-Canadian-American Diocese – the Belokrinitskaya Metropolia, to the pastors of Christ's Church, and to all brothers and sisters in Christ. With the words of the holy apostle Paul: "So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter." (Thessalonians 2:15).
We inform you, dear ones, that in the Holy Spirit, the Assembled Synod of the Belokrinitskaya Metropolia, held on the 24th of October of this year, addressed the matter of the "St. Nicholas Parish in the village of Nikolaevsk, Alaska (USA)." The Synod affirmed the decision of the past year regarding the permission to use the English language in worship services when necessary for the correct translation of liturgical books. Our Synod, held on May 26th of the past year, after lengthy deliberations, resolved the following:
5.0 With the blessing, conduct worship services in the parishes of the USA in both Slavic and English languages.
5.1 The liturgical language of our Church is Church Slavonic. However, when necessary and upon the consideration of the clergy, the use of other languages that contribute to understanding the meaning of certain moments of the church sacraments is permitted.
5.2 All foreign language texts must be reviewed and approved in advance by the Publishing Commission and subsequently by the Synod. Due to the confusion that has arisen regarding the permissibility of our Synod to use English as an alternative language for certain church sacraments, we clarify the following: at the Synod, all our hierarchs and clergy have NOT desired and do NOT wish to deviate from the liturgical Church Slavonic language, established by St. Cyril and Methodius, and transition to the language of the country in which they reside. This is unacceptable for us as Slavic people. To our great regret, what happened in the St. Nicholas Parish in Nikolaevsk, Alaska, is attributed to the absence of a school for many years and the failure of parents to teach their children the sacred language. Therefore, it is only to these individuals who have been granted a concession. Furthermore it is never too late for them to study and pray according to the venerable books of our ancestors, who, at any cost, preserved and taught their children. This negligence, particularly on the part of parish pastor and parents, led to the unfortunate situation that brought not integrity and strength, but rather division and weakness in our community and to the point of schism.
Our centuries-old mission, each Old Believer Christian within the Russian community, wherever they may reside, is to open schools and teach their children to read and chant, passing on this precious legacy to the next generation, to understand and pray according to correct translations, for which our ancestors, led by the holy martyr protopope Avvakum and those with him, sacrificed their souls for the ancient piety.
Also, we admonish and remind you, spiritual fathers, brothers, and sisters, to strive for obedience and submission to your spiritual mentors, and sacred persons to their ruling hierarch, for "obedience is the greatest fasting and prayer."
In conclusion of this brief address, I wish peace, health, salvation, and prosperity to all of you, praying for each other and thus fulfilling the law of Christ. I urge all of you, dear fathers, brothers, and sisters, with the words of the Apostle Paul: "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and my archpastoral blessing be with all of you. Amen.