Russian Orthodox Church Statement on Church of England Decision to Allow Women to Serve as Bishops

The Orthodox Church News:

The Russian Orthodox Church has been alarmed and disappointed to learn about the decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate, since the centuries-old relationships between our two Churches had shown possibilities for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in Anglicanism. As far back as the 19th century, the Anglicans, members of the Eastern Church Association, sought “mutual recognition” of orders between the Orthodox and the Anglican Churches and believed that “both Churches preserved the apostolic continuity and true faith in the Saviour and should accept each other in the full communion of prayers and sacraments.”

The decision to ordain women, which the Church of England took in 1992, damaged the relationships between our Churches, and the introduction of female bishops has eliminated even a theoretical possibility for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in the Anglican hierarchy.

Such practice contradicts the centuries-old church tradition going back to the early Christian community. In the Christian tradition, bishops have always been regarded as direct spiritual successors of the apostles, from whom they received special grace to guide the people of God and special responsibility to protect the purity of faith, to be symbols and guarantors of the unity of the Church. The consecration of women bishops runs counter to the mode of life of the Saviour Himself and the holy apostles, as well as to the practice of the Early Church.

In our opinion, it was not a theological necessity or issues of church practice that determined the decision of the General Synod of the Church of England, but an effort to comply with the secular idea of gender equality in all spheres of life and the increasing role of women in the British society. The secularization of Christianity will alienate many faithful who, living in the modern unstable world, try to find spiritual support in the unshakable gospel’s and apostolic traditions established by Eternal and Immutable God.

The Russian Orthodox Church regrets to state that the decision allowing the elevation of women to episcopal dignity impedes considerably the dialogue between the Orthodox and the Anglicans, which has developed for many decades, and contributes for further deepening of divisions in the Christian world as a whole.



5 thoughts on “Russian Orthodox Church Statement on Church of England Decision to Allow Women to Serve as Bishops

  1. One can’t help but wonder why the EO have not put up such a direct historical and theological statement earlier, i.e. toward the Anglican Communion? I myself used to belong to a fellowship-group of Anglicans and Orthodox (mostly clergy), but this was over 20 years ago now. And for the most part this area of male presbyters was a given then. But this is an excellent statement now! Would that general Anglicanism would heed such today, but we know now that will not be the case, save with some Anglican Bodies, who have surely had to separate from the so-called Anglican Churches, who recognize the leadership of the see of Canterbury, whether in Britain or abroad.

    1. I’d have to pull out my old copy of the Dublin and Moscow Agreed statements from the 1970s and 1980s, but if memory serves me we did warn them way back when. At that time it was just over WO to priestesses. But they had notice from us. And Rome.

      Key for most major ecumenical participants is to focus only on those bodies that have stayed true to their historical confessions. No point in wasting time with the apostate. All we can do is pray for their repentence and be ready & willing to have open arms extended if they ever see the error of their ways.

      1. Yes, I am quite aware of the Dublin and Moscow statements! But again, the 1970’s and 80’s are now 30 to 40 years ago! WE need renewed and true orthodoxy and statements of biblical ecumenism, and these are simply flawed without some connection with today’s reality of National and Modern Israel! And yes, I am here speaking of Eschatology! Something many of the so-called historical churches are lagging-in, and have even missed it biblically, of course in my opinion, and many others!

        Btw, by its very nature, ‘the apostate and apostasy’, cannot be brought to repentance! (Hebrews 6: 4-6, etc.) And we are surely seeing these “apostate & apostasy” in the historical churches, i.e. Gentile churches! This is the beginning, but not the end of such Gentile Apostasy in the “churches”! (2 Tim. 3: 5 with chap. 4: 1-4!)… A very solemn eschatolgical perspective and revelation itself, from the Apostle Paul’s Last Will and Testament from the Letter of Second Timothy! In many ways, these so-called “Pastoral Epistles” (1st and 2nd Timothy, with Titus), are really “General” like Epistles and Letters, especially 2 Timothy. They are OUR biblical norm in ecclesiology!

  2. Is the Church of England any longer an Anglo-catholic church anymore? A truly sad development in Anglicanism…moreover they are making liturgical vestment optional…soon they will be arguing in favor of euthanasia…wait some Anglican Bishop are already sympathetic to the culture of death.

    Pray for Unity!

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