ROCOR - The Synod of Metropolitan Vitaly
The title ROCOR-Vitaly refers to that part of the formerly-united ROCOR that followed Metropolitan Vitaly in his post-retirement break with ROCOR-Laurus (see ROCOR-Laurus) in 2000, and which rejected their former course of communion with Ecumenical World Orthodoxy and the Soviet Moscow Patriarchate.
After his retirement from the episcopacy, Metropolitan Vitaly “re-claimed”, against Church rules, the leadership of the ROCOR. He did this under the banner of trying to be more faithful to Orthodoxy, in the name of saving her from the ecumenical policies of Metropolitan Laurus. This was grossly hypocritical, because the ecumenical course of Metropolitan Laurus was the same course which Metropolitan Vitaly himself had set for the ROCOR.
Consequently, another ROCOR formed around Met. Vitaly, who repudiated his former decisions of union with the heretical Cyprianites, and communion with Ecumenical World Orthodoxy and the Soviet Patriarchate. However, having repudiated his erroneous decisions, he unacceptably preferred to repent to himself in a Protestant fashion, rather than to those Russian and Greek hierarchs who had remained faithful to the Church and who had broken communion with him in 1994-5 when he first fell into heresy.
Metropolitan Vitaly fell away from Orthodoxy in 1994, when he entered into communion with the ecumenical heretic Metropolitan Cyprian, who believed that heretical World Orthodoxy still possess the grace of the Holy Spirit and are therefore valid churches. Metropolitan Vitaly admitted openly eight years later that Cyprian was indeed a heretic. Met. Vitaly had fallen under the Russian Church Abroad’s Anathema of 1983 by this union. He, however, maintained by some illogical reasoning, that being in heresy and under anathema did not affect him, even though at that very time many ROCOR faithful abandoned the heretic Vitaly.
Thus, having renounced his heresy and his communion with World Orthodoxy, ROCOR-Vitaly chose not to reunite with true Orthodox Churches, but rather to remain in schism from all those who have remained pure in their confession of Faith. Out of blind loyalty to the obstinate person of Metropolitan Vitaly, who refused out of pride to correct the schism, the group ROCOR-Vitaly, sadly, finds a place in this list of contemporary Schisms. Upon the death of Metropolitan Vitaly the leadership fell to Bishop Vladimir (see ROCE Vladimir).
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