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Chapter 41: The Reception of Archbishop Ambrose

Archbishop Gregory was two years by himself in the United States as the sole confessing bishop. During this time, he always considered himself as part of the Russian Orthodox Church, although cut off from his Synod. He did not know if the disastrous situation in Russia with Metropolitan Valentine would correct itself. The bishops could have understood the metropolitan‘s errors and proceeded to canonically correct him, or the metropolitan himself could have been incapacitated and resign, or perhaps die of natural causes. This last probability seemed likely to many people, since after his fiasco in the United States, he suffered quite a few physical setbacks. His diabetes became so uncontrollable that amputations became necessary, starting with his toes. Also adding to his woes, on the feast of the Protection of the Virgin Mary, thieves, thinking he was then in church, broke into his home, then finding him, wrapped him in a rug and kicked him so severely that he had to be hospitalized.

About this time Archbishop Gregory was approached by an archbishop/metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, by the name of Ambrose Moran.

Archbishop Ambrose Moran

He lived in New York and had been in conversation with one of our clergy, who was continuously encouraging him to repent of his Ecumenism and join the true Church. Finally, he saw the severity of his error by being involved in this worst of heresies. Lastly he understood the true and firm canonical line of Archbishop Gregory. He came to this conclusion after he investigated the Greek Old Calendar Churches in New York and determined that they were crypto-ecumenical. He also investigated the Russian Church Abroad, which had just joined the Moscow Patriarchate. This was unacceptable. He understood that there was just no confessing bishop in the United States other than Archbishop Gregory.

Archbishop Ambrose petitioned Archbishop Gregory for reception into the Church. He did this in writing, submitting all his official papers with his biography. After careful examination, Archbishop Gregory determined that he indeed could be received into the Church by chrismation, after his full renunciation of the heresy of Ecumenism. His initial renunciation in writing was as follows:

“To Archbishop Gregory of Denver, and to whom it may concern:

I, Archbishop Ambrose (Moran), by this instrument and by my signature affixed hereto, renounce and condemn the heresy of Ecumenism, and in accordance with the 1983 Anathema issued by the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad under Metropolitan Philaret, which is presented herein below, I also anathematize those who profess this heresy:

To those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that Christ‘s Church is divided into so-called ‘branches‘ which differ in doctrine and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed in the future when all ‘branches‘ or sects or denominations, and even religions will be united into one body, and who do not distinguish the priesthood and Mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore, to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics, or who advocate, disseminate, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians, Anathema.”

Signed: + Archbishop Ambrose, stamped with his seal

Dated: October 17/30, 2007.

Archbishop Gregory never heard, however, of one bishop receiving another bishop into the Church, so he personally believed that this must be accomplished by an agreement of at least two bishops.

The only other Synod of bishops whom Archbishop Gregory recognized as valid was the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece under Archbishop Makarios. He contacted Archbishop Makarios and explained that an old calendarist Ukrainian ecumenist bishop wished to repent and join the Church in America. He explained that he had gathered all the information and checked the history of his ordination and that he indeed came from a recognized line. Archbishop Gregory also made it clear that he did not think it was right for himself to receive a bishop without the agreement of at least one other bishop, and that since Archbishop Gregory was by himself in America, he needed the help of Archbishop Makarios. Archbishop Makarios agreed to help and requested all the papers to be sent to him in Greece. A week after the papers were received, Archbishop Makarios told Archbishop Gregory that Ambrose should also write a livellos, which is a written declaration, and in this case it was specifically about his renunciation of Ecumenism and all the false traditions and practices which he was associated with in the past. Archbishop Ambrose again wrote the following declaration: “To the Genuine Orthodox Church of America, by divine grace, being guided to Orthodoxy, to wit, the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, I produce the present written declaration, by which I avow and consent to everything which the holy seven Ecumenical Councils, as well as the regional councils, declared and avowed. Thus I am rejecting all the innovations of the heretical, ecumenical, false churches, regarding the doctrines, the Mysteries, the traditions and the practice of the Church. Therefore, confessing and espousing Orthodoxy with all my soul, I am entering hereto, as a genuine and faithful son!” Signed: + Archbishop Ambrose of New York --November 5, 2007. This declaration was also translated into Greek, and along with the original, was sent to Archbishop Makarios. After Archbishop Makarios received and examined this instrument, Archbishop Gregory again contacted him by phone. One of his Greek priests, Fr. Athanasios, was the translator. The conversation was recorded so that it might be reviewed later with others who were proficient in Greek, so that everything spoken would be understood perfectly and that there would be no misunderstanding in the future. Archbishop Makarios told Archbishop Gregory that everything looked in order and that Archbishop Ambrose should make his declaration first. That meant that he should read his declaration publicly in the church. Then he said, “Proceed! What else is there to do?”

Two weeks later, on Sunday, November 18, 2007, Archbishop Ambrose was received into the Church by joint agreement of Archbishop Gregory of the GOC of America and Archbishop Makarios of the GOC of Greece. The reception of Archbishop Ambrose took place in the Cathedral of the Dormition before all the faithful, where he made his renunciation in public and was chrismated back into the Church.

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