Open Letter to an Enquirer
[Our NOTE: Symeon (HOLDRIDGE) was originally consecrated by Denis Garrison of Maryland, a member of the independent movement. Symeon later renounced his holy orders but then returned to the independent movement. He is not and never was part of the original 1927 American Orthodox Catholic Church [THEOCACNA] as claimed. Such groups who make this claim are usually old catholics. As with all groups making such claims we deny they have any valid sacramental authority from Our Church - The Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church in North America
Also it should be noted that none listed herein are or have been associated with the Church Abp. Ofiesh originally headed. Abp. Ofiesh did not found or establish the Church as some claim.]
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To begin, it is safe to say that while we are conservative in our Orthopraxis, we our somewhat liberal in our Social Justice views and practices.
We are committed to the Old Calendar, following the Canons of the Undivided Church, the Creed and the Eastern Rite (Liturgy of St John Chrysostom)... With our Russian heritage showing through in such areas as: Chants, Vestments, Iconographic style, etc. However, both Vladika Symeon and I strongly believe that the liturgy must be served in the language of the parish; presently English in our parish, but Spanish and other languages are equally acceptable. I feel that I must stress that our Eparchy is in agreement that there can be no compromise on the use of the natural language of the people. Furthermore, we are passionately dedicated to Evangelism, the spread of Orthodox throughout the World.
We accept only the unmodified Nicene Creed as promulgated by the fourth century Council of Nicea (and confirmed by successive councils) as the valid expression of the Faith of the Church (I.e. without the filioque). We offer the seven sacraments of the Church, which can only be valid where there are both valid Apostolic Succession and true Doctrine, with the authority of the priest who performs these sacraments coming through the validity of his Bishop. The Church is, after all, only experienced as the Faithful in Christ, gathered around their Bishop. We honor and follow Holy Tradition, as well, and believe that while the Holy Spirit is, of course, alive and working within the Church, change is never precipitous or unilateral. Furthermore, any doctrinal change would have to come through the outworking of a future Ecumenical Council. Whether it appears to be, or not, this does not conflict with our being committed to Social Justice, as we feel that the Church has always been.
We practice fiscally sound management, with reserves in the bank to fund future growth.
I will also attempt to give you a brief history of Vl. Symeon and the jurisdiction as well as myself. The Russian Orthodox Church in America was NEVER part of THEOCACNA (the American Orthodox Church under Archbishop Aftimios). Vladika Symeon claims he was the 10th (and 12th) First Hierarch. With its fragmentation after his first retirement, due to illness, it was decided to re-charter with a new name to avoid the controversies that have since arisen SINCE THE ORIGINAL THEOCACNA CONTINUES TODAY UNDER THE 3RD PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE CHURCH.
Vl. Symeon can give you much more detail concerning this and the whole history of the Church, after its chartering by the Russian American Bishops in 1927, depending on your interest level. Since, re-chartering as ROCIA, we have gradually worked towards our present status: a few mission parishes and a handful of dedicated priests and clergy. We are dedicated to working, not for the further disunity of the Orthodox Church in the Western Hemisphere, but to offer a welcoming, inclusive home for likeminded Christians, in a setting we feel resembles what the Church would have inevitably become in this country without the unfortunate intervention of the Soviet revolution in our Mother Russian homeland and all of its unfortunate consequences.
I, personally, have spent several years in ministry to homeless and at risk teens, while Vl. Symeon, has most recently devoted his time to serving as a Mayoral appointee to the council and committees funding AIDS services in the Denver metropolitan area. Both Vl. Symeon and myself come from sectarian Christian backgrounds and are proud converts to Orthodoxy. We differ greatly in our educational backgrounds and secular vocations, as well as our previous marital status, which we feel gives our leadership a breadth that is often lacking both in smaller Orthodox groups, as well as the mainstream, SCOBA-type churches. Our Apostolic lineages are very different, but equally valid, both coming from the Russian Church through Archbishop Aftimios (of blessed memory) but his through Archbishops Vladimir and John. Our lines are unquestionably valid (you will notice that we have not engaged in the most unfortunate practice of ‘sub-conditionally’ re-consecrating each other to share our lines of succession), our Orthopraxis is traditional and canonical, and thus, our sacraments and the orders that we confer are valid and canonical.
In closing, I hope that I have answered some of your questions. Both Vladika Symeon and I look forward to further communication. We await your further questions and look forward to future correspondence, hopefully leading to your joining us in the sacred ministry to our Holy Church.
Russian Orthodox Church in America (ROCIA) Orthodox Tradition throughout the New World
Office of the Metropolitan
His Beatitude, Metropolitan SYMEON
1105 W. Deming Street
Roswell, NM, U.S.A. 88203
office: (303) 733 - 3125
St. Mary Magdalene Skete:
Chief Executive Officer:
Priest Jonathan Tan
Priest Jonathan Tan
Colorado Registered Agent
Secretary of the Metropolitan Archdiocese
1105 W. Deming Street
Roswell, NM 88203
His Grace, Bishop FREDERICK
His Grace, Archpriest Ioan of Denver, (retired)
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