Updates To Previous Stories
• Regarding Financial Transparency in Troy, MI
According to a recent notice in the January 23rd parish bulletin (“The Observer”), St. George Cathedral in Troy has come to terms with the State of Michigan regarding its tax obligations. The note reads:
“Thank You Note
I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks and gratitude for the overwhelming support some two dozens of our parishioners who helped us raise funds as loans or donations so we may pay the sales tax to the State of Michigan. On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, a representative from the Department of Finance informed us that there were no improprieties in any issues deal with income and/or payroll taxes. Those who squealed against the Church are protected by the Whistle Blowers Acts and consequently we were not given their identities. However we will continue to make all efforts to get their names. We found out also that these betrayers will receive 25% of the money we have paid on behalf of the Church. Again thanks for the love that was expressed by our good parishioners. May the Lord God reward you with heavenly gifts for your earthly ones.“
It was reported to OCANews.org that the amount paid to the state was $65,000.
• Regarding notions of “Maximal Autonomy", this from Moscow, Russia
It has been reported that the last Episcopal Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church adopted sweeping changes in their Statute. (http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/1403020.html).
An entirely new chapter (VIII.I. ) concerning “Autonomous Churches” was added. Among the new provisions:
- The Autonomous Churches are regulated by their own Statute and by the Statute of the Church in Russia.
- The decisions taken by the Episcopal Synods and Local Councils of the Church in Russia are mandatory for the Autonomous Churches.
- The Patriarch of Moscow has to be commemorated in every parish of the Autonomous Church.
- The bishops of the Autonomous Churches are members of the Episcopal Synods and Local Councils of the Church in Russia and they are expected to participate in their meetings.
- Any changes in the Statute of the Autonomous Church have to be agreed upon in written form by the Patriarch of Moscow.
- The Church of Russia has the right to put an end to the existence of an Autonomous Church it has created.
The Statute clearly distinguishes between Autonomous Churches (Japan, China) and Self-Ruled Churches (Latvia, Moldova, Estonia). ROCOR, however, is called “a Self-Ruled part of the Russian Orthodox Church”, so it is not fully clear how, if at all, these new provisions apply to that body in America.
Clearly, many of the above provisions do go against the Tomos of Autonomy delivered in 1970 to the Orthodox Church in Japan by the Church of Russia. The Metropolitan of Tokyo and All Japan did not attend to the last Episcopal Synod due to bad health. The decision was taken in his absence.