Adapted from the Anglican Church in North America
An ACNA delegation met with Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion, Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, in Moscow on Aug. 25.
The ACNA delegation included Archbishop Foley Beach, Bishop Ray Sutton (dean of ecumenical affairs), Bishop Kevin Allen (chairman of the North American Anglican–Orthodox dialogue), Bishop Keith Ackerman, Moheb Ghali (of the Western Christian Faculty Forum), and the Rev. Canon Andrew Gross.
The Very Rev. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor of St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York and a member of the North American Anglican–Orthodox dialogue, accompanied the ACNA leaders.
Patriarch Kirill gave thanks for the Anglican Church in North America’s witness.
“Your church went through a very difficult period of its history, and the faithful took courage and had the ability to respond to a great temptation,” he said. “There are two models of the behavior of the Church and of Christians. One involves obedience to the secular power and the powerful forces that have an impact on social development. The other model involves the ability to speak the truth and to remain faithful to the Christian message.”
The Russian Orthodox Church suffered decades of severe persecution during communist rule. This week the Anglican delegation saw a transformed religious landscape in which Christian symbols now dominate Red Square and Moscow, and new churches are being planted across the country (on average 1,000 per year for the last 27 years).
Both the Russian Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church in North America expressed a desire to see the growth and deepening of relationships. Archbishop Foley Beach of the ACNA delivered a letter of greeting from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, the Archbishop and Primate of Kenya, and Chairman of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.
Archbishop Beach gave thanks for the common ground that the faithful of both churches are finding on the practical moral issues that confront our societies: “Globalization has increased the effect that we have on one another, and at a time when the family is being threatened by forces that would seek to redefine marriage, normalize sexual compromise, and fund the slaughter of unborn children, it is an encouragement to have a strong and unwavering partner in the Russian Orthodox Church on these issues.”
The delegation also visited to the Monastery of the Holy Trinity and St. Sergius, Donskoy Monastery, the Church of St. Catherine, and St. Basil’s Cathedral, and worshiped at the Church of the Joy of All Who Sorrow.