На сайте "dioceseinfo.org" опубликовано письмо прихожанина, в котором выражено беспокойство по поводу ситуации, сложившейся вокруг епископа Василия (Осборна). В частности автор письма опасается превращения Сурожской Епархии в некий национальный анклав "русскую веру", что, по его мнению, противоречило бы тем принципам, которые заложил еще митрополит Антоний Сурожский. Мы приводим полностью английский оригинал письма
Letter from a provincial parishioner
I am writing to express my concern about the events which are taking place in the Diocese and to express my support for Bishop Basil in these extremely difficult times. I am not a member of the London parish and I have not been involved with any of the events which have unfolded there over the recent past. I am writing from the point of view of a member of a provincial parish, an assembly member and an occasional visitor to the Cathedral.
When I received Bishop Basil’s letter and a copy of his letter to the Patriarch my first instinct was one of relief. That instinct is the result of feelings which have grown over the recent past to a point where, as a convert to Orthodoxy I have seriously wondered if my decision to convert was correct as I began to experience things which made me increasingly feel as though I did not belong in the Church which I have chosen.
My experiences have included attending a Liturgy in the Cathedral at which the first half hour was entirely in Slavonic (how much more was Slavonic I don’t know as I left); attending a meeting in a room where the walls were pasted with many posters and notices which I did not understand; a service where words to communally sung prayers were handed out to Russians with no similar papers for the English; a Liturgy which was entirely in English having Slavonic parts added to it when nobody in the parish was Russian; a conference in the Diocese held entirely in Russian; a report on the work of the Diocese which appeared to consist wholly of events and meetings with dignitaries from Russia and previous Russian states and almost nothing about establishing links within the UK; learning that a priest is likely to include Slavonic prayers in a Liturgy on the basis of there being one or two Russians in the congregation when there are a dozen English who will not understand; the realisation that after over 40 years of Sourozh in the UK our Cathedral still does not have one service in English, amongst various other events.
My feelings crystallised a few months ago when I tried to understand how I felt and I came to the conclusion that when I first met the Russian Orthodox Church in the Uk I assumed that it was in a period of transition towards establishing links within the UK, increasing the use of English, making itself known to its neighbours amongst the British people and embedding Orthodoxy into British cultural life. It began to dawn on me that I had been mistaken in all those things. In fact the opposite appears to be happening within the Diocese.
I have four fears:
First, that on the present course the Russian Orthodox Church in the Uk will become an ethnic enclave which serves the Russian émigré population but which has few points of contact for non-Russians and little in common with the population as a whole. This kind of Church will have little to contribute to the religious life of the Uk; increasingly inward looking and self concerned, only looking out to look to the East, to Russia, to strengthen links to other Russian tradition Orthodox Churches. The Cathedral is already becoming less welcoming to the British people who are its neighbours; it is not welcoming to come into a church and be unable to understand the notices or the prayers. As more Russians move to the provinces this may begin to be the case in provincial parishes. Sourozh would find itself in a similar situation to that of the Serbian Orthodox or the Polish Catholic Church.
Second, that converts like myself will feel increasingly alienated and the feeling of ‘not belonging’ which I hear expressed in the provinces will increase. I first heard this expressed during a Diocesan conference when there was so much Slavonic in the services that at least one person was driven out and I found her sobbing in the garden. I hope she will not mind me quoting her "I have been in this Church for twenty years and for the first time I feel as though I don’t belong"
Third that there will be small opportunity to develop anything in the UK which can itself contribute to Orthodoxy. The English Orthodox Russian tradition singing I have heard in English country churches seems to me to be the first flowering of a wonderful English based Orthodox style which is likely to be nipped in the bud in the current climate.
Fourth, that the current cultural and ethnic separation between the Cathedral and the provinces will widen. There is, in this respect, already a profound division in the Diocese. This has been noted at the conference where people like myself find ourselves frequently hearing the problems of London and Oxford rehearsed when our own parish life and problems seldom get a hearing and bear little resemblance to that in these two cities. Bishop Basil’s call a couple of years ago at a conference for more priests and deacons from the Cathedral to visit provincial parishes does not appear to have borne any obvious fruit. I have also heard Russian Orthodox people from provincial parishes say when I ask them why they don’t visit their Cathedral when they visit London "why should I, it has nothing to do with me".
It seems to me that Bishop Basil has been trying hard to solve some of these problems but against great opposition and with very little time. His determination not to base himself in London, his assiduous attention to the problems of those of us in the provincial parishes, his support and unceasing patience listening to our concerns, his development of the Deanery system; his many visits to us to celebrate on our feasts and to chair our meetings even though this meant long hours of travel; his willingness to get personally involved with us in trying to solve our small parish problems when he has had far bigger issues amongst the London parishioners, are witness to this. Added to this his concern that we should not worry about what is happening in London and his determination that we should not have to be burdened with hearing of London’s problems make him, to me and I am sure to many others, an excellent pastor.
It is for these reasons and because of the feelings and thought s expressed above that I found myself relived that Bishop Basil had taken the step he had taken, even though it might mean division and hardship. I long to see a real future for Orthodoxy in the UK, but I believe that this is likely to only be achieved when the Church is prepared to sacrifice some of its ethnic Russian character and rules and allow itself to embed in our British life, culture and language. I believe that the plan Bishop Basil has put forward gives Orthodoxy the best chance of actually growing and developing creatively in the UK and I look forward to worshiping in an Orthodox Church which explores a way to combine the best of Russian Orthodoxy with the ancient Christian tradition which already exists here, to create a new vision which looks forward and not back, which looks to Britain as well as to Russia.
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