Interview with Bishop Akakije
31May /13 June 2012
On Pentecost this year a question arose about the confession of faith of the anti-ecumenist church community which separated from the ecumenist SOC, calling itself the Eparchy of Rashka-Prizren in Exile. Their “Creed” on the site of the RPE in Exile was stated by the founder and leader of this community, Bishop Artemije. Quickly afterwards, His Grace Bishop Akakije, in his article which we have published on Serbian TO examined the ecclesiological position represented by Bishop Artemije. Not long thereafter, on the site of the RPE in Exile there appeared a series of various commentaries, explanations, and clarifications of Bishop Artemije’s stance. Although Bishop Akakije has already presented his opinion on the matter of such a confession of faith in broad strokes, calling it “Laodicean,” we asked him to clarify his stance with more details for the readers of the Serbian TO blog, especially now after the additional explanations on the ERP in Exile site, in which the Serbian TOC is openly criticized in a very negative context. In connection with all of this, our editors asked Bishop Akakije several questions.
Serbian TO: In a series of Internet articles on the site of the RPE in Exile begun by the Pentecost interview with Bishop Artemije, many clarifications followed – his personal clarifications, those of the info-service, and those of Fr. Simeon Vilovski – sprinkled with some poorly expressed claims that the True Orthodox fall among “schismatic groups” and are no better than the ecumenist heretics themselves. On the other hand, Bp. Artemije’s followers claim of themselves that they are not a schism, but the Royal middle path of salvation. What is this about?
Bp. Akakije: This is demagoguery that not only has no argumentative backing in the canons and Church history, but even goes against a healthy mindset. The Belgrade Patriarchate itself, during its recent conciliar session in May, called Bp. Artemije to return to the Church from the way of schism, because he is creating a “parasynagogue” inside the SOC, with the anti-canonical, invalid acts of opening monasteries and places of prayer throughout the eparchies of the SOC. The ecumenist SOC defined Bp. Artemije and his “RPE in Exile” a schism, and as one result of such a grave judgment defrocked him and his clergy, while his monastics were deprived of their rank, and some of their lay people were excommunicated from the Church. Despite this, Bp. Artemije and his followers are trying to present themselves as the middle way of non-schism.