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Bishop Onell A. Soto

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We commemorate the seventh anniversary of the death of Bishop Onell A. Soto, who served as Anglican bishop of Venezuela and as assistant bishop in the dioceses of Atlanta and Alabama, died on August 5, 2015 at the age of 82. Bishop Soto worked to spread God's love through all facets of his life, whether as a journalist, minister, leader, mentor, and family man. He pioneered short news before Twitter, made sure the church in Venezuela became a national church, and never stopped sharing his infectious sense of humor.

He was born in Cuba in 1932. He studied medicine at the University of Havana. In 1960 he married Nina Ulloa, director of Christian education for the Episcopal Church in Cuba with whom he had 4 children. The couple fled the Castro regime and left Cuba, and he enrolled at the University of the South School of Divinity in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he earned a bachelor's degree in divinity. He was ordained a priest in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1965, and began a new life as a missionary for the Episcopal Church in Quito, Ecuador. Onell and Nina's love for the Church, and their deep faith and sense of evangelism, guided his work as missionaries. He led a parish in Ecuador and served as executive secretary of the Episcopal Church's Province IX in El Salvador. Returning to the United States in the late 1970s, he served as world mission information and education officer for The Episcopal Church in New York.

In 1987, he was elected Anglican Bishop of Venezuela, where he served until 1995 and was awarded the Order of the Liberator Simón Bolívar, the nation's highest civilian honor, for his contributions to the moral and spiritual well-being of Venezuela. He was later named an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Atlanta, and in 1999 an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Alabama. He retired in 2002 and moved with Nina to Miami.

We remember this day a leader of our church who gave his life to spread the faith of Christ and for the unity of Christians. An example for all who knew him. His remains are in this cathedral.

Cathedral Hall and Diocesan Office Demolition Presentation

English:  Sun, Aug 14th after 10AM Service

Spanish: Sun, Aug 14th after 12:15PM Service

The Diocesan Consultant - Lang Lowrey - will present the plan for the demolition of the parish hall and diocesan offices. The presentation will cover the demolition process, timeline, and the impact to cathedral life (parking, office access and worship). All are encourage to attend and ask questions! 

Schedule for the week

Sunday - August 7, 2022

Ninth Sunday of Pentecost

Season of Pentecost
August 7, 2022
Temporada de Pentecostés
07 de Agosto de 2022

All Services are celebrated in person and on Facebook Live

Morning and Evening Online Reflection

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Begin and end your weekday with online reflections. Reflections feature prayers, readings from Holy Scripture, and contemplative music and are led by clergy from National Cathedral in the morning and from Canterbury Cathedral in the evening. In addition, daily Choral Evensong song by the Canterbury Cathedral Choir is available online. Select the applicable link below for access.

Morning Prayers
Evening Prayers
Choral Evensong


Eucharistic Prayer Service

Join us at 12:10 pm every Wednesday for a Contemplative Eucharistic Service with Meditation & Healing Prayer. The service will be held in the Chapel. All are welcome to worship with us.

Prayer Requests

If you would like to include someone on the Prayer List or add an anniversary or birthday for special prayers, please call the Cathedral office, use the 'Contact Us' link on our website, or send an email ...



Sick - In Recovery

Rev. Winnie Bolle, Domenica Brazzi, Doris Gray, Griselda Ogburn, George Pearson, Rev. James Considine, Bill Berger, Helen Ebanks, Tim Royer, Angela Fekete, Tina Fenimore, Giovanny Monzalve, Carol Cunningham, Susan Lever, Ron Walerstein, Joseph Briller, Sylvia LaraLisa Ruppel Lange, Robert Horton, John Cochran III, Nancy Cowperthwait

Altar Flowers

To the glory of God and in memory of Bishop Onell Soto

Sanctuary Candle

To the glory of God and in thanksgiving for the birthdays of Deacon Elaine Jessup and Elyta Watkins


Manny Yevancey

Deacon Elaine Jessup

Elyta Watkins

Diego Almaral

David Negron




In Memoriam

Vinnel Linton

Stephen Michael Pereira, Sr

Message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Lambeth Call on human dignity

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is among an estimated 650 Anglican bishops worldwide—including more than 100 Episcopal bishops—attending the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England, through Aug. 7. He shared a video message after bishops discussed the Lambeth Call on Human Dignity on Aug. 2.

Video Message

Archbishop of Canterbury warns against exploitation of world’s poorest in first Lambeth Conference address

In the first of three keynote addresses to the Lambeth Conference, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby underscored the importance of wrestling with social challenges and warning that new “empires of financial, economic, scientific and technological power” risk further exploiting the world’s most vulnerable people.

A message from Bishop Eaton

Select to play video

The Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ 

Feast Day - August 6

episcopal church.org

Feast that celebrates Jesus’ radical change of appearance while in the presence of Peter, James, and John, on a high mountain (Mt 17:1-8; Mk 9:2-8; Lk 9:28-36). The Gospel of Matthew records that “he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.” At this moment Moses and Elijah appeared, and they were talking with Jesus. Peter, misunderstanding the meaning of this manifestation, offered to “make three booths” for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. A bright cloud overshadowed them and a voice from the cloud stated, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” The disciples fell on their faces in awe, but Jesus encouraged them to arise and “have no fear.” They saw only Jesus. This event is alluded to in 2 Pt 1:16-18, which records that “we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” and “we were with him on the holy mountain.” The Transfiguration revealed Christ’s glory prior to the crucifixion, and it anticipated his resurrection and ascension. It may have given strength and comfort to his disciples in the difficult times that followed. It also prefigures the glorification of human nature in Christ.

Celebration of the Transfiguration began in the eastern church in the late fourth century. The feast is celebrated on Aug. 6. This was the date of the dedication of the first church built on Mount Tabor, which is traditionally considered to be the “high mountain” of the Transfiguration. Others locate the Transfiguration on Mount Hermon or the Mount of Olives. Celebration of the feast was not common in the western church until the ninth century. It was declared a universal feast of the western church by Pope Callistus III in 1457. The feast was first included in the English Prayer Book as a black letter day in the 1561 revision of the calendar of the church year. It was included as a red letter day with proper collect and readings in the American Prayer Book of 1892. Its inclusion reflects the efforts of William Reed Huntington, who wrote the BCP collect for the Transfiguration. This collect prays, “O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the king in his beauty. . . .” (BCP, p. 243). The Transfiguration is listed among the holy days of the church year as a Feast of our Lord. Other provinces of the Anglican Communion followed the lead of the Episcopal Church in celebrating the Transfiguration as a major feast. The Transfiguration gospel is used on the Last Sunday after the Epiphany in all three years of the BCP eucharistic lectionary. As an Epiphany story, the Transfiguration provides one of the most distinctive and dramatic showings of Jesus’ divinity. The Hymnal 1982 provides several hymns for the Transfiguration, including “Christ upon the mountain peak” (Hymns 129-130) and “O wondrous type! O vision fair” (Hymns 136-137).


O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with you, O Father, and you, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


These are difficult times and many struggle to make ends meet. When you come on Sundays, please consider bringing one or more items of canned or boxed food.  Items to consider include canned goods, peanut butter, packaged cereals, paper products, dish and laundry soaps, boxed dinners, toiletry items, and feminine hygiene products. Remember that we can not accept expired food or items that need refrigeration.


Gift Card Ministry 

The LGBT ministry has organized an on-going Gift Card collection drive to aid in the purchase of perishable food items for food pantry recipients. Our Sacristan - Roberto Soto - personally distributes these cards on a weekly basis. To continue to help this cause or if you or someone you know could benefit from this ministry, please contact Roberto Soto at:


Trinity Cathedral, c/o Roberto Soto

464 N.E. 16th Street, Miami, FL 33132

(787) 586-8262 or via email probosoto@hotmail.com


Names of donors and recipients will remain confidential

Gifts to the Church by

Episcopal Convents and Monasteries

The Community of St. John Baptist

episcopal church.org

The Community of St. John Baptist describes their offerings of spiritual direction.

What is spiritual direction?

The majority of our Sisters are trained and certified Spiritual Directors. We work with individuals to improve their prayer life in order to deepen their connection with God. We also help directees with difficult theological questions and spiritual struggles.

Why is spiritual direction important?

Now, more than ever, people are seeking to find meaning in their lives. Working with a spiritual director can help people overcome religious trauma, learn new ways of engaging with scripture and ministry, and gain strength and comfort from a close relationship with the Divine.

How is the Community of St. John Baptist involved in spiritual direction?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of people seeking our Sisters out for spiritual direction has nearly tripled. We have shifted from seeing people in person to meeting with directees on Zoom or by phone. Directees can also take walks outdoors with us on our peaceful, prayerful campus or they can stay overnight at our guest cottage for individual guided retreats.

How can someone find a spiritual director?

Those interested in spiritual direction can contact their priest or bishop or contact a local religious community. Most Sisters, Brothers, and Friars are trained in spiritual direction. To contact CSJB, just email srmc@csjb.org or call 973-543-4641 ext. 2. Our website is www.csjb.org.


The readings from the Sunday scriptures are often a mystery in that context and meaning are often a struggle to discern. Hopefully the following reflections on the weekly readings will give clarity and enhance our common worship. Follow the link to the coming weeks passages and even previous weeks as well.


Parable of the Wise Virgins who had their lamps ready and the Foolish Virgins Who Did Not (c.1616), oil painting on canvas by Hieronymous Francken II (1578-1623). Hermitage Museum , St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Sunday's Readings

Isa. 1:1, 10 - 20

Psalm 50:1-8, 23-24

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

Luke 12:32-40

In mercy, the Lord looks down.

In the words of the Psalmist, “The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all humankind. From where he sits enthroned he watches all the inhabitants of the earth. … Truly the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love” (Ps. 33:13-14, 18). The Lord casts a contemplative eye upon the whole creation and every creature singularly. We are, therefore, beloved images, radiant icons, unfailing treasures to the great, all-seeing, divine eye. “Love came down at Christmas” and before Christmas. From the moment of creation, “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). We are seen, recognized, and loved beyond imagination and measure.

The Lord looks down, and we look up. “[The Lord] brought [Abram] outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And [Abram] believed the Lord, and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:5-6). To the eyes of faith, the future is a dark sky of innumerable possibilities, “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Faith is the stillness of being seen by love and looking into the deep space of love’s beating heart.

Looking up, looking beyond ourselves, we feel a wound awakened. A longing for another home pulls us toward an unknown and hopeful future. Being in the world but not of it, we set out like Abraham. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:8-10). The descendants of Abraham likewise felt themselves incessantly called to a new home. “They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. … [T]hey desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Heb. 11:13-14, 16).

We feel that we are “aliens and exiles” (1 Pet. 2:11) because God is calling us to new places, new possibilities, a new home, a new being. Jesus wants us to be prepared. He tells us to “be dressed for action and have your lamps lit” (Luke 12:35). He tells us to be alert, to be ready, “for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour” (Luke 12:40). Indeed, the Son of Man is coming at every hour, at every moment, calling forth our love and response.

To know and love God is to go with him. Hearing the call of Christ, we leave everything and follow him. Some will make the journey toward Christ by putting one foot in front of the other in a great missionary quest or to a distant Mount Athos. Most, however, will make their journey while observing a vow of stability, a commitment to place, family, and community. Although staying in the same place, it is quite possible and necessary to feel the heart’s deep longing for a better county. The God who sees us will see us home.

Look It Up:         The Collect

Think About It: We exist because we are seen. We go out of ourselves to think and do those things that are right.

Lay Readers needed!


During worship, lectors assist in being the transmitters of God’s Word, reading the Old Testament and New Testament lessons in the context of our liturgy. When we take our place at the lectern and open the Bible to read, we are no less actors – storytellers of God’s Story. We strive to re-create, through their lines written thousands of years ago, to bring the Word of God alive to our world in the 21st century. At Trinity, lectors also serve as Intercessors, leading the congregation in the Prayers of the People.

Trinity is also looking for those interested in serving as a greeter / usher. A smiling face and warm welcome are all you need. If you feel called to either or both of these ministries, please contact the office  at office@trinitymiami.org or Thomas Porto at thomas44a@gmail.com.

In the News

Bishops Commit to Making Churches Safe for All

 The Living Church.org

Anglican bishops gathered at the Lambeth Conference unanimously affirmed on July 31 that “a key part of the mission of the Church is to create communities in which all people are safe and cared for.” They urged all provinces to implement guidelines developed by the Anglican Communion’s Safe Church Commission to ensure appropriate screening and training for all ministry leaders.

Action on this second of 10 Lambeth Calls came after a plenary session that included an interview with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop Thabo Magkoba of Cape Town about their experiences with safeguarding issues in the church, as well as video testimony from an abuse survivor and short presentations by representatives from different regions of the Communion about their progress in developing structures to protect the vulnerable.

“When I became archbishop almost 10 years ago, I knew some of the problems we would face. What I did not know was the problem of safe church, of safeguarding. It’s had a huge effect on me. It has been the biggest, most painful burden of this role,” Welby said.

“The fundamental issue of safe church is the misuse of power. It’s not even normally, particularly, about sex, it’s about power — the ability of someone to do what they like with someone they like who is weaker.”

“I want to start by saying sorry for the sins of our former priests, former generations, that have scarred so many people and virtually undermined the faith,” Archbishop Magkoba said. “The cases that have come to me, they have been very time-consuming, very stressful, victims tiring. The victims that came forward were pained, angry at the church, distrustful of our processes.”

The work and witness of Anglican churches in several parts of the world have been damaged by revelations of unchecked abuse by clergy and other church workers. Revelations of abuse by the Rev. Jonathan Fletcher, a prominent priest, shook the Church of England in 2021. The head of the church’s Independent Safeguarding Board pointed out a series of major concerns with the existing system at last February’s meeting of General Synod.

In the last eight months, victims associated with #ACCtoo alleged that senior officials in the Anglican Church of Canada covered up sexual abuse of vulnerable young people, one of the Anglican Church of Kenya’s senior bishops was accused of assaulting a female priest, and the former Archbishop of Perth in the Anglican Church of Australia was deposed for his mishandling of safeguarding claims.

The Episcopal Church hosted a memorable #metoo forum at the 2018 General Convention, and the Diocese of Chicago settled a sex abuse case for $750,000 in July.

Bishops and their spouses also heard a moving video testimony by Dr. Ann-Marie Wilson, who was abused by a priest at her convent school as a 7-year-old girl. She described her experience as “a sliver of metal that went into me like a wound,” and said it led to numerous additional assaults, including “spiritual abuse in an Anglican context.” She suffered a mental breakdown, and had difficulty forming healthy relationships.

Wilson addressed the bishops directly near the end of the video: “It is your business to deal with abuse in the church, to clean out the skeletons of the past. It is your business to listen to survivors. It is your business to believe them, to give them support, whether that’s therapy or counseling, to not treat them as victims. To deal with perpetrators, to suspend them, not to move them from place to place.

“For the church to access the next generation, it needs to clear up its past. It needs to be a safe place for any minority group, and to come out and say, ‘We are sorry for the sins of the previous generations, and we are not going to tolerate them anymore.’”

The Call on Safe Church

The Call text approved during the afternoon session urged the Communion’s leaders “to make the safety of all persons in the provinces of the Anglican Communion a priority of their focus, resource allocation, and actions.”

It calls for further progress on implementing three resources developed by what is now the Anglican Safe Church Commission: the “Charter for the Safety of People within the Churches of the Anglican Communion”; a protocol for disclosing information about the suitability for ministry of clergy who transfer from one province to another; and a set of guidelines on background checks, reporting systems, and codes of conduct, which are to be adapted for local use in recognition of differences in legal structures and cultural norms in different parts of the world.

The three resources, which have been developed and approved by the Instruments of Communion in the last 14 years, were outlined in detail by Garth Blake of the Anglican Church in Australia, the commission’s chairman, during the morning plenary session.

Representatives from several provinces spoke about their experience in developing stronger safe-church systems. Marcel Peireira of the Episcopal Church in Brazil said that safeguarding in his context is complicated by widespread police violence and weakened protections for human rights.

The Rev. Canon Wadie Far of the Diocese of Jerusalem said his church is trying to address a widespread culture of silence on these issues, and is implementing safeguarding training for church leaders alongside helping victims of modern-day slavery. Canon Robin Hammeal-Urban of the Episcopal Church said the church’s safeguarding policies and training materials have recently been updated, and the church continues to grapple with the fact that the canonical penalties associated with safeguarding violations apply only to ordained leaders.

Bishop Tim Thornton, leader of the Lambeth Calls subgroup, said the Call on Safe Church was approved unanimously by the gathered bishops at the end of their discussions.

Early in the session, Archbishop Justin Welby announced that formal voting would be suspended during the Call sessions, partly because it had proved confusing for many bishops the day before. Bishops will be asked to indicate by voice vote whether they wish a given Call to proceed to further work and discussion during the next decade.

At Lambeth, Anglican Communion abandons vote on same-sex marriage

Religion News Service 

The prejudice felt by gay people over same-sex marriage is the new racism, according to the head of the Episcopal Church of the United States.

Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, in an interview with Religion News Service on Tuesday (Aug. 2), said that in the United States, “the issue of gay people and their rights is equivalent a struggle in our time to the one over race.” He went on to say all Christians in the United States need to stand in solidarity with gay people over same-sex marriage.

Curry was speaking in the aftermath of a key debate at the Lambeth Conference around the issue of same-sex marriage. The conference, meeting for the first time in 14 years, was supposed to be an attempt to bring the Anglican Communion together — to pray, listen and discuss issues that affect the church and the world, such as discipleship, climate change and poverty. More than 650 bishops registered to attend, including more than 100 from the Episcopal Church. They represent some 85 million Anglicans worldwide.

However, documents produced in advance of the conference, which runs through Monday, had provoked outrage among those belonging to the liberal wing of the church. Those documents included a reference to the entire Anglican Communion being wholly opposed to same-sex marriage. The protests forced Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to amend the statement to recognize that some provinces support same-sex marriage.

In response to the amendment, bishops from the Global South announced they would refuse Holy Communion from bishops with gay partners and from those who support same-sex marriage. 

The point-counterpoint protests over the past week have underscored the growing divisions between the bishops in the West who support gay marriage and those in the Global South who oppose it — and the increasingly tenuous cooperation that Welby, as archbishop of Canterbury, has forged. 

Welby wrote to those attending the conference in advance of Tuesday’s discussion, describing same-sex marriage as “this matter on which we are so divided.” And during the debate Tuesday — held behind closed doors, with the media banned ­— he recognized the predicaments faced by both sides and the intractability of an issue on which everyone views a change of heart as unthinkable, according to a transcript released by the press office. Welby acknowledged that, for many present, to alter their position would make them a victim of derision, contempt and attack in their countries.

Welby affirmed that the 1998 Lambeth Conference 1.10 resolution, which rejects homosexuality as incompatible with Scripture, had not been rescinded. Even so, he said he would not punish provinces that back same-sex marriage nor seek to discipline or exclude them from the Communion.

There was no vote on the Human Dignity document, but Welby’s address gained a standing ovation from the Communion and was hailed as drawing out some of the toxicity of the issue. According to Curry: “There was some movement on the willingness of the bishops to respect our differences but at the same time hold fast to our respective convictions. I think that is a healthy thing because for people to be able to stay in relationship with profound differences is a kind of diversity. And we think diversity is a good thing.”

Welby said during his address that those who challenged traditional teaching “have not arrived lightly at their ideas that traditional teaching needs to change. They are not careless about Scripture. They do not reject Christ. But they have come to a different view on sexuality after long prayer, deep study and reflection on understandings of human nature.”

It was an approach Curry welcomed while also stressing that in the United States, clergy like himself had changed their views on same-sex unions through pastoral encounters with couples who wanted God’s blessing on their relationship and their family.

After the closed-door discussion on the Human Dignity paper, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town told journalists there had been “robust discussions and long and sustained prayer.”

“We could sit in a room and listen to a diversity of views and reflect together” — a far cry from the situation before the Lambeth Conference when bishops first received their draft of conference documents, called Lambeth Calls. Those documents included the statement: “It is the mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole that same-gender marriage is not permissible.”

The amended statement now notes that while many provinces ban same-gender marriages, other provinces “have blessed and welcomed same-sex union/marriage after careful theological reflection and a process of reception.”

This week’s Lambeth Conference, though, has a very different mood from the last Lambeth Conference 14 years ago.

Stephen Cottrell, the archbishop of York and the second most senior clergyman in the Church of England after the archbishop of Canterbury, recalled the tensions of the last Lambeth Conference over same-sex marriage. “This time, people aren’t threatening to leave. They are threatening to stay,” he told RNS on Wednesday.

For some supporters of gay unions, the lack of a decision in favor of same-sex marriage was a blow. But Mary Glasspool, an assistant bishop in New York and the first married lesbian bishop in the Anglican Communion, acknowledged there was progress of a kind. “The human dignity call was as good as it could get at this stage. We felt like we were treated as human beings, rather than as an issue.

“The archbishop of Canterbury had a high-wire act to perform and he succeeded. He didn’t fall off. I felt he was at his finest in keeping the Communion together, to listen,” she told RNS on Wednesday.

Out of the 42 Anglican provinces, those that have accepted same-sex marriage include the Episcopal Church in the United States; the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil; the Anglican Church of Canada; the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia; the Scottish Episcopal Church; and the Church in Wales.

On Wednesday, the 650 bishops attending the Lambeth Conference left its base in Canterbury to travel to London for a day at the archbishop of Canterbury’s London home, Lambeth Palace, to discuss climate change. Welby said that “over the last few years, there is no doubt about the climate emergency for all of us.” And he warned that climate change would lead to food and water shortages, resulting in wars over supplies and causing what he called “a savage downward spiral” that would most affect people in the poorest parts of the planet.

The Lambeth Call paper on the environment highlighted that the Anglican Communion’s churches are involved in every part of the environmental emergency: “We are the people facing devastation in disaster-stricken communities. We are all the polluters, especially in wealthy countries. We are people living in poverty and on the margins. We wield power and influence.”

The bishops heard from Kenyan environmental activist Elizabeth Wathuti, who said people in Africa were on the front line of the climate emergency and they are “drowning in empty promises.” She insisted faith leaders could influence politicians to do more.

The Lambeth Call urged Anglican provinces to advocate for the poorest communities suffering the adverse effects of climate change.

Welby said the Church of England was aiming to disinvest from companies that are not pushing for carbon dioxide emissions to fall to net zero. He was also highly critical of oil companies such as Shell that have posted record profits at a time when people across the world are facing historic energy price hikes.

“Their windfall is causing indescribable hardship for people in the poorest countries and hardship for the poor here (in the U.K.) to have to heat or eat,” he said.

The bishops also watched a tree being planted in the Lambeth Palace Garden to mark the launch of the Communion Forest initiative, with trees planted across Communion provinces.

OCU asks Ecumenical Patriarch to initiate Pan-Orthodox condemnation of Kirill's activities and racist teaching about the Russian World

Religious Information service of Ukraine

The head of the OCU, Epiphanius, appealed to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to initiate at the Pan-Orthodox level a review and condemnation of the activities of Moscow Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev and the ethnophyletic and racist doctrine of the Russian World that he preaches.

This is stated in the letter to the patriarch, approved on July 27 at a meeting of the Holy Synod.

Your All-Holiness!

In compliance with the decision of the Council of Bishops of May 24 this year, I am requesting you to initiate the Pan-Orthodox consideration and condemnation of the activities of Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev) of Moscow, as well as of the ethnophyletic and racist doctrine of the Russian World that he preaches.

On February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation insidiously launched full-scale military aggression against Ukraine without a formal declaration of war. The war unleashed by Russia in the center of Europe back in February 2014 is aimed at destroying Ukrainian statehood and is shocking in its brutality. A real genocide of the Ukrainian people is being committed before the eyes of the world. The aggressor destroys peaceful Ukrainian cities, shells hospitals and schools, rapes and tortures women and minors, kills and maims children. Among those killed by Russian troops are clergymen of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, and religious mentors of other confessions. Almost 200 religious buildings, mostly Orthodox temples, were completely or partially destroyed as a result of Russian shelling.

Russia is a country that, over the centuries, has linked its identity with Orthodoxy. However, over the past decades, the Christian faith in Russia has been paganized, i.e. covertly replaced by a civil religion, seemingly based on the Orthodox tradition but alien to the spirit of the Gospel and the essence of the Holy Father’s Orthodox faith. Many soldiers of the Russian Federation who invaded our country identify themselves as Orthodox. However, the acts the occupiers commit expose them as criminals who have lost a living connection with Christ and his Church.

Every child killed, every woman raped, and every apartment building and temple destroyed is not just a war crime but also an act of renunciation of Christ, which places the perpetrator outside the graceful ambit of the Church. However, moral responsibility for the crimes committed lies not only with the direct perpetrators but also with their ideological inspirers – Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and his like-minded hierarchs, who over decades have promoted the ethnophyletist and racist doctrine of the Russian World and now are blessing the assault on Ukraine.

Many people had certain hopes for the revival of church life with the election of Metropolitan Kirill to the patriarchal office (2009). However, to date, when twelve and a half years have passed since Kirill took over the throne of Moscow, it is quite obvious that the announced reforms have never been implemented, and the actual achievements of the 16th Patriarch of Moscow were only the concentration of power in the hands of one person against the complete degradation of real church conciliarity and full dependence of the Church on the Russian state.

Metropolitan and Patriarch Kirill was never the standard for practicing the Orthodox faith. Some of Patriarch Kirill’s theological statements — for example, the identification of the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity as the “Divine Energy derived from God the Father before all ages” – even caused controversy and temptation among the clergy of the Russian Church. Kirill’s almost complete indifference to theological issues safeguarded him from falling into the realm of heresy. The situation changed when the hierarch, whose attention has long been focused on geopolitical issues, decided to contribute to the creation of the Russian World doctrine – a nationalist ethnophyletic theory about the special role of the Russian nation and state in the world and the Church.

On March 15 of this year, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the Declaration on the Russian World" was released, which was initially signed by more than 340 Orthodox theologians from around the world, whose number has now grown to a thousand. As stated in this Declaration, the “Russian World” is an un-Orthodox, heretical doctrine, close to the doctrine of ethnophyletism, which was condemned at the Council of Constantinople in 1872. “We reject the “Russian world” heresy and the shameful actions of the Government of Russia in unleashing war against Ukraine which flows from this vile and indefensible teaching with the connivance of the Russian Orthodox Church, as profoundly un-Orthodox, un-Christian,” the Orthodox theologians who signed the Declaration note. Similar assessments were made in another public document — the public Appeal to the Primates of Orthodox Churches. This Appeal was signed by 437 clergymen of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine, who asked the heads of Orthodox churches to assess the Russian World doctrine from the perspective of the Orthodox faith and, if this doctrine is condemned as heretical, to hold Kirill Gundyaev accountable under canon law, stripping him of the right to occupy the patriarchal throne.

While sharing most of the statements contained in these appeals, we would also like to draw Your All-Holiness’s attention to yet another heretical aspect of the Russian World doctrine, which significantly distorts Orthodox anthropology. We are referring to the denial of peoples' rights to historical self-determination or historical fatalism, which is inherent in the doctrine of the Russian World in Patriarch Kirill’s interpretation. According to the mythological, historical concept of the latter, Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians allegedly belong to the common civilization of the Russian World and, as such, have no moral right to further historical self-determination. The choice made in the past allegedly obliges them to be part of the Russian World or the Russian state for life.

The denial of the freedom of entire nations is associated in the worldview of Patriarch Kirill and his supporters with the theory which is racist in its spirit, alleging that Russia and the Russian World are something fundamentally better and higher than other peoples, and Russia’s historical neighbors – Ukrainians and Belarusians – have the right to exist and the right to their own future exclusively as part of Russian reality. The fundamental denial of the right of the people of Ukraine to full canonical ecclesiastical independence (autocephaly) and their own statehood also looks quite logical within the framework of this racist concept, which divides peoples and states into ‘real’ and ‘artificial’ ones.

That said, it is also important to be aware that the ideology of the modern Russian Orthodox Church poses a threat not only to Ukraine but also to the entire Orthodox world. “Just as Russia invaded Ukraine, similarly the Moscow Patriarchate, headed by Patriarch Kirill, became an invader in the Orthodox Church, for example, in Africa, causing schism and strife," goes the Declaration of the Orthodox theologians. One must also be aware of the connection between the Russian World doctrine and the specific church decisions that Patriarch Kirill has initiated in recent years, from the severance of the Eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate (October 15, 2018) to the creation of the “Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa” (December 29, 2021) and active support of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine (2022). Starting from at least October 2018, all actions of Patriarch Kirill have been driven by a specific political objective. He seeks to radically expand the presence of the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia, weaken the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek-speaking Local Churches at maximum and thus impose the hegemony and rule of the Moscow Patriarch upon the Orthodox world.

In this situation, it is extremely important that the catholic Church adequately responds to the challenges posed by paganized Russian Orthodoxy. As the Gospel says, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” (Mt. 7:18). Acting in line with this principle commanded by our Savior, the Church must recognize conciliarly that the tree, which bears the “fruit of war” today, is poisonous, that is, to condemn the Russian World doctrine as heretical.

We call upon Your All-Holiness and the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches to also consider in the shortest possible term the activities of Patriarch Kirill related to his opposition to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and many of the Local Orthodox Churches, and if this activity is recognized as having signs of schism – to hold the Patriarch of Moscow liable under canon law.

Given the above, we are asking your All-Holiness and the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches to provide canonical assessment for several decisions of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church adopted throughout 2018-2021, which, in our opinion, do not comply with the principles of Orthodox ecclesiology and threaten Pan-Orthodox unity:

• the decision to (unilaterally) sever Eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Church of Cyprus and the Church of Greece;

• the decision to create (contrary to the canonical tradition and Canon 6 of the First Ecumenical Council) the church entities of the Moscow Patriarchate on the canonical territory of the ancient Patriarchate of Alexandria.

On behalf of the hierarchs of our Church and the numerous victims of Russia’s war against Ukraine, which the Patriarch of Moscow overtly and unequivocally approves and supports in public, we are appealing to Your All-Holiness and the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches with the following request:

• Condemn the Russian World doctrine and recognize it as heretical;

• Recognize the actions of Patriarch Kirill in the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Alexandria as schismatic;

• Strip Kirill Gundyaev of the right to hold the patriarchal throne of Moscow.

With sincere brotherly love in Christ, we are asking Your All-Holiness and the Blessed Primates to continue offering up your prayers for the suffering people of Ukraine and to uphold the request outlined herein – to consider the activities of the current head of the Russian Church objectively and in obedience to the doctrine and canons of the Holy Orthodox Church.

Acting for and on behalf of the Council of Bishops of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine – Epiphanius

Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine

Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine


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