The Moscow Patriarchate keeps up an upbeat pace of its stats on the number of parishes across Africa that allegedly switched from the Church of Alexandria to the ROC.
Earlier, it was 102 clerics who Moscow said sided with the ROC, most recently the claimed number rose to 150 before the Russian Church said about a third of all Orthodox parishes on the continent have switched jurisdiction to that of the ROC.
That’s according to a report of January 24 by Russia’s government-run news agency TASS, referring to the first deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for Church Public and Media Relations, Alexander Shchipkov.
No details have been provided on the accession protocol as the so-called “patriarchal exarch of the ROC in Africa” Metropolitan Leonid (Gorbachev), hasn’t yet visited his “exarchate” since being appointed on December 29. Nothing is has been heard about mass arrival of African clerics in Moscow either. Earlier, Gorbachev said the HQ would be located in Moscow, from where he would run ROC Orthodox parishes in Africa.
According to Shchipkov, there are about 300 Orthodox parishes on the African continent. “The Patriarchate of Alexandria, located in Africa, is one of the oldest churches,” he said. “We have always had a great relationship, recently guests would come to us from there regularly, and suddenly this church not only began to support Ukrainian schismatics, but even started co-serving with them… The patriarchate automatically became schismatic.”
Earlier, Metropolitan of the ROC Leonid (Gorbachev) said that a total of more than 150 clerics with the Patriarchate of Alexandria from across 12 countries have expressed their will to move to the jurisdiction of the ROC. He also assured that “their number is constantly growing.” At the same time, the ROC “vets” every clergyman who expresses such a will, said the exarch. Thus, the Moscow Patriarchate continues to claim large numbers to the public, but the lists of clerics who officially joined the ROC have not been released. This makes it impossible to verify any such statements.
Earlier, Metropolitan Leonid Klinsky (Gorbachev) said that the Patriarch of Alexandria had been sent a lot of money. “How much was done for Patriarch Theodore, how much money was sent,” he said. Gorbachev also set conditions for the Patriarch of Alexandria and demanded that he repent, saying only in this case would they talk. Gorbachev also said that the ROC would invade all Orthodox Churches that recognized the OCU to “save them from schism.”
It should be recalled that Archimandrite of the ROC, Feognost (Pushkov), noted that the actions of the ROC in the African domain are equivalent to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. He also said that 102 African priests had joined the ROC because they had been looking to improve their difficult financial condition. In his publication, Pushkov clarified that the real number of clerics who applied to the ROC stood at only 51, not 102. Of these 51, none have officially joined the ROC. Moreover, of these 51 clerics, only a few are actual clerics with the Patriarchate of Alexandria. The majority are either clerics with dubious jurisdiction (and dubious ordination), or banned from serving or even stripped of their position in the Patriarchate of Alexandria on very serious grounds.