The message “ALL ARE WELCOME” is displayed in front of non-Orthodox churches all across America. Is it right for Orthodox churches to admit everyone to our services?
The Metropolis of Moldova and Bukovina of the Romanian Orthodox Church had filed a lawsuit to evict walled-off priest Ioan Ungureanu, parish priest of the parish Schit-Orăşeni, which is located in northern Romania, in the prefecture of Botosani. This priest was already deposed since August of 2016 on account of having ceased commemoration of his Bishop, Metropolitan of Moldavia and Bukovina Teofan, who had signed the heretical texts of Crete.
This week the Court of the first instance of Suceava dismissed the lawsuit of the Metropolis as unfounded, giving the applicant a statutory period of five days to appeal.
If the decision is upheld by the appeal court and becomes final, the parish Orăşeni will be the first parish in Romania where the priest and the faithful are fighting together against Ecumenism and the Synod of Crete and the ecumenist ecclesiastical authorities will no longer be able to chase the named priest, not even with the help of the secular authorities, since he was defrocked uncanonically.
The priest, Ioan Ungureanu, has been the priest of the church of Schit-Orăşeni for 18 years, a church he built almost from scratch. He ceased to commemorate his Metropolitan in August of 2016, and since then has kept a correct patristic line of walling off, being one of the signatories of the document “Let us stand well, let us stand in awe, let us be attentive”1 of January 2018, which became known and respected in Greece.
In May of 2017 the Metropolis attempted to expel the priest from his parish by force, but the villagers resisted. In July of 2017, Metropolitan Teofan defrocked him and in November of 2017 the parish church was attacked by a group of employees from the Metropolis, and were accompanied by the local gendarmerie. With the support of the people the priest endured.
The church of Orăşeni is a historical monument, the old original hermitage was built by hermits who came in from Russia in the seventeenth century. The protector of the Skete is Saint Silas, a monk who began his spiritual life in the Skete Orăşeni. Of the 400 faithful in the region, 324 filed a petition for judicial intervention in favor of the priest.
Metropolitan Teofan possesses one of the most important metropolitan thrones of Romania, the holder of which, according to tradition, becomes the patriarch of the country. Despite the fact that his appearance is traditional, he participated in the Ecumenistic Synod of Crete, and signed its documents. He has faced resistence by a number of hieromonks and priests, but also by a considerable number of lay believers, and has become one of the harshest persecutors of walled-off clergy in the Romanian Patriarchate, expelling monks and nuns from their monasteries, priests from their churches, and deposing two priests, one of whom is Father Ioan Ongureanu.
In December of 2018, the Metropolitan stunned the whole country, when he took part in the dedication service of a synagogue in the city of Shasi, during which he was “crowned” from the rabbi with the pompous title, “Prince of the Church,” while next to him was the representative from the Roman Catholics of the city.