THE TRUTH ABOUT THE PRESENCE OF PSEUDO-BISHOP “ROMANOS” RANDWAN AT A FUNERAL SERVICE
On Monday, the 23rd of June/6th of July 2015, H.B. Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, assigned His Eminence Theophanes, Archbishop of Gerassa, to lead the funeral service for the late presbytera and mother of presbyter f. Saleh Houri, Head of the Greek Orthodox Arabic-speaking Community of the Patriarchate in the city of Sakhnin, North Israel.
Present at the service was pseudo-bishop “Romanos” Randwan, former presbyter of the Patriarchate, wearing primatial insignia. Following his defrocking and demotion to layman, he was paradoxically and irregularly ordained Bishop, though married, at a schismatic Russian-speaking Church in America.
The truth on the aforementioned facts is exposed in a report by Archbishop Theophanes of Gerassa, cited herein below in English:
By Archbishop Theophanes of Gerassa
On events having transpired in Sakhnin
on the 6th of July (N.S.) 2015
On the aforementioned date I was sent, accompanied by Archimandrite Stephanos and Hierodeacon Dionysios, to the city of Sakhnin so as to perform the Funeral Service for the mother of f. Saleh Houri.
Upon my entrance to the underground part of the Church, where the service was to take place, I embraced Priests from the adjacent villages as well as various officials and faithful.
Instantly we observed that the defrocked, married priest “Romanos” was in attendance, wearing a primatial engolpion and a veil over his kalimavka, and that behind his seat there was a primatial staff.
Father Saleh and a few laymen asked me not to take issue, especially in the presence of other religions’ followers.
In return, they were told that, based on the Holy Canons of the Church, it is impermissible for the so-called “Romanos” to appear in this manner and that he should definitely remove the primatial insignia.
I then approached “Romanos” and, after embracing him, I very amicably asked him to hide the engolpion, remove the black veil from his headdress and attend the service in a cleric’s simple attire, albeit improperly.
He hid the engolpion for a while. However, soon after, he appeared wearing it. I approached him again and informed him his behavior was neither canonical nor ecclesiastical. He hid the engolpion, but soon appeared wearing it again.
I then instructed the Priests to convince him to remove the insignia of a Primate, otherwise we would leave. Nothing changed. Then I declared we were leaving, but officials and priests requested we stayed, stopping us from exiting the church.
“Romanos” then appeared standing again, wearing a Primate’s insignia. I approached him, removed his black veil and tried to remove the engolpion too, but a small group, supporters of his, stopped me by yelling and swearing. An altercation ensued, between exponents of our position and the other man’s supporters. After that, we strongly protested that the presence of “Romanos” as a primate was irrevocably unacceptable and in view of his presence in this specific manner, we would leave.
We finally entered the Bema, where everyone put on their sacerdotal vestments. We remained inside the Bema, whereas the Priests walked in procession outside, to bring the relic.
Then we once more saw “Romanos”, following the procession with Primatial insignia.
By then considering we were being mocked, we left without being perceived whilst the Thrice-Holy Hymn was performed behind the Bema curtain in order to avoid further turmoil, seeing that the defrocked Priest would attend the service with Primatial insignia.
We then informed Patriarch Theophilos on the phone of what had transpired, and He approved of our stance.
The priests showed their support of us, whilst f. Saleh attempted to reconcile the irreconcilable.
“Romanos” had demonstrated cunning apathy and satanic persistence.
Few of the laymen were evidently in favour of “Romanos”; most of them were either against him, or confused, or apathetic.
In the Holy City of Jerusalem, 7/7/2015
Archbishop of Gerassa
The Patriarchate irrevocably condemns the utterly anti-canonical and anti-ecclesiastical behavior of “Romanos” Randwan, a member of the laity, and praises Archbishop Theophanes of Gerassa for his stance in the course of the aforementioned event.
From the Secretariat-General