Michael Woodson answers Lebedeff's lies

Sat Mar 17, 2007
"Michael Woodson" 

Puddles and Frogs 
Struck and Scattered Sheep (Was: Puddles and Frogs etc.)

Dear Fr. Alexander,

Father, I do not think you speak the truth. These falsehoods need an
answer, if just to make a record. The people, knowing and unknowing
about the Moscow Patriarchate, still depend on you and others to stand
for the truth. If you lose the spiritual traditions of those who gave
them to you, even those which built and pastorally cared for the parish
beneath your feet, what have you gained?

Let's examine your assertions.

--- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Rev. Alexander Lebedeff"
> So many of the posts here by those who have splintered (or are
> considering splintering) from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
> Russia

No one I know has splintered. You are using the right word for your
conduct, but not for those I know who oppose the pretextual and false
reconciliation. The one causing splintering is the one with the axe. The
Moscow Patriarch has wielded that axe against those in the old guard
hierarchy in the ROCOR who opposed the Moscow Patriarchate. Once those
with the ascetic and spiritual ability to guard the Church were put out
of the way and then falsely marginalized by false associations the
operation was half complete. It seems you are helping the MP to wind up
the last half of it.

The power to separate people comes by insisting on putting neo-Soviets
over the entire Church. Even if the axe is concealed in deception, it
nevertheless is there. And now we see it flashing in your words. The
mental game has been to cast those with patient endurance as
mean-spirited judges, something that is foreign to my experience of
those holding out against the Moscow Patriarchate. And so I say, that is
a false judgement projected upon them.

The best word to use for this era in Church history is "scattered." The
sheep are struck and scattered by the MP. Many are deceieved, wanting
the Moscow Patriarchate to be genuine and hoping it is. It hides under a
quasi-Czarist tradition for camouflage and tells every party what it
wants to hear. It gains favor in the Holy Lands when the Putin regime
reaches out to Hamas, Fatah (and Hezbollah through Syria). It uses words
that people yearn to hear in their lives: "reconciliation,"
"reunification," "Holy Russia" and "canonical communion," however, like
the tempter in the garden, it offers the Church a unity it already has,
so that the Church might believe that it needs the Moscow Patriarchate
to deliver it.

The Church was already one, and one in persecution under the atheist
Communists. And now, the MP wishes to divide the church in the name of
unity, so that it might rule. Rev. Sun Yung Moon also uses the word
"reunification" but that doesn't make it real or true. He also speaks of
brotherly love. That doesn't make it real or true. He conducts many,
many weddings, but that doesn't make Moon legitimate, or pleasing to
God. And he seeks a great many government contacts who may wield
influence for him. That makes him just another imposter, a false prophet
and an anti-Christ. How is the MP different, led by those groomed by the
atheists? How are the Soviet-trained hierarchs different? They waited
and finally met up with their colleagues at the top of Russian power. An
operational plan worked, not a miracle.

The Vatican wants 'unity' under its primacy, also. Suppose it got it
from Alexei II without first repenting of the doctrines of Papal
Supremacy? It has toned down its wording such as "Supreme Pontiff" to
this end. And yet, so far, Patriarch Alexei II has not given in. Does
that make Alexei II a frog in a pond? What he waits for is to be
considered at least equal to the Pope.

Those holding out for repentance and a return of a genuine Patriarch
unsullied by the Putin regime won't stop waiting on the Lord just
because they get some special favor, or power designation, or cut a
deal. One doesn't compromise what the Lord established. One doesn't
ignore reality (unrepenant neo-Soviets in power at the MP and over the
RF) in awaiting the Lord's will to be done.

The Moscow Patriarchate's agreement to recognize the new martyrs was a
gambit. Yesterday's approach by Alexei II's organization was to shoot
the pope, and today's is to enter into negotiations and a power struggle
behind the scenes to coopt him even as the Roman Catholic Church loses
members, property and reels under scandals. The goal is domination, not

> seem to ignore the consequences of their ending up in a
> non-canonical splinter group, even though the adherents of that group
> trumpet that they are the "True Orthodox."

Those sheep in the scattered flock who stand with the unified ROCOR
before its elder hierarchs with experience and insight regarding the
Soviet and neo-Soviet spirit were driven out and the unified ROCOR
compromised by foreign and spiritually alien influences. There has not
been a truly unanimous ROCOR since foreign influences and distortions of
process abrogated the legitimacy of ROCOR decision making. All reference
to decisions begs this one question of conflict of interest infecting
the process of ROCOR decision making.

> This reminds me so much of the croaking of frogs, each sitting in its
> little pond, and asserting that their pond is the greatest, the
> truest.

This commentary above shows that you have become a divider, not a
pastor, of the Church, an introducer of schism, and a buck passer of
responsibility for it. Who refers to members of the Church as "frogs" in
a pond? And who, not being among such sheep he derisively calls frogs,
can be an honest witness of what they assert? I see not one assertion by
anyone even on this forum saying they are the "greatest" or the
"truest." I see some mourning over what they know and what they see,
including your words.

The Good Shepherd refers to all of God's children as "sheep," whether
found or lost. He grieves for them when they are scattered. He loves
them. I see your words and how different they are from the way the Lord
addressed His own. He tells them not to heed a stranger who comes to the
sheepfold to entice the flock away from the spiritual truths that must
be fulfilled before they will recognize the Christly sheep herders to
have arrived for them. He died before a deceived majority, and rose
again on the third day to ascend and rule over what would become the
spiritual Church militant, preparing herself for Him. You would have her
engage in dalliances with an atheistically founded Moscow Patriarchate
that has nothing that has not been stolen or inherited from brute,
anti-Christ takings.

> One can envision a large lake, surrounded by a multitude of little
> ponds, each connected to the lake and drawing water from it.

Yes, one can engage with you in false and objectionable visions, but

> But some ponds cut themselves off from the lake.

Perhaps these frogs are God's plagues on the Pharoah of the Moscow
Patriarchate. Perhaps the number of these frogs will grow? I still
think it strange you would refer to members of the Church as frogs.

Bearing with the analogy, the MP has come to cut off the ponds and take
the lake as hostage territory. What it fails to understand is that the
Lord decides where the Lake is, not the MP.

The Lord takes the Lake where He will, being One with the Church
triumphant and therefore, the Church militant. The Lord knows who are
His. And those opposed to the false 'reconciliation', the grafting in of
Moscow's false prophet as the dear leader do not say what you allege
they say.

They do not include the entire Russian Orthodox Church with the MP's
error. We should all defer to God. For whoever is deceived, the Lord
showed us His heart toward them: "forgive them Father, for they know not
what they do."

Why do some wait on the Lord and deny the legitimacy of the Moscow
Patriarchate? Not to be a righteous island, to be sure. Rather, it is to
avoid acting against their knowledge of the truth so that they preserve
their own conscience before God. If one knows a course to be false, to
go on it is not ignorance, but wilful sin. What is it to you that people
refuse to engage in that?

You used to be one of them by your words, or, perhaps you were
pretending so you could get in good with them on behalf of the MP? It
doesn't matter -- you serve the MP's interests now. The truth must be
preserved in the Church's foundation, regardless of opinion polls.
Without that, many go astray.

Preserving a known truth in one's memory, even as imperfect people, is
no great thing. It is just a duty. It doesn't make one righteous. It
does, however, preserve one's ties to the One who can make them
righteous. God loves Truth.

> What happens?
> They begin to dry up and lose the life-giving water that flows from
> the lake.
> Pretty soon these ponds become simple puddles of muddy water.
> Yet there are still frogs on them, proclaiming their correctness and
> righteousness.

Another falsehood. Scattered sheep may proclaim and remember correctness
and righteousness, but that doesn't mean they claim that they are
righteous and correct. Otherwise, why would they confess their sins?
They'd say they have none, but they do not say that.

> The fact is that the Orthodox Church -- the True Church of Christ --
> consists not only of the community of the faithful that keep the
> teachings of the Church unchanged.

And so above you imply that those you call the frogs are the True Church
of Christ, as they are for keeping the teachings of the Church
unchanged, yet you also say they are cutting themselves off.

> It is a family of canonical Churches, who mutually recognize each
> other and are found in eucharistic communion. It is unity at the
> Chalice that is the hallmark of the Church of Christ.

And it is Christ who holds all in all together. 1 Corinthians 15:28; 
Ephesians 1:19-23.
He knows who are His. 2 Timothy 2:19.

> The various splinter groups have lost this unity and, in fact, disdain
> it.

Who are you speaking for? First, that those who refuse the yoke of the
atheist formed principality the "Moscow Patriarchate" are not claiming
to be a new Church, hence they are not a splinter group; to call them
one seems to come from an eagerness to put them in a condemnatory
category rather than respect their consciences or even humbly consider
that they may be true to the Truth, and yourself mistaken.

> "We need no one else! We are perfectly fine all alone! We are the True
> Church", they self-righteously croak.

I see more false attribution above. In fact, it is a strange fire you
burn that casts members in the Russian Orthodox Church in a false light,
and further scatters and divides the sheep. Using your office as a
clergyman, you seem now to be trying to create disdain and hatred
(falsely) by libeling an entire group of identifiable people in the
Church so that others, seeking to please your authority, will disdain
them. Why would you do that, or once aware, continue doing that? You
keep signing your posts as "with Love in Christ, Prot. Alexander
Lebedeff," speaking as a clergyman.

> Unfortunately, they are wrong.

They are painted "wrong" by your false caricature of them.

> Splintering from the unity of the Orthodox Church is called schism,
> and is condemned by the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Canons, and the Holy
> Fathers, who called schism worse than heresy.

The one who causes schism is the one who does the cutting. Those who
refuse to go along with heretical principalities and powers are not
schismatics. They're just faithful people acting in conscience and not
quenching same. However, by calling them schismatics, you will divert
popular attention away from the heretical course taken by the MP. It is
another misdirection, another deception.

> So--these self-righteous individuals gather in living rooms and
> basements, and tell each other how righteous they are.

How false falsehood exponentially becomes as lies are told, they grow
into deeper and deeper lies about people who have done no wrong. Do you
fear them that you assail them so much?

You need not fear the simple people who are scattered sheep. Maybe the
real fear is that God loves those you are calling frogs, and will defend
them. Do you want to be in the way when that happens? Maybe you fear
that the course you have set for yourself has pitted you against some of
Christ's beloved, however pitiful they are without that certainty you
seem to assert-- even as the entire Russian Orthodox Church is coming
under the Moscow Patriarchate and its partner the Putin regime (which by
the way, with Communist China, has just come out against a UN report on
the atrocities in Darfur to please its Islamist allies in the Sudan who
barred the UN team from investigating firsthand).

If I feared you I would not speak up against your lies. I would march in
step with you. I won't do that, because despite the sinner I am, I still
fear God. And that has happened only because God is merciful and pities
the weak. How hard it is to progress spiritually for all of us when the
clergy of the Church are deceived and beset by a false principality's
authority and pressure. So many have given themselves to a principality
not of Christ by serving the Moscow Patriarchate. The Church in Russia
doesn't even know who is over them, and you know, I'm glad. Let them
remain unknowing, if the evil will fall off of their backs, and Holy
Russia might return as hoped and prophesied. Let us all do our part.
Here, while we have the freedom to speak out, we do.

> Meanwhile, in the normal world of Orthodoxy, life goes on.

You mean the norms of the worldly encroachments on the Church militant
go on.

> Let me use the example of my own parish--the Cathedral of the Holy
> Transfiguration in Los Angeles.

It is not "your" parish. It is Christ's, and you are supposed to be a
servant who defers to Him.

> We have been blessed to have a large church, with three altars. The
> central one is dedicated to the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our
> Lord; the right one, to the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia; and
> the left one--to St. John of Kronstadt.

Who served and built the parish before you? Why do you not mention him?

> We have five priests currently serving at the Cathedral; the clergy
> also includes two Protodeacons, one hierodeacon, two subdeacons, and
> tonsured readers and one tonsured rassophore nun.
> There are two Divine Liturgies served every Sunday. The early Liturgy
> is at 7:30 am; the later one at 9:30 am. Every last Sunday of the
> month, the Liturgy is served completely in English. A lot of families
> with small children come to the early service, which makes it much
> easier for them than waiting until 12 Noon or 12:30 for them to
> receive Holy Communion. They are out by 9:30am, which gives them the
> whole day free to spends with their families, as well.

It sounds like you are taking credit for all of this. Is this to offer
proof of the correctness of your movement to bring the ROCOR under the

> There are always a lot of communicants. On a typical Sunday, there
> will be some 150 to 200, counting both liturgies, and including 40 or
> so infants and children.

If you boast of increasing numbers, all it does is add to the record of
how many the Moscow Patriarchate is trying to deceive into supporting
it, rather than a genuine Patriarch free of ties to the Soviet past and
the neo-Soviet present. The Communist party is power #2 in Russia today,
while the cadre in in 1st place is KGB to the man. Those are the powers
linked to your principality, the MP.

> In addition to Saturday night Vigil, which is quite well-attended and
> at which a full choir always sings and the Sunday services, we serve
> year round on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, as well as on all
> major and minor Feast days. During Great Lent we have services almost
> every day.

This sounds like a mantra, or an incantation designed to lull everyone
into a sense that everything is 'normal' under the Moscow Patriarchate.
You ask everyone to go to sleep, because everything is 'normal.' The
Lord says to be aware of a certain roaring lion that would seek to
devour us. First it would divide, then devour. Sheep aren't lions. Not
even frogs are lions. However, a Moscow Patriarchate aligned with a
government that owns and uses the teeth of weapons, men of arms,
poisons, radiation, and nationalized resources to rebuild a military
superpower. There's the fruit of the spirit of the roaring lion, and not
the Holy Russia prophesied about by St. Seraphim of Sarov.

> After the late Liturgy, there is a trapeza (fellowship meal) in the
> hall downstairs, offered by the Sisterhood, which has four designated
> teams of women who take turns in cooking and serving. Many of the
> older parishioners take Borsch and piroshkis and other foods home to
> eat during the week, as well.
> The parish has a large parochial school, with a real school building
> and large hall next to the church. It has 12 classrooms, an office, a
> teachers' room and a kitchen. The staff of the school consists of some
> twenty people. The school runs on Saturdays, from 9am to 2pm,
> beginning with a brief prayer service in Church.
> Instruction is given in five periods, plus a lunch break, when a hot
> meal is served. The children are taught the Law of God, Russian
> Language, Russian Geography, Russian History and Russian Literature
> (in the older classes). The children prepare and participate in school
> plays and other presentations (such as an annual Reading of Russian
> Poetry on religious themes).
> There are 160 children enrolled, making it one of the largest
> parochial schools in the Church Abroad.
> In our parish we have 10-15 baptisms a month--sometimes more (an
> average of about 150 baptisms a year). I hold
> catechism classes for adults to prepare them for baptism, as well.
> The parish sponsors cultural events also - concerts, lectures,
> bazaars, fairs, tag sales, clothing drives.
> So-- we are blessed by God to have a very full parish life--even in
> Hollywood, that Babylon of American cities.
> In fact, our parish is about a mile away from the other ROCOR parish
> in LA, also in Hollywood. That parish, of the Protection of the Holy
> Virgin, is also a very large parish. They also have two Divine
> Liturgies every Sunday, with the early one always in English and have
> just about an equal number of baptisms and weddings.
> Yet a certain number of members of these lists considers all this to
> be for naught--that because we are members of the ROCOR clergy and
> support or Metropolitan and the Synod--we have somehow ceased being
> true priests.

Not true. No one considers the Church to be for naught. They just
consider their duty to all of those people to hold on to the truth of
what has really happened in this false reconciliation by which the
political powers of the corrupt USSR have reconstituted under different
names and commandeered the Church's name and good appearance for

The Church I believe God will look after. However, everyone must hold
out for what their conscience knows to be true. For those of us who know
the MP's course and content, it creates a duty to stand and wait for God
to help the Church come out from under such false authority.

> Of course, these people have the same spiritual blindness when it
> comes to the Church of Russia -- the Moscow Patriarchate.

The Church of Russia is not the Moscow Patriarchate.

> These people fail to see that it is the Word of God that is preached
> in all of its churches, and that the services are grace-filled.

It is despite the Moscow Patriarchate that there is grace given the
Church of Russia and the Church Abroad. Calling it 'normal' however, or
canonical to have an institution formed by atheistic enemies of God is a
lie. The leaven of that false leadership will hurt people in the Church.
Those falling into the passions of the secularists at the MP will be
hurt by being swept into nationalist passions, and not passionless
passions. It is already happening. May God deliver them from it and lead
them to national recovery and healing so that Holy Russia may again look
upon the world for Christ.

> In fact, these spiritually blinded individuals wish to consider that
> 100 million, or more, Orthodox faithful in Russia are all outside the
> Church--unbaptized, unchrismated, unwed, and uncommuned with the Body
> and Blood of Christ.

False. Another patent falsehood. No one considers them outside the
Church. They are, however, still under a godless authority -- the Moscow
Patriarchate-Putin regime power structure, and so they are persecuted by
a subtle poisoning and continual propaganda to mislead them and use them
in a new form of political nationalism, xenophobia and secular focus.

> These spiritually blinded individuals would consider that the
> spiritual labors and the prayers of the thousands of monks
> and nuns, found in the 650 monasteries and convents in Russia are for
> naught.

No one has said any such thing. You appear to be creating this
accusation as if conjuring a spell. You are projecting spiritual
blindness on others. And with the above words, you are further dividing
and scattering the sheep from each other, whether you are aware of it or

Have you ever once stopped to consider the impact of what it appears to
me you are doing, using divide and conquer tactics on the flock instead
of serving it with impartiality? I've seen this before and it speaks of
an alien intrusion on the ROCOR which was not there some years ago.

The Lord preached against the councils of the Sanhedrin and some
Pharisees, while expressing his will that the people of Israel be freed
from their false examples. Now, the Moscow Patriarchate is like the
council aligned with Herodian values, and the Putin regime is like Rome.

> And--of course--they completely ignore that which I was mentioning in
> the beginning of this essay--that they have cut themselves off from
> eucharistic communion with the canonical Orthodox Churches.

Cut-off? No.

It was a suspension for the spiritual health of those authorities
enthralled by the powers of ecumenism, modernism and in the sovietized
areas, Sergianism. The principalities and powers don't like the
medicine, so they call it "cutting off" and you keep repeating that
misguided view.

The communion suspensions was and is medicinal: to check the false and
secular powers that divide the Church while remaining in Christ's
communion everywhere for the healing of all.
In my view, you are mischaracterizing the fathers and hierarchs who have
preceded you by saying the above. All the while, those you accuse were
themselves going to confession to confess their sins and communing in
that spirit of repentance. There's no "holier-than-thou" in that.

If what you were saying was true, there would be no confessions or the
teaching that confession is necessary for spiritual health before
communion, as some jurisdictions which you call normal do not do or

> All of the Local Orthodox Churches, in 1945-6, recognized the Moscow
> Patriarchate as the legitimate, canonical Church of Russia,
> notwithstanding that at that time, it was under the oppression of the
> Godless powers.

By force they had to. What sort of argument is that? This very argument
discredits your entire position, based as it is, on the coercion of the
local Russian Church. The recognition was anything but "notwithstanding"
the coercion. What you imply is that the ROCOR never needed to be
formed, and is utterly illegitimate and that all of its acts were
likewise. If that were so, then wouldn't your ordination be invalid? And
if you're not a priest, why are you running a parish and teaching in the
Church? The authority of your position on the ROCOR seems
self-contradictory here.

> Ask the Patriarch of Constantinople, or the Patriarch of Jerusalem, or
> Antioch, or Alexandria, or Serbia, or Bulgaria, or Romania, or the
> First Hierarchs of the Churches of Greece, Cyprus, or Poland, who the
> canonical Russian Church is, and you will get the answer--the Church
> in Russian under Patriarch Alexey II?

Good question mark on that one. I'd like to sit with each of them, and
ask them what they privately think. Poland is currently exposing and
expelling its Communist agents in robes. When will Russia do that by
shutting down the farcical Moscow Patriarchate and re-establishing a
rightful Patriarchal office free of political control by the Kremlin? 
Since it won't I think many jurisdictions have simply bowed to power in
recognizing it. I don't think they prefer it, but they feel they have no
choice. Other circumstances intervened, that's for sure.

> Whose name is inscribed as being the First Hierarch of the Russian
> Church on the Sacred Diptychs of the Patriarch of
> Constantinople--the official record of the First Hierarchs of the
> various canonical Churches that comprise the Orthodox Church?
> It is the name of Patriarch Alexey II.

So now whatever the Scribes have put down is true? I know you like
things with the word "official" in them, but what is official is not
always Orthodox Christian. Isn't that what Christ showed the world with
His life and preaching in the Lands he made Holy?

> So--here is the situation in brief:
> There are some 300 million Orthodox Christians in the world today,
> virtually all belonging to one or another member of the canonical
> Family of Churches, inscribed in the
> Diptychs, and all of whom are in communion with one another.
> How many of these 300 million consider the Church of Russia under
> Patriarch Alexey II to be the legitimate Church of Russia?
> The answer is: about 300 million.

I see the philosophy of Hume growing in your words. Was he a father of
the Church?

> How many do NOT consider that Church to be the legitimate Church of
> Russia?
> Well, let's see.
> Vladimir Kozyreff, one; Serge Rust, two; Nathanael Kapner, three; E.L.
> Magerovsky, four. . . ..

More of Hume's secular philosophy of numbers in categories proving
something. McDonalds does a brisk business today too, and billions are
addicted to nicotine. It doesn't make those things healthy.

> As a matter of fact the number of people calling themselves
> Orthodox Christians in the world who
> do NOT recognize the Moscow Patriarchate as the legitimate canonical
> church of Russia is in the number of several thousands.
> Ok, let's be generous, --maybe some tens of thousands.
> Against 300 million?

This is just bad reasoning based on the mass appeal fallacy.

> And against the determination of ALL of the canonical Local Orthodox
> Churches?
> Someone should give these poor misguided and confused souls a shot of
> reality.

Father, too many people have received the shots of reality right in the
back of their heads under the powers for which you appear as an
apologist. With a state press under a dictator, how do you expect us to
believe the representations about the Church in Russia, especially when
it is those powers which prepare your tours on visiting, and which
accompany you along the way? How many tours of the Russian countryside
were conducted, free of chaperones? How many were merely in Moscow or
St. Petersburg?

> Before their puddles completely dry up.

They won't dry up, Father. The tears that your schismatic Moscow
Patriarchate are causing will see to that.

> With love in Christ,
> Prot. Alexander Lebedeff

God have mercy on us all.

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