Explaining the ROCOR Splits

> Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2008 09:21:24 -0800
> From: Joanna
> Subject: Russian "splits" info request
> To: Daniel

JOANNA: (Dear Daniel, Would you please tell us about the different ROCOR splits?)

DANIEL: Wow! Joanna, you DO ask lots of BIG/Deep questions! I shall try to hit most of your questions...what I know. I am told that there are more than 9 Russian dissident jurisdictions, perhaps even twice that number in Russia!

JOANNA: (ROCIE-V, RTOC/FROC, ROAC are the only ones I know. Are there more? My understanding is that ROCIE-V is the "Vitaly Group". ROCOR/ROCOR-MP has always said that they are a schism of misguided troublemakers who kidnapped the senile Met. Vitaly. And that they subsequently suffered schisms within themselves, proving themselves to be a schism. However, the Lesna Convent went with them, and I doubt Lesna made that move without careful considerations.)

DANIEL: Well, ROCIE-V is one of 3 main further-schisms, from the original Vitaly-ite/Mansonville Schism of 2001, and the head of one of those 3 factions, is this Bp. Vladimir-Teleschev. Those 3 groups are in a meltdown mode at present. We may get some of them..to..Vl. Agafangel. The full truth of what all transpired in 2001 surrounding Met. Vitaly:

1) He, on his own decision, decided to officially RETIRE as metropolitan/bishop-

2) He did go through his canonical/orderly retirement process, and did concure that Met. Laurus was his VALID/canonical successor-

3) there was no evidence then---or now, that Vitaly was forced/pressured to retire (he knew his mind and health were slipping, and HE desired to retire!!!)

4) AFTER his canonical retirement, he...or perhaps those around him...who were controling him and issuing statements with his signature on them, etc.........."RE-INSTATED HIMSELF! as "The Metropolitan". Which act, is totally forbidden by many canons, and was absolutely BOGUS!!! Unfortunately, as we can NOW see, Met. Laurus -Skurla was indeed THE LAWFUL/CANONICAL New Metropolitan of ROCOR. PERIOD!

(The enemies of our faith, as in Russia, USE OUR OWN CANONS ..to destroy and enslave our church! & to get THEIR agents into positions of high church authority...and this is what apparently occured when Laurus Skurla CANONICALLY ascended the Met. Throne of ROCOR!) HOWEVER! regardless, Met. Vitaly Ustinov DID TRULY....NEED! to retire, he was too far gone physically/mentally!....and that sad reality had ZERO to do with the KGB, but it was...working in their favor...that is true.

5) SO! everything! which Vitaly Ustinov did or said or signed ot ordained or co-consecrated, after his retirement, was and STILL IS, totally null and void and anti-canonical. That is THE TRUTH back then, it is still the truth, and that is Vl. Agafangel's position today.

Hence, none of the "priests' or "bishops" which he ordained (or so, we are told by the crazies around him that "HE" performed-?) are real or valid Orthodox clergy....THAT! is their problem, and why Vl. Agafangel CANNOT unite with those 3 groups.

6) As far as who "kidnapped Met. Vitaly", etc. : Truly, he was wisked away by FIRSTLY the schism-plotters (organized by Bp. Barnabas of Cannes)...who had his own POWER agenda...i.e. he PLANNED on soon--retiring (again?) Vitaly,...as he was clearly...loosing his mind to some form of Alzheimers or whatever, and then Barnabas would ascend the Met. Throne as the new -ROCOR Metropolitan, etc.

7) Bp. Michael -Donskov did in fact go with some rough-types, to "rescue Vitaly" from those schism plotters, and hence that photographed obscene debacle which was broadcast around the world, by the Mansonville propaganda machine. What is MY opinion of all of that?: It is ALL discusting and unChristian behavior...on all sides, but the blame has also got to be shared by both "sides".

The Lesna Convent went to, Bp. Tikhon of Omsk's group. which may be your "RTOC"...but I am not sure of their designation ... Tikhon being the sucessor to Bp. Lazarus...who once was in ROCOR, but who was deposed by ROCOR in the past, THEY (the pro-Bp.Lazar/Tikhon crowd) say, for uncanonical excuses, etc. New Bp. Stephan Sabelnik in New Jersey is part of that group, and they are a major rival to Vl. Agafangel . Well, what to say about the difficult decision-making processes of anyone who HAD to leave the uniate-ROCOR-MP...before OR after the signing of the Act? Each priest, each parish, each monastic community, each layman, etc. had to...make such momentous decisions THEMSELVES and following the best that they could decide to do. For those who left ROCOR before the signing of the Act,..obviously, they HAD to join themselves to an already EXISTING church/bishop....i.e. they felt that they could not WAIT till the Act was signed, so...they did that. With our Vl. Agafangel's strategy...i.e. to remain a loyal part of the Old /Valid ROCOR...untill the final moment of Signed Betrayal...and then to depart...that course of action these others could not accept. They wanted to leave and to leave quickly. Our Vl. Agafangel very much believes in proper and canonical Orthodox Church ORDER...which is his game plan. But yes, others attack him for that, and blame him for "not leaving sooner".

JOANNA: (RTOC/FROC I understand is the Catacomb Church. Wasn't ROCOR/ROCOR-MP in communion with them at one time? When and why did that end? I hadn't heard a word about them in years, and only really learned they still existed after D-Day. In discussing the coming union with Fr. James Baglien I asked him "Where is the Catacomb Church?" He was absolutely silent. Later I learned at St. Joseph's that the Catacomb Church just died out for not having any bishop.)

DANIEL: Well, many people believe that.....there is NO living Russian church group TODAY that can legitimatly claim, as being "the successors to the catacomb Russian church". Never-the-less, the one you mention here, plus ALL of the other sundry such Russian churches, they ALL claim this catacomb inheritance. Our Vl. Agafangel says that on that claim, they are ALL BOGUS, or as we would say, "Whistling Dixie". He reminds all, that such "catacomb bishops" died out....a long time ago....because of communist/effective persecutions.

But, yes, in the past, our ROCOR did go to Russia, and consecrate bishops for them, as they had NO LIVING BISHOPS! ROCOR also did the same for the Old Calendarists...who also had NO bishops for awhile, after they seceeded from the State Greek Church. But! as to the whole tortured history of the ups and downs in relations of ROCOR ...and those Russian groups that ROCOR at first helped...and later...seemed to turn against....I DO know some of that history...but I am not an expert.

HOWEVER, some of the current major impediments between our Vl. Agafangel and them (&why Vl. Agafangel calls them uncanonical), stem from those past unpleasant doings,...which some...blame.....Met. Vitaly (personally) for....and others (as our Vl. Agafangel) blame the Russian groups for.....especially blaming, now departed, Bp. Lazarus...as the instigator of schism. This Bp. Lazarus was succeeded by the current Bp. Tikhon of Omsk......a big attacker and rival to our Vl. Agafangel.

In conclusion, most astute/honest observers of Russian affairs, believe, that today there is NO-continued catacomb church in Russia. AH! but their spiritual-heritage,...everyone claims that link, yes.

JOANNA: (ROAC I know nothing about except that according to Sbn. Nathanael's livejournal, they seem to be rather upset with ROCOR-PSCA for not joining them, and they have apparently done some things to undermine ROCOR-PSCA.)

DANIEL: As far as all the many letter-designations of the various Russian churches, etc...YOY!!! Between the English-letter designations and the Russian-languiage-Cyrillic designations.....it is all that I can do, to remember MY OWN NAME!!! It is very confusing. One needs to know the full name of each group's head-bishop, his first and his family name....and THEN! one can begin to seperate them all. Also, those letter designations, in both English letters and Russian letters...keep CHANGING. Finally, I know it has always been Vl. Agafangel's hope/desire/aim to unite these splits under him.

JOANNA: (What hope is there for that? When is the SOBOR scheduled when this will be discussed? And, why did not ROCOR-PSCA just join one of the splits and work towards unity from there? Why is it that none of the splits are in communion with each other? Is ROCOR-PSCA willing to be in communion with any of the splits, if they would accept us? Is Cyrprianism the dividing issue? (It is at St. Joseph's).)

DANIEL: Well, what you ask here, is THE most crucial matter. Vl. Agafangel HAS said many times, that he IS open to conferring with most of these groups...but that THEY have shown no interest in such a positive dialogue, but rather, they attack him right and left, etc. However, he has also said: It is useless to attempt "unity" with those CLERGY who are uncanonical/invalid, which is true about many of those Russian dissident churches, so...he welcomes laity and lower clergy to come to him, from OUT of those groups , and in some cases he will exercise "economia" and not re-ordain such clergy, etc. BUT! he has reminded all, that HE CANNOT be the final arbiter of all those groups and HE cannot pretend to have such supreme-authority to personally FORCE anyone to follow what HE believes is correct church order, etc. Vl. Agafangel states that...a future All-Russian Church Council (Sobor V) will decide all these matters, and at which council, ALL can be present and there they can speak for themselves, etc. He hopes! that such a council can be a reality....later this year, or thereabouts. HOWEVER!!! WHO??? CAN??? SUMMON, such a meeting like that? In past times, Czars or Emperors did that.

Vl. Agafangel 's REASON FOR EXISTANCE IS: HE is the only canonical episcopal continuation of the old-pre-"act" ROCOR!!! He has said, however, that Bp. Valentine of Suzdal (whichj abreviation, I don't remember now).."is the closest to us of all the Russian jurisdictions"...i.e. we can work with them. That sizable church has over 300 parishes and lots of clergy and laity in Russia.

As to the various likes/hatreds towards the Cyprianite Synod: AH! that! is a very divisive matter, VERY! Vl. Agafangel, however, seems to be saying, that he considers them as just his cup of tea, he likes their non-extremist ecclesiology... (as he very much dislikes Mathewite-ism), they are THE ONLY fellow Orthodox who had offered to co-consecrate our new bishops...and who DID SO! , it was ROCOR who years back, gave THEM their episcopate, so now they are reciprocating back, Vl. Agafangel's own ecclesiology HOWEVER does have differences with them...i.e. he does not believe that it is alright for his clergy to commune MP laity, etc, ...so even though he is "in communion with the Cyprianite Syniod" (yes, that is true), yet... as has always been true in Orthodox church history......he runs his own church...at the pastoral/episcopal administration level......AS HE SEES FIT AND PROPER! Also too, there were/are other personal/friendship issues, as Vl. Agafangel and that Bp. George of Alania, etc. have been close friends for many years, etc. Also, Vl. Agafangel has stated that he is also warm & personal friends with OTHER G. Old Calendar synod-bishops (ones who dislike the Cyprianites), though he and they are not "officially in communion with each other". Such is life! Little is cut& dried!

Such is the tangled realities of Orthodox church life...of the past...and of the present.

*In a nutshell about the character of Vl. Agafangel (Pashkovsky): He seems to be a sincere humble real Orthodox Christian SOUL and a dutiful bishop....who had this present MESS thrust upon him, by his traitorous former ROCOR-brother bishops ..... and he is just ... rolling with the punches/with the help of God! His Ukrainian diocese, alone, is quite a handfull for any bishop....but now, Vl. Agafangel HAS to be ...a bishop for....THE WORLD!!! May God help him and those struggling so valiantly with him. He simply......COULD NO! go along with the betrayal, just as we cannot.

*An added recent update from Vl Agafangel: Because of the recent consecration of Bp. Stephan Sabelnik, by Tikhon of Omsk, our church considers that literally, an act of war, and a major betrayal of promises made to us by them...to NOT take/keep our-ROCOR parishes/clergy/people...and to NOT set up a rival-church to our church. THEREFORE, Vl. Agafangel now proclaims: We have nothing more to talk about with that group. Talk is ended with them. We await the future church council to decide these matters, etc.

JOANNA: Your explanations will be appreciated.)

(Love in Christ, Joanna)

(P.S. Also, I wouldn't mind knowing the truth about ROCOR-PSCA's supposed attempt to kidnap Bishop Daniel.)


DANIEL: Wow! Another deep question from you!: In a nutshell, from his earlier FREE public statements, Bp. Daniel was clearly against the "union" 100%. The ROCOR-MP-Skurla forces, have him under their house-arrest next to the Erie church. That operation says that it, under Pimen Simon & his gang, is "caring for Bp. Daniel...and protecting him from the schismatics...with which...he wants nothing to do, because...he is....loyal to Met. Lavrus, etc." A few of our priests DID attempt to rescue him out of there, but failed. The hope was to get him to Tolstoy Farm, a free place, and THERE he could say what side (if any) he was on, but anyway...there he WOULD have received loving and good medical care, etc.

But about more of the particulars, I can relate to you later. At present, the ROCOR-MP side is continuting to USE Bp. Daniel for their propaganda purposes. So, it is THOSE RASCALS! who have kidnapped Bp. Daniel. This past year, when a blood-kin of Bp. Daniel phoned and attempted to speak with her uncle, Pimon Simon took the phone and wouldn't allow her to speak with Bp. Daniel. So, she BEGGED P. Simon to let her uncle go! Simon's response, said with mocking laughter as he spoke to her:

"Ha! Ha! We will keep him for as long as he is useful to us, and when we are done with him, we will give him to you in about a year."

So, who? are the kidnappers? and who? is holding him against his will?

And as far as legal remedies to this? Well, apparently THE problem there, is that the blood-kin are disorganized and have so far NOT chosen to take any serious legal/police actions to rescue Bp. Daniel. Pimon Simon, is, afterall, a lawyer, and he knows all the legal angles.

Our ROCOR-MP foes's BIG Plan, was to STOP our "schism" dead in it's tracks, by withholding from helping us (it takes a minimum of TWO bishops to co-consecrate one new bishop,...and we had ONLY Vl. Agafangel....we needed also Bp. Daniel, etc.) this Bp. Daniel. So, untill we received the timely aid of our close-friends, the Cyprianite Synod, we WERE INDEED IN A PICKLE! Now, we can co-consecrate more new bishops...ad infinitum as we need them. So, our foes have failed. Yet, we do receive much criticisms from various voices, who question the Orthodoxy or canonicity of the Cyprianite Synod....for a variety of issues/accusations, etc. Our Vl. Agafangel has REJECTED all such critics, as themselves not being truly or fully Orthodox ....and of not knowing WHAT they are talking about. He accepts our Cyprianite friends ....while running his church ...differently...in certain PASTORAL/Church discipline matters...i.e. they and we are "in communion"...but we also have some different approaches to issues, etc. His one question which he asks those other G. Old Calendarists is: "What right do you have, for proclaiming the Cyprianites as heretical/non canonical, etc?

Because, for one matter, when THEY anathematized the Cyprianites, the Cyprianites threw back at them, THEIR own anathema, etc. So, whose anathema is THE CORRECT/VALID one?" And too, one must remember, Vl. Agafangel is very Russian, and hence by definition, he has an ingrained...dislike of...various Greek..fanaticisms...and too, he does not sympathize with fanaticisms within Russian circles either. He see himself, as a moderate and common-sence NORMAL person. He has made the statement on his blog site: "I have my opinions on various matters, my clergy have their's. and others have their's, but I do not feel that I have the right to force MY ideas on others, let everyone think aand speak as he wants....like it used to be in the best times of ROCOR."

Signed: Daniel the exhausted/answer man (?) to the world (?)

1 comment:

Joanna Higginbotham said...

A most helpful article in understanding the cause of the R-splits is a report given by St. John Maximovitch:

http://rocorrefugees.blogspot.com/2008/12/spiritual-condition-of-russians-abroad.html