Personal Testimony of Seraphim Englehardt

Why I cannot accept the union and what I have done about it

From: Albert Englehardt 
Date: June 4, 2007 8:03:57 PM EDT

Subject: Why I cannot accept the union and what I have done about it

Eight months ago, I sent the following letter to Metropolitan Laurus:

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12/25 September 2006
His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus
Holy Trinity Monastery
Jordanville, NY 13361

Bless, Master:

I urge you to call a stop to our church’s headlong plunge towards union with the Moscow Patriarchate.

We have heard many arguments for such a union, citing the present spiritual state of the Moscow Patriarchate and its diminishing involvement with ecumenism and Sergianism. These are encouraging signs, if true.

Likewise, we have heard many emotional appeals on the need for church unity and mutual love, and have been assured that this move is the work of the Holy Spirit. Our jurisdiction has meanwhile turned its back on our traditionalist brethren in Greece , Romania , and Bulgaria , adding to the tragedy of Orthodox disunity.

We should seek unity, but only when it can be achieved in a spirit of truth.

Yes, truth. The partisans of union have instead stooped to sleazy political intrigues worthy more of Brezhnev’s regime than of a free society: monopolizing information, tampering with delegates, moving dissenters out of their posts. . . Are these the actions of people supporting a good and holy cause? Is this how our hierarchs of past years would have acted?

When I came to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad 32 years ago, I came as a refugee fleeing the modernism and the confusion of the Orthodox jurisdiction I had belonged to. For most of these 32 years I saw the Russian Church Abroad as a safe haven where I could carry on my spiritual struggle untroubled by the storms outside. Now I see the lighthouse beacon grown dim and the breakwaters being demolished from within.

Was I mistaken when I came to the the Russian Church Abroad from a jurisdiction we shall soon find ourselves in communion with?

Vladyka, the prospects of infusions of Russian money and of renewed prestige within World Orthodoxy are not worth the souls of the scandalized faithful. If there are hierarchs and other clergy who insist on immediate union with Moscow , let them leave our church now and go where they will. Let the faithful not lose that precious Pearl , the Orthodox Faith as pure as it was handed down to us, and let union come if and when God truly wills it.

Faithfully yours,
Your former student,
Seraphim Englehardt
Holy Trinity Seminary Class of 1977

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To this date, there has been no reply to my letter, just as there have been none to many other such letters and appeals sent to Metropolitan Laurus and other hierarchs of our church. The pleas of a large portion of the clergy and faithful have been ignored in the frantic drive for union. Even the early departure of monasteries, convents, and parishes, and the certainty of a refusal of many more to accept the union have been ignored in the drive for union at all costs. Instead, Metropolitan Laurus and most of his bishops have gone ahead with their union with the Moscow Patriarchate.


What of the hierarchy’s professed love of unity? Why have they hurtled towards union with strangers while disdaining the wishes of their own flock?


I find it impossible to follow them into this union.


I should like to touch on a few observations that have influenced my decision:
1. The deciding factor for me has been the credibility, or rather lack of it, of the party pushing the union. Can we trust people who have refused to allow both sides of this difficult question to be debated in full? A free and open debate would allow all sides of the question to be illuminated so that we could all work together to arrive at a generally acceptable decision. What do they have to hide?


The machinations leading up to the All-Diaspora Sobor, which was organized by a uniformly pro-union commission and at which all presentations were scheduled with a pro-union bias and those with an opposing viewpoint were not considered or were canceled, opened my eyes as to the character of the unionists. Over the ensuing year, I have watched the subterfuge continue and intensify, beginning with distortion of the results of the Council itself. Suppression of opposing viewpoints has become more overt and more coercive, climaxing in the Soviet-style firings of our own Fr. Igor, of Fr. Andronik and Mother Agapia of our Jerusalem Mission, of Fr. Nikita Grigoriev of Jordanville, and many others, all for the offense of having different views and expressing them. Do the unionists think we live in Putin’s Russia ?


2. The Orwellian revisionism taking place illustrates further the unionists’ lack of credibility. Having failed to persuade the MP to abandon their ecumenical ties, ROCOR spokesmen have chosen to ignore the MP’s membership in the World Council of Churches. We are now hearing that ROCOR’s strong anti-ecumenical stand under Metropolitans Philaret and Vitaliy is a deviation from the original path of Metropolitans Antony and Anastassy, rather than a reaction to the far more dangerous nature of ecumenism in the past several decades. Meanwhile, a prominent unionist priest has labeled as ignoramuses those who favor the sounder practice of baptizing converts, citing the extreme economy used in the 19th-century Russian church, and further citing the opinion of some 19th-century Russian theologians that the Roman Catholic church possesses valid mysteries.


Further, the hierarchy of ROCOR has broken communion with the Greek, Romanian, and Bulgarian Old Calendarists, and we have been told that they are schismatics and outside of Orthodoxy and that they must now engage in talks with their (modernist) “mother churches,” which in the not-so-distant past have viciously persecuted them. In the mid-1970s, as a seminarian in Jordanville, I attended a liturgy celebrated in the monastery cathedral by the Old-Calendarist Metropolitan Petros at the invitation of Archbishop Averkiy, no slacker when it came to purity of Orthodoxy. And in the mid-1990s, ROCOR established communion with the Greek Synod in Resistance and with the Bulgarian and Romanian Old Calendarists. Communion was only broken--with the flimsiest of excuses--after the unionist juggernaut had gathered momentum. Have the Old Calendarists changed? Or has ROCOR?


3. One argument used in favor of the union is that entering communion with the MP will put us into communion with “World Orthodoxy.” Yes. But why would we want to be?
Like many converts, Nebesna and I both left the “official” jurisdictions many years ago and came to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to escape the compromise, confusion, and lack of standards we found prevalent in those jurisdictions. They in turn labeled ROCOR a sect, schismatic, judgmental, and “holier than thou” for its principled stand.


If we had not believed that this devotion to traditional Orthodoxy made ROCOR and therefore St. John’s something special, we would have been spared the grinding 20-mile drive into the District to St. John’s , as there are four OCA parishes and one Greek Archdiocese parish in the three towns surrounding the town we live in.


Have things gotten better in the “official” jurisdictions in the years since we left? In spite of encouraging grassroots phenomena, such as the spread of monasticism in the Greek Archdiocese and the great influx of converts seeking pure Christianity, we have not seen substantial moves on the part of the hierarchy to change the sorry direction their jurisdictions have taken.


4. Many signs point to the conclusion that Russian President Putin has impelled the union for his political aims. The use of the MP as a tool of Soviet foreign policy has been well known. Can we believe that the MP hierarchs and the Putin regime have abandoned such a mutually beneficial arrangement? The Russian government has doubtless decided that ROCOR and the Russian émigré community in general, in spite of their small size, can function as an effective public relations apparatus, given firm guidance from above. Indeed, according to a 17 May article on Time.com, “Nationalism, based on the Orthodox faith, has been emerging as the Putin regime’s major ideological resource. Thursday’s rite sealed the four-year long effort by Putin, beginning in September 2003, to have the Moscow Patriarchate take over its rival American-based cousin and launch a new globalized Church as his state’s main ideological arm and a vital foreign policy instrument.” Does this explain the unionists’ frantic drive for the union, regardless of widespread opposition among the flock?


Meanwhile, several non-Orthodox observers of our acquaintance who often travel to Russia have told us that Putin is “bad news” and that the Russia government has become much more repressive in the past several years. And Lawrence A. Uzzell of International Religious Freedom Watch has written, “The partnership between the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate is not only an unequal one, but one in which the inequality will probably grow even more pronounced in the years ahead . . . it is not likely that [MP leaders] will suddenly begin to defy a president who has tighter control of key institutions than any Russian or Soviet leader since the 1980s.”


Do we really want to find ourselves pawns of a foreign power that has become increasingly hostile to the U. S. ?

Many people have told us that they disagree with the union, “but there’s nowhere to go.” Well, now there is somewhere to go. Those of us in the DC area who intend to continue on the traditional path of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia have formed a parish under the omophorion of Bishop Agafangel of ROCOR’s Diocese of Odessa. Fr. Igor Hrebinka has agreed to be our pastor. We are holding regular services in temporary locations until we find a permanent place of worship, we hope close to the Beltway in Northern Virginia .


I wish you well wherever your conscience may lead you.

In Christ,
Seraphim Englehardt

source: http://www.geocities.com/njcr807/LetterFromAParishioner.html

Dzershinsky, Stalin, and St. John Maximovitch?

1. Felix Dzerzhinsky's statue resurrected?
2. St. John Maximovitch patron of KGB?
3. Will Stalin be canonized?

To read more click here.

Repose Of Met. Vitaly

September 12/25 was the anniversary of Met. Vitaly's repose (2006)
Vechnaya Pamyat!

ROCOR-MP Synod Eats Mahopac Alive

----- Original Message -----
Forward From: (source prefers not to be named)
Subject: Too little, too late

Email received:

Dear brothers and sisters!

We are inviting everyone to Mahopac this Sunday, September 21st (2008) to our Parish Feast of Nativity of Mother of God.

The Divine Liturgy begins at 10 AM and will be headed by Bishop Gabriel.

With deep regret we would like to inform everyone that the building of our church was recently condemned by The Synod of Bishops. With profit being the motivating factor, the church building will soon be closing, and the property might be put up for sale. We believe that this decision is a tragedy, not only for the Parishioners, but for the whole Orthodox community.

The Parish, and the land on which it stands, are very special and dear to many people.

Furthermore, the unique history of the Parish exemplifies the importance for the preservation of the church. It is crucial to mention that our holy place is the first home for the The Icon of Mother of God of Kursk, thus closely tying the history of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to our Parish. The coming of The Kursk Icon to America provoked a stir amongst many prominent Russian Orthodox immigrants in this country. In fact the land on which our church stands today was donated to the ROCOR by the famous prince Beloselsky- Belozersky upon learning about the arrival of Kursk Icon to the United States. Thus in 1950 the original monastery was founded on the donated land. In order to restore the buildings and the land for the future Parish, donations were collected by the late bishop Seraphim. Also, there is a Russian orthodox cemetery located on the property, which is the burial place for many renowned Russian immigrants of the last century. Relevantly to our case, in 2004 we received an official blessing from The Synod to start our Parish. This blessing, granted not long ago, is now being revoked.

We have to stop this atrocity from happening. We have to preserve such precious Russian orthodox places, for not only do they embody a unique history, but they are also home to many prayers. Holy places such as our Parish of Nativity of Mother of God shouldn't become places for profit. Instead they must remain standing, both for us and for our children.

Please come and pray with us!

sub-deacon Nikolai Shevelchinsky
Ekaterina Piskareva (painter-restorer-iconographer )

_

_________________________
 Appeal from Mahopac Faithful to ROCOR-MP Bishops:

Nativity of the Holy Mother of God Russian Orthodox Church 
P.O. Box 240, Mahopac, NY 10541-0240 

+ 
APPEAL 

To: Metropolitan Hilarion and the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia 
From: a group of faithful in support of the parish of the Nativity of the Holy Mother of God Russian Orthodox Church in Mahopac 

Your Eminence, Your Graces, Bless! 

We are very troubled and concerned by the decision of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to shut down the Church building (under the excuse of its poor physical condition), and to close of our parish. 

In 2004, with the blessing of the Synod of Bishops, we officially registered our parish and formed a religious corporation, and since then our parish has been growing and gaining strength. Of course, anyone who has been to our church had to notice the fact that it has been in need of renovation for a long time. However, it is important to understand the true reasons for the very poor condition of the building. The parishioners have had the intent and desire to take on the renovation and to raise funds required to do this work. However, for reasons unknown to us, the Synodal Administration has prohibited this. For many years, our hands have been tied, as we are not the owners or even managers of the church in which we pray and which we love. 

Early this summer, we were honored by a visit to our parish by You, our new First Hierarch, and this visit ignited the hope of changes for the better. It seemed to us that the conclusions of one of the sessions of the 2004 Sobor of Bishops, that took place under the leadership of Metropolitan Laurus on the territory of Mahopac, would be honored. At that meeting, our bishops expressed support for the idea to preserve this holy place and its parish life, and noted the historical and spiritual significance of the first home of the Wonderworking Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God in the United States. It strikes us as very strange and inconsistent to suddenly decide to close and DEMOLISH the church, and possibly, to even sell part of the territory of the Hermitage of the Kursk-Root Icon, citing the poor condition of the church building. 

We perceive this decision as blasphemy (as a purely financial decision, which does not reflect the normal spiritual sobornost and churchly ways of decisions made by the pastors of our souls), and we are prepared to defend our position. To clarify our position, let us remember the history of the Hermitage of the Kursk-Root Icon – the first home of the Odigitria of the Diaspora, which is tightly interwoven with the history of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. From its very inception, the Hermitage of the Kursk-Root Icon was created on the basis of generosity and charitable donation. Having heard of the arrival of the Kursk-Root Icon in the United States, Prince and Princess Beloselsky-Belosersky, well-known for their exceeding generosity, donated their suburban estate to the Synod, where the Hermitage was created in 1950. With the funding of Beloselsky and the engineering skill of Vishnevsky, the building was reconfigured to include a “home church”. Vladyka Seraphim, inspired by and under the blessing of the Icon, collected funds for the establishment of the Hermitage, literally one penny at a time, from the financially struggling émigré parishes. The architects and artists worked in the same generous spirit for the creation and beautification of the Hermitage. There is a cemetery on the property of the Hermitage – the final resting place of many well-known émigrés (see the article in “Pravoslavnaya Zhizn” #6-2006 for further details).

In 1995, there was a fire in the church and the restoration was accomplished with the efforts of the dedicated faithful of this church. In this difficult time, the Synodal Administration, which conducted annual fund drives to benefit the Hermitage, did not contribute any money from the funds collected to assist in the restoration of the fire-damaged church, not one cent. There have also been significant bequests left for the benefit of the Hermitage which were never used to improve the Mahopac property. In light of all these facts, it is not difficult to see why the church is in such a desperate condition. And now, half a century after the establishment of this Hermitage, which survived only due to the communal efforts of many a Russian émigré, thus expressing their sincere love for their fatherland and the great and holy Russia, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has decided that it is now time, and even critically important, to eliminate the small, prayer-filled, church and to make a potential profit from the sale of a small portion of the property, blessed by the Wonderworking Icon, which is revered by the same Orthodox Russia, the resurrection of which was intensely prayed for within the church to be destroyed. What a wonderful source of income! 

The government considers Churches to be “non-profit organizations”, and as such, frees them from the payment of taxes. Even in secular consciousness, Christianity is incompatible with commercialism. This is fundamentally expressed in the treatment of Churches under the law. All of us – the parishioners and the Synod – are the successors of the spiritual traditions, preserved by our forefathers; better said: we have inherited a sacred object of Orthodoxy, which they managed to preserve under the adverse conditions of persecution and hardship of émigrés. Have we fallen so, that we can turn this spiritual treasure into an object of materialism and profit? 

How do we explain this to our children, in whom we are trying to instill the all important character traits of devout care for holy items, beginning with the crosses they wear and ending with all of the church’s property?! And what kind of association will they have, and adults as well as children, knowing how holy items and churches were destroyed in Soviet times?! But that was a godless power, here, the power is the church! What else can we say? 

We feel that it is impossible to look at a place, created by our spiritual fathers, benefactors and charitable donors, as merely a source of income. We are called to preserve, care for and improve this holy place in every way possible. But it is not just for us, the present generation, who can find solace here from life’s difficulties and sorrows. It is especially difficult for our children and grandchildren to preserve their Orthodox faith in the culturally diverse and atheistic environment. The words of the founder of this place, Archbishop Seraphim (Ivanov), are especially fitting: “Remember, dear compatriots, the quiet Russian Orthodox corner Kursk-Root Hermitage, which is under the protection of the Wonder-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God”! 

Let us also remember a similar story that took place with a parish in Glen Cove. At the time, the Synod was unable to furnish the funds needed to provide the upkeep for the building, and offered the parish the opportunity to take on the cost and become self-financing. Since the parishioners were unable to take on this cost, the parish was dissolved and the building was sold. However, in that case, there were two additional ROCOR parishes nearby, and the parishioners could easily travel. The nearest parish to Mahopac is in Poughkeepsie, which is an hour drive away. But this is not the only difference: contrary to the parishioners in Glen Cove, the parish in Mahopac has never been offered the opportunity to self-finance, which is exactly 
what the parish has asked for over the years. How do we explain such a radical difference in approach? 

There, in order to close the parish, it was necessary to offer the option, where in this case, the opposite is true, it is necessary to prohibit this option?! Can this really be so? 

By turning over the building, housing the church, to the parish, the Synod would be able to: 

• completely remove all responsibility from itself for any consequences from the “dangerous” condition of the building; 
• permit the parish to get started with the work needed to save and reconstruct this historically significant location; 
• eliminate an additional reason for the faithful to leave the Church Abroad; and 
• prevent the smearing of the good name of the Church, since negative publicity and outcry would be unavoidable upon the execution of such a plan.

“Resistance to the worldwide empire of evil, where the rights of the strong, cunning and contentious rule, where they live by the principle: “when forests are cut, chips will fall” – can only come from the union of God and Man that occurs in the body of the Church of Christ, with its sobornost, united in love, called to protect human frailties and help make sense of life’s difficulties; ensuring that each lost human soul has absolute and eternal worth. The Kursk-Root Hermitage is an inseparable limb of this body.” [Inok Vsevolod (Filipiev), Pravoslavnaya Zhizn, #6-2006.]

"Is the Grace of God Present in the Soviet Church?'

PDF download
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Book Review
"Is the Grace of God Present in the Soviet Church?"
by Professor I. M. Andreyev

St. John of Kronstadt Press says this book is " ... more pertinent today than when the work was written. Should be considered 'must reading' in assessing the future course of the Orthodox Church of Russia."

Monastery Press says this book is "A profoundly discerning and timely work that discusses the deeper spiritual reality..."

An excerpt from the Introduction to the English Edition of this book:

It should be noted that Andreyev does not conclude with a categorical conclusion that the "Soviet Church" is deprived of the Grace of God, only that there are grounds for uncertainty: "Therefore we do not have communion with the Soviet Church, because we have doubts as to whether the Grace of God is present."

This book is offered by both the St. John of Kronstadt Press and the Monastery Press.

To read the whole of the Introduction click here.



Introduction to the English Edition of
"Is the Grace of God Present in the Soviet Church"

In the Orthodox Church many of the most profound theological works written by the great Church Fathers were written not for the mere sake of discoursing on the sublime truths but to defend the faithful against the appearance of an error -- an innovation, a human invention alien to the Divinely inspired Truth preserved by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Often the Fathers of the Church would have preferred to keep silent, continuing in prayer and living the truths of Divine Revelation, which can at best be imperfectly reflected in human words. The discourses they have left in defense of the Faith are very often more in the nature of fences surrounding the Truth -- declaring what God is not, while God in His essence remains unfathomable to the human mind. Nevertheless, as a result (one might say as a by-product) of their polemical writings, we have received from the Church Fathers a rich heritage of inspired theological writings which help us to better understand what Orthodox Christianity really is.

The present work falls into this category. Unfortunately, however, it will not be valued in this way but rather in terms of the reader's sympathies (or lack thereof) for the present day church organization in Russia known as the Moscow Patriarchate. However in future generations if, God willing, these ecclesiastical troubles cease to be of any practical relevance, this little book will continue to be of great value in terms of what it teaches us about Divine Grace and about the subtle but vital distinction between the realm of the soul and the realm of the spirit in man.

Bishop Theophan the Recluse summarizes the traditional teaching of the Church as follows:

"The natural relationship between the component parts of man should follow the law that the lesser should be in submission to the greater, the weaker to the stronger. Thus the body should be in submission to the soul, and the soul should submit to the spirit, while the spirit in accordance with its nature should be fully immersed in God. Man should abide in God with all his being and consciousness. Here the power of the spirit over the soul depends on the indwelling of the Divinity, the power of the soul over the body is dependent on the soul being ruled over by the spirit. When man fell away from God, inevitably man's whole structure fell into disarray. The spirit, having departed far from God, lost its strength and submitted to the soul, while the soul, no longer being held aloft by the spirit, submitted to the body. In all of his being and consciousness man became mired in sensuality. Before taking upon himself the new life in the Lord Jesus Christ, man finds himself in just this state where the relationship between the component parts of his being is turned on its head, like a telescope when its different sections are collapsed one into the next."

Professor Andreyev was well qualified to understand this along with all its practical implications in the Soviet "paradise." A devout Orthodox believer and confessor of the faith in times of persecution, he was also a qualified physician and psychologist. Ivan Mikhailovitch had three doctorates: in medicine, literature and philosophy, which he obtained from St. Petersburg University shortly after the outbreak of the revolution. However some years earlier he had been expelled from the gymnasia (high school) where he has studying on account of his own revolutionary ideas and sent to study in Switzerland. He had been raised in Orthodox piety but in his late teens went through a period of "rebellion" and became a very serious young man, questioning everything and seeking to find the true meaning of life, which at first he saw in revolutionary ideas which were popular with many of his contemporaries. During his studies in Europe he began to study philosophy (Bergson, Bulgakov, Lossky, Askoldov) and in this way gradually, step by step, came to understand the profundity of what was present in the Orthodox Church. He returned to Russia at the outbreak of the revolution, already clearly understanding the emptiness of materialism and atheism. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he did not become sidetracked in a pseudo-Orthodox combination of traditional teachings and modern inventions. He sought the true spiritual path of Orthodoxy. A decisive point in his life occurred in 1926 when he made a pilgrimage to venerate the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov at Diveyevo monastery. During the special rule of prayer prescribed for pilgrims he suddenly became vividly aware of the reality and closeness of God and of an entirely real communion in prayer with Him. He asked to be deprived of all earthly things if only he could remember until his last day this blessed experience of the "quiet, joyful gentle and fragrant wafting of the Holy Spirit of the Lord." He wrote: "Everything had become new within me. Previously I had not understood such a simple truth, that spiritual things are more distinct from those of the soul than the latter are from bodily things. But now I understood this well. Within, in the depths of my soul, it was quiet, calm, joyful. The outward miracles at the shrine of St. Seraphim, which occurred before my eyes, did not astonish me. All this seemed simple and natural."

This is a quite astonishing statement, that there is a greater difference between the spirit and the soul than there is between the soul and the body. Mostly we do not clearly appreciate this at all -- that all the wonderful "heritage" of Orthodoxy which so impresses the outside world -- icons, singing, the order of our church services -- is only a vessel which contains, and makes us more receptive to the actions of the Divine Grace of God. By the same token it is quite possible to maintain a humanly constructed facade containing all the outward elements of the Orthodox "heritage" but lacking the true contact with the Living God. Blatant examples of this are the Uniate church, which is not Orthodox at all, but Roman Catholic, and the self-consecrated Ukrainian church, which was formed by nationalists in the 1920Õs and had no semblance of an apostolic succession in the consecration of its hierarchy whatsoever. It is only in rare moments of enlightenment that we are able to perceive this distinction between the things of the soul and those of the spirit in full clarity. Mostly we must have recourse to the Canons of the Church to help us in our need to "discern the spirits, whether they be of God," to avoid the risk of being deceived and accepting a surrogate in place of the Church of Christ. This is not a question of following the letter of the law, or self-righteously claiming to belong to the "right" jurisdiction, but rather following the striving of a loving heart which thirsts for prayerful communion with the Living God.

Thus this theme of distinguishing between the things of the spirit and the things of the soul was fundamental to Andreyev's understanding of Orthodoxy. It was only natural that he would apply it to find a way through the most burning problems of the day -- those caused by the Soviet persecution of Orthodoxy and the creation of a church apparatus subservient to the Soviet state following the infamous Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius in 1927. It is this ecclesiastical organization that Andreyev refers to as the "Soviet Church." He was actively involved in protesting against the declaration and then suffered imprisonment and exile for his religious views. In the 1930's he formed part of the "Josephite" movement of the catacomb church. Thus his convictions were far from being an abstract form of philosophizing, but on the contrary were born out by his own personal sufferings. The article appended at the end of this book gives a vivid illustration of this period in his life. During the German occupation Andreyev managed to escape to the west and in later life he became a teacher at the Holy Trinity Seminary at Jordanville, New York, where he was buried after his repose in the Lord in 1976.

During Andreyev's lifetime the Soviet Church was clearly enslaved to the Communist regime. Nobody ever imagined that it could outlive the Soviet system which had created it. In his book, "Motives of my Life," Archbishop Vitaly Maximenko wrote of how, in past ages, those who had fallen during times of persecution had been treated with varying degrees of condescension. Looking forward to the day of the collapse of the Soviet system, he urged compassion towards the repentant hierarchs of the Soviet Church who he assumed would be subjected to due ecclesiastical judgment by those who had not submitted to the communist yoke, which group would include the emigre hierarchs of the Church Abroad. What never seems to have been contemplated by earlier generations of hierarchs was that the Soviet Church would continue its existence, going from strength to strength, after the collapse of the Soviet system itself. Yet this is precisely what we see today, with the same church organization continuing its existence as a powerful ally of the emerging "post-Soviet" Russian state. Andreyev's profound analysis provides a basis for orientation in approaching the problem of the status of this organization. Specifically, he addresses the fallacy of the widespread "bottom up" approach to ecclesiology, which says that because many suffering, sincere people seek God within a given church organization it must be the true one. This approach, one could say, denies the Divine-Human nature of the Church and makes it only human-democratic. As a professional psychologist and a Solovki confessor he is the ideal spokesman for explaining this. It should be noted that Andreyev does not conclude with a categorical conclusion that the "Soviet Church" is deprived of the Grace of God, only that there are grounds for uncertainty: "Therefore we do not have communion with the Soviet Church, because we have doubts as to whether the Grace of God is present." We can recall the attitude of Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan, who had initially counseled caution in separating from Metropolitan Sergius. In the late 1930's, shortly before his execution, he wrote in a letter that since enough time had passed since the Declaration and Metropolitan Sergius had shown no sign of repenting, "the Orthodox can have no part or lot with him." "No part or lot" may not be a precisely definied scientific term, but its practical implications are quite clear. Andreyev's contribution is to demonstrate quite clearly, and in fact frighteningly, how it is perfectly possible for an organization to have retained all the trappings of an Orthodox "heritage" but have lost the essential thing, the one thing that is needful, the presence of the Holy Spirit of God.

As a philosopher who had come to Orthodoxy after a long intellectual search, Andreyev never lost sight of what is called "Apologetics" -- the study of why we believe as we do and how to explain it to others. His understanding of the difference between things of the soul and things of the spirit makes a very important contribution in this area in the face of present day indifference and unbelief. On the one hand we are surrounded by other forms of Christianity, which appear to have many of the same things as the Orthodox Church. People turn to God in prayer, they read the same Gospels that we have. And yet --an Orthodox soul will find that these religions are just religions, ultimately religions that it is possible not to believe in, because they are missing that "One thing that is needful." They fall down before the onslaughts of present day psychology which says that religions are the opium of the people and just feed certain needs of the psyche, or human soul. Andreyev is saying in effect, "Yes, you are quite right, it is quite possible to have a religion which is just made up of psychological effects." The same psychologists would look at our churches and say they too are just made with human hands. The iconostasis is carved out of wood, the altar table is erected and covered with cloths, we hang a lamp outside the sanctuary, and the lamp is made of glass and metal and filled with olive oil. Then we train our singers and organize church services of astounding majesty and beauty, but these too are all material and psychological effects. And Andreyev as it were replies, with that characteristic twinkle in his eye which you see in photographs of him, "Yes, I agree, it is quite possible to have the most impressive religion which would still be one that I would not believe in. That is why we are so cautious not to be deceived, because all you unbelieving psychologists are quite right, many of these religions really are human creations. What the Orthodox believer is seeking is something which goes beyond all the outward forms and is able to nourish the spiritual side of his being, not just the soul. We understand all your criticisms of religion in general and Orthodoxy in particular, but we invite you to probe more deeply and open yourselves to perceive the presence of God beneath all the outward forms in the Orthodox Church."

Much of the book is devoted to describing the process of formation of the Soviet Church and its separation from the confessing hierarchs who were either exterminated or went in to the catacombs. Andreyev writes with the authority and the suffering of heart of one who was personally involved in these tragic events. Yet at the same time there is no trace in his writings of that harshness which can be observed in some present day opponents of the Moscow Patriarchate -- those who have fallen into an error opposite to that indifference to the truth which is so generally prevalent today. Professor Andreyev was a man of great learning and a true "aristocrat of the spirit," whose writings will repay serious study.

Why Are New Calendarists So Sensitive?

An answer from St. Edward's, the Royal Path...
The Shepherd (Magazine) September 2008, page 8

QUESTION: “Can you tell me why the new calendar churches and those in communion with them are so sensitive about the calendar issue? Why are they so quick in condemning resisters?” J. C. by e-mail.

Of course the true answer to your question is that you should ask them! Because only the New Calendarists and those in communion with them can really answer for themselves, but I think I can hazard a couple of ideas which may not be far off the mark.

First of all, some of the Old Calendarists are so extreme, so intent on condemning others and on constant vigil to see their faults, that I think that many New Calendarists think that all traditionalists are tarred with the same brush. This is not a very intelligent conclusion, but it is an understandable one. We all tend to fall into similar errors, judging whole peoples en bloc, rather than looking and listening to see what their true position is.

Again, many New Calendarists and “those in communion with them” (you were wise to add that phrase!), especially out here in the West where they are in a majority, have been treated unkindly and rudely by Old Calendarists, who think that harshness and rudeness are manifestations of righteous zeal. They are not. However, once bitten, as the proverb says, twice shy, and thereafter they are wary that all Old Calendarists might be the same or assume that they might be.

Thirdly, I believe that many New Calendarists understand that their position is a wrong one, they understand that the involvement of their leaders and hierarchs in ecumenical activity is contrary to Orthodox tradition, but they go along with these things for a variety of reasons: convenience, family connections, failure to apply themselves to study those things which pertain to their salvation, false loyalty to clergymen, comfort, and so on. However, in doing this they also feel a little guilt, and one of the things that we tend to do when we feel our own position is unsound or when we feel guilt about something is to strike out at others, deflecting, we think, attention from ourselves.

Then again, there is herd-mentality; one wishes to be “in” with the crowd, and so one adopts the views and opinions one hears from them. (This, of course, can also apply to Old Calendarists). Often the leaders, - and I do not necessarily mean their leaders in the hierarchy or clergy, but often just those who become vocal proponents of their position, - are not adverse to spreading false rumours about the stance of the traditionalists. I remember years ago, when we were in ROCA, which was then part of the traditionalist movement within Orthodoxy, a lady from the Moscow Patriarchate parish visited us. She was surprised that we would allow her to go inside the church, but said: “I would not be allowed to come to a service, though, would I?” Well, of course she would have been and would have been welcome to do so, but somewhere someone had told her that we would not accept her in Christian love.

All this may raise the question, why the New Calendarists, and those in communion with them, are so particularly vehement in their attacks on the moderate traditionalists, and I think the reason for this is that it is easy to dismiss the extremists as fanatical, and therefore they pose no threat. But those that are moderate, understanding of the difficulties, willing to show, as far as lies within them, Christian love, and yet are firm in their adherence to the Church’s traditions perhaps seem more of a threat to their chosen position because they cannot be easily dismissed as nut-cases.

I hope some of these thoughts help you. Please forgive any deficiencies in my reply.

source: http://www.saintedwardbrotherhood.org/0908/shepherd8.html

Putin The Pagan

On September 8, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. CNN aired a program in which the president of Russia, in India, once again demonstrated that he is ***NOT*** an Orthodox Christian...

On October 3, being in India, RF-president Putin and his wife took part in a pagan rite -- the placing of a wreath on the spot where the spiritual father of the Hindu nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was cremated. As the newspaper "Komsomol'skaya pravda" ["The Truth Of the Young-Communist League"] noted, "Before placing the wreath, the Putins, as custom demands, took off their shoes and put on white slippers. The entire Russian delegation followed their example." (!!) The president of Russia declared in an interview conducted by CNN Broadcasting that he believes not in God, but in Man, yet he conscientiously imitates "the Orthodox Faith" in the churches of the Moscow Patriarchate, and also actively participates in masonic and pagan mysteries (for example, he was initiated into "knighthood" by the Grand Master of a certain [masonic] Order in Germany; and, while, in North Korea, he ritually worshipped the deified leader Kim il Sen). In India, Putin once again confirmed the fact of his total lack of any religious sensibility, since rituals of this sort -- participation in which he could easily have declined -- are incompatible with Orthodoxy, as was convincingly proved by Aleksandr Nevskii and Mikhail of Chernigov, [two] previous rulers of Russia.

source: http://monasterypress.com/putpag.html

We're Being Railroaded!

The Unrestrained Comments of Hieroschemamonk Elia prior to the union.
To read more click here.

Outrage Committed Against Met. Vitaly†

An Eye-Witness Report
by Fr. Spyridon Schneider

Dear Brothers and Sisters, if you will indulge me a few more words I would like to share with you the truth about the forced incarceration of our beloved Vladika Metropolitan Vitaly by the Canadian Police.

1) A court order was obtained by the Synod of Bishops working through Bishop Michael and his attorneys, requiring that Metropolitan Vitaly submit to a competency test and psychological examination by the psychiatric staff of the hospital in Sherbrooke, Canada. As you can imagine, the incarceration of a ninety-two year old bishop who has not committed a crime and has not exhibited activities either harmful to himself or others is radical and extreme. How could this happen in a free country which honors and respects personal civil liberties? Only by the most extreme and slanderous false testimony! Over the next few days this fact will be demonstrated by attorneys in the Royal Canadian Courts.

2) The order issued by the court only required that the competency and psychological exam be performed on Friday, the second of November. There was simply no need for the police, Bishop Michael and his attorneys to arrive at the Mansonville Monastery at 8:30 PM to take the Metropolitan away. Even the police argued with Bishop Michael and his attorneys that the Metropolitan be allowed to spend the evening resting in his room at the monastery and that he be taken to the hospital early the next morning. However, Bishop Michael and his attorneys would hear nothing of this and demanded that he be immediately removed. Ask yourself why? Because, Bishop Michael wanted to humiliate and exhaust the Metropolitan so that he would be unable to function competently while being examined the following day.
Believe this and weep for this is true.

3) While the Divine service of Matins was being chanted Bishop Michael brought a woman police officer into the sacred altar of the church to take custody of Metropolitan Vitaly. Yes, this is also true. The senior policeman (who is not Orthodox) who had earlier attempted to have the bishop's incarceration put off until the following morning exclaimed to those around him that the arrest in the sacred altar was like the betrayal of Christ at Gethesemane.

4) The Metropolitan was then driven to the Sherbrooke Hospital where he was admitted at 11:30 PM. He was then brought to the emergency psychiatric ward and was given a stall equipped with a bed and steel chair which opened up to a circular room with a nursing station in the middle so that all of the patients could be observed by the staff. This room also had stalls with restraint beds equipped with large tie downs for patients who lost control of themself and became physically violent.

5) In spite of being confined in these most violent and abusive circumstances, and in spite of not being able to sleep, Metropolitan Vitaly remained composed and alert and prayed throughout the night.

6) While I sat with the Metropolitan,[having arrived around 6:30], I prayed reading the Akathist to the Mother of God, to the Sweetest Lord Jesus, the Canon to The Mother of God and other prayers after which I said the Jesus prayer.
During this time the Metropolitan rested fitfully.

7) At 8:45 AM the Director of Nursing and an intern came to the Metropolitan and brought him to an examination room. The Metropolitan's physical health was reviewed and his vital signs were taken and they indicated that he was in remarkable health. After this a several page competency test was administered and this test proved that the Metropolitan had remarkable reasoning capabilities, excellent memory, the ability to understand all of the responsibilities of his life and the ability to make well reasoned judgments about appropriate actions needed in managing his affairs.

In addition, the Metropolitan translated the French physician's statements into English for me as she explained the nature of the test and the remarkable facility with which he had completed its requirements. When we were finished the Director of Psychiatric nursing thanked the Metropolitan for his cooperation and said that she hoped that she lived as long as he has and that, if she did, she would hope to have his remarkable mental health.

8) The Metropolitan and I were then led to the psychiatric examination room where emergency evaluations were made. There was a small waiting room arranged like a large hallway with rooms on either side. On one side there were examination rooms with a small desk and two or three metal chairs. On the other side there were three restrain chambers with hard, low beds equipped with extensive restraints for use with violent patients. There were four other people in the waiting room who were in different states of agitation- two of whom were chain smoking and pacing with obsessive and rhythmic gyrations. The other two were sitting and appeared to be in near catatonic mental states. At this point I asked the nursing attendant if the Metropolitan could wait in a more private area. We were offered use of one of the restraint rooms, which was totally inappropriate. Suddenly another attendant offered the Metropolitan and me chairs and gave us some privacy in the vestibule of one of the restraint areas. The Metropolitan and I sat there for an hour and half. After a few minutes, given our tiredness and anxiety I thought that this wait would be a virtual eternity. Remarkably, however, the Metropolitan began to tell me in exquisite detail (in English) the life of St. Mary of Egypt. As he told me the saint's life and its inner spiritual meaning he also explained the subtleties of meaning that exist in the Russian original of the life which he says was written in non-liturgical old Slavonic. After discussing the life of St. Mary of Egypt we also discussed liturgical language and his preference for the Elizabethan English used by the King James Version of the Bible and urged that we always preserve this beautiful English in our English language Church Services. Finally, the Metropolitan and I discussed the meaning of the betrayal of Christ by the hand of Judas, the true meaning of Gethesemane and how all true Christians must bear the Cross of Christ in our lives.

9) Suddenly, the doctor arrived and asked the Metropolitan to join her in an examination room. I was not allowed to accompany the Metropolitan during this part of the examination. About one hour later the doctor came out of the room with a broad and beaming smile that immediately lifted my spirits. She happily informed me that the Metropolitan was in remarkably good mental health and had the mind of a much younger man.

10) The doctor then asked me to join the Metropolitan and her. When I sat down with them in the examination room she asked me how it was possible that Bishop Michael could have gotten a court order for this examination in light of the fact that the Metropolitan was completely competent and in such remarkable mental and psychological health. I explained that the Church is a Holy Family and that the Metropolitan was the father and elder of the family and, as is true in a family, the Metropolitan, according to Church Tradition and Law was the head of the Church for the entire duration of his life. Moreover, that even if the Father and Elder of the family were to become physically and mentally infirm it was the sacred and holy obligation of the older members of the family to administer the Father's affairs in strict observance of his life long principles without deviation and change. The doctor understood this and agreed that this is exactly what the courts required of the executors of estates.

11) I further explained that the Family members around the Metropolitan (that is the Synod of Bishops) had wanted, for the past several years, to change the direction of the church against the will of their Father and Elder. Ten years ago the other bishops were certain that the Metropolitan would die by the time he was eighty five and he lived on; then they thought that he would surely die by the time he reached ninety and still he lived on strong and vital. In the meantime other members of the family had made secret commitments to their associates outside the church to change the direction of the church. These obligations caused great embarrassment because they were unable to keep their commitments as long as their Father the Metropolitan remained at the head of the family. Finally, at a meeting of the Sobor of Bishops in October of 2000 the Synod of Bishops made decisions in complete opposition to the will of the Metropolitan. And, though they were able to coerce him into going along with these decisions in the intensity of their meetings, after the meetings, when he was alone and could review these decisions in peace and quiet he realized that he had been coerced in his weaker moments of exhaustion. To correct these mistakes he wrote very strong condemnations of the decisions that were made under coercion. The doctor again interjected that of course decisions that were extracted under duress were legally invalid and would be immediately thrown out by the courts. I continued saying that the Synod of Bishops then tried to usurp the authority of the Metropolitan, who is in office for life, by forcing him to retire and after three days of intimidation the Metropolitan signed a letter of retirement which they prepared and forced upon him. Again, after the Metropolitan had rested from the meeting, he reviewed his forced retirement and revoked this decision with a Declaration that the most recent meeting was a meeting of “irresponsibles”.

12) After opening the Synod meeting and refusing to attend the sessions the Synod of Bishops decided to attack the Metropolitan by removing his personal secretary of twelve years. When the Metropolitan refused to accept this and left the Synod headquarters and returned to Canada, the Synod of Bishops became desperate and resorted to court action. First, they went to court in New York City and claimed that the Metropolitan had been kidnapped. When this failed and he arrived safely in Canada, they went to the Canadian courts to have him declared incompetent.

Dearly beloved behold the truth: In their desperation the Synod of Bishops tried to have Metropolitan Vitaly declared incompetent so that they could gain by the civil courts what they were unable to gain by the hand of God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

In short the Synod of Bishops sold their Father in God, Metropolitan Vitaly, for thirty pieces of silver and delivered him up to the Sanhedrin for judgment. To the amazement of the Synod of Bishops even the Sanhedrin realized that there was no basis for the charges, the Metropolitan was found to be completely competent and they released him so that he could return to his work as the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad.

While on the one hand, I want to show all due respect to the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, on the other hand it is necessary to assert the truth so that you can, of your own good conscience and divinely free will, understand that Bishop Gabriel and the Chancery of the Synod of Bishops have launched a campaign of disinformation against the God of Truth, Our Lord His Eminence Metropolitan Vitaly and the faithful Orthodox Christians of the Russian Church Abroad. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Asking your forgiveness and prayers, I remain,

Yours in the Truth of Christ

Fr. Spyridon Schneider

source: http://monasterypress.com/eyewitness.html

An Explanation For The Flip-Flops

"...Ask me how this is possible!, and, I will answer that this change of heart and spiritual mind is rooted in deep spiritual delusion and sickness of heart and mind that has come upon the elect themselves during these last days."

-Fr. Spyridon Schneider


In 1976, when I was a Deacon serving at Holy Epiphany Russian Orthodox Church under Fr. Roman Lukianov he told me something that I will never forget. He said:

“Fr. Spyridon, never before in the history of the Church has there been a persecution as cruel and diabolical as the persecution of the Orthodox Church in Russian by the Bolsheviks. In all previous persecutions the Church knew her persecutors, whether they were Mongols, Turks or others; they never pretended to be anyone other than themselves. However, in Russia the Bolsheviks sent their criminal agents to seminaries, dressed them in podriasniks and ryasas, ordained them readers, sub-deacons, deacons, priests and bishops and vested them in the robes of Christ so that these God-hating criminals could betray the faithful and destroy the Church from within.”

At this point Fr. Roman broke down in tears and sobbed from the depths of his heart and bowels of his feelings. Inexplicably, this same Fr. Roman has for the past twelve years or so been one of the chief architect-proponents of reunion with Moscow. Ask me how this is possible!, and, I will answer that this change of heart and spiritual mind is rooted in deep spiritual delusion and sickness of heart and mind that has come upon the elect themselves during these last days.

source: http://monasterypress.com/eyewitness.html

Consoling Words From Abbess Juliana

Abbess Juliana consoles those who are confused and hurt:
11/22/2001

I am asked by several friends, who are totally confused and troubled by the situation. This is my answer. Hope many can read it. Please to forward it. As for the behaviour of b. Mihail- Father Benjamin says one word: "NEDOPUSTIMO". ("incompatible"-jh)

In humble reply to those who are troubled and confused regarding the hurricane of evil now threatening the Holy Russian Orthodox Church in Exile, let us realize it is this very reaction which the enemy tries so savagely to create in us, aware that it is confusion and ignorance which distorts the our understanding of what is happening.

I say "enemy" rather than "enemies" because all these apostates, whatever their rank, title or name, are acting in the service of the " father of lies", satan, who is temporarily unrestrained and permitted violence in his attack on the Truth and all who refuse to speak or accept lies.

Why does Almighty God permit this? It is not the first time the Holy Orthodox Church has been on the thin edge of catastrophe...there was a time when only ONE faithful hierarch stood bravely at the gates until the storm blew over. Because our Creator has given us the heavenly gift of free will, He allows each of us to make our own decision, the one which will determine our eternity. This is one of those testing times, perhaps the final, and we cannot expect Him to interfere. Already the goats are separating themselves from the sheep!

The shocking behaviour, the shameless lying, the hatred and violence of persons once consectrated to the Lord Jesus Christ Christ.....all this is incredible until we realize that these people have become spiritually insane; they are being moved about like mindless puppets to complete the plan of their master to whom they have surrendered their immortal souls. Understanding this, it becomes obvious that nothing we can say to them or about them can make the slightest difference. The most important thing for US to concentrate on, is the urgent need for us to make our own final decision for Jesus Christ, the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, and in order to keep and strengthen our resolution we might give thought to these suggestions:

First, as long as we still have the opportunity, let us fervently prepare for and receive Holy Confession and the Precious Body of our Saviour as frequently as possible! In doing this we must take care that we harbour no hatred or contempt for ANYONE, remembering how our suffering Redeemer prayed, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!" Also we must try to withdraw our attention from the increasingly bizarre words and actions of the deluded and hostile, praying for them but avoiding all contact with them ! This is essential because their spiritual madness is extremely contagious and eternally fatal.

Other suggestions for coping with depression include re-reading the prophesies in Holy Scripture and the Holy Fathers, showing how all these matters are well understood by the Holy Church and remain under the control of our wise and loving Father in Heaven. Also we must pray for (and earnestly seek!) spiritual guidance from faithful bishops and clergy, who will be fewer in numbers but whose stability is shown by their own purely Orthodox words AND behaviour. We must prepare ourselves mentally and spiritually for the eventual loss accesss to our Temples which will have been dangerously contaminated by apostasy. It is urgent to withdraw from wordly, unnecessary contacts and activities in order to approach more closely to the Heavenly Church, so intimately united with us in humble and trustful prayer.

As matters continue to worsen, we will understand that we are in the midst of a war in which few of us can take an active part but whose outcome is already known in which TRUTH is victorious and all past evil will be forgotten in the joy of Christ's Eternal Kingdom! The very outbreak of this war should give us hope and even the beginning joy for it brings closer the triumphant return of our Lord Jesus Christ when all will be judged by their deeds. Oh, may we then be found innocent and faithful and "He will wipe away all tears!" AMEN.

Rev. 7:12

source: l http://www.monasterypress.com/abbessjuliana22.html

Is MP Sick Or Graceless?

St. John Maximovitch says MP is "spiritually sick". He does not say "graceless".

To read the words of this saint click here. http://cyprianites.blogspot.com/2008/12/is-mp-sick-or-graceless.html

Another Kryill Flip-Flop Example

This is a segment of a Euphrosynos Cafe forum discussion 0ctober 2003

http://www.euphrosynoscafe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1132&start=28

The Saint Euphrosynos Cafe Discussion Forum
A discussion forum for Traditional Orthodox Christians and Inquirers


Change in ROCOR?

Bishop Kyrill of San Francisco's flip-flopping Ecclesiology
by Lounger » Wed 22 October 2003 8:06 pm
Some time ago Deacon Basil from Australia posted an interview of Bishop Kyrill in 1999, where Bishop espressed a proper attitude towards Mpscow Patriarchate. Then suddanly Father Alexander Lebedev sent out the following:
_________________________

His Grace, Bishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America has directed me to address the lists where Protodeacon Basil Yakimov had posted an essay that Bishop Kyrill had written four years ago, concerning the Moscow Patriarchate.

Bishop Kyrill wishes to let it be known that this essay does not at all reflect his current thinking, and that he has formally rescinded that previous statement. He also has expressed his will, as he had already done in the past, that his previous essay be withdrawn and not be republished in any forum.

Bishop Kyrill is especially concerned that the post of the essay to the internet forums by Protodeacon Basil Yakimov, at its end, stated that it was "reprinted by permission from the author," which is an absolute falsehood.

Bishop Kyrill will address the issue of Protodeacon Basil Yakimov's action with Fr. Basil's Ruling Bishop, His Grace, Archbishop Hilarion.

Bishop Kyrill has also directed that his interview of September 27, 2003, where he expresses his views clearly and unequivocally, be reposted to the lists where Protodeacon Basil Yakimov's posts appeared.

With love in Christ,

Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
Dean of the Southern Deanery of the Western American Diocese
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by Lounger » Thu 23 October 2003 3:25 am
Fr. Alexander Lebedeff wrote: "Bishop Kyrill wishes to let it be
known that this essay does not at all reflect his current thinking,
and that he has formally rescinded that previous statement."

Just one more piece of evidence---and there are dozens, hundreds---
that the "current thinking" of ROCOR is not the traditional Orthodox
thinking of ROCOR under Saint Philaret.

Fr. Alexander Lebedeff wrote: "He also has expressed his will ...
that his previous essay be withdrawn and not be republished in any
forum."

Similarly, the new ROCOR does not want to see "republished" the
decree on the baptism of all converts, or the condemnation of the
OCA (forbidding prayer with its clergy), or the recognition of
Auxentius as the canonical "Archbishop of Athens," or the
anathematization of all "those who" teach the branch theory heresy
or the heterodox-Mysteries heresy (for example, the Serbian
Patriarch who heretically proclaims Rome a "sister Church"). Father
Alexander himself has inched closer to these heresies in the past by
quoting eighteenth-century, westernized Russian bishops and sources
(not universally-recognized Saints) who refer to a "church lung"
or "Mysteries" among the heterodox. He seems to prefer these
westernized sources (pseudomorphosis) to ROCOR's open, public,
official (True Orthodox) teaching under Saint Philaret. That's why
Father Alexander and Father John Shaw, for years on the Internet,
have consistently disparaged Saint Philaret and his legacy.

Whereas ROCOR has obviously changed, the Russian government and
patriarchate have not changed nearly enough. Putin still defends the
genocidal KGB---says they have nothing to apologize for [what about
the 20-60 million?], and when asked if he believes in God, tells
reporters "I believe in man." Does an "Orthodox Christian" (Father
Alexander's phrase for Putin) utter such blasphemies? No. Putin is
not a Christian, and Father Alexander is misinforming his
readership.

Putin, bizarrely, will not condemn Soviet genocide against the
Church, but he does say that Russia needs to join the West in order
to join civilization---as if civilization emanates from the post-
modern West, rather than from Christ and Orthodoxy. This leader and
this government is not Orthodox and Father Alexander is misleading
people by saying so.

Agent DROZDOV---in the very same interview in which he
allegedly "repents"---says clearly that he does not renounce the
history of Sergianism. Once again, Father Alexander has distorted
this interview and reality.

Fr. Alexander Lebedeff wrote: "Bishop Kyrill will address the issue
of Protodeacon Basil Yakimov's action with Fr. Basil's Ruling
Bishop."

Yes. Punish those who expose the perversion (and the cover-up) of
traditional, public, Orthodox ROCOR teaching by the new, false,
ecumenist, and Sergianist ROCOR teaching and false teachers.

The above was a quote from the lsit of one Thomas Deretich

***************************************************

The Spiritual Dead-End Path of the Moscow Patriarchate


by Bishop Kyrill of Seattle


Russian Orthodox Church Abroad


At the present time---a time of religious decline and of spiritual and moral
decadence throughout the whole world (which is attempting to envelop Russia
as well)---, one cannot remain unconcerned by the spiritual condition of the
Russian people. After the supposed fall of the communist regime, our vision
was focused on Russia, with hopes for her rebirth. But later we discerned
the fraud underlying this "fall," in which a significant role was played by
the perennial enemy of Russia: the West.


Rejoicing with all of our hearts at the restoration of destroyed Churches
and the construction of new ones, and at the conversion of many people to
the Faith, we still see with sorrow that the path taken by the Moscow
Patriarchate has not changed at all, and is, as before, leading the Russian
people to nowhere: into a spiritual dead-end of religious modernism,
compromise, and acquiescence.


Instead of addressing and resolving all of the canonical and dogmatic
questions that led to the division of the Russian Church, and instead of
leading their people to victory over the powers of evil by pure Orthodoxy
and by the truth handed to us by the Fathers, the Hierarchs of the Moscow
Patriarchate are moving farther and farther away from the Truth, in the
direction of the pan-heresy of ecumenism.


From the earliest of times, the Church of Christ has withstood the trials
of various heresies. In the past, the devil attempted to fight against the
truth of Christ with a series of heresies; now he has gathered together all
of the falsehoods of the world in ecumenism. Here we find ancient Arians,
Monophysites, Monothelites, Iconoclasts, and all sorts of distortions of
the Faith by contemporary sects, by non-Christian, and even by pagan
religions.


Ecumenism calls for the removal of barriers not only between the various
Christian confessions, but also between religions, in order to create a
"Great Church," which would be the synthesis of all existing churches and
religions. At this time, already, there are joint services being performed
with the participation of representatives of various world religions and
confessions. Here are just a few examples of the liturgical innovations of
the ecumenists with which the Moscow Patriarchate has joined: ritual dances
by natives around the Altar Table; the liturgical use of contemporary rock
music; theatrical shows; joint prayer; and even the common celebration of
the "eucharist."


All of this has shown that the teaching of the Holy Fathers regarding an
ancient axiom, that "the Communion of the heretics is the food of the
demons," has been forgotten. These types of ecumenical joint activities
attempt to destroy the boundaries of the Church of Christ and lead to the
furtherance of religious relativism and the dissemination of neo-pagan
ideas.


The ecumenical movement has grown to enormous proportions and has engulfed
almost all of the Orthodox Churches. The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
remains one of the few Churches in the whole world that has not joined the
World Council of Churches.


Understanding the nature of the abyss toward which the Moscow Patriarchate
is pulling the faithful people of Russia, we acknowledge our responsibility
before them.


Undoubtedly, there are still clergy and laity in Russia who are not in
agreement with the ecumenical orientation and compromising ideology of the
Moscow Patriarchate. And it is for that reason that we would like to say to
them: "Truth does not permit disagreement in questions of Faith. Now is the
time to turn away from the evil fruit and to return to the Truth, which was
given to us as an inheritance by the Holy Fathers and Teachers of the
Church, which has withstood the fires of tribulation, and to which the
blood and sufferings of the New Martyrs of Russia have shown witness."


* From Orthodox Tradition, Vol. XVI, No. 2 (1999), pp. 45-46.
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by 尼古拉前执事 » Sat 25 October 2003 5:47 pm
Wow. Interesting!
在基督 My Original Blog
尼古拉 My Facebook Profile
前执事 My Twitter Page


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by OrthodoxyOrDeath » Sat 25 October 2003 7:03 pm
Interesting indeed.
OrthodoxyOrDeath

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by mwoerl » Sat 1 November 2003 5:58 am
yeh, it is interesting. also interesting is that deacon basil, who fr alexander mentioned bishop kyrill was -uh- "sorta miffed at" for posting his "rescinded thoughts," has been forbidden from "posting anti-mp posts" to any of the various and sundry orthodox internet lists....ah, yes-and they say nothing has changed-now apparently the mp is above all criticism!
michael woerl
mwoerl

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by Lounger » Fri 5 December 2003 11:21 pm
*bump*
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Bishop Kyrill Flip-Flop

The (1998 -jh) Opinion of Bishop Kyrill of Seattle in Connection with the "Statement" of Archbishop Mark of Berlin (ROCOR) and Archbishop Theophan (MP) Regarding Ecclesiastical Unity.
(originally posted on the official Synodal web site)
Please view
(2001 -jh) addition at bottom of page.

It was with great sadness that I read the "statement" of the participants in the ninth meeting between clergy of the ROCOR and the MP on the territory of Germany. This statement, I am deeply convinced, is an irresponsible collection of demagogic phrases, containing not even one healthy thought that could lead to the resolution of the myriad ecclesiastical problems of the Russian Orthodox Church at the end of the 20th century.

Recently, more than ever before, the question of the unification of the MP and the ROCOR is being trumpeted. Very sadly, these statements most often issue from the mouths of people for whom yearning for ecclesiastical truth is foreign, and who sow discord into the minds of their spiritual children. In order that my position might be understood correctly I would like the following points to be taken into consideration:

1. The tragic disunity of the Russian Church occurred in 1927 because of the signing of the sadly notorious Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky). It is well known that up to this day neither that act itself, nor any of its ardent supporters have been officially condemned within Russia by the administration of the MP - while, realistically, that would be the first step that could lead to the healing of the ecclesiastical situation in Russia.

2. The division between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has been deepened by the failure of the MP to recognize many of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. These have, in fact, been sacreligiously rejected by the MP, which has demanded that they first be politically rehabilitated by civil authorities, something that has never occurred in the history of the Orthodox Church. But having been freed from the control of the government, the MP could a long time ago have unequivocally glorified all the New Martyrs. In reality, the Patriarchate is looking and waiting to see in which direction the political winds will blow. And how shameful and hurtful it is to read in the Joint Declaration of Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Archbishop Theophan (MP), that the main issue that is dividing us, specifically the blood of millions of New Martyrs, they call "misunderstandings" and the result of some kind of "lack of knowledge," which is incomprehensible to me (see p. 1 of the "Declaration").

3. The current administration of the MP is constantly trampling on the Canons and the dogmas of the Holy Church by actively participating in the pan-heresy of the 20th century - ecumenism - and in the World Council of Churches. In recent times the process of secularization of the Church within Russia has increased and the conversion of its administration from a totalitarian structure into a commercial one has become the norm of life. (We know of many examples of dioceses opening commercial ventures, including selling tobacco and alcohol, involvement with money laundering and collaboration with the Mafia). Not stopping at this, the MP continues, just as it was in previous decades, to be the handmaiden of a government which is foreign to the national interests of Russia. It is also becoming an increasingly active force on the political arena.

4. The fact of the existence of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia as the free part of the Russian Church is a great help to the Orthodox people of Russia, who are trying to defend the glory of Orthodoxy from attacks by all detractors. Our voice is the only one which for almost eighty years has been carrying the truth of God into Russia. We also hear the cries and sighs of the stalwart defenders of the purity of the faith in the motherland. These cries are especially loud at the present time. And if "unification" with the MP, which Archbishop Mark is trying to accomplish, has become so timely, then why are there so many pastors within Russia who are struggling to find a way out of the spiritual dead-end that the post-Soviet church administration is ardently trying to lead them into? (We know well that the price of searching for the truth is very high - sometimes it even costs lives - for example, take the threats that were received by the recently murdered Archpriest Alexander Zharkoff in St. Petersburg just before his transfer under the omophorion of the Russian Church Abroad). From the very beginning of its canonical existence the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia has considered itself to be the temporarily self-administering free part of the Russian Church, whose calling is to serve God's truth and love. At the present time, however, we are faced with ever more frequent attempts by anti-church forces to accuse the ROCOR of lacking love in the matter of the unification of the two parts of the Russian Church.

Based on all the above I consider that the time for unification has not yet come. The MP and the ROCOR have never been so far apart from one another as at the present time.

We have always sympathized with the Church in Russia when it languished under the yoke of the atheist powers. Now that it has become "freed" from them, the MP has openly turned against us and against its Orthodox populace within Russia, (take, for example, the statements of Patriarch Alexis about the ROCOR, the Hebron affair, and the attempts to take away our churches in Europe and America).

But in this difficult time every hierarch must be responsible as never before for his episcopacy and for every one of his words, spoken or written. We must clearly realize that true unity of the two parts of the Russian Church is found not in the unification of the administration of the Church, but in unification in faith, in standing firmly in it, and in love.

The question of such unity can be resolved only at a forthcoming free All-Russian Sobor of the Russian Orthodox Church similar to the free Great All-Russian Sobor of 1917-1918, if all of the conditions required for the convocation of such a council will be met. God willing, at this future Sobor, it will be possible in open and honest discussions to resolve all of the problems of our ecclesiastical being that have developed during the 20th century. Meanwhile, those who, on their own, circulate various Epistles in the spirit of "unity" and "love" in actuality confuse our flock all the more, and sow even more discord in the minds and souls of the faithful, denying them true love, because, according to the words of the Apostle, love "doth not behave itself unseemly" (I Corinthians 13,5).
+ Bishop Kyrill 16th February 1998


Three years later...

The following is an unedited exchange between the webmaster of this site and Bishop Kyrill of Seattle concerning the re-posting of the above letter.

Subject: Re: a letter from Bishop Kyrill
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 12:45:01 -0600

> Dear in Christ Father Andrew,
> Personally, I have no quarrel with you - despite your "friendly"
> phone message several months past. I have not changed my views. They
> have remained the same - as we have discussed in Mulino.
>

Dear Bishop Kyrill,

Forgive me but you have changed your views by your actions. I remember a Bishop who inspired me when he said that he would not "seek after shiny miters" and "let them take our churches we will serve in living rooms!" I remember a Bishop who would not serve with the Serbs and made a point about it... but now what do we see? The metropolitan told me many years ago "everyone will deny and condemn ecumenism, but when we look at their actions we see something else." I do not call you an ecumenist. I only see that you have bent yourself to the winds of Archbishop Mark. I still remember you telling me how he accompanied you on a walk around central park in New York trying to recruit you. I remember your expressed outrage, also your call to defend the Metropolitan. Now what do we see? Even Ludmilla asked you to give the gift of your loyalty to the metropolitan who we both know is being taken advantage of because of his "weakness" at this time. Forgive me Vladika you have changed and I grieve.

> I feel that
> my statement need not be posted at this time -
>

"At this time?" Why not? It shows to people that indeed the church IS talking different then it did just a few years ago. Besides it was on the "official site" It is a public document.

> why did you return it
> to the website after you were instructed to remove it?
>

Because it need to be re-posted. Besides I received requests for it.


> Please remove
> it immediately.
>

I cannot...

> I simply want you to know that no one in their right
> mind wishes to join with the Moscow Patriarchate - the leader of which
> just recently stated that ecumenism is necessary in that it is
> impossible to ignore other Christians (ed. hetrodox).
>

Then say so publicly! Then allow the Metropolitan's letter to be distributed.

Also then tell me very clearly and without "a politicians guile" why the synod is...

1. seeking an "autonomy"
2. seeking communion with the georgians
3. asking ecumenists "Patriarch Pavel" for help in the "much desired
union"

Of course I understand that all this goes beyond the MP in its present form...

> Our beloved
> Church Abroad has not changed her position of 80 years past. If
> language, syntax lead people to feel otherwise, it is very
> unfortunate.
>

"very unfortunate!" Then why do the bishops show an unprecedented coldness and cruelty to those who asked questions? One of the most "milk toast" of our priests up here recently said to Bishop Michael... "Vladika all the bishops had to do is answer our questions at the first and all of this would have stopped immediately." Even father Christopher Birchall wrote this to Bishop Gabriel in January. But what do we see... we are assaulted and insulted by the likes of Lebedeff, Whitford, Shaw, Potopovs, etc. We see the French clergy brave in their stand for the truth of our church and the Mark machine trying to crush them to NO avail, we see every continent issuing statements. There has been NO peace in the church since your "errors of syntax" and NO attempts at calming the flock only threats and name calling. No Vladika please do not insult my intelligence with these low level attempts. You see I know too much of what is behind the scenes. I wish I didn't I would like to be back in those days of innocence. But I am not.

> May God keep us united in the spirit of the 80 years past
>

As disseminated by who Vladika? By that refuse called the western clergy statement?

> and the
> Mother of God cover us with her omophorion.
>

He and She will keep the true members and sons and Daughters of the confessing Church Abroad in full unity of this I am sure of. Metropolitan Philaret two weeks before his righteous end said that "after my death our beloved Church Abroad will break three ways... first the greeks will leave us as they where never a part of us... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church." I never forgot this and believed that it would happen. Now I do.

Priest Andrew Kencis

I am prepared to lose everything, if needs must, for Christ.. as are many others. This is the fruit of eight months of prayer and tears and trying to make sense of what we see.


> +Bishop Kyrill
>

P.S. I am using internet in Boise, where I am presently - I do not have inetrnet...

>Pity it IS a tool that can be used for good.
>


source: http://monasterypress.com/oldkyrill.html