The North American Soviet Union

Gregory emails this article to us from:
http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com/pages/articles/North%20American%20Soviet%20Union.html

The North American Soviet Union
By Charlotte Iserbyt
February 27, 2007
There is one common thread running through all articles and speeches by elected officials, well-known writers, and commentators in opposition to the merging of the United States into a political and economic regional arrangement known as the North American Union. To my knowledge, not one of them has chosen to use the “C” word (communism) when warning Americans of the dangers of this unconstitutional merger about to be foisted upon us without proper hearings in Congress. Excellent speeches and articles are being given and written warning us of all sorts of bad things related to this merger, including the fact that we will lose our sovereignty, but we are not being told that all these bad things are necessary for the full implementation of The North American Soviet Union (communistic/regional system). Isn’t the “C” word the one and only word which might shock Americans out of their state of conditioned apathy, thereby bringing about citizen activism which might result in killing this “regional” monster?

Morris Zeitlin, a communist writer for the Communist Party’s Daily World said in an article entitled “Planning is Socialism’s Trademark,” November 8, 1975 : “We ( USA ) have no regional government and no comprehensive regional planning to speak of. Regional government and planning remain concepts our urban scholars and planners have long advocated in vain…In socialist countries, metropolitan regions enjoy metropolitan regional government and comprehensive planning. The economic and functional efficiencies and the social benefits that comprehensive national, regional and city planning make possible in socialist society explain the Soviet Union ’s enormous and rapid economic social progress…”

Of interest regarding Zeitlin’s comment about “the Soviet Union’s enormous and rapid economic social progress…” is the following admission made by former President Gorbachev at the 2005 National School Board Association conference that “half the world’s population and two-thirds of Russia’s lives in poverty.”

The United States Government, at all levels, has since 1975 accepted wholeheartedly Zeitlin’s advice, to the extent that our country is, believe it or not, almost 100 percent socialist in its political, economic, social and environmental (sustainable development) policies. For documentation please read “Walks Like a Duck, Talks Like a Duck.”

The regionalization (consolidation) of the world is quite similar to the three-stage plan outlined by Stalin at the 1936 Communist International. At that meeting, the official program proclaimed:

“Dictatorship can be established only by a victory of socialism in different countries or groups of countries, after which there would be federal unions of the various groupings of these socialist countries, and the third stage would be an amalgamation of these regional federal unions into a world union of socialist nations.” (Ed note: The third stage is taking place right now as we in the United States of America become part of a federal union, the North American Union, which will in the near future become part of a world union of socialist nations.)

Former President of the Soviet Union Gorbachev on March 23, 2000 , in London , referred to the European Union (EU) as "the New European Soviet.” If he refers to the EU in that way, it only stands to reason that he would refer to the North American Union (NAU) as the “New American Soviet,” since the NAU is modeled on the EU. Gorbachev also said in his speech to the Soviet Central Committee on November 2, 1987 , published by Novosti Press Agency Publishing House:

“We are moving toward a new world, the world of communism. We shall never turn off that road.”

How is it possible that if American citizens or United States officials involved in putting us under the North American Union were aware of Gorbachev’s statements, they would not be very concerned regarding our nation becoming part of a communist world? Have we forgotten the many hundreds of millions of innocent people tortured, starved, murdered and incarcerated by communist regimes around the world? Authorities say “over 20 million people suffered in purges under Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin -- and that more than 10 million died before Stalin's death in 1953. Some put the number even higher.” [Read]

Do we really believe the communists have changed or gone away?

United States government officials, elected and unelected, with enormous financial assistance from the tax-exempt foundations, have for many years been working to implement unconstitutional regional planning at the local, state, national and international level, all of this required for full implementation of a One World Socialist Government. For the 3000-page transcript of 1953 Congressional (Reece and Cox Committee) Hearings to Investigate the Tax-Exempt Foundations and for superb research on the history of regional government, go to americandeception.com and type the following into its search engine: Reece Committee, Don Bell Reports, Maureen Heaton, the Mantooth Report, and The Emerging North American Union.

One very important government official in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, Under Secretary of State George W. Ball, spelled out very clearly what the Insiders were planning for our nation in The New York Times, 1/24/88: “…If we could internationalize by using the United Nations in conjunction with the Soviet Union, because we now no longer have to fear in most cases a Soviet veto, then we could begin to transform the shape of the world and might get the UN back doing something useful. …Sooner or later we’re going to have to face restructuring our institutions so that they’re not confined merely to the nation states. Start first on a regional, and ultimately you can move to a world, basis.” (emphasis added).

Has our education system so successfully conditioned and dumbed down Americans that they no longer are able to apply logic to the above quotes? Are they no longer capable of transferring that knowledge, processing it into new knowledge and conclusions which might help them understand and oppose the present destruction of our Constitutional Republic ?

Since all regional groupings being set up around the world are based on the communistic Free Trade “redistribute the wealth” philosophy, why is it that the adjective “Communist” is never used when discussing GATT, NAFTA, CAFTA and the NAU? Those patriotic writers could at least describe those agreements as “Communism LITE,” couldn’t they?

For those Americans who recall the days of elected officials, not unelected, appointed task forces and “councils” (soviets, according to most dictionaries), running our towns, schools, counties, states, nation and world, recognizing this change in our form of government should not be too difficult.

However, for those younger Americans denied an education in American history and government due to the activities of the tax-exempt foundations, especially the Rockefeller, Ford, and Carnegie Foundations, the loss of elected officials through regionalism does not seem to bother them. Go to americandeception.com and type into search engine “Kenny Hignite” and you will see a most astonishing six-page 1954 “Test on the United States Constitution” on which Hignite received a grade of 99 – “Excellent!” There is absolutely no way that Kenny Hignite, now 66 years old, having received such an excellent education on the U.S. Constitution in a public school in Central California in 1954, would not be questioning the present deliberate destruction of our representative form of government through the implementation of communistic regional government!

Those Americans under fifty years old, and too often those over 50 years old (!), will ask you “What’s wrong with members of the community or faceless state bureaucrats being appointed to assist our elected officials in their work which has become increasingly complicated?” The simple answer is “If you don’t approve of what those unelected officials are doing, you can’t get rid of them at the polls.”

Uneducated Americans will also ask you:

“What’s wrong with consolidation of school districts, services, the merging of individual school and town budgets to “save taxpayers money?” (Ed note: In Maine our Senate Education Committee is about to approve Governor Baldacci’s proposal to slash school districts by proposing 26 regional school units statewide with 26 superintendents, compared to the existing 152 superintendents and 290 school units!);
“What’s wrong with merging 16 towns under one county council as was recently proposed in Cumberland County, Maine, thereby eliminating representative government?”;
“What’s wrong with getting rid of local school boards and having our schools run by city Mayors, or contracting education out to private organizations connected with the corporations?”;
“What possible objection could you have to public school morals and values education even if those programs are forbidden to teach ‘absolute’ morals and values based on the Ten Commandments?”;
“What’s wrong with publicly-funded charter schools which have no elected school boards?”;
“What’s wrong with Cuban-style school-to-work job training replacing a K-12 liberal arts curriculum? Even if my child can’t read, I sure want him/her to be able to get a job.”;
“What’s wrong with public/private partnerships?”
“What’s wrong with the federal government mandating mental health screening for my child?”;
“What’s wrong with members of the community assisting the local police in monitoring citizen activities and/or the police handing out awards to citizens who do good deeds, as is the case with the Community-Oriented Policing System (COPS) in Maine?”;
“What’s wrong with putting the UN’s lifelong learning agenda, all community services (birth through death), under the umbrella of the school district? (Go to americandeception.com and type “Feld” into search engine for a remarkable research paper on the history of Community Education)
“What’s wrong with a National I.D. card reportedly designed by two Russian ex-KGB Chiefs?”;
“What’s wrong with students being required to perform community service in order to graduate?”;
“What’s wrong with federal funding of religious organizations (faith-based initiative)?”;
“What’s wrong with federally-funded school choice proposals?”;
“What’s wrong with dropping borders between states?” as is in the offing.

And, the subject of this article: “What’s wrong with regional government?” And many more “What’s Wrong With?” questions from good Americans who have, over many years, through no fault of their own, been deliberately dumbed down and didn’t receive the public education which required the likes of Kenny Hignite to know their Constitution and form of government.

How many Americans realize that almost all the programs mentioned in the above “What’s Wrong With” section have already been implemented in our schools, communities, and states and that they are based on communist/socialist collectivist philosophy? The planners are waiting only for the full implementation of the North American Union (final nail in coffin) which will allow them to write and approve, as was done in Europe, the North American Union’s Constitution (Communist Manifesto) which will include all the above “What’s Wrong With?” programs. That will be the infamous day when the U.S. Constitution is formally relegated to history’s trash bin. And, as with the EU Constitution, or the Communist Manifesto, the practice of Christianity will be outlawed… a thing of the past. All religions will be considered equal and inevitably superior to Christianity. Go to americandeception.com and type into search engine “Religion and Governance” an important position paper by Harlan Cleveland, notorious supporter of global government, long-time member of the internationalist Aspen Institute, and first U.S. Ambassador to the Common Market (1960), and Marc Luycx, a Belgian change agent bureaucrat. This paper was prepared by the Foreward Study Group of the European Commission and was undoubtedly used by those drafting the EU Constitution. It will give you a picture of the non-role of Christianity in world region constitutions.

Our elected officials in Congress, who have sworn to uphold the Constitution, should not be immune to multi-million dollar lawsuits for injuries sustained by the citizens of this country. Is not the loss of our freedoms due to elected officials’ malpractice (lying to us in regard to putting us under the communistic regional North American Union and not holding hearings on the subject) even more important than the death of one patient due to a doctor’s malpractice, the scalding of a woman who spilled her “too-hot” coffee at a McDonald’s takeout, or the death from cancer of a woman who smoked too many cigarettes? How can we ignore the fact that 651,008 Americans have died in battle to protect and defend the constitutional freedoms which will vanish under this new international regional arrangement? Is there really no penalty to be exacted of these highly-paid Congressional traitors other than voting them out of office, which it seems is impossible to do due to both political parties having the same agenda, controlled media, manipulated political conventions, and election fraud?

Americans have been conditioned to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, since the days of McCarthyism and the phony fall of communism, mention the “C” word. The word must, as George Orwell might have said, be removed from the dictionaries of all languages, especially English. Otherwise, we might wise up and tackle this treason with all our might and brains since we surely don't want our children and grandchildren living under any “ism” form of government, much less “communism.” The Insiders know that “communism” is the one and only word that must be banished from use. They are not concerned over excellent anti-North American Union rantings and ravings as long as the “C” word is NOT used.

The Insiders, most if not all of whom are corporate communists, have no fear of the coming totalitarian system since they have been assured they will be sitting in the catbird seat, having eliminated all economic competition and self-government (elected officials), and will have the world as their playground. The majority of the world’s population, the Insiders’ “human resources”, will be their highly trained and conditioned serfs, lifelong.

One might ask, how can this be? It is a well-known and documented fact that Wall Street funded the Bolshevik Revolution and the corporate communists and our government have been supporting the communist regime in Russia since 1917. Extensive exchange agreements covering political, municipal, cultural, economic, legal, law enforcement, education, science, sports, medicine, etc. have been signed since 1958 between the USSR and the USA, including of special importance the 1985 education agreements signed by Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev which merged our two education systems and caused to be implemented the Soviet polytechnical work force/job quota system and the Pavlovian outcomes-based method of conditioning/training. Go to americandeception.com for full text of “Agreement between U.S.A. and USSR .”

Regionalism is communism no matter how you slice it. The sooner Americans get that unpleasant fact permanently entered into their brains, and process that information into appropriate action, the sooner we will be able to escape what Orwell described so well in his novel 1984:

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on the human face--forever...and remember, that is forever."

Forward this article to your friends and to your elected officials at the local, state, and national level. Of equal importance restore the "C" word to your vocabulary and use it often.

Comrade Stalin's Church 1943

http://sbn-nathanael.livejournal.com/2006/04/05/
THE DEMISE OF ROCOR! Pt II  
PART II - INTERVIEW WITH COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY'S
DR. E. L. MAGEROVSKY-Ph.D.

Dr Magerovsky; Putin, Alexy II, Alexy's pet dog "KGB;" Laurus Kissing Alexy's Assymetrical "crooked" Face!


- Sbn Nathanael Kapner: "Can you give us a brief overview of the 'political-religious' scenario inside of Russia between the years of 1927--the year when Metropolitan Serios issued his infamous "Declaration," and 1943---the year when Stalin established the Moscow Patriarchy?"

Dr Magerovsky: "This time period between 1927 and 1943 has to be taken together with the ascent of Stalin to power. After the death of Lenin in January of 1924--Stalin began his gradual rise to power within the Communist Party.

~ "By 1934, Stalin's power struggle was complete with the beginning of his building of heavy industry, known as the "5 Year Plans," which began in 1929. Broadly speaking, this time period between 1927 and 1943, may be called the era of Stalin's "5 Year-Plans."

- Sbn Nathanael: "Did this building up of heavy industry by Stalin, adversly affect the village-church-unit-scenario of Russian Society?"


Dr Magerovsky: "Yes. Alongside of the 5 Year Plans, Stalin then initiated the "Collectivization" of Russia. Essentially, Stalin's "Collectivization," was the destruction of peasant households, and the building of the peasant-farming communes. This met with much protest from the peasant farmers. Stalin murdered those who protested.

~ "Stalin's "Collectivization" created much upheaval for the Russian Church. For now with the loss of private-village life, and the growing urbanization centered around 1ndustrialization, the parishioner-priest-relationship was undermined.

~ "The old-order was now being destroyed by Stalin. The Church was always associated with the peasant village. Now we see Stalin's new-order emerging and the Church being replaced by "urbanization" and the "kol-khoz"---that is the "collective-farm."

"Holy New Martyrs Of Russia, Intercede For Us Sinners!"

Sbn Nathanael: "Was Stalin overtly persecuting the church?"

Dr Magerovsky: "Yes--extensively. 1927 marked the beginning of the Catacomb Church--led by St. Joseph Of Petrograd who renounced quite early on, Metropolitan Sergios' infamous Declaration.

~ "Stalin's overt persecution of the Church reached its apogee in 1938--when many of the Catacomb Churchs' hierarchs were killed."

Martyrs' Met Peter Of Krutitsk +1936; Met Cyril Of Kazan +1938;
Met Joseph Of Petrograd +1938

Sbn Nathanael: "What about the priests and the common people? Were they threatened and intimidated by Stalin?"

Dr Magerovsky: "Stalin did not warn with threats or intimidations. If you were a believer--whether priest or parishioner--the communists simply came, arrested, and killed."

Sbn Nathanael: "In our first Interview, you stated that those hierarchs who fled the Bolsheviks, eventually ended up in Yugoslavia and established a Council known as the "Sremske-Karlovice Synod." This Synod, as you informed us, was tied to Patriarch Tikhon in Moscow. What was occuring with the Russians Church Abroad and its new Synod during this period between 1927 and 1943?"

Dr Magerovsky: "To fully understand the events of the ROCOR during this period, it is essential to understand that in 1920, Patriarch Tikhon, foreseeing the possible severance of communications with the Patriarchy---issued his "UKAZ 362." Essentially, this UKAZ stated that in the event of severed communications, the ruling hierarch of each diocese had the right to rule apart from Synodal concurrence."

Met Evlogy Georgievsky; Met Platon Rozhdestvensky

Sbn Nathanael: "Did the Sremske-Karlovice Synod have world-wide oversight?"

Dr Magerovsky: "Not at all. Metropolitan Evlogy, who operated more or less independantly, had oversite of France and much of Germany and Czechoslavakia. The Sremske-Karlovice Synod up until 1943, was mostly related to the emigres'in Yugoslavia and other areas concentrated in the Balkans. It wasn't until the Synod moved to the United States in 1951 that the ROCOR began its final formation and its universal authority."

Sbn Nathanael: "What was the situation with Metropolitan Platon in America during this time period between 1927 and 1943?"

Dr Magerovsky: "The "Metropolia" was established first in San Francisco during Tzarist days under the Church in Russia. Metropolitan Platon, who later moved to New York, *was never under any compulsion* to join with the Sremske-Karlovice Synod. For UKAZ #362 applied to the Metropolia just as much as it did to the Sremske-Karlovice Synod."

Sbn Nathanael: "Can you tell us something about Metropolitan Evlogy of Western Europe during this time period?"

Dr Magerovsky: "Metropolitan Evlogy was initially appointed as the head of the "Temporary Higher Church Administration" for Western Europe. Metropolitan Evlogy was part of the original Sremske-Karlovice Synod under the Chairmanship of Metropolitan Anthony Krapovitsky. However, he permanantly left the ROCOR Synod and joined the Ecumenical Patriachate in Constantinople in 1936. Evlogy established a controversial center in Paris known as the "parisian school."

The Russian Winters "Defeated" Germany

Sbn Nathanael: "Can you tell us how the "Moscow Patriarchy" was established by Stalin in 1943?"

Dr Magerovsky: "First of all in 1941 Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. By 1943, Hitler had occupied vast areas of Russian territories. In these areas churches had sprung up like mushrooms.

~ "The tide began to turn against the Germans in 1943. Stalin was now reconquering those territories where the churches had been reopened by the Germans."

Sbn Nathanael: "Did Stalin close these churches down?"

Dr Magerovsky: "No. Stalin was in a quandry. Ideologically, Stalin *should* have closed these churches down. But because closing down the churches would have demoralized the flock, Stalin left them opened to garner the people's support against the Germans. Stalin needed the Russian flock to beat the Germans back."

Sbn Nathanael: "How did Stalin form the Moscow Patriarchy?"

Stalin, Molotov, Met Sergios Stragorodsky

Dr Magerovsky: "During the middle of the night of September 4th 1943, Stalin ordered his aide, Vyacheslav Molotov, Gregory Karpov, and Metropolitans' Sergios Stragorodsky and Alexy Simansky, to come to his office. Karpov was Tuchkov's successor of the Secret Service--then known as the NKVD. Stalin then organized a church-like-hierarchy, appointing Metropolitan Sergios as its head.

~ "As a matter of fact, Stalin issued an order to the concentration camps, to release the hierarchs incarcerated there, who were involved in the various schismatic groups. These hierarchs were appointed to various dioceses as their ruling bishops."

Sbn Nathanael: "What was Stalin's motive for establishing the Moscow Patriarchy?"

Dr Magerovsky: "Stalin wished to form a religious organization that would be a definite and clear part of the Soviet State."

Sbn Nathanael: "Has the Moscow Patriarchy finally become a legitimate church after all these years?"

Dr Magerovsky: "No. Let me put it this way. Indeed it is now some 50 years after Stalin's formation of the MP. During these 50 years, the MP has acquired more and more the 'trappings' of a church. But the hierarchy and the leadership of the MP have remained the puppets of the state."

Sbn Nathanael: "So the MP has indeed remained the puppets of the state? Is this the "puppet-church" that Laurus and the other ROCOR hierarchs wish to join?"

Dr Magerovsky: "Indeed it is!"

THIS SUNDAY EVE - PART III

The Miserable Wretch Laurus & His Betrayal Of The Holy New Martyrs!


FOR MORE "MAGEROVSKY" SEE: http://elmager.livejournal.com/
AND EVEN MORE SEE: http://revniteli.livejournal.com/

Subdeacon Nathanael Kapner Reporting
 

Sorrowful Epistle of Abp. Tikhon (2006)

Trenton Deanery of ROCOR Under Omophor of the Russian True Orthodox Church 789 Shady Ln, Trenton, NJ 08619, USA. Tel.: (609) 586-54-55

Sorrowful Epistle of Tikhon, Archbishop of Omsk and Siberia and the Chairman of the Synod of the RTOC, to the clergy and laity of the suffering Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

Скорбное Послание Архиепископа Тихона Омского и Сибирского, Председателя Синода РИПЦ, духовенству и пастве страждущей Русской Православной Зарубежной Церкви (на английском языке)

SORROWFUL EPISTLE
To the Clergy and Laity of the suffering Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1: 1,2)

In God’s Name, Dear Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, and Faithful of the suffering Russian Church Outside of Russia!

Can the heart of an Orthodox believer remain indifferent and not shudder in pain at the betrayal perpetrated by Met. Laurus and his Synod? Can we keep silent and not remark upon this religious event, which has deep eschatological meaning not only for the fate of the Russian Church and the Russian people, but also for the world as a whole?

Summing up the events of the past year, 2006, we can say with great sadness: the year will be forever remembered as a tragic chapter in the life of ROCOR, whose history was once so glorious. The year was filled with events which cannot be passed over in silence, for, as Saint Gregory the Theologian has said, ”God is betrayed by silence.”

First of all, it is necessary to discuss the IVth All-Diaspora Council, which took place in 2006, and its real consequences, which no one wants to discuss. One of the most significant achievements of the Council, as its participants themselves will admit, was the ratification of a Resolution, which set a new course for the establishment of Eucharistic communion between ROCOR and the MP and declared conciliarly: “to serve together and to receive communion from one Chalice”. The Resolution opened the way to union with the MP, though not everyone understood that right away.

Another crucial decision was allowing the ROCOR Council of the Bishops to consider the “Act of Canonical Communion” with the MP. Though the IVth All-Diaspora Council did not reject the “Act” in principle, did not reject the possibility of union with the Soviet Patriarchy, in the end, it jointly approved the completely new direction for ROCOR. For the first time since the founding of ROCOR, a representative body of the Church Abroad did not even consider the question of sergianism.

Somebody hastened to call the decisions of the Council a “victory,” perhaps on purpose. But this victory turned out to be a Pyrrhic one. Therefore, the attempts of some of the more “temperate opponents of union” to grasp at straws and try to explain the contradictory and flowery words of the Resolution of the IVth All-Diaspora Council were doomed from the start. The results of the Council were indeed a victory, but by no means for the opponents of union between ROCOR and the MP. By now it is apparent to everyone that to ignore this or not understand it, is to be in a state of willful spiritual blindness.

Shortly after the All-Diaspora Council, in May, 2006, the planned ROCOR Bishops Synod took place. On the basis of the determinations of the IVth All-Diaspora Council, it considered and “approved in principle” the “Act of Canonical Communion” with the MP. The fact itself that the ROCOR Bishops Synod approved the “Act,” reveals the deep spiritual decline and apostasy of those bishops.

Nevertheless, the hope that Met. Laurus and his Synod would come to their senses, repent of their decision, and not push the Church Abroad into union with the sergianist Patriarchy flickered in the hearts of the Orthodox faithful until the last minute. Alas, their hopes were not realized.

On August 24/September 6, 2006, the ROCOR Synod officially approved the final version of the “Act” and began preparations for the ceremonial signing by Met. Laurus and the Patriarch of the Soviet Church, Alexy. At the expanded meeting of the Synod, occurring on December 7-10, 2006, in New York, the final date for “the time, place, and protocol of the ceremonial signing of the ‘Act of Canonical Communion’ ” was determined. It will occur in the “Christ the Savior Cathedral” in Moscow on May 17, 2007, on the feast day of the Ascension of Our Lord. The Hierarch and several bishops of ROCOR will celebrate Divine Liturgy with the Patriarch and bishops of the MP at that time.

As a result of these decisions of the ROCOR Synod (which are historic in their relation to global apostasy), a Russian Church Abroad that is free spiritually, no longer exists. What does exist, is a “ROCOR-MP” completely dependent on the Kremlin.
Allow us to repeat again and again; the union of the Church Abroad with the Soviet Patriarchy has already de facto occurred. It is unlikely that anyone would dare to insist glibly that the Synod in New York would consider this duplicitous “Act” to be a harmless document with little meaning. No, this “Act” will go down in the history of the Universal Church as a statement of spiritual blindness and a great fall from Grace of once-Orthodox bishops. In its significance and possible future consequences, it will eclipse the Brest Union of 1596 and even the Union established by Met. Sergius with the godless government in 1927.

We see that the ROCOR episcopate has repudiated the teachings, ideals and heritage of the Russian Church Abroad not only within the Church, but publicly, and openly, for all time; turning their back on the examples of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian and Catacomb Churches, and from True Orthodoxy itself. From a religious/canonical point of view, this is a complete schism.

It is namely the ROCOR (L) bishops that have perpetrated this schism, not the clergy and laity. It is well known that the majority of clergy and ROCOR laity are against union with the MP. Therefore the hierarchy has had to almost literally force the union by any means possible; not shying away from deceit, slander, intimidation and even worse. Methods which are wholly inappropriate for Orthodox bishops. This has led to a schism between the apostate hierarchy of Met. Laurus’ Synod and the Orthodox laity of the Church Abroad. This has already occurred and a Christian can ignore this only at the peril of the subsequent, spiritual consequences for one’s own eternal soul. The ROCOR (L) hierarchy has knowingly entered into schism, when it changed the historic course of the Church Abroad, acting in defiance of the will of its flock, ignoring its pleas, its wants and needs. The signing of the “Act of Canonical Communion” with the MP is just the legal confirmation of the schism and the union which has occurred.

What can the present spiritual state of the clergy and laity of ROCOR (L) be compared to?

It can be compared to being caught in a snake’s mouth; as a snake does not swallow its victim at once, but does so gradually. At first, it waits out its prey, allowing the prey to become accustomed to it being “harmlessly” near by, then it hypnotizes its prey, breaking down the prey’s defenses. Finally, it suffocates the prey and begins to consume it, piece by piece. This analogy to nature may seem curious, but this is exactly the spiritual state all of ROCOR(L) finds itself in, as if under deep hypnosis and “willingly” being swallowed by the “red dragon” and its “temptress church” the Soviet Patriarchy.

Is saving oneself from the mouth of the snake possible? No, having been caught in its jaws, it is impossible to survive. It is a firm rule of spiritual life, a principle of human nature. For with every day, every step, every subsequent false promise by the apostate bishops and their followers, one’s conscience becomes dulled, one’s will is weakened, and one loses the ability to actively battle for one’s soul, to stand fast in Truth and Faith. Inertia and indifference appear, leading to the apathy of which the Lord warned us of. After that, even the thought of standing up for Truth seems to be unnecessary, inconvenient and even pointless.

That is why it is necessary to flee from the dragon while it is not too late, while the soul is still alive and one’s will is still strong and capable of resisting falsehoods. One should not bide his or her time, hoping that “this too may pass,” comforting oneself, lulling the conscience to sleep with the mistaken idea that you will flee only then, when they begin to “commemorate the Red Patriarch.” Once the dragon has swallowed you whole, it will be too late to run. No one has escaped from the jaws of the “deadly snake, desiring to consume you and drag you alive to the nether world.”
Why is this occurring and what is actually happening in ROCOR?

The ROCOR faithful have knowingly, and for some time now, been led astray regarding the union with the MP. Those who are for union have played with words, drawn out the process, reassured you, while paralyzing the will to spiritual resistance. They lie constantly, making promises that union with the MP will not occur, while tirelessly and dispassionately doing their dirty deeds, leading the faithful abroad into the jaws of the monstrous snake. They say one thing, while doing another, and are probably thinking something else completely. To be honest, if union with the unrepentant MP was indeed the right thing to do, something pleasing to God, and the pro-union individuals in good conscience were certain in the rightness of their cause and its truthfulness, would they have to twist themselves inside out and constantly lie cynically and underhandedly? It would have been more honorable to simply announce at the Council in 2006 – “Yes, we intend to join with the MP.” Unfortunately, it is enough to read all their conciliar and synodal documents for the past six years, along with all their articles and interviews, to know it is just the opposite: they lie while doing their evil deeds. They lie like this because they themselves do not believe in the truthfulness of their villainous path.

A glaring example of such duplicity, or even triplicity, is the behavior of one of the more active bishops of ROCOR(L), who initiated the whole process of union. At first, he convinced everyone that union would not occur. Then he suddenly received a “divine revelation” that the “union of the two parts of the Russian Church is pleasing to God.” He followed that with a letter to Alexy II (see «the Journal of the Holy Synod of the MP, # 119») in which he, “stated his sincere repentance of the deeds which caused the ‘harmful schism’ ”, while insinuating this was on behalf of the ROCOR dioceses and parishes in Russia. Truly, the consciences of such people has been destroyed!

Is this not evidence that the acceptance of the “Act of Canonical Communion” with the MP by the Synod and Council of ROCOR(L) is the natural result of ROCOR’s change in course in the last six years in professing the faith? Concelebrating and commemorating the Soviet Patriarch will be simply the victory wreath of this six-year-long divergence from the right path, to a path that will lead only into an abyss.

At this point, it is not important exactly when this “Act” will be enacted; whether in May, or Ocotober or even in three years. It is only important that the question of union with the unrepentant MP was submitted for consideration by the ROCOR Council and was approved in principle by the Council. The formal execution of it, is just « a matter of technicalities and time».
Would something like this be possible in ROCOR in the time of Metropolitans Anthony, Anastasiy or Philaret? Definitely - not. For the saintly, founding Hierarchs, just the possible thought of considering such an Act by a Council or the Synod would seem like blasphemy and an insult to Orthodoxy. This shows how much the ROCOR(L) bishops have lost their spiritual orientation, how they have lost the meaning of ROCOR and its religious heritage and ideology. Which means then, they have fallen away from the True ROCOR and entered into schism.

A falsehood cannot be the foundation for the True Church of Christ, to which the real ROCOR belonged and still does today.
The Church of Christ was always built and continues to be built on sacrificial love. There is no place for cowardice in the foundation of the Church. It is erected on the basis of bold confession, courage, and truth. The Church is permeated with the love of Christ, not of the fleeting riches of this world.

The Holy Orthodox Church was never built on falsehood. No “grace of the church” ever resulted from hypocrisy, was never bought by betrayal of Christ or by divergence from the confessor’s way, or avoiding sacrifices and martyrdom. The Church was never built on lack of faith. It was always the Church of martyrs and lovers of Truth. That is why the Holy Church was created and such a miraculous thing appeared in the world. That is why the Church has great meaning in the world as the “Sun of Truth.” And the true ROCOR was always so and should remain so.

In light of that, we can say that it is apparent by all the unjust deeds of the ROCOR (L) hierarchy that they no longer belong to the Russian Church Abroad, that pure and luminous Bride of Christ.

The heart fills with sorrow and pain seeing the debasement, which ROCOR never knew during the history of its faithful service to the Truth. This anguish compels us to not stand by idly, but to raise our voices in defense of the defiled Truth.
It is impossible to keep silent and not cry out: come to your senses! Look at what kind of abyss you have flung yourself and your laity into! What answer will you give to Christ our God on Judgment Day? The Lord warns us, “but whosoever shall offend even one of these little ones, it would be better for him to not have been born at all”. Consider how grave the sin is that you have taken upon yourselves, what temptation, what confusion you have sown among the “little ones” of your many faithful! And not just among them.

“It is frightening to think how much you have shockingly undermined the authority of the Church Hierarchy by your Declaration; what a rich harvest our enemies are gathering in these circumstances; how many believers, not seeing a good example for themselves in their pastors, have doubted their belief in the Eternal Truth; and how many of them have fallen away from the Church and are perishing in the swamps of apostasy and streams of sectarianism! The enemies skillfully take advantage of the confusion you have created in the Church and increase their impudence tenfold as they carry out their godless plans… In Christ’s Name, consider it, think about what is occurring in the Church, and the results of the course you have selected! Pay heed to the cries and prayers heard from all sides! If not, it will be too late to correct your mistakes and too late to repent of them.”

Holy Martyr Damaskin (Bishop of Chernigov and Glukhov and one of the founding clerics of the Catacomb Church) wrote these words to Met. Sergius in a letter from March 29, 1929, and they apply equally to the ROCOR (L) hierarchy from this time forward, as they have entered into union with the sergianist schism. No matter how they try to slyly vindicate themselves, how they try to bargain over their “autonomy” and other worldly privileges, they will still have to answer one day for this sin, one that is akin to that of Judas. Only then, no justifications will help them, for it is impossible for anyone to deceive God. Sooner or later, He will call all of us to account: one should never forget that.

Alas, the instigators of this union have fallen to such depths to justify their betrayal. How they have filled themselves with lies! We know from the Holy Scriptures that the father of all lies is the Devil, and if so, perhaps they have gone too far? It was not so long ago, that Met. Laurus and the other ROCOR(L) bishops assured everyone that union with the MP would not occur until the MP repents of sergianism and ecumenism.

What do we see now? The MP has not repudiated either sergianism or ecumenism, while the “Act of Canonical Communion” and the canonical subordination of the Church Abroad to the malevolent “Patriarchy” has been officially accepted and ratified. In fact, accepted to such a degree that nothing remains of the ROCOR ideology in Met. Laurus’ church. Just the opposite, the Soviet Patriarchy, established by Stalin in 1943, has been recognized by them as the “Mother Church,” the legitimate Local (Pomestniy) Russian Church. In effect, ROCOR is no more. All that remains is an overseas diocese of the MP. Now, instead of the MP atoning before God and the members of the church for their violations of principles and the canons, we see ROCOR, as represented by Met. Laurus and his Synod, asking for forgiveness before the MP. And for what? That the Fathers of the Church Abroad, the venerable Hierarchs Anthony, Anastasy, Philaret and the recently reposed Met. Vitaly, along with the saints of the church and its clergy and laity preserved the inviolate state of Orthodoxy, kept God’s Truth for all these years without concern for their isolation or the contempt of the world afflicted by apostasy?

Indeed, the primary victory achieved by the atheistic Soviet regime over the White émigrés and the Church Abroad is that the “duplicitous church,” which was created by the Red Bolshevik regime and is a part of it, has been accepted as the “Mother Church” by the Church Abroad, which sprang from the White Movement. The Church Abroad undertakes this union without the MP repenting of the sin of sergianism. Instead of examining this central matter of principle, which already split the Russian Church in 1927, all attention is focused on the secondary questions; such as administrative arrangements, the so-called “autonomy” of ROCOR inside the sergianist MP structure, etc.

They assure us that “the schism in the Russian Church has been overcome,” and that simply “two parts of the one Russian Church” have joined together again. If that was really the case, it would truly be a great joy for the Church here on Earth and in Heaven. But is it?

The pro-union forces accuse us that in resisting union with the MP, we oppose the unity of the Church. My, how everything is backwards in their world! All that is precious to the heart of an Orthodox person is turned into lies and perverted. The unity of the Church has never been achieved by secular and devious means, as it cannot have falsehoods as its origin. The unity of the Church has never been achieved by the suppression of one’s conscience, which is the living voice of God in every person’s soul. As Bp. Averky taught tirelessly, “That is because true unity in the Church is unity in Truth, not in lies.” This is an axiom of Orthodox asceticism! All the Holy Fathers spoke and wrote about this. The Christian Church has always been, and always will be, based on this; its wholeness championed and redeemed by Christ Himself.

Is there an example in the history of the Church, when unity in the Church was predicated on people lying and speaking falsely? Did Saint Maxim the Confessor violate the unity of the Church when he said, “If the entire Universe takes communion with a heretical patriarch, I will not”? Much blood of the martyrs has been shed for unity in the Church, but has there been a single example of the Holy Church requiring, for the sake of unity, that people act against their consciences, to do what they consider is wrong? If a great number of clergy and laity of ROCOR are against union with the MP and if such a “unity” troubles their Orthodox conscience to such an extent that their bishops must use treachery and deceit, then it is direct evidence that such “unity” will not only bring nothing worthwhile, but will sow even greater harm.

There are examples in the history of the Church of unity not based on conscience, such as the Florence and Brest unions, but what are the spiritual fruits of these unions? No, this is not true unity in the Church, if based on hypocrisy and falsehood!
What did ROCOR represent for people all over the world who are true to Orthodoxy, even the sincere and honest souls within the MP? It was a lighthouse amid the turbulent sea of worldwide apostasy, a reliable beacon illuminating the right way to salvation for all Orthodox people. The True Church was easily discovered by a sincere and honest soul: it was enough just to look toward ROCOR. As an evangelic light on the top of a mountain, it stood and shone for all. But that is not all.

In a certain sense, the Church Abroad, as represented by its bishops and clergy and laity who were dedicated to God, was the defender for all those decades. It was a force that held back the insolent and public defaming of the holiness and Truth of Christ by hierarchs of the so-called “official Orthodoxy”. This does not mean, of course, that it was free of betrayals and deviations, but the fact that the true Russian Church existed openly, as the chaste Bride of Christ, forced the apostates to hide their many crimes from the Church faithful, and while taking note of ROCOR, it stopped them from going too far. The fear of “schism” and the departure of true and honorable priests and parishes to the Church Abroad hung over the MP hierarchy all the time like the sword of Damocles.

Now the MP is truly free, because with ROCOR having entered into the structure of the Soviet church while asking forgiveness for “the mistakes it made,” ROCOR has confirmed that all these years it was they that were deluded and in schism, not the MP. The high-ranking members at the top of the MP, as well as its “lower ranking” clergy and faithful, are already saying as much openly and in print. For them, the “Act,” uniting the Church Abroad with the MP, is clearly perceived as an admission by ROCOR of how wrong the path was that they followed for over 80 years. The “New York” bishops have negated all the ideological inheritance passed on by the Fathers of the Church Abroad with one stroke of a pen. After this, where and in whom can an ordinary believer of the MP church find Truth, if even ROCOR has turned its back on this Truth? Now, thousands of poor souls will suffer the lawlessness of their hierarchy and bear it “humbly,” hoping that this is true Orthodoxy and humility. Yet still, this is not all.

While the canonical ROCOR existed, the MP hierarchs understood that they were only an uncanonical, newly-emerged body, which was created in 1943 by order of the atheist, Stalin. Even though they publicly hailed themselves as the “one Russian Church” and ridiculed the Church Abroad as the “karlovtsy schismatics,” still the existence of ROCOR gave them no peace. This lie was eventually understood by many clergy and laypeople in the MP who still had a conscience, though their numbers were dwindling.

With the joining of ROCOR – and let us be clear this is the joining of ROCOR to the MP, and not the other way around – the MP episcopate feels a new-found freedom, since ideologically, and in regards to the canons, there are no obstacles now to their continued existence. This “union” created the impression for thousands and thousands of the faithful that the Soviet church is lawful and canonical, in fact the one Russian Church as represented by the MP. ROCOR has immediately lost not only its moral and spiritual freedom, but its lawful, canonical status as well. It is frightening to consider that with the fall of ROCOR, thousands of Christian souls now accept the uncanonical and sergianist “Patriarchate” for all time as the legitimate and only Russian Orthodox Church which existed for centuries! Who will recognize the True Orthodox Church, which has been slandered and defamed (even by ROCOR-MP now)?

Met. Laurus’ Synod perpetrated yet another betrayal – the betrayal of the Catacomb, True Russian Church in the homeland, with whom ROCOR was united not only ideologically, but in terms of the canons and Eucharistic communion.
The Holy Elder, St. Seraphim of Sarov, the mourner of the Russian land, having divined the great Mystery of the Russian Church of the end times, prophesied: “The Lord has revealed to me, unworthy Seraphim, that terrible misfortunes will befall the Russian land. The Orthodox faith will be trampled underfoot, the bishops of the Church of God and the other clergy will turn away from the purity of Orthodoxy, and for this, the Lord will punish them mightily. I, unworthy Seraphim, entreated the Lord for three days and three nights that it would be better for me to be deprived of the Kingdom of Heaven, whilst they be forgiven. But the Lord answered: ‘I will not forgive them, for they teach using the teachings of this world and revere Me by words, but their hearts are distant from Me.’ ’’. (The Life of Saint Seraphim of Sarov – The Handbook of Clergymen. Moscow: Moscow Patriarchate, vol. 3, 1979, p.p. 601-602).

This prophecy of St. Seraphim, included by the MP in “The Handbook of Clergymen” in 1979, serves as a self-indictment for the unlawful sergianist-ecumenical hierarchy of the “Soviet church.” It is like the menacing writing on the wall of the Babylon palace of King Valtasarus (Dan. Ch. 5), which served as an indictment of the impudent and proud king.
It is painful and frightening that this prophecy of the great Elder applies to the ROCOR bishops from this day forth!
In describing the religious impact of sergianism, Archbishop Vitaly (Maksimenko) wrote, “It is not a personal sin of one or another bishop, but a fundamental sin of the Moscow Patriarchy; approved by them, declared by them, and tied in to their promise to the entire world to raise apostasy to the level of dogma.”

By the ROCOR(L) Synod officially approving the “Act” of canonical and Eucharistic communion with the sergianist patriarchy, their action is no longer only a personal sin of their bishops, but a fundamental sin of the entire ROCOR(L), “approved by them, declared by them, and tied in to their promise to the entire world.” An Orthodox person cannot fail to understand this.
It is not surprising then, that as a result, there are those in ROCOR (L) who are deliberately trying to reduce the importance of the holy battle against union with the un-Orthodox MP; making it simply a matter of establishing “administrative independence,” preserving their clerical office, property, and other various benefits.

Few notice, what a frightening spiritual deceit is occurring. The meaning and purpose of the True Church’s existence is not in church property or “administrative independence.” To reduce the significance of the very being of the Russian Church, its mission in this era of apostasy, to this level is evidence of an incredible, spiritual deterioration. This is an attempt to distract attention away from what is most important. The questions of legal status and especially those of property carry no deciding weight in the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. To repeat what the Abbe of the Church Abroad, Archbishop Averky, said, “In the Church, unity in Truth is paramount, and any deviation from it, is unity in falsehood, and then it is not the Church of Christ.” Such unity can be achieved without obvious forms of administrative-legal union. It is achieved through statements of faith and the unity resulting from prayer and the Eucharist. That is what is most important in the Church.

That is why union with the MP, or any union for that matter, does not require the complete merging into one administrative body. Unity in prayer is enough. Therefore union with the MP already occurred in Moscow on May 15, 2004, during the concelebration of the ROCOR Hierarch Met. Laurus and the Soviet Patriarch-Ecumenist Alexy Riediger. Now, this union has been approved on the council level.

Only a minor detail remains; to begin openly commemorating the Soviet Patriarch in ROCOR parishes. It is but a formality, as this is the public confirmation of an arrangement which has, in practical terms, become the legal norm for some time now, unhindered. It is a pity that faithful opponents of union do not understand this.

Among many well-meaning émigré pastors there rests the conviction that if they will not commemorate the Patriarch-Heretic and only Met. Laurus instead (who has joined with the Patriarch), the apostasy of the Moscow Patriarchy will not affect them and they will remain in ROCOR and not find themselves in the MP. A naive delusion. The most important principle of the Church is “unity at the Chalice.” For the millionth time, that means union in prayer and the Eucharist. This is the most important point! It is on this basis that canonical unity in the Church is established. A well-respected Uniate priest once asked Met. Anthony (Khrapovitsky), “Vladyka, why are we not Orthodox, if we have the same rites and the same dogma as you?” In response, Vladyka asked a question, “Whom do you commemorate in the Divine Liturgy?” “His Eminence, Pope Pius.” “Therefore, you are Catholics.” answered Met. Anthony. That is why it is not important if they commemorate the Soviet Patriarch or not. They will commemorate Met. Laurus and their ruling bishop, who, in turn, having become one with the MP, will commemorate not only the sergianist Patriarch, but will remove a portion from the prosphora during the Proskomedia in his honor as their Primate. That is why they are sergianists.

It was not an accident that the following decision was made at the last meeting of the ROCOR(L) Synod of Bishops: clergy not desiring to commemorate the “Moscow Patriarch” will be allowed to commemorate Met. Laurus and their ruling bishop as before. As the official ROCOR(L) website tries to explain in a grandiloquent manner, “This is consistent with enactment of a transitional phase, where necessary, for parishes of the Russian Church Abroad with special needs as regards liturgical commemoration, for the sake of oikonomia and by approval of the ruling bishop.” Further on, the reason for this duplicity is made clear, “It is our bishops’ wish that such a transitional phase will help everyone to gradually come together into one Russian Orthodox Church.” That is, into the MP.

Such blunders come from not understanding the actual nature of the Church.

The Church is not an administrative institution, not a social organization, or a political party in which numerous different factions can coexist. This is not a club based on common interests, or a “society of adherents of the teachings of Jesus Christ.” It is not even the churches or monasteries. The Church is a living thing combining God and Man, as the Church Fathers liked to say. It is the Mystical Body of Christ in which, through confession of the Truth (Faith) and the Sacraments, the unity of the complete Church is maintained. The tragedy of the situation is that all who remain in ROCOR(L), even well-meaning pastors, are a part, whether consciously or not, of their bishops’ deviation. They do so through the Sacrament, as they commemorate their ruling bishop at the Holy Chalice during the Consecration of the Gifts, or remove the portion of the prosphora during the Proskomedia in his name. Many take this vital matter lightly, considering it to be secondary in importance. No, spiritually, all is one in the Church through the Sacraments.

Through this sacred, mystical element, all the members of the church, from the Patriarch and the bishops to the clergy and laity, are connected, and if the spirit is not True, not Orthodox, then they are all tied to a heretical condition. That is why ROCOR pastors who refuse to commemorate the “Patriarch,” but commemorate Met. Laurus, are abettors, whether they want to be or not, of their bishops’ straying. These bishops have voluntarily accepted union with the heretical Moscow Patriarchy, and through it, with all the ecumenical and modernist churches of the so-called “official orthodoxy” and with Catholics, Protestants, and even pagan non-Christians. We cannot diminish this, as our own personal salvation and that of our flock depends on it. We will have to answer for every soul before the Altar of God. This Truth is inviolable, no matter if somebody likes it or not.

Please excuse me for returning again and again to the detailed explanation of this teaching, which is so important for every Orthodox person, regarding the nature of the Church of Christ.

What can I do, when it is clear that the ROCOR(L) bishops do not intend to return to the right path, and my conscience troubles my heart and does not allow me to sleep? That is why the Church Fathers gave us the Holy Canons. We need only to use them to assess the current situation in our Church, and then, in good conscience, act in accordance with the Church canons. It is not so difficult, as long as one’s conscience is still alive.

Rules No. 45 and No. 46 of the Holy Apostles warn that any bishop, priest or deacon who even only pray with heretics, or who enter into a synagogue or a “heretical” temple for prayer, be defrocked or excommunicated from the Church. Further, and “all those who have dealings with excommunicated people” (meaning joint prayer) should also be excommunicated (Apost. 10. Antiokh. 2. Basil the Great 88).

Laws 6 & 33 of the Council of Laodikeia forbid heretics to be present at divine services in the Church and to even enter into the buildings. There should be no religious contact or “unity” with heretics, though we should remain well-disposed to them in the hope of converting them to Orthodoxy – this is the intent of many canon laws in regard to heresies.

St. Basil the Great said, “If one desires to profess the full Orthodox Faith, but has contact with those who contradict it, and though warned, does not break off relations with them, then that person should not even be considered a brother.”
Similarly, St. Theodore Studit writes, “It is forbidden, during a sacred service, for the Orthodox faithful to commemorate those who pretend to be Orthodox, but who have not broken off relations with heretics and heresy. Only if such people repent of their sin, even at the last hour of their lives, and partake of the Holy Mysteries, then the Orthodox faithful may pray for them. Since if such people embrace heresy, how can one accept them into the Orthodox fold? The Gospel teaches, ‘Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. (1 Corinthians 10: 16,17)’ Therefore, communion of the heretic’s bread and chalice makes the communicant part of a body in contradiction to Orthodoxy and a group of such communicants constitute one body antithetical to Christ.”

Rule No. 15 from both Constantinople Councils states that every Orthodox believer is required to suspend obedience to a bishop or Patriarch, even before a Council has condemned them, in cases where such clergy openly preach heresy “condemned by the Councils and Church Fathers.” Rule No. 3 commands that Church clergy should “by no means be subordinate to bishops who have deviated or are in the process of deviating (note this specific language!) from Orthodoxy.”

Thus the ROCOR (L) hierarchy, having joined the sergianist, ecumenical Patriarchy, has cut itself and its flock off from unity with the Universal Church of Christ, as it is not possible to be one with the Holy Fathers and at the same time willfully disregard the rules and canons established by these Holy Fathers. It is not possible to be one with the Russian New Holy Martyrs and Confessors, and at the same time, disavow oneself from all for which the Saints accepted a martyr’s death. It is not possible to be in the Church Abroad and openly disrespect the heritage and testaments of its Holy Fathers. On top of all of that, having joined “official orthodoxy,” the ROCOR (L) bishops now fall under the anathema of the Church Abroad, applied to the heresy of ecumenism and ecumenists by the ROCOR Council in 1983.

Consequently, the ones leaving the Church Abroad and entering into schism are not those who sever ecclesiastical relations with the ROCOR (L) hierarchy, which has fallen into apostasy. On the contrary, the clergy and laity who preserve the ideals of the Church Abroad, remain in the Church Abroad. It is Met. Laurus and his Synod, and all the clergy and laity who “submissively” follow them, that have entered into schism.

It may not be too late to bring the words of Holy Martyr Damaskin to the attention of some of them: “Alas, if you insist on the path you have chosen and openly ignore the voices of the Church, then the Church, as it continues its way of the Cross, will reject you, as accomplices of those who choose to crucify the Church.

You have gone far beyond the boundary, which you yourselves set, and your path ahead will lead precipitously outside of the dominion of the Church. This Truth will be revealed eventually to all. We stopped and did not go further with you and continue to plead, to ask you to return and join with us again. But life goes on and we need to proceed along our path. We entreat you and call to you. We remain near you and are prepared to reach out to you. If, nevertheless, you do not heed our call, do not turn back, and continue down your path, you can go, BUT WITHOUT US.”

We entreat you, dear brothers: stop, listen to the voices of your consciences before it is too late, while you have only one foot outside the dominion of the Church. You still have the power to return, you have not left ROCOR completely. We are still near you and offer our hand.

And so? Has the Church Abroad fallen just because the ROCOR (L) bishops have?

No. Just as it did not in the 16th century, after the true Orthodox Church in southern Russia entered into union with Rome, and just as the Russian Church did not perish after Met. Sergius and his bishops entered into union with communist Moscow, the Russian Church Abroad does not have to perish after the ROCOR (L) bishops enter into union with the “church of the duplicitous ones.” That is because its living Body still exists in the tried and true clergy and laity that remain loyal to God, no matter how few of them there still are compared to the large number of apostates.

By God’s mercy, by the unspoken Providence of the Lord for Russia and the Russian Orthodox people, the catacomb, Russian True Orthodox Church has been preserved in the homeland and its bishops have carried on the apostolic succession bequeathed unto them by ROCOR. Through our joint efforts, with God’s help, we will preserve the loyal part of the Russian Church Abroad. You are not alone!

Together, we are but a few, but the Truth of Christ was rarely preserved by a large number of people.

Even now, those who support union with the MP rebuke us that there not many of us, while they are made up of millions. How will we answer them? The fateful decisions of God are inscrutable and we are not aware of all of His ways, but the Word of God speaks clearly of His Church as a Church denigrated on earth, just as Its Divine Founder was disparaged.

All the signs show we are living in the end times. Nowhere in the Word of God is the church of this period depicted as a church of millions. Just the opposite, the Word of God forewarns - will the Savior, at His second coming, even find religious belief on Earth? That is how few of the faithful will remain.

The Holy Church will not be made up of millions, as it goes off to the desert in the end times. It will not be millions that will be trampled upon, into the dust. It will not be millions, but a small number of faithful that will be persecuted, as foretold by the Word of God.

Many were discouraged that the Lord, Jesus Christ, did not appear all–powerful and exalted outwardly. Similarly, many will be disheartened by the poor condition of the Church in the end times. The faith of many people will be weakened when the true Church will not include a multitude of people, will not be all-mighty, and will not seem grandiose. This is how the Israelites succumbed to temptation and their faith was shaken, when the Savior did not appear as a powerful king over millions.

True believers know this and never forget it. They devote the core of their being instead to the Holy Church. They believe not because millions believe, not because the Church is exalted here on earth, not because it appears mighty and all-powerful. They hold to the joyous belief that the power of the Church is in our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ, that it is in the Truth, that it cannot be conquered by earthly, external forces that are temporal, of this world, and instead, is mighty in of itself, containing all that is sacred and eternal.

Let this devotion in our hearts strengthen us on this difficult path, when Truth commands us not to go the way of the majority, but the way pointed to by Christ.

And what does this “majority” mean? There are far fewer Orthodox believers on the earth than Catholics and Protestants, and there are less Christians than Muslims. If we consider Asia and China, we can see there are more non-Christians, who do not know Christ and openly worship dragons, than all the Christians and Muslims put together. Is it worth setting one’s hopes on this questionable “majority” then?

Our Fathers preferred unity with the Truth, with Christ, with the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, with the persecuted and slandered Catacomb Church of the homeland, rather than unity with the world with all its faithlessness, its millions and its majorities.

And now the Lord offers us the same choice He gave our Fathers fifty years ago. It is up to us if we remain as one with them or if we will join those with whom our Fathers refused to have anything to do with. This choice informs our hearts, our thoughts, our decisions, and our actions. This is a choice between loyalty or betrayal; between choosing Truth or falsehood; between choosing Christ or the Antichrist; and ultimately, choosing eternal Life or not. This is no time for duplicity, casuistry and demagoguery, or behind-the-scenes “diplomacy” and negotiations; those are all non-Orthodox methods which the ROCOR (L) bishops have adopted, having joined with the religio-bureaucratic apparatus of the Soviet Patriarchy.

The Orthodox way is the way of the truthful, honest, open and uncompromising Confession of Truth, even to the grave. This is the way of Confession. This is the way of Orthodox believers in the end times. One of the courageous and resolute First Hierarchs of ROCOR, Met. Philaret (Voznesensky), wrote shortly before his death, “Hold on to what you have inherited.” The Lord now calls on all the faithful of the true Russian Church, whether in Russia or Abroad, to follow this path. Only this path can vouchsafe us unity with the Lord and the promise of salvation of our souls.

It is certainly not easy to recognize the Truth by outward appearances! On the other hand, should we become disheartened by the prophecies contained in the Word of God and by the Holy Fathers?

Let us console ourselves with the words of the Lord, that He will grant wisdom to the confessors. If our hope for salvation and our devotion to the Church come from a pure heart and not based on pride; if our devotion does not seek material benefit and is characterized by a sincere, sacrificial love to the Church; if it contains no personal, egoistical, material demands, which typify our aspirations for earthly prosperity; then we will not fear the end times, for at that time, the Lord will be near us and inform and teach every pious soul of His grace.

+++

The voices of the bishops of the Church Abroad have been stilled. Who will raise their voice in defense of the publicly scorned Bride of Christ? Where are the defenders of the Spirit of the Church Abroad? Has the voice of Christian conscience and loyalty been silenced in your hearts for all time by the trappings of comfort and false freedom? Awake and arise, brothers! The Holy
New Martyrs themselves call to you!

Above all, remember, you are not alone. We understand our task is not the opening of RTOC parishes outside of Russia, but it is to provide brotherly assistance to the revival of the Church Abroad; just as the Church Abroad helped to increase the ranks of bishops and revive the long-suffering Catacomb Church in Russia during the Soviet era.

Take strength and do not become discouraged! Hold on firmly to what you have inherited! “Woe unto us if the words of the Lord to the Angel of the Church of Laodikeia apply to us, ‘I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth’ (Rev. 3:15,16. KJV).

We send out a warning to our laity and appeal to our brethren, to their faith in the Church, to their understanding of our common responsibility for our laity before the Heavenly Pastor. We ask that they do not dismiss our appeal, that the obvious distortion of Orthodox teaching does not spread without notice or censure. Its wide dissemination has compelled us to witness our sorrow to the entire Church.

We would like to believe, that our cry will be heard» (from the Sorrowful Epistle of Metropolitan Philaret, the third First-Hierarch of ROCOR).
Amen.

+TIKHON,
By Mercy of God Archbishop of Omsk and all Siberia,
The Chairman of the Synod of Bishops
of the Russian True Orthodox Church

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

ROCOR-MP Seeks To Usurp Astoria

From: Novoe Russkoe Slovo Daily Russian American Newspaper on the web
V. Yarmolinets reports on Astoria
A battle for souls or for property?
January 23, 2008 – Vadim Yarmolinets

A letter from Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan to Fr. Vsevolod Dutikow, the pastor of the Holy Trinity parish in Astoria, Queens, NY, appeared on the ROCOR(MP) official website on January 16, 2008, in which he asked him to return under the omofor of Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Laurus. If he did not, the Synod of Bishops threatened to confiscate the parish property through legal means. You will remember that last year on May 17, the ROCOR(MP) hierarch Metropolitan Laurus signed an act of union with the Moscow Patriarchate (MP), which in effect placed him under their command. A number of parishes refused to follow after Laurus, remaining under the omofor of ROCA Bishop Agafangel of Odessa.

Though the division among the parishes in the diaspora was based on religious grounds (Moscow refused to honor the ROCOR request for the MP to resign from the World Council of Churches, and to condemn the Declaration of the Stalin-created Metropolitan Sergey Stragorodskiy, which called for loyalty to the atheist regime), the split did not end with each church just going on its own, freely chosen way. The question arose of how to divide the property. The opposition parishes in the USA are not many, and presumably, those staying with Laurus are fully capable of supporting Synod with the traditional ten percent. One can also assume that Synod is not just interested in holding on to sources of income, but believes that without a roof over their heads (that is without their churches) the opposition will fall apart.

(Bp.) Gabriel’s letter was sent to Astoria at the end of November of last year. After NRS reported on the letter, and it was commented on in the Internet, Gabriel decided to publish his appeal, denying critics the opportunity to interpret it their own way. Which is a good thing, openness will not hinder a good deed. “His Eminence, Metropolitan Laurus and I are very concerned and saddened by the events occurring at the Holy Trinity parish, where a group of people, who enjoy total control, are trying to tear the parish away from the bosom of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia by their actions,” is how the Bishop of Manhattan begins his letter.

Before we look at the section of the letter in which the pastor is admonished that disobedience will result in retaliatory measures, allow me to comment on the excerpt cited above. The division which Gabriel presumes to want to avoid, has already occurred. In the year since the document acknowledging union was signed, “a group of people,” that is, the opposition, has established its Provisional Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority, ordained two bishops, and is now busy restoring a normal life in the church among those parishes which refused to follow Laurus. If one believes Gabriel, this so-called “group of people” fooled the naïve parishioners. That is not so. The priests and their parishioners made their decision completely consciously and freely.

“I have been and still am against union!” states Aleksandr Borisovich Okhotnikoff, who is 77 years old and was born in France to a White Army officer. He has been attending the Astoria church for 50 years already and has full right to call it his spiritual home. Another parishioner, Larisa Dekermendzhi, who arrived in the USA from Kiev in 1991, agrees with the opinion of the elderly immigrant, “No one forced anyone. Who wanted to follow Synod, did so a long time ago. Who did not want to, stayed. This church is our home, Fr. Vsevolod is our priest, and we do not need any other.” The free movement of parishioners from the churches of the opposition to Synod and vice versa has surprisingly resulted in an increase in the number of parishioners at Holy Trinity Church. In the words of a member of the parish council, Artur Suvalov, the surge of new parishioners began soon after May 17th and the total number of parishioners increased by 20%.

Let us now consider the threats made in the letter from Gabriel: “You, dear father, and your followers should not console yourselves with illusions that we will somehow give in to your attempts to tear the Holy Trinity parish in Astoria away from our church. If you continue to persist, then understand that legal precedents in adjudicating such matters in the state of New York favor our hierarchical church.” To underscore the seriousness of its intent, Synod declared in its 2008 directory that the position of pastor at the Holy Trinity parish was available. In other words, according to the directory, Fr. Vsevolod has already ceased to exist as far as Synod is concerned.

I contacted the Synod press secretary, Nicholas Okhotin, and asked him to explain what legal rights Gabriel was talking about. He answered, “The pastor of a parish is assigned by the ruling bishop. With this assignment, he has the right to live in the rectory attached to the church and serve in the church. The members of the parish council are approved by the ruling bishop. The ruling bishop has the right to relieve them of their duties for disobedience. He has the right to relieve the pastor of the parish of his duties, as he is the chairman of the parish council.” “You explained the relationship between a ruling bishop, the pastor, and the parish council, but you did not explain who has rights over the property. Did Synod purchase this property?” I asked. “I don’t know the details,” answered Okhotin.

To find out the details, it is enough to glance at the parish website at www.holytrinityastoria.com. The history of the parish is provided in exact detail. The parish, first named in honor of the Elevation of the Cross, appeared in Astoria in 1915. It moved several times, but always stayed within Astoria, which had a large Orthodox community. The name was changed to Holy Trinity in 1935, and in 1964, it purchased the property (a church with a rectory attached), where it has remained to this day. The purchase of the property was accomplished through the hard work of the parishioners and Synod did not contribute a single rusty penny. On the contrary, the Synod received its ten percent from the Astoria parish for years. At the time of the purchase, a non-commercial corporation was created, whose board of directors has the right to hire a priest, pay him a salary, and provide housing.

Knowing this, I asked Mr. Okhotin, “That which we call a parish in church terms, is called an independent corporation in legal terms.” “No, it is not independent,” he retorted, “It falls under the terms and conditions of the Church Abroad.” “But I though that it falls under the laws of New York State first,” I added. Our conversation soon ended, with Mr. Okhotin explaining that he was busy. On my request to speak with the Synod’s lawyer, he answered that he would get the approval and blessing of his superiors and call me back. He also wrote down my phone number.

A month went by. Okhotin did not call me back. It would seem his superiors did not give their blessing for open dialogue with the newspaper, nor contact with its lawyer. The former can be explained by the nature of a church administration. It is not a democratic institution, with its attendant freedom of speech and thought. In such a case, Okhotin’s duty is not to allow a two-way dialogue with the press, but only to pass along the opinion of his superiors. This is the church way and also the Soviet way, where freedom of conscience is only enjoyed by the superiors based on their concepts of conscience and freedom. I can only explain their refusal to connect me with their lawyer, by the fact that Synod knows fully well the opinion of the lawyer may differ greatly from the words of Bishop Gabriel that, “the legal precedents in resolving such issues in the state of New York are completely on our side.” One gets the feeling that Bishop Gabriel is simply bluffing, in an attempt to frighten the insubordinate priest. The lawyers with whom I discussed this matter, said the result of such a lawsuit, if Synod were to start one, is totally unpredictable.

The Holy Trinity parish came into being long before the arrival of the ROCOR Synod in the USA from Western Europe. The church and the attached rectory were purchased by the funds of its parishioners in 1963. Synod had no connection to this purchase. The parish was established as a non-commercial corporation, and no representatives of Synod were among its founders. Synod has no legal grounds to state categorically that the parish property belongs to it.

The courts may interpret the matter of hierarchical authority differently. My consultant, who has been involved in at least one court battle with Synod, pointed out that every state has a different opinion on hierarchical authority. The court case last year involving Synod and the Protection of the Mother of God parish in the New Jersey town of Buena can be used as an example. In September of last year, Judge William Todd made a ruling, which Synod interpreted as a victory for itself. In reality, the judge only forbid the corporation that administers the parish property from selling the property. And that is all! Therefore, the corporation could continue to decide all aspects of the parish’s affairs. Sadly, part of the parish has died off, while another part has moved away. The whole corporation consists of – the widow and daughter of the deceased priest. The key element in the New Jersey court case involving Synod, was that a representative of Synod was installed in the corporation’s board of directors when the Protection of the Mother of God parish was started. It was an honorary position, but it led to the parish being connected to Synod legally. Such a connection between Synod and the Holy Trinity parish in Queens does not exist.

Another example is the court case involving Synod and the Holy Ascension parish in Wooster, Massachusetts, in the early 90’s. The case was a stunning defeat for Synod at all three legal levels – from the local court to the state supreme court. Fr. Spyridon from Massachusetts explained that Synod laid claim on the parish when it decided to join a jurisdiction of the Greek church. Each court ruled that Synod has authority in all matters spiritual and in the observance of the church canons, but that the property belonged to the parish which maintained it. Just as Synod lost in Massachusetts, it can lose in New York. This will not be the first time it lost in New York. In the 40’s, Synod lost the case to take over the St. Nicholas (MP) church in Manhattan. In the 70’s, it lost the case in Sea Cliff on Long Island, when the local parish decided to join the Orthodox Church of America. More importantly, will this list of defeats stop Synod, which according to many, is being financed by Moscow?

An interesting point was made on the Internet “Live Journal” site of Yevgeniy Lvovich Magerovskiy, in which he posts commentary on church events in the USA: Synod may hesitate due to the cooling of relations between Russia and the West. The demands of the Synod may appear in America as an expansion ofPutin’s government, which is gradually beginning to look more and more like a totalitarian, neo-Soviet regime. Synod may decide not to pursue the matter given the current political climate, as it will certainly attract attention from the American press and politicians. Presumably, Americans will not sympathize withMoscow, which will be making claims on American property through its new emissaries.

There is another point that the Synod of Metropolitan Laurus may want to consider. Since May 17, 2007, it no longer reflects the opinion of the entire Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The Orthodox, Russian-speaking diaspora made a free and conscious choice. In the fight against this expressed free will, Synod has thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars out the window, and is ready to spend more hundreds of thousands, which could be put to good use in the construction of new churches, fixing those which remained with them, and improving the material well-being of its poor priests and not its lawyers.

2007 December: Crisis in Haiti

2007, December: Crisis in Haiti
20 Nov/ 3 Dec 2007
Eve of the Feast of the Entry 2007

To: Haiti Yahoo Group
From Fr. Gregory Williams

Almost everyone who will see this document is already aware that, when most of the bishops of ROCOR submitted to the Moscow Patriarchate on Ascension 2007, His Grace Bishop Agafangel of Odessa did not, nor did I or the community at the Church of the Annunciation in Liberty, nor did a large part of the Haitian Orthodox Mission (the priests Jean-Chénier Dumais and Grégoire Legouté did; Fr. Dcn. Amboise Noël did not; in an open parish meeting the faithful of St. Augustine’s at Cyvadier, Jacmel, likewise unanimously declined to do so.)

Several weeks ago I was informed of an impending visit to Haiti by Bishop Michael of Geneva (ROCOR/MP), to be accompanied by my son Fr. Dcn. Matthew Williams, planned for the latter part of December (after my return from the now-impending visit). No further information reached me.


Last Wednesday evening (15/28 November), the first of the following documents arrived by e-mail, translated from the French (and with some minor editorial omissions of matters not directly relevant).

Good evening, Father! This morning, Augustin came to see me at the school office [reader Nicolas is director of St. Augustine’s School at Cyvadier] to invite me to a meeting which was to take place at 10:00am this same day with the bishop [Michael] at the church. He came as having been delegated to pass the message, having been at Port-au-Prince; he had come to assemble the people. I clearly responded to him that I would not participate in such a meeting, and that I would not let Bishop Michael enter the property of the church, and that there had been no planning for such an encounter. He responded to the contrary; and I, I had made my formal decision.

Just this morning, he had visited all the faithful so as to convey the message. Effectively, he was able to mobilize many of the faithful for this meeting.

At ten o’clock, I heard a vehicle horn outside the barrier of the school [and church]. I went out and saw Bishop Michael, Deacon Matthew, Fr. Jean and Fr. Grégoire in the car. They greeted me and asked me to open the barrier so they could enter the temple grounds. I replied that it was forbidden [for them] to enter the property [formal letters of exclusion have long since been sent to Fr. Jean and Fr. Grégoire; copies are in the Church archives in Odessa] as I had no word from Fr. Gregory advising me of such a visit. At that moment, I saw a number of faithful coming to participate in the meeting with Augustin at the head of the group. They wanted me to let the group from Port-au-Prince enter the premises. I was alone to refuse this penetration. The bishop called out to tell me, Good Nicolas, you have sinned in that you don’t want to allow me to enter the church. I have the right to come here at any time, because I am your bishop. I replied that he was before, but that now by bishop is Bishop Agafangel. He told me he is a false bishop, and he had made a decision to sanction me because I refused to let him enter the property of the church for a visit. I replied to him that I had no problem with that; only that I was trying to defend the true Faith. He said, you must remember that it was I who ordained you, and I replied that I remember. I spoke at some length with the bishop while he was seated in the car, to try to explain to him that here, we belong to the historic Church. Fr. Jean soon said that he was going to take over this church as well as that at La Plaine. I told Bishop Michael that we recognized only one pastor, Fr. Gregory Williams, in communion with Bishop Agafangel.

Finally, he decided to leave the barrier, to go to the [nearby] hotel [Cyvadier] with the group, and he invited me as well. I replied to them that it wasn’t worth the trouble; I was occupied with the affairs of the school.

There were several who participated in the meeting at the hotel, both men and women [names omitted] — about 20 in all.

According to rumor, they plan to rent a temporary location for services (probably the old chapel), buy a piece of ground, give out aid to the faithful, etc.

Thus, we are truly crowned by spies in the heart of our community; now today, they declare themselves clearly and I, my life is truly threatened. I beg you to pray to be able to continue to struggle against these enemies and to defend our community. I’m truly afraid because of these faithful who decide to collaborate with this group….

After the declaration of Fr. Grégoire and Fr. Jean outside the barrier, he [Augustin] characterized me as the biggest obstacle to the advancement of the church, as I had decided to remain with you. Now, we must take measures and precautions to avoid the invasion of this group. I’m ready to struggle and take all possible steps to stop these people. I’m in place, I know the people, I see their mentality — but you, you have put too much confidence in them, and didn’t want to listen to me, Father. Now we are truly taken in a trap, for many of the faithful have betrayed us. (…)


Thursday 16/29 November

Good evening, Father! I greet you in the name of the Lord Who knows the true friends and the false friends.

I spoke with Fr. Amboise yesterday. He called me because they had demanded a meeting with him also. He responded as I did, and no one went to La Plaine. (…)

I have received word that Fr. Grégoire will be at Jacmel this weekend to celebrate the liturgy in a provisional location [apparently this did not happen, as no further word of it has reached me]. There a number of the faithful who want to join with him because he offers them advantages. (…) Now, I’m in the process of consulting with an attorney to examine the means for preventing them from harming us. If they want to snatch this property, as they claim, it will be a long procedure. I am certain the procedure will end in our favor, because we are on solid legal ground.


Sunday 19 Nov/ 2 December

The parish council of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia [at St. Augustine’s] greets you and reaffirms the confidence of all the members [elected at a parish meeting earlier this year] as well as the faithful place in you and in our Bishop Agafangel of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

An untoward incident occurred Wednesday 28 November: At 10am a vehicle drew up at the entry gate of the property, in which had come: Bishop Michael, Fr. Jean, Fr. Grégoire, and Deacon Matthew Williams, this latter the son of Archpriest Gregory Williams. The council had already received a formal directive from our administrator forbidding any impromptu visits or other actions by clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate. One of the members of the council was on the premises at the moment of this visit, and he forbad the four clergymen to enter into the heart of the property.

This Sunday [today], after the liturgical services, a general meeting was held with all the faithful present, some 60 persons, who reaffirmed their confidence in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia as well as its directors. This meeting was presided over by Lucien.

Rest assured that we guard our fidelity and firm commitment for a [true] Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in Haiti in perpetuity.

Please accept our respectful homage and count upon our collaboration, anticipating already the feast of the Nativity in Haiti. Christ is born! Glorify Him!


For the Parish Council,
Lucien, secretary

Monday 20 Nov/ 3 Dec [from Nicolas]

Yesterday, we gathered after the services to discuss this deeply troubling situation. All the faithful were gathered together; Augustin was there, as well as Cyril and many others. I intervened in this meeting as being most aware of the matters, and later I tried to unravel some confusion arising from what the bishop [Michael] had said concerning our community, and to remind them to keep their word as they had spoken at the time of our general meeting, in which they had declared that we wanted to remain faithful with Fr. Gregory, in communion with Bishop Agafangel. (…)

[Augustin spoke out to say that you [Fr. Gregory] were illegal, as there had been no paper signed for the division of the goods of the Mission. He believed the words of the bishop, for whom he is working.

Other information: The bishop plans to send three letters to Augustin — one for the Notary M. Hoche, one addressed to the hotel to the end that you be forbidden to come to the hotel as a priest of the Orthodox Church, and a third, I believe, for the Ministry of Religions. — omitted from generally distributed text]


End of translated documents. They, and the events they relate, speak for themselves.

I leave tomorrow after liturgy for Haiti, and I beg your prayers both for myself and for “least of these little ones” there, who are the most likely to suffer grave spiritual injury in this situation.

Interview With Met. Kyrill

SPIEGEL ONLINE - January 10, 2008, 10:42 AM
URL:http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,527618,00.html
INTERVIEW WITH RUSSIAN ORTHODOX METROPOLITAN KYRILL
'The Bible Calls it a Sin'

Metropolitan Kyrill, foreign minister of the Russian Orthodox Church, discusses Christian values in the post-communist era, his relationship with the pope in Rome, Vladimir Putin the churchgoer -- and wrangles with SPIEGEL about homosexuality.
--Yuri Feklistov


Metropolitan Kyrill, possible successor to Patriarch Alexy II, says Russia suffers from "postmodern ideas."

SPIEGEL: Your Eminence, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church seemed to have prevailed over the godless communists. But has it been able to fill the spiritual vacuum that followed?

KYRILL: I wouldn't call it a vacuum. In communism, the church had no direct way of influencing society, but it did influence Russian culture and people's awareness. I remember a tour guide in a monastery in Vologda in the early 1970s. She talked about architecture and painting as if she were giving a sermon. There was no talk of Christianity, but her speech depended on a Christian system of values. This woman was not alone. Writers and artists spoke the same way. Or, someone would see a destroyed church and discover another world beyond the gloomy prefabricated high-rises where people lived. Christian values were always kept alive among the people. They ultimately brought about the fall of communism.

SPIEGEL: Crime and corruption were rampant after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Murder, robbery and fraud became mass phenomena. Wasn't this a defeat for the church?

KYRILL: Reviving morality is a long process. We also see high crime rates in other countries. Besides, Russia faced massive social changes. Our economy was in ruins, foreign influence was growing and so was the consumption mentality, the focus on performance, all of these postmodern ideas which treat everything as relative and no longer require us to distinguish between truth and lies.

SPIEGEL: It sounds as if the present is no better than the past, in your opinion.

Kyrill: The church should have taken time to regenerate. We were weakened by atheism, and then we were faced with a double burden. We were like a boxer who walks around for months with his arm in a cast and is then abruptly shoved into the ring, accompanied by shouts of encouragement. But there we encountered a well-trained opponent, in the form of a wide variety of missionaries from America and South Korea who tried to convert the Russian people to other faiths. Religion was also marginalized by a secular way of thinking.

SPIEGEL: Is capitalism ultimately worse than communism?

KYRILL: The free market economy has certainly proved to be more effective than the planned economy. Unlike corporate executives, however, the church also believes in justice. As far as that's concerned, we have no fewer problems today, perhaps even more, than in the Soviet era. The gap between rich and poor in Russia is scandalous. That's an issue we are addressing.

SPIEGEL: You must find it obscene, the way the Russian oligarchs, with their palaces and yachts, show off their wealth.
Kyrill: It isn't the church's place to point to someone and say: He owns yachts and airplanes, so let's take away his riches and redistribute them. That happened in the 1917 revolution. At the time, they were saying that paradise was the next step after expropriation. But what we got instead was hell. May God protect Russia from repeating the same mistake. However, the government must ensure that the gap doesn't become too wide. Russia's future depends on it.

SPIEGEL: What should it do?

KYRILL: Our church called for a progressive income tax even before the political parties did. And we want to see a tax imposed on luxury goods. But this tax cannot be used to clip the wings of the newly created middle class. Our country needs an environment that encourages the rich to live simple lives. Many of them are already doing good things today. Wealthy private citizens already pay for almost all of the church's social programs. It would be wrong to claim that all wealthy people are bad and all poor people are good.

SPIEGEL: It's clear to see that many Russians have adopted a liberal Western lifestyle. Sex before marriage is normal for many people, and only a small minority attends church services regularly. How firmly established are Christian values in Russia?

KYRILL: Spirituality can't be measured with statistics. Nevertheless, we aren't afraid of comparisons. Less than 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the number of churches has quadrupled, we now have twice as many dioceses, and the number of monasteries has grown by a factor of 32 -- to 700 -- today. Fifteen thousand young people are studying theology. On the other hand, even though 80 percent of newborns are baptized in Russia, only 60 percent of Russians call themselves Orthodox Christians, and less than 10 percent attend church regularly -- even fewer in some provinces. In other words, we don't have to build any new churches, but what we must do is help our people understand how important it is to adhere to Christian values. Whether we succeed also depends on whether we can rid ourselves of outside influences.

SPIEGEL: You are referring to the liberal West. What troubles you, for example, about homosexuals marching through the streets of Moscow in a parade, just as they do in Berlin or Amsterdam?

KYRILL: It distorts the boundary between good and evil, between sin and sanctity. Even adultery is apparently no longer considered a sin, despite the fact that every adulterer senses that he has done something wrong. But human beings have a conscience. That's something even the Marxists were unable to eliminate. They had an explanation for everything, a self-contained philosophy in which being determined consciousness -- just as your philosophers in Germany say, the conscience is the result of cultural development. But whether you are in Papua New Guinea, Munich or Novosibirsk in Siberia, the principles are the same everywhere: Thou shall not steal, though shall not kill...

SPIEGEL: ... but not everyone says: Thou shall not be homosexual. Why should people have to conceal their homosexuality?

KYRILL: The Bible calls it a sin. But we do not condemn these people. The church is opposed to these people being persecuted or offended. But why should sin be propagated? The homosexual parade is a blatant display of sodomy. In that case, we might as well promote other sins, as has long been the case on television. This degenerates public morality. It is the church's job to call a sin a sin. Otherwise it no longer serves a purpose. Unfortunately, the tendency in today's world is to champion the freedom of choice, while freedom from evil is virtually forgotten.

SPIEGEL: It's human for a person to be homosexual. How can something that is human be a sin?

KYRILL: And what, in your opinion, is adultery -- something good or something bad?

SPIEGEL: This decision lies within the conscience of every individual.

KYRILL: We aren't talking about just any decision. We are talking about morals. They want us to believe that morality is relative. But that's completely untrue. The communists said that good is what is good for the working class. That was relative morality -- and 60 million people were exterminated. Hitler claimed that what is good is what is good for greater Germany. That too cost millions of lives. Morality is either absolute or it doesn't exist at all. If you can justify homosexuality, why not pedophilia?

SPIEGEL: But that's an enormous difference! Sexuality relates to adults who can decide for themselves. Pedophilia involves children being abused and has nothing to do with human freedom.

KYRILL: In a few years, they'll tell you that 12-year-old girls used to be children, but that they are now much further developed. Twenty years ago, no one would have dreamed that Germany would pass a law one day that recognizes homosexual marriages. But now that too has been accepted. We are talking about preserving the principle. There is something we call a general moral nature.

SPIEGEL: And it depends on time and region. There are ethnic groups that allow polygamy, for instance.

KYRILL: Dostoyevsky wrote that God and the devil are fighting for control in the heart of man. Nowadays many pursue the logic that everything they want ought to be good and justified. We are too quick to treat emotions that ultimately harm us as natural needs. When moral foundations are shaken, we unleash our instincts. But released instincts belong in the animal world. What I am saying is something that the liberal SPIEGEL will never print: You undoubtedly think that this Metropolitan Kyrill is out of his mind and that what he is saying is complete nonsense.

SPIEGEL: We like to argue. But you can't possibly characterize homosexuality as an animal instinct?

KYRILL: Instinct is not a term with negative connotations. Take hunger, thirst, the sex drive, for example. If God had not given us these instincts, man would not exist. The difference between men and animals is that men can control their drives.

SPIEGEL: Most Russian politicians apparently share your views on homosexuality. Which form of government does the Orthodox Church consider appropriate in Russia? Some of your officials are attracted to czardom, that is, a monarchy.

KYRILL: Supporting one form of government over another is not our main concern. Saving the soul is fundamentally possible in any form of government. Various peoples and religions have coexisted peacefully in Russia for hundreds of years. We can only have a future as a unified nation if we resist regionalism and separatism. Russia is unimaginable without Orthodoxy.

SPIEGEL: Vladimir Putin says that he often reads the Bible on the presidential plane during long trips. He and his ministers and his officials like to be seen attending church services, despite the fact that many of them were staunch supporters of atheism during the Soviet era. Does this make you happy or angry?

KYRILL: Most of the believers we encounter in church today were atheists yesterday. If an engineer can undergo this transformation, why shouldn't it work for a politician? Unfortunately, they rarely attend church. I would like to see the president and the ministers go to church every Sunday and not just one or two times a year.

SPIEGEL: Conversely, it is our impression that the Orthodox Church is quite well-disposed toward President Putin -- and that it hopes to enlist his help in solving some of its problems.

KYRILL: I understand the gist of your question quite clearly, but we have forbidden our priests from joining political parties. Some ran for parliament in the 1990s. This cannot be. The church is there for everyone. When our parliament came under attack in 1993 and we faced the threat of civil war, this monastery where we are sitting today was the only place where the opposing sides could meet. It was because everyone understood that the church supports neither the one side nor the other. In a multiparty state, it cannot have any political adversaries or allies. No one should be able to stand in front of a church and say: I refuse to go inside, because that's where my political opponents feel at home. And politicians, for their part, cannot enlist the church in a trite attempt to gain popularity.

SPIEGEL: But your church has just clearly taken sides. It effusively welcomed Putin's Byzantine decision to name Dmitry Medvedev as his successor. And it also called upon Putin to continue as prime minister.

KYRILL: We didn't react positively because Vladimir Putin supports him, but because Medvedev is an experienced politician. And the idea of Putin becoming the head of the government does not contradict our constitution. Putin heads the party that captured 64 percent of votes in the Duma election -- it has the moral right to put forward the head of the government.

SPIEGEL: That's certainly true, but you have nevertheless chosen a side. May we remind you of Metropolitan Sergey, who decided to support the Bolsheviks 10 years after they came into power? Back then your church chose to cooperate with the communist leadership -- including the KGB -- even though it was severely oppressed. Its actions haven't been forgotten to this day.

KYRILL: After the Bolshevik Revolution, when a persecution of the church that was unparalleled in Russian history began, some members of the clergy believed it was necessary to choose the path of compromise with powers that were hostile to the church. They did this simply to preserve the possibility of holding services and preaching to the people without having to hide. Others rejected this approach, and their so-called catacomb church was almost completely destroyed. We do not have the right to condemn either group. All of them experienced brutal repression.

SPIEGEL: Meanwhile, the church's influence is so strong again that Russian Nobel prize winners recently wrote a letter to President Putin warning against the growing clericalization of society.

KYRILL: These gentlemen want to see a return to the Soviet Union. Did they raise their voices to protect the church back then? No. It didn't bother them that many churches were destroyed. Besides, the rumors of a fusion of church and state in Russia are heavily exaggerated, to put it mildly. I would like to see us come as far as Germany in this respect. To this day, we have no ministers in the army or in hospitals.

SPIEGEL: But you have no qualms about blessing all kinds of weapons: tanks, ships and guns.

KYRILL: Priests do that when they are asked.

SPIEGEL: Many Russians are upset about the fact that you recently tried to introduce your religion as a mandatory subject in schools.

KYRILL: We want to teach the fundamental aspects of the culture of traditional religions, and we now propose that students be given the choice of choosing Orthodox, Islamic, Jewish or Buddhist religion as a subject in school. It will begin in 2009 as a subject called "Spiritual-Moral Culture." A subject will also have to be offered for children from non-religious families; it could be called "Secular Ethics." Germany is a role model for us in this respect.

SPIEGEL: How do you feel about Orthodox priests who want to remove Darwin's theory of evolution from the curriculum, because it contradicts the story of creation in the Bible?

KYRILL: The study of the physical world should not be the subject of religion, and for this reason the church should not misappropriate any scientific theories. The Catholic Church made this mistake when it preached geocentrism. When scientists later discovered that it was not the earth but the sun that was at the center of our system, they were considered heretics. Copernicus was also a priest, and the Catholic Church of the day also saw itself as a community of science. The Orthodox Church never did this.

SPIEGEL: How would you approach Darwin's theories if you were a teacher?

KYRILL: I would say that the theory has many adherents, but also a few unanswered questions. For instance, no one has provided precise proof of the transition from one species to another. It would be wrong to treat Darwin's theory as the only correct one. It is the leading theory today, but it could be replaced by another theory tomorrow. There was also a time when Marxism considered itself the only correct and scientifically justified theory...

SPIEGEL: But you cannot equate these two theories. Besides, Darwin's theory is now largely undisputed.

KYRILL: For the sake of objectivity, allow me to add that Darwin was a devout man...

SPIEGEL: The fact of the matter is that Darwin, as a scientist, questioned his faith.

KYRILL: Under no circumstances should Darwin's theory be misused to fight religion. On the other hand, the Bible is not a textbook on cosmology.

SPIEGEL: But apparently it is a manual for how to proceed in foreign policy. In an essay, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has invoked the New Testament to criticize a unipolar world dominated by the United States.

KYRILL: Christ's commandment from the Gospel of St. Luke -- "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" -- also applies in international relations. Arrogance is as dangerous in politics as it is in interpersonal relations. We, as the Orthodox Church, are opposed to all attempts to establish a unipolar world. It would constitute the introduction of a forced entity that would level the differences among religions, cultures and civilizations.

SPIEGEL: Could you envision a reunification of the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church, which have now been separated for close to 1,000 years?

KYRILL: The division is a consequence of human sin. In this respect it resembles a divorce. The Christian West and the Christian East parted ways because they believed that they didn't need each other anymore. Reunification can only be achieved through spiritual rapprochement. It doesn't matter how many documents we sign. Unless we have the feeling that we love each other, that we are one family, and that each member needs the other, it will not materialize.

SPIEGEL: When will the long-awaited meeting between Pope Benedict and the head of your church, Patriarch Alexy II, take place?

Kyrill: Our relations have improved since Benedict became pope. He has removed the issue of a visit to Moscow from the agenda. This sort of visit would not have solved any problems, but it would have provoked new ones. Many of the faithful in Russia mistrust Catholics. This is a legacy of the wars and of proselytization efforts in the 17th and 18th centuries.

SPIEGEL: Could you imagine the pope and the patriarch meeting in a third country, essentially on neutral ground?

KYRILL: It's certainly possible. The entire development in bilateral relations is moving in the direction of such a meeting coming about.

SPIEGEL: The fact that the pope is no longer Polish ought to make him more palatable to the Russians.

KYRILL: In this case, I would like to give you an official response: Nationality is unimportant.

SPIEGEL: Your Eminence, thank you for this interview.

The interview was conducted by Martin Doerry, Christian Neef and Matthias Schepp in Moscow.
This was taken from the World Orthodoxy forum of Euphrosynos Cafe
Posted: Thu 17 January 2008 7:02 pm Post subject: INTERVIEW WITH RUSSIAN ORTHODOX METROPOLITAN KYRILL
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,527618,00.html