MP Resolves To Defrock Bp. Diomid

Basically, the reason is since Bp. Diomid will not commemorate the Patriarch, and because he speaks out against the MP's ecumenism, and because he criticizes the MP for it's submission to the government. Reader Daniel makes a comment, and, as usual, it is worthwhile to read.

To read more...

Window on Eurasia June 30, 2008


MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2008

Window on Eurasia: Diomid Case Highlights Serious Problems in Russian Church and Society

Paul Goble

Vienna, June 30 – Bishop Diomid of Anadyr and Chukotka and the support his ideas have among Orthodox believers in Russia and abroad is not going to disappear as easily as the Patriarchate hoped when it passed a resolution at the end of last week stripping him of his position and calling for him to repent lest he be anathematized by the church.
Instead, as various commentators have pointed out over the last three days, the bishop will challenge the Russian Orthodox Church in a patriarchal court, and his supporters who are far more numerous than the church or the Russian government standing behind it want to admit will continue to support him and the views he represents.
And it may even prove to be the case, several writers suggested, that by pushing Diomid so hard and thus opening the way to a hearing of a church court, the Patriarchate and the Kremlin may have created new problems for themselves by giving him a forum to present his views and attack those in the Patriarchate, like Metropolitan Kirill, who are his chief opponents. 
On Friday, the senior clerical assembly of the Moscow patriarchate stripped Bishop Diomid of his position because, as the churchmen put it, “by his appeals and declarations Diomid has cultivated a spirit of division within the Church, thus destroying its unityand leading to a confrontation of the Church with state and society” (www.nr2.ru/incidents/184375.html).
The assembly ordered Diomid not to conduct any religious service and, within the next three weeks, to repent of his views -- which include opposition to ecumenism, current relations between the Patriarchate and the Russian state, and globalization in the form of the G-8 – neither of which he is prepared to do.
On the one hand, Diomid led religious services at his cathedral in Chukotka yesterday; and on the other, he has made it clear through his supporters that he does not believe he has done anything for which he should repent and that he is filing papers to have his case adjudicated by a full church court (www.polit.ru/event/2008/06/30/diomid.html). 
At that time, his supporters say, he will not only reiterate everything he has said over the last 18 months about the life of the Church but also launch a direct attack on his leading opponent within the Patriarchate, Metropolitan Kirill, the head of the powerful External Affairs Department and currently the odds’ on favorite to succeed Aleksii as head of the church.
The Patriarchate, with the obvious support of the Kremlin, has taken three steps to portray Diomid as marginal and dangerous. First, members of the pro-Kremlin Nashi youth group clashed with Diomid backers last Tuesday in Moscow, an event that marred the opening of the senior clerical assembly (www.novayagazeta.ru/data/2008/46/16.html). 
Second, the hierarchs of the church focused on the ways in which Diomid’s views threaten the Patriarchate’s cozy relationship with the state, the reunification of the Orthodox Church for which Vladimir Putin pushed so hard, and relations among the various religious communities of the country, rather than on theological points.
And third, the Church portrayed the decision of the church as one that enjoyed overwhelming support within the hierarchy and the believers. According to the Patriarchate, participants in last week’s assembly voted overwhelmingly against Diomid, 178 to three with two abstentions.
(Among those abstaining was Metropolitan Ilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, and among those prepared to openly vote against the Patriarchate’s resolution were the bishops of Syktyvkar and Vorkuta, Kamenets-Podolsk, and Pochayev Lavra in Ukraine (www.gzt.ru/society/2008/06/29/223020.html).
But all these measures are likely to come back to haunt the Church and its Kremlin backers in the coming weeks. First, the Church’s willingness to cooperate in the use of the Nashis to advance its interests of presenting Diomid as a threat calls attention not to its independence and strength but to its ties to the government and its fundamental weakness. 
Second, that any hierarchs voted against the Church’s position is striking, given the way the Patriarchate normally operates. At the very least, it will remind people that 138 clerics signed an appeal in support of Diomid and that more than 300,000 Russians in the laity have signed a petition on his behalf (www.segodnia.ru/index.php?pgid=2&partid=41&newsid=6170).
Some clergy and believers are likely to conclude with Diomid that the Patriarchate is out of step with the majority of the Church, while others are certain to decide that Diomid and the views he represents reflect not a small marginal group but rather a large fraction of the entire Church.
And third, the Church’s charges against Diomid and its assumption that they justify his removal from office, silencing or even a pronouncement of anathema against him are in fact evidence of just how weak the Patriarchate’s position is and how fearful it is of any real discussion of the issues themselves.
Aleksandr Ogorodnikov, a prominent Orthodox dissident in Soviet times, told “Gazeta” today that the Patriarchate has no right to act in the way that it is doing. “A bishop can be deprived of his position only for heresy” according to Church law, he pointed out; “not for his opinion or even for disobedience” (www.gzt.ru/society/2008/06/29/223020.html).
One of the key planks in Diomid’s message has been a call for the convention of a church council to consider various key issues, something both canon law and the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church require. The Patriarchate has opposed that, clearly fearful that it might lose control of such a meeting.
That is why the Church’s leadership has been so frightened by Diomid’s use of the Internet to spark debate within the Church and has struck back so hard at him – and why its attacks against him are likely to get worse – see, for example, the suggestion that Diomid is the unwitting tool of dark, anti-Russian forces from abroad atwww.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=190657
But given Diomid’s willingness to continue to defend his views, the Patriarchate’s approach is backfiring. And consequently, regardless of whether one agrees with the bishop or not – and many of his views are reactionary and problematic at a minimum – he is likely to help push the Russian Orthodox Church not back to the past but into a very different future.

Obituary: Zoya Krakhmalnikova

Exiled Russian Orthodox writer

Zoya Aleksandrovna Krakhmalnikova, writer and dissident: born Kharkov, Ukraine 14 January 1929; married Feliks Svetov (marriage dissolved, died 2002; one daughter); died Moscow 17 April 2008.

Zoya Krakhmalnikova may have looked grandmotherly in her later years, her distinctive white hair making her easily identifiable at events in Moscow intellectual circles, but she was quietly determined in defending what she believed was right.

A convert in her early forties to Russian Orthodoxy, she went on to produce, by hand, an admired anthology of Orthodox spiritual writing that led to her work being banned from publication in the Soviet Union, and to a spell in prison. Freed from her sentence in July 1987 under Mikhail Gorbachev, she thought, spoke and wrote about the Russian Orthodox Church, chiding it for failing to break free of its Soviet heritage of submission and caution and failing to denounce nationalism and anti-Semitism.

Krakhmalnikova was born in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov in 1929. Her parents split up soon after her birth, and she was initially brought up by her father. But on his arrest in 1936 she was passed over to her mother. Despite her father's arrest, she was able to study at the prestigious Gorky Institute in Moscow, and graduated in 1954. She then worked in publishing, including at Molodaya Gvardiya and Literaturnaya Gazeta, and her literary criticism was published by leading journals and newspapers, including the famous Novy Mir. In 1967 she gained her doctorate on the Estonian writer Aadu Hint, an interesting choice for a Russian-speaking critic.

She converted to Orthodoxy and was baptised in 1971 by the dissident Moscow priest Fr Dmitri Dudko. Three years later, she was sacked from her job for writing samizdat articles on the revival of Orthodoxy in Brezhnev's Russia, some of which were republished in émigré journals. Krakhmalnikova was determined to bring Orthodoxy back into Russian culture at a time when Soviet atheism, materialism and persecution left no room for religion in the public sphere. She devoted her main energy to Nadezhda ("Hope"), a typewritten journal she founded in 1976 and circulated clandestinely. Unlike other samizdat editors, she boldly put her name to each issue.

The wide-ranging journal – which eschewed politics – included works by the church fathers, testimonies by bishops, priests and other Orthodox victims of the Soviet regime, pastoral addresses by the likes of Fr Dudko and some of her own writings. Krakhmalnikova managed to produce 10 issues – which were soon republished abroad – before the KGB swooped. She was arrested in August 1982 at the family dacha near Moscow, in front of her daughter and baby grandson. She was held in Moscow's Lefortovo prison, where the KGB sent a journalist in an unsuccessful bid to get her to incriminate herself. She was sentenced the following April on charges of "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda" to one year's imprisonment, followed by five years' internal exile.

"The persecutors of Christian reading material have their own publishing houses, newspapers, television and radio stations – all means of producing countless quantities of atheist propaganda, full of hatred towards God and his believers," she mused. "How could the modest issues of Nadezhda produced in a tiny print-run possibly do them any harm?"

Having survived prison, Krakhmalnikova was sent into exile in the remote Altai region close to the border with China and Mongolia. Her husband, Feliks Svetov, was arrested in 1985 for his samizdat writings and was exiled to the same area. Both were eventually freed amid Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms, although they were among only a handful of prisoners of conscience who refused to write appeals for clemency. Sadly, their marriage did not long survive their return to Moscow.

Back in the capital, Krakhmalnikova threw herself into public debates on the role of the Church in the much freer atmosphere under Gorbachev and then Boris Yeltsin. She condemned Orthodox bishops who refused to confess their guilt for collaborating with the KGB.

Krakhmalnikova wrote several novels and books of memoirs of her imprisonment. She also edited a collection of articles in 1994 on anti-Semitism in Russia, a growing problem as the country went through a search for new certainties and often turned its back on the values she held dear.

Felix Corley Tuesday, 10 June 2008 Independent.co.uk

Ron Paul And Globalism

Unusual! A candidate NOT affiliated with some secret society which purposes to usher in the One World Government. As could be predicted, he gets hardly any media coverage... And I hear his life is in danger.

To read more:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul399.html

Pentecost Sermon In Oxnard

This is an extemporaneous sermon delivered by His Eminence, Archbishop Chrysostomos, at the Feast Day of the Holy Trinity parish in Oxnard, CA, on Pentecost 2008. It was hastily transcribed by a listener. We requested that His Eminence fill in any missing elements from memory, which he kindly did. We feel that the sermon should be passed on to our faithful—Holy Trinity Parish

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I greet all of you on the parish Feast here at Holy Trinity Church and thank the parish for receiving us with such kindness in this beautiful edifice. I would like to make a few comments in English, apologizing for my deficits in the Russian language. For the Greek-speaking faithful here today, I will offer some thoughts in Greek at the end of the Liturgy. It has been a year, now, since the momentous and courageous decision of your Church Council, its officers, and the heroic founders of your parish to reject the union of the Moscow Patriarchate and the exiled Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia)— for so many years a bastion of resistance to innovation, ecumenism, the deviations of world Orthodoxy, and the Moscow Patriarchate and the political forces of Communism which created it and dictated its policies—and to petition for acceptance by our Synod of Bishops.

Since that time, we have made great progress. Though His Eminence, Metropolitan Cyprian, our spiritual Father and the President of the Orthodox Church of Greece, Holy Synod in Resistance, suffered a massive stroke last November and fell into a coma, where he remains today, his beloved spiritual child, whom he selected as his successor—His Grace, Bishop Cyprian of Oreoi—has, as Acting President of the Holy Synod, carried out the policies and the goals of the Metropolitan, continuing his work without interruption. In our unitive work, aimed at bringing all Orthodox into communion in Holy Tradition and the Truth, the Holy Synod, under Bishop Cyprian’s guidance, has reached out to other Orthodox, initiating a dialogue with one of the other significant Old Calendarist groups in Greece, hoping for the establishment of good relations and mutual recognition between our Churches. The Holy Synod has also confirmed our relationship as a Sister Church with the Synod under Bishop Agafangel, the one Bishop who did not accept union by the exiled Church with Moscow, having helped His Eminence consecrate two new Bishops.

As well, we have made clear our intentions, in continuance of activities initiated by Metropolitan Cyprian, to pursue contacts with the New Calendar Church of Greece, not with the intention of union with that body (in contrast to the apparently hidden goals of the dialogue that led to union between the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and Moscow), but for the purpose of cultivating good relations and cooperation, whenever possible, between our Church and the New Calendar Church. After all, although ailing in their Faith and, in some instances, having lost so much of the essence of their Orthodoxy, the innovators are Orthodox, and our resistance is aimed, not at alienating and rejecting them, but at bringing them back to the standards of Holy Tradition and the exactitude of the Orthodox Faith, if possible.

Even in our anti-ecumenical efforts, our goal is not to breed religious intolerance or to preach
against those in error—let alone to divide Christians. This is not the spirit of the Fathers. Our aim is
to protect the identity and the integrity of the Orthodox Faith, so that all might be united within it.
Not only that, we also wish to preach Orthodoxy in a pan-Orthodox way, such that Greeks, Russians,
Bulgarians, Romanians, Syrians, and all Orthodox, as well as those converts who have returned to the
Orthodoxy that their native cultures and nationalities lost over the years, will all be one in Orthodoxy.
We exclude no one, including the Jews, who indeed, if they convert to Orthodoxy, actually have primacy among us. We wish to bring all people to Orthodoxy. Our anti-ecumenism protects the integrity of Orthodoxy, as I said, but for the purpose of calling all people to its perfection, and primacy.

In the same way, in rejecting the union of Moscow with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad—your former jurisdiction and our former Sister Church—we have not acted to divide the Church. We have acted to protect its integrity, with the hope that those who have erred will return. In an act of what can but be called betrayal, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad united with the Moscow Patriarchate, justifying this move with fantasy and by exploiting ethnic loyalties. It erred gravely in so doing. Our first loyalties must be to Orthodoxy. As for the element of fantasy, we hear fantastic stories about Putin, who sponsored this Church union for purely political reasons, having been a secret Christian, coming from a Christian family, and so on. In fact, his grandfather was a cook in the Kremlin for the dreaded NKVD, a communist, and an atheist. Putin’s atheist credentials and those of his family and friends are well known. To have joined in something created by him was to betray the Church, even if many naively did this.

My former mentor, spiritual son, and friend, Dr. Nikolai Khokhlov, one of the first high-ranking KGB officers to have defected to the West, trained many of the people, then virtual children, who now fill the clerical ranks of the Moscow Patriarchate. They were chosen from a young age, in many cases, to fill their future roles. While I do not doubt that there are pious and dedicated clergy and faithful in that jurisdiction, for the greater part, as Nikolai often told me, one cannot trust the administrators of the Church. The majority of them are agents (or former agents) in cassocks, formed by the KGB (or the new FSB), and their inexorable cause is that of advocating something which is inimical to true Orthodoxy, which exists to transform us, to unite us to God by Grace, and to restore us to communion with the Energies of God.

For this reason, I must tell you that, over this past year, you, the parish, and its founders have inspired me. You have encouraged me by your loyalty to True Orthodoxy. You have stood up for your Orthodoxy, placing it above ethnic concerns and the threats of political powers. You have contributed to a panOrthodox witness and have strengthened the witness of the Church. There are those, of course, who have tried to intimidate you and to destroy your work. You have been slandered and insulted. You are being sued for your property. Many of you, like me, are being personally sued by your former Bishop. There are those who will further slander and betray you and spread the most vulgar and disgusting things about you. But you are blessed when you are reviled in this way, you will have the final victory. There are also, of course, agents among us. And there are agents who resist your work with us, since together we impede their work. These, too, we will overcome with our witness. I congratulate you for your courage, your resistance, and your honorable stand. I encourage you to continue doing what you are doing. I encourage you to stand firm against those who attack you. I encourage you in your work for Orthodoxy. I am humbled to have you with us, and I ask you always to stand firm and to resist any attempts to discourage you in our common work. I am immensely proud of all that you have done, and I hope that we will be together many, many years in our efforts. Conveying to you the blessings of our Acting President, Bishop Cyprian, and assuring you that it is a great privilege for His Grace, Bishop Auxentios and me to be with you here today, s’ prazd nikom for the Feast, Mnogaya Lyeta, and Spasibo.

Clarifying May 2008 Determination concerning fragments

• gathering the scattered flock
• clarifying our relationship to the fragments


Excerpt in English from Fr. Victor Dobrov's 2008 article 
wherein he responds to concerns raised 
by our ROCA Archdeacon German 
during a discussion of the ROCA-PSCA Determination of May 2008:


Foreword: Protodeacon German Ivanov-Trinadzaty of the Russian True Orthodox Church (RTOC) posted an article several weeks ago discussing the ROCA PSEA Determination of May 2008. The Secretary of the North American Administrative District, Fr. Victor Dobroff, recently offered a refutation of his claims. The following excerpts are the most relevant and provide the historical background for the main points made by Fr. Victor. Eds. 

Fr. German: The recent Resolution of the PSEA claims the actions taken by all the "fragment" churches have no legitimacy.

Fr. Victor: Fr. German is incorrect. The Resolution clearly states the following:
    • Regarding ROCOR (V) - they are deemed a self-proclaimed church group and the ordinations performed by them are considered incomplete. 
    • Regarding those who split off from ROCA earlier, and in light of their unwillingness to be a part of ROCA and their establishment of new church structures, relationships with them should be governed by collegial and synodal decisions approved previously. 
    • Regarding ROAC - the Resolution of the ROCOR Bishops' Sobor of 1996 to deny Bishop Valentin clerical standing remains in force and his future actions as a cleric will not be recognized. 
    • Regarding RTOC - the Decision of the ROCA Holy Synod on May 3/16, 2003, to forbid Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Venyamin from serving remains in force. Therefore, all of their later actions as clerics may not be considered valid. 
In line with the ROCA PSEA Determination, nothing is said about the sacraments of ROCOR (V). The church decisions of ROAC and RTOC are considered not legitimate. And how is this wrong? 

As we know, on May 25, 2002, the ROCOR Synod forbade Abp. Lazarus and B. Benjamin to serve for joining the so-called "Mansonville schism." As they did not admit that the Church they joined was not legitimate (since the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile and its Sobor and Synod were formed in 2001 as a self-proclaimed new church group, which did not exist before and which lost its continuity from the Russian Local Curch) Abp. Lazarus and B. Benjamin continued making official church decisions. This led them to be in violation of the Canons, and instead of bishops, they became ordinary monks. It follows then that all the subsequent church decisions of these former bishops, including the ordination of the RTOC head, Hieromonk Tikhon Pasechnik are also completely invalid. 

Fr. German: Bishops Lazarus and Benjamin NEVER, not for one day, recognized the authority of the Lavr Synod. From November 2001, they, as did we, remained loyal to Metropolitan Vitaliy. How can they be considered beholden to a decision made two years later by a Synod they did not recognize and one in which they were never members? 

Fr. Victor: This once again, is not so. Bishop Lavr became the Locum Tenens and Ruling Metropolitan of ROCOR and was commemorated as such in all ROCOR parishes beginning in July, 2001. Therefore, Abp. Lazarus and B. Benjamin deferred to his authority, commemorated him, and considered Archbishop Lavr to be the Ruling Metropolitan for three months, until the Sobor of Bishops in October, 2001. During that time, Abp. Lazarus and B. Benjamin "bombarded" Bishop Vitaliy with phone calls and letters asking him to remove his signature from his request to go into retirement, something all of us in the Church Abroad prayed for, but alas did not happen. Whether we liked it or not, as it was difficult to accept with a clear conscience, Abp Lavr was chosen Metropolitan at the Sobor in October, 2001. Metropolitan Vitaliy himself voted for him and congratulated him upon his election. In what circumstances and with whom were Lazarus and Benjamin? Subordinate to Lavr's Synod, that's where. In October and November, having found themselves answering to Met. Lavr, Lazarus and Benjamin developed a plan to immediately create a separate jurisdiction for themselves in Russia and considered ways to justify their schism by the canons. In this effort they tried to enlist the help of Met. Vitaliy, who was losing control of the situation by then. After the ROCOR Synod was officially notified that Abp. Lazarus and B. Benjamin had joined the schismatic ROCOR in Exile, they were censured by the canonical authority they still answered to - the ROCOR Synod. Some time later, especially after the "bishop's ordination" of Hieromonk Tikhon Pasechnik and others, and the formation of a RTOC "synod," the canonical authority which they had chosen for themselves and recognized as binding "in good conscience" - Met. Vitaliy - himself declared Abp. Lazarus and B. Benjamin to be outside of the salvific body of the Church Abroad, and the bishops' ordinations performed by them to be invalid. 

Fr. German: It should be noted that B. Agafangel, who always says the only canonical path was to recognize the Lavr Synod until May 17, was himself censured by THIS VERY SYNOD! But this censure he does not accept!

Fr. Victor: B. Agafangel was never censured by the ROCOR Synod. In April, 2007, in order to deny the loyal opposition to ROCOR the ability of retaining its succession from the ROCOR hierarchy, the ROCOR Synod, which was still canonical but bordering on unlawful, developed a Machiavellian, and one could even say, an underhanded plan. They prepared two Ukases. The first Ukase named B. Agafangel to the South American cathedra. The second Ukase meant to censure him if he did not accept the assignment. Both Ukazes were signed by members of the Synod and made official with the Synod stamp! To carry out this despicable plan, Bishop Mikhail (Donskoff), who was up to the task, was sent to Odessa with the Ukazes. At a diocesan meeting, he was to read publicly the first Ukaze and as soon as B. Agafangel refused, he would read the second Ukaze. This was arranged "behind the scenes" in the few days remaining before May 17 th! Luckily, one of the ROCOR Synod members, who did want this sin of Judas on his conscience, told B. Agafangel of the nefarious plan before B. Mikhail arrived in Odessa. When B. Mikhail read the first Ukaze, B. Agafangel obediently agreed to the assignment. This brought a thorough and final end to the second Ukaze, which could only be enacted if the first one was rejected. 

Fr. German: On what basis does he not recognize his censure? It seems on the same basis that we drove from our memory all the ukazes and censures of Lavr seven years ago! 

Fr. Victor: The ROCOR Synod was a lawful canonical authority until May 17, 2007, and all its censures, whether we like them or not, are canonical and valid. On May 17, 2007, with the signing of the Act of Eucharistic Communion between ROCOR and the MP, the canonical status and authority of those involved with the Act changed. Everyone agrees with that, even Fr. German and the RTOC. On May 17, 2007, the Synod of Met. Lavr was no longer the Synod of ROCOR and was transformed into a branch of the Moscow Patriarchate. The ROCA clergy and laity could no longer fall under any canonical Ukazes, Determinations or censures issued by the ROCOR (MP) Synod after May 17 th. All the canonical authority of the Church Abroad after May 17, 2007, was transferred to B. Agafangel and the loyal faithful of the ROCA.

Vladimir Moss Open Letter To Fr. Valery

www.metanthonymemorial.org/VernostNo109.html
May 28, 2008 - Dr. Vladimir Moss

   OPEN LETTER TO PROTOPRESBYTER VALERY LUKIANOV

Dear Fr. Valery,

     Forgive me, who know you only by reputation (they say you are a fine pastor with the most magnificent church in the Church Abroad), for writing to you “out of the blue” like this.  I was sent a copy of your letter to Metropolitan Ilarion, and immediately felt that someone had to reply to it – and publicly.  For it contains a misunderstanding which, if allowed to go uncorrected, could lead many onto the wrong path.

     You write: “My heart is pained for the many clergy and believing children of the Church Abroad who today are not in communion of prayer with us, but who would have returned at that moment when the Moscow Patriarchate would have found it possible to leave the ecumenical World Council of Churches…”

    Are you saying that the only obstacle to union with the MP is its membership of the WCC?  I thought I must be mistaken, but looking through the rest of your letter I found no mention of sergianism, the root sin of the MP, the sin that created the MP.  Moreover, you speak of ecumenism as “the only obstacle whose removal is vitally important and obligatory for the reunion of the broken families and divided parishes of the Church Abroad” (my italics).

     Of course, the renunciation of ecumenism is indeed “vitally important and obligatory."  But to concentrate on ecumenism while not even mentioning the force behind it – sergianism – is to put the cart before the horse.  Let me explain what I mean with an example from my personal experience.

    Back in the 1970s, when I was still in the MP, my spiritual father was Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom).  It was he who, together with Metropolitan Nicodemus, the KGB general (Agent “Sviatoslav”) of sorry memory, led the MP into the WCC at the General Assembly in New Delhi in 1961.  At one point our English parish asked him to renounce his ecumenical activities.  He said that he was not able to because he was “under orders” to continue them.  Later I discovered who precisely was giving him the orders.  Some Italian parishes in Sardinia came under his omophorion when he was exarch for Western Europe.  However, these former papists in their zeal for Orthodoxy began to attack the Pope.  Then Metropolitan Anthony (as he told me personally) received a phone call from Metropolitan Juvenaly of Tula (Agent “Adamant”).  “Drop your Italian parishes,” said Juvenaly.  “We are having negotiations with the Pope over the uniate question, and he has laid it down as a condition of the success of the negotiations that you drop these parishes.”  So he dropped them… (They joined the Nestorians, but later came under Metropolitan Cyprian of Fili.)

     Do you see that the ecumenism of the MP is a product of its enslavement to the God-fighting Soviet regime – in other words, of sergianism?  In 1948 the MP condemned ecumenism; in 1958-61 it embraced it.  This volte-face had nothing to do with the personal convictions of the hierarchs, and everything to do with their spineless subjection to the God-hating atheists.  So it makes no sense to plead for the abandonment of ecumenism when its root and source, sergianism, is still flourishing.  If you cut off the top of a weed but leave its root in the ground, it simply grows up again…

     “But,” you may object, “sergianism is not relevant now that the USSR is no more, and the hierarchs are no longer in subjection to the KGB.”  For reasons I will explain later, I do not believe for one moment that the KGB no longer controls the MP.  But let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that you are right.

    Then we must conclude that the MP hierarchs are ecumenists “not out of fear, but for conscience’s sake.”  This only makes their sin deeper – and the chances of getting them to renounce it even smaller.  Was Judas justified after he went back to the high priests and threw down the money in the temple?  Not at all.  He no longer feared the high priests, or wanted their money, and was heartily disgusted with himself, but he did not repent – and so was condemned.  In the same way, the MP hierarchs have not repented of their cooperation with the atheists, and so are still condemned.  They have not repented of Sergius’ declaration (they are preparing to glorify him), or of the thousands of True Orthodox clergy they sent to their deaths by labelling them “counter-revolutionaries,” or of calling the Tsar-Martyr “Bloody Nicholas” for generations, or of their cooperation in the destruction of thousands of churches and monasteries, or of their obscene praises of the biggest murderer in history, Joseph Stalin, or of their praises of the revolution and “Leninist norms,” or of helping to export that revolution to other countries, causing the murder, both spiritual and physical, of millions more people, or of destroying most of the Russian Church Abroad…

    How can there be any union with the MP before they have repented of these evil deeds?  And how can that union take place in any other way than by the MP repenting before the True Church and being received by the True Church?

     If we follow the logic of your argument, then all the New Martyrs before about the year 1961, the entry of the MP into the WCC, were schismatics; for they rejected the MP, not because of ecumenism, which did not yet exist there at that time, but because of sergianism.  The same applies to ROCOR, which broke communion with Sergius in 1927 precisely because of sergianism.  We reject the MP because of sergianism in the first place, because it made itself into a tool of the God-fighting communists: ecumenism came later as a consequence, as the icing on the poisonous cake of apostasy…

    But let us now turn to the argument that the issue of sergianism is now irrelevant, because the Soviet Union passed away in 1991…  This must be a first in Church history: that a group of heretical churchmen are deemed to have stopped practising their heresy, not because of any change of heart or behaviour on their part, but because of a change of political regime!  Since when can any political change be considered equivalent to the abandonment by heretics of their heresy?!

    In fact, of course, from a spiritual, ecclesiastical point of view there has been no change for the better in the MP, but rather a distinct change for the worse.  Throughout the 1990s and 2000s the MP has waged a relentless war against ROCOR, the Catacomb Church and in general against any Orthodox group that refuses to submit to it.  Vile, lying propaganda, the seizing of churches and monasteries, the physical intimidation (and more) of clergy and believers, has continued unabated.  And worst of all, the justification of sergianism goes on.
   
Consider the following evidence of sergianism in just one year:-

1.      In May, 2004, at a liturgy in Butovo in the presence of Metropolitan Laurus, Patriarch Alexis said: “We pay a tribute of respect and thankful remembrance to his Holiness Patriarch Sergius for the fact that he, in the most terrible and difficult of conditions of the Church’s existence in the 1930s of the 20th century led the ship of the Church and preserved the Russian Church amidst the stormy waves of the sea of life.”[1]

2.      On November 1, 2004 Patriarch Alexis, according to “Edinoe otechestvo” “emphasised that it is wrong to judge Metropolitan Sergius and his actions”.[2]  For, as he said on November 9, 2001: “This was a clever step by which Metropolitan Sergius tried to save the church and clergy.”[3]  A clever step?!

3.      On January 24, 2005 Metropolitan Cyril (Gundiaev) of Smolensk, head of the MP’s Department of Foreign Relations, confirmed that the MP does not condemn sergianism: “We recognize that the model of Church-State relations [in the Soviet period] did not correspond to tradition.  But we are not condemning those who realized this model, because there was no other way of preserving the Church.  The Church behaved in the only way she could at that time.  There was another path into the catacombs, but there could be no catacombs in the Soviet space…”[4]  No catacombs, but there was the Catacomb Church.  However, the sergianists have no time or respect for the Catacomb Church…

4.      In February, 2005, there was a “Worldwide Russian People’s Council” in Moscow, to which several guests from ROCOR (L) were invited.  As Laurence A. Uzzell, president of International Religious Freedom Watch wrote for The Moscow Times: “The speeches at that gathering, devoted to celebrating the Soviet victory in World War II and linking it to the Kremlin’s current policies, suggest that the domestic church [the MP] is counting on Russian nationalism to woo the émigrés.  Especially striking is the distinctively Soviet flavor of that nationalism.  The main speeches failed to mention the victory’s dark sides, for example the imposition of totalitarian atheism on traditionally Christian societies such as Romania and Bulgaria. Patriarch Alexey II made the incredible statement that the victory ‘brought the Orthodox peoples of Europe closer and raised the authority of the Russian Church.’  If one had no information, one would think that the establishment of Communist Party governments in the newly conquered countries were purely voluntary – and that what followed was unfettered religious freedom… Sergianism is clearly still thriving, despite the Moscow Patriarchate’s occasional abstract statements asserting its right to criticize the state.  The Patriarchate’s leaders still openly celebrate Patriarch Sergei’s memory, with some even favoring his canonization as a saint.  With rare exceptions, they still issue commentaries on President Vladimir Putin’s policies, which read like government press releases.  They seem sure that this issue will not be a deal-breaker in their quest for reunion with the émigrés.  Putin’s Kremlin will be hoping that they are right.”[5]  Unfortunately, they were right: sergianism was no longer a “deal-breaker” for ROCOR.

5.      In May, 2005 Patriarch Alexis wrote a congratulatory epistle to the president of Vietnam on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the communist victory in the Vietnam War.  He called it a "glorious anniversary" and said that it opened up new horizons for the Vietnamese people.[6]

    Nothing much has changed, has it?  And how could it, when, as is affirmed by many sources, the KGB-FSB is now more powerful than ever, occupying 40% of all government posts, and the whole of the hierarchy of the MP?  Some say this is “old news” and ignore it.  But how can we ignore the fact that the MP is led by unrepentant members of the organization that has done more to destroy the Orthodox Church than any other organization in history (with the possible exception of the Jewish rabbinate), and of which its former head, Vladimir Putin once said: “There is no such thing as an ex-chekist”?  How can we ignore the fact, moreover, that, as former KGB Lieutenant-Colonel Constantine Preobrazhensky writes, “absolutely all [my italics] the bishops and the overwhelming majority of the priests worked with the KGB.”[7]

    Let us suppose, Fr. Valery, that by a miracle the MP renounces the WCC.  Presumably you will then change the semi-communion you now have with the MP (that is, everything except commemoration of the Patriarch) for full-blooded membership.  And then what will happen?

    First, a number of those who are with you now will leave you and join the True Orthodox Church.  This will undoubtedly sadden you; for as you movingly write: “If the good pastor leaves his whole flock for the salvation of one lost sheep, one cannot imagine that the leadership of the Church could simply leave a multitude of its children who have departed for ideological reasons to the whim of destiny.”  And yet it is not those who leave you then whom you will have to answer for, for they will have saved themselves.  It is those who follow you that you will have to answer for at the Last Judgement.  For they will have followed you into the abyss of the Church’s condemnation – that condemnation which falls on sergianism and all the sergianists.

     But that will be only the beginning.  Your magnificent church will then become – not immediately, of course, but eventually – one of the KGB-FSB’s listening posts in the United States.  For that is what every major MP church abroad has become.  Thus for example the MP cathedral in London which I used to visit became – as the former MI5 officer Michael Wright revealed (in a book banned in Britain but published in Australia) - the main “dropping off” point for KGB agents in London.  And it will happen to your church – unless you resist, in which case you will be removed.

     You are now on the very brink of spiritual death, for you and for your flock, Fr. Valery.  Step back while you still have time!  The temporary fig-leaf which the MP gave you in the form of non-commemoration of the Patriarch is now being removed, and is being replaced by the garments of skin given to those who have been expelled from the Paradise of the Church.  Flee, casting your garment behind you, as did Joseph the Fair!  Otherwise you will become like the fig-tree without fruit that was cursed by the Lord, or the salt that has lost its savour – good for nothing, except to be cast out and trampled on by men…

Yours in Christ,
Vladimir Moss

[1] Ridiger, in A. Soldatov, “Sergij premudrij nam put’ ozaril”, Vertograd-Inform, № 461, 21 May, 2004, p. 4 ®.
[2] “Chto ‘soglasovano’ sovmestnaia komissia MP i RPTs (L)” (What the Joint Commission of the MP and the ROCOR (L) Agreed Upon), http://www.russia-talk.com/otkliki/ot-402.htm, 3 November, 2004 ®.
[3] http://www.ripnet.org/besieged/rparocora.htm?
[4] Gundiaev, in Vertograd-Inform, № 504, February 2, 2005 ®.
[5] Uzzell, “Reaching for Religious Reunion”, Moscow Times, March 31, 2005, p. 8; Tserkovnie Novosti (Church News), May, 2005 ®.
6] http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/features/setimes/
features/2007/01/04/feature-02
[7] Preobrazhensky, KGB v russkoj emigratsii (The KGB in the Russian emigration),New York: Liberty Publishing House,2006, p. 41 ®.

A Report on ROCOR-PSCA Continuity

This report was delivered by Protopriest Valery Alexeev, IN the May 13-15, 2008 meetings of ROCA's Higher-Interim Church Authority, held in Vl. Andronik's residence, in Richmond Hill, New York, USA.

Archpriest Valeriy Alekseyev. A Report on Our Continuity

“Do not be afraid, little flock!” (Luke 12:32)

Christ is Risen!

Your Eminences! Honorable Fathers!

In response to the decision and order of the Provisional Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad on December 6-7, 2008, the members of the Subcommittee (Archpriest Valeriy Alekseyev, Hegumen Georgiy (Kravchenko), and Fr. Leonid Plyats) reviewed the documents from the sobors of the ROCOR before May 17, 2007.

First, let us consider the document, the “Epistle of the ROCA PSEA to all the faithful members of the Russian Church Abroad” from June 28/July 11, 2007, which called for this current review, guided by this excerpt: “We affirm the continuation of the course of our church as dictated by the standards and all the sobor decisions of the ROCOR from its inception to May 4/17, 2007.”

We now hear people who insist that our ROCA and its “little flock,” which did not accept union with the Moscow Patriarchate while affirming its complete succession to the course of our church, the ROCA, should accept the Decision made on September 7, 2007, by the Synod of Bishops, consisting of a group of Archbishops and led by Met. Lavr, to approve the “Act of Eucharistic Communion.” By extension, we should also accept union with the ROC MP itself, which occurred on May 17, 2007. If not, they state we will have committed a grievous offense to the church.

Let us carefully consider the excerpt above: “We affirm the continuation of the course of our church as dictated by the standards (this word is underlined and bolded by me, Archpriest V.A.) and all the sobor decisions.” This is a thesis. The opposite of it, logically, is an antithesis, which can be summed as: “We reject everything in the course of our church that does not correspond to the standards and all the sobor decisions.”

A principled stand to follow the standards of the church was expressed uncompromisingly by the ROCA Odesssa and Zaporozhye dioceses, headed by the Most Reverend Bishop Agafangel, in the Address from the participants of the Extraordinary Diocesan Meeting of the Odesssa and Zaporozhye dioceses to the ROCA Hierarch Met. Lavr.

As a reminder, here are the essential points of that Address: “ With great sorrow, we learned that the Synod of Bishops made the decision on September 7th to merge into the structure of the Moscow Patriarchate by approving the “Act of Eucharistic Communion” at their meeting, wherein our Synod struck down all the previous documents (considering them “as if they never happened”) of our many Sobors and Synods…” In this way, the meeting of the clergy of the Odesssa and Zaporozhye dioceses affirmed, that in this case, the standards of the collegial decisions of the ROCA were violated.

The Resolution of the diocesan conference of the Odesssa and Zaporozhye dioceses of the ROCA states: “We do not accept the course of uniting the two parts of the Church, which is proposed by the “Act of Eucharistic Communion.” According to this Act, the ROCA is to become an autonomous part of the MP. The rights of the ROCA are constrained by the “Act” and the standards of the church which were developed over time by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad are violated.

Some time before that, the Most Reverend Bishop Agafangel wrote in his Report to the faithful of the Odesssa and Zaporozhye dioceses of the ROCA to explain what transpired at the IVth All-Diaspora Sobor and the Sobor of Bishops: “The Resolution of the IVth All-Diaspora Sobor was approved unanimously for all practical purposes (there were a few who abstained or voted against it) and it said that such a union would be possible in the future after the disagreements over matters of principle between us would be decided (ecumenism was mentioned). The final decision to go ahead with such a union can only be made at a Local Sobor of the entire Russian Church with the participation of the clergy and laypeople. (…) The Sobor of Bishops affirmed the decision of the All-Diaspora Sobor. The main discussion at the Sobor of Bishops was on the Act of Eucharistic Communion, a completely confidential document that was worked out by the commissions for rapprochement, which was never intended to be discussed by all the ROCA bishops, and which was not even intended to be read at the All-Diaspora Sobor. Due to its dubious nature, mentioning the Act was deliberately avoided in the Resolution of the IVth All-Diaspora Sobor and in the Epistle of the Sobor of Bishops. (…) A vote to accept the Act was never held at the Sobor, and therefore, I do not know exactly where the assertion that the Act was “largely accepted and approved” comes from. The statement that “the final approval of the text of the Act and the details of the signing ceremony are left to the Synod of Bishops” also has no basis in reality. The question of the “final approval …by the Synod of Bishops” was actually raised (without any mention of the “details of the signing ceremony”), but since there were differing opinions, it was set aside without any final decision by the Sobor. Also, no vote was taken on the matter.”

Therefore it becomes obvious that this process was a flagrant violation of the standards of the church and the past Sobors of the ROCA by a group of bishops in Met. Lavr’s Synod, which is why the Odesssa and Zaporozhye dioceses did not accept it. Instead, they affirmed their principled stand in this matter by the Bishop, clergy, and flock taking the unprecedented move of not commemorating the name of the Hierarch: “…we are compelled to stop commemorating Your name at church services until this matter is resolved conclusively.” Commemoration was resumed about a month before the union was concluded, in the vain hope that the Hierarch’s wisdom would prevail and the fall would be averted.

After the Synod of Met. Lavr signed the “Act of Eucharistic Communion” and the hierarchy lost the ability to see church matters clearly (Matthew 15:14), the “large flock” of the ROCA ended their historical existence and merged with the Moscow Patriarchate and became ROCOR(MP), while the “little flock” formed the Provisional Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority headed by the Most Reverend Agafangel and gathered the healthy forces within the Church and affirmed the historical tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. It is important to note that the ROCA has always been a collegial Church and not synodal.

In 1996, a Sobor Commission reviewed the “Status of the ROCA” and noted in their fourth point: “Given the circumstances, we must consider our governance to be temporary. A final resolution of this matter can only be made by a future Sobor of the Russian Local Church.”

Nevertheless, it was remarked by Metropolitan Vitaliy, after considering the state of Russian society, the conditions in the Church, and the current government, that: “…an infiltration is currently occurring into our midst by forces from the KGB and the Moscow Patriarchate that mean us harm.” And even went so far as to say that, “after the final downfall of this regime, a union of the church and coming to an agreement will not be possible… .”

The 1998 Sobor of Bishops declared: “Do not have dialogue with the MP, not on any level; not on the level of bishops, not on the level of the parishes or monasteries.”

Alas, a group of the Synod bishops and a part of the flock were seduced, as they thought they saw changes in the MP: the canonization of the Royal Martyrs; the selective canonization of the New Russian Martyrs and Confessors; and a few paragraphs in the “Social Concept.” Without regard for the Decision of the 1998 Sobor of Bishops, Archbishop Mark developed contacts with the MP hierarchy and even met with the President of the Russian Federation, for which he was dismissed from the ranks of the Synod of Bishops, but later reinstated.

History proved that the position taken by the Commission and the words of Metropolitan Vitaliy was correct. The violation of the standards of the church led to the union of May 17, 2007.

Let us now consider a document, the Epistle to the Serbian Patriarch Pavel. On June 1, 1967, the ROCA Sobor of Bishops decreed that all bishops “refrain from serving with the bishops of the Serbian Church.” Sadly, the Sobor of 2000 already sent an Epistle to the Serbian Patriarch Pavel, which said in part: “We ask Your Holiness not to withhold from us liturgical communion with you.”

This was a deviation from the standards of the sobors, as the Sobor of 1998 reaffirmed the anathema against ecumenism which was approved by the Sobor of 1983. The Sobor of Bishops of 1971 had earlier resolved to baptize all Roman Catholics and Protestants wishing to convert to Orthodoxy, while the Serbian Patriarch Pavel was an open ecumenist.

The Most Reverend Bishop Agafangel disavowed his signature on the Epistle to the Serbian Patriarchate, in line with the 23rd paragraph of the “Status of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.”

Let us now turn to “sergianism.” Several members of our Church along with representatives of groups who have separated from the ROCA now speak of the necessity of a collegial acceptance of “sergianism,” of the acceptance of heresy, to accept the lack of grace of the Moscow Patriarchate.

It needs to be pointed out, based on the documents we researched, that the ROCA hierarchy was always concerned with its opinion on “sergianism.” Metropolitan Vitaliy said at the Sobor of 1998 that, “Met. Sergey’s change in the course of the Church was unlawful;” “Sergianism is when the Church is in the hands of a government which is hostile to the Church and it should be condemned and rejected by the Church.”

The Most Reverend Bishop Agafangel gave a more precise assessment of “sergianism:” “Sergianism is the voluntary subservience of the bishops of the Church to foreign atheistic forces, whose influence causes the bishops to distort Orthodox theology and order within the church. It is being involved in the plans of the atheists to destroy the Orthodoxy of the Holy Fathers.”

Thus, “sergianism,” this “path for the Church” in the words of Metropolitan Vitaliy, is a platform, a social concept, church politics, which depart or even refute the Traditions of the Holy Fathers and place the Russian Orthodox Church in the Homeland in a grave anti-canonical position, incompatible with the Traditions of the Church and the decisions of the Holy Ecumenical Councils.

Note: Church politics – the politics of the Church, that is, the collective opinion of the church administration on its relationship to society and the government (Complete Orthodox Religious Encyclopedic Dictionary. T.P.M.C. 2323). We see that during the Synodal period, the politics of the All-Russian Orthodox Church were predicated by its relation to the government.

“Sergianism” has been rife with schismatic actions and heretical teachings. But it cannot compare to the heresy of ecumenism, which has amended the Julian calendar and even led to Pascha based on the Gregorian calendar. All of this has now affected the Local Orthodox Churches. Metropolitan Vitaliy said, “The Patriarchates were rocked.” Logic dictates that it is necessary to judge collegially the Local Churches for modernism, for New Calendar leanings, and for “Baptist theology.” The ROCA, though, has not offered its determination on the other Local Churches at a sobor. If a sobor of the ROCA were to take such an action, it would deviate from the standards of the historical Church Abroad, though there are “devotees” who push it towards that, inspired by the donatism of history. It is well known that donatism has been the basis of divisions in the church throughout the ages.

In their personal writings and research, the theologians of our Church should use a scalpel to cut out the boil of “sergianism,” as it is a development antithetical to the church. Within the Moscow Patriarchate, there should emerge bishops and theologians who can make the correct canonical judgment on “sergianism,” and in that way, try to sow and nourish the growth of the Orthodoxy of the Holy Fathers among the weeds. Let the process of cleansing the Church begin.

Our “little flock” should nourish the seeds in good soil, using the steadfast example of True Orthodoxy, as exemplified by the words of Holy Apostle Paul, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has always acted in this way.

I will now turn to the matter of the other groups that separated from the ROCA. It is known that the Sobor of Bishops of May 2/15, 1990, issued a Statement on the parishes of the Free Russian Orthodox Church. Note that these parishes which were gathered further into dioceses were not autonomous entities in Eucharistic communion only with the ROCA. They were in ROCA’s jurisdiction and were subordinate to the jurisdiction.

However, under the pretext of saving the Catacomb Church, the actions of certain bishops who received their ordination as bishops from the ROCA began to be distinguished by the metastasis of church separatism. This was evidenced first in the actions of Bishop Valentin (Rusantsov).

We all bow before the memory of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. We offer our prayers to the bishops and priests of the Catacomb movement, but we remember that due to the persecution, the Catacomb Church was not able to establish its central authority at any time in its existence. It did not become an alternative Church to the Moscow Patriarchate, but remained a persecuted part of the All-Russia Church, hidden away in the catacombs with its canonical ties to the renegades of Orthodoxy severed. It was a Church Confessor, just like the Church Abroad was the Émigré Church, which also severed its ties with the bishops who changed the course of the church. And the ROC in the Homeland, whose rule was unlawfully usurped by the administration of the Moscow Patriarchate, was the Silenced Church.

On January 26, 1995, after the Sobor at Lesna, Bishop Valentin unceremoniously convened a meeting of his followers (willfully, forming a cabal, a plot, creating a compact - 18th Rule of the IVth Ecumenical Council) at which he renounced the agreed-upon Act and performed unlawful ordinations of bishops. They tried to justify their schism by saying that “…the ROCA parishes in Russia did not have the luxury of waiting the many years until the bishops from abroad restore church discipline…This caused the suspension of Eucharistic communion between the Russian Orthodox Church and the ROCA Synod of Bishops which was established in 1995.” The ROCA hierarchy “…began to insist on their right to establish the higher authority in Russia.”

It should be noted, however, that on the basis of the 15th Rule of the Two-fold Sobor, a suspension of Eucharistic communion would be possible if the ROCA Synod of Bishops was preaching heresy, but it was not preaching heresy at that moment in time, even though it was already falling little by little into union with the MP.

ROCA did not offer autonomy to its parishes in Russia. The ROCA parishes (dioceses) were registered with the government as the Russian True Orthodox Church jurisdiction of the ROCA. They were not independent in their administrative self-rule and they were based on the Decree of the 1998 Sobor: “The Russian parishes of the ROCA have the blessing to register under the name: the Russian True Orthodox Church (RTOC).”

The Sobor of Bishops in September 28/10, 1996, issued a resolution declaring the divestiture of Bishop Valentin’s office of bishop, in accordance with the 28th Apostolic Rule, 38th Carthaginian Rule, and the 88th Rule of Basil the Great.

The urge to separate from the ROCA at any cost, against the canons, and create a new church group, served as the basis of the schismatic actions of Archbishop Lazarus (Zhurbenko), who in 1996 already called a meeting of his clergy for the purpose of discussing how to get out from under the subordination to the ROCA Synod of Bishops on the basis of Ukaze No. 362. The Synod of Bishops declared in 1996, “Award the Russian Council of Bishops the rights and duties delineated in the decision of the 1994 Sobor of Bishops.” That is, there was no talk of any autonomy.

The Hierarch Metropolitan Vitaliy’s going into retirement was done of his own volition and was based on a precedent already established in the ROCA, the retirement of the Hierarch Metropolitan Anastasy. Metropolitan Vitaliy certainly saw the process that was leading the Church away from the standards of church life, but due to the condition of his health, he could not change the course of gathering events. Archbishop Lazarus’ followers took advantage of this and the “paris” and “mansonville” groups of clergy pushed the Metropolitan to take such ill-informed actions such as removing his signature from his request to go into retirement. The reason given was ostensibly the 34th paragraph of the “Status of the ROCA.” They went on to explain that the 34th paragraph “…gives a Hierarch the right to submit his appeal to the Synod or a Sobor, if he disagrees with some decision.” At that time, Metropolitan Vitaliy was already no longer the Hierarch. In contrast, the representatives of the clergy and laypeople of the Odessa and Zaporozhye dioceses did hope to use the 34th paragraph when they ceased commemorating the Hierarch and asked him to stop the process leading to the downfall.

In conclusion, it can be said:

on the whole, the documents from the sobors correspond to the Holy Canons and the Status governing the ROCA. In several of the documents from the sobors, one can see a partial deviation from the historical course of the ROCA, which led to a review of several other statements. As a result, we can state that on the basis of the thesis found in the PSEA’s Epistle, “We affirm the complete continuation of our course for the church, corresponding to the standards and all the documents from the sobors of the ROCA up to May 17th, 2007,” and in accord with the antithesis, “We reject in our continued existence all that does not conform to these standards derived from the sobors.”

We, who guard ourselves from those who bring harm to the Traditions of the Church, which by the Holy Spirit abide in the Church, and seek salvation in the “little flock,” pray at every Holy Liturgy: “O Lord Jesus Christ, our God! Accept from us, Thine unworthy servants, this fervent supplication, and having forgiven us all our sins, remember all our enemies that hate and wrong us, and render not unto them according to their deeds, but according to Thy great mercy convert them… Grant peace and tranquility, love and steadfastness, and swift reconciliation to Thy people, whom Thou hast redeemed by Thy precious Blood. But unto them that have departed from Thee and seek Thee not, be Thou manifest, that not one of them perish, but that all of them be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth; and all in harmonious oneness of mind and unceasing love may glorify Thy most holy name, O patient-hearted Lord Who art quick to forgive, unto the ages of ages. Amen.”

Truly He is Risen!

No Hope For Jurisdictional Unity

From: "Dan Everiss" Add Mobile Alert
To: cyn38ia@yahoo.com, oregdan@hotmail.com
Subject: Recent Statements Regarding Vl. Agafangel's Church/Tikhon of Omsk, etc
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 18:44:36 -0600

Sunday of the Blind Man, 2008

Dear Joanna,

After reading your blog sites, plus that http://news-nftu.blogspot.com, I feel compelled to respond.
Firstly, our ROCA is not an equal to Tikhon of Omsk's jurisdiction. Our ROCA is the sole legitimate/canonical continuation of the old ROCOR, and therefore there CANNOT be a joining together (organizationally) with that non-canonical entity....even though we both DO share many similar positions on a variety of church-controversies, etc. But, simply sharing some similar positions is not sufficient for real church-unity. It never was.

Therefore, we (our ROCA) can only leave our door open for individual people from that entity (& others) to come to our church.
Specifically, regarding that epistle signed by all three of our sister-SIR churches, dated 9/13/2007....it was regretable, erroneous, and mostly biased in favour of the Tikhon of Omsk's group....who at that moment was calling upon it's lengthy-friendly-rapport with, especially Bp. Fotios, to pressure them (the entire SIR Synod) to NOT help Vl. Agafangel (especially to not help us make new bishops)....whom THEY! saw as their RIVAL/ENEMY. Soon after this epistle, after consultations with Vl. Agafangel & his representatives, the whole SIR (with, apparently Bp. Fotios still -secretly, not really in sympathy with us!) stated their whole-hearted support for Vl. Agafangel and for thus, HIS CANONICAL position, declaring about Tikhon of Omsk's group:...since they are not in communion with Vl. Agafangel.......we cannot be in communion with them! This, they publically stated in an official pronouncement at the time. So, that entire epistle of 9/13/2007 was virtually of none-effect before the ink was dry on it!

To quote from our recent official declaration about "RTOC": ..."Regarding RTOC: The decision of ROCA's Holy Synod on May 3/16, 2003, to forbid Archbishop Lazarus and Bp. Benjamen from serving, remains in force. Therefore, all of their later actions as clerics, may not be considered as valid".

Further, just to clarify one important point: our V. Agafangel early opened his door to direct talks with Tikhon of Omsk (who often is himself in the city of Odessa!) to meet and talk together. And.....every time, Tikhon of Omsk found some lame excuse for not keeping the agreed-upon meeting.....and then launched a new outburst of verbal attacks upon Vl. Agafangel. Attack, attack, attack! has been his main effort at "friendliness".

On Vl. Agafangel's blog-site, he has stated that the various fragment groups (including Tikhon of Omsk) have either refused any attempt to speak together, ...or to follow the canons themselves...so...that he "has no choice but to let them go their own way, the path which THEY have chosen".

Regarding "Bp" Stefan Sabelnik: Yes, he has written many good/wise words about church history & against the union, etc....and he has had a long & distinguished clerical history, etc,.........but!...he has chosen wrongly as to who "consecrated him" and to which churchly-entity he is loyal to.

He is NOT a valid Orthodox bishop!.....no matter what he says, or where he says it, or in what languages he proclaims it.
And, by the way, our Vl. Andronik HAS privately met & spoken with him........about 6 times! Obviously, to no effect.

So, we may indeed still WISH for some sort of unity among the various fragment-groups, etc........but......for now, any real organizational-jurisdictional unity.....is utterly impossible, indeed counter productive.
But, on a local level, there is no reason that we cannot TRY to befriend and communicate with.....any and all kindred anti-MP/pro-genuine Orthodox people.....mostly especially fellow laity.

The main dictum of The Ecumenical Movement: "We are all equally right.....and equally wrong!" simply does not apply to our current post-Act Russian Orthodoxy.
Vl. Agafangel's position is THE correct one, and these others (about l8 totally) are.....bogus.

Anyway, Joanna, these are just a few thoughts.

"Your Joys Are Our Joys"

From The Shepherd Magazine
http://www.saintedwardbrotherhood.org/0508/shepherd9.html

PATRIARCH ALEKSII II URGES INTERACTION BETWEEN HIS CLERGY & THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICES
 
ACCORDING to an Interfax posting on 9th April, His Holiness Patriarch Aleksii II of Moscow and All Russia “has called for mutual support between Russian diplomats posted abroad and priests serving in Russian Orthodox parishes outside Russia.” Quoting the Patriarch, the news release says:

“ 'It is my desire that clergy in the countries where [Diplomatic Academy] students will be posted should help our diplomats and SHARE THEIR ATTITUDES', [emphasis ours -ed.]  Patriarch told reporters Wednesday after meeting in Moscow with Diplomatic Academy students.  In turn, Russian Orthodox Church priests abroad need ‘diplomatic support,’ he said.  Church and state ‘should not erect a wall between them but should interact for the good of our people, including in the international relations sphere,’ Alexy II said.” 

Albeit that the present Russian state is not an avowedly and militantly atheistic regime, it is also not an Orthodox Christian one, and this counsel, given by the Patriarch, appears to be a manifestation of the continued Sergianist attitude of his church administration.

CONSTANTINOPLE-MOSCOW TALKS

From The Shepherd Magazine
http://www.saintedwardbrotherhood.org/0408/shepherd11.html
 
DECR, the Department for External Church Relations (MP) reports that: “Delegations of the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow held talks on 26 March 2008 in Zurich, Switzerland.  With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomaios of Constantinople, the Patriarchate of Constantinople was represented by Metropolitan John of Pergamon, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France and Archimandrite Bartholomeos (Samaras), deputy general secretary of the Patriarchate of Constantinople Holy Synod.  The Moscow Patriarchate delegation, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia, included Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, and Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations.  The delegations discussed the church situation in Estonia and prospects for continuation of the Orthodox-Catholic theological dialogue.  The discussion was summed up in a Memorandum.

Telegraph Expose Of An Unholy Alliance

From The Shepherd Magazine
http://www.saintedwardbrotherhood.org/0308/shepherd9.html
 
THE TELEGRAPH has published an exposé of the Moscow Patriarchate’s present political involvement by Adrian Blomfield.  He writes: “Russia’s Orthodox Church, despite decades of brutal repression under Soviet rule, is putting its trust in the KGB to ensure that a remarkable religious revival does not fade with the departure of President Vladimir Putin.  In an unusual move, Alexei II, the Church’s patriarch, has endorsed deputy prime minister Dmitry Medvedev ahead of next week’s presidential election.  The influence of his support on Russia’s estimated 100 million Orthodox worshippers is immense.  It also illustrates the unholy alliance the Church has forged with the Kremlin since Mr Putin came to power eight years ago.…  The relationship might seem odd.  It was the KGB, after all, that led persecution of the Church in Soviet times, when priests were regularly jailed, tortured and executed.  Neither this nor accusations that Mr Putin is restoring many of the attributes of Soviet rule seem to bother Alexei.  Although he has never confirmed it, the patriarch, like the president, is a former KGB agent codenamed Drozdov, according to Soviet archives opened to experts in the 1990s.  Many in the Orthodox hierarchy are also accused of working as KGB informers, a fact that critics say the Church has never fully acknowledged.  ‘Essentially, the Orthodox Church is one of the only Soviet institutions that has never been reformed,’ said one priest, who declined to be identified for fear that he could be defrocked.…  Priests are regularly seen on television sprinkling holy water on bombers and even nuclear missiles, a blessing that reinforces Mr Putin’s own militaristic philosophy.  The Church has even supported Mr Putin’s repression of democracy, with a senior bishop last year comparing human rights activists to traitors.…  In return, Mr Putin has worn his religious credentials very publicly and is regularly shown on state television kissing icons at Church services.  Given his popularity, Mr Putin’s example has been emulated by many Russians.  The business and political elite have assiduously followed instructions to fund the rebuilding of churches destroyed by the Soviets across the country.…”  It is deplorable that journalistic commentators can see these things so clearly, and dedicated church people fail to do so.