Rare Film of Met. Anastassy

Reader Daniel sends this...


This film is a labor of love from Br. Nikolai Steblez. Thank you, Br. Nikolai.

MP Militarizing It's Clergy

Subject: MP trains it's 'clergy' with weapons
From: Reader Daniel
Date: Mon, August 31, 2009


Would somebody [R0CA-A] please view this video and let me know if it is suitable for this blog? Reader Daniel and I both have dial-up connections that do not allow us to view videos. Daniel was able to catch a few frames...

I thought we were friends!!!

The ROCOR-MP delegation to take the Kursk Mother of God icon for a triumphal visit to the city of Kursk is preparing itself for the journey. The delegation is headed by Fr. Seraphim Gan, who loves to travel the world at other people’s expense, and a few others. Also coming along is Fr. Victor Potapov, who has been travelling the world at the expense of his parish and others for decades.

It seems they're taking something else along with them; a contract that MP representatives will have to sign guaranteeing that nothing will happen to the icon and that it will be allowed to return to America. What?!! What happened to all those lofty declarations of brotherhood, unity, and trust? They are one church now, the Mother Church, the historical pledges have been fulfilled, no?

No, the craven compacts that these people have signed have little to do with anything spiritual or bright. These are agreements among worldly clerics seeking personal gain, notoriety. They continue to fool their flock with vapid sloganeering, while they break off pieces of relics and squabble over real estate. The ROCOR-MP clerics also continue to fool themselves that they can keep up with the connivers in Moscow. They don’t appreciate how short their string is and how it can be cinched at any time, bringing their prideful posturing to an end.


√ Worthwhile discussion of interest on the Euphrosynos Cafe, World Orthodoxy Forum. At least as of the first 5 pages.
ROCOR and Moscow Reunification [sic]
Fri 10 July 2009

Fr. Dcn. Basil Bids Farewell To South America

Subject: Дело униатов по уничтожению РПЦЗ - провалено!!! AXIOS! AXIOS! AXIOS! S PRAZDNIKOM PREOBRAZHENIYA (Transfiguration of our Lord)!!! [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
From: Protodeacon Basil Yakimov
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 08:32:07 +1000
To: All

Dear All,

It has been my great undertaking & privilege to participate in the life of our ROCA diocese in Brazil/Argentina. I take this opportunity to thank all the Fathers and their extended families for their hospitality and friendship. I especially remember all the Fathers, Reader Roman, Zlata, our young Deacon Father John, our Metropolitan and their Graces Bishops Sofronie and Ambrose and many others.

Please convey this message of gratitude to all the Matushki (who like many others, in many other places, are very multi-skilled). Please note his Grace Bishop Gregory was tonsured a monastic and subsequently consecrated a Bishop at his Holy Trinity Church at Villa Alpina where he has been the Rector for many years (here the future Metropolitan Vitaly and his brotherhood began their monastic journey (in Brazil) so many years ago before moving to Canada). Whilst in Brazil I served in four beautiful parish churches and prayed in one beautiful home chapel. In Argentina I served with the beloved Father Vladimir at his St Sergius church, a complex that is very big but sadly it is in need of extensive renovation (perhaps some one reading this will assist Father Vladimir) which can bring many opportunities for the young and elderly of BA. Now I can truly say that the diocese of South America is a hidden ROCA oasis, preserved by GOD, for all to follow the ROYAL PATH in the steps of, our beloved and blessed in memory, metropolitans Anthony, Anastassy, St Philaret and Vitaly; and all the predecessors in the South American dioceses of his Grace Bishop Gregory.

Whilst in Brazil the V Rev. Archimandrite & I spoke on the phone and I now believe, GOD WILLING, he will commemorate, sooner rather then later, Bishop Gregory as his Bishop. It is -3° in Canberra, Australia - while we share the winter and the recent jubilee celebrations of St Nicholas Cathedral, what I did not expect from my spiritual sojourn in Brazil was the consecration of a Bishop, worthy to succeed his many wonderful - and loyal to ROCA - predecessors.

Those that have left the historical ROCA for "greener pastures", of the KGB administered post soviet MP, have commented to me that they are nostalgic for the old historical ROCA and it is my hope that they will return to the mother church, which is our ROCA, ASAP and GOD WILLING..

Asking for your prayers and blessing,

unworthy protodeacon Basil from Canberra

Icon of St. Nicholas visits beleaguered parish

19 Aug 2009

Visit of the Miraculous Myrrh-Streaming Icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker
to Holy Trinity Parish in Oxnard California.

What follows is the account of the visit of the Miraculous Icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker to Holy Trinity Parish in Oxnard CA., as told by the unworthy guardian of the Holy Icon, the V. Rev. Fr. Elias Warnke.

This account must be told from the very beginning for the complete understanding and knowledge of the faithful of this miraculous event.

On March 31st, the Feast Day of St. Cyril of Jerusalem I was contacted via email by V. A., a member of Holy Trinity Parish, her inquiry was that she had read somewhere that I may be connected to a newly established parish in Fallbrook, CA. Her inquiry told me that she was seeking a possible parish to pray in and to receive the Holy Sacraments because her parish was being sued for its property by the unionist ROCOR-MP and she feared that those seeking worldly gain of property without any regard for the souls of the faithful of this parish, may be successful.

I responded by letting her know that I was located in Las Vegas and have no connection with the Fallbrook parish. I also told her that I was aware of the plight of the parish and offered to say prayers for the faithful of the parish before the Holy Icon that were fighting this battle against what I perceive to be the machinations of the evil one. I told her, “There are many paths that lead to perdition in these times, but standing fast for the truth is not one of them. Hold fast in the faith of the Holy Martyrs and may our Lord bless each of you for your work in His Holy Vineyard.”

She responded by inviting my family and myself to join with them in their celebration of the Holy Resurrection, knowing that because of my ongoing illness we did not have an established parish. She also reminded me of my last visit to their parish with the Holy Icon some ten years ago, which I remembered quite vividly. I thanked her but declined the invitation because I would be serving in our home mission. Yet because of my awareness of the seen and unseen warfare that affects those who seek to do our Lord’s will, I offered her the opportunity to speak with the rector of their parish and seek his blessing and that of the Bishops, that in the future a possible visit of the Holy Icon could be arranged because the parish was only five hours away by car.

Her response told me of the overwhelming effort that she and those who have had to endure this struggle have had to live with, since they made the conscious choice not to deny the faith passed down to them by their fathers and mothers, the traditions of the true Church as passed on by Saint Tihkon, the faith guarded by Saint John of Shanghai, Saint Philaret, and the blessed hierarchs of ROCOR up to and including Metropolitan Vitaly of blessed memory. And their choice to not join with the very same people who in communist Russia that had made the Russian Church a wing of the godless government, which it remains to this day, responsible for the murders of the countless New Martyrs in including the Holy Family of Nicholas II and the Nun Martyr Elizabeth and the desecration of Holy Temples and Holy Things throughout their motherland.

She talked of the myriad of sadness they all witnessed in the loss of brothers and sisters in Christ and the feeling of abandonment by those they believed in and showed obedience to that were given the sacred trust to protect their flock and guide them in a world that had no love for our Lord and was driven by greed and avarice. Her description of the machinations of the evil one and his determined effort to wear them down by instilling a sense of confusion, false guilt and anxiety showed me that their struggle was the same shared by the example of the New Martyrs and the Saints, including Holy St. Nicholas, to stand fast for the truth and was there for them to humbly emulate and hold on to.

She said the remaining faithful of the Temple had agreed that the return of the Holy Icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker would be of great benefit to their weary souls and they had received the blessing of their Bishop.

When I received this email my Matushka and myself were under particular attack, we believe because through our prayers we had come to the realization that we had been sent for a significant reason to this particular place of sinfulness that can only be likened unto Sodom of old. I was very ill and responded by saying that if my illness did not result in anything such as surgery or worse I would pray to our Father among the Saints, Nicholas, that or Lord may will to bless such a visit sometime in the Summer. I asked her forgiveness for our weakness and said that I would come as soon as I can, our Lord and willing. Knowing that in their struggle a visit of the Holy Icon would be of great comfort, I lamented the situation and sought through prayer the intercessions of our Most Holy Theotokos and the New Martyrs Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandria, and of the Nun Martyr Elizabeth in this matter.

For a complete understanding of the situation which the parish was under I quote an appeal from their website (www.holytrinityoxnard.org):

“Sixty years ago, a group of World War II refugees were, by the grace of God, delivered from war-ravaged Europe and brought to the United States. Here in America, they were able to start their lives anew, live the American Dream, and exercise freedom of religion. In gratitude for God’s Grace, Mercy, and the many blessings He bestowed upon them by delivering them from oppression, these refugees gathered their money and with the Lord’s help established an Eastern Orthodox Church Community, building a small church on land they purchased.

In advance of the unification of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) with the Russian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (ROC-MP) on May 17, 2007, the Holy Trinity Eastern Orthodox Church held a parish meeting on March 25, 2007, at which it was unanimously voted that they were not in agreement with the unification and decided to ask to be received under the omophor of the Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Greece, Holy Synod in Resistance. On April 13, 2007, the ROCOR Western American Diocese filed a lawsuit against the Holy Trinity Eastern Orthodox Church, which is now defending itself and its property.”

After much prayer and loving kindness of our Lord and the care of my Matushka and doctor the recent attack of my illness subsided to the point where, if my daughter Katherine agreed to drive me, the Holy Icon could visit the parish on the weekend of August 15th, N.S. It is important to note that when, through prayers by many that this visit became a certainty, the Holy Icon began to exude an increased quantity of Holy Myrrh, which in my humble experience of thirteen years as its unworthy guardian, signaled that there could be a defined effort by the dark one against such a trip, and if our Lord blessed, a blessing of equal or greater proportion for this much suffering parish, especially those at the forefront of this righteous battle. The teachings of the Holy Fathers are quite noteworthy on this. Matushka and I were amazed by the effluence and gathered the Holy Myrrh soaked cotton so that it could be cut into pieces and placed in small bags for the faithful which would attend to take to their homes and have for time of need.

On August 3rd, N.S. Matushka booked the Hotel somewhat making the final commitment to this visit, that very day both Katherine and myself were stuck down to our beds with an attack of extreme headaches and pain in our upper torsos that lasted for twenty-four hours. This type of attack is not uncommon for during the years the Holy Icon traveled across the world (1997-2003), there was always some level of struggle varying in intensity before a departure to a visit of the Holy Icon to the faithful. Though the evil one seeks to be subtle in his temptations, in case of this wondrous blessing it seems that subtlety is not the course followed. Yet this alone was not the complete effort to stop this visit, on the eve of the trip we went to fill up the truck with petrol and the 'check engine' light came on, I was dismayed, but Matushka who struggles in her way to keep me on course just smiled and said: “There is nothing wrong with this truck, you know who is doing this!” By the next morning when we started the truck to depart, the light was gone. Though the evil one made one last try on the road when a large truck, one vehicle ahead of us in three lanes of heavy traffic on Highway 101 blew a tire and the SUV in front of us in the middle lane struck into it at 60 miles per hour, I do not know how, but we were able to avoid striking the SUV and the oncoming cars in the lane we swerved into, yet we did, and thanked our Lord for His kindness and protection.

When we arrived at the Church after about six hours of travel the Holy Icon and myself were at the Hotel. V.A., taking on the role of transporter picked us up and we were met by the faithful and the priest at the steps in the manner of receiving a bishop’s visit, in this case a Great Bishop of the Church in the Earthly form of his Miraculous Icon. I called to the car the head acolyte, the son of the Starosta, to come and help me remove the Holy Icon from the traveling case so it could enter the Temple. The car was filled in abundance with the fragrance of fresh roses and we noticed immediately that the Holy Icon was streaming quite heavily. I exited the car and with the Holy Icon made the sign of the Cross before the Temple. I then passed the Holy Icon on to the priest who carried it though the doors and placed it on the analoy in the center of the Church. He remarked in amazement once it was in place, “It is truly beautiful and a great blessing Father!” We made our reverences as did all those in attendance with the choir the entire time singing unto Holy Saint Nicholas.

Because of my weakness from the recent illness I was unable to assist the priest in the services of Moleben, Akathist, Litiya, and Vigil, so I remained behind the Iconostas and prayed listening with joy to the excellent choir, noticing Father as he entered into the Holy Place with a look of joy on his face. Though I could not see it from where I was I knew from sound of the choir, and the feeling I received in Father’s presence that the Holy Icon was continuing streaming an offer our Lord’s blessing of Holy Myrrh. It wasn’t until after the services were done and I exited the altar to help Father in anointing the people that I was aware of the fullness of what was happening. I saw it first in the faces of the faithful gathered to pray and then when I came before the Holy Icon I noticed it was gushing Holy Myrrh to the point where it had overflowed its two inch deep wooden kiot lined with plastic to catch the Holy Myrrh in the cotton at the bottom and was soaking the analoy cover with blessed Myrrh. I took a small piece of the completely soaked cotton and placed it on a plate for Father to anoint the faithful. All in attendance were blessed by their witness and were anointed with the blessed gift.

I felt the presence of joy and blessedness in the beautifully appointed temple that is covered every inch on its interior with frescoes of the Great Feasts and the Holy Saints. I witnessed on the faces of those who were engaged in the battle to save this Temple a sense of blessing and peace and I thanked our Lord for His infinite kindness and love for these much suffering individuals.

Afterward we took the Holy Icon to the parish hall where we were served an excellent Lenten meal by the Sisterhood, being that it was the Dormition of our Blessed Virgin’s fast.

V.A. returned us to the hotel where I spent the better part of the rest of the evening in prayers of thanksgiving for our Lord’s most gracious kindness.

He next morning, they asked if we could arrive ahead of time for Hours and Divine Liturgy so that two women of particular need could have a extra time to venerate the Holy Icon without the fullness of attendance. V.A. picked us up at the hotel and we were met by Father at the steps of the Temple, upon which the Holy Icon entered and was placed upon the Myrrh soaked analoy. I met with the women while Father continued the Proskomedia. Both, who quite ill, were openly blessed by their witness of the Holy Icon and were anointed and given cotton soaked with Holy Myrrh directly from the Icon for their spiritual need.

The Temple filled early with people returning from the previous day and many more from other churches in the area of Los Angeles and beyond. Regardless of the ominous worldly issues this parish has had to suffer all were welcomed with love in the spirit our Lord. Hours and the Divine Liturgy were served with great reverence and a true sense of peace. I was asked to give the homily and was particularly blessed to share with Father the only true Earthly Miracle, the Holy Body and Blood of our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

After the Liturgy Father Served a Moleben after which we once again anointed the faithful, but this time when I came out to a sanctuary filled with the very old, young parents, many children and toddlers, I approached the Holy Icon and witnessed that the analoy cover had become much more soaked and the flowing Myrrh completely covered the Holy Icon as if in one heavy wave after wave. When I went to open the bottom of the cover to retrieve some cotton for anointing I noticed that the velvet cover was completely soaked also. All in attendance reverenced the Holy Icon and were anointed by Father and I gave all as many little Icon copies and packets of Holy Myrrh that were asked for.

After everyone in attendance had been anointed many stayed seemingly unable to leave the presence of this wonderful blessing, the Starosta asked if I would touch the fresco of St. Nicholas on the wall in order to bless it with the Holy Icon, the fabric of the case was so soaked that Holy Myrrh was left on the fresco visible for all to see. The faithful then asked if their crosses from their necks could be blessed on the Icon, which I did for all. As is normal when it came time to leave, the faithful became dismayed that this blessing was about to depart and crowded around the Holy Icon for one last time, many of them touching the Myrrh soaked cover and receiving the blessing of such great witness.

Katherine had the truck out front and all followed singing Velichnaya to St. Nicholas. We were followed by many into the street and the singing did not stop. This is one of the hardest times for me, because you look into the eyes of the faithful and see their lament that they will have to let the Holy Icon leave. It is both joyous and sad at the same time.

The drive home was completely uneventful other than the continued abundance of fragrance that filled the truck.

In closing we must give all glory and thanksgiving to our Lord and Saviour for this wonderful blessing that these much suffering faithful were given, and I humbly ask the faithful to join me in my unworthy prayers that our Holy Father among the Saints, Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker may intercede on their behalf that they may, through the grace of our Lord, find an ending to the issue that assaults their parish for the well being of their souls.


Addendum: It has been reported to me that after the Holy Icon departed three more waves of people came, apparently from services at their Temples and all received packets of Holy Myrrh and were blessed to pray in this Temple where the Miraculous Icon had been shortly before.

St. Nicholas Mission
V. Rev. Elias Warnke
P.O. Box 36035
Las Vegas, NV 89133
702/789-0427 (cell) 702-927-7730

St. Nicholas Visits 0xnard

A Mini-Pilgrimage Report, by Joanna

August 15-16 the myrrh-streaming icon of St. Nicholas visited Holy Trinity Church [SIR] in 0xnard escorted by Fr. Elias of St. Nicholas mission in Las Vegas. Fr. Elias [R0CA-A] is the icon's God-appointed caretaker.

Holy Trinity is being sued by R0C0R-MP for their property because they did not submit to the MP union. Archbishop Chrysostomos [SIR] is also being sued by R0C0R-MP because he gave "harbor" to Holy Trinity.

This icon was revealed as myrrh-streaming in 1996. Fr. Elias told us the story of its origin: It is a just paper print from St. Isaac's in Wisconsin where they mount and sell icons. Icons with imperfections they would give away to pilgrims. This one had a defect in the laminating.

Just before the feast of St. Nicholas, Fr. Elias and a reader stopped by their church [Michigan City, Indiana] on their way to a certain monastery. Earlier the icon had been placed on the center analoy in anticipation of the feast.

When they unlocked the door and entered the church, they found the scent of myrrh filled the church. Fr. Elias froze, and the reader went searching for the source of the scent. Then Fr. Elias noticed a glistening coming from the icon. Coming closer he saw three streams of myrrh, one coming down the center and one on either side of St. Nicholas' face.

Was this good or bad?

He dabbed up some myrrh and put it in his pocket. Later, at the monastery, he showed it to the abbess who said, "This is holy myrrh, where did you get it?" They went back to the church with some nuns. Exorcism prayers were read over the icon.

For the next 13 years Fr. Elias has taken the icon all over to be venerated by the faithful for the strengthening of faith.

This just-past Saturday August 15th, at 1pm, the Holy Trinity church was waiting for the arrival of the icon with great anticipation. The church was preened and adorned with flowers. The icon was late in coming, which made the expectation even more intense. Nobody chattered.

Minutes before the escorting vehicle arrived, having been alerted by a cell phone call, the starosta asked everyone to step outside. The faithful all arranged themselves to line the pathway leading to the church. The church bell was rung slowly until the vehicle pulled up, then the bells let loose and the choir started singing.

Fr. Elias held the icon high into the air and entered the church and the people followed him inside in such an orderly fashion which, of course had not been rehearsed, but somebody might think it had. This added to the dignity of the occasion, the honoring of a royal visitor.

While we sang the akathist to St. Nicholas, I noticed a growing patch of what appeared to me to be condensation inside the glass cover of the icon. After the akathist everyone venerated the icon and was anointed with myrrh.

Fr. Elias told us that ever since the decision was made to visit Holy Trinity, the myrrh-streaming had increased. Now it was profuse. He opened the case so we could see more closely. Many people had their baptismal crosses dipped into the pool of myrrh that had collected at the bottom of the icon case. Many eyes were teared at the outpouring of this miracle. The scent filled the church.

A security guard, who had been hired to protect the icon from being kidnapped, came inside the church to see what was happening and was drawn into the circle of faithful there. I walked passed him while someone was trying to explain to him what was happening and asked him, "Are you brand new?" He said in a surprised way, "I'm the guard!" as if he was surprised at himself for being there.

At liturgy, Sunday, Fr. Elias gave the sermon which included the warning that the myrrh does not work any kind of magic. The miracle is our church and the faithful and the Eucharist.

After liturgy a moleben was served and again an anointing. More people were present than Saturday and so was even more myrrh present. It over-flowed out of the case and soaked into the cloths covering the analoy. Fr. Elias opened the case and repaced the saturated cotton with dry cotton. Scent filled the church and again people started tearing at the heavenly sign.

Holy Trinity is a special parish. It is the only parish from R0C0R on the west coast that did not go along with the union.

Even more specially, it was not the priest who led this flock around the pitfall of the union. The priest they had at the time was actually pro-union. It was the flock who decided not to go along with the union. So the pinko priest had to leave. The flock asked for Fr. James Thornton, who had served them for a time in the past, to be given to them. Fr. James received the request as a calling from God.

Holy Trinity is beautiful with hand painted icons on all the walls and ceiling. There is a balance of English and Russian that is so well worked out it seems effortless. What struck me the most is the hardest to describe: their genuine love for one another. Not that 'brotherly love' that can be seen on display where the people are strainedly trying [emotion and sentiment gives it away]. But this is innate from the inside out. I doubt I'm explaining this well. Maybe I should just say it felt natural and it was very comfortable to be there.

Is God going to allow the R0C0R-MP to win its law suit? The parish expects to know by the end of this year. In the meatime, my impression -speaking with a few parishioners- is that this flock is trusting God. They are ready to accept whatever He brings or allows. They have that peace that comes from loving God and trusting Him, both as individuals and as a group.

Across the street from Holy Trinity is a vacant lot. There is a scenario in my imagination ... what if R0C0R-MP wins the law suit, and the people are forced out of their church building? They could go across the street and pitch a tent. Their building would become another MP monument - another MP real estate holding. All the LIFE would be in the tent. A powerful living symbol -a statement- and a 'sign against'.

Just before leaving, I went back inside the church for a last look. The cases of relics had been put away. Two "treasure chests" of relics, among the relics: a piece of the Cross, a piece of Christ's robe, Theotokos robe, St. John Baptist, many Holy Apostles, St. Mary Magadalene. [Also St. John of Shanghai's vestments are there in the church.]

I remembered another story Fr. Elias tells about this icon and St. John, which might help explain this miracle. See related post [click here].

Sermon From 0xnard

Holy Trinity Church in 0xnard is under persecution by R0C0R-MP [law suits] because they would not submit to the R0C0R+MP union. This sermon is a fruit of their sufferings. -jh

Saint Germanos I,
Patriarch of Constantinople

We now enter more fully into the reign of the Iconoclasts, the Icon-breakers or enemies of Sacred Iconography. That period stretched from 730 to 787 (that is, fifty-seven years) and from 814 to 842 (that is, twenty-eight years): a total of eighty-five years (with a 27 year Iconodule interval between the two Iconoclastic periods). The controversy about Holy Icons thus lasted for one hundred twelve years. That terrible time, however, produced many great Saints and Fathers, as periods of adversity always have done. Four heroic and saintly Patriarchs of Constantinople stand out during this period. We will consider each of these four Holy Fathers, the first of whom is Saint Germanos.

Saint Germanos, Patriarch of Constantinople, was born at the Imperial Capital sometime in the middle of the seventh century, the son of a wealthy patrician named Justinian. Early in his life the Saint decided to devote himself to the Church and so immersed himself in the study of theology and Holy Scripture. He was later ordained to serve as a clergyman at the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia where he “was renown for his modesty, his knowledge, his professionalism, his ability, and foremost for his fear of God.”[1]

Saint Germanos attended, and contributed significantly to, the Synod in Trullo (or Quinisext Synod, as it is also known) of 692[2]. In 705, he was elected Bishop and Metropolitan of Kyzikos, a town in Asia Minor on the coast of the Sea of Marmara. There, he opposed the efforts of the usurper-Emperor Philippikos to impose the heresy of Monothelitism, for which he was exiled from his See. Upon the fall of Philippikos in 713, the Saint returned to Kyzikos and shortly thereafter, in 715, during the brief reign of Emperor Anastasios II, was elected to the Patriarchal Throne of Saint Andrew in Constantinople. Ecclesiastical historians commend him for his many virtues and most particularly for his remarkable gift of prophecy. “On the day of the Baptism of Emperor Leo III’s son, Constantine [Kopronymos],” the Saint “prophesied that the latter [Kopronymos] would become a formidable enemy of the Church….”[3] He prophesied as well that one of his Priests, Anastasios, “would usurp his throne and become one of the promoters of heresy”[4] He was accurate in both prophecies: Kopronymos was destined to become the most bitter and violent of persecutors against the Orthodox and Anastasios would serve as the first of the Iconoclast Patriarchs of Constantinople[5].

In 717 Leo III the Isaurian mounted the Imperial Throne after a military revolt that overthrew the ineffective Theodosios III, who abdicated and became a Monk. Though successful as a military commander, Leo convinced himself that the veneration of Icons, although a part of the Church’s Tradition from its earliest years, was nevertheless a violation of the Old Testament prohibition against idolatry. This was, needless to say, sheer folly on the Emperor’s part and error on a grand scale.

When informed of the Emperor’s decision to forbid the veneration of Icons, Saint Germanos challenged the monarch to his face, explaining to him that at the Incarnation, the Word of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, became man and assumed fully the nature of man “in order to renew in us the image of God, which had been tarnished by sin.”[6] Since He truly became man, since He “was made flesh and dwelt amongst us,”[7] it was proper to portray Him in Icons. To attack Icons was, therefore, tantamount to attacking and denying the doctrine of the Incarnation itself.

Furthermore, the Holy Father explained to Leo that Church Tradition, doctrine, and teaching, and the governance of the Church, were matters for the Hierarchy alone to determine, and not for laymen to decide. The Emperor was unmoved. Ignoring the Saint’s direction, he convened a council of political officials to meet and decide the matter of the veneration of Icons. These laymen, cognizant of, and obedient to, the Emperor’s wishes, ruled in favor of outlawing Sacred Iconography. Saint Germanos, when asked to assent to the rulings of the illicit council, defiantly told Leo that only an Oecumenical Synod might pass judgment on a matter of Church Tradition so profound as that of Holy Icons and that, consequently, he refused to have any dealing with those who would dare to violate that Holy Tradition. He then resigned as Patriarch and retired to his family estate. There, in complete seclusion, he wrote extensively against the Iconoclastic heresy.

Saint Germanos reposed around the year 742 and is commemorated on May 12th. After the Triumph of Orthodoxy, his relics were brought to Constantinople and interred in the Church of the Holy Apostles. According to The Synaxarion, the relics were stolen during the Fourth Crusade, when the Frankish invaders sacked Constantinople. They now rest in a Church in the small town of Bort-lès-Orgues in the Massif Central region of France.

During the Holy Father’s battle with the Emperor Leo, he wrote of the sources of authority in matters of Church dogma, describing the Church as “prefigured in the patriarchs, foretold by the prophets, founded in the apostles, adorned by the hierarchs, and fulfilled in the martyrs.”[8] This statement is significant since, as author and scholar Father George Peter Bithos writes, nowhere in the Saint’s “catalogue of the traditional fount of authority within the Church” is there any mention of the Emperor having any function or responsibility.[9] Neither an Emperor nor any other secular ruler possesses authority in questions pertaining to Church teaching. Therefore, in his activities related to the veneration of Icons, Leo III was clearly overstepping his proper role.

Upon the elevation of Orthodox Christianity to the official religion of the Empire during the reign of Saint Theodosios the Great, the theory of “symphony” or “harmony” was developed, in which it was affirmed that both Church and state have their legitimate realms: the realm of the Church, or sacerdotium, is spiritual, while that of the state, or imperium, is temporal. Properly, the two realms work together in cooperation, in “symphony,” and yet they are distinct in their functions.

We see this concept encapsulated in the Preamble to the Edict of April 17, 535 of Saint Justinian I, in which the Emperor states: “The greatest gifts which God in His heavenly clemency bestows upon men are the priesthood and the Imperial authority. The former ministers to Divine things, the later presides and watches over human affairs; both proceed from one and the same source and together they are the ornaments of human life.” He ends by saying that “if the priesthood is in all matters free from vice and filled with faith in God, and if the Imperial authority with justice and efficiency sets in order the commonwealth committed to its charge, there shall be an ideal harmony to provide whatever is useful for the human race.”[10]

In spiritual matters, most especially those involving the fundamentals of the Church’s dogmatic teachings, a layman, even if he is a monarch, is without authority or jurisdiction and, as a consequence, in its own realm the Church must be free from any interference by the state. Conversely, so long as the Emperor obeys the Law of God and respects the independence of the Church, Hierarchs and other clergy do not presume to interfere in the decisions of government. Saint Ambrose of Milan reminded Saint Theodosios of that in a letter he wrote to the Emperor: “It is not worthy of the emperor to deny the freedom of speech, or of a bishop not to say what he thinks. Nothing makes you emperors so beloved as your regard for the freedom even of those who owe you military obedience. For this is the difference between the good and the bad princes, that the good love liberty while the bad love servitude. Nothing is to the priest so dangerous before God and so ignominious before men as not to say freely what he thinks.”[11] Obviously, the heretic Leo did violate the independence of the Church in spiritual matters, and did interfere with the freedom of the Church to speak and act as She saw fit. And while Saint Germanos was a heroic struggler for Truth and for the independence of the Church, his immediate successor, Anastasios, surrendered the Church to the secular ruler and remained a supinely submissive instrument of the bizarre and blatantly heretical whims of the Emperor Leo.

We have no all-powerful Emperors in our modern era, none with the power to attempt to force the Church into a compromise of her Divine legacy and mission, although we do have other forms of government that claim total power. The notion of a “symphony” between Church and state perished, at least for the time being, with the death of Saint Nicholas, the Tsar-Martyr nearly a century ago. Instead, today, we have secular governments that advocate the “separation of Church and state,” which in practice, more often than not, has become “the separation of God and state.” And we find the most extreme example of that kind of separation in the Soviet Union. There, the state was not only separated from God, it promptly took upon itself the task of obliterating any consciousness of God and exterminating those who believed in God, a task that led to the greatest mass murder in history, truly the Holocaust of Holocausts.

That the Bolsheviks were enemies of God was not something that gradually developed over time. On the contrary, they made their goal shockingly and bloodily clear from the very beginning. When they confronted the Holy Patriarch Saint Tikhon with demands that he and the Church support the Bolshevik state without qualification, he refused, since he was convinced “that the boundary of the ‘political’ demands of the Soviet power lay beyond the bounds of faithfulness to Christ and the Church.”[12] In that refusal Saint Tikhon followed in the steps of Saint Germanos of Constantinople and for that refusal Saint Tikhon paid with his life.

In contrast, we have the example of Metropolitan Sergius of Nizhni-Novgorod, who, while Locum Tenens of the Russian Patriarchate after the death of Saint Tikhon, imitated the timidity and treachery of Saint Germanos’ successor, Anastasios. Metropolitan Sergius issued his infamous declaration of July 16, 1927 (o.s.) in which he asserted that the joys of the Bolshevik state were the joys of the Russian Orthodox Church, while the sorrows of the Godless Ones were the sorrows of the Church. In other words, the Metropolitan gave, in the name of the Church, his blanket approval to the aims of Bolshevism.

It is said that in doing what he did Metropolitan Sergius “saved the Church,” a preposterous and outrageous claim that is an insult to the memory of Patriarch Saint Tikhon and all of the New Martyrs of the Communist Yoke, and equally an insult to the memory of all of the Holy Martyrs of Orthodox Christianity. Metropolitan Sergius did not “save the Church” he “saved nothing but his own skin,”[13] to quote the words of Russian Orthodox writer and philosopher, Boris Tantalov.

Encouraged by the submission of Metropolitan Sergius, the Bolsheviks increased their persecution against those who opposed the Metropolitan’s betrayal and even against clergy who acquiesced in that betrayal. Thousand upon thousands of Orthodox clergy and monastics were martyred and thousands more consigned to labor camps, where they perished from maltreatment. And that vicious persecution continued right up until the German invasion of 1941, when it became clear to Stalin that to win the loyalties of the Russian people to fight the invader, it would be necessary to allow the Church a tiny bit of freedom—a temporary, tactical change in Soviet policy that was reversed by Nikita Khrushchev in 1959. Metropolitan Sergius did not “save the Church;” the Savior of the Church and of Orthodox Christians is Christ God.

Thanks to God’s Grace, the Bolsheviks never, even at their worst, had the power completely to destroy the Church. The pagan Romans could not do that in the early centuries of Christianity, and neither could the Bolsheviks do it in the twentieth century. What Metropolitan Sergius did accomplish was to make that part of the Russian Church under his control an official mouthpiece of the Bolshevik murder machine and an apparatus for the dissemination of lies, for example that there was no persecution of Christians in the USSR, a lie which it upheld without respite from 1927 through the end of the Soviet era. The Sergianist part of the Church supported Soviet foreign and domestic policies to the hilt. And, despite pretences to the contrary, the Sergianist Hierarchs and clergy were never at liberty to speak their minds or to act freely. Their purpose was to serve as grovelling creatures of an officially atheistic regime, a purpose that most of them carried out with such unswerving devotion that they received the plaudits of their masters. Saint Ambrose of Milan, who instructed Emperor Saint Theodosios about the freedom of speech necessary for a spiritually healthy Church, would have been appalled!

So we see that history often repeats itself. The courage of Saint Tikhon of Moscow is a reflection of the courage of Saint Germanos of Constantinople and of all other heroes of Truth and of the Faith down through the ages, just as the spiritual poverty and duplicity of Sergianism is a reflection of the spiritual poverty and duplicity of the despicable heretics of old.

We at this parish, and those in other traditionalist Orthodox parishes, have taken a stand for Truth, alongside Saint Germanos and Saint Tikhon and numberless others. We reject Sergianism and we reject any compromise of the Faith, regardless of the banners under which such compromise is flaunted: modernism, renovationism, ecumenism, new calendarism, or whatever. Therefore, let each of us resolve to continue to stand side by side with the Saints and to reject the worldly enticements of the weak and of the faithless.

Fr. James Thornton

footnotes: http://www.holytrinityoxnard.org/bin/Sermons/0D82153A-D1AA-4555-BD04-59C48725FDFF.html

Our New Bishop Gregory's Speech

This speech reveals again that we are back under the leadership of Christ's true shepherds who recognize apocalyptic imminent tribulations and deceptions. 0ur new bishop recognizes the R0C0R-MP union as the work of antichrist. And, it seems, his episcopacy was predicted about 23 years ago. He asks for our prayers.

Here is the English translation:

On Saturday [7/26] evening, at the Church of the Holy Trinity, after the services of Vespers and Matins for the following day, there took place the ceremony of the Great Edict. Bishop Gregory of São Paolo, Brazil, and South America. During this time, the Bishop-elect tearfully read an address, which profoundly moved the large crowd of those in attendance, and which we append below:

Most Reverend Hierarchs:

When, in 1986, my family and I visited the Monastery in Jordanville, the ailing Elder, Father Gury, said to my Matushka, while pointing at me: “Know that he will become a Bishop!” We considered his words to be simply those of a person in ill health. But when the Lord called my beloved Matushka to His Heavenly Abode and the proposals and pressures, so to speak, on the part of both the clergy and the faithful began, I then understood that those words had been prophetic.

And now, when, by the Will of the Most High, the time has come for this prophecy to be fulfilled, a feeling of fear, trembling, and reverence has filled my entire being. Approaching the Mystery of Consecration to the Episcopacy, I call to mind the venerable Hierarchs about whom I have heard or read or whom I personally knew, the majority of whom have already passed into eternity, while others are still alive. All of them were adorned with education, wisdom, piety, and an outstanding ecclesiastical formation.

And now that I am to be elevated to the Episcopacy in their succession and to receive the Apostolic mantle, fear fills my spirit—fear lest, by my own entrance into this sacred company, I will degrade the Hierarchical vocation. I know that this twofold Grace cannot be contained in an unclean vessel, and, aside from my physical weaknesses, I am replete with many sins, the dreadful accumulations of my own will. I would like to find a hole in the ground, so that I could hide therein from the All-Seeing Eye of God, but “Whither shall I flee from Thy presence, O Lord?” Through you, Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Lord calls me, the unworthy one, to serve His Holy Church in the Apostolic office. But what conditions the Holy Church lives in today! If the Fathers of old were already lamenting with dread the apostasy of the world from the Faith and the Church, then we can affirm with certainty that we are living in apocalyptic times, when apostasy has reached its apogee. False teachers and false Christs have won over almost the entire world. On account of the loss of “him that restraineth,” the anointed of God, all spiritual values have changed and there do not exist today righteous people who see as evil that which the Holy Orthodox Church sees as evil. So-called “world Orthodoxy” has long since entered the arena of globalization, which has as its goal the preparation of mankind to welcome the world leader and god on earth, the Antichrist.

The cunning of the Evil One has succeeded in rending asunder and dismantling her who stood firm in the past, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which for eighty whole years was the stronghold of Orthodoxy and the beacon of pristine and incorruptible Truth. An unbelievable temptation exploded like a bomb in the midst of our own ROCA and scattered the faithful in every conceivable direction. It is manifestly our primary concern to gather them together. The spirit of globalization is striving to gain ground in reinforcement of such disintegration. Borders between nations are disappearing, national values have been lost, and nations have been transformed into an amorphous mass. But here is the paradox: in the world, when it was divided into nations and states at war with each other, there was much greater love than there is today, when so many evil elements have been amalgamated in an external unity. You see what difficulties the Hierarchy of what is left of the ROCA is experiencing. And it is on this path of the Episcopate, the way of the Cross, that I am entering—I, the sinner. I am in need of much help, but first and foremost of the special blessing of God, the blessing of wisdom and discretion, which will aid me in the just rendering of what is God’s to God and of what is Caesar’s to Caesar, and to condescend to human infirmities, but also to stand firm in the Truth even unto martyrdom.

Pray for me, Most Reverend Hierarchs, the least Hieromonk and the most sinful of all, and you, the Orthodox people, likewise, that Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who is glorified in Trinity, by the intercessions of His All-Immaculate Mother, Our Lady and Ever-Virgin Mary, may fill me with the spiritual wealth of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen!
* * *

Full Report: http://www.synodinresistance.org/pdfs/2009/08/18/20090818VisitToBrazil%20Folder/20090818VisitToBrazil.pdf

MP Desecration of Relics

From: Irina Sergeyevna, kn. Bagration Mukhranskaya
Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2009 6:03 PM
Subject: Jerusalem

Words cannot express my outrage at the desecration of the relics of the New Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna as described by a priest in the Holy Land. The mafia style operation conducted by the Moscow Patriarchate representatives to achieve their wicked and impious aim is shocking. Is anyone still surprised at how far the ROCOR Synod of Bishops has moved towards annexation?

The following speaks for itself. Moscow Interfax/Religion, 28 August 2008, reported that Mr. Vladimir Resin, First Deputy Mayor of Moscow, announced at a press conference that the reconstruction of the Martha-and-Mary Convent in Moscow had been completed, adding: “Thus, another tourist destination has been added in Moscow, and Muscovites and visitors can come here and take pleasure in the beauty of this place”.

The more true intents are unmasked, the more it is imperative for us to gather around and support His Eminence, Metropolitan Agafangel and the Synod of Bishops of The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad . Can we remain silent and passive when such an iniquity is perpetrated in the Gethsemane convent despite the strong protests of its Abbess and Nuns? They managed to protect St. Elizabeth's head which was demanded by Moscow but had to surrender a part of the arm and they had to watch it being broken away by the emissaries of a State that calls itself Christian.

Therefore I do not hesitate to voice my indignation and my revulsion at this act of sacrilege committed by persons who treat holy relics as "valuables" to be grabbed and confiscated for the benefit of a "tourist destination".

Irina Sergeyevna, kn. Bagration Mukhranskaya



Published at the site of portal-Credo.Ru
03-08-2009 10:55
DOCUMENT: The desecration of the relics of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna in Jerusalem. An open letter первоиерарху RPTSZ MT Metropolitan Hilarion


The Desecration of the Relics of the
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna in Jerusalem.

An Open Letter to the ROCOR(MP) Hierarch Metropolitan Hilarion.

With sorrow in my soul, I nonetheless decided to describe what I witnessed at the Gethsemane Convent on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. The Abbess of the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent in Moscow, Natalya Moliboga, flew into Jerusalem in the first week of June, 2009. She met with Hegumena Elizabeth, the Abbess of the Gethsemane Convent. She has tried in the past to convince the Hegumena to give her a large number of relics of Elizabeth Feodorovna for the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent in Moscow, explaining that the Mayor of Moscow, Yuriy Luzhkov, has demanded to take all of the relics of Elizabeth Feodorovna.

In the middle of June, Yekaterina suddenly arrived in Jerusalem by private jet. She is a close friend of Patriarch Kirill and the former wife of the Russian oligarch Vasiliy Anisimov. She claims the Patriarch is her spiritual father. Bishop Mikhail (Donskov) of Geneva arrived with her in the plane. He declared that as a bishop of the ROCOR(MP), he has a blessing from Archbishop Mark (Arendt) of Berlin and Germany, who cares for the Russian convents in the Holy Land, to transfer a significant part of the relics of Elizabeth Feodorovna to the nuns of the convent. All attempts by Hegumena Elizabeth to contact Archbishop Mark were unsuccessful. He would later say that “unknown forces” disconnected his cell phone and he was unable to use it for five days.

The two demanded that they be given the head of the martyred Saint Elizabeth Feodorovna. The Hegumena and the nuns categorically refused to fulfill this demand. Bishop Mikhail (Donskov) insisted that since he had received the blessing of Archbishop Mark, they should voluntarily give what is asked to avoid any conflicts with Mayor Luzhkov. Yekaterina Anisimova also insisted that transferring the relics was a personal request of the Patriarch. The most amazing thing was that neither Bishop Mikhail nor Anisimova could provide Hegumena Elizabeth any document or letter signed by Mayor Luzhkov, Patriarch Kirill, or at least Archbishop Mark.

After many hours of heated and harsh negotiations, Hegumena Elizabeth eventually did agree to let them have a piece of Elizabeth Feodorovna’s arm, on the condition of a written agreement, which was drafted and signed. The agreement states that no one from the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent or any representative of the Moscow Patriarchate will ever again request all or any part of the relics of the Grand Duchess. The agreement also states that this matter will never be discussed again.

The visitors kept saying that Mayor Luzhkov will continue to use any means he can to transfer all of the relics of Elizabeth Feodorovna to Moscow. They said that he has all the necessary paperwork. When asked by the nuns how Bishop Mikhail happened to arrive in the plane with this delegation, he answered that they “just happened to meet me in Rome and took me along.” It was an unbelievable tragedy for those nuns who were present and witnessed to see how the piece of the forearm was broken off and taken away as the agreed-upon relic. The situation was so tense, that it seemed a major uproar would break out. It was very difficult for the nuns to remain calm. Outside the walls of the Gethsemane Convent, three black Mercedes waited and the delegation later got in and left with the relic piece. Along the way to the airport, they were joined by the Abbess of the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent, Natalya Moliboga, who had remained hidden in the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission the whole week in anticipation of these events.

It is well known that the centennial of the founding of the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent in Moscow will be celebrated in September of this year. One of my spiritual daughters, who had been in Moscow, told me that a crypt for the relics of the Grand Duchess has already been prepared in the Church of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos in the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent. Apparently, it contains the vestments of the Grand Duchess and her pectoral cross. Even though it is known that these items were not on her, when Sokolov, the investigator, exhumed the body of Grand Duchess from the mineshaft near Alapaevsk. My calls to the bishops of the ROCOR(MP) were not answered. I hope that the Hierarch of the ROCOR(MP), Metropolitan Hilarion, will still reply to these unfortunate events, though these hopes are fading. I believe that a desecration of the relics of Elizabeth Feodorovna has occurred on the eve of the celebration of centennial of the founding of the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent, and that it can be compared only to her murder in 1918.

ROCOR(MP) Priest
Holy Land
July, 2009

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RELATED POST: http://rocorrefugees.blogspot.com/2009/05/mountain-and-dream.html

More “Truth” Committees

The ROCOR(MP) site recently had a short mention that committees representing ROCOR(MP) and the OCA would meet to “resolve their differences.” Please, spare us these committees! Last time, we had committees to “resolve their differences,” we had a large part of the Church Abroad abandon the Church’s principles and capitulate to the Moscow Patriarchate(MP). What will these new meetings bring? More capitulation? More abandoning of principles for the sake of emotions, feeling good, and false unity?

What will the OCA agree to? That they were wrong in recognizing the MP in the 70’s, when, at that time, it was especially clear that the MP was a tool of the Soviet government? Will they admit that they are watering down Orthodoxy for the sake of the “unique cultural circumstances” in North America, a phrase they repeat endlessly to defend their actions? Will they admit their acceptance of Western philosophies and deviation from Eastern Orthodoxy to, once again, in their view, to accommodate the diverse spectrum of Slavic communities in North America? Hardly.

What is more likely is that once again ROCOR(MP) will water down its position and beliefs and give in. Then there will be more of the usual grand church services, chock full of bishops, priests, deacons, worshippers. Gifts, icons, and bombastic words will be exchanged and everyone will go home feeling good about themselves. Peace and unity will reign and more people will be herded into World Orthodoxy, putting them on a slippery slope of further diluting their faith.

While all of this goes on, the ROCOR(MP) faithful continue their blissful sleep, as their clergy keeps information from them. Do the faithful think the disagreements between the Church Abroad and the OCA are just another leftover from the Cold War period? Were Met. Philaret and all the bishops at the time wrong? Misguided, unenlightened, reactionary? Or is it the case that, once again, times have changed, everything is different now, as they love to repeat? Sadly, all that is changed is the faith continues to be eroded.

Many ROCOR(MP) faithful also avoid responsibility by saying, “it’s all just politics and has nothing to do with the faith.” They couldn’t be more wrong. These are matters of doctrine and beliefs. Orthodoxy has had to defend itself from such veiled threats throughout the centuries. Reducing Christianity to just “the Jesus story” and expecting all churches to unite is a diabolical plot and must be fought against to your dying breath. That is the sacrifice made throughout the history of Orthodoxy and what is expected of all of us.

A Unreal Bishop

From: "Peter N. Budzilovich"
To: [friends]
December 9, 2008
Dear Friends:

On Nov. 26, 2008, as soon as my wife and I learned the results of the ROCOR(V) Bishop’s Council, we immediately notified Bishop Vladimir that he cannot continue living in our home. Overall, he lived in our home (rent free, about a $1000-per-month value) since 2003.

Some reasons for our decision were cited in a report about the demolition of the Nyack church by him [http://www.russia-talk.com/otkliki/ot-597.htm]. All that was built (not by him!) during the past five years, on Nov. 30, 2008 was taken down, piled up in cars and trucks, and carted away…

The ecclesiological reasons for our decision are provided in statements by Fr. Nikolai Furtatenko, [http://www.russia-talk.com/otkliki/ot-596.htm], as well as by Fr. Aleksie Legostaev and Fr. Sergi Zhumabaev [http://www.russia-talk.com/otkliki/ot-599.htm].

Over the past five years our vibrant Orthodox parish, founded by Fr. Paisi Malykhin in 2001, was essentially destroyed with over 45 members leaving (i.e. ¾ of the membership). Whereas, we were originally in a position to expand and eventually build a self-standing church, it’s all gone now. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Mathews, 7:16-20.

Some of Bishop Vladimir’s personal behavior could be attributed to his youth (he was born Jan. 28, 1966), as well as to his upbringing in a Communist society. We further attempted to justify his strange acts by telling ourselves – “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Mathews, 7:1-5. And we consoled ourselves with a talk about “temptations,” “obedience,” etc. However, during the course of time, he also revealed his antimonarchy (“tsareborchestvo”) beliefs, and his essentially anti traditional Orthodox views. Finally, his violations of church rules at the last Council, and the Councils’ failure to follow Church tradition and canons forced us to break away.

As far as the overall ROCOR(V) is concerned, during his “guidance” of the church, a number of clergy in various dioceses and parishes has left the fold. To wit: Bishops Viktor Pivovarov, Anthony Rudei; protopriests Alexander Amilakhvari, Benjamin Joukoff, Nikolai Semenoff, Spyridon Schneider, Andrew Kencis, Anatoli Trepachko, Ioann Savchenko; priests Christopher Johnson, George Tsap, Aleksei Staritsyn, Andrei Rybin, Sergi Shuklin, Vyacheslav Lebedev; deacon John Somers; monk Onuphri, monk Boris. This partial tragic list of 18 clerics(!) can be continued…

Sadly, as the numbers of our jurisdiction have dwindled in both laymen and clergy, the Bishop did not put forth even one positive initiative to stop the exodus, clinging rather to the safety of his room, in our house. When in Summer of 2006 a band of thugs came to Mansonville and practically imprisoned Metropolitan Vitaly, [http://www.russia-talk.com/otkliki/ot-490.htm], he cowardly “weathered the storm” in that room. The thought of traveling to Mansonville to aid M. Vitaly, apparently, had not even entered his mind. A group of Montreal and Nyack parishioners defended the Metropolitan and the monastery on their own, while b. Vladimir kept hiding in our house.

God’s blessings,
P. and C. Budzilovich

N.B. Our sincere apology to those who have not mastered Russian yet – all the links above point to Russian texts. But you may use any of the numerous free online translation services, such as this: http://babelfish.yahoo.com/

Concerning Super Correctness

Concerning Super Correctness
A Word of Warning to the Orthodox Christians of the West
By Bishop [now Metropolitan] Cyprian of Oropos and Fili

For over fifty years [as of 1976] the Orthodox Old Calendarists of Greece have fought a courageous battle, in the face of sometimes fierce persecution, for the preservation of genuine Orthodoxy against modernism and ecumenism. Unfortunately, their witness has to some extent been undermined by the presence among them of extreme views which have caused unnecessary schisms. In the end, this extremism has only aided the cause of modernism, which rejoices at every division among those of traditional views. This "temptation from the right side" is now making itself felt in America and the Western world in the form of new schisms, over hasty accusations of "heresy" and "betrayal", and the spread of the spirit of suspicion towards everyone not of one's own "party". The present warning, in the form of a letter to Saint Herman Brotherhood from one of the most respected leaders of the Old-Calendarist movement in Greece, is a most timely one. Bishop Cyprian is also Abbot of the Monastery of Sts. Cyprian and Justina in Fili, near Athens.

YOU HAVE WRITTEN asking me to put together a few words describing the dangers of the temptation of a "super-correctness" in questions of Orthodox faith and practice, and the damage it has caused to the Greek Church in our days. This you would like as a warning to those in America who are troubled by this same temptation, and you would like them to benefit from our experience here. Very gladly, therefore, we will attempt to do this, emphasizing from the beginning that we have no wish to criticize persons, but rather the mentality of extremism, the danger of temptation "from the right."

We must begin with a few words on our confession of faith: the Orthodox Church is deeply wounded by the heresy of ecumenism, the betrayal of the hierarchy in some communist lands, the abandonment of every vestige of Orthodox piety in some parts of the Diaspora. We have no doubt that the leaders of the ecumenical movement, in fully equating Orthodoxy with heresy, have fallen away from the Church. With such, and those who commune with them, we can have no communion at all, nor can we regard them any longer as Orthodox, but wolves, all too often in the sheep's clothing of Patriarch's and bishops. Every witness of the Fathers confirms that economy in matters of heresy constitutes betrayal. We regard the new calendar as the first step in the ecumenical movement, and thus can have no communion with new calendarists.

From the above, two questions arise: firstly, have all those with whom we have severed communion fallen into heresy, and placed themselves outside the Church? Secondly, if they have not, what justification do we have in cutting off prayerful relations with them? Both these questions require much thought. Insofar as the ecumenists are concerned, one can discern three categories:
(1) Those who wholly equate Orthodoxy with heresy, and thus voluntarily place themselves outside the Church in some sort of vague "superchurch."
(2) Those who, while they in no way negate their Orthodoxy, nonetheless take part in joint prayer with heretics in transgression of the canons. We may perhaps call them anti-canonical rather than openly heretical.
(3) Those who, while they disagree to a greater or lesser extent with ecumenism, commune with the ecumenists, perhaps considering that they do so using economy.

We, pursuing the purity of the faith, can have no communion of prayer with the clergy who belong to these categories. But the vexed questions are: how are we to treat their flock? What degree of economy is permissible in our dealings with them? Which of the above clergy have definitely lost the grace of the priesthood through their apostasy? It is much the same questions, so far as we know, which wracked the Catacomb Church in Russia in its early years (and perhaps now), and it is disputes over these questions which have caused the greatest troubles amongst the Old-Calendarists of Greece.

These troubles we will summarize very briefly: in 1935, three bishops of the new calendar Church of Greece returned to the observance of the old calendar, and immediately consecrated four new bishops. The subsequent history of these does not concern us here, except for one; he, Bishop Matthew, a man of great personal virtues but extremist temperament, in 1937 separated himself from the other hierarchs, forming a schism which exists to the present day. The reason for his action was that the senior bishop, Metropolitan Chrysostomos, was asked in an interview if he considered that the State Church had lost the Grace of the Sacraments in accepting the calendar innovation. He replied no, only a future council could condemn the new-calendarists as definitely outside the Church; what we know is that they are seriously guilty before the Church, its canons and traditions, and therefore we can have no communion with them until such time as they return to the traditions and discipline of the Church. This truly Orthodox ecclesiology, which can be paralleled particularly in St. Theodore the Studite, met with incomprehension on both sides. Both the new-calendarists and a section of the old-calendarists condemned him as illogical: if they have grace, what justification exists for separation from them? As noted above, one of the newly-consecrated bishops departed and formed a schism which exists to the present day. We can only see this as a fruit of the mentality of over-correctness,"of a neglect of the economy which the Church requires to use for the salvation of souls. The damage caused to the Greek Church is immeasurable, for had this division not occurred, the State Church of Greece would long have been obliged to return to the old calendar.

We can cite other examples of this "overcorrectness" from our own experience. A fearful example is the following: A few years ago a woman, unfortunately a nun, reading through the works of St. Nectarios, the great wonderworker of our times, came across a few passages which she considered as not in accord with Orthodox teaching. A discerning mind would see in these passages the influence primarily of the westernized theological training which the Saint received, and of the historian Paparigopoulos (from whose book the passages are taken almost directly), and certainly no intentional contradiction of Orthodox teaching. The unfortunate nun, however, proceeded to write three books denouncing St. Nectarios as a "heretic, iconoclast, ecumenist, and Latin." Simple people were influenced, many souls were wounded and scandalized. This fanatical mentality, as so often, had seized a detail while ignoring the whole—the exemplary and holy life of St. Nectarios and his innumerable miracles.

Another example is provided for us by a group of persons who have severed all communion with all the Orthodox in Greece because the hierarchs will not officially condemn as heretical the western-style icon of the Holy Trinity (with God the Father represented as an old man, and the Holy Spirit as a dove). Neglecting everything else, they have seized on this detail, and have been led into schism. Their struggle for the removal of this iconic type has become an obsession, a prelest.

We should, however, in fairness point out that these disputes have often been made much worse by the opponents taking an equally fanatical position. Discretion is needed on both sides. It is also true that extremism amongst the old-calendarists has been fostered by the savage persecutions which the State Church has launched from time to time.

One of the most disastrous examples of the phenomenon of which we are speaking is the disputes between the zealots of the Holy Mountain. Many, to be sure, are clearminded and sure of their purpose, but others waste so much time in useless disputes. In one and the same skete, one can find in each house a different ecclesiology, a different mentality, and not one in communion with their neighbors. They have seized on details, and all too often, in their lack of theological education, have seized on them quite incorrectly. Often their opinions are rational, but taken to extremes; others, however, become very strange; one group believes that the name of Jesus shares in His Divinity, and that all who do not so believe are heretics; another, that those who practice frequent Holy Communion are heretics and excommunicate; another has reached the old-believer position that the grace of the priesthood has vanished from the Church; and so forth. We must emphasize again that we have no wish to criticize persons; many have a holiness which we never dare hope to attain. We only criticize that mentality which leads to division and schism.

Now, to return to the questions mentioned at the beginning, we would like to relate something which we observed recently. A few months ago I visited Romania, and in one of the celebrated historical monasteries (belonging, naturally, to the official Church of Romania), was very kindly received by the Abbot, a man of evident spiritual qualities and considerable education. He began to speak enthusiastically about the ecumenical movement and the reunion of the "churches." To this I replied with such words as God enlightened me with, and I observed from his reaction that he had never before heard a point of view opposed to ecumenism. After the meeting, he told the Romanian bishop who was accompanying us that he had been much edified by the conversation. This gave me occasion for thought: it would be easy to condemn him immediately as an ecumenist and a heretic.

But this was not the case; despite his education, he had never given the matter deep thought (though certainly he should have done so), he had never heard any criticism of ecumenism, it had never occurred to him that it was a denial of Orthodoxy. To place him in the same category as, let us say, Meliton of Chalcedon, would be quite unjust. Perhaps it would be fair to use the same criteria to judge the faithful in the Soviet Union, who, with few exceptions, are obliged to have recourse to the Moscow Patriarchate, or the many faithful in outlying parts of Greece who have no conception of the calendar question. For every category we must use discretion; it is impossible in all cases to apply the same strictness, while on the other hand, we must remember that economy used as a measure in itself becomes an abuse, and that in matters of real heresy there can be no use of economy.

In conclusion, we would say that the error of "over-correctness" is a form of prelest, and like the other forms, this means a blindness, an obsession. The Fathers say that prelest begins with self-reliance, and so it is: whilst pursuing some probably very laudable particular end, the general picture becomes forgotten, there sets in a hardening of mind and heart which results in dispute and fanaticism. The history of the Church provides us with many examples, and most obviously, the old believers of Russia.

We hope that these few words may help your American readers in the understanding of the mature Orthodoxy which your publications always seek to put forth.

From The Orthodox Word, July-August 1980 (93), 164ff.
source: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/super.aspx


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√ photo of Comrade Mikhailov a.k.a. Patriarch Kyrill crossing himself

√ Fr. George Petrenko was tonsured into monasticism today [8/3] with the name Gregory (for St Gregory Palamas) and will be consecrated to Bishop of Sao Paulo and South America.

Reader Services Library

... to do at least minimal readers' services in a committed, orderly fashion Fr. Gregory recommends:

-- at minimum, Saturday evening/ Sunday morning and feast-day eves and/or mornings, vespers (even if skeletal), matins, hours & typica.

 Skeletal services require only
• Horologion,
• LC (liturgical calendar)
• ODS (Order of Divine Services)
• Psalter
• New Testament,
well within the means of even the poorest (certainly less than the cost of a cable subscription for a couple of months!).

 Build from there -- add the
• Octoechos & you've got a lot.

 Add the
• Triodion & • Pentecostarion & you've got a lot more.

 • Then Menaion services. If the bound editions are out of the question (decidedly pricey @ $75-$150/month!), acquire the loose-leaf services for occurring Sundays & important feasts each month, certainly under $30/month. Do it for 7-8 years & you've got a pretty complete Menaion (costs more in the end, though).

 Get all that in hand (or rather on the bookshelf) and you can really do readers' services. Strongly recommended, esp. for those who cannot get to complete church services (in a language understood of the people!) with some frequency.

liturgical book available through St. John of Kronstadt Press, sjkp.org