The Anschluss Of MP and ex-ROCOR


Subject: Re The Anschluss Of MP and ex-ROCOR
Date: Fri, September 18, 2009 9:45 pm
To: (more)

To: Exarchate Clergy and Faithful
From: SGPM [St. Gregory Palamas Monastery ]

This was sent to the monastery this morning. We felt that it was worth passing on. It describes the tragedy of the ROCA/MP in sensitive and moderate terms.

From: xxx

To: Bishop Gabriel

Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2009 3:48 PM

Subject: Russian Church

Dear Vladyka Gabriel,

Bless, Master,

My father was a stone-alcoholic. He was not one who preferred either beer, wine or booze; he drank them all, even mixing them in one drinking session. He paid the price for this and died at age 53 when I was only 17 and a senior in high school. I was called out of class the day that he died and by the next week I was working full-time and did not, at that time, return to school. You see, the only thing that my father left us was great debt. He drank and gambled all of his money away, even though he was well-paid as a union newspaper pressman in New York. Naturally, I discussed this with my mother (who became Orthodox before I did), asking her if he was a drinker when she married him. Her answer was "yes." I then asked her why, knowing that he was an alcoholic, she married him. She said that she thought that if they married, he would change for the better and quit drinking. Of course, sadly, that never happened.

The reason that I tell you this is that I see parallels in this experience and the union between ROCOR and Moscow. Even though the oft-stated conditions for reunion were not met, the union moved forward in hopes, I guess, that Moscow would change its ways and that ROCOR would be a good influence. The human condition being what it is, the more powerful and more grand gobbled-up the smaller entity and used it to further its own ends of world influence. I have sent you articles over the last couple of years that clearly demonstrate this fact, and I'm sure that you have more personal knowledge of such things than most. I have observed such happenings with much sadness and despair. I was hoping that one day someone would say, "This isn't working-out, we need to do something."

You are well aware of the disingenuous way that the meetings considering the union were conducted. Can anything good and holy come from such shenanigans? If the guidance did not come from the Holy Spirit, then where? When I became Orthodox 23 years ago (I was Orthodox in my heart for many years before), I certainly had a broad range of choices of Churches in the area of my home. My mother and I chose ROCOR for one reason and one reason only. It certainly wasn't because it was the most convenient or that we enjoyed the Slavonic and Russian, as we are not Russian and are all-American. The reason was that ROCOR, in spite of many pressures, clung fast to the total, unwavering, steadfast Truth of the Orthodox Faith. We knew that we could worship in Truth and in Love. Mom is gone now and has been for 20 years (next month) and my consolation is that she did not experience the betrayal that I and my wife feel. It's hard to realign one's beliefs after so many years, but when we did, we felt greatly blessed and rewarded.

I have personal knowledge that many who went along with the union did so very reluctantly, feeling boxed-in by their own circumstances and, yes, many of these are clergy. Others that I know still attend Church because there is nowhere else to go, but refuse to take Communion. Others, like myself and my wife, can't, out of conscience, attend a ROCOR Church, and we feel crushed and betrayed by our Bishops and priests. Relationships among former parish members are, to say the least, strained. Friendships and stronger relationships are severed, at times even within families. These are some of the fruits that this union has borne. My own former pastor voiced strong disagreement before the union but, when push came to shove, he went along to get along. Shortly thereafter, he was made an Archpriest! How many times were such stories repeated in the last couple of years?

Now I have learned that one of your priests, Fr. Demetrios Harper and his Matushka will be studying in Greece and, as a condition of receiving a stipend there, Father will be serving in the ecumenist, new calendar State Churches of Greece. How far have we come in the short time between when St. Met. Philaret was the First Hierarch and today! I have also learned that ROCOR has taken the extreme step of defrocking Met. Agafangel, a man of conscience and faith. Apparently this action was not taken because he deviated from the Faith but because he refused to do so. Amazing!

In the long history of the Church we number among the Saints heroes who stood fast in the truth in the face of severe pressure to betray that Truth. Consider St. Athanasios, St. Maximos, St. John Chrysostom, St. Mark of Ephesus (my patron) and, most recently, St. Met. Philaret and a host of others who are now all numbered among the saints for their unwavering allegiance to Christ and His Church. Glory be to God!

Is ROCOR drifting towards the ecclesiology of Moscow or is Moscow coming closer to that of the former ROCOR? As a result of the union, is ROCOR becoming more or less entangled in the affairs of the ecumenists? My dear Vladyka, I think you know the answers to these questions. While we feel betrayed, we are unimportant. It is the betrayal of Christ's Truth that is all that matters.

Please pray for xxx (my wife) and me as I pray for you. Please give what I have said prayerful consideration. Excuse me for being blunt; I mean no disrespect to you. It is my broken heart that is speaking. I look forward to the day when a True Union, forged in Truth and in Love, can be forged among all Orthodox Christians.

Kissing your right hand and with prayerful best wishes,
xxx, Reader


mmcxristidis said...

My guess is + Gabriel stopped reading and threw this letter away after reading the first sentence in the second paragraph

Joanna Higginbotham said...

At this point I can't tell if Bp. Gabriel truly vacillated prior to the signing, or if he was just pretending to vacillate. I'm sad to say I have no trust of him, anymore. If he was pretending - it sure was an effective psychological ploy/tactic. How could he go from indecision to suing his parishes practically overnight?

I can relate to Reader Mark saying, "It's hard to realign one's beliefs after so many years.." After years of trusting and having certainty that R0C0R would always be a sure anchor, it is hard to change. And after years of praying for our bishops and thus growing in love for them, now we continue to love and pray for them, but without the trust it is a different love and a different prayer - not easy to change.

I thought about writing Bp. Gabriel before, but never did. I still may. I wouldn't ask his blessing, though. Not now, anyway.

Unprofitable Servant said...

The analogy here of the alcoholic family (and marriage) is entirely apt for the spuriously arranged 2007 marriage of the ROCOR-Laurus and the MP. In alcoholic families (and organizations) there are always some less-than-honest people who deny and enable the bad behavior-- pretending that everything is going well, whilst a father's drinking is, in fact, destroying the family (or the Church, as it were.) Usually, these "enablers" become favorites, rewarded by the alcoholic "fathers" for condoning and supporting their addictions and vices. Hence, people should be highly suspicious of any who achieved promotions, titles, status, money, or other rewards from the MP and/or the ROCOR-Laurus in the years before and after the Act of Canonical Union.