It was written in 2007. Does that mean it is "old" news? If your beloved gave you a large diamond in 2007, would you say today that it is an "old" diamond not as sparkling as it was before?
Some American sayings:
-"Birds of a feather flock together."
-"A man is known by the company he keeps."
We Orthodox have this and more. We are known by our love for one another.
This is our Sister Church. They recognize us. They understand us. They watch our trials. They fearlessly identify and accuse our enemies by name. They see our strengths and weaknesses. They sympathize with us and share our pains. They pray for us. They love us. They commune with us from the same Cup.
Reading this report we can view ourselves, and our situation, through the eyes of our faithful friends.
First we should say that, in general, as evinced both in the history of the Old Testament Israel and in the history of the Church, the New Israel, prior to any difficult trial, the Lord always fortifies with His Grace those who are about to pass through such an ordeal. I could say the same, without any hyperbole, with regard to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
During its formation as a jurisdiction, the Church Abroad went through significant hardships. As you know, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) himself maintained incorrect views on a dogma which is central in our Christian doctrine—the dogma of redemption. This in no way diminished the quality of his skills as a spiritual Father and as the founder of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Indeed, in a private conversation between St. Seraphim of Sofia and Metropoltan Anthony about the notions underlying the Metropolitan’s book On the Dogma of Redemption, and several other publications of his, while the latter did not renounce these views of his, being a man of extremely high ecclesiastical consciousness, he promised the Holy Hierarch, St. Seraphim, not to disseminate these views, lest they sow discord and occasion temptations in the Church. And this—his promise—he fulfilled. Nevertheless, after his repose, his disciples and admirers commenced promulgating his erroneous views on a wide scale, by publishing his works on these subjects.
Then another very important event occurred, one which shook the Orthodox world to its very foundations; viz., the wholly unilateral initiatives, in the mid-1960s, by the Patriarch of Constantinople, Athenagoras, for rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church. The virtually autocratic and illicit revocation of the Anathema of 1054 against Rome, Athenagoras’ meeting with Pope Paul VI in Jerusalem, in 1964, and the overt super-ecumenical policies of Patriarch Athenagoras, a thirty-third degree Mason, created panic among many of the True Orthodox faithful, both in the Greek-speaking Orthodox world and in the Slavic Orthodox world—and particularly in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. On the one hand, this Church was at the time in isolation; on the other hand, and especially after Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) became its Chief Hierarch, it took the manifest path of being a Confessor of Orthodoxy in the struggle against modernism and ecumenism and the policies that were strongly advocated by Patriarch Athenagoras in the mid-1960s.
To our great regret, the leftist leanings in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad became preponderant. This tendency actually surfaced as early as the 1970s and the 1980s, during the presidency of Metropolitan Philaret. Even at that point, dissent was beginning to occur among the clergy and the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, though in secret and covertly. It had not yet revealed itself in some form of fractionalism or in some overt movement, but, rather, in the formation and declaration of simple opinions. For example, Archbishop Averky was not perceived in an unambiguously positive light; on the contrary, he was seen as too conservative and withdrawn from the modern world and its problems. The Archbishop was openly taunted, in Jordanville, as a brooding person who ceaselessly preached on apocalyptical subjects and possessed no cheerfulness—albeit cheerfulness as seen from the Western mind-set. Cheer and optimism, from this view, exist solely within the realm of this world; otherwise, one is doomed to gloom, dejection, and boredom: “We will not listen to such people as Archbishop Averky, since they are killjoys.”
Unfortunately, the liberal clergy and laity in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad took advantage of these past errors in characterizing the Moscow Patriarchate, in order to substantiate their “leftist” leanings. As well, many mistakes were made in relation to the rash establishment of parishes in Russia, after the fall of Communism, and especially with the hasty and unconsidered consecration of Bishops there. And those errors, regrettably, very quickly and in rather short term eroded the lofty spiritual authority of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which accrued to it during the several decades in which it dauntlessly spoke about the true conditions of the Orthodox in Soviet Russia, sending—insofar as possible, in the prevailing conditions—ecclesiastical and theological books everywhere within the boundaries of the U.S.S.R. of that time.
Hence, we come to the tragic events which took place around the year 2000. It was in that year that Archbishop Mark, who is doubtlessly the leader of the movement for union with the Moscow Patriarchate, succeeded in gathering around himself the rest of the Bishops. Metropolitan Vitaly’s poor health was categorically misused both “on the left” and “on the right.”
And what is the situation among the clergymen, the monastics, and the laity? What is happening among them, generally speaking?
A faction of the clerics of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, of fanatical and extremist mentality, left the Church Abroad long ago, establishing their own jurisdictions, which began disintegrating in a fashion similar to that which we see in the extremist Greek Old Calendarist jurisdictions. By their existence, by what they speak, write, and do, they bring enormous detriment to our Churches and our witness, since they allow others to create a false caricature of us. By their fanatical and extremist conduct, they create a horrendous image of Orthodoxy. In so doing, they supply additional grounds for the modernistic and liberal-minded members of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, who are in favor of union with the Moscow Patriarchate, to declare:
So, I ask you to pray for these fathers, brothers and sisters of ours, whose hearts and consciences are literally crucified. In my opinion, the best outcome of this extremely dire situation is that there might eventually be elected, precisely from the midst of these responsible suffering clerics and laymen, people worthy of the Episcopal office, who will in fact continue the struggle of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, standing in the fullness of the Orthodox Faith and having as their goal spiritual victory, in their very lives, and the fullness thereof, not in words, not in phrases, not in writing, but in spirit and truth, which are essential and definitive.
March 14th, 2008 at 5:55 am
September 10th, 2008 at 3:56 pm
November 20th, 2008 at 5:41 pm