Miracles in Haiti

Fr. Gregory left for Haiti last Monday and was able to send a report to us today.  Here is the part that tells of the miracles:

...Perhaps the most astonishing bit of news:  Despite the violence of the event, the ikons of the Savior & Theotokos at MM were still on the wall just as left (as well as a photo of Matushka).  Likewise at St. Dorothy's (a few miles away): the cloture wall went down almost entirely (already rebuilt), but the church suffered not a crack, and two large icons of the Savior and Theotokos on the iconostasis and of St. Dorothy on an icon-stand remained firmly in place.  Likewise at Bill's home (the clinician, who treated 225 people the evening of the earthquake before they quit counting and ran out of supplies) -- two glass fronted icons stayed on the wall, though every dish in the house was broken; another, free-standing atop a cabinet, stayed in place while two photos in the same place smashed on the floor.  I hope he's listening!  Same at St. Augustine's (where the building damage is worse than I had thought) -- two hand-written icons on the iconostasis stayed in place, as did the icon of St. Augustine on its stand in the middle of the church.
...Again, astonishingly, Philippe's toe was the only significant injury amongst our people; other injuries were very minor...


√  From: Archbishop Chrysostomos
Evlogia Kyriou. May God bless you. I am very pleased to announce that this weekend, on the second Sunday of Lent, which is dedicated to the Great Luminary of Orthodoxy, St. Gregory Palamas, His Eminence, Archbishop Andronik of our Sister Church, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad under Metropolitan Agafangel, will be with us to celebrate this great and universal Saint of our Church and the Feast Day of our brotherhood.
  Vespers for the Feast will be on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. Matins will be on Sunday morning at 7:15 a.m., followed by the receiving of the Bishops and the Divine Liturgy at 9:00 a.m. A meal will follow immediately after Liturgy at 12:00 noon, with the male visitors eating at the monastery and female visitors at the nearby Convent of St. Elizabeth. A memorial services for the reposed monks and benefactors of the monastery will conducted on the afternoon of the Feast, after Sunday Vespers.
  Daily Presanctified Liturgy will be celebrated on Monday morning at 6:30 a.m. Any visitors who intend to stay over until Monday are welcome to attend the morning Liturgy either at the monastery or convent before departing.
   His Eminence, Archbishop Andronik will be departing on Tuesday morning.

 √ 2 Photos from Astoria, Vladyka's visit  {HERE}
- a group photo of our Metropolitan Agafangel in the center, Bishop Joseph on his right, and our Archbishop Andronik on his left, with clergy and laity of our ROCA, in our Astoria, New York, Holy Trinity Church. 

Memory Eternal Reader Nicholas

From Archbishop Chrysostomos:
Evlogia Kyriou.
 His having predicted that he would die on Thursday, at the end of Matins this evening, I was informed that Reader Nicholas Trahan from our parish of St. John Chrysostomos in Saugus (Boston), Massachusetts, has just quietly died, after an akathist service was chanted in his presence.

        Reader Nicholas, who leaves behind his wife, from whom he was divorced, and two teenage daughters (twins), was diagnosed with terminal cancer last Fall (acute myelogenous leukemia). He decided that he would, in the face of a hopeless prognosis, not treat his disease, but accept it as God's Will. This last weekend he saw his ex-wife and his two daughters, bid them farewell, and prepared himself for death in a most exemplary way.

        The funeral will be conducted by Father Gregory Telepneff at the parish in Saugus, and the body will be buried in Stratford, Connecticut, where a memorial service will also be conducted. Memorial services will also be conducted here at the monastery. I would ask that all of our clergy and parishes, as well as monastic institutions, remember Reader Nicholas for forty days, as is customary, in services.

        Just two short notes about Reader Nicholas. During his final months, Dr. George Kosar, a longtime friend and associate of Nicholas at the Sarov Press, which they both founded, looked after Nicholas, covering his expenses when he no longer had medical coverage, allowing him to die peacefully at his home, and not in a hospital facility, and affording him the dignity that he deserved in his last days. I have no words to describe my deep admiration and respect for Dr. Kosar (who is also a Reader at the St. John Chrysostomos parish), whose loyalty to Reader Nicholas, to our monastery, to the parish in Saugus, and to Metropolitan Cyprian our Synod of Bishops has been exemplary and inspiring.

        Secondly a further note about Reader Nicholas himself. After his divorce, he came upon difficult times. His illness, despite his courage and abundant faith up to the very last moment, was at times rather horrendously debilitating. When I stopped to see him on my return from Greece last Fall, I found him quite weakened and did not, in fact, think that he would live as long as he did. Nonetheless, he got up from his bed, greeted me, and embraced me as his "Papa," as he began calling me towards the end.

        Nicholas' last days, I am told, were especially difficult and he suffered a great deal of discomfort. Yet, he several times asked others to write to me, asking his "Papa" leave to die and expressing the same faith that I saw when I visited him on my return from Greece. The clear transformation and transition that I saw in him, the faith that he maintained to the end, and his spiritual growth at the close of his life leave me profoundly moved. I had not, candidly, expected to see such a striking strength in him. Yet, it was there.

        I hope that sharing these things with all of you will also give you the kind of inspiration that I took from Reader Nicholas' death. He is proof that one man with faith can do much, elevating himself and inspiring those around him. I am not fond of emotional displays or tributes.

        In this case, however, I had no choice but to express myself as I have, since the circumstances have demanded it.

        Aionia he mneme autou! May his memory be eternal!

        I thank all of you who prayed for Nicholas during his illness. A photograph of Reader Nicholas during a trip to Russia is attached.

The Last of the Romanovs?

Robert K. Massie, the author of the famous biography Nicholas and Alexandra, wrote a fascinating sequel several years ago entitled The Last of the Romanovs. I read both books, and thought that The Last of the Romanovs was exceptionally well-researched and well-documented. It recounts the rather remarkable story of how the relics of the Tsar Martyr Nicholas II and his family were discovered in the forest outside of Ekaterinberg several years ago. Subsequent DNA analysis of the relics-- using the closest surviving biological relatives of the Royal Martyrs (including the British royal family)-- confirmed beyond any reasonable scientific doubt that these relics were those of the Royal Romanov Martyrs.

I had an opportunity to venerate the relics of the Royal Martyrs at the Fortress of Sts. Peter and Paul in Petrograd in about 2003, shortly after they were enshrined there, in a ceremony that Patriarch Alexey II did not attend, as I recall. Hence, I am puzzled by these recent reports from Europe claiming that these relics are not those of the Royal Romanov Martyrs. Of course, I am not privy to any "inside" information, but anyone who has read The Last of the Romanovs will probably share my bewilderment about the recent claims regarding these relics. Hitherto, the only person I know who believed that the relics were inauthentic is a ROCOR parishioner from the Soviet Union who was very pro-Union ten years ago, and used to refuse to venerate the icon of the Royal Martyrs in our old ROCOR parish.

As a final note, when I was reading The Last of the Romanovs, the story of how these relics were discovered reminded me of many hagiographical stories from Orthodox Christian history about the often miraculous revelation of holy relics of the martyrs. I do recall thinking that "God is glorified in his saints," as I read this remarkable story. Of course, that, in and of itself, does not vouch for the relics' authenticity, but the whole account had a distinctly Orthodox Christian quality.

I wonder if the current stories circulating in the Russian Federation about the inauthenticity of these Romanov relics is part of an attempt to conceal the embarrassment of the Moscow Patriarchate regarding the obvious absence of their former chief hierarch, Patriarch Alexey II, at the historic enshrinement of the relics in the Sts. Peter and Paul Fortress. Is the Kremlin now planning a re-enshrinement ceremony of sorts with Patriarch Kyril, Vladimir Putin, and the Romanov heir as the masters of ceremony?

House of Romanovs wants royal remains to be re-examined

24 February 2010, 16:18

Moscow, February 24, Interfax - The House of Romanovs has said it wants to re-examine what is thought to be the remains of the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family found in Yekaterinburg.

"Unfortunately, there is too much confusion in this case and some serious errors were made when the Yekaterinburg remains were being identified," Prince Georgy Mikhailovich, the son of the Romanovs' House head Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, told Interfax on Wednesday.

"Many of the facts uncovered suggest that the Commission was staging a political show for a date, rather than working to establish the truth," Romanov said.

The remains were buried in St. Petersburg in 1998 in haste and in defiance of the opinion of the Russian Orthodox Church and the House of Romanovs, he said.

"No satisfactory answers have been provided to the ten questions, formulated by independent scholars and referred to the Commission back in 1998 by the late Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II. Meanwhile, those were questions, which interested not only experts, but also people and millions of believers. The Church needed to console these people instead of leaving them with a feeling of having been deceived. The Commission did not care. There was a farce instead of an act of repentance and purification," he said.

The remains' authenticity must be further studied, Romanov said.

Our Skete Near San Diego

On the Sunday of Orthodoxy Reader Daniel phoned our Holy Resurrection Skete and had a very pleasant conversation with Mother Euphemia.
She said their skete used to be in the Serbian Church, but has now been over a year very happily with Met. Agafangel and Vladyka Andronik. 
She said, '"The number one reason that we left the Serbian church, was that it is in communion with the MP!"
She said that Fr. Vasily pronounced all the anathemas in Church this day, especially the anathema of ecumenism. And that she affirmed each one, especially the anathema of ecumenism.
She expressed solidarity with us and others in our ROCA, and seemed happy to receive the call, and asked for prayers from all of us.
They have no computer, newsletters, advertizing, etc. We want to remember to support them with our prayers.

Holy Resurrection Skete
721 Rainbow Crest Road
Fallbrook, Cal.
Hieromonk Basil (K.)
Nun Euphemia (Orlova)
phone & fax: 760-728-8587

Book Review: The Krajina Chronicles

Book Review
The Krajina Chronicles

Mr. & Mrs. RF-MP

Subject: Re: The Russian Federation (Putin) and the Moscow Patriarchy (Patriarch Kirill Gundiaev)
On Sat, Feb 20, 2010 at 11:32 PM, kotchoubey <kotchoubey@gmail.com> wrote:
Very interesting article on how Putin's Government having adopted Russian Orthodoxy to replace communism as a ideology is pursuing an aggressive policy in France to neutralize the Russian Orthodox Jurisdiction under Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the only Russian Church which has still not succumbed to the MP (Moscow Patriarchy) which took over the Russian Church Abroad on May 17, 2007.
The Russian Federation is aggressively pursuing the ownership of Church Real Estate in France and Western Europe as well as in the Holy Land and then turning them over to the MP.
Having failed to win them over (I believe that in the early 1990's they sued to gain control of the St. Alexandre Nevsky Cathedral on rue Daru and lost the law suite because the Cathedral  was built in 1864 on private contributions and not on Russian Imperial Government funds.   They now are planning to give a coup de grace to the French Jurisdiction (ex Metropolitan Evlogii) Cathedral on rue Daru and to the St Serge Seminary  by building a new MP Cathedral and Seminary. 

Orthodoxy Is At War

by Tatiana Senina, St. Petersburg, Russia [2000]
translated by Vladimir Moss
[edited for ROCOR Refugees -jh] 
In this year 2000 article we see the mentality that allows many to go along with the union. And there is much encouragement for ROCOR refugees, especially those of us in isolation.  And we are cautioned not to be lazy.

We live in a time of "war" for the Orthodox Church.  And the criteria for a time of war are always harder than for a time of peace. The Church needs first of all that believers become warriors; they must become warriors for the Church of Christ — that is, to offer themselves in an active way on behalf of the Church, capable of recognizing the teaching of Orthodoxy and of putting it into practice, and not simply seeking external adornment and a peacefully ritual life, occupying the role of passive observers, of sheep who always go behind the leader of the flock and are not capable of taking a step on their own.

In our time there are few pastors, and the flock must learn to do without them in case of necessity. So as to be warriors and soldiers of True orthodoxy, which is now surrounded on all sides by the hostile sea of the world, the Orthodox must learn independently to think, to pray, and to organize services and the communal life. They must not simply take part in enterprises already organized by someone else, basically living with normal secular interests and always expecting instructions on everything "from the bosses." If there be fewer believers than one would like, so be it, but they must be able to stand for their faith and the Church.

"Desire not a multitude of unprofitable children" (Sirach 16:1), 
says St. John Chrysostom.

"Such bring more occasion for blasphemy against God than if they were Christians. What need have I of a multitude? It is only more food for the fire. . . . This too one may see in war: that better are ten expert and brave men than ten thousand of no experience. These latter, besides that they do no work, hinder also those that do work. . . . Let us not make this our study, that (the people) may be many, but rather that they may be excellent; when this shall have been effected, then will that other follow also" (Chrysostom Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, 24, pp. 159–160, N&PNF, vol. 11).

Often an Orthodox community collapses because the priest who spiritually fed them moves somewhere or simply runs away; it also happens that the priest serving in the community is often away, and then all Divine Services cease. People wander off in different directions or sit at home instead of trying by their efforts to support at any rate some kind of services. No small part in this situation is played by priests who insinuate to their flock that serving according to a "priestless" rite is "uncanonical" and even "invalid." Such words are comprehensible when they come from the mouths of clergy of the "official churches" — they have to keep their flock in a condition of blind obedience and not allow competition in the market of "ritual services." But it would be good never to hear such insinuations from priests of the True Church, who must care, not for their own authority, but for their flock and its salvation.

But if you really want to have a community and Church life, begin now, yourselves, as you can, even if you make some mistakes in the Typikon, the reading, and the chanting.

(But, of course, one must strive to avoid such mistakes in accordance with one's strength and understanding.) The Lord, seeing your ardor and desire, will send people who will teach you how to serve correctly, and with time will also send His pastor. But if you sit crossing your arms and waiting until a well-ordered church life "falls from heaven," it may be that you will waste your whole life in this way — while boasting that "we are suffering deprivations and sorrows for the sake of the True Church!" Are not stories of departures of priests and the collapse of communities a result of the fulfillment of the words of the Lord: "For he that hath, to him shall be given; and he that hath not, from him shall be taken away that which he hath" (Mark 4:25)?

Not having a correct idea of Church life, the community was held together, not by its inner links — the common interests and strivings of the parishioners and their love for the Divine services — but by an external attachment to a concrete priest, and as a result remained with nothing. There are, by contrast, examples of communities that have remained without a pastor, but which have continued in spite of all obstacles and trials to keep together and to carry out Divine services — and in time the Lord sends them good pastors, nor are they "hirelings that care not for the sheep" (John 10:11–12).

Those who passively wait for "manna from heaven" are threatened with that about which St. Isaac the Syrian wrote:

"The beginning of the darkening of the mind (where its signs begin to appear in the soul) can be discerned first of all in laziness with regard to the service of God and prayer. For if the soul does not first fall away from prayer, there is no other way a person can be deceived in soul; but when he is deprived of God's help, he easily falls into the hands of his enemies. And also, immediately the soul becomes careless with regard to the works of virtue, he is unfailingly drawn to their opposite."

Often, too, believers of the "official church," coming to some sort of consciousness of the destructiveness of remaining in it, do not hurry to leave it — either because there are no parishes of the True Church in the vicinity, or because life in these parishes is "not organized" — there is no church or permanent priest, etc., while they themselves are not able to organize anything, to get together and serve. Moreover they do not think it is necessary.

But then we have to ask ourselves the penetrating question: do we want to be in the Orthodox Church, or do we want a peaceful, well-organized life with people whom we find pleasant?

The truly pious [have] always gathered together and prayed, whether with a priest or without one. (In the ancient monasteries there was often no permanent priest, and all the services were carried out without priests; a priest was invited only to serve the Liturgy.) The holy fathers always called the believers to spiritual sobriety and renunciation of worldly interests and attachments, to the narrow path of prayer, spiritual exploits and struggles — and we absolutely must follow this path if we really want to be saved.

St. John of the Ladder gives all those who wish to live in a Christian manner this advice: "Do not wait for world-loving souls, because the thief comes unexpectedly.

In trying to save the careless and indolent along with themselves, many people perish with them, because in the course of time the fire goes out.

In trying to save the careless and indolent along with themselves, many people perish with them, because in the course of time the fire goes out. As soon as the flame is burning within you, run; for you do not know when it will go out and leave you in darkness" (Ladder 3:4). This can be understood in the sense that it is dangerous to wait when this or that Christian understands the destructiveness of ecumenism or modernism, of "everyday" orthodoxy, of lukewarmness, and of the blind "obedience" to the hierarchs now in power, and not to the holy fathers. While waiting for the conversion of such people, and hesitating to break communion with members of organizations that have deviated into [modernism/ecumenism], we ourselves risk being condemned with them, not only because we checked the flame of the true and uncompromising confession of the faith, and preferred the dying embers of useless "humanism," but also because we gave to those seeking the truth, instead of patristic Orthodoxy, a spoiled and lukewarm humanistic Christianity oriented toward this world, which so fears to "offend" or "condemn" anyone that in the end offends and condemns God Himself and His Church.

"‘I have not come,' says the Lord, ‘to send peace on earth' (Matt. 10:34) . . . but battle and a sword, so as to separate those who love God from those who love the world, the material from the immaterial, the carnal from the spiritual, those who love glory from those who are wise in humility. For strife and separation delight the Lord when they spring from love for Himself" (Ladder 3:15).

The Original Anathema of Ecumenism

A Curious Change in the Anathema of Ecumenism: What's Going On?
with commentary by Father John Bockman

In 1983 the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) made a bold decision to anathematize the heresy of Ecumenism. The anathema disturbed many timorous Orthodox circles, both within ROCOR and without. Unfortunately, compromise of faith and tolerance of heresy are very much in keeping with the contemporary spirit of the times and are widely supported by some who call themselves Orthodox. They display a timidity and lack of heroic dedication to the faith of Christ totally out of keeping with two thousand years of martyric Orthodox confession. Untold thousands of Orthodox Christians in the twentieth century alone suffered deprivation, humiliation, and death rather than sanction the attenuation of the faith.

In 1983, then Archbishop Vitaly, now Metropolitan of ROCOR, stood firmly for this decision and gave it his unqualified support in a published leaflet, "Orthodox Review" (#58, April 1984). He wrote, "Without doubt, the time for discussion and polemics has passed and the time has come to judge this movement and, however insignificant our Council of 1983 may seem, it has condemned Ecumenism and anathematized it in the following words: ‘To those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that the Lord's Church is divided into so-called "branches" which differ in doctrine and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed in the future when all "branches" of sects or denomination, and even religions, will be united into one body, and who do not distinguish the priesthood and mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore, to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or who advocate, disseminate, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians: Anathema.'"

For a number of years this very same text was announced in the Synodal cathedral on the Sunday of Orthodoxy.

In the meantime, however, rumors circulated widely (even quoting the words of Archbishop Laurus, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops) that during the sessions of the 1983 Council of Bishops the matter of Ecumenism had allegedly never been discussed, but that Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) had somehow manipulated an unauthorized conciliar decree behind the backs of the bishops of the Council.

Nevertheless, the periodical Pravoslavnaya Rus' (#9, 1998), when reporting the major decrees of the Council of Bishops, wrote: "In connection with the matter of Ecumenism, which at present is causing not a few problems even within the local Orthodox churches, after a thorough discussion of the question, it was decided to confirm the anathematizing of Ecumenism, the text of which had been approved at the conclusion of the Bishops' Council of the ROCA in 1983" [emphasis added by the editor of Church News].

Church News reports having received a cassette tape of the service in the ROCOR cathedral on the Sunday of Orthodoxy this very year (2000). The cassette shows that the text of the original Anathema appearing above had been changed to read as follows: "To theosophists and like heretics, to Masons, occultists, spiritualists, magicians who have fallen away from the Orthodox faith and who accept other (heresies) to the scandal of our brethren, to the persecutors of the Church of Christ and to impious apostates who attack the Church of Christ, and to those who have communion with them and with these heretics or who abet them, or defend the new heresy of Ecumenism under pretext of brotherly love or the unification of the various Christian groups: Anathema." The original text of the Anathema was decreed by the Council of Bishops in 1983 and confirmed again with the same text by another Council of Bishops in 1998, giving rise to the interesting question:

Between 1998 and 2000 no Council of Bishops was convoked. On what grounds, then, has the Synod of Bishops (just an executive body within the Council, according to its statutes) dared on its own to change a text that was approved by the two previous Councils of Bishops?

The editor of Church News concludes: "In any case, the new text composed by the Synod of Bishops not only demonstrates a presumption on the rights belonging to the entire Council of Bishops, but on top of that was watered down, and was combined with a long-known anathema of atheists and others so as to now include Ecumenism."

Adapted from Church News, vol. 12, no. 4, April 2000

It has often been necessary for the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, to exercise great patience and fortitude against what appear to be overwhelming obstacles to the preservation of the true faith delivered just once to the saints.

An examination of a fifty-six years segment of Church council history between the First and the Second Ecumenical Council, 325 to 381 A.D., shows that bishops who adhered to the Arian and Subordinationist heresies most often appeared triumphant over orthodox bishops in the thirty or so councils which have captured the attention of history. Orthodoxy seemed all but suppressed in the east by the year 355 A.D.

The lesson of history is that the truly Orthodox must be prepared to witness the apostasy of entire patriarchies and.ecclesiastical jurisdictions, and the loss of historic church buildings, monasteries, and monuments while the true Church retreats to catacomb and house-church status.

The Holy Spirit, Who does not force the will of man, waits strong but patient until such time as heroic saints are again raised up in synergy with Him to bring about the resurrection of the fullness of Orthodoxy. The gates of Hades will not prevail over the true Church of Christ!

Father John Bockman

Compare ROCA Situation With Romania

Subject: Comparisons With Our ROCA Situation/Romanian Turmoil Caused by Romanian Patriarchate-
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 

Two enlightening articles, which have to do with the current appeal of the New Calendar Romanian Patriarchate, and it's desperate attempts to grab unto itself, any and all 'Romanians' and their decendents and their clergy and their churches, in America and Canada and everywhere, outside of Romania.
"Appeal to Unity and Romanian Dignity"- 

Then, a truly bitting and powerful rebuttle to this appeal from a prominent Romanian American layman:
"Wolves in Sheepskins""

When you read this rebuttle, just replace, in his text, the MP for the Romanian Patriarchate, and see the similarities.
Both of these 'Patriarchates' have been and still are, deeply tainted by their communist complicity and corruption, and both are NOT yet really cleansed.
And, both 'formerly communist dominated churches', are frantic to grab people and properties and MONIES, and POWER! (Earthly power!)
Yet, about 2/3rd's of  our former ROCOR, now MP, has joined itself to that corrupted and still enslaved MP, AS IF EVERYTHING WERE FINE, NOW!
Things are NOT fine, neither in Romania nor in the Russian Federation! (and is the Serbian Patriarchate any better?)
Reader Daniel

"At the beginning of the year 2010, proclaimed by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church as Anniversary Year of the Orthodox Creed and of Romanian Autocephaly, in the context of the 125th anniversary of the moment when the Romanian Orthodox Church became autocephalous and of the 85th anniversary of the elevation to the rank of Patriarchate, the hierarchs of the Holy Synod are reaching out and addressing a Heartfelt appeal to all Romanian Orthodox clerics and faithful abroad, who are, without blessing, in other sister Orthodox Churches or in non-canonical church structures, to restore their direct communion with their Mother Church, under the canonical jurisdiction of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
The realization of this desideratum is the fulfillment of the provisions of the Bylaw for the Organization and Functioning of the Romanian Orthodox Church, which mentions that the Romanian Orthodox Church is the Church of the Romanian people and encompasses all Orthodox Christians in Romania and the Romanian Orthodox Christians abroad (article 5), and the canonical and pastoral organization of the Romanian Orthodox faithful outside Romania is ensured by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church (article 8). This principle is in full accordance with the decision of the Panorthodox Preconciliar Conference of Chamb├ęsy-Switzerland (June 6-13, 2009), which specifies that each autocephalous Church has the right to shepherd its own diaspora.
The above-mentioned principles are expressing the duty of the Romanian Orthodox Church and are based upon the 16th Canon of the 1st Ecumenical Council (325), which contains the principle that no diocese is allowed to receive under its jurisdiction Orthodox clerics and faithful, without the blessing of the Church (diocese) to which they belong.
To this end, we are mentioning that the process of returning of the clergy and faithful of different nationalities to their Mother Churches (such as in the Moscow Patriarchate and the Serbian Patriarchate) has already started for a long time and has shown that, through shared responsibility and ethnic Orthodox solidarity, the conjunctural historical feuds, based on past political motives, can be overcome.
Now, when 20 years have passed since the fall of the Communist regime in Eastern Europe, when Romania is a member of the European Union and of NATO and in the context of an unprecedented activity of the Romanian Orthodox Church abroad, through the reorganization and foundation of numerous dioceses across the world, we think that there are no more real reasons to reject the call of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church to unity and Romanian Orthodox communion.
We are confident that this attitude of Romanian Orthodox resurrection and reconciliation will consolidate and intensify the pastoral-missionary, social-philanthropic and cultural-educational ministry of the Romanian Orthodox Church everywhere, strengthening at the same time the Romanian Orthodox dignity, through the liberation of some Romanian Orthodox from considering themselves ‘searchers of canonical shadows’ among strangers.
We are regretting that, for several reasons, some of our Romanian Orthodox brothers have sought other Orthodox jurisdictions, during Communism, but what was understandable in the past has become unreasonable and regrettable in present times, amounting to estrangement of Romanians from one another, up to their church division.
Being confident that our appeal to unity and Romanian Orthodox dignity will be received with joy and responsibility, as a desire for communion and brotherly cooperation, we are sharing with everyone our utmost respect and fatherly blessing."
The text was signed by the Patriarch, members of the Synod, and the bishops of the Romanian Patriarchate. The appeal raises the question: is the OCA viewed by the Romanian Patriarchate as a "sister Orthodox Church" , a "non-canonical church structure", or simply as "strangers" - a "canonical shadow" among which the OCA Romanians have been "searching" ?
-Mark Stokoe
Wolves in Sheepskins
On February 11, 2010 the Synod of the Romanian Patriarchate issued an ‘appeal” to “Romanian Orthodox unity and dignity”. The “appeal” requested all those of Romanian descent living abroad to subordinate to this institution. In a rather rudimentary and arrogant manner the Romanian Patrirchate, a cleptocratic institution itself burdened by sixty years history of subordination to Communism and total subordination to the neo-Communist Romanian regime, is attempting to interfere in the life of those of Romanian descent living in the Free World.
First of all the actual hierarchs should know that Orthodoxy is not a “nationality” but a Faith. Orthodox faithful are not “many” but already one body, united in dogmas and sacraments. Apparently the Romanian Patriarchate is unable and unwilling to depart from the old ways, from the tribal chauvinism practiced and professed by the most heinous elements of Romanian Fascism and Communism.
In their stubbornness the Patriarchate continues to call those of Romanian descent, now second, third, fourth and even fifth generation in their new countries, a “Diaspora”. A “Diaspora” is that segment of a people temporarily living outside the national boundaries of a country. Romanian-Americans and Romanian-Canadians are citizens of the United States, or of Canada, and proud members of those two great nations. Calling them all a “Diaspora” is an insult - and proof of historical illiteracy. It is, in fact, tantamount to denying the very existence of the 200+ year old American and Canadian nations. The Romanian Patriarchate, an institution with a history of eighty-five years, (hardly ancient...) directly and indirectly displays an arrogance that is unbecoming of   Christians.
In fact, and in effect, the Romanian Patriarchate grossly insults the canonical bodies of the New World and all those associated with them. Since when is the Romanian Patriarchate alone entitled to decide when another Orthodox body is canonical or not? Since when do hierarchs proved of  being collaborators with the totalitarian Communist regime dare to issue moral judgments against others? Since when is the Romanian Patriarchate entitled to insult the dignity and the unity of the New World?
Because that is exactly what this outrageous “appeal” is doing: denying the right of Orthodox to seek unity in the New World, while denying the very existence of the New World nations.
The Romanian Patriarchate had the audacity to “forgive” those who, opposing the bestial Communist regime, stood up to its tools -- among whom were the Patriarchate and its contraptions in the New World. If this is not arrogance beyond limits ( and frankly, reveals a shameless incapacity to repent) what is?
This “appeal” is a scandal, a direct and gross insult to the New World, to the Orthodox faithful living here , to each and everyone of us who call ourselves Romanian-Americans and Romanian-Canadians. In my opinion those who issued this outrageous “appeal” should publicly apologize, any and all contacts with the Romanian Patriarchate should be suspended by the “Vatra” Episcopate until they do. Loyalty to the New World and its dignity is not optional for its citizens - and this is a moment when such loyalty has to be proved; with facts, not empty words. Enough is enough!
Alexandru Nemoianu
“Valerian D.Trifa.Romanian-American Heritage Center”

Service for Cheesefare + Meeting

Service for Cheesefare + Meeting [here] 
Katavasia    (Tone 3) 
 In the shadow and letter of the Law,/ 
let us, the faithful, discern a figure:/  
every male child that opens the womb shall be sanctified to God./ 
Therefore do we magnify the firstborn Word and Son of the Father without beginning,// 
the firstborn Child of a Mother who had not known man. 

It is not the Elder who holds Me, but I Who hold him, as he asks Me to release him.

Lenten Epistle Bp. Gregory

A Lenten Epistle to the 
God-loving Pastors and Faithful 
of the South American Diocese

Beloved honorable Fathers, brothers and sisters in Christ!

The time of Great Lent is at hand.  In  the yearly cycle in the life of the Church, the coming days are days of repentance.  We celebrated the Nativity of Christ and Theophany, and since the feast day of Theophany, we have heard sermons on repentance.  The preaching of St. John the Baptist, the beginning of the preaching of Jesus Christ, the tale of Zacchaeus, the parables of the Publican and the Pharisee, the Prodigal Son, the story of the Last Judgment, the approaching Forgiveness Sunday, and later, Pascha.

Such is the cycle of church life, feast days, lenten periods, feast days, which mirrors everyday life - peaceful, tranquil days, contentment, joy, and then, whether as a result of sin or external disasters - sorrow, troubles, dangers and worries.

In the cycle of each person’s life, as well as of a people, Great Lent and Pascha draw near in equal measure to the repentance of each person and of all.  The spirit of repentance is like a fire, it starts in one place and spreads further.

The history of the Russian people; St. Vladimir, the baptism of Russia, the Mongol yoke, the Muscovy kingdom, the Time of Troubles, the crowning of Mikhail Fedorovich, 300 years of the might and glory of Russia, the calamity of the Revolution, the tragic years of communism, the scattering of the Russian people, are the Great Lents and Paschas of history.  The spirit of repentance ignites in disparate people and then spreads to others, as in the case of the ascetics in the monasteries or forests, like St. Sergius of Radonezh or St. Seraphim of Sarov.

And now the spirit of repentance smolders in the hearts of many, and when it bursts into flame, the deliverance will arrive – the Pascha of our Lord.

Let us yearn to join with this spirit.  No one can be forced to repent.  Each of us must strive to light the spark of repentance in ourselves.  Let each of us begin this repentance in the accepted manner knowing that it will be a spark to enflame repentance in our families, parishes, in all of society, in the country where we live and in our Homeland!
I humbly ask you all for forgiveness and your holy prayers!
With love to you all,

Bishop of Sao Paulo and South America

MP's Motives Are Showing

If one reads this entire article, one can get a glimpse of the Kremlin's long range plan, of it's USE of it's captive MP-'church', and of it's captive ROCOR-MP.
They want it as a religious, 'spiritual' front, for their neo-soviet-'Russian' imperialism.
Their real aims, are entirely POLITICAL/MILITARY/ESPIONAGE motivated.
Thus, we must suspect that EVERY new 'Russian Cathedral' that Moscow builds or wants to build, around the world is, or will be, but a center for their espionage masked in Orthodox liturgical robes.
We must suspect too, this Kremlin purpose for their new captive ROCOR-MP, though most on the parish level have been duped, and seem (so far) to be unable to see this.
After all, they were fooled into seeing the KGB-run MP as, 'The Mother Church', so if they believe that big lie, why won't they also believe any and all other lies from Moscow?
Reader Daniel

Russia Vows to Defend Rights as Czarist Creditors Seek Lawsuit 
February 09, 2010, 05:12 PM EST 
By Helene Fouquet and Lyubov Pronina 

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The Russian government vowed to “defend our rights” after French holders of czarist bonds valued at as much as 100 billion euros ($137 billion) threatened to sue the Kremlin and seize property it owns in Paris. 

“May God help them,” Viktor Khrekov, a spokesman for the Kremlin Property Department, said by phone today from Moscow, after the Paris-based International Federative Association for Russian Bond Holders, or AFIPER, pledged to sue to recoup part of the century-old debt. 

“We have experience defending our property abroad,” said Khrekov. “Russia and France settled this debt a long time ago, so if they are planning to sue they will also have to deal with the French government. But they’re welcome to file a lawsuit; we will defend our rights.” 

AFIPER’s announcement yesterday came after the French Budget Ministry said Russia had purchased the Meteo France building near the Eiffel Tower in Paris for an undisclosed sum. 

France was a key market for Russian bonds before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, with royalty to workers buying them for savings. Holders of czarist debt have clamored for a better deal since 1996, when Russia made a $400 million payment that France said “definitively” settled debt incurred to it before 1945. 

Creditors Clamor 

Some creditors accepted about 50 euros per bond as part of that agreement while others held out, saying the bonds should be valued at as much as 10,000 euros each. 

“The Russian state owes the French people a lot of money and there is no date limit for that, even if some of this debt is more than 100 years old,” said Eric Sanitas, director of AFIPER, which estimates that as many as 10 million czarist bonds may be in French hands. 

Sanitas said AFIPER can only take legal action if Russia doesn’t designate its Paris land as diplomatic property. The Kremlin says it will build a “cultural-spiritual center” on the site of the meteorological institute on the banks of the Seine river. 

“A church can’t be a diplomatic territory -- well, not usually,” Sanitas said in a telephone interview. 

The new plot will be used to build an Orthodox cathedral, said Khrekov, who declined to comment on financial details of the property sale. Construction will begin after Meteo France vacates the building in 2011 and may take two years, he said. 

Orthodox Cathedral 

“The construction of an Orthodox cathedral will become a symbol of friendship and spirituality between the two countries,” Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Fyodor Ryabikh said. “This means the French government is paying special attention to the development of relations with our country.” 

Sanitas said a recent French court ruling that handed Russia ownership of an Orthodox cathedral built in the coastal city of Nice on the orders of Czar Nicholas II may play to his organization’s favor. 

The onion-domed Cathedral of St. Nicholas, the largest Russian church outside the country, and its contents including hundreds of precious religious icons belong to Russia, a Nice court ruled on Jan. 20. The Kremlin had argued that the czar bought the land for the state and not his family. 

Sanitas said AFIPER will sue to seize the Nice church if an appeals court upholds that ruling. 

“Russia says czarist-era problems are no longer its problem, but seeing as they want the Nice cathedral back, it seems czarist property is theirs,” Sanitas said. “Well, their non-refunded debt will be their property, too.” 

--With assistance from Anastasia Ustinova in St. Petersburg. Editors: Jeffrey Donovan, Jennifer Freedman
To contact the reporter on this story: Helene Fouquet in Paris at +33-1-5365-5038 or hfouquet1@bloomberg.net; Lyubov Pronina at +7-495-771-7732 or lpronina@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Hertling at +33-1-5365-5075 or jhertling@bloomberg.net


Prayer to St. Philaret


 O our Saintly father Philaret, God chosen confessor of recent times,
 true Orthodox hierarch, guide, upholder and dependable intercessor
 before God for all true Orthodox faithful, standing and praying for
 them before God’s altar: implore our ever benevolent God to forgive us
 our sins and wash them away through our repentance. Through your
 prayers, save us from calumny of the godless and endow us with a fear
 of God, so that we may remain faithful children of Christ’s True Church
 to the end. Strengthen us in the confession of our Faith, so that we
 will not be frightened of persecution or suffering, and should we
 suffer for our Orthodox Faith, grant us strength not to reject Christ
 and not to accept the mark of the accursed antichrist.

 In not hiding your labours and enduring extreme conditions for the sake
 of True Orthodoxy, we extol and propagate your good works:

 Glorifying the Royal Martyrs and the new Russian Confessors of
 Orthodoxy; for giving all true Orthodox Christians a true Apostolic
 succession; for anathematizing ecumenism that is the heresy of all
 heresies, and maintaining the rightness of authority through the
 unwavering truth of Christ’s words.

 We lay before you our prayer for your help, blessing and intercession,
 and at all times beseech your prayers for us.

 Do not cease to utter prayers to the Lover of Man God for the small
 flock of true Orthodox Christians, and may He grant peace to his
 Church, and may He deliver Her from heresies and schisms. May He also
 deliver us from the darkness of sin and lusts, from the clandestine
 snares of the sly antichrist, and may we remain steadfast unto death in
 confessing our holy Orthodoxy, so that in the end we may without
 condemnation receive Communion of the Lord’s Holy Flesh and Blood from
 true clergy. And at the close of our lives, may we secure mercy and
 clemency from the Lord, Who created us and gave us life and made us
 what we are, and to Whom is due every glory, praise, honour and
 adoration, with the eternal Father and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and
 to the ages of ages. Amen.

False Unity

A different way of looking at ecumenism.
Archbishop Chrysostomos is writing here about false unity with Rome, but these same principles apply to the R0C0R-MP union and R0CA-A unity with uncanonical  R-splits.  -jh

...Dante's famous quote says it all: "Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate" (Abandon hope, all ye who enter here).

This kind of cheap ecumenism, in which we pretend that the issue between Orthodoxy and Rome is simply Papism, will lead to superficial and false unity.

...Second, is Christianity not, according to the consensus of the Fathers and the witness of the Undivided Church, united under the primacy of Christ and the authority of Scripture and Holy Tradition? Administrative unity grows out of unity in Faith, not vice versa. How did the early Christians know one another? It was not by their common leaders but by their common Faith, which their leaders (Bishops) were sworn to defend and uphold as the most precious of treasures.

Orthodox who are willing to ignore these simple and basic principles ...  are not rooted in the Faith but are seeking some sort of superficial religion that holds that the separation of man from man, an inevitability of the Fall, is a greater scandal than man's separation from God.  Read More... 

Two Opposing Kingdoms Against R-Split Unity

There are two opposing kingdoms which are both against unity of the R-splits.  One is against false unity.  The other is against true unity.

1.  The first kingdom is true-in-heart ROCOR Christians who have the sole aim of protecting ROCOR's canonicity and original spirit.  We know that a false unity is the most destructive division.  We will not be tempted to unite on grounds of what we do share with the fragments, until what we can not share is resolved.

2.  The second kingdom is the KGB infiltrators who have the aim to destroy ROCOR.  They can cause damage by two ways.  [A] by creating and maintaining division within and among the R-splits.  [B] by causing uncanonical unions.  They use both tactics at the same time.

[A]  One way they create a division is to have one or more of their pseudo-bishops stomp off, often in a huff; and either start their own jurisdiction or join one of their comrades who has a pseudo-jurisdiction started already.  One way they maintain a division is by clinging to some excuse for their isolation -  the popular excuse for separation from our ROCA is so-called "cyprianism" which they refuse to even try to understand.

[B]  If an invalid jurisdiction can get a valid jurisdiction to be in communion with it, then the valid jurisdiction is compromised and the invalid jurisdiction gets some recognition.  Notice how the RTOC hierarchy attempted communion with the SIR and GOC, but failed because it is unwilling to correct its false episcopate. 

The devil tries to blur the line between these two opposing kingdoms, to pit one against the other for his evil purposes.   We don't want to mistake a false unity for the true.  We expect the KGB infiltrators to make all kinds of false accusations and use all kinds of twisted logics.  But we, under Vl. Agafangel  [the only valid continuation of the Rocor], with the true aim in our hearts need to look with our inner eye and not get lost in the smoke.  Now might not even be the time for unity.  One of our Church Prophets has said that our unity will be by God's miracle:

In February 1917 St Anatolius the Younger of Optina made this prophecy: ‘There will be a storm. And the Russian ship will be smashed to pieces. But people can be saved even on splinters and fragments. And not all will perish. We must pray, everybody must repent and pray with fervour. And what happens after a storm? ... There will be a calm ... A great miracle of God will be revealed. And by the will of God and His power, all the splinters and fragments will come together and be united, and the ship will be rebuilt in its beauty and will go on its own way, as foreordained by God. And this will be a miracle clear to all ...' (Orthodox Russia, 1970, No. 1, p. 9).

Related articles -
See Vernost #106, two articles in English #5 and #11

Two Announcements

From: GontscharowD@usec.com
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2010 12:17:33 -0500
Subject: Met. Agafangel's visit to America
The Most Reverend Metropolitan Agafangel, First Hierarch of the ROCA, will arrive in New York City on Friday, February 19, 2010,  and will stay at the Synod of Bishops Chancery in Bronx, NY.
He will depart on Sunday, February 28, 2010.
If you wish to contact or visit him, or have him visit you, please let me know and I will notify his Eminence.  In Christ,  Dimitri Gontscharow

Subject: Soborovnyi [Sacrament of Holy Unction]
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2010 16:02:53 -0500
With the Blessing of Metropolitan Agafangel the Sacraments of Holy Unction will take place at 6:30 Tuesday night Feb. 23. Taking part in this service will be Metropolitan Agafangel, Archbishop Andronik and Bishop Joseph as well as clergy from both dioceses. This will also be a Lenten retreat for all the clergy.
the place: Holy Trinity ROC, 25-36 37 St., Astoria, NY 11103 718 726-7870
On Wednesday Feb. 24th we will have the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts beginning a 9am
Thank you,  V. Rev. Wsewolod Dutikow

Meeting Minutes January 17/30

January 17 / 30 (N.S.), 2010
St. Anthony the Great

The meeting was held in the Church of the Holy Ascension in Fairfax, Virginia.

The meeting was chaired by Bishop Joseph (Hrebinka), with the following in attendance:

Archpriest Wsewolod Dutikow, Archpriest Daniel Meschter, Fr. Dimitry Amelchenko, Deacon Dimitri Dobronravov, Deacon Michael Foster, Diocesan Secretary Dimitri Gontscharow, and Alexander Renko.

Evgeniy Vernikovskiy participated by telephone.

To everyone’s pleasure, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Agafangel, First Hierarch of the ROCA, called from Odessa and gave his blessing to the meeting and to all the attendees. Metropolitan Agafangel will arrive in America on February 19, stay for 10 days and hopes to convene a diocesan conference on February 20. All attendees look forward to the meeting.

The meeting began at 0825 with the joint prayer of “O Heavenly King.”

The attendees approved the meeting agenda:
1. Bishop’s report.
2. Diocesan Secretary’s report.
3. Report from every rector, by rank.
4. General discussion.
5. Other.

1. Bishop Joseph welcomed the attendees and underscored the importance of such meetings, especially since everyone lives so far away from each other. He hopes this will be the first of a series of regularly scheduled meetings.

2. Now that the diocese has been established, it is important to develop its structure and diligently conduct the business of the diocese. Ukases, announcements, etc. need to be prepared ahead of time. The Secretary will create a diocesan directory of all the members. The monthly tithing from each parish to the diocesan account needs to be carefully maintained. The parish bylaws still need to be approved for use by all the parishes in the diocese.

3. Each rector spoke about himself and life at his parish. The number of parishioners is growing at almost every parish. Everyone agreed how important it is to continuously teach their flock about Orthodoxy, about attending services, about fasting, etc.

4. [The] Bishop offered his opinion that the division of the faithful into the so-called “fragments” was deliberate and that it is very important that all efforts be made to heal this painful wounding. Everyone agreed that we must find what unites us, rather than what divides us. Everyone hopes that the upcoming meeting of our representative with representatives of the other jurisdictions will have a satisfactory outcome.

5. a) Mark Kotlaroff was named the diocesan treasurer at the general meeting in Valley Cottage in October, 2009. Since Archbishop Andronik needs Mark to be the treasurer of the Syracuse diocese, a new treasurer must be found. Dimitri Gontscharow proposed Alexander Renko, a parishioner of the Holy Ascension parish, as a candidate and everyone agreed. Elections will be held at the diocesan conference in February.

b) The automobile assigned to the Synod Chancery in New York has broken down and it is not worth fixing. Evgeniy Vernikovskiy offered to look for a new used car and help pay for the insurance. The rectors will ask their flocks to donate a used car or help with the expenses.

The meeting concluded at 1130 with the joint prayer of “It is truly meet…”

Bishop of Washington, D.C.
The emphasis in #4 above is mine.  I share this "opinion." -jh