EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ROCOR BISHOP DANIEL
Subdeacon Nathanael Kapner: "Can you tell us a little about your background dear Vladyka?"
Bishop Daniel (Alexandrov): "I was born in Odessa of the Ukraine in 1930. My great grandfather on my mother's side was the last governor of Alaska. After the sale of Alaska in the the late 19th Century, my great grandfather moved back to Russia. So you see, my family already had some kind of "stake" in America.
~ "My grandfather on my father's side was an officer in the White Army. And my father, who also served in the White Army was awarded The Cross Of St George, for taking a machine gun from a Bolshevik.
~ "In 1938 we moved to the Urals, for the Bolsheviks discovered that my father once served in the White Army --- and consequently he lost his job as a technician for a Magnetics Observatory. My father was then forced to find another job. He finally found a menial job where he could only work a as a common laborer in a steel factory in the Urals. We settled in the Ural area on April 1st 1938. On April 4th, only three days later, my father was arrested and disappeared."
Sbn Nathanael: "Did you ever learn what happened to your father?"
Bishop Daniel: "We never knew what happened to our father. It was only after the Soviet archives were opened for examination a few years ago, that I learned that my father was executed shortly after his arrest. This was the barbarity of the Bolsheviks."
Sbn Nathanael: "How did you end up coming to America?"
Bishop Daniel: "This is quite a long story. To make it short, we eventually moved back to Odessa where my mother, an accomplished violinist, supported the family by teaching and performing. By this time the Roumanians occupied Odessa and we had complete religious freedom.
~ "But eventually Stalin and the communists moved in, and we were forced to flee to Switzerland. From there we made our way to America in 1949, where my mother's father resided, having settled there as a merchant marine some years prior to our arrival. He died shortly after our arrival."
Sbn Nathanael: "How did you begin your work amongst the Old Believers?"
Bishop Daniel: "Our parish, "The Church Of The Nativity in Erie PA," is of the Old Rite, or as it is properly known, "The Old Ritualists." I myself had no family members in the "Old Ritualists." But having lived amongst them, I grew to have a great respect for them. The Old Believers are conservatives and I wished to bring them into our church.
~ "I realized that the some of the Old Believers that I was aquainted with had no priesthood. Since they were priestless, I wanted to help them so that they could receive the fullness of the Churchs' Sacraments."
Sbn Nathanael Kapner: "Can you tell us sonething about your career with the ROCOR?"
Bishop Daniel: "I graduated from the Jordanville Seminary in 1956. Metropolitan Laurus was a fellow student of mine. I was ordained to the priesthood in the early 70s. I soon became a parish priest and all the while, I kept in contact with the Old Believers.
~ "In the early nineties, I was contacted by Metropolitan Vitaly, regarding the Synod's wish to ordain me as a bishop. I was very troubled by this and could not sleep all night.
~ "The very next morning, I called Metropolitan Vitaly and said, "Does the Synod want yet another bishop? No, Vladyka, I am not interested in becoming another bishop. But if it is for the purpose of helping the flock of the Old Believers, then yes, I will accept.
~ "I was soon consecrated as a vicar Bishop *to the Metropolian*---not connected with the "Eastern
Diocese" as such. For the Eastern Diocese is "New-Rite" Orthodox. My espiscopal rank is to aid and perpetuate the Old Rite Believers, along with their particular concerns and customs."
Sbn Nathanael: "Vladyka. This week you issued already two statements expressing your strong objections to the MP-ROCOR union.
~ "In both statements you spoke of the dangers of the ROCOR relinquishing their independence to the Moscow Patriarchy. Why is this "independence of the ROCOR" such an issue for you?"
[See These Two Statements @ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ortho
Bishop Daniel: "I made these statements for I have been recently asked to sign some documents that favor the union. But I can not hide my objections to this union. So I have now publicly stated what I truly believe is the correct path for our Church.
~ "The ROCOR has enjoyed independence for over 80 years. Why should we *now* give away our independence as a gift to the MP? We already have our independence. We do not need the MP to grant to us what we already have!
~ "For uniting with the MP will mean our self-destruction. This self destruction could even be called suicide. For though in the best of circumstances, the Moscow Patriarchy promises us our continued independence, it will soon be taken away."
Sbn Nathanael: "But doesn't Metropolitan Laurus assert that the ROCOR will remain administratively independent?"
Bishop Daniel: "This is nothing but conjecture. Let's see what will happen in reality!
~ "'Autonomy' is usually an ecclestiastical framework when a church belongs to another.
'Autocephaly' is a scenario when a church is entirely independent. The ROCOR has enjoyed virtual 'autocephaly' for over 80 years. This is better than any kind of 'autonomy' that the Moscow Patriarchy could possibly grant to us.
~ "I compare this situation to the Roman Catholic Church. Many Orthodox Churches have full independence--yet in matters of the faith they are the same. And this is acceptable.
~ "But with the Roman Catholic Church, they claim to be the only true church and would want to subjugate all other churches to their authority.
~ "Why should we subdue our church to the authority of the MP who are much larger than us and far more powerful? We are being forced into this union. Even lay people can choose who they would like as their spiritual fathers.
~ "But we at the ROCOR, who are being forced into this union, do not trust the Moscow Patriarchy. Only a few years ago. the Moscow Patriarchy was supporting the Soviet government. The Moscow Patriarchy never took a strong stand on matters of the faith. We are Russian emigres, and it is quite understandable that we do not want anything even resembling a soviet-influenced church."
Sbn Nathanael: "Bishop Agafangel of the Ukraine is against the ROCOR uniting with the Moscow Patriarchy. Have you been in contact with him?"
Bishop Daniel: "No. But I have heard from others that he shares the same thoughts as I do."
Sbn Nathanael: "Why do you think Metropolitan Laurus is pressing for unification with the MP?
Bishop Daniel: "I cannot tell you---I do not understand. Is Metrpolitan Laurus being forced by circumstances?"
Sbn Nathanael: "What circumstances would be forcing Metropolitan Laurus to press for unification?"
Bishop Daniel: "Other bishops."
Sbn Nathanael: "Like Mark of Berlin?"
Bishop Daniel: "Yes."
Sbn Nathanael: "What is your opinion of Abp Mark Of Berlin?"
Bishop Daniel: "I am surprized. Archbishop Mark is a German and he has been welcomed into our Russian Church. He has been elevated to such a point that he is presently 2nd to the Metropolitan himself.
~ "And now Archbishop Mark works to destroy our church! I am at completely opposite poles from him. If we follow the will of Archbishop Mark and unite with the MP, the ROCOR church will not be the same church that we belonged to for over 80 years!”
Sbn Nathanael: "Will you leave the ROCOR if the Synod votes for the union?"
Bishop Daniel: "If the Synod votes for the union, the ROCOR will be absorbed into the Moscow Patriarchy. Yes I will leave."
Subdeacon Nathanael Kapner, Reporting
28 March 2006