Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Letter from St. Catherine's/Moscow

Expand Messages
  • Nina Tkachuk Dimas
      [The letter on behalf of the Representation Church of St. Catherine in Moscow written by the members of that community speaks for itself of the affection
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2011

      [The letter on behalf of the Representation Church of St. Catherine in Moscow
      written by the members of that community speaks for itself of the affection they
      have for their pastor, Archimandrite Zacchaeus, and the "sadness and confusion"
      they feel regarding the decision to remove him from their parish.]

      To His Beatitude Jonah
      Archbishop of Washington
      Metropolitan of America and Canada
      Orthodox Church in America (OCA)
      P.O. Box675
      Syosset, NY 11791
      Your Beatitude –
      We petition you in the name of the parish community of St. Catherine’s, the
      Moscow Representational Church of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA).  
      We have learned with great sadness that our dear pastor has been taken to
      hospital (infectious disease ward) and thereafter transferred to another
      hospital for therapy – where is now able to receive visitors.  
      With sadness and confusion we read the announcement in the ‘News’ section of the
      official OCA web-site that Archimandrite Zacchaeus has been recalled to the
      United States, and that he is prohibited from celebrating or concelebrating at
      liturgies and from engaging in any other pastoral activities.  Having known
      Father Zacchaeus and associating with him face-to-face for many years, we can
      assert with complete certainty that he is a true Dean and Pastor, that he hears
      our confessions and absolves our sins, covering them with his love, baptising
      our children, performing the burial rites for our departed loved ones, and
      beautifying our church structure.  
      The work that Father Zacchaeus performs cannot be assessed or measured on a
      human scale.  Within a short period of time, our church has been transformed
      into a true House of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Our services are performed with
      dignity, not rushed, and accompanied by our excellent choir.  (Everyone who
      visits our church makes these sorts of comments.)  
      Love, mutual support and understanding reign among our parishioners.  Many of
      our parish families socialize with each other.  Our parish has become a living,
      vibrant Orthodox community, greeting each new guest and new member with love.  
      Our Father Zacchaeus has taught us in these ways.  And we have also greeted you
      in love; and we remember that you yourself, during your visit with us, made note
      of this.  
      Besides rare pastoral skills, Father Zacchaeus possesses unique administrative
      facilities, which are all blended together harmoniously and productively.   
      Russia– and not only Russia – knows of the Orthodox Church in America in large
      part via the untiring service – ‘Service that does not spare the servant’ – and
      not only through the good works of Father Zacchaeus.  Within a short period of
      time Father Zacchaeus has attained a high level of respect among the pastors and
      archpastors of the Russian Orthodox Church, among other Regional Orthodox
      Churches, as well as among many laymen and high state officials.  
      We wish to defend our church, which at the moment is in a state of disrepair
      that requires immediate attention and restoration.  And Father Zacchaeus, thanks
      to his authority and personal dedication, has successfully commenced and almost
      completed negotiations with Russian state authorities toward obtaining
      government funding that is desperately needed for completion of our church’s
      restoration.  The decision to recall our parish church’s Dean places a state
      grant in the amount of ten million roubles – toward restoring the church’s
      façade, which is currently in critical condition – into question.  
      At your blessing, the work undertaken by Father Zacchaeus is currently underway;
      and a ‘Committee of Consultants to the Dean on Financial Matters and Management
      Policy’ has been formed from among active parish members.  The Committee is
      dedicated to assisting our Dean in generating funds for parish projects as well
      as toward helping him identify and support high-priority necessities.  Under
      Father Zacchaeus’ leadership this Committee has taken significant steps toward
      enhancing spiritual values within our parish life.  Our plans include expanding
      the number of parishioners participating in these activities.  This could only
      be accomplished if Father Zacchaeus remains as Dean of the OCA Representational
      Church.  The poorly reasoned and random decision to recall Archimandrite
      Zacchaeus to the United States can only reflect negatively on our parish life. 
      Father Zacchaeus’ unquestioned authority, his ceaseless love and the respect
      which our parishioners have for him are the driving force of all our activities.  
      An indication of our collective love for Father Zacchaeus is the long line of
      parishioners that inevitably awaits him as he leaves the altar after services,
      seeking his blessings, sharing their sorrows and joys with him, and asking his
      advice, which is always given in a spiritual and salutary manner.  And Father
      Zacchaeus accords each parishioner as much time as may be necessary for that
      person’s spiritual support and nourishment.  
      Notwithstanding his overburdened schedule, Father Zacchaeus always finds the
      energy and time to mingle with us – with love, careful attention and openness –
      strictly following the Gospel’s words: ‘11 I am the Good Shepherd. The Good
      Shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the
      shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the
      sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The
      hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I
      am the Good Shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.’  (John 10:11
      – 14)  We now feel defenseless and orphaned.  Many of our parishioners have not
      yet learned of this terrible news because they are away on vacation.  Upon
      returning to Moscow, this news will come as a huge shock to them, as well.  
      We are extremely distraught by this turn of events and we miss Archimandrite
      Zacchaeus, our spiritual father, enormously.  We ask you to forgive us and to
      understand us.  We love you very much and hope that you will understand us and
      show your love for us as well.
      *  *  *
      The undersigned parishioners of the St. Catherine’s Orthodox Representational
      Church in Moscow:

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.