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RE: [orthodox-synod] Digest Number 1270

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  • Srs. Martha & Maria
    Dear in Christ Fr. Alexis, Your blessing! Thank you for your observation on Fr. Serge s method of argumentation. My partner here in Bethany, sr. Martha, was
    Message 1 of 4 , May 31 12:39 PM
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      Dear in Christ Fr. Alexis,
      Your blessing!
      Thank you for your observation on Fr. Serge's method of argumentation. My
      partner here in Bethany, sr. Martha, was becoming quite weary of hearing me
      mutter "Straw man, straw man" every time I checked out this List on the
      Internet!
      Though living in Jerusalem I manage to keep up contact with a fair number of
      ROCOR parishioners in the States and I am pained to hear how many are so
      frustrated by the hasty change in direction our bishops appear to be taking
      in the present dealings with the MP.
      It is certainly justifiable that at such a significant juncture in the life
      of the Russian Church all involved, both clergy and laity, be allowed to
      offer critical commentary on the events now unfolding. As a nun living in
      the Holy Land I can confirm that a large majority of the ROCOR monastics in
      our convents and monasteries here are greatly alarmed on how events are
      moving.
      In particular many are puzzled by the speed of the deliberations. In one of
      the few offical documents to come out of the current visit of the ROCOR
      delegation to Russia we read:
      "An important role in the resolution of various problems which hinder the
      restoration of the fullness of communion is reserved for the Committees
      which were established in December 2003 by the hierarchies of the Moscow
      Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The
      Committees, having earlier worked separately, will in the near future
      commence working jointly."
      Would anyone on this list be able to tell me the following: Who sat on the
      committees of each Church, when, where, and how many times have they met
      separately since December 2003, and what (general terms will suffice) did
      they discuss?
      That they have in such a quick time separately defined and seemingly come to
      a satsifactory resolution of issues that have separated and festered within
      the churches for some eighty years I find outstanding. Perhaps the members
      of these committees could be persuaded to come to Jerusalem and utilize
      their superb negotiating skills to bring about peace in the Middle East as
      well?
      Besides being nervous about the undue speed of the process of reconciliation
      many I know are frustrated by this tactic Fr. Alexis highlights -- of being
      painted into a corner and labeled an extremist (HOCNA, ROCie, whatever) when
      in fact they are simply calling for ROCOR to remain faithful to positions it
      has always held viz a viz modernist trends in other Orthodox jurisdictions.
      It is a position that does not presume to determine who does or does not
      have grace but keeps its distance from others to serve as a warning bell and
      a witness to the wrong direction they are taking. It does not presume that
      any INDIVIDUAL is "better" than others but does argue that its (ROCOR)
      hierarchs in its statements and official actions remains faithful to the
      traditional tenets of the Orthodox faith at a time when hierarchs of other
      jurisdictions take steps away from traditional Orthodoxy. Fr. Seraphim Rose
      explained this position well when he wrote, "We still believe in the
      Orthodoxy of most of the basic jurisdictions in America, but view them as
      being in different stages of falling away from Orthodoxy, and different
      priests and laymen in each jurisdiction trying more or less hard (or not at
      all) to remain Orthodox." (p. 38, Letters from Fr. Seraphim)
      As Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan rightly pointed out in a talk he gave to
      monastics while on a pilgimage to the Holy Land last week, "In the 30's and
      40's we did have closer relations with other Orthodox jurisdictions. However
      over the years THEY changed while we remained the same, faithful to Orthodox
      tradition."
      Indeed it has always been understood that the only validity for that
      "isolation" which so grieves some on this List is that we (as a Church)
      remain faithful to Orthodoxy. Again I'm reminded of the words of Fr.
      Seraphim: "The sad thing is that our Synod has justification for separate
      existence only if it is zealot and gives an example to the other fallen or
      falling-away jurisdictions, but to be wishy-washy and just dragging along
      has no meaning at all. But Christ our God is with us, and Vladika John has
      pushed us in the right direction (he told us to keep right on accusing
      [Patriarch] Athenogoras, even if people didn't like it), and all of our
      trials are only to strengthen us for the very difficult times ahead. God is
      with us!" (p. 125)
      Now if today some of our ROCOR hierarchs feel comfortable in moving toward a
      position that will soon bring us into increased contact and eucharistic
      communion with "world Orthodoxy" this must meant that ROCOR's example and
      faithfulness to Orthodoxy is not necessary anymore and other Orthodox
      jurisdictions have returned from their forays into modernism and ecumenism.
      Is this so? A look at some recent actions by Russian Orthodox jursidictions
      currently allied with the MP around the world provides ample evidence that
      this is not so.
      Item: "East and West meet in Westminster" The Times (of London) January
      15, 2004
      The article states, "A Russian Orthodox service of Great Vespers will be
      celebrated at the Roman Catholic cathedral in Westminster for the first time
      in its history on Saturday, in what has been described as a "significant
      step forward" in relations between the Catholic and Orthodox churches�
      Bishop Basil of Sergievo, (the MP representative in London) comments, "We
      have to make a fairly clear distinction between relations between the
      Orthodox and Roman Catholics in this country and the situation that applies
      in Russia and parts of Eastern Europe. I would consider the situation to be
      completely normal here. In other parts of the world relations are strained,
      but that is a result of local situations."
      Item: Nativity 2004 in Vienna "Before the beginning of the Eucharistic canon
      Cardinal Schoenborn (Catholic Archbishop of Vienna) and Bishop Hilarion of
      Vienna and Austria, Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to the
      European Institutions, exchanged the kiss of peace". Concluding his
      welcoming address, Bishop Hilarion congratulated his guest on the Feast and
      expressed his wish that the almighty God strengthen him in his service to
      the Catholic Church and to Christian unity.
      (http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/2/27.aspx
      Much more could be discussed about Bishop Hilarion, born only in 1966, and a
      faithful disciple of Metropolitan Kyrill, head of Dept of External Relations
      of the MP. His theological views (decidely of the Paris School) and his work
      in the WCC and the European Union can be further investigated by checking
      out his website, www.orthodoxeurope.org.
      What I found most intriguing was in the section of the site dealing with
      church history -- of all the documentation a Russian Orthodox theologian
      could find on the history of the Russian New Martyrs Bishop Hilarion sees
      fit to post the works of Andrea Riccardi on the persecution of Christians in
      the USSR after 1917 (http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/13/2.aspx). For those
      who may not know Andrea Riccardi is the founder and president of the
      Community of Sant'Egidio, a famous lay Catholic center that, along with
      other activities, promotes ecumenism. The St. Egidio community holds an
      Annual Meeting of Prayer for Peace which is attended by Orthodox Christian
      churchmen. The events that took place at the latest gathering (17th Annual
      International Meeting of Prayer for Peace organised in Aachen by the
      Community of St. Egidio Sept 7-9 2003) make past World Council of Churches
      gatherings look like child's play!
      Bishop Hilarion makes no bones about his admiration for the so-called Paris
      School of theology. In a paper of his "Orthodox Theology on the Threshold of
      the Twenty-First Century" posted on his website we read,
      "At the time when Russian theological scholarship had been totally crushed
      in Russia itself, it continued to flourish in the West, among the Russian
      emigration. It was in exile that the gap between pre-Revolutionary Russian
      and contemporary Western science was bridged by theologians of the Russian
      emigration, in the works of representatives of the so-called �Paris school.�
      � The theologians of the Russian emigration fulfilled this task brilliantly.
      Thanks to their works the Western world encountered an Orthodoxy which until
      then it had known only from hearsay�"
      He continues, "I would distinguish five main streams within the theology of
      the �Paris school,�� The third prepared the ground for the �liturgical
      revival� in the Orthodox Church and is related to the names of Fr. Nicholas
      Afanassieff and Fr. Alexander Schmemann."
      Anyone familiar with the works of Fr. Seraphim Rose or Fr. Michael
      Pomazansky knows that they would take a completely contradictory position to
      that of the young Bishop Hilarion. Indeed he himself is aware of this
      opposition when he writes further down, "Nor will I do more than mention the
      critique of the �Paris school� that can be heard in circles of Orthodox
      fundamentalists and zealots for the �purity of Orthodoxy� (read ROCOR
      theologians). With a few rare exceptions, such criticism comes from
      unqualified persons lacking in theological education."
      So much for our brothers in Christ, if only Vl John or the humble,
      clear-thinking Fr. Michael Pomazansky were alive today to refute such
      effrontery� and that our own ROCOR priests would recall and cherish this
      legacy!
      And the esteemed Bishop Hilarion isn't finished. He concludes his article by
      listing a number of points, among them:
      "9. The renaissance will take place when Russian theological scholarship
      leaves the �ghetto� where it has already spent eighty years, when it reaches
      the level of modern Western research."
      A question for our bishops -- if we unite with the MP will the voice of the
      "ghetto" (and by this let us be clear we mean the thinking of such
      traditional luminaries as Vladykas' Averky and John, Fr. Constantine
      Zaitsev, Fr. Michael Pomazansky, Ivan Andreyev, etc.) be consigned to the
      gutter once and for all?
      This question frames the essence of the question of reconciliation with the
      MP. Those who refuse to be labeled fanatics or intransigents do recognize
      that times have changed and indeed there are positive changes in church life
      in Russia and that discussions can BEGIN with representatives of the MP. We
      must ask ourselves however why were we separated in the first place? The
      relationship between the ROCOR and MP is not a simple legalistic one. It
      does not suffice for our bishops to tell us that Communism is now over so we
      must unite. The reason for the ROCOR's separation and isolation was because
      it believed that it retained the legacy of "Holy Russia", of an Orthodox
      Church that retained its internal freedom that its brothers in Russia
      relinquished (by virtue of the stance of Metropolitan Sergius), of an
      Orthodox faith untainted by the modernism and ecumenism forced upon most of
      the world's Orthodox jurisdictions most emphatically by the Ecumencial
      Patriarchate of Constantinople. Do we really believe that by forsaking that
      legacy, by burying underground the issues of Sergianism and ecumenism, by
      not asking (or in healthier spiritual conditions of all parties involved,
      demanding) of the tainted hierarchs of the MP a tangible act of repentance
      for their past actions (instead of the continued justification of
      Sergianism, see Patriarch Alexis' sermon at M. Sergius' grave only a week
      ago!) we will bring about the resurrection of Holy Russia?
      If our bishops can return from Moscow and tell us that yes, this is so, that
      by relinquinshing our independence and internal freedom (which any form of
      reconciliation will by definition have to do)and by joining together with
      the MP we will best be able to bring about the continued resurrection of
      Orthodox church life in Russia, glory be to God! However, based on the very
      recent actions of the MP here in the Holy Land, based on the continued
      present statements and more significantly, actions of the hierarchs of the
      MP as outlined above with regard to the issues of Sergianism and ecumenism,
      based on the all too hasty and vague negotiations now taking place between
      "committees" of the MP and the ROCOR it will take much more to convince that
      that hoped for day of reconciliation and renewal is soon upon us. What ROCOR
      has to offer is too precious to give up without thoughtful and considered
      deliberation. As Fr. Constantine Zaitsev wrote, "Within the depth of Russian
      conscience is the key to the future � to the earthly future. If this is so,
      then maintaining ourselves in Truth is not only a salvation of our souls in
      faithfulness to our Church, but also a service to our Homeland. And then the
      word wait takes on its real sense with a special power. That is not a
      passive waiting out, but a stubborn firm endurance" (The Spiritual State of
      the Contemporary World and the Russian Church Outside of Russia).
      May God grant our hierarchs the wisdom to know when and how far to go along
      this most critical path of reconciliation.
      In Christ,
      m. Agapia

      >From: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com Message: 1 Date: Sat, 22 May 2004
      >09:04:36 -0400 From: "Fr. Alexis Duncan" <7848@...> Subject:
      >RE: Re: Sergie the most wise! Commentaruy of the Day!
      >
      >Fr. Serge,
      >
      >Just briefly, I promise. You are making a logical structure I studied in
      >debate. It baffles many, but that is the purpose. For example...take the
      >position of many of us that we do not wish to have concelebration with the
      >modernists. Then, in your argument, you take that thought to an illogical
      >extreme by implying that these same folks, who wish to have no
      >concelebration, have taught that the modernists are not Orthodox or lack
      >grace.
      >
      >This straw man argument (so-called) shifts the attention away from the real
      >issue and supplants it with a highly charged emotional fallacy. You attempt
      >to win the argument by not discussing the real issue.
      >
      >No one I know has ever said the modernist are not Orthodox and there are
      >not many, many fine Christinas in all jurisdictions. That isn't the point.
      >
      >Now, putting that aside, there are very valid resons we do not wish to
      >concelebrate with hierarchs who teach things that are foreign to our
      >Church. That's all. I promised to be brief!
      >
    • frraphver
      ... argumentation. Fr Raphael Vereshack: usually we thank people for praising others, not for criticising them: especially when this is done in a public way
      Message 2 of 4 , May 31 5:29 PM
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        --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Srs. Martha & Maria"
        <bethany_mm@h...> wrote:
        > Dear in Christ Fr. Alexis,
        > Your blessing!
        > Thank you for your observation on Fr. Serge's method of
        argumentation.

        Fr Raphael Vereshack: usually we thank people for praising others,
        not for criticising them: especially when this is done in a public
        way for all the world to hear.

        My
        > partner here in Bethany, sr. Martha, was becoming quite weary of
        hearing me
        > mutter "Straw man, straw man" every time I checked out this List
        on the
        > Internet!

        Fr RV: a dictionary defintion of 'straw man' is, "An argument or
        opponent set up so as to be easily refuted or defeated." It is very
        doubtful that Fr Serge was engaging in such tactics. Agree or
        disagree with what he said I think we must assume he genuinely holds
        to his beliefs. If our ideas are easily refuted we should not blame
        the person doing the refuting.



        > Though living in Jerusalem I manage to keep up contact with a fair
        number of
        > ROCOR parishioners in the States and I am pained to hear how many
        are so
        > frustrated by the hasty change in direction our bishops appear to
        be taking
        > in the present dealings with the MP.

        Fr RV: We tend to speak with those who are of like mind as
        ourselves. Using this as a gauge of where our church really is 'at'
        or the direction we should go is a risky enterprise. We tend to hear
        mainly what we are already prediposed to hear.



        > It is certainly justifiable that at such a significant juncture in
        the life
        > of the Russian Church all involved, both clergy and laity, be
        allowed to
        > offer critical commentary on the events now unfolding. As a nun
        living in
        > the Holy Land I can confirm that a large majority of the ROCOR
        monastics in
        > our convents and monasteries here are greatly alarmed on how
        events are
        > moving.

        Fr RV: Here (North America) most of the monastics I speak with wish
        to be obedient to the synod of hierarchs of our church.



        > In particular many are puzzled by the speed of the deliberations.

        Fr RV: This concern has been answered many times (including by our
        hierarchs): what has occured was preceeded by many years of trying
        to grapple with the question of our relations with the MP.
        Of course there is what has ocurred since last fall. But the speed
        with which good-will & charity heal relations between those who were
        formerly hostile should be greeted with hope not suspicion.


        In one of
        > the few offical documents to come out of the current visit of the
        ROCOR
        > delegation to Russia we read:
        > "An important role in the resolution of various problems which
        hinder the
        > restoration of the fullness of communion is reserved for the
        Committees
        > which were established in December 2003 by the hierarchies of the
        Moscow
        > Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
        The
        > Committees, having earlier worked separately, will in the near
        future
        > commence working jointly."
        > Would anyone on this list be able to tell me the following: Who
        sat on the
        > committees of each Church, when, where, and how many times have
        they met
        > separately since December 2003, and what (general terms will
        suffice) did
        > they discuss?
        > That they have in such a quick time separately defined and
        seemingly come to
        > a satsifactory resolution of issues that have separated and
        festered within
        > the churches for some eighty years I find outstanding.

        Fr RV: The relevant reports appearing on our church website very
        clearly stated that the process of commitees is only at its
        beginning stage. Little so far has been defined or resolved.
        But there is a certain tone of hope and goodwill in the reports of
        the trip to Russia that is undeniable.


        Perhaps the members
        > of these committees could be persuaded to come to Jerusalem and
        utilize
        > their superb negotiating skills to bring about peace in the Middle
        East as
        > well?

        Fr RV: If the Israeli & Palestinian authorities had good-will and
        charity towards each other who knows what miracles could be
        accomplished.

        > Besides being nervous about the undue speed of the process of
        reconciliation
        > many I know are frustrated by this tactic Fr. Alexis highlights --
        of being
        > painted into a corner and labeled an extremist (HOCNA, ROCie,
        whatever) when
        > in fact they are simply calling for ROCOR to remain faithful to
        positions it
        > has always held viz a viz modernist trends in other Orthodox
        jurisdictions.

        Fr RV: To be fair there are those against reconciliation that openly
        disown the schismatic path and proclaim that it is not of the
        Church. Some others however defend just as openly the schismatics (I
        don't mean Vladyko Vitaly who deserves respect) & infer blame on our
        bishops as 'betrayers of the truth.'
        There is also a certain mind-set that portrays the past of our
        church in a highly questionable way, finding certainty in the past
        of our church almost on a dogmatic level where it does not exist.
        When others try to point out that this presentation does not bear
        with the facts, what these others say is described as falsehood.
        The extemist view-point is a mind-set; there have been those who are
        firmly against reconciliation who knew and admitted that their view
        was not held by all within our church; and who quietly admit they
        could be wrong. That is why at the end of the day they will have
        faith & try to be obedient to what occurs.



        > It is a position that does not presume to determine who does or
        does not
        > have grace but keeps its distance from others to serve as a
        warning bell and
        > a witness to the wrong direction they are taking. It does not
        presume that
        > any INDIVIDUAL is "better" than others but does argue that its
        (ROCOR)
        > hierarchs in its statements and official actions remains faithful
        to the
        > traditional tenets of the Orthodox faith at a time when hierarchs
        of other
        > jurisdictions take steps away from traditional Orthodoxy.

        Fr RV: Our hierarchs are now openly asking of us: "we call upon our
        brethren and parishioners to trust our hierarchy, to strengthen
        their prayers and to rejoice that the Lord, by His grace & in ways
        invisible to us, gives us now real hope for the reestablishment of
        church unity, for which we prayed always and will continue to pray."
        (Statement- May 28)
        What was the position of our church in the past we can cherish. But
        our hierarchs are now asking for an adjustment of direction that in
        no way implies a betrayal of traditional Orthodoxy. To state
        otherwise is to ascribe unworthy motives to our hierarchs. The
        result of this can easily be 'taking the reins into one's own
        hands', something which ends in the dead-end of self-will. As
        monastics in our church our witness should primarily be a
        faithfulness based on humble faith.



        Fr. Seraphim Rose
        > explained this position well when he wrote, "We still believe in
        the
        > Orthodoxy of most of the basic jurisdictions in America, but view
        them as
        > being in different stages of falling away from Orthodoxy, and
        different
        > priests and laymen in each jurisdiction trying more or less hard
        (or not at
        > all) to remain Orthodox." (p. 38, Letters from Fr. Seraphim)

        Fr RV: The rest of this quote is, "We have tried not to 'push' the
        Synod too hard, for fear of turning our position into a party line,
        and also to retain contact with those outside who are trying to keep
        the same spirit. Each case should be weighed seperately." (p.38).
        It is well known that Fr Seraphim ended his life holding to a church
        position very similiar to those now looking forward to
        reconciliation; ie it is well-known if we do not ascribe motives of
        betrayal which those who favour reconciliation in no way are in
        favour of.

        > As Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan rightly pointed out in a talk he
        gave to
        > monastics while on a pilgimage to the Holy Land last week, "In the
        30's and
        > 40's we did have closer relations with other Orthodox
        jurisdictions. However
        > over the years THEY changed while we remained the same, faithful
        to Orthodox
        > tradition."
        > Indeed it has always been understood that the only validity for
        that
        > "isolation" which so grieves some on this List is that we (as a
        Church)
        > remain faithful to Orthodoxy.

        Fr RV: I have seen nothing on this list which leads one to think
        that it grieves some to remain faithful to Orthodoxy. On the
        contrary.



        Again I'm reminded of the words of Fr.
        > Seraphim: "The sad thing is that our Synod has justification for
        separate
        > existence only if it is zealot and gives an example to the other
        fallen or
        > falling-away jurisdictions, but to be wishy-washy and just
        dragging along
        > has no meaning at all. But Christ our God is with us, and Vladika
        John has
        > pushed us in the right direction (he told us to keep right on
        accusing
        > [Patriarch] Athenogoras, even if people didn't like it), and all
        of our
        > trials are only to strengthen us for the very difficult times
        ahead. God is
        > with us!" (p. 125)

        Fr RV: This quote is from 1975. The gradual change in how Fr
        Seraphim saw the Church began a number of years later especially as
        the disputes with Brookline began. This is openly attested to in Fr
        Seraphim's later letters & writings. He ended his life strongly
        insisting that the only safe path for us is the Royal Road, avoiding
        the extremes of both modernism & zeal not according to righteousness.


        > Now if today some of our ROCOR hierarchs feel comfortable in
        moving toward a
        > position that will soon bring us into increased contact and
        eucharistic
        > communion with "world Orthodoxy" this must meant that ROCOR's
        example and
        > faithfulness to Orthodoxy is not necessary anymore and other
        Orthodox
        > jurisdictions have returned from their forays into modernism and
        ecumenism.
        > Is this so?

        Fr RV: It is not at all clear how the direction our hierarchs wish
        us to go in "must" mean "that ROCOR's example and faithfulness to
        Orthododxy is not necessary anymore."
        To express our concerns is one thing- to infer such motives to our
        hierarchs in such a way is not called for. As to the model of humble
        obedience the Church calls us to...


        A look at some recent actions by Russian Orthodox jursidictions
        > currently allied with the MP around the world provides ample
        evidence that
        > this is not so.
        > Item: "East and West meet in Westminster" The Times (of London)
        January
        > 15, 2004
        > The article states, "A Russian Orthodox service of Great Vespers
        will be
        > celebrated at the Roman Catholic cathedral in Westminster for the
        first time
        > in its history on Saturday, in what has been described as
        a "significant
        > step forward" in relations between the Catholic and Orthodox
        churches…
        > Bishop Basil of Sergievo, (the MP representative in London)
        comments, "We
        > have to make a fairly clear distinction between relations between
        the
        > Orthodox and Roman Catholics in this country and the situation
        that applies
        > in Russia and parts of Eastern Europe. I would consider the
        situation to be
        > completely normal here. In other parts of the world relations are
        strained,
        > but that is a result of local situations."
        > Item: Nativity 2004 in Vienna "Before the beginning of the
        Eucharistic canon
        > Cardinal Schoenborn (Catholic Archbishop of Vienna) and Bishop
        Hilarion of
        > Vienna and Austria, Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church
        to the
        > European Institutions, exchanged the kiss of peace". Concluding
        his
        > welcoming address, Bishop Hilarion congratulated his guest on the
        Feast and
        > expressed his wish that the almighty God strengthen him in his
        service to
        > the Catholic Church and to Christian unity.
        > (http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/2/27.aspx
        > Much more could be discussed about Bishop Hilarion, born only in
        1966, and a
        > faithful disciple of Metropolitan Kyrill, head of Dept of External
        Relations
        > of the MP. His theological views (decidely of the Paris School)
        and his work
        > in the WCC and the European Union can be further investigated by
        checking
        > out his website, www.orthodoxeurope.org.
        > What I found most intriguing was in the section of the site
        dealing with
        > church history -- of all the documentation a Russian Orthodox
        theologian
        > could find on the history of the Russian New Martyrs Bishop
        Hilarion sees
        > fit to post the works of Andrea Riccardi on the persecution of
        Christians in
        > the USSR after 1917 (http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/13/2.aspx).
        For those
        > who may not know Andrea Riccardi is the founder and president of
        the
        > Community of Sant'Egidio, a famous lay Catholic center that, along
        with
        > other activities, promotes ecumenism. The St. Egidio community
        holds an
        > Annual Meeting of Prayer for Peace which is attended by Orthodox
        Christian
        > churchmen. The events that took place at the latest gathering
        (17th Annual
        > International Meeting of Prayer for Peace organised in Aachen by
        the
        > Community of St. Egidio Sept 7-9 2003) make past World Council of
        Churches
        > gatherings look like child's play!
        > Bishop Hilarion makes no bones about his admiration for the so-
        called Paris
        > School of theology. In a paper of his "Orthodox Theology on the
        Threshold of
        > the Twenty-First Century" posted on his website we read,
        > "At the time when Russian theological scholarship had been totally
        crushed
        > in Russia itself, it continued to flourish in the West, among the
        Russian
        > emigration. It was in exile that the gap between pre-Revolutionary
        Russian
        > and contemporary Western science was bridged by theologians of the
        Russian
        > emigration, in the works of representatives of the so-
        called "Paris school."
        > … The theologians of the Russian emigration fulfilled this task
        brilliantly.
        > Thanks to their works the Western world encountered an Orthodoxy
        which until
        > then it had known only from hearsay…"
        > He continues, "I would distinguish five main streams within the
        theology of
        > the "Paris school,"… The third prepared the ground for
        the "liturgical
        > revival" in the Orthodox Church and is related to the names of Fr.
        Nicholas
        > Afanassieff and Fr. Alexander Schmemann."
        > Anyone familiar with the works of Fr. Seraphim Rose or Fr. Michael
        > Pomazansky knows that they would take a completely contradictory
        position to
        > that of the young Bishop Hilarion. Indeed he himself is aware of
        this
        > opposition when he writes further down, "Nor will I do more than
        mention the
        > critique of the "Paris school" that can be heard in circles of
        Orthodox
        > fundamentalists and zealots for the "purity of Orthodoxy" (read
        ROCOR
        > theologians). With a few rare exceptions, such criticism comes
        from
        > unqualified persons lacking in theological education."
        > So much for our brothers in Christ, if only Vl John or the humble,
        > clear-thinking Fr. Michael Pomazansky were alive today to refute
        such
        > effrontery… and that our own ROCOR priests would recall and
        cherish this
        > legacy!
        > And the esteemed Bishop Hilarion isn't finished. He concludes his
        article by
        > listing a number of points, among them:
        > "9. The renaissance will take place when Russian theological
        scholarship
        > leaves the "ghetto" where it has already spent eighty years, when
        it reaches
        > the level of modern Western research."
        > A question for our bishops -- if we unite with the MP will the
        voice of the
        > "ghetto" (and by this let us be clear we mean the thinking of such
        > traditional luminaries as Vladykas' Averky and John, Fr.
        Constantine
        > Zaitsev, Fr. Michael Pomazansky, Ivan Andreyev, etc.) be consigned
        to the
        > gutter once and for all?

        Fr RV: None have disowned our fathers who came before us or
        consigned them to 'the gutter'.
        The above describes problems outside of our church. But you have not
        shown how reconciliation NECESSARILY implies that we will have to
        accept any of this. Those even within one jurisdiction fiercely
        disagree with and criticise each other; also jurisdictions which are
        in communion criticise each other.
        This also brings up the other question I have raised from time to
        time in my different posts: given that such problems have always
        been present within the history of the Church (what of Sts Paissy
        Velichkovsky & Nikodemos the Agiorite- the Church at this time
        suffered terrible assaults from oppression, worldliness,
        westernisation, etc- but these saints never broke communion with
        their Church) we need an understanding of objective Church standards
        that justify breaking communion- otherwise we end up with standards
        that are actually arbitrary. Personally I think that many of us,
        because this mind-set is so ingrained and unquestioned come very
        close to thinking that anything deeply objectionable in the life of
        the Church, justifies (even demands) breaking communion. Those
        priests more senior to myself would know better than I the 'shelf-
        life' of this 'ecclesiology'. My impression is that it really starts
        sometime during the 1970s.

        > This question frames the essence of the question of reconciliation
        with the
        > MP. Those who refuse to be labeled fanatics or intransigents do
        recognize
        > that times have changed and indeed there are positive changes in
        church life
        > in Russia and that discussions can BEGIN with representatives of
        the MP. We
        > must ask ourselves however why were we separated in the first
        place? The
        > relationship between the ROCOR and MP is not a simple legalistic
        one. It
        > does not suffice for our bishops to tell us that Communism is now
        over so we
        > must unite.

        Fr RV: Our hierarchs have not described either the reasons behind
        nor the process of reconciliation simply in terms of 'communism is
        over'. What has happened is far more complex than this... and both
        ROCOR & the MP say openly that exactly where this process leads is
        unknown to man.

        The reason for the ROCOR's separation and isolation was because
        > it believed that it retained the legacy of "Holy Russia", of an
        Orthodox
        > Church that retained its internal freedom that its brothers in
        Russia
        > relinquished (by virtue of the stance of Metropolitan Sergius), of
        an
        > Orthodox faith untainted by the modernism and ecumenism forced
        upon most of
        > the world's Orthodox jurisdictions most emphatically by the
        Ecumencial
        > Patriarchate of Constantinople. Do we really believe that by
        forsaking that
        > legacy, by burying underground the issues of Sergianism and
        ecumenism, by
        > not asking (or in healthier spiritual conditions of all parties
        involved,
        > demanding) of the tainted hierarchs of the MP a tangible act of
        repentance
        > for their past actions (instead of the continued justification of
        > Sergianism, see Patriarch Alexis' sermon at M. Sergius' grave only
        a week
        > ago!) we will bring about the resurrection of Holy Russia?

        Fr RV: None of these concerns has been abandoned by our church. But
        it is also up to our church to define in the present situation what
        is an acceptable change, whether the conditions exist that favour
        reconciliation. These considerations also occur in parish life- the
        measure one holds to during the time of seperation is often not
        identical to what is accepted during reconciliation. This after all
        is an essential part of the Church's way of life, of Her economia.
        And none of this automatically implies minimising or glossing over
        sins; perhaps it even all the more takes this into account in
        setting a charitable measure.



        > If our bishops can return from Moscow and tell us that yes, this
        is so, that
        > by relinquinshing our independence and internal freedom (which any
        form of
        > reconciliation will by definition have to do)and by joining
        together with
        > the MP we will best be able to bring about the continued
        resurrection of
        > Orthodox church life in Russia, glory be to God!

        Fr RV: No-one of our bishops is intending to relinquish
        our "independence and internal freedom".
        On the other hand we want a Church way of life- none us knows
        exactly where this process of reconciliaiton may lead, no guarantees
        are possible. Perhaps there will be disappointments. Such are
        assured every time we come in contact with each other. The only way
        to avoid this is to break contact with all human beings.
        I think it is better to do our best with good-will & hope. And above
        all to put our trust in God.



        However, based on the very
        > recent actions of the MP here in the Holy Land, based on the
        continued
        > present statements and more significantly, actions of the
        hierarchs of the
        > MP as outlined above with regard to the issues of Sergianism and
        ecumenism,
        > based on the all too hasty and vague negotiations now taking place
        between
        > "committees" of the MP and the ROCOR it will take much more to
        convince that
        > that hoped for day of reconciliation and renewal is soon upon us.

        Fr RV: The issue is one of trust. Without this all we see is sin.
        And then even that good that God allows will be a disappointment to
        us, because all men sin.





        What ROCOR
        > has to offer is too precious to give up without thoughtful and
        considered
        > deliberation. As Fr. Constantine Zaitsev wrote, "Within the depth
        of Russian
        > conscience is the key to the future – to the earthly future. If
        this is so,
        > then maintaining ourselves in Truth is not only a salvation of our
        souls in
        > faithfulness to our Church, but also a service to our Homeland.
        And then the
        > word wait takes on its real sense with a special power. That is
        not a
        > passive waiting out, but a stubborn firm endurance" (The Spiritual
        State of
        > the Contemporary World and the Russian Church Outside of Russia).
        > May God grant our hierarchs the wisdom to know when and how far to
        go along
        > this most critical path of reconciliation.
        > In Christ,
        > m. Agapia
        >

        Fr RV: "What ROCOR has to offer is too precious to give up without
        thoughtful & considered deliberation."
        The only treaure we have is from Christ. We can scatter the treaure
        away not only by thoughtlessly giving up what is precious about our
        church but also by holding it to ourselves so tightly, the gift is
        no longer fit for use. We must remember what the treaure is- the
        love that Christ offers us within the Church unto the salvation of
        others.
        In the love of Christ- hieromonk Raphael (Vereshack)


        > >From: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com Message: 1 Date: Sat, 22
        May 2004
        > >09:04:36 -0400 From: "Fr. Alexis Duncan" <7848@a...> Subject:
        > >RE: Re: Sergie the most wise! Commentaruy of the Day!
        > >
        > >Fr. Serge,
        > >
        > >Just briefly, I promise. You are making a logical structure I
        studied in
        > >debate. It baffles many, but that is the purpose. For
        example...take the
        > >position of many of us that we do not wish to have concelebration
        with the
        > >modernists. Then, in your argument, you take that thought to an
        illogical
        > >extreme by implying that these same folks, who wish to have no
        > >concelebration, have taught that the modernists are not Orthodox
        or lack
        > >grace.
        > >
        > >This straw man argument (so-called) shifts the attention away
        from the real
        > >issue and supplants it with a highly charged emotional fallacy.
        You attempt
        > >to win the argument by not discussing the real issue.
        > >
        > >No one I know has ever said the modernist are not Orthodox and
        there are
        > >not many, many fine Christinas in all jurisdictions. That isn't
        the point.
        > >
        > >Now, putting that aside, there are very valid resons we do not
        wish to
        > >concelebrate with hierarchs who teach things that are foreign to
        our
        > >Church. That's all. I promised to be brief!
        > >
      • byakimov@csc.com.au
        Glory to GOD! (Yes, you may send it or post it as you like......m. Agapia) This origianl posting was meant to be posted while the delegation was still in
        Message 3 of 4 , May 31 11:00 PM
        • 0 Attachment
          Glory to GOD! (Yes, you may send it or post it as you like......m. Agapia)
          This origianl posting was meant to be posted while the delegation was
          still in Russia but due to technical reasons was not posted... nonetheless
          we should be firm & speak up while we can....
          ---------------------- Forwarded by Basil Yakimov/AUST/CSC on 01/06/2004
          08:27 AM ---------------------------

          "Srs. Martha & Maria" <bethany_mm@...> on 01/06/2004 05:39:24 AM

          Please respond to orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com

          To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
          cc:
          Subject: RE: [orthodox-synod] Digest Number 1270


          Dear in Christ Fr. Alexis, Your blessing!

          Thank you for your observation on Fr. Serge's method of argumentation. My
          (friend) here in Bethany, sr. Martha, was becoming quite weary of hearing
          me
          mutter "Straw man, straw man" every time I checked out this List on the
          Internet!

          Though living in Jerusalem I manage to keep up contact with a fair number
          of
          ROCOR parishioners in the States and I am pained to hear how many are so
          frustrated by the hasty change in direction our bishops appear to be taking
          in the present dealings with the MP.

          It is certainly justifiable that at such a significant juncture in the life
          of the Russian Church all involved, both clergy and laity, be allowed to
          offer critical commentary on the events now unfolding. As a nun living in
          the Holy Land I can confirm that a large majority of the ROCOR monastics in
          our convents and monasteries here are greatly alarmed on how events are
          moving.

          In particular many are puzzled by the speed of the deliberations. In one of
          the few offical documents to come out of the current visit of the ROCOR
          delegation to Russia we read: "An important role in the resolution of
          various
          problems which hinder the
          restoration of the fullness of communion is reserved for the Committees
          which were established in December 2003 by the hierarchies of the Moscow
          Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The
          Committees, having earlier worked separately, will in the near future
          commence working jointly."

          Would anyone on this list be able to tell me the following: Who sat on the
          committees of each Church, when, where, and how many times have they met
          separately since December 2003, and what (general terms will suffice) did
          they discuss?

          That they have in such a quick time separately defined and seemingly come
          to
          a satsifactory resolution of issues that have separated and festered within
          the churches for some eighty years I find outstanding. Perhaps the members
          of these committees could be persuaded to come to Jerusalem and utilize
          their superb negotiating skills to bring about peace in the Middle East as
          well?

          Besides being nervous about the undue speed of the process of
          reconciliation
          many I know are frustrated by this tactic Fr. Alexis highlights -- of
          being
          painted into a corner and labeled an extremist (HOCNA, ROCie, whatever)
          when
          in fact they are simply calling for ROCOR to remain faithful to positions
          it
          has always held viz a viz modernist trends in other Orthodox jurisdictions.
          It is a position that does not presume to determine who does or does not
          have grace but keeps its distance from others to serve as a warning bell
          and
          a witness to the wrong direction they are taking. It does not presume that
          any INDIVIDUAL is "better" than others but does argue that its (ROCOR)
          hierarchs in its statements and official actions remains faithful to the
          traditional tenets of the Orthodox faith at a time when hierarchs of other
          jurisdictions take steps away from traditional Orthodoxy. Fr. Seraphim Rose
          explained this position well when he wrote, "We still believe in the
          Orthodoxy of most of the basic jurisdictions in America, but view them as
          being in different stages of falling away from Orthodoxy, and different
          priests and laymen in each jurisdiction trying more or less hard (or not at
          all) to remain Orthodox." (p. 38, Letters from Fr. Seraphim.)

          As Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan rightly pointed out in a talk he gave to
          monastics while on a pilgimage to the Holy Land last week, "In the 30's and
          40's we did have closer relations with other Orthodox jurisdictions.
          However
          over the years THEY changed while we remained the same, faithful to
          Orthodox
          tradition."

          Indeed it has always been understood that the only validity for that
          "isolation" which so grieves some on this List is that we (as a Church)
          remain faithful to Orthodoxy. Again I'm reminded of the words of Fr.
          Seraphim: "The sad thing is that our Synod has justification for separate
          existence only if it is zealot and gives an example to the other fallen or
          falling-away jurisdictions, but to be wishy-washy and just dragging along
          has no meaning at all. But Christ our God is with us, and Vladika John has
          pushed us in the right direction (he told us to keep right on accusing
          [Patriarch] Athenogoras, even if people didn't like it), and all of our
          trials are only to strengthen us for the very difficult times ahead. God is
          with us!" (p. 125)

          Now if today some of our ROCOR hierarchs feel comfortable in moving toward
          a
          position that will soon bring us into increased contact and eucharistic
          communion with "world Orthodoxy" this must meant that ROCOR's example and
          faithfulness to Orthodoxy is not necessary anymore and other Orthodox
          jurisdictions have returned from their forays into modernism and ecumenism.
          Is this so? A look at some recent actions by Russian Orthodox jursidictions
          currently allied with the MP around the world provides ample evidence that
          this is not so.

          Item: "East and West meet in Westminster" The Times (of London) January
          15, 2004 The article states, "A Russian Orthodox service of Great Vespers
          will be
          celebrated at the Roman Catholic cathedral in Westminster for the first
          time
          in its history on Saturday, in what has been described as a "significant
          step forward" in relations between the Catholic and Orthodox churches?
          Bishop Basil of Sergievo, (the MP representative in London) comments, "We
          have to make a fairly clear distinction between relations between the
          Orthodox and Roman Catholics in this country and the situation that applies
          in Russia and parts of Eastern Europe. I would consider the situation to be
          completely normal here. In other parts of the world relations are strained,
          but that is a result of local situations."

          Item: Nativity 2004 in Vienna "Before the beginning of the Eucharistic
          canon
          Cardinal Schoenborn (Catholic Archbishop of Vienna) and Bishop Hilarion of
          Vienna and Austria, Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to the
          European Institutions, exchanged the kiss of peace". Concluding his
          welcoming address, Bishop Hilarion congratulated his guest on the Feast and
          expressed his wish that the almighty God strengthen him in his service to
          the Catholic Church and to Christian unity. (
          http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/2/27.aspx

          Much more could be discussed about Bishop Hilarion, born only in 1966, and
          a
          faithful disciple of Metropolitan Kyrill, head of Dept of External
          Relations
          of the MP. His theological views (decidely of the Paris School) and his
          work
          in the WCC and the European Union can be further investigated by checking
          out his website, www.orthodoxeurope.org.

          What I found most intriguing was in the section of the site dealing with
          church history -- of all the documentation a Russian Orthodox theologian
          could find on the history of the Russian New Martyrs Bishop Hilarion sees
          fit to post the works of Andrea Riccardi on the persecution of Christians
          in
          the USSR after 1917 (http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/13/2.aspx). For those
          who may not know Andrea Riccardi is the founder and president of the
          Community of Sant'Egidio, a famous lay Catholic center that, along with
          other activities, promotes ecumenism. The St. Egidio community holds an
          Annual Meeting of Prayer for Peace which is attended by Orthodox Christian
          churchmen. The events that took place at the latest gathering (17th Annual
          International Meeting of Prayer for Peace organised in Aachen by the
          Community of St. Egidio Sept 7-9 2003) make past World Council of Churches
          gatherings look like child's play!

          Bishop Hilarion makes no bones about his admiration for the so-called Paris
          School of theology. In a paper of his "Orthodox Theology on the Threshold
          of
          the Twenty-First Century" posted on his website we read, "At the time when
          Russian theological scholarship had been totally crushed in Russia itself,
          it continued to flourish in the West, among the Russian emigration. It was
          in exile that the gap between pre-Revolutionary Russian
          and contemporary Western science was bridged by theologians of the Russian
          emigration, in the works of representatives of the so-called "Paris
          school."
          ? The theologians of the Russian emigration fulfilled this task
          brilliantly.
          Thanks to their works the Western world encountered an Orthodoxy which
          until
          then it had known only from hearsay?"

          He continues, "I would distinguish five main streams within the theology of
          the "Paris school,"? The third prepared the ground for the "liturgical
          revival" in the Orthodox Church and is related to the names of Fr. Nicholas
          Afanassieff and Fr. Alexander Schmemann."

          Anyone familiar with the works of Fr. Seraphim Rose or Fr. Michael
          Pomazansky knows that they would take a completely contradictory position
          to
          that of the young Bishop Hilarion. Indeed he himself is aware of this
          opposition when he writes further down, "Nor will I do more than mention
          the
          critique of the "Paris school" that can be heard in circles of Orthodox
          fundamentalists and zealots for the "purity of Orthodoxy" (read ROCOR
          theologians). With a few rare exceptions, such criticism comes from
          unqualified persons lacking in theological education."

          So much for our brothers in Christ, if only Vl John or the humble,
          clear-thinking Fr. Michael Pomazansky were alive today to refute such
          effrontery? and that our own ROCOR priests would recall and cherish this
          legacy!

          And the esteemed Bishop Hilarion isn't finished. He concludes his article
          by
          listing a number of points, among them:"9. The renaissance will take place
          when Russian theological scholarshipleaves the "ghetto" where it has
          already spent eighty years, when it reaches
          the level of modern Western research."

          A question for our bishops -- if we unite with the MP will the voice of the
          "ghetto" (and by this let us be clear we mean the thinking of such
          traditional luminaries as Vladykas' Averky and John, Fr. Constantine
          Zaitsev, Fr. Michael Pomazansky, Ivan Andreyev, etc.) be consigned to the
          gutter once and for all?

          This question frames the essence of the question of reconciliation with the
          MP. Those who refuse to be labeled fanatics or intransigents do recognize
          that times have changed and indeed there are positive changes in church
          life
          in Russia and that discussions can BEGIN with representatives of the MP. We
          must ask ourselves however why were we separated in the first place? The
          relationship between the ROCOR and MP is not a simple legalistic one. It
          does not suffice for our bishops to tell us that Communism is now over so
          we
          must unite. The reason for the ROCOR's separation and isolation was because
          it believed that it retained the legacy of "Holy Russia", of an Orthodox
          Church that retained its internal freedom that its brothers in Russia
          relinquished (by virtue of the stance of Metropolitan Sergius), of an
          Orthodox faith untainted by the modernism and ecumenism forced upon most of
          the world's Orthodox jurisdictions most emphatically by the Ecumencial
          Patriarchate of Constantinople. Do we really believe that by forsaking that
          legacy, by burying underground the issues of Sergianism and ecumenism, by
          not asking (or in healthier spiritual conditions of all parties involved,
          demanding) of the tainted hierarchs of the MP a tangible act of repentance
          for their past actions (instead of the continued justification of
          Sergianism, see Patriarch Alexis' sermon at M. Sergius' grave only a week
          ago!) we will bring about the resurrection of Holy Russia?

          If our bishops can return from Moscow and tell us that yes, this is so,
          that
          by relinquinshing our independence and internal freedom (which any form of
          reconciliation will by definition have to do)and by joining together with
          the MP we will best be able to bring about the continued resurrection of
          Orthodox church life in Russia, glory be to God! However, based on the very
          recent actions of the MP here in the Holy Land, based on the continued
          present statements and more significantly, actions of the hierarchs of the
          MP as outlined above with regard to the issues of Sergianism and ecumenism,
          based on the all too hasty and vague negotiations now taking place between
          "committees" of the MP and the ROCOR it will take much more to convince
          that
          that hoped for day of reconciliation and renewal is soon upon us. What
          ROCOR
          has to offer is too precious to give up without thoughtful and considered
          deliberation. As Fr. Constantine Zaitsev wrote, "Within the depth of
          Russian
          conscience is the key to the future ? to the earthly future. If this is so,
          then maintaining ourselves in Truth is not only a salvation of our souls in
          faithfulness to our Church, but also a service to our Homeland. And then
          the
          word wait takes on its real sense with a special power. That is not a
          passive waiting out, but a stubborn firm endurance" (The Spiritual State of
          the Contemporary World and the Russian Church Outside of Russia).

          May God grant our hierarchs the wisdom to know when and how far to go along
          this most critical path of reconciliation.

          In Christ, m. Agapia
        • Fr. John R. Shaw
          ... the life ... allowed to ... JRS: Unfortunately, in our Church circles such things tend to result in a mess, rather than in anything being resolved. And
          Message 4 of 4 , Jun 1, 2004
          • 0 Attachment
            --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Srs. Martha & Maria"
            <bethany_mm@h...> wrote:

            > "It is certainly justifiable that at such a significant juncture in
            the life
            > of the Russian Church all involved, both clergy and laity, be
            allowed to
            > offer critical commentary on the events now unfolding".

            JRS: Unfortunately, in our Church circles such things tend to result
            in a mess, rather than in anything being resolved.

            And then, no such "critical commentary from all involved, clergy and
            laity" was asked for or accepted in the earlier period when the
            present situation was, as it were, set up.

            No one, for example, was asked if they approved of ROCOR's acceptance
            of Greek communities in the 1960's, nor were they asked if they
            wanted to break off ties with the Greek Archdiocese (not that we ever
            did, officially).

            Nobody was asked if they wanted to see ROCOR establish its own
            parishes and dioceses in Russia, either.

            Many other changes were introduced within my memory, and none of us
            was ever asked for our opinions.

            > As a nun living in
            > the Holy Land I can confirm that a large majority of the ROCOR
            monastics in
            > our convents and monasteries here are greatly alarmed on how events
            are
            > moving.

            JRS: As a parish priest in the central part of the U.S., I can
            confirm that the overwhelming majority of our parishioners are
            delighted at the way events are now moving.

            > In particular many are puzzled by the speed of the deliberations.

            JRS: Many people are puzzled, not because of their own personal
            reactions, but because things have been presented to them in a
            negative and often misleading fashion, by some partisan.

            Thus for example on Pentecost, at our church dinner, some
            parishioners of ours were telling me about a Romanian lady, who
            attends a Greek Archdiocese parish near them, and who is not involved
            with ROCOR.

            However, she is now very upset and confused about the horrid accounts
            of ROCOR's "captiulation to the Moscow Patriarchate", that she has
            heard from a Greek O.C. priest she knows!

            Much the same thing was to be met with in 1986, when HOCNA split off
            from ROCOR, and many innocent peoiple were disinformed and
            deliberatedly misled about what was going on.

            > That they have in such a quick time separately defined and
            seemingly come to
            > a satsifactory resolution of issues that have separated and
            festered within
            > the churches for some eighty years I find outstanding.

            JRS: People have been talking about "such a quick time" now, for at
            least 4 years.

            And yet, only 2 years had passed since the repose of Patriarch St.
            Tikhon in 1925, and the breach with Metropolitan Sergius over his
            declaration in 1927.

            That was twice as fast, wasn't it?

            > Perhaps the members
            > of these committees could be persuaded to come to Jerusalem and
            utilize
            > their superb negotiating skills to bring about peace in the Middle
            East as
            > well?

            JRS: It seems to me that it should be a lot easier to start with
            something within reach: to work with individuals -- for example, to
            persuade people like George Stephanopoulos to recognize the error of
            America's policy against the Serbs in the Balkans, under the Clinton
            administration...

            In Christ
            Fr. John R. Shaw
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