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Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: Documents Concerning the HOCNA Separation?

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  • vjb
    Dear Fr. Alexis (bless), I read your post and it makes a perfect sense. Except that it seems that no one has ever challenged the validity of the anathema
    Message 1 of 19 , Mar 1, 2005
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      Dear Fr. Alexis (bless),

      I read your post and it makes a perfect sense. Except that it seems that no one has ever challenged the validity of the anathema (within or outside ROCOR). Therefore why would anyone want to have it rescinded? The question is, "Does ROCOR fall under its own anathema?" and "Who is to decide where this anathema applies?"

      viatcheslav
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Fr. Alexis Duncan
      To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 12:31 PM
      Subject: RE: [orthodox-synod] Re: Documents Concerning the HOCNA Separation?


      A terribly odd sentiment that I have heard expressed at
      other times is that the Anathema of 1983 is only for our
      Church Abroad and her faithful children. It is odd because
      if we believe our bishops in congregation are led by the
      Holy Spirit, then the anathema must necessarily speak for
      the Church as a whole.

      Now certain jurisdictions not in agreement might not
      recognize the anathema. That is true. However, whether they
      recognize it or not, if, as I say, we believe the Holy
      Spirit directs the synod of bishops, then it is a little
      like the fellow who doesn't recognize that planets invisible
      to the naked eye exist. Even if the synod of bishops were
      not directed by the Holy Spirit, the anathema still remains
      an historic pronouncement and it is either true or not.
      Would any Orthodox Christian dare say it is false?

      Now we have a thorny question. Can the synod of bishops be
      incorrect? Does the Holy Spirit direct them at one time and
      not at others? That opens a whole can of worms does it not?
      I have an understanding that a local synod of bishops
      possesses the grace of the Holy Spirit, yet might make
      mistakes. In other words, the Holy Spirit does not force a
      bishop to be correct. Such, I feel, was the anathematization
      of the Old Believers. It was a mistake, in my opinion.

      So, we still have the anathema of 1983 in force. We can
      discuss whether it was contrived or expected or secretly
      written or slipped in or any other number of charges
      stemming from our own personal suspicions or prejudices
      (even though that seems terribly wasteful of intellectual
      energies). But the bishops did accept it and none of them
      were dupes were they? So, it seems to me that until they
      rescind it, we confess it to be true.

      _________________________________________________
      Fr. Alexis Duncan
      Joy of All Who Sorrow Russian Orthodox Church
      Atlanta, GA
      www.orthodoxinfo.biz




      JRS: No anathema has the power to "act of itself" or to
      place anyone outside the Church;
      anathemas can be read or studied for their doctinal content,
      rather like a catechism, and they
      can be applied as Church law by a Synod over matters within
      its own jurisdiction.

      JRS: The anathema was nothing that was planned or even
      expected by the ROCOR hierarchs,
      including Metropolitan Philaret, who had gathered for the
      Sobor of 1983.



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • michael nikitin
      Fr.George Kochergin stated that three times a contingent went to the Synod in New York to have a statement written by ROCOR that it did not serve with the
      Message 2 of 19 , Mar 1, 2005
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        Fr.George Kochergin stated that three times a contingent went to the Synod in New York to have a statement written by ROCOR that it did not serve with the Serbs who are in WCC and ecumenism. This statement was never written.

        And it was B.Alipy who ordained Fr.Gregory, now B.Gregory of Colorado, when monk Gregory was an accuser, although Monk Gregory says nothing like that happened to him personally and he was not an eye witness either.

        Michael N


        "Fr. John R. Shaw" <vrevjrs@...> wrote:Paul Bartlett wrote:

        > On another forum someone has asked if anyone know a source for the
        > (or a) document in which those who formed HOCNA set out their reasons
        > for taking their action to separate from ROCOR. The only material I
        > have seen on the matter was some material largely from the ROCOR side,
        > although it purported to reproduce some letters or other materials
        > coming from the HOCNA party.

        JRS: HOCNA produced an "information packet" that at one point was about a ream of paper.
        They sent it to me -- twice I think, back in early 1987, before the real heyday of the internet.

        Their "rationale" for separating from ROCOR was a claim that ROCOR had fallen into
        ecumenism.

        Needless to say, that was not the "reason" -- the real reason was that Archimandrite
        Panteleimon had been suspended, after the Synod had spent months investigating moral
        accusations against him.

        The bishops assigned to the investigation were Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles and the
        present Archbishop Alypy, who was then Bishop of Cleveland.

        But in March of 1986, Vl. Alypy and I were present at a Vesper service in the Serbian Holy
        Resurrection cathedral in Chicago, on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. We did not vest, participate,
        or at any time go behind the iconostas; we were merely present.

        But that was enough.

        The Panteleimonites were informed of this, by a certain Greek Old Calendar cleric phoning
        them that very evening, perhaps before we even got home from the Serbian church.

        This gave them the idea of claiming that "ROCOR has fallen under its own anathema" (i.e. the
        "anathema of 1983", which appears to have been authored by the Panteleimon-coterie).

        An important contribution to this rationale had come a few years before, from a series of
        open letters written by Vladimir Moss and sent to most of the ROCOR clergy, in which he
        made similar allegations.

        In that first series of letters from V. Moss, the claim was that ROCOR had "fallen at the Sobor
        of 1974".

        Similar claims have been made by various groups (the Matthewites, HOCNA, ROAC, ROCiE)
        over the years -- but in them, the date of ROCOR's supposed downfall was updated more
        than once, to suit individual interests.

        The main key to the influence of such accusations has always been people's lack of familiarity
        with ROCOR's history.

        In Christ
        Fr. John R. Shaw




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      • Fr. Alexis Duncan
        If others interpret the anathema to place them outside the Church, it is clearly polemics and a feeble attempt to screen the issue that they indeed might be
        Message 3 of 19 , Mar 1, 2005
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          If others interpret the anathema to place them outside the
          Church, it is clearly polemics and a feeble attempt to
          screen the issue that they indeed might be ecumenists.

          At best only a local "measure" of a local church? That seems
          to be somewhat twisted logic. An anathema isn't a "measure";
          it is a pronouncement that something is abominable in the
          sight of God. And if that abomination is truly an
          abomination, then, of course, without doubt it is applicable
          to those outside the Church Abroad due to the fact that it
          resonates a heavenly truth. If the anathema is true and
          expresses the truth the Lord has revealed, then it seems to
          me that it extends well beyond the Russian Church Abroad. If
          it expresses that ecumenism is a heresy and if this is true,
          then those who openly and unabashedly practice ecumenism are
          heretics. Right? Doesn't seem a stretch at all.

          _________________________________________________
          Fr. Alexis Duncan
          Joy of All Who Sorrow Russian Orthodox Church
          Atlanta, GA
          www.orthodoxinfo.biz



          The issue usually raised by those who make use of it to
          attack ROCOR, is the claim that
          places all the other Orthodox outside the Church.

          The anathema is at best only a local measure by the Church
          Abroad. Regardless of whether it
          is true or not, it does not apply to those who are not under
          the jurisdiction of the Church
          Abroad, and it does not have any "automatic action" even
          within the Church Abroad. It is a
          Church law -- not an entity with a life of its own.
        • Fr. Alexis Duncan
          Well, fortuantely, neither you nor I make that decision. :) _________________________________________________ Fr. Alexis Duncan Joy of All Who Sorrow Russian
          Message 4 of 19 , Mar 1, 2005
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            Well, fortuantely, neither you nor I make that decision. :)

            _________________________________________________
            Fr. Alexis Duncan
            Joy of All Who Sorrow Russian Orthodox Church
            Atlanta, GA
            www.orthodoxinfo.biz



            Dear Fr. Alexis (bless),

            I read your post and it makes a perfect sense. Except that
            it seems that no one has ever challenged the validity of the
            anathema (within or outside ROCOR). Therefore why would
            anyone want to have it rescinded? The question is, "Does
            ROCOR fall under its own anathema?" and "Who is to decide
            where this anathema applies?"

            viatcheslav
          • DDD
            Odd? Here is an excerpt from an article written by [then] Archbishop Vitaly (Ustinow), printed in Orthodox Life in 1984, No. 4, shortly after the 1983
            Message 5 of 19 , Mar 1, 2005
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              Odd? Here is an excerpt from an article written by [then] Archbishop Vitaly (Ustinow), printed in Orthodox Life in 1984, No. 4, shortly after the 1983 Anathema Against Ecumenism appeared:

              "By proclaiming this anathema, we have protected ****our flock**** from this apocalyptic temptation and, at the same time, have reluctantly put before the conscience of all the local Churches a serious issue, which sooner of later they must resolve in one way or the other. The future spiritual fate of the universal Orthodox Church depends on the resolution of this problem. *****The anathema we have proclaimed is *de jure* a manifestaton of a purely local character of the Russian Church Abroad, but *de facto* it has immense significance for the history of the universal Church, for ecumenism is a heresy on a universal scale....******" [small emphasis (*=italics) his, large emphasis (******) mine]

              Some things to note here:

              1) This appeared right after the Anathema, in 1984, and matches exactly what he said later in his 1986 (O.S.)/1987 (N.S.) Nativity Epistle. So, Metr. Vitaly did not take a new stance on the interpretation of the Anathema in 1987, as some claim.

              2) He does say that "de jure" (by law, as far as its force of law goes) it is "a manifestation of a **purely local character*** ***of the Russian Church Abroad***. He also says at the beginning of this paragraph that the other local Churches must resolve this "serious issue" (not Anathema, not decree of the Church, but only an "issue") [themselves], implying it is *not* resolved *for* them by us, the ROCOR.

              3) He then says that *de facto*(in actual fact, or in actual practice), it has immense significance for the history of the universal Church. He says it has significance, but not legal power. He mentions it as something "put before the conscience" of the local Churches. Now an Anathema is not something "put before the conscience" of someone, for them to decide themselves the way he is saying here.

              If Metr. had felt that "the anathema must necessarily speak for the Church as a whole," then he would never have mentioned that "de jure it is a manifestation of a **purely local character*** of the Russian Church Abroad. He is, in fact, precisely saying that the Russian Church Abroad *cannot* speak for the Church as a whole, but only offer an example to "put before the conscience" of the Local Churches.

              ust my 2c/.

              --Dimitra Dwelley




              _________________________________________________________________
              �From: "Fr. Alexis Duncan" <7848@...>�Subject: RE: Re:
              �Documents Concerning the HOCNA Separation?

              �A terribly odd sentiment that I have heard expressed at other times
              �is that the Anathema of 1983 is only for our Church Abroad and her
              �faithful children. It is odd because if we believe our bishops in
              �congregation are led by the Holy Spirit, then the anathema must
              �necessarily speak for the Church as a whole.
            • for4z@aol.com
              There is new website that was started by former victims of Fr. Panteleimon, to warn others of the dangers they feel exist at his monastery . One should be
              Message 6 of 19 , Mar 1, 2005
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                There is new website that was started by former victims of Fr. Panteleimon, to warn others of the dangers they feel exist at his monastery . One should be warned, some articles on the site are verbally graphic in nature, as they are personal accounts of the victims themselves. http://hocna.info/

                -Nick Zaharov
              • (matushka) Ann Lardas
                Dear Nick, ... Panteleimon, to warn others of the dangers they feel exist at his monastery . One should be warned, some articles on the site are verbally
                Message 7 of 19 , Mar 1, 2005
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                  Dear Nick,

                  --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, for4z@a... wrote:
                  > There is new website that was started by former victims of Fr.
                  Panteleimon, to warn others of the dangers they feel exist at his
                  monastery . One should be warned, some articles on the site are
                  verbally graphic in nature, as they are personal accounts of the
                  victims themselves.

                  I am no defender of HOCNA, but I wouldn't send people to the site you
                  mention, not just because it's amazingly graphic and judgemental, but
                  also because there is nothing to indicate who sponsors it. Sometimes
                  there are things people have to know, in order to be wary. Statements
                  by our bishops tend to include such material. This particular site
                  gives more information than anyone needs, much of it in a petty and
                  judgemental manner. It's not conducive to peace and almost takes away
                  from the gravity of the issues which are really at stake here.

                  The late Met. Philaret, upon receiving and destroying an unsigned
                  letter, remarked that an anonymous letter "is written by a charlatan -
                  - and believed by a fool." I would not go so far as to say that this
                  statement pertains to the site you mention, but enough of the
                  material there is already available at pokrov.org (say what you will
                  of it, you know who runs it) that one doesn't have to take any
                  chances.

                  While the sexual allegations against Fr. Panteleimon receive the most
                  notice, various of the faithful had asked our bishops also to look
                  into controversial liturgical practices which Holy Transfiguration
                  Monastery enaged in, contrary to the directives of the Synod of
                  Bishops, such as receiving "converts" from new calendar jurisdictions
                  by Chrismation rather than by confession and communion, their
                  distribution and propagation of Lev Puhalo's theory on the soul after
                  death, and other such matters. The flight of the HOCNA clergy before
                  such things could come to pass means that so very much remains
                  unresolved, or has never been disputed or discussed.

                  From the lives of the Saints, we learn that in everything they
                  encountered, no matter how unseemly, they looked for something to
                  admire and emmulate. And so we should here. How different church life
                  could be if we showed the same sort of love and loyalty to our
                  bishops, who deserve it, that the followers of Fr. Panteleimon into
                  schism and beyond show him -- refusing to believe ill of him,
                  unwilling to discuss his faults in public and in private working on
                  forgiving them in their hearts. May God enlighten them and lead them
                  back to the Church. The whole thing is extremely sad and continues to
                  split families to this day. We can only love and pray.

                  In Christ,
                  Matushka Ann Lardas
                • Fr. John R. Shaw
                  ... JRS: Are you saying that then-Archbishop Vitaly, when he wrote in 1984 that it was only a local measure, was offering twisted logic ? ... JRS: Perhaps it
                  Message 8 of 19 , Mar 2, 2005
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                    Fr. Alexis Duncan wrote:

                    > At best only a local "measure" of a local church? That seems
                    > to be somewhat twisted logic.

                    JRS: Are you saying that then-Archbishop Vitaly, when he wrote in 1984 that it was only a
                    local measure, was offering "twisted logic"?

                    > An anathema isn't a "measure";

                    JRS: Perhaps it was a mistake to represent this as an anathema. The bishops, after all, did not
                    really hurl any anathemas; they simply heard Vl. Afanassy say in his speech that "we ought to
                    include the ecumenists and modernists among those anathematized in the Sunday of
                    Orthodoxy service".

                    In Christ
                    Fr. John R. Shaw
                  • Fr. Alexis Duncan
                    You completely miss the point Dimitra. Certainly the Church Abroad has only the power to act within Her boundaries. However, if what She has to say is an
                    Message 9 of 19 , Mar 2, 2005
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                      You completely miss the point Dimitra. Certainly the Church Abroad has only the power to act within Her boundaries. However, if what She has to say is an immutable truth, then is most surely applicable to the entire Church. For example, when the Church of Greece glorified St. Nectarios, they were acting only on behalf of the local church. However, it is apparent to all that St. Nectarios is a saint glorified in heaven. Therefore, the entire chorus of the Orthodox Church sings his praises. If some local Orthodox Church chooses not to glorify him as a saint, they have that right I suppose. But they would be wrong, would they not?

                      _________________________________________________
                      Fr. Alexis Duncan
                      Joy of All Who Sorrow Russian Orthodox Church
                      Atlanta, GA
                      www.orthodoxinfo.biz



                      Odd? Here is an excerpt from an article written by [then] Archbishop Vitaly (Ustinow), printed in Orthodox Life in 1984, No. 4, shortly after the 1983 Anathema Against Ecumenism appeared:

                      "By proclaiming this anathema, we have protected ****our flock**** from this apocalyptic temptation and, at the same time, have reluctantly put before the conscience of all the local Churches a serious issue, which sooner of later they must resolve in one way or the other. The future spiritual fate of the universal Orthodox Church depends on the resolution of this problem. *****The anathema we have proclaimed is *de jure* a manifestaton of a purely local character of the Russian Church Abroad, but *de facto* it has immense significance for the history of the universal Church, for ecumenism is a heresy on a universal scale....******" [small emphasis (*=italics) his, large emphasis (******) mine]

                      Some things to note here:

                      1) This appeared right after the Anathema, in 1984, and matches exactly what he said later in his 1986 (O.S.)/1987 (N.S.) Nativity Epistle. So, Metr. Vitaly did not take a new stance on the interpretation of the Anathema in 1987, as some claim.

                      2) He does say that "de jure" (by law, as far as its force of law goes) it is "a manifestation of a **purely local character*** ***of the Russian Church Abroad***. He also says at the beginning of this paragraph that the other local Churches must resolve this "serious issue" (not Anathema, not decree of the Church, but only an "issue") [themselves], implying it is *not* resolved *for* them by us, the ROCOR.

                      3) He then says that *de facto*(in actual fact, or in actual practice), it has immense significance for the history of the universal Church. He says it has significance, but not legal power. He mentions it as something "put before the conscience" of the local Churches. Now an Anathema is not something "put before the conscience" of someone, for them to decide themselves the way he is saying here.

                      If Metr. had felt that "the anathema must necessarily speak for the Church as a whole," then he would never have mentioned that "de jure it is a manifestation of a **purely local character*** of the Russian Church Abroad. He is, in fact, precisely saying that the Russian Church Abroad *cannot* speak for the Church as a whole, but only offer an example to "put before the conscience" of the Local Churches.

                      ust my 2c/.

                      --Dimitra Dwelley




                      _________________________________________________________________
                      From: "Fr. Alexis Duncan" <7848@...>Subject: RE: Re:
                      Documents Concerning the HOCNA Separation?

                      A terribly odd sentiment that I have heard expressed at other times
                      is that the Anathema of 1983 is only for our Church Abroad and her
                      faithful children. It is odd because if we believe our bishops in
                      congregation are led by the Holy Spirit, then the anathema must
                      necessarily speak for the Church as a whole.





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                    • Fr. Alexis Duncan
                      No Fr. John. The synod of bishops published an anathema to be appended to the service for those who have gone astray, sung on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. You know
                      Message 10 of 19 , Mar 2, 2005
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                        No Fr. John. The synod of bishops published an anathema to
                        be appended to the service for those who have gone astray,
                        sung on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. You know that well and I am
                        sure you have a copy of it. It wasn't just a "hearing" of a
                        report or suggestion of Vladika Afannassy. Why would you
                        suggest such an obvious misrepresentation? I have noticed
                        that often when arguments find no substantive response, we
                        frequently hear bits and pieces of nonsensical "infobytes"
                        that may or may not be true, bearing no relation to the
                        current discussion.

                        Fr. John, let me ask. Are you saying that the anathema was
                        wrong and should be rescinded? Are you saying that what is
                        states represents a falsehood? If not, then why are you
                        attempting to make strides in discrediting it? Just curious.

                        _________________________________________________
                        Fr. Alexis Duncan
                        Joy of All Who Sorrow Russian Orthodox Church
                        Atlanta, GA
                        www.orthodoxinfo.biz

                        JRS: Perhaps it was a mistake to represent this as an
                        anathema. The bishops, after all, did not
                        really hurl any anathemas; they simply heard Vl. Afanassy
                        say in his speech that "we ought to
                        include the ecumenists and modernists among those
                        anathematized in the Sunday of
                        Orthodoxy service".
                      • Fr. John R. Shaw
                        ... JRS: It isn t a misrepresentation -- it s a fact. The bishops, including Metropolitan Philaret, never had any intention of publishing an anathema . We
                        Message 11 of 19 , Mar 2, 2005
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                          Fr. Alexis Duncan wrote:

                          > No Fr. John. The synod of bishops published an anathema to
                          > be appended to the service for those who have gone astray,
                          > sung on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. You know that well and I am
                          > sure you have a copy of it. It wasn't just a "hearing" of a
                          > report or suggestion of Vladika Afannassy. Why would you
                          > suggest such an obvious misrepresentation?

                          JRS: It isn't a "misrepresentation" -- it's a fact.

                          The bishops, including Metropolitan Philaret, never had any intention of "publishing an
                          anathema". We have been over this a thousand times.

                          What happened is that, unexpectedly for all, Vl. Afanassy made that remark in his speech.

                          It was not on the agenda at all.

                          There was also no vote taken on it, no motion that it be made part of the acts of the Sobor.
                          But Bishop Gregory added it to the minutes, and Metropolitan Philaret almost always deferred
                          to Bishop Gregory's views.

                          If you don't believe that, there is the amazing fact that the text was written, not in Russian or
                          Slavonic, but *in English* -- at a time when there was not a single ROCOR bishop whose
                          native language was English.

                          If this "anathema" had been part of the program, it would either have been prepared in
                          advance, and in Slavonic, or else it would have been composed by one or more of the
                          bishops at the Sobor -- in their own language, not in English.

                          The text had to be translated from English into Russian and Slavonic, which is pretty
                          convincing proof that the bishops did not create it.

                          Subsequently, there was also no announcement of this "anathema", until Fr. Neketas Palassis
                          announced it in his "Orthodox Christian Witness".

                          If this had been something planned by the bishops, it would have been on the front page of
                          Pravoslavnaya Rus' immediately after the Sobor.

                          > I have noticed
                          > that often when arguments find no substantive response, we
                          > frequently hear bits and pieces of nonsensical "infobytes"
                          > that may or may not be true, bearing no relation to the
                          > current discussion.

                          JRS: In this case, I am simply telling the FACTS of the case -- a case that is so stubbornly
                          misrepresented by those whose only purpose is to attack ROCOR.

                          > Fr. John, let me ask. Are you saying that the anathema was
                          > wrong and should be rescinded? Are you saying that what is
                          > states represents a falsehood? If not, then why are you
                          > attempting to make strides in discrediting it? Just curious.

                          JRS: Note that you never answered my question: are you saying that Vl. Vitaly was "twisting"
                          when he said that it applied only to ROCOR?

                          I am not "attempting to make strides" in discrediting it.

                          Also I have repeatedly answered your other questions above before you asked them.

                          No, the contents are not false; what is false, is the way this text is represented: as if it were
                          an ecumenical anathema hurled against the other Orthodox Churches, and therefore falling
                          upon ROCOR, for having even the least contacts with them.

                          Please note also: that when such anti-ROCOR arguments are thrown at us, you remain silent.
                          But when someone like Fr. Alexander, Fr. Stefan or myself sets the record straight -- then
                          you are concerned, and "reply" to the defenders of ROCOR!

                          In Christ
                          Fr. John R. Shaw
                        • Fr. John R. Shaw
                          ... act within Her boundaries. However, if what She has to say is an immutable truth, then is most surely applicable to the entire Church. For example, when
                          Message 12 of 19 , Mar 2, 2005
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                            Fr. Alexis Duncan wrote:

                            > You completely miss the point Dimitra. Certainly the Church Abroad has only the power to
                            act within Her boundaries. However, if what She has to say is an immutable truth, then is
                            most surely applicable to the entire Church. For example, when the Church of Greece
                            glorified St. Nectarios, they were acting only on behalf of the local church. However, it is
                            apparent to all that St. Nectarios is a saint glorified in heaven. Therefore, the entire chorus of
                            the Orthodox Church sings his praises. If some local Orthodox Church chooses not to glorify
                            him as a saint, they have that right I suppose. But they would be wrong, would they not?

                            JRS: All Saints were first glorified (or even accepted without any formal glorification) by the
                            local Churches in which they lived.

                            Many such Saints were not in the calendars of the other Churches, at least not till recently:
                            thus for example till a few years ago, "Edward" was thought not to be an Orthodox name.

                            But local anathemas are not cast by the universal Church, and even if what they say is in
                            accordance with the teaching of the Church, they do not automatically place anyone outside
                            the Church.

                            If an anathema is accepted by an Ecumenical Council, this means that it expresses what the
                            Church has always taught.

                            It does not mean, even in that case, that the anathema takes on a life of its own, and that
                            unsuspecting victims who think they are still Church members, or clergy who are still
                            outwardly "in good standing", cease to be such without any action by the hierarchy.

                            If that were the case, nobody could be sure they really belonged to the Church at all.

                            In Christ
                            Fr. John R. Shaw
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