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  • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
    Recently, several posts have come up that have touched upon a couple of questions that I would like to respond to. 1) Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church? When
    Message 1 of 22 , Oct 6, 2005
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      Recently, several posts have come up that have touched upon a couple
      of questions that I would like to respond to.

      1) Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church?

      When this question is brought up, it immediately begs the
      question--if it is not a Church, when did it stop being a Church?

      No one seriously doubts that the Moscow Patriarchate headed by
      Patriarch Tikhon was the legitimate canonical Church of Russia.

      No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Peter was the legitimate
      Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne.

      No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Sergius was the legitimate
      Deputy (or Vice) Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, according
      to the instructions of Metropolitan Peter.

      So--when did he and his Synod become **not** the Church?

      Certainly not as a result of his signing the "Declaration" of 1927.

      The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
      absolutely did not think so, since it addressed an Epistle to the
      Flock in 1933 (six years **after** the Declaration), where it says:

      "We are taking fully into account the extraordinary difficulties of
      the position of Metropolitan Sergius, who is now the de facto head of
      the Church of Russia, and are aware of the heavy burden of
      responsibility for the fate of the latter, which lies upon him. No
      one, therefore, has the audacity to accuse him for the mere attempt
      to enter into dialogue with the Soviet regime so as to obtain legal
      standing for the Church of Russia. Not without foundation does the
      deputy locum tenens of the Patriarchal Throne say in his
      aforementioned Declaration that only "armchair dreamers can think
      that such a vast community as our Orthodox Church, with all its
      organization, can exist peacefully in a country while walling itself
      off from the authorities."

      Certainly the Moscow Patriarchate was not considered by the Church
      Abroad to be "not the Church" in 1938, when the Bishops' Sobor Abroad
      issued the following resolution:


      "DISCUSSED: concelebration with the clergymen of the jurisdiction of
      Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod.

      METROPOLITAN ANASTASSY points out that clergymen arriving from Russia
      from this jurisdiction are immediately admitted into prayerful
      communion, and refers to the opinion of Metropolitan Kirill of Kazan
      in his epistle, published in Tserkovnaya Zhizn' [Church Life], that
      Metropolitan Sergius' sin does not extend to the clergymen under him.

      DECREED: To recognize that there are no obstacles to prayerful
      communion and concelebration with clergymen of Metropolitan Sergius."


      Now, some say that the Moscow Patriarchate became "not a Church" from
      1943, from the time that Stalin permitted the restoration of the Patriarchate.


      But, ten years later, it is clear that the Church Abroad did not
      consider the Moscow Patriarchate to be **not** the Church. In 1953,
      at the Bishops' Sobor, Metropolitan Anastassy said the following:


      "Do we recognize in principle the authenticity of the ordinations of
      today's Patriarch and his bishops? But can we even question them?
      Then we would have to declare the entire Church without grace. Do we
      have the audacity to declare her entirely without grace? Until now we
      have not posed this question so radically. . .


      "They say that Patriarch Alexy sinned more than his predecessor.
      Whether he sinned more or less, we cannot deny his ordination. Much
      is said of their apostasy. But we must be cautious. We can hardly
      make an outright accusation of apostasy. In no place do they affirm
      atheism. In their published sermons they attempt to hold to the
      Orthodox line. They took and continue to take very strict measures
      with regard to the obnovlentsy, and did not tear their ties with
      Patriarch Tikhon. The false policy belongs to the church authority
      and the responsibility for it falls on its leaders. Only heresy
      adopted by the whole Church tarnishes the whole Church. In this case,
      the people are not responsible for the behavior of the leaders, and
      the Church, as such, remains unblemished."

      Now, some people have been accusing me (and others) of radically
      changing our attitude towards the Moscow Patriarchate, and wondering why?

      The answer is simple. I will speak for myself.

      Ten years ago, I was not familiar with the Epistle of the Sobor of
      Bishops of the ROCOR from 1933. I was not familiar with the
      Resolution of the Sobor of Bishops of 1938 regarding concelebration
      with the clergy of Metropolitan Sergius. I was not familiar with the
      Minutes of the 1953 Council of Bishops.

      Another eye-opener for me was the publication of the Archival
      Materials of the Politburo regarding Church issues, published just a
      few years ago in two volumes. These previously top secret materials
      show that Patriarch Tikhon collaborated far more with the Bolshevik
      regime than I had previously believed--and that he, prior to his
      repose, had agreed with the regime's request to issue a statement
      which contained virtually all of the points found in the Declaration
      signed by Metropolitan Sergius just two years later.

      I also became familiar with a great many documents proving that
      Metropolitan Sergius was using every means at his disposal to try to
      influence the Soviet regime to lessen the burden on the clergy, to
      release the imprisoned and return the exiled bishops--including
      specifically Metropolitan Peter. There are literally dozens of
      Petitions by Metropolitan Sergius addressed to the Politburo
      requesting this. There is also clear documentary evidence that
      Metropolitan Sergius agreed to lie about the existence of persecution
      of the Church at the infamous "Interview with foreign journalists" in
      1930--in return he was promised the release of 28 imprisoned and
      exiled bishops, including Metr. Peter.

      I was not aware of any of this before.

      2) Now, to the second question.

      Some have asked why the Church Abroad does not try to establish
      contact with the Catacomb Church in Russia, since, if the Moscow
      Patriarchate is not a Church, it constitutes the only remnant of the
      legitimate Church of Russia that exists on that territory today.

      The answer is simple: there **is** no single entity that can
      legitimately claim to be the Catacomb Church. There are only widely
      dispersed catacomb communities, most of which live in complete
      mistrust of one another.

      Virtually none of these catacomb communities can prove that it has
      legitimate apostolic succession--for when consecrations and
      ordinations were performed in the catacombs--typically no
      certificates of ordination were issued.

      Many of the catacomb communities, having no theological institutions
      or visible structure, no ecclesiastical discipline, have deteriorated
      to the point where superstitions have replaced dogma, and services
      are incorrectly performed.

      Others have become so fiercely nationalistic, that they have become
      fascist in their views, with swastikas decorating their sites and
      flags, and tributes to Hitler as the God-sent leader.

      The final point is that these communities have lost the reason for
      their catacomb existence--they can only legitimately exist when there
      is outright persecution. When persecution has ceased, they must come
      out of the catacombs and rejoin the legitimate Church structure that
      has been preserved.

      I am afraid that some people who call themselves Traditionalist of
      "Genuine" Orthodox have lost some fundamental understanding of what
      the Church is.

      It is not simply where a correct teaching is to be found.

      It is also where there is a legitimate ecclesiastical authority in
      accordance with the Canons--which give that authority a particular
      territory and administrative structure.

      You cannot have more than one legitimate Church of Russia. You cannot
      have more than one legitimate Church of Greece.

      And anyone outside that one legitimate Church is not a member of the
      Church at all, but a member of a parasynagogue.

      That is what all of these Mansonvillians, Varnavites, Lazarites,
      Valentinites, Gregoryites, Panteleimonites, etc. are--outside of the Church.

      The existence of ten or twenty Greek Old Calendarist jurisdictions,
      and as many "independent bishops" is an absolute affront to Orthodoxy.

      And it is completely naive to think that they will ever join
      together. Their reasons for splitting apart are the fact that they
      all have lost touch with the legitimate body of the Church.

      Look at a fire.

      If an ember splits off from the burning log and rolls away, it
      fragments, and then these fragments quickly die.

      The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has a mandate--stated
      in its Constitution (Statutes) -- to administer itself as an
      independent entity, only on the territories outside of Russia, and
      only until the fall of the Soviet regime.

      Now that time has come.

      Time for the Russian Church to be whole again.

      With love in Christ,

      Prot. Alexander Lebedeff


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • gene703
      Dear father Alexander, I will stay away from the theological arguments you make in this post but will take an exception to the political one you make in the
      Message 2 of 22 , Oct 7, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        Dear father Alexander,

        I will stay away from the theological arguments you make in this post but will take an exception to the political one you make in the last paragraph of this post. Namely that the Soviet regime has fallen and therefore ROCOR mandate for existence is over.

        I must respectfully disagree. I am joined in this dissent by a wide variety of very respectable voices from Wall Street Journal to New York Times to mainstream Russian opposition leaders and journalist who all agree that the current regime in Russian Federation is best described as Neo-Soviet. Communists functionaries have shed the outdated ideology but still maintain an iron grip on all aspect of life in Russia.

        Look for yourself and I stress I am not quoting some wide eyed conspiracy theorists. First President of the current Russian state Boris Yeltsin was a member of a communist politburo, his successor Mr. Putin was KGB operative and later FSB director. 8 out of 10 managers of very large business right now are ex KGB man (WSJ). The Russian "who is who" as of 1980 is still "who is who" no doubt about it. The same soviet propagandist who were selling communism are now selling capitalism with an equal vigor but even that is a sham for they are just plain looting. Notice a payment couple of weeks ago of 13 billion dollars of Russian state money into London account of Mr. Abramovich popularly know as Mr. Yeltsin wallet for an oil company he fraudulently "privatized" just a few years ago. Never mind the fact that the current Patriarch and his entire retinue was at the very least vetted by KGB before assuming their current posts.

        Recent "orthodox buildup" ROCOR visitors to Russia are witnessing is nothing but a end days smokescreen Holy Fathers warned us about. Money spent on gilding the cupolas have blinded many to the all obvious facts. Wishful thinking is an order of the day.

        I say ROCOR mandate to maintain true orthodoxy and witness to the world about continuous bondage of Russian people is stronger than ever.

        Yours truly in Christ
        Gene T


        "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@...> wrote:
        Recently, several posts have come up that have touched upon a couple
        of questions that I would like to respond to.

        1) Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church?

        When this question is brought up, it immediately begs the
        question--if it is not a Church, when did it stop being a Church?

        No one seriously doubts that the Moscow Patriarchate headed by
        Patriarch Tikhon was the legitimate canonical Church of Russia.

        No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Peter was the legitimate
        Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne.

        No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Sergius was the legitimate
        Deputy (or Vice) Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, according
        to the instructions of Metropolitan Peter.

        So--when did he and his Synod become **not** the Church?

        Certainly not as a result of his signing the "Declaration" of 1927.

        The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
        absolutely did not think so, since it addressed an Epistle to the
        Flock in 1933 (six years **after** the Declaration), where it says:

        "We are taking fully into account the extraordinary difficulties of
        the position of Metropolitan Sergius, who is now the de facto head of
        the Church of Russia, and are aware of the heavy burden of
        responsibility for the fate of the latter, which lies upon him. No
        one, therefore, has the audacity to accuse him for the mere attempt
        to enter into dialogue with the Soviet regime so as to obtain legal
        standing for the Church of Russia. Not without foundation does the
        deputy locum tenens of the Patriarchal Throne say in his
        aforementioned Declaration that only "armchair dreamers can think
        that such a vast community as our Orthodox Church, with all its
        organization, can exist peacefully in a country while walling itself
        off from the authorities."

        Certainly the Moscow Patriarchate was not considered by the Church
        Abroad to be "not the Church" in 1938, when the Bishops' Sobor Abroad
        issued the following resolution:


        "DISCUSSED: concelebration with the clergymen of the jurisdiction of
        Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod.

        METROPOLITAN ANASTASSY points out that clergymen arriving from Russia
        from this jurisdiction are immediately admitted into prayerful
        communion, and refers to the opinion of Metropolitan Kirill of Kazan
        in his epistle, published in Tserkovnaya Zhizn' [Church Life], that
        Metropolitan Sergius' sin does not extend to the clergymen under him.

        DECREED: To recognize that there are no obstacles to prayerful
        communion and concelebration with clergymen of Metropolitan Sergius."


        Now, some say that the Moscow Patriarchate became "not a Church" from
        1943, from the time that Stalin permitted the restoration of the Patriarchate.


        But, ten years later, it is clear that the Church Abroad did not
        consider the Moscow Patriarchate to be **not** the Church. In 1953,
        at the Bishops' Sobor, Metropolitan Anastassy said the following:


        "Do we recognize in principle the authenticity of the ordinations of
        today's Patriarch and his bishops? But can we even question them?
        Then we would have to declare the entire Church without grace. Do we
        have the audacity to declare her entirely without grace? Until now we
        have not posed this question so radically. . .


        "They say that Patriarch Alexy sinned more than his predecessor.
        Whether he sinned more or less, we cannot deny his ordination. Much
        is said of their apostasy. But we must be cautious. We can hardly
        make an outright accusation of apostasy. In no place do they affirm
        atheism. In their published sermons they attempt to hold to the
        Orthodox line. They took and continue to take very strict measures
        with regard to the obnovlentsy, and did not tear their ties with
        Patriarch Tikhon. The false policy belongs to the church authority
        and the responsibility for it falls on its leaders. Only heresy
        adopted by the whole Church tarnishes the whole Church. In this case,
        the people are not responsible for the behavior of the leaders, and
        the Church, as such, remains unblemished."

        Now, some people have been accusing me (and others) of radically
        changing our attitude towards the Moscow Patriarchate, and wondering why?

        The answer is simple. I will speak for myself.

        Ten years ago, I was not familiar with the Epistle of the Sobor of
        Bishops of the ROCOR from 1933. I was not familiar with the
        Resolution of the Sobor of Bishops of 1938 regarding concelebration
        with the clergy of Metropolitan Sergius. I was not familiar with the
        Minutes of the 1953 Council of Bishops.

        Another eye-opener for me was the publication of the Archival
        Materials of the Politburo regarding Church issues, published just a
        few years ago in two volumes. These previously top secret materials
        show that Patriarch Tikhon collaborated far more with the Bolshevik
        regime than I had previously believed--and that he, prior to his
        repose, had agreed with the regime's request to issue a statement
        which contained virtually all of the points found in the Declaration
        signed by Metropolitan Sergius just two years later.

        I also became familiar with a great many documents proving that
        Metropolitan Sergius was using every means at his disposal to try to
        influence the Soviet regime to lessen the burden on the clergy, to
        release the imprisoned and return the exiled bishops--including
        specifically Metropolitan Peter. There are literally dozens of
        Petitions by Metropolitan Sergius addressed to the Politburo
        requesting this. There is also clear documentary evidence that
        Metropolitan Sergius agreed to lie about the existence of persecution
        of the Church at the infamous "Interview with foreign journalists" in
        1930--in return he was promised the release of 28 imprisoned and
        exiled bishops, including Metr. Peter.

        I was not aware of any of this before.

        2) Now, to the second question.

        Some have asked why the Church Abroad does not try to establish
        contact with the Catacomb Church in Russia, since, if the Moscow
        Patriarchate is not a Church, it constitutes the only remnant of the
        legitimate Church of Russia that exists on that territory today.

        The answer is simple: there **is** no single entity that can
        legitimately claim to be the Catacomb Church. There are only widely
        dispersed catacomb communities, most of which live in complete
        mistrust of one another.

        Virtually none of these catacomb communities can prove that it has
        legitimate apostolic succession--for when consecrations and
        ordinations were performed in the catacombs--typically no
        certificates of ordination were issued.

        Many of the catacomb communities, having no theological institutions
        or visible structure, no ecclesiastical discipline, have deteriorated
        to the point where superstitions have replaced dogma, and services
        are incorrectly performed.

        Others have become so fiercely nationalistic, that they have become
        fascist in their views, with swastikas decorating their sites and
        flags, and tributes to Hitler as the God-sent leader.

        The final point is that these communities have lost the reason for
        their catacomb existence--they can only legitimately exist when there
        is outright persecution. When persecution has ceased, they must come
        out of the catacombs and rejoin the legitimate Church structure that
        has been preserved.

        I am afraid that some people who call themselves Traditionalist of
        "Genuine" Orthodox have lost some fundamental understanding of what
        the Church is.

        It is not simply where a correct teaching is to be found.

        It is also where there is a legitimate ecclesiastical authority in
        accordance with the Canons--which give that authority a particular
        territory and administrative structure.

        You cannot have more than one legitimate Church of Russia. You cannot
        have more than one legitimate Church of Greece.

        And anyone outside that one legitimate Church is not a member of the
        Church at all, but a member of a parasynagogue.

        That is what all of these Mansonvillians, Varnavites, Lazarites,
        Valentinites, Gregoryites, Panteleimonites, etc. are--outside of the Church.

        The existence of ten or twenty Greek Old Calendarist jurisdictions,
        and as many "independent bishops" is an absolute affront to Orthodoxy.

        And it is completely naive to think that they will ever join
        together. Their reasons for splitting apart are the fact that they
        all have lost touch with the legitimate body of the Church.

        Look at a fire.

        If an ember splits off from the burning log and rolls away, it
        fragments, and then these fragments quickly die.

        The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has a mandate--stated
        in its Constitution (Statutes) -- to administer itself as an
        independent entity, only on the territories outside of Russia, and
        only until the fall of the Soviet regime.

        Now that time has come.

        Time for the Russian Church to be whole again.

        With love in Christ,

        Prot. Alexander Lebedeff


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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      • larry most
        GLORY TO JESUS CHRIST GLORY TO HIM FOREVER Dear Father Alexander, Thank you so much for such a wonderful post. Although I am just an American convert, but
        Message 3 of 22 , Oct 7, 2005
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          GLORY TO JESUS CHRIST GLORY TO HIM FOREVER
          Dear Father Alexander,
          Thank you so much for such a wonderful post. Although
          I am just an American convert, but belong to a ROCOR
          parish (coming from an OCA parish), my heart just
          breaks when I read all of these posts that roundly
          critise the Church in Russia. I've prayed for YEARS
          for the downfall of communism (especially reading
          every book in English written by Alexandre
          Solzenyetzion , probably spelled wrong), and now it
          has, with the Grace of God, come to pass. So instead
          of rejoicing in the Russian Church accomplishments, I
          see a whole lot of criticism and complaints. Of course
          we critise, we weren't there to witness the suffering
          and outright killing of priests and their families.
          Now certaing folks this group will say that I only
          know American history, and they are right, but that is
          all that I CAN know. I'm very sorry to see all of the
          bickering in American Orthodox Churches that eminated
          from Russia. I guess that I must pray even harder that
          we can overcome this.
          Asking for you blessing,
          Love in Christ,
          Sub-deacon Lawrence Most

          --- "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@...>
          wrote:

          > Recently, several posts have come up that have
          > touched upon a couple
          > of questions that I would like to respond to.
          >
          > 1) Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church?
          >
          > When this question is brought up, it immediately
          > begs the
          > question--if it is not a Church, when did it stop
          > being a Church?
          >
          > No one seriously doubts that the Moscow Patriarchate
          > headed by
          > Patriarch Tikhon was the legitimate canonical Church
          > of Russia.
          >
          > No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Peter was
          > the legitimate
          > Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne.
          >
          > No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Sergius
          > was the legitimate
          > Deputy (or Vice) Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal
          > Throne, according
          > to the instructions of Metropolitan Peter.
          >
          > So--when did he and his Synod become **not** the
          > Church?
          >
          > Certainly not as a result of his signing the
          > "Declaration" of 1927.
          >
          > The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church
          > Outside of Russia
          > absolutely did not think so, since it addressed an
          > Epistle to the
          > Flock in 1933 (six years **after** the Declaration),
          > where it says:
          >
          > "We are taking fully into account the extraordinary
          > difficulties of
          > the position of Metropolitan Sergius, who is now the
          > de facto head of
          > the Church of Russia, and are aware of the heavy
          > burden of
          > responsibility for the fate of the latter, which
          > lies upon him. No
          > one, therefore, has the audacity to accuse him for
          > the mere attempt
          > to enter into dialogue with the Soviet regime so as
          > to obtain legal
          > standing for the Church of Russia. Not without
          > foundation does the
          > deputy locum tenens of the Patriarchal Throne say in
          > his
          > aforementioned Declaration that only "armchair
          > dreamers can think
          > that such a vast community as our Orthodox Church,
          > with all its
          > organization, can exist peacefully in a country
          > while walling itself
          > off from the authorities."
          >
          > Certainly the Moscow Patriarchate was not considered
          > by the Church
          > Abroad to be "not the Church" in 1938, when the
          > Bishops' Sobor Abroad
          > issued the following resolution:
          >
          >
          > "DISCUSSED: concelebration with the clergymen of the
          > jurisdiction of
          > Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod.
          >
          > METROPOLITAN ANASTASSY points out that clergymen
          > arriving from Russia
          > from this jurisdiction are immediately admitted into
          > prayerful
          > communion, and refers to the opinion of Metropolitan
          > Kirill of Kazan
          > in his epistle, published in Tserkovnaya Zhizn'
          > [Church Life], that
          > Metropolitan Sergius' sin does not extend to the
          > clergymen under him.
          >
          > DECREED: To recognize that there are no obstacles to
          > prayerful
          > communion and concelebration with clergymen of
          > Metropolitan Sergius."
          >
          >
          > Now, some say that the Moscow Patriarchate became
          > "not a Church" from
          > 1943, from the time that Stalin permitted the
          > restoration of the Patriarchate.
          >
          >
          > But, ten years later, it is clear that the Church
          > Abroad did not
          > consider the Moscow Patriarchate to be **not** the
          > Church. In 1953,
          > at the Bishops' Sobor, Metropolitan Anastassy said
          > the following:
          >
          >
          > "Do we recognize in principle the authenticity of
          > the ordinations of
          > today's Patriarch and his bishops? But can we even
          > question them?
          > Then we would have to declare the entire Church
          > without grace. Do we
          > have the audacity to declare her entirely without
          > grace? Until now we
          > have not posed this question so radically. . .
          >
          >
          > "They say that Patriarch Alexy sinned more than his
          > predecessor.
          > Whether he sinned more or less, we cannot deny his
          > ordination. Much
          > is said of their apostasy. But we must be cautious.
          > We can hardly
          > make an outright accusation of apostasy. In no place
          > do they affirm
          > atheism. In their published sermons they attempt to
          > hold to the
          > Orthodox line. They took and continue to take very
          > strict measures
          > with regard to the obnovlentsy, and did not tear
          > their ties with
          > Patriarch Tikhon. The false policy belongs to the
          > church authority
          > and the responsibility for it falls on its leaders.
          > Only heresy
          > adopted by the whole Church tarnishes the whole
          > Church. In this case,
          > the people are not responsible for the behavior of
          > the leaders, and
          > the Church, as such, remains unblemished."
          >
          > Now, some people have been accusing me (and others)
          > of radically
          > changing our attitude towards the Moscow
          > Patriarchate, and wondering why?
          >
          > The answer is simple. I will speak for myself.
          >
          > Ten years ago, I was not familiar with the Epistle
          > of the Sobor of
          > Bishops of the ROCOR from 1933. I was not familiar
          > with the
          > Resolution of the Sobor of Bishops of 1938 regarding
          > concelebration
          > with the clergy of Metropolitan Sergius. I was not
          > familiar with the
          > Minutes of the 1953 Council of Bishops.
          >
          > Another eye-opener for me was the publication of the
          > Archival
          > Materials of the Politburo regarding Church issues,
          > published just a
          > few years ago in two volumes. These previously top
          > secret materials
          > show that Patriarch Tikhon collaborated far more
          > with the Bolshevik
          > regime than I had previously believed--and that he,
          > prior to his
          > repose, had agreed with the regime's request to
          > issue a statement
          > which contained virtually all of the points found in
          > the Declaration
          > signed by Metropolitan Sergius just two years later.
          >
          > I also became familiar with a great many documents
          > proving that
          > Metropolitan Sergius was using every means at his
          > disposal to try to
          > influence the Soviet regime to lessen the burden on
          > the clergy, to
          > release the imprisoned and return the exiled
          > bishops--including
          > specifically Metropolitan Peter. There are literally
          > dozens of
          > Petitions by Metropolitan Sergius addressed to the
          > Politburo
          > requesting this. There is also clear documentary
          > evidence that
          > Metropolitan Sergius agreed to lie about the
          > existence of persecution
          > of the Church at the infamous "Interview with
          > foreign journalists" in
          > 1930--in return he was promised the release of 28
          > imprisoned and
          > exiled bishops, including Metr. Peter.
          >
          > I was not aware of any of this before.
          >
          > 2) Now, to the second question.
          >
          > Some have asked why the Church Abroad does not try
          > to establish
          >
          === message truncated ===




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        • michael nikitin
          Fr. Alexander Lebedeff wrote: Recently, several posts have come up that have touched upon a couple of questions that I would like to
          Message 4 of 22 , Oct 7, 2005
          • 0 Attachment
            "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@...> wrote:
            Recently, several posts have come up that have touched upon a couple
            of questions that I would like to respond to.

            1) Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church?

            When this question is brought up, it immediately begs the
            question--if it is not a Church, when did it stop being a Church?

            No one seriously doubts that the Moscow Patriarchate headed by
            Patriarch Tikhon was the legitimate canonical Church of Russia.

            No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Peter was the legitimate
            Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne.

            No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Sergius was the legitimate
            Deputy (or Vice) Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, according
            to the instructions of Metropolitan Peter.

            So--when did he and his Synod become **not** the Church?



            When Metr.Sergei broke with his lawful superior, Blessed Peter of Krutitsa and the historic Russian Church.



            Michael N



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          • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
            ... I absolutely could not disagree more. Your entire frame of reference is political and social life in contemporary Russia. That is not the criteria for
            Message 5 of 22 , Oct 7, 2005
            • 0 Attachment
              Gene wrote:
              >Dear father Alexander,
              >
              >I will stay away from the theological arguments you make in this
              >post but will take an exception to the political one you make in the
              >last paragraph of this post. Namely that the Soviet regime has
              >fallen and therefore ROCOR mandate for existence is over.



              >I must respectfully disagree. I am joined in this dissent by a wide
              >variety of very respectable voices from Wall Street Journal to New
              >York Times to mainstream Russian opposition leaders and journalist
              >who all agree that the current regime in Russian Federation is best
              >described as Neo-Soviet. Communists functionaries have shed the
              >outdated ideology but still maintain an iron grip on all aspect of
              >life in Russia.
              >
              >Look for yourself and I stress I am not quoting some wide eyed
              >conspiracy theorists. First President of the current Russian state
              >Boris Yeltsin was a member of a communist politburo, his successor
              >Mr. Putin was KGB operative and later FSB director. 8 out of 10
              >managers of very large business right now are ex KGB man (WSJ). The
              >Russian "who is who" as of 1980 is still "who is who" no doubt
              >about it. The same soviet propagandist who were selling communism
              >are now selling capitalism with an equal vigor but even that is a
              >sham for they are just plain looting. Notice a payment couple of
              >weeks ago of 13 billion dollars of Russian state money into London
              >account of Mr. Abramovich popularly know as Mr. Yeltsin wallet for
              >an oil company he fraudulently "privatized" just a few years ago.
              >Never mind the fact that the current Patriarch and his entire
              >retinue was at the very least vetted by KGB before assuming their
              >current posts.
              >
              >Recent "orthodox buildup" ROCOR visitors to Russia are witnessing is
              >nothing but a end days smokescreen Holy Fathers warned us about.
              >Money spent on gilding the cupolas have blinded many to the all
              >obvious facts. Wishful thinking is an order of the day.
              >
              >I say ROCOR mandate to maintain true orthodoxy and witness to the
              >world about continuous bondage of Russian people is stronger than ever.



              I absolutely could not disagree more.

              Your entire frame of reference is political and social life in
              contemporary Russia.

              That is not the criteria for judging whether the Church Abroad's
              mandate for its separate existence has ended.

              The only criterion that matters is whether the Church can function
              freely or not.

              As Metropolitan Anastassy put it in his Testament, we cannot have
              contact with the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate as long as it is
              subservient to a Soviet Government which "openly professes its
              complete godlessness and strives to implant atheism in the entire
              Russian nation."

              Does the current government openly profess its complete godlessness
              and strive to implant atheism in the entire Russian nation?

              No. Quite the contrary.

              Listen to the words of the Russian National Anthem:

              Russia, our holy great nation!

              Russia, the country so dearly loved!

              A powerful will, a tremendous glory,

              Are your inheritance for future and past.

              Refrain:

              Glory to land of freedom and unity,

              Nations as brothers united stand tall,

              Given by ancestors, wisdom our national,

              Glory, our land, we are proud of you!

              From the southern seas to the polar region

              Spread our forests and fields.

              You are unique in the world, inimitable,

              Native land protected by God!


              ================================

              The only questions that concern us should be ones like the following:

              If you want to build a church, will the government keep you from doing it?

              If you want to be a priest, will the government keep you from becoming one?

              If you want to print and distribute religious literature, will the
              government keep you from doing this?

              If you want to start a church school to give religious education to
              children, will the government keep you from doing this?

              And the answer to all these questions is, clearly, "no."

              It makes no difference how many managers of corporations are former
              communist party members.

              It makes no difference how many oligarchs are stealing money.

              It doesn't matter what pundits or the Wall Street Journal think about
              contemporary Russian life.

              From the Church point of view, the only question can be--is the
              Church being persecuted, or can it act freely?

              Finally, you should refrain from using the old cliche about what is
              going in Russia being just "gilding of cupolas."

              Certainly, thousands of churches are being restored, at enormous cost.

              But you have to think of the people--not the church buildings.

              There are now 650 monasteries and convents open in Russia, when there
              were only three in Soviet times. There are now thousands and
              thousands of new novices, monks and nuns who are working and praying
              in these monasteries.

              Do 20,000 newly opened churches mean nothing to you?

              The Sofrino printing press sells 2 million icons **a month** now,
              when, before, every icon print was cherished, and one could be
              arrested for bringing them in.

              So--please, Gene, -- forget the pundits and stop focusing on
              contemporary problems of society in post-Soviet Russia. Corruption
              and bureaucracy have existed in Russia from time immemorial. That is
              not the point.

              The Church is now free of atheistic oppression--it is probably more
              free from government interference now than during the times of the
              Emperors of Russia, in fact.

              Accept that and rejoice.

              With love in Christ,

              Prot. Alexander Lebedeff










              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • gene703
              Dear father Alexander, Thank you for your response. I do agree that situation in Russia has changed very radically and 20.000 new churches and 650 monasteries
              Message 6 of 22 , Oct 7, 2005
              • 0 Attachment
                Dear father Alexander,

                Thank you for your response. I do agree that situation in Russia has changed very radically and 20.000 new churches and 650 monasteries can not be dismissed a mere cupola gilding. You are right in pointing out that political and social must be separated from church affairs but life tend to intrude into theory in the most unexpected ways. Like for instance the fact that president Putin is the main driver of the whole unification affair or the fact that most of the churches and monasteries you mention were actually build with direct government funds and where private donation were made most were what in US is called "hot money" i.e. very recently stolen.

                Further down you state: "From the Church point of view, the only question can be--is the Church being persecuted, or can it act freely?" and "If you want to build a church, will the government keep you from doing it?" Well, unless you are building or acting as an Orthodox church belonging to Moscow Patriarchate you will be harassed and prosecuted by a local policeman for starters. Confiscation of your church building by the local MP bishop in next. You must be perfectly familiar with this aspect from treatment ROCOR parishes receive in Russia to this day. Nevermind the protestants who are considered mentally deseased and are treated accordingly. Would you call you local SF Episcopalians or Baptists a totalitarian sect to their face ? In Russia it is a standard procedure to this day.



                And finally when you quote the new Russian anthem you forget to mention that the music of the anthem has remained the same as was played at every communist party congress since 1943. Actually this is the third change of verbiage for the same old song. The second version came out after Stalin died. The original went like that



                Through thunderstorms shone the sun of freedom

                And great Lenin lighted the way

                We were raised by Stalin for fidelity to homeland

                To labor and heroism he inspired us



                Glory to you our free homeland

                Freedom of peoples firm foundation

                The flag of Soviets the flag of the peoples

                Leads the way from victory to victory



                Any Russian over the age of 30 moves his lips to these words when hearing this music, I assure you. Talk about subtle hints. General Denikin must've been doing 78 RPM in his coffin the other day to this tune.



                MP is still a state sponsored captive organization that only looks like a church on the outside. Potemkin villages is a time honored Russian tradition. Any reasonable person will agree that MP is sorely in need of major reforms and upper management shake up. It seems that uniting with them at this time and completely on their terms is not a very good idea.



                Once again thank you for engaging in this public discussion. I do hope we find some middle ground. No one denies an immense value Russia will derive from the true rebirth of Orthodox Christianity on it's soil.



                yours truly



                Gene T





                "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@...> wrote:

                Gene wrote:
                >Dear father Alexander,
                >
                >I will stay away from the theological arguments you make in this
                >post but will take an exception to the political one you make in the
                >last paragraph of this post. Namely that the Soviet regime has
                >fallen and therefore ROCOR mandate for existence is over.



                >I must respectfully disagree. I am joined in this dissent by a wide
                >variety of very respectable voices from Wall Street Journal to New
                >York Times to mainstream Russian opposition leaders and journalist
                >who all agree that the current regime in Russian Federation is best
                >described as Neo-Soviet. Communists functionaries have shed the
                >outdated ideology but still maintain an iron grip on all aspect of
                >life in Russia.
                >
                >Look for yourself and I stress I am not quoting some wide eyed
                >conspiracy theorists. First President of the current Russian state
                >Boris Yeltsin was a member of a communist politburo, his successor
                >Mr. Putin was KGB operative and later FSB director. 8 out of 10
                >managers of very large business right now are ex KGB man (WSJ). The
                >Russian "who is who" as of 1980 is still "who is who" no doubt
                >about it. The same soviet propagandist who were selling communism
                >are now selling capitalism with an equal vigor but even that is a
                >sham for they are just plain looting. Notice a payment couple of
                >weeks ago of 13 billion dollars of Russian state money into London
                >account of Mr. Abramovich popularly know as Mr. Yeltsin wallet for
                >an oil company he fraudulently "privatized" just a few years ago.
                >Never mind the fact that the current Patriarch and his entire
                >retinue was at the very least vetted by KGB before assuming their
                >current posts.
                >
                >Recent "orthodox buildup" ROCOR visitors to Russia are witnessing is
                >nothing but a end days smokescreen Holy Fathers warned us about.
                >Money spent on gilding the cupolas have blinded many to the all
                >obvious facts. Wishful thinking is an order of the day.
                >
                >I say ROCOR mandate to maintain true orthodoxy and witness to the
                >world about continuous bondage of Russian people is stronger than ever.



                I absolutely could not disagree more.

                Your entire frame of reference is political and social life in
                contemporary Russia.

                That is not the criteria for judging whether the Church Abroad's
                mandate for its separate existence has ended.

                The only criterion that matters is whether the Church can function
                freely or not.

                As Metropolitan Anastassy put it in his Testament, we cannot have
                contact with the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate as long as it is
                subservient to a Soviet Government which "openly professes its
                complete godlessness and strives to implant atheism in the entire
                Russian nation."

                Does the current government openly profess its complete godlessness
                and strive to implant atheism in the entire Russian nation?

                No. Quite the contrary.

                Listen to the words of the Russian National Anthem:

                Russia, our holy great nation!

                Russia, the country so dearly loved!

                A powerful will, a tremendous glory,

                Are your inheritance for future and past.

                Refrain:

                Glory to land of freedom and unity,

                Nations as brothers united stand tall,

                Given by ancestors, wisdom our national,

                Glory, our land, we are proud of you!

                From the southern seas to the polar region

                Spread our forests and fields.

                You are unique in the world, inimitable,

                Native land protected by God!


                ================================

                The only questions that concern us should be ones like the following:

                If you want to build a church, will the government keep you from doing it?

                If you want to be a priest, will the government keep you from becoming one?

                If you want to print and distribute religious literature, will the
                government keep you from doing this?

                If you want to start a church school to give religious education to
                children, will the government keep you from doing this?

                And the answer to all these questions is, clearly, "no."

                It makes no difference how many managers of corporations are former
                communist party members.

                It makes no difference how many oligarchs are stealing money.

                It doesn't matter what pundits or the Wall Street Journal think about
                contemporary Russian life.

                From the Church point of view, the only question can be--is the
                Church being persecuted, or can it act freely?

                Finally, you should refrain from using the old cliche about what is
                going in Russia being just "gilding of cupolas."

                Certainly, thousands of churches are being restored, at enormous cost.

                But you have to think of the people--not the church buildings.

                There are now 650 monasteries and convents open in Russia, when there
                were only three in Soviet times. There are now thousands and
                thousands of new novices, monks and nuns who are working and praying
                in these monasteries.

                Do 20,000 newly opened churches mean nothing to you?

                The Sofrino printing press sells 2 million icons **a month** now,
                when, before, every icon print was cherished, and one could be
                arrested for bringing them in.

                So--please, Gene, -- forget the pundits and stop focusing on
                contemporary problems of society in post-Soviet Russia. Corruption
                and bureaucracy have existed in Russia from time immemorial. That is
                not the point.

                The Church is now free of atheistic oppression--it is probably more
                free from government interference now than during the times of the
                Emperors of Russia, in fact.

                Accept that and rejoice.

                With love in Christ,

                Prot. Alexander Lebedeff










                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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              • Paul Bartlett
                ... Who, then, is the legitimate Church in the United States (and, similarly, in Canada)? Is it ROCOR, which proclaims itself (if I understand correctly) to
                Message 7 of 22 , Oct 7, 2005
                • 0 Attachment
                  On Thu, 6 Oct 2005, Fr. Alexander Lebedeff wrote (excerpt):

                  > I am afraid that some people who call themselves Traditionalist of
                  > "Genuine" Orthodox have lost some fundamental understanding of what
                  > the Church is.
                  >
                  > It is not simply where a correct teaching is to be found.
                  >
                  > It is also where there is a legitimate ecclesiastical authority in
                  > accordance with the Canons--which give that authority a particular
                  > territory and administrative structure.
                  >
                  > You cannot have more than one legitimate Church of Russia. You cannot
                  > have more than one legitimate Church of Greece.
                  >
                  > And anyone outside that one legitimate Church is not a member of the
                  > Church at all, but a member of a parasynagogue.

                  Who, then, is the legitimate Church in the United States (and,
                  similarly, in Canada)? Is it ROCOR, which proclaims itself (if I
                  understand correctly) to be an inalienable part of the Church of
                  Russia? If it is not the sole legitimate Church in the USA (Canada),
                  then it would seem that by Fr. Alexander's reasoning, ROCOR is a
                  parasynagogue in North America.

                  --
                  Paul Bartlett
                • Fr. John R. Shaw
                  ... JRS: Since ROCOR remained in communion with the various ethnic jurisdictions that had once been under the Russian Church in the United States, but went
                  Message 8 of 22 , Oct 7, 2005
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Paul Bartlett wrote:

                    > Who, then, is the legitimate Church in the United States (and,
                    > similarly, in Canada)? Is it ROCOR, which proclaims itself (if I
                    > understand correctly) to be an inalienable part of the Church of
                    > Russia? If it is not the sole legitimate Church in the USA (Canada),
                    > then it would seem that by Fr. Alexander's reasoning, ROCOR is a
                    > parasynagogue in North America.

                    JRS: Since ROCOR remained in communion with the various "ethnic jurisdictions" that had
                    once been under the Russian Church in the United States, but went their own ways after the
                    revolution, clearly those jurisdictions were not viewed as "parasynagogues" by ROCOR or by
                    anyone else.

                    After 85 years of the multi-jurisdictional "status quo", I think an honest answer would be that
                    this situation must now be tolerated, and that in the Orthodox diaspora, there is no longer
                    one "rightful hierarchy" with sole jurisdiction.

                    In Christ
                    Fr. John R. Shaw
                  • vkozyreff
                    Dear Father Alexander, bless. Nothing is more dubious than the canonicity of Met Sergius s taking power. Contrarily to what you say, he wanted that power at
                    Message 9 of 22 , Oct 8, 2005
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Dear Father Alexander, bless.

                      Nothing is more dubious than the canonicity of Met Sergius's taking
                      power. Contrarily to what you say, he wanted that power at all cost.

                      You write (Message 15265) "The letters of Metropolitan Peter to
                      Metropolitan Sergius are known and have been published--and never
                      does Metropolitan Peter suggest removing Metropolitan Sergius from
                      his position as Deputy Locum Tenens. All else is sheer fantasy".

                      I think the sheer fantasy is not so obvious. Met Peter's will to
                      remove Met Sergius from that position is mentioned in "The Tragedy of
                      the Russian Church" by Leon Reguelson, Paris, 1977", the book which I
                      mentioned in my post N° 15236. The same fact is reported in "Russkaya
                      Mysl" of November 16, 1951 and quoted by protopresbyter George Grabbe
                      in 1971. "Met Peter demanded from met Sergius that he hand over to
                      him the function of Locum tenens. The latter refused. Soon after that
                      Met Peter was returned to exile".

                      As Met Sergius said himself, "Met Peter received the power of Locum
                      Tenens not from the Synod, but from the Patriarch. In case of death
                      or arrest of Met Peter, the administration of the Moscow diocese
                      should be taken over by the suffragans of that diocese in the order
                      of their seniority, not by the Locum Tenens". In Met Sergius's own
                      words, "the powers vested in the Deputy Locum Tenens are valid only
                      as the Locum tenens who has departed him remains alive".

                      Met Sergius knew this when Met Peter's death was imminent, but he
                      assumed the succession of Met Peter.

                      This took place when all of Met Sergius's opponents were in prison or
                      exile. The only institution that could object at Met Sergius's
                      anticanonical usurpation of power was the ROCOR. Met Anton
                      (Khrapovitsky), in his letter N° 4036 of 7/20 August 1934 declared,
                      in reply to Met Sergius's letter N° 944 of 22 July of the same year,
                      that his taking power was illegitimate. Met Anton was the senior
                      hierarch of the Russian Church. He was a permanent member of the All
                      Russian Synod. Archbishop Anastasy of Kishiniov, another member of
                      that synod fully confirmed Met Anton's declaration.

                      You write: "Not without foundation does the deputy locum tenens of
                      the Patriarchal Throne say in his aforementioned Declaration that
                      only "armchair dreamers can think that such a vast community as our
                      Orthodox Church, with all its organization, can exist peacefully in a
                      country while walling itself off from the authorities."

                      Is this a recent discovery of yours? Did you not know it when you
                      wrote "Sergianism, my perspective"? The MP explains at painstaking
                      length that half of the bishops separated themselves from Met Sergius
                      after his declaration was published, but the reason was that
                      they "did not understand" Met Sergius's the final objective of saving
                      the Church.

                      http://www.uic.nnov.ru/~dofa/pers/sergiy_str.htm

                      I do not think that Met Peter, Met Joseph of Petrograd and other
                      martyrs were "armchair dreamers", and that they did not undertsand
                      the situation. We believe that Met Sergius did not understand or
                      refused to understand that he was not saving anything.

                      Met Sergius's election in 1943 is of course totally anticanonical, as
                      Stalin ran the show. The fact that ROCOR says that Met Sergius is "de
                      facto" heading the MP means that he was not the head of the
                      Church "de jure". Since he was taking his orders from Stalin, the
                      latter was even more "de facto" the head of the MP. This does not
                      make Stalin the canonical head of the Russian Church. It makes
                      however the MP a non-Church.

                      Regarding Patriarch Tikhon's alleged sergianism, the fact that a sin
                      is shared does not make it less of a sin. I do not believe however
                      that Patriarch Tikhon did collaborate as did Met Sergius. Even if
                      under torture, he made concessions, those concessions are not the
                      Church's concessions, in the same way as Met Sergius's collaboration
                      is not the Church's collaboration. For the same reason, the structure
                      that did collaborate (the MP) is not the Church.

                      As to the alleged newly discovered documents according to which the
                      interview in which Met Sergius declared that the Church was not being
                      persecuted was made to obtain Met Peter's liberation, they seem to be
                      most interesting, and we are anxious to know more about them. They
                      seem to come at the right moment. It is strange that they have not
                      been widely published or mentioned by the MP so far.

                      Finally, if the MP is the Church, any negotiation before uniting with
                      it are just sacrilegious, and union must be automatic and
                      instantaneous.

                      In God,

                      Vladimir Kozyreff


                      --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff"
                      <lebedeff@w...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Recently, several posts have come up that have touched upon a
                      couple
                      > of questions that I would like to respond to.
                      >
                      > 1) Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church?
                      >
                      > When this question is brought up, it immediately begs the
                      > question--if it is not a Church, when did it stop being a Church?
                      >
                      > No one seriously doubts that the Moscow Patriarchate headed by
                      > Patriarch Tikhon was the legitimate canonical Church of Russia.
                      >
                      > No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Peter was the legitimate
                      > Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne.
                      >
                      > No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Sergius was the
                      legitimate
                      > Deputy (or Vice) Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, according
                      > to the instructions of Metropolitan Peter.
                      >
                      > So--when did he and his Synod become **not** the Church?
                      >
                      > Certainly not as a result of his signing the "Declaration" of 1927.
                      >
                      > The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
                      Russia
                      > absolutely did not think so, since it addressed an Epistle to the
                      > Flock in 1933 (six years **after** the Declaration), where it says:
                      >
                      > "We are taking fully into account the extraordinary difficulties of
                      > the position of Metropolitan Sergius, who is now the de facto head
                      of
                      > the Church of Russia, and are aware of the heavy burden of
                      > responsibility for the fate of the latter, which lies upon him. No
                      > one, therefore, has the audacity to accuse him for the mere attempt
                      > to enter into dialogue with the Soviet regime so as to obtain legal
                      > standing for the Church of Russia. Not without foundation does the
                      > deputy locum tenens of the Patriarchal Throne say in his
                      > aforementioned Declaration that only "armchair dreamers can think
                      > that such a vast community as our Orthodox Church, with all its
                      > organization, can exist peacefully in a country while walling
                      itself
                      > off from the authorities."
                      >
                      > Certainly the Moscow Patriarchate was not considered by the Church
                      > Abroad to be "not the Church" in 1938, when the Bishops' Sobor
                      Abroad
                      > issued the following resolution:
                      >
                      >
                      > "DISCUSSED: concelebration with the clergymen of the jurisdiction
                      of
                      > Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod.
                      >
                      > METROPOLITAN ANASTASSY points out that clergymen arriving from
                      Russia
                      > from this jurisdiction are immediately admitted into prayerful
                      > communion, and refers to the opinion of Metropolitan Kirill of
                      Kazan
                      > in his epistle, published in Tserkovnaya Zhizn' [Church Life], that
                      > Metropolitan Sergius' sin does not extend to the clergymen under
                      him.
                      >
                      > DECREED: To recognize that there are no obstacles to prayerful
                      > communion and concelebration with clergymen of Metropolitan
                      Sergius."
                      >
                      >
                      > Now, some say that the Moscow Patriarchate became "not a Church"
                      from
                      > 1943, from the time that Stalin permitted the restoration of the
                      Patriarchate.
                      >
                      >
                      > But, ten years later, it is clear that the Church Abroad did not
                      > consider the Moscow Patriarchate to be **not** the Church. In 1953,
                      > at the Bishops' Sobor, Metropolitan Anastassy said the following:
                      >
                      >
                      > "Do we recognize in principle the authenticity of the ordinations
                      of
                      > today's Patriarch and his bishops? But can we even question them?
                      > Then we would have to declare the entire Church without grace. Do
                      we
                      > have the audacity to declare her entirely without grace? Until now
                      we
                      > have not posed this question so radically. . .
                      >
                      >
                      > "They say that Patriarch Alexy sinned more than his predecessor.
                      > Whether he sinned more or less, we cannot deny his ordination. Much
                      > is said of their apostasy. But we must be cautious. We can hardly
                      > make an outright accusation of apostasy. In no place do they affirm
                      > atheism. In their published sermons they attempt to hold to the
                      > Orthodox line. They took and continue to take very strict measures
                      > with regard to the obnovlentsy, and did not tear their ties with
                      > Patriarch Tikhon. The false policy belongs to the church authority
                      > and the responsibility for it falls on its leaders. Only heresy
                      > adopted by the whole Church tarnishes the whole Church. In this
                      case,
                      > the people are not responsible for the behavior of the leaders, and
                      > the Church, as such, remains unblemished."
                      >
                      > Now, some people have been accusing me (and others) of radically
                      > changing our attitude towards the Moscow Patriarchate, and
                      wondering why?
                      >
                      > The answer is simple. I will speak for myself.
                      >
                      > Ten years ago, I was not familiar with the Epistle of the Sobor of
                      > Bishops of the ROCOR from 1933. I was not familiar with the
                      > Resolution of the Sobor of Bishops of 1938 regarding concelebration
                      > with the clergy of Metropolitan Sergius. I was not familiar with
                      the
                      > Minutes of the 1953 Council of Bishops.
                      >
                      > Another eye-opener for me was the publication of the Archival
                      > Materials of the Politburo regarding Church issues, published just
                      a
                      > few years ago in two volumes. These previously top secret materials
                      > show that Patriarch Tikhon collaborated far more with the Bolshevik
                      > regime than I had previously believed--and that he, prior to his
                      > repose, had agreed with the regime's request to issue a statement
                      > which contained virtually all of the points found in the
                      Declaration
                      > signed by Metropolitan Sergius just two years later.
                      >
                      > I also became familiar with a great many documents proving that
                      > Metropolitan Sergius was using every means at his disposal to try
                      to
                      > influence the Soviet regime to lessen the burden on the clergy, to
                      > release the imprisoned and return the exiled bishops--including
                      > specifically Metropolitan Peter. There are literally dozens of
                      > Petitions by Metropolitan Sergius addressed to the Politburo
                      > requesting this. There is also clear documentary evidence that
                      > Metropolitan Sergius agreed to lie about the existence of
                      persecution
                      > of the Church at the infamous "Interview with foreign journalists"
                      in
                      > 1930--in return he was promised the release of 28 imprisoned and
                      > exiled bishops, including Metr. Peter.
                      >
                      > I was not aware of any of this before.
                      >
                      > 2) Now, to the second question.
                      >
                      > Some have asked why the Church Abroad does not try to establish
                      > contact with the Catacomb Church in Russia, since, if the Moscow
                      > Patriarchate is not a Church, it constitutes the only remnant of
                      the
                      > legitimate Church of Russia that exists on that territory today.
                      >
                      > The answer is simple: there **is** no single entity that can
                      > legitimately claim to be the Catacomb Church. There are only widely
                      > dispersed catacomb communities, most of which live in complete
                      > mistrust of one another.
                      >
                      > Virtually none of these catacomb communities can prove that it has
                      > legitimate apostolic succession--for when consecrations and
                      > ordinations were performed in the catacombs--typically no
                      > certificates of ordination were issued.
                      >
                      > Many of the catacomb communities, having no theological
                      institutions
                      > or visible structure, no ecclesiastical discipline, have
                      deteriorated
                      > to the point where superstitions have replaced dogma, and services
                      > are incorrectly performed.
                      >
                      > Others have become so fiercely nationalistic, that they have become
                      > fascist in their views, with swastikas decorating their sites and
                      > flags, and tributes to Hitler as the God-sent leader.
                      >
                      > The final point is that these communities have lost the reason for
                      > their catacomb existence--they can only legitimately exist when
                      there
                      > is outright persecution. When persecution has ceased, they must
                      come
                      > out of the catacombs and rejoin the legitimate Church structure
                      that
                      > has been preserved.
                      >
                      > I am afraid that some people who call themselves Traditionalist of
                      > "Genuine" Orthodox have lost some fundamental understanding of what
                      > the Church is.
                      >
                      > It is not simply where a correct teaching is to be found.
                      >
                      > It is also where there is a legitimate ecclesiastical authority in
                      > accordance with the Canons--which give that authority a particular
                      > territory and administrative structure.
                      >
                      > You cannot have more than one legitimate Church of Russia. You
                      cannot
                      > have more than one legitimate Church of Greece.
                      >
                      > And anyone outside that one legitimate Church is not a member of
                      the
                      > Church at all, but a member of a parasynagogue.
                      >
                      > That is what all of these Mansonvillians, Varnavites, Lazarites,
                      > Valentinites, Gregoryites, Panteleimonites, etc. are--outside of
                      the Church.
                      >
                      > The existence of ten or twenty Greek Old Calendarist jurisdictions,
                      > and as many "independent bishops" is an absolute affront to
                      Orthodoxy.
                      >
                      > And it is completely naive to think that they will ever join
                      > together. Their reasons for splitting apart are the fact that they
                      > all have lost touch with the legitimate body of the Church.
                      >
                      > Look at a fire.
                      >
                      > If an ember splits off from the burning log and rolls away, it
                      > fragments, and then these fragments quickly die.
                      >
                      > The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has a mandate--stated
                      > in its Constitution (Statutes) -- to administer itself as an
                      > independent entity, only on the territories outside of Russia, and
                      > only until the fall of the Soviet regime.
                      >
                      > Now that time has come.
                      >
                      > Time for the Russian Church to be whole again.
                      >
                      > With love in Christ,
                      >
                      > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                    • Rd. David-Constantine Wright
                      ... As much as I disagree with separatist and extremist ecclesiology and in no way support their various churches, this statement is unfortunately right on the
                      Message 10 of 22 , Oct 8, 2005
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                        --- gene703 <gene703@...> wrote:

                        > or can it act freely?" and "If you want to build a
                        > church, will the government keep you from doing it?"
                        > Well, unless you are building or acting as an Orthodox
                        > church belonging to Moscow Patriarchate you will be
                        > harassed and prosecuted by a local policeman for
                        > starters. Confiscation of your church building by the
                        > local MP bishop in next. You must be perfectly familiar

                        As much as I disagree with separatist and extremist
                        ecclesiology and in no way support their various churches,
                        this statement is unfortunately right on the ball. That is
                        whay I found it sad that in an interview Bishop Gabriel of
                        ROCOR is quoted thusly: "In regard to the religious
                        situation, it is important to understand that Russia always
                        was first and foremost an Orthodox country. And despite
                        some distorted viewpoints, she always remained a country of
                        religious tolerance, far more tolerant of religions than
                        many other countries in the West, and maybe even America."

                        Russia a bastion of religious tolerance? Score 10 out of 10
                        for nationalistic zealotry, but 0 out of 10 for
                        correspondence to reality.

                        One should freely choose the Orthodox Church and faith, not
                        be coerced into it.

                        In the Joy of the Incarnate Lord Jesus,
                        Rd. David-Constantine

                        +-------------------------------------------------------------+
                        | Reader David-Constantine Wright constantinewright@... |
                        | Personal Website: http://constans_wright.tripod.com |
                        | "God became Human so that humans could become gods." |
                        | St. Athanasius the Great, *On the Incarnation* |
                        +-------------------------------------------------------------+




                        __________________________________
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                      • vkozyreff
                        Dear Father Alexander, bless. You write: Now, some say that the Moscow Patriarchate became not a Church from 1943, from the time that Stalin permitted the
                        Message 11 of 22 , Oct 8, 2005
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                          Dear Father Alexander, bless.

                          You write: "Now, some say that the Moscow Patriarchate became "not a
                          Church" from 1943, from the time that Stalin permitted the
                          restoration of the Patriarchate".

                          Let me come back to very basic principles.

                          Stalin did not "permit the restoration of the patriarchate". He
                          decided to create a totally new organisation. His "patriarchate" was
                          totally new in the sense that it would be an institution working for
                          the benefit of his God-fighting power, entirely at his orders, and
                          aimed at destroying the true Church. This is the present "MP",
                          established in 1943.

                          In his "Canons of the Orthodox Church", the well-known canonist of
                          the Serbian Orthodox Church, Bishop Nikodim Milas (1845-1915)
                          explains apostolic canon 30 in this way:

                          "If the Church condemned the illegal interference of the secular
                          powers in the appointment of a bishop, how much more severely must
                          she condemn it when the rulers are pagan? An even heavier punishment
                          must be applied to those who are not ashamed to turn to pagan rulers
                          and the authorities subordinate to them in order to obtain episcopal
                          power and rank".

                          The Church condemns such a bishop so severely because such a bishop
                          is motivated by considerations outside the interests of the Church
                          and because he is compelled to serve two masters.

                          The Church condemns the bishops who obtain their office from powers
                          that are not hostile to the Church. She condemns even more seriously
                          bishops who obtained their post from an authority the purpose of
                          which is to anihilate the Church.

                          A patriarch nominated with the help of the Antichrist cannot have a
                          canonical right to his office. The Soviet authorities were openly
                          atheistic, so their power was one of apostasy. Met Sergius became
                          thus not a patriarch but a pseudo-patriarch and an apostate. Any
                          other view about this is unorthodox.

                          In God,

                          Vladimir Kozyreff



                          --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff"
                          <lebedeff@w...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Recently, several posts have come up that have touched upon a
                          couple
                          > of questions that I would like to respond to.
                          >
                          > 1) Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church?
                          >
                          > When this question is brought up, it immediately begs the
                          > question--if it is not a Church, when did it stop being a Church?
                          >
                          > No one seriously doubts that the Moscow Patriarchate headed by
                          > Patriarch Tikhon was the legitimate canonical Church of Russia.
                          >
                          > No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Peter was the legitimate
                          > Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne.
                          >
                          > No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Sergius was the
                          legitimate
                          > Deputy (or Vice) Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, according
                          > to the instructions of Metropolitan Peter.
                          >
                          > So--when did he and his Synod become **not** the Church?
                          >
                          > Certainly not as a result of his signing the "Declaration" of 1927.
                          >
                          > The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
                          Russia
                          > absolutely did not think so, since it addressed an Epistle to the
                          > Flock in 1933 (six years **after** the Declaration), where it says:
                          >
                          > "We are taking fully into account the extraordinary difficulties of
                          > the position of Metropolitan Sergius, who is now the de facto head
                          of
                          > the Church of Russia, and are aware of the heavy burden of
                          > responsibility for the fate of the latter, which lies upon him. No
                          > one, therefore, has the audacity to accuse him for the mere attempt
                          > to enter into dialogue with the Soviet regime so as to obtain legal
                          > standing for the Church of Russia. Not without foundation does the
                          > deputy locum tenens of the Patriarchal Throne say in his
                          > aforementioned Declaration that only "armchair dreamers can think
                          > that such a vast community as our Orthodox Church, with all its
                          > organization, can exist peacefully in a country while walling
                          itself
                          > off from the authorities."
                          >
                          > Certainly the Moscow Patriarchate was not considered by the Church
                          > Abroad to be "not the Church" in 1938, when the Bishops' Sobor
                          Abroad
                          > issued the following resolution:
                          >
                          >
                          > "DISCUSSED: concelebration with the clergymen of the jurisdiction
                          of
                          > Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod.
                          >
                          > METROPOLITAN ANASTASSY points out that clergymen arriving from
                          Russia
                          > from this jurisdiction are immediately admitted into prayerful
                          > communion, and refers to the opinion of Metropolitan Kirill of
                          Kazan
                          > in his epistle, published in Tserkovnaya Zhizn' [Church Life], that
                          > Metropolitan Sergius' sin does not extend to the clergymen under
                          him.
                          >
                          > DECREED: To recognize that there are no obstacles to prayerful
                          > communion and concelebration with clergymen of Metropolitan
                          Sergius."
                          >
                          >
                          > Now, some say that the Moscow Patriarchate became "not a Church"
                          from
                          > 1943, from the time that Stalin permitted the restoration of the
                          Patriarchate.
                          >
                          >
                          > But, ten years later, it is clear that the Church Abroad did not
                          > consider the Moscow Patriarchate to be **not** the Church. In 1953,
                          > at the Bishops' Sobor, Metropolitan Anastassy said the following:
                          >
                          >
                          > "Do we recognize in principle the authenticity of the ordinations
                          of
                          > today's Patriarch and his bishops? But can we even question them?
                          > Then we would have to declare the entire Church without grace. Do
                          we
                          > have the audacity to declare her entirely without grace? Until now
                          we
                          > have not posed this question so radically. . .
                          >
                          >
                          > "They say that Patriarch Alexy sinned more than his predecessor.
                          > Whether he sinned more or less, we cannot deny his ordination. Much
                          > is said of their apostasy. But we must be cautious. We can hardly
                          > make an outright accusation of apostasy. In no place do they affirm
                          > atheism. In their published sermons they attempt to hold to the
                          > Orthodox line. They took and continue to take very strict measures
                          > with regard to the obnovlentsy, and did not tear their ties with
                          > Patriarch Tikhon. The false policy belongs to the church authority
                          > and the responsibility for it falls on its leaders. Only heresy
                          > adopted by the whole Church tarnishes the whole Church. In this
                          case,
                          > the people are not responsible for the behavior of the leaders, and
                          > the Church, as such, remains unblemished."
                          >
                          > Now, some people have been accusing me (and others) of radically
                          > changing our attitude towards the Moscow Patriarchate, and
                          wondering why?
                          >
                          > The answer is simple. I will speak for myself.
                          >
                          > Ten years ago, I was not familiar with the Epistle of the Sobor of
                          > Bishops of the ROCOR from 1933. I was not familiar with the
                          > Resolution of the Sobor of Bishops of 1938 regarding concelebration
                          > with the clergy of Metropolitan Sergius. I was not familiar with
                          the
                          > Minutes of the 1953 Council of Bishops.
                          >
                          > Another eye-opener for me was the publication of the Archival
                          > Materials of the Politburo regarding Church issues, published just
                          a
                          > few years ago in two volumes. These previously top secret materials
                          > show that Patriarch Tikhon collaborated far more with the Bolshevik
                          > regime than I had previously believed--and that he, prior to his
                          > repose, had agreed with the regime's request to issue a statement
                          > which contained virtually all of the points found in the
                          Declaration
                          > signed by Metropolitan Sergius just two years later.
                          >
                          > I also became familiar with a great many documents proving that
                          > Metropolitan Sergius was using every means at his disposal to try
                          to
                          > influence the Soviet regime to lessen the burden on the clergy, to
                          > release the imprisoned and return the exiled bishops--including
                          > specifically Metropolitan Peter. There are literally dozens of
                          > Petitions by Metropolitan Sergius addressed to the Politburo
                          > requesting this. There is also clear documentary evidence that
                          > Metropolitan Sergius agreed to lie about the existence of
                          persecution
                          > of the Church at the infamous "Interview with foreign journalists"
                          in
                          > 1930--in return he was promised the release of 28 imprisoned and
                          > exiled bishops, including Metr. Peter.
                          >
                          > I was not aware of any of this before.
                          >
                          > 2) Now, to the second question.
                          >
                          > Some have asked why the Church Abroad does not try to establish
                          > contact with the Catacomb Church in Russia, since, if the Moscow
                          > Patriarchate is not a Church, it constitutes the only remnant of
                          the
                          > legitimate Church of Russia that exists on that territory today.
                          >
                          > The answer is simple: there **is** no single entity that can
                          > legitimately claim to be the Catacomb Church. There are only widely
                          > dispersed catacomb communities, most of which live in complete
                          > mistrust of one another.
                          >
                          > Virtually none of these catacomb communities can prove that it has
                          > legitimate apostolic succession--for when consecrations and
                          > ordinations were performed in the catacombs--typically no
                          > certificates of ordination were issued.
                          >
                          > Many of the catacomb communities, having no theological
                          institutions
                          > or visible structure, no ecclesiastical discipline, have
                          deteriorated
                          > to the point where superstitions have replaced dogma, and services
                          > are incorrectly performed.
                          >
                          > Others have become so fiercely nationalistic, that they have become
                          > fascist in their views, with swastikas decorating their sites and
                          > flags, and tributes to Hitler as the God-sent leader.
                          >
                          > The final point is that these communities have lost the reason for
                          > their catacomb existence--they can only legitimately exist when
                          there
                          > is outright persecution. When persecution has ceased, they must
                          come
                          > out of the catacombs and rejoin the legitimate Church structure
                          that
                          > has been preserved.
                          >
                          > I am afraid that some people who call themselves Traditionalist of
                          > "Genuine" Orthodox have lost some fundamental understanding of what
                          > the Church is.
                          >
                          > It is not simply where a correct teaching is to be found.
                          >
                          > It is also where there is a legitimate ecclesiastical authority in
                          > accordance with the Canons--which give that authority a particular
                          > territory and administrative structure.
                          >
                          > You cannot have more than one legitimate Church of Russia. You
                          cannot
                          > have more than one legitimate Church of Greece.
                          >
                          > And anyone outside that one legitimate Church is not a member of
                          the
                          > Church at all, but a member of a parasynagogue.
                          >
                          > That is what all of these Mansonvillians, Varnavites, Lazarites,
                          > Valentinites, Gregoryites, Panteleimonites, etc. are--outside of
                          the Church.
                          >
                          > The existence of ten or twenty Greek Old Calendarist jurisdictions,
                          > and as many "independent bishops" is an absolute affront to
                          Orthodoxy.
                          >
                          > And it is completely naive to think that they will ever join
                          > together. Their reasons for splitting apart are the fact that they
                          > all have lost touch with the legitimate body of the Church.
                          >
                          > Look at a fire.
                          >
                          > If an ember splits off from the burning log and rolls away, it
                          > fragments, and then these fragments quickly die.
                          >
                          > The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has a mandate--stated
                          > in its Constitution (Statutes) -- to administer itself as an
                          > independent entity, only on the territories outside of Russia, and
                          > only until the fall of the Soviet regime.
                          >
                          > Now that time has come.
                          >
                          > Time for the Russian Church to be whole again.
                          >
                          > With love in Christ,
                          >
                          > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
                          >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                        • Nicholas Steblez
                          My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I have read or heard it said in a number of places that the ROCOR is not really a Russian Church anymore, and that much
                          Message 12 of 22 , Oct 8, 2005
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                            My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


                            I have read or heard it said in a number of places that the ROCOR is not really a Russian Church anymore, and that much of the current crop of hierarchs, clergy, and laity have very little or no semblance to the ROCOR of the past, since most, "cradle" or convert ROCOR members were born and raised in the USA or in other places outside Russia thus making today's ROCOR an American Orthodox Church, devoid of almost anything in the way of Russian ethos or sensibilities. Sadly, I suppose that is true, not that there is anything inherently wonderful and exclusive about being Russian (well, maybe a little), but the fact is that the dynamics created of the ROCOR experiences and mentalities of the past are largely lost on the ROCOR of today - which makes perfect sense of course but is, nevertheless, undesirable and even dangerous.



                            As I see it, the problem arises in that the people of the United States, whether in the form of their government or otherwise, never could intelligently deal with the problems posed by the advent of the CCCP upon the world scene. Oh to be sure, we could catch an occasional spy, or even more occasionally, defeat some evil design of the CCCP, but for all that, our ability to understand the Soviet mentality was akin to our ability to understand a newly arrived man from Mars. This fact was generally conceded by many who would proceed to quote Sir Winston Churchill's description of Russia being "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma". Incidentally, you may notice that I'm speaking of the USA only and not the rest of the NATO countries, many of who understood Soviet intrigue, duplicity, etc. all to well. I will give an example of this by relating the following anecdote, though I am ethically enjoined from revealing names, dates, places or even the actual details of the incident
                            itself, non of which, in and of themselves, bear any importance. This true story is not being used to embarrass or accuse anyone of anything but, rather, to simply illustrate a point. I can understand if this is unsatisfactory for some and I don't expect that I, whom none of you know, should be taken at my word in this matter, but that is your choice. In any case...



                            Back in the bad old days of the CCCP, during the reign of Chairman L.B. I believe, there was a conference of signatories to a treaty that would standardize mousetraps the world over so that anyone visiting any country would be able to use a mousetrap there without any problems inherent in everyone having to learn how to use that country's proprietary model. It was agreed by all that, within a given allotment of time, the country and company which designed the better mousetrap would be awarded the contract and, would either manufacture and sell the mousetrap to the other countries, or license them for a fee, to build them for themselves. Needless to say there was a terrific amount of financial gain and prestige at stake and many companies throughout the world accepted the challenge.



                            Among the countries who had companies included in the contest were the USA and the CCCP who, though both large and fully developed industrial nations, were not automatically guaranteed success, as they were competing with other technologically advanced countries such as Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, etc. The CCCP who had top notch scientists, engineers, and inventors at work, and who stood as good a chance as anyone, nevertheless, as was their wont, decided to "hedge their bet" with a bit of subterfuge, skullduggery, and legerdemain.



                            They made their pitch first to the Swedes which boiled down to this: the CCCP was one of the main and most influential members of the U.N. (from which this whole matter of mousetrap standardization first originates), as well as among the treaty signatories, and if Sweden would send them their design prototype and if the CCCP's scientists thought it was good, they, the CCCP, in secret partnership, would back their design with all their influence, virtually guaranteeing that Sweden's design would win. Well, the Swedes, who are nobody's fool, politely declined and showed the Soviet reps the door, thus causing them to move on to the next pigeon on their list - France. To make a long story short, the French, also no fools, were not as interested in being polite as the Swedes, and after some heated words sent the Soviets on their way. After a few other tries, they went for the last and least likely candidate on their list, the West Germans who, after they were able to quit laughing and
                            recover their customary mien, gave the soviet reps the bum's rush with the warning never to be seen attempting to swindle anyone in their country again.



                            Now up until this point, the soviets, never ones to pass up an opportunity, had been trying to break into virgin territory close to home, however, this plan having been foiled by the clear thinking Europeans, they were forced to fall back on a sure thing, and thus arriving on our shores wasted no time in going to work



                            The companies in the USA working on this project were few and so the soviets, in order to save time, went to the biggest one first where they made their usual pitch that, the CCCP ... influential members of the U.N. ... treaty signatories, and if ...their design prototype etc, etc. Finally, the sov reps finished their spiel and held their breath in dread anticipation since, after all, their previous attempts were greeted with words like Nej! Non! Nein!, and so on.



                            After a few moments of absolute silence, the soviets were rewarded by the board members of the American company, (which I do know, but cannot divulge) with an incredulous: "REALLY???"



                            I have no doubt, the CEO and other board members envisioned a huge profit windfall to show in their next report to their investors, to say nothing of their own bonuses to swell their already over-stuffed wallets. In any case, as by now you've surely guessed, the soviets got their mousetrap design prototype, which they immediately reverse-engineered and submitted as one among several of their own design.



                            If I ever knew how the story ended, I've forgotten, but it doesn't make any difference really, since the point has been made. The soviets had become very adept at pulling our strings and creating lies, illusions, and schemes that were very palatable to Americans. What I always found to be perplexing though, is that even once the truth had come out and the final result of the soviet deception was clear to all, there were still plenty of takers whenever the soviets returned bearing new tricks and ploys yet again. My personal take on this is that while the United States has sacrificed many of her sons and daughters in foreign wars, the people of the USA in general have not experienced the horrors of life during the twentieth century in the way the Europeans did in two separate world wars that left the European continent devastated in a way which makes the destruction in the gulf states after the hurricanes look like a minor and insignificant annoyance. Consequently, we are more prone
                            to an optimistic and devil-may-care attitude than they. I could be wrong and there might be other reasons for this, maybe the "American Dream" and it's fat, happy life makes us relatively laid back and thus causes us to have laid -back attitudes toward things, I don't know, your guess is as good as mine, but regardless, the fact remains that in worldly affairs, both at home and abroad, Americans seem predisposed to a pollyannaish attitude that blinds many of us to the grim realities that stare us in the face, as well as preventing us from wanting to look behind the smoke and mirrors of deception, afraid that we might find there may suddenly strip away our comfortable ignorance of the ongoing horrors that take place behind them every second of every minute of every hour of every day.



                            I fear that the things written below by our brother are correct in every way, and that the evidence of the things he writes about is there for anyone who wishes to see. Oh! If only he were wrong, and I was wrong, and all the people who have seen matters for themselves and share our viewpoint were wrong, it would truly be something to rejoice over. Unfortunately, the only thing reality leaves for us at this time is tears, the same tears we have been shedding for the last eighty years. I do believe that these tears have not and are not now shed in vain, and the day will come, God willing, where the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian people will be truly free – a shining beacon to a depraved and Godless world – but sadly, that time has not yet come.



                            With love in Christ,

                            Nicholas


                            gene703 <gene703@...> wrote:
                            Dear father Alexander,

                            I will stay away from the theological arguments you make in this post but will take an exception to the political one you make in the last paragraph of this post. Namely that the Soviet regime has fallen and therefore ROCOR mandate for existence is over.

                            I must respectfully disagree. I am joined in this dissent by a wide variety of very respectable voices from Wall Street Journal to New York Times to mainstream Russian opposition leaders and journalist who all agree that the current regime in Russian Federation is best described as Neo-Soviet. Communists functionaries have shed the outdated ideology but still maintain an iron grip on all aspect of life in Russia.

                            Look for yourself and I stress I am not quoting some wide eyed conspiracy theorists. First President of the current Russian state Boris Yeltsin was a member of a communist politburo, his successor Mr. Putin was KGB operative and later FSB director. 8 out of 10 managers of very large business right now are ex KGB man (WSJ). The Russian "who is who" as of 1980 is still "who is who" no doubt about it. The same soviet propagandist who were selling communism are now selling capitalism with an equal vigor but even that is a sham for they are just plain looting. Notice a payment couple of weeks ago of 13 billion dollars of Russian state money into London account of Mr. Abramovich popularly know as Mr. Yeltsin wallet for an oil company he fraudulently "privatized" just a few years ago. Never mind the fact that the current Patriarch and his entire retinue was at the very least vetted by KGB before assuming their current posts.

                            Recent "orthodox buildup" ROCOR visitors to Russia are witnessing is nothing but a end days smokescreen Holy Fathers warned us about. Money spent on gilding the cupolas have blinded many to the all obvious facts. Wishful thinking is an order of the day.

                            I say ROCOR mandate to maintain true orthodoxy and witness to the world about continuous bondage of Russian people is stronger than ever.

                            Yours truly in Christ
                            Gene T


                            "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@...> wrote:
                            Recently, several posts have come up that have touched upon a couple
                            of questions that I would like to respond to.

                            1) Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church?

                            When this question is brought up, it immediately begs the
                            question--if it is not a Church, when did it stop being a Church?

                            No one seriously doubts that the Moscow Patriarchate headed by
                            Patriarch Tikhon was the legitimate canonical Church of Russia.

                            No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Peter was the legitimate
                            Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne.

                            No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Sergius was the legitimate
                            Deputy (or Vice) Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, according
                            to the instructions of Metropolitan Peter.

                            So--when did he and his Synod become **not** the Church?

                            Certainly not as a result of his signing the "Declaration" of 1927.

                            The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
                            absolutely did not think so, since it addressed an Epistle to the
                            Flock in 1933 (six years **after** the Declaration), where it says:

                            "We are taking fully into account the extraordinary difficulties of
                            the position of Metropolitan Sergius, who is now the de facto head of
                            the Church of Russia, and are aware of the heavy burden of
                            responsibility for the fate of the latter, which lies upon him. No
                            one, therefore, has the audacity to accuse him for the mere attempt
                            to enter into dialogue with the Soviet regime so as to obtain legal
                            standing for the Church of Russia. Not without foundation does the
                            deputy locum tenens of the Patriarchal Throne say in his
                            aforementioned Declaration that only "armchair dreamers can think
                            that such a vast community as our Orthodox Church, with all its
                            organization, can exist peacefully in a country while walling itself
                            off from the authorities."

                            Certainly the Moscow Patriarchate was not considered by the Church
                            Abroad to be "not the Church" in 1938, when the Bishops' Sobor Abroad
                            issued the following resolution:


                            "DISCUSSED: concelebration with the clergymen of the jurisdiction of
                            Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod.

                            METROPOLITAN ANASTASSY points out that clergymen arriving from Russia
                            from this jurisdiction are immediately admitted into prayerful
                            communion, and refers to the opinion of Metropolitan Kirill of Kazan
                            in his epistle, published in Tserkovnaya Zhizn' [Church Life], that
                            Metropolitan Sergius' sin does not extend to the clergymen under him.

                            DECREED: To recognize that there are no obstacles to prayerful
                            communion and concelebration with clergymen of Metropolitan Sergius."


                            Now, some say that the Moscow Patriarchate became "not a Church" from
                            1943, from the time that Stalin permitted the restoration of the Patriarchate.


                            But, ten years later, it is clear that the Church Abroad did not
                            consider the Moscow Patriarchate to be **not** the Church. In 1953,
                            at the Bishops' Sobor, Metropolitan Anastassy said the following:


                            "Do we recognize in principle the authenticity of the ordinations of
                            today's Patriarch and his bishops? But can we even question them?
                            Then we would have to declare the entire Church without grace. Do we
                            have the audacity to declare her entirely without grace? Until now we
                            have not posed this question so radically. . .


                            "They say that Patriarch Alexy sinned more than his predecessor.
                            Whether he sinned more or less, we cannot deny his ordination. Much
                            is said of their apostasy. But we must be cautious. We can hardly
                            make an outright accusation of apostasy. In no place do they affirm
                            atheism. In their published sermons they attempt to hold to the
                            Orthodox line. They took and continue to take very strict measures
                            with regard to the obnovlentsy, and did not tear their ties with
                            Patriarch Tikhon. The false policy belongs to the church authority
                            and the responsibility for it falls on its leaders. Only heresy
                            adopted by the whole Church tarnishes the whole Church. In this case,
                            the people are not responsible for the behavior of the leaders, and
                            the Church, as such, remains unblemished."

                            Now, some people have been accusing me (and others) of radically
                            changing our attitude towards the Moscow Patriarchate, and wondering why?

                            The answer is simple. I will speak for myself.

                            Ten years ago, I was not familiar with the Epistle of the Sobor of
                            Bishops of the ROCOR from 1933. I was not familiar with the
                            Resolution of the Sobor of Bishops of 1938 regarding concelebration
                            with the clergy of Metropolitan Sergius. I was not familiar with the
                            Minutes of the 1953 Council of Bishops.

                            Another eye-opener for me was the publication of the Archival
                            Materials of the Politburo regarding Church issues, published just a
                            few years ago in two volumes. These previously top secret materials
                            show that Patriarch Tikhon collaborated far more with the Bolshevik
                            regime than I had previously believed--and that he, prior to his
                            repose, had agreed with the regime's request to issue a statement
                            which contained virtually all of the points found in the Declaration
                            signed by Metropolitan Sergius just two years later.

                            I also became familiar with a great many documents proving that
                            Metropolitan Sergius was using every means at his disposal to try to
                            influence the Soviet regime to lessen the burden on the clergy, to
                            release the imprisoned and return the exiled bishops--including
                            specifically Metropolitan Peter. There are literally dozens of
                            Petitions by Metropolitan Sergius addressed to the Politburo
                            requesting this. There is also clear documentary evidence that
                            Metropolitan Sergius agreed to lie about the existence of persecution
                            of the Church at the infamous "Interview with foreign journalists" in
                            1930--in return he was promised the release of 28 imprisoned and
                            exiled bishops, including Metr. Peter.

                            I was not aware of any of this before.

                            2) Now, to the second question.

                            Some have asked why the Church Abroad does not try to establish
                            contact with the Catacomb Church in Russia, since, if the Moscow
                            Patriarchate is not a Church, it constitutes the only remnant of the
                            legitimate Church of Russia that exists on that territory today.

                            The answer is simple: there **is** no single entity that can
                            legitimately claim to be the Catacomb Church. There are only widely
                            dispersed catacomb communities, most of which live in complete
                            mistrust of one another.

                            Virtually none of these catacomb communities can prove that it has
                            legitimate apostolic succession--for when consecrations and
                            ordinations were performed in the catacombs--typically no
                            certificates of ordination were issued.

                            Many of the catacomb communities, having no theological institutions
                            or visible structure, no ecclesiastical discipline, have deteriorated
                            to the point where superstitions have replaced dogma, and services
                            are incorrectly performed.

                            Others have become so fiercely nationalistic, that they have become
                            fascist in their views, with swastikas decorating their sites and
                            flags, and tributes to Hitler as the God-sent leader.

                            The final point is that these communities have lost the reason for
                            their catacomb existence--they can only legitimately exist when there
                            is outright persecution. When persecution has ceased, they must come
                            out of the catacombs and rejoin the legitimate Church structure that
                            has been preserved.

                            I am afraid that some people who call themselves Traditionalist of
                            "Genuine" Orthodox have lost some fundamental understanding of what
                            the Church is.

                            It is not simply where a correct teaching is to be found.

                            It is also where there is a legitimate ecclesiastical authority in
                            accordance with the Canons--which give that authority a particular
                            territory and administrative structure.

                            You cannot have more than one legitimate Church of Russia. You cannot
                            have more than one legitimate Church of Greece.

                            And anyone outside that one legitimate Church is not a member of the
                            Church at all, but a member of a parasynagogue.

                            That is what all of these Mansonvillians, Varnavites, Lazarites,
                            Valentinites, Gregoryites, Panteleimonites, etc. are--outside of the Church.

                            The existence of ten or twenty Greek Old Calendarist jurisdictions,
                            and as many "independent bishops" is an absolute affront to Orthodoxy.

                            And it is completely naive to think that they will ever join
                            together. Their reasons for splitting apart are the fact that they
                            all have lost touch with the legitimate body of the Church.

                            Look at a fire.

                            If an ember splits off from the burning log and rolls away, it
                            fragments, and then these fragments quickly die.

                            The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has a mandate--stated
                            in its Constitution (Statutes) -- to administer itself as an
                            independent entity, only on the territories outside of Russia, and
                            only until the fall of the Soviet regime.

                            Now that time has come.

                            Time for the Russian Church to be whole again.

                            With love in Christ,

                            Prot. Alexander Lebedeff


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                          • Christopher Gait
                            I spent about 10 years of the Cold War fighting the USSR. Mostly I drank coffee and waited for the other side to say something threatening, which generally
                            Message 13 of 22 , Oct 8, 2005
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                              I spent about 10 years of the Cold War 'fighting' the
                              USSR. Mostly I drank coffee and waited for the other
                              side to say something threatening, which generally
                              happened every five years or so, after which things
                              calmed down and they would make some tea and we would
                              make some cofee...and wait.

                              I came to the conclusion that both sides were playing
                              a game. But both sides were often confused because the
                              Russians were playing a careful game of chess while
                              the Americans were playing poker...on the same
                              chessboard. So the Russian would build up some really
                              clever gambit and, just when they were ready to spring
                              the trap, the Americans would yell 'I raise you!' and
                              throw down a bunch of money around Q5. This would
                              cause the Soviets no end of consternation.

                              The Soviets gained more from humint (i.e. spies) for
                              less money than any other power in history. A lot of
                              that was from the overly trusting nature of Americans
                              and Brits.

                              The considerable (and ongoing) cluelessness about the
                              duplicity of the USSR (and many other countries,
                              allies as well as enemies and sometimes both), is a
                              perpetual problem for the US, as I see it. Our
                              continuing efforts to protect our dear 'friends' the
                              Saudis comes to mind. If we were really the 'Empire'
                              that our enemies would have us to be, we would have
                              turned the whole country into a large glass ashtray
                              years ago (with a sign in the middle saying: Break
                              glass for oil.). But we're not like that, thank God,
                              and that very weakness is our strength. People know
                              that whenever we try to play two sides against the
                              middle (Turkey and Greece come to mind), we will
                              simply tick off both sides in parallel or in
                              sucession. But they also know that when something
                              really evil comes along we will eventually make our
                              way to the side of the good guys and fight it out to
                              the end.

                              As to ROCOR being americanized, I suppose it depends
                              on what parish you are in. In my home parish we have a
                              lot of newcomers who don't even speak English among
                              the parishioners, we also have second and third
                              generation Russians, Ukrainians and Serbs. It's a
                              mixed bag. But overall I'm sure a union with the
                              Patriarchate will give ROCOR a wonderful chess lesson.
                              Perhaps we are getting our chips ready for the game as
                              we speak.

                              Sinner Christopher

                              --- Nicholas Steblez <crocodile1953@...> wrote:

                              > My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
                              >
                              >
                              > I have read or heard it said in a number of places
                              > that the ROCOR is not really a Russian Church
                              > anymore, and that much of the current crop of
                              > hierarchs, clergy, and laity have very little or no
                              > semblance to the ROCOR of the past, since most,
                              > "cradle" or convert ROCOR members were born and
                              > raised in the USA or in other places outside Russia
                              > thus making today's ROCOR an American Orthodox
                              > Church, devoid of almost anything in the way of
                              > Russian ethos or sensibilities. Sadly, I suppose
                              > that is true, not that there is anything inherently
                              > wonderful and exclusive about being Russian (well,
                              > maybe a little), but the fact is that the dynamics
                              > created of the ROCOR experiences and mentalities of
                              > the past are largely lost on the ROCOR of today -
                              > which makes perfect sense of course but is,
                              > nevertheless, undesirable and even dangerous.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > As I see it, the problem arises in that the people
                              > of the United States, whether in the form of their
                              > government or otherwise, never could intelligently
                              > deal with the problems posed by the advent of the
                              > CCCP upon the world scene. Oh to be sure, we could
                              > catch an occasional spy, or even more occasionally,
                              > defeat some evil design of the CCCP, but for all
                              > that, our ability to understand the Soviet mentality
                              > was akin to our ability to understand a newly
                              > arrived man from Mars. This fact was generally
                              > conceded by many who would proceed to quote Sir
                              > Winston Churchill's description of Russia being "a
                              > riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma".
                              > Incidentally, you may notice that I'm speaking of
                              > the USA only and not the rest of the NATO countries,
                              > many of who understood Soviet intrigue, duplicity,
                              > etc. all to well. I will give an example of this by
                              > relating the following anecdote, though I am
                              > ethically enjoined from revealing names, dates,
                              > places or even the actual details of the incident
                              > itself, non of which, in and of themselves, bear
                              > any importance. This true story is not being used to
                              > embarrass or accuse anyone of anything but, rather,
                              > to simply illustrate a point. I can understand if
                              > this is unsatisfactory for some and I don't expect
                              > that I, whom none of you know, should be taken at my
                              > word in this matter, but that is your choice. In
                              > any case...
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Back in the bad old days of the CCCP, during the
                              > reign of Chairman L.B. I believe, there was a
                              > conference of signatories to a treaty that would
                              > standardize mousetraps the world over so that anyone
                              > visiting any country would be able to use a
                              > mousetrap there without any problems inherent in
                              > everyone having to learn how to use that country's
                              > proprietary model. It was agreed by all that, within
                              > a given allotment of time, the country and company
                              > which designed the better mousetrap would be awarded
                              > the contract and, would either manufacture and sell
                              > the mousetrap to the other countries, or license
                              > them for a fee, to build them for themselves.
                              > Needless to say there was a terrific amount of
                              > financial gain and prestige at stake and many
                              > companies throughout the world accepted the
                              > challenge.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Among the countries who had companies included in
                              > the contest were the USA and the CCCP who, though
                              > both large and fully developed industrial nations,
                              > were not automatically guaranteed success, as they
                              > were competing with other technologically advanced
                              > countries such as Germany, France, Sweden, Japan,
                              > etc. The CCCP who had top notch scientists,
                              > engineers, and inventors at work, and who stood as
                              > good a chance as anyone, nevertheless, as was their
                              > wont, decided to "hedge their bet" with a bit of
                              > subterfuge, skullduggery, and legerdemain.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > They made their pitch first to the Swedes which
                              > boiled down to this: the CCCP was one of the main
                              > and most influential members of the U.N. (from
                              > which this whole matter of mousetrap standardization
                              > first originates), as well as among the treaty
                              > signatories, and if Sweden would send them their
                              > design prototype and if the CCCP's scientists
                              > thought it was good, they, the CCCP, in secret
                              > partnership, would back their design with all their
                              > influence, virtually guaranteeing that Sweden's
                              > design would win. Well, the Swedes, who are nobody's
                              > fool, politely declined and showed the Soviet reps
                              > the door, thus causing them to move on to the next
                              > pigeon on their list - France. To make a long story
                              > short, the French, also no fools, were not as
                              > interested in being polite as the Swedes, and after
                              > some heated words sent the Soviets on their way.
                              > After a few other tries, they went for the last and
                              > least likely candidate on their list, the West
                              > Germans who, after they were able to quit laughing
                              > and
                              > recover their customary mien, gave the soviet reps
                              > the bum's rush with the warning never to be seen
                              > attempting to swindle anyone in their country again.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Now up until this point, the soviets, never ones to
                              > pass up an opportunity, had been trying to break
                              > into virgin territory close to home, however, this
                              > plan having been foiled by the clear thinking
                              > Europeans, they were forced to fall back on a sure
                              > thing, and thus arriving on our shores wasted no
                              > time in going to work
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > The companies in the USA working on this project
                              > were few and so the soviets, in order to save time,
                              > went to the biggest one first where they made their
                              > usual pitch that, the CCCP ... influential members
                              > of the U.N. ... treaty signatories, and if ...their
                              > design prototype etc, etc. Finally, the sov reps
                              > finished their spiel and held their breath in dread
                              > anticipation since, after all, their previous
                              > attempts were greeted with words like Nej! Non!
                              > Nein!, and so on.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > After a few moments of absolute silence, the soviets
                              > were rewarded by the board members of the American
                              > company, (which I do know, but cannot divulge) with
                              > an incredulous: "REALLY???"
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > I have no doubt, the CEO and other board members
                              > envisioned a huge profit windfall to show in their
                              > next report to their investors, to say nothing of
                              > their own bonuses to swell their already
                              > over-stuffed wallets. In any case, as by now you've
                              > surely guessed, the soviets got their mousetrap
                              > design prototype, which they immediately
                              > reverse-engineered and submitted as one among
                              > several of their own design.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > If I ever knew how the story ended, I've forgotten,
                              > but it doesn't make any difference really, since the
                              > point has been made. The soviets had become very
                              > adept at pulling our strings and creating lies,
                              > illusions, and schemes that were very palatable to
                              > Americans. What I always found to be perplexing
                              > though, is that even once the truth had come out and
                              > the final result of the soviet deception was clear
                              > to all, there were still plenty of takers whenever
                              > the soviets returned bearing new tricks and ploys
                              > yet again. My personal take on this is that while
                              > the United States has sacrificed many of her sons
                              > and daughters in foreign wars, the people of the USA
                              > in general have not experienced the horrors of life
                              > during the twentieth century in the way the
                              > Europeans did in two separate world wars that left
                              > the European continent devastated in a way which
                              > makes the destruction in the gulf states after the
                              > hurricanes look like a minor and insignificant
                              > annoyance. Consequently, we are more prone
                              > to an optimistic and devil-may-care attitude than
                              > they. I could be wrong and there might be other
                              > reasons for this, maybe the "American Dream" and
                              > it's fat, happy life makes us relatively laid back
                              > and thus causes us to have laid -back attitudes
                              > toward things, I don't know, your guess is as good
                              > as mine, but regardless, the fact remains that in
                              > worldly affairs, both at home and abroad, Americans
                              > seem predisposed to a pollyannaish attitude that
                              > blinds many of us to the grim realities that stare
                              > us in the face, as well as preventing us from
                              > wanting to look behind the smoke and mirrors of
                              > deception, afraid that we might find there may
                              > suddenly strip away our comfortable ignorance of the
                              > ongoing horrors that take place behind them every
                              > second of every minute of every hour of every day.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > I fear that the things written below by our brother
                              > are correct in every way, and that the evidence of
                              > the things he writes about is there for anyone who
                              > wishes to see. Oh! If only he were wrong, and I was
                              > wrong, and all the people who have seen matters for
                              > themselves
                              === message truncated ===





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                            • kato_ny
                              Fr Alexander lebedeff tries to answer a few questions: ======================
                              Message 14 of 22 , Nov 2, 2005
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                                Fr Alexander lebedeff tries to answer a few questions:

                                ======================
                                <<1) Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church?
                                When this question is brought up, it immediately begs the
                                question--if it is not a Church, when did it stop being a Church?>>
                                =====================

                                COMMENT: RESPONSE:
                                Why do people have tendencies to twist the thoughts around? Sure I do
                                agree the MP is a church, we can also consider sects churches as
                                well, maybe even the KGB as a service for God.

                                maybe the question, if it was brought up before, should have beena
                                bit more concrete:

                                SINCE WHEN DO CHURCHES ROB FROM OTHER CHURCHES?
                                -HEBRON
                                -JERICHO

                                just two mere simple little examples that the MP Church decided to
                                handle is such a simple fashion... we do know that back then, they
                                were a church still...

                                also, if the MP was such a great church, Fr Alexander lebedeff, why
                                didn't you flock to it ages ago??? why didn't you flock to the OCA
                                Church??? They were under the guidance too, under the MP...

                                ===================
                                <<2) Now, to the second question.
                                > Some have asked why the Church Abroad does not try to establish
                                > contact with the Catacomb Church in Russia, .... it constitutes the
                                only remnant of the legitimate Church of Russia that exists on that
                                territory today.
                                > The answer is simple: there **is** no single entity that can
                                > legitimately claim to be the Catacomb Church. There are only widely
                                > dispersed catacomb communities, most of which live in complete
                                > mistrust of one another.
                                ====================

                                COMMENT: RESPONSE:
                                Maybe this question should also be read differently, or maybe have
                                another thought:

                                Why not ask the catacomb church the reasons why they don't want to
                                join the MP in the first place, since 1991???

                                Are they not closer to better understand the situation among the MP
                                as a whole, inside Russia????

                                Since the catacomb church was somehow attached to the ROCOR church at
                                one point in time, should they not be the main consultants in this
                                issue? instead of having a few wannabes who are completely turning
                                around our ROCOR position??? and somehow carrying out a one political
                                mind wash game to the entire ROCOR community who once was 90% against
                                union?

                                ==========================
                                The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has a mandate--stated
                                > in its Constitution (Statutes) -- to administer itself as an
                                > independent entity, only on the territories outside of Russia, and
                                > only until the fall of the Soviet regime.
                                > Now that time has come.
                                > Time for the Russian Church to be whole again.
                                =========================

                                COMMENT: RESPONSE:

                                you can read the ROCOR mandates-statutes in so many ways and fashion.
                                Im sure you understand my thoughts on this subject.

                                In a way, the soviet regime has not fallen. The government has not
                                returned everything back to the church, though i do agree, the
                                process is on, but far far from over...

                                When you comment, that its time for the Russian Church to be whole
                                again, yes, I also agree with this statement... BUT ONLY UNDER OUR
                                GUIDANCE OF THE ROCOR church!!!

                                THE MP was an elected soviet athiestic regime... and you know that
                                better than I do...

                                WE SHOULD HAVE OUR ROCOR CHURCH officials be the leaders of the
                                Russian Orthodox Church, in order for it to Guide the ill and much
                                needed organization, inside the MP. I would also reccomend bring back
                                Metropolitan Vitaly to the picture as well, and listen to the older
                                generation of our priests and bishops, instead of bringing in alot of
                                younger or freshly made priests and converted priests or bishops, who
                                might not truly be russian...

                                Bog v Pomoshchi!!!
                                Konstantin








                                --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff"
                                <lebedeff@w...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Recently, several posts have come up that have touched upon a
                                couple
                                > of questions that I would like to respond to.
                                >
                                > 1) Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church?
                                >
                                > When this question is brought up, it immediately begs the
                                > question--if it is not a Church, when did it stop being a Church?
                                >
                                >
                                > 2) Now, to the second question.
                                >
                                > Some have asked why the Church Abroad does not try to establish
                                > contact with the Catacomb Church in Russia, since, if the Moscow
                                > Patriarchate is not a Church, it constitutes the only remnant of
                                the
                                > legitimate Church of Russia that exists on that territory today.
                                >
                                > The answer is simple: there **is** no single entity that can
                                > legitimately claim to be the Catacomb Church. There are only widely
                                > dispersed catacomb communities, most of which live in complete
                                > mistrust of one another.
                                >
                                >> The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has a mandate--
                                stated
                                > in its Constitution (Statutes) -- to administer itself as an
                                > independent entity, only on the territories outside of Russia, and
                                > only until the fall of the Soviet regime.
                                >
                                > Now that time has come.
                                >
                                > Time for the Russian Church to be whole again.
                                >
                                > With love in Christ,
                                >
                                > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
                              • gene703
                                Konstantine (kato_ny) writes I would also recommend bring back Metropolitan Vitaly to the picture as well, and listen to the older generation of our priests
                                Message 15 of 22 , Nov 2, 2005
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                                  Konstantine (kato_ny) writes >> I would also recommend bring back Metropolitan Vitaly to the picture as well, and listen to the older generation of our priests



                                  I could not agree more, bringing retired Mp. Vitaly back should be priority number one in this whole unification thing. Benefits of such move are almost to numerous to mention



                                  - we will stop looking like certain children from the Bible for once, denigrading, suing for goodness sake, our own father/predstoyatel/avva who, by the way, rukopolozhil entire current synod including the current predstoyatel



                                  - bringing him back will allow the loyal opposition / go slow faction within ROCOR to solidify around him without causing any more ugliness within the church



                                  I pray I will be able to attend a sunday services in Synod cathedral soon with both retired Mp. Vitaly and Mp. Laurus in attendance, please, please, please



                                  Gene T



                                  PS. some say he is surrounded by people who will not grant access to him, well let's organize a bus trip there and surround him with a busloads of faithfull loving children including the "the older generation of our priests" Konstantine writes about, see what happends then


                                  kato_ny <kato_ny@...> wrote:
                                  Fr Alexander lebedeff tries to answer a few questions:

                                  ======================
                                  <<1) Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church?
                                  When this question is brought up, it immediately begs the
                                  question--if it is not a Church, when did it stop being a Church?>>
                                  =====================

                                  COMMENT: RESPONSE:
                                  Why do people have tendencies to twist the thoughts around? Sure I do
                                  agree the MP is a church, we can also consider sects churches as
                                  well, maybe even the KGB as a service for God.

                                  maybe the question, if it was brought up before, should have beena
                                  bit more concrete:

                                  SINCE WHEN DO CHURCHES ROB FROM OTHER CHURCHES?
                                  -HEBRON
                                  -JERICHO

                                  just two mere simple little examples that the MP Church decided to
                                  handle is such a simple fashion... we do know that back then, they
                                  were a church still...

                                  also, if the MP was such a great church, Fr Alexander lebedeff, why
                                  didn't you flock to it ages ago??? why didn't you flock to the OCA
                                  Church??? They were under the guidance too, under the MP...

                                  ===================
                                  <<2) Now, to the second question.
                                  > Some have asked why the Church Abroad does not try to establish
                                  > contact with the Catacomb Church in Russia, .... it constitutes the
                                  only remnant of the legitimate Church of Russia that exists on that
                                  territory today.
                                  > The answer is simple: there **is** no single entity that can
                                  > legitimately claim to be the Catacomb Church. There are only widely
                                  > dispersed catacomb communities, most of which live in complete
                                  > mistrust of one another.
                                  ====================

                                  COMMENT: RESPONSE:
                                  Maybe this question should also be read differently, or maybe have
                                  another thought:

                                  Why not ask the catacomb church the reasons why they don't want to
                                  join the MP in the first place, since 1991???

                                  Are they not closer to better understand the situation among the MP
                                  as a whole, inside Russia????

                                  Since the catacomb church was somehow attached to the ROCOR church at
                                  one point in time, should they not be the main consultants in this
                                  issue? instead of having a few wannabes who are completely turning
                                  around our ROCOR position??? and somehow carrying out a one political
                                  mind wash game to the entire ROCOR community who once was 90% against
                                  union?

                                  ==========================
                                  The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has a mandate--stated
                                  > in its Constitution (Statutes) -- to administer itself as an
                                  > independent entity, only on the territories outside of Russia, and
                                  > only until the fall of the Soviet regime.
                                  > Now that time has come.
                                  > Time for the Russian Church to be whole again.
                                  =========================

                                  COMMENT: RESPONSE:

                                  you can read the ROCOR mandates-statutes in so many ways and fashion.
                                  Im sure you understand my thoughts on this subject.

                                  In a way, the soviet regime has not fallen. The government has not
                                  returned everything back to the church, though i do agree, the
                                  process is on, but far far from over...

                                  When you comment, that its time for the Russian Church to be whole
                                  again, yes, I also agree with this statement... BUT ONLY UNDER OUR
                                  GUIDANCE OF THE ROCOR church!!!

                                  THE MP was an elected soviet athiestic regime... and you know that
                                  better than I do...

                                  WE SHOULD HAVE OUR ROCOR CHURCH officials be the leaders of the
                                  Russian Orthodox Church, in order for it to Guide the ill and much
                                  needed organization, inside the MP. I would also reccomend bring back
                                  Metropolitan Vitaly to the picture as well, and listen to the older
                                  generation of our priests and bishops, instead of bringing in alot of
                                  younger or freshly made priests and converted priests or bishops, who
                                  might not truly be russian...

                                  Bog v Pomoshchi!!!
                                  Konstantin








                                  --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff"
                                  <lebedeff@w...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Recently, several posts have come up that have touched upon a
                                  couple
                                  > of questions that I would like to respond to.
                                  >
                                  > 1) Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church?
                                  >
                                  > When this question is brought up, it immediately begs the
                                  > question--if it is not a Church, when did it stop being a Church?
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > 2) Now, to the second question.
                                  >
                                  > Some have asked why the Church Abroad does not try to establish
                                  > contact with the Catacomb Church in Russia, since, if the Moscow
                                  > Patriarchate is not a Church, it constitutes the only remnant of
                                  the
                                  > legitimate Church of Russia that exists on that territory today.
                                  >
                                  > The answer is simple: there **is** no single entity that can
                                  > legitimately claim to be the Catacomb Church. There are only widely
                                  > dispersed catacomb communities, most of which live in complete
                                  > mistrust of one another.
                                  >
                                  >> The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has a mandate--
                                  stated
                                  > in its Constitution (Statutes) -- to administer itself as an
                                  > independent entity, only on the territories outside of Russia, and
                                  > only until the fall of the Soviet regime.
                                  >
                                  > Now that time has come.
                                  >
                                  > Time for the Russian Church to be whole again.
                                  >
                                  > With love in Christ,
                                  >
                                  > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff








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                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Fr. John R. Shaw
                                  ... JRS: Kato has completely missed the point here. Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church does not mean, Is the Moscow Patriarchate a religious organization?
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Nov 2, 2005
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    "Kato" tries to answer a few questions:

                                    > COMMENT: RESPONSE:
                                    > Why do people have tendencies to twist the thoughts around? Sure I do
                                    > agree the MP is a church, we can also consider sects churches as
                                    > well, maybe even the KGB as a service for God.
                                    >
                                    > maybe the question, if it was brought up before, should have beena
                                    > bit more concrete:
                                    >
                                    > SINCE WHEN DO CHURCHES ROB FROM OTHER CHURCHES?
                                    > -HEBRON
                                    > -JERICHO

                                    JRS: Kato has completely missed the point here.

                                    "Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church" does not mean, "Is the Moscow Patriarchate a religious
                                    organization?"

                                    The sense of the original question was, "Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Local Orthodox Church,
                                    part of the Mystical Body of Christ?"

                                    Second question:

                                    > > The answer is simple: there **is** no single entity that can
                                    > > legitimately claim to be the Catacomb Church. There are only widely
                                    > > dispersed catacomb communities, most of which live in complete
                                    > > mistrust of one another.
                                    > ====================
                                    >
                                    > COMMENT: RESPONSE:
                                    > Maybe this question should also be read differently, or maybe have
                                    > another thought:
                                    >
                                    > Why not ask the catacomb church the reasons why they don't want to
                                    > join the MP in the first place, since 1991???

                                    JRS: Since there is no single entity that can be called "The Catacomb Church", it is pointless
                                    to suggest asking questions of an entity that does not exist.

                                    One would have to ask each of dozens of groups (and I'm not sure anyone knows for sure
                                    exactly how many there are, or how to reach them, or how to get an authoritative answer
                                    even if contact were made).

                                    > Since the catacomb church was somehow attached to the ROCOR church at
                                    > one point in time, should they not be the main consultants in this
                                    > issue? instead of having a few wannabes who are completely turning
                                    > around our ROCOR position???

                                    JRS: Since there is no one "Catacomb Church", one can say with certainty that it was never
                                    "somehow attached to the ROCOR church".

                                    There were some catacomb groups that commemorated our Metropolitan, and there were a
                                    few "catacomb" communities that actually joined ROCOR with the late Bishop Lazar.

                                    Nor are "a few wannabees completely turning around our ROCOR position".

                                    It is not ROCOR's position that is "completely turning around", but the situation in Russia,
                                    and the situation of the Moscow Patriarchate.

                                    And if one is to dismiss our hierarchy and the majority of the clergy and laity as "a few
                                    wannabees", there are even fewer "don't wannas" left.

                                    > and somehow carrying out a one political
                                    > mind wash game to the entire ROCOR community who once was 90% against
                                    > union?

                                    JRS: The question of "union" was never even raised, when the Soviet regime was in power.
                                    Nor could it have been.

                                    Furthermore, there is nothing "political" about overcoming the divisions in the Russian
                                    Church.

                                    And, sad to say, it is on the other side, in particular by the editors of "Nasha Strana", that
                                    disinformation is being offered to the public.

                                    In Christ
                                    Fr. John R. Shaw
                                  • vkozyreff
                                    Dear Kato, I think you are right to denounce those aggressions to common sense. A false proposal does not become right if it gets repeated time and again.
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Nov 2, 2005
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      Dear Kato,

                                      I think you are right to denounce those aggressions to common sense.

                                      A false proposal does not become right if it gets repeated time and
                                      again.

                                      Stating, as they keep stating, that the MP is the true church because
                                      democracy has arrived in Russia is total nonsense.

                                      Who would believe that the day before democracy "arrived" in Russia,
                                      the MP was not the Church, and we did not have to unite with it, and
                                      since "democracy arrived", the MP all of a sudden got an apostolic
                                      sucession which did not exist before?

                                      In God,

                                      Vladimir Kozyreff


                                      --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. John R. Shaw"
                                      <vrevjrs@e...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > "Kato" tries to answer a few questions:
                                      >
                                      > > COMMENT: RESPONSE:
                                      > > Why do people have tendencies to twist the thoughts around? Sure
                                      I do
                                      > > agree the MP is a church, we can also consider sects churches as
                                      > > well, maybe even the KGB as a service for God.
                                      > >
                                      > > maybe the question, if it was brought up before, should have
                                      beena
                                      > > bit more concrete:
                                      > >
                                      > > SINCE WHEN DO CHURCHES ROB FROM OTHER CHURCHES?
                                      > > -HEBRON
                                      > > -JERICHO
                                      >
                                      > JRS: Kato has completely missed the point here.
                                      >
                                      > "Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church" does not mean, "Is the Moscow
                                      Patriarchate a religious
                                      > organization?"
                                      >
                                      > The sense of the original question was, "Is the Moscow Patriarchate
                                      a Local Orthodox Church,
                                      > part of the Mystical Body of Christ?"
                                      >
                                      > Second question:
                                      >
                                      > > > The answer is simple: there **is** no single entity that can
                                      > > > legitimately claim to be the Catacomb Church. There are only
                                      widely
                                      > > > dispersed catacomb communities, most of which live in complete
                                      > > > mistrust of one another.
                                      > > ====================
                                      > >
                                      > > COMMENT: RESPONSE:
                                      > > Maybe this question should also be read differently, or maybe
                                      have
                                      > > another thought:
                                      > >
                                      > > Why not ask the catacomb church the reasons why they don't want
                                      to
                                      > > join the MP in the first place, since 1991???
                                      >
                                      > JRS: Since there is no single entity that can be called "The
                                      Catacomb Church", it is pointless
                                      > to suggest asking questions of an entity that does not exist.
                                      >
                                      > One would have to ask each of dozens of groups (and I'm not sure
                                      anyone knows for sure
                                      > exactly how many there are, or how to reach them, or how to get an
                                      authoritative answer
                                      > even if contact were made).
                                      >
                                      > > Since the catacomb church was somehow attached to the ROCOR
                                      church at
                                      > > one point in time, should they not be the main consultants in
                                      this
                                      > > issue? instead of having a few wannabes who are completely
                                      turning
                                      > > around our ROCOR position???
                                      >
                                      > JRS: Since there is no one "Catacomb Church", one can say with
                                      certainty that it was never
                                      > "somehow attached to the ROCOR church".
                                      >
                                      > There were some catacomb groups that commemorated our Metropolitan,
                                      and there were a
                                      > few "catacomb" communities that actually joined ROCOR with the late
                                      Bishop Lazar.
                                      >
                                      > Nor are "a few wannabees completely turning around our ROCOR
                                      position".
                                      >
                                      > It is not ROCOR's position that is "completely turning around", but
                                      the situation in Russia,
                                      > and the situation of the Moscow Patriarchate.
                                      >
                                      > And if one is to dismiss our hierarchy and the majority of the
                                      clergy and laity as "a few
                                      > wannabees", there are even fewer "don't wannas" left.
                                      >
                                      > > and somehow carrying out a one political
                                      > > mind wash game to the entire ROCOR community who once was 90%
                                      against
                                      > > union?
                                      >
                                      > JRS: The question of "union" was never even raised, when the Soviet
                                      regime was in power.
                                      > Nor could it have been.
                                      >
                                      > Furthermore, there is nothing "political" about overcoming the
                                      divisions in the Russian
                                      > Church.
                                      >
                                      > And, sad to say, it is on the other side, in particular by the
                                      editors of "Nasha Strana", that
                                      > disinformation is being offered to the public.
                                      >
                                      > In Christ
                                      > Fr. John R. Shaw
                                      >
                                    • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
                                      ... Such as the false proposal that the MP is not a church-- or a false church. ... You are correct here (surprise!). That is nonsense. The MP is a true church
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Nov 2, 2005
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        Vladimir Kozyreff wrote:

                                        >A false proposal does not become right if it gets repeated time and
                                        >again.



                                        Such as the false proposal that the MP is not a church-- or a false church.


                                        >Stating, as they keep stating, that the MP is the true church because
                                        >democracy has arrived in Russia is total nonsense.

                                        You are correct here (surprise!). That is nonsense. The MP is a true
                                        church because it never stopped being a true church.



                                        >Who would believe that the day before democracy "arrived" in Russia,
                                        >the MP was not the Church, and we did not have to unite with it, and
                                        >since "democracy arrived", the MP all of a sudden got an apostolic
                                        >sucession which did not exist before?


                                        More nonsense.

                                        But this time from you.

                                        When exactly do you feel did the MP lose apostolic succession?

                                        Now look at the facts.

                                        Every bishop of the MP has apostolic succession from Patriarch
                                        Sergius (Stragorodsky) or Patriarch Alexei I (Simanskiy) --both
                                        consecrated to the episcopate before the Russian Revolution (the
                                        first in 1901, and the latter in 1913).

                                        Surely you are not going to question the validity of hierarchical
                                        cheirotonias of pre-Revolutionary Russian bishops?

                                        BTW, you should remember that the official position of the historical
                                        Russian Orthodox Church is that even the Roman Catholic Church has
                                        valid apostolic succession, and, for this reason, Roman Catholic
                                        priests, when coming to the Orthodox Church, are accepted by the
                                        Russian Orthodox Church by simple **vesting**. They are not baptised,
                                        not chrismated, and not ordained anew.

                                        Metropolitan Anastassy wrote that if we (the Russian Church) accept
                                        clearly heretical Armenians and Roman Catholics in full
                                        ecclesiastical rank, how can we not accept our own?


                                        With love in Christ,

                                        Prot. Alexander Lebedeff



                                        >In God,
                                        >
                                        >Vladimir Kozyreff
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >--- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. John R. Shaw"
                                        ><vrevjrs@e...> wrote:
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > "Kato" tries to answer a few questions:
                                        > >
                                        > > > COMMENT: RESPONSE:
                                        > > > Why do people have tendencies to twist the thoughts around? Sure
                                        >I do
                                        > > > agree the MP is a church, we can also consider sects churches as
                                        > > > well, maybe even the KGB as a service for God.
                                        > > >
                                        > > > maybe the question, if it was brought up before, should have
                                        >beena
                                        > > > bit more concrete:
                                        > > >
                                        > > > SINCE WHEN DO CHURCHES ROB FROM OTHER CHURCHES?
                                        > > > -HEBRON
                                        > > > -JERICHO
                                        > >
                                        > > JRS: Kato has completely missed the point here.
                                        > >
                                        > > "Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church" does not mean, "Is the Moscow
                                        >Patriarchate a religious
                                        > > organization?"
                                        > >
                                        > > The sense of the original question was, "Is the Moscow Patriarchate
                                        >a Local Orthodox Church,
                                        > > part of the Mystical Body of Christ?"
                                        > >
                                        > > Second question:
                                        > >
                                        > > > > The answer is simple: there **is** no single entity that can
                                        > > > > legitimately claim to be the Catacomb Church. There are only
                                        >widely
                                        > > > > dispersed catacomb communities, most of which live in complete
                                        > > > > mistrust of one another.
                                        > > > ====================
                                        > > >
                                        > > > COMMENT: RESPONSE:
                                        > > > Maybe this question should also be read differently, or maybe
                                        >have
                                        > > > another thought:
                                        > > >
                                        > > > Why not ask the catacomb church the reasons why they don't want
                                        >to
                                        > > > join the MP in the first place, since 1991???
                                        > >
                                        > > JRS: Since there is no single entity that can be called "The
                                        >Catacomb Church", it is pointless
                                        > > to suggest asking questions of an entity that does not exist.
                                        > >
                                        > > One would have to ask each of dozens of groups (and I'm not sure
                                        >anyone knows for sure
                                        > > exactly how many there are, or how to reach them, or how to get an
                                        >authoritative answer
                                        > > even if contact were made).
                                        > >
                                        > > > Since the catacomb church was somehow attached to the ROCOR
                                        >church at
                                        > > > one point in time, should they not be the main consultants in
                                        >this
                                        > > > issue? instead of having a few wannabes who are completely
                                        >turning
                                        > > > around our ROCOR position???
                                        > >
                                        > > JRS: Since there is no one "Catacomb Church", one can say with
                                        >certainty that it was never
                                        > > "somehow attached to the ROCOR church".
                                        > >
                                        > > There were some catacomb groups that commemorated our Metropolitan,
                                        >and there were a
                                        > > few "catacomb" communities that actually joined ROCOR with the late
                                        >Bishop Lazar.
                                        > >
                                        > > Nor are "a few wannabees completely turning around our ROCOR
                                        >position".
                                        > >
                                        > > It is not ROCOR's position that is "completely turning around", but
                                        >the situation in Russia,
                                        > > and the situation of the Moscow Patriarchate.
                                        > >
                                        > > And if one is to dismiss our hierarchy and the majority of the
                                        >clergy and laity as "a few
                                        > > wannabees", there are even fewer "don't wannas" left.
                                        > >
                                        > > > and somehow carrying out a one political
                                        > > > mind wash game to the entire ROCOR community who once was 90%
                                        >against
                                        > > > union?
                                        > >
                                        > > JRS: The question of "union" was never even raised, when the Soviet
                                        >regime was in power.
                                        > > Nor could it have been.
                                        > >
                                        > > Furthermore, there is nothing "political" about overcoming the
                                        >divisions in the Russian
                                        > > Church.
                                        > >
                                        > > And, sad to say, it is on the other side, in particular by the
                                        >editors of "Nasha Strana", that
                                        > > disinformation is being offered to the public.
                                        > >
                                        > > In Christ
                                        > > Fr. John R. Shaw
                                        > >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
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                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • Paul Bartlett
                                        ... What, pray tell, is wrong with having non-Russian converts among the clergy? I am an Anglo-German American who was born where God put me -- in the United
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Nov 2, 2005
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          On Wed, 2 Nov 2005, kato_ny wrote:

                                          > [most trimmed]

                                          > instead of bringing in alot of
                                          > younger or freshly made priests and converted priests or bishops, who
                                          > might not truly be russian...

                                          What, pray tell, is wrong with having non-Russian converts among
                                          the clergy? I am an Anglo-German American who was born where God put
                                          me -- in the United States of America -- and not in Russia, and have
                                          never lived anywhere outside the USA. When I was an Orthodox Christian
                                          in ROCOR, the Russianness of the church was essentially irrelevant to
                                          me. All I cared about was that it was canonical and Orthodox. I could
                                          scarcely have cared less about its ethnic origins. Has ROCOR lost any
                                          sense of evangelizing the world? Has Orthodoxy within ROCOR become
                                          cramped, not caring about bringing the Gospel to the non-Orthodox
                                          wherever they may be on this small planet? Is there no one to care
                                          about except Russians? Orthodox Christians (including perhaps
                                          especially some in ROCOR) simply must get over their ethnic hangups,
                                          and if that means including non-Russian converts in the clergy, then so
                                          be it.

                                          --
                                          Paul Bartlett
                                        • kato_ny
                                          Dear Paul, I didn t fully mean it in that way. I guess I am somewhat harsh in the way I might express my inner feelings. I guess I should bring an example,
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Nov 3, 2005
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            Dear Paul,

                                            I didn't "fully" mean it in that way. I guess I am somewhat harsh in
                                            the way I might express my inner feelings.

                                            I guess I should bring an example, the beauty behind our ROCOR church
                                            was that it was basically always under the guidance of Russians. They
                                            could have been under many slavic backgrounds, and as much as I
                                            understand, there were not too many converts at the head of the
                                            church.

                                            Vladika Mark, has been one of the main clergy members pushing the
                                            idea of the union, and understanding his background worries me, as
                                            well as others, who don't speak up loud.

                                            We are not the Catholic Church, or Protestants, and so forth, who
                                            have multi nationalities, at the thrown of the church.

                                            I have nothing against any converts in our church, to the Russian
                                            Orthodox Church, I have taken alot of non orthodox (or non ROCA
                                            parisioners) believers to our ROCA church in the past, and consider
                                            some of them, more Orthodox than I am today, while others just fade
                                            away.

                                            Unlike Fr Seraphim Rose, who too was a convert, but he didn't take
                                            such drastick changes or push forward any new guidances, or 180*
                                            changes to the ROCA jurisdiction. he too found something sacred in
                                            our church. maybe one of the reasons was that it was under Russian
                                            guidance, the Russian soul, something that hasn't been tampered with.

                                            Again, I meant no harm to any converts, including the clergy members.
                                            I'm not a nationalist, but I do believe that our ROCA church has to
                                            be under the guidance and authority of Russian background. Again,
                                            some of the reasons why converts approach and choose the ROCA church
                                            over other jurisdictions.

                                            Didn't mean to ofend anyone.

                                            Konstantin
                                          • Paul Bartlett
                                            ... I never saw it that way. As a non-Russian, all I cared about was the the Church was Orthodox, not that it was Russian, Greek, Arab, Serbian, Rumanian, or
                                            Message 21 of 22 , Nov 3, 2005
                                            • 0 Attachment
                                              On Thu, 3 Nov 2005, kato_ny wrote:

                                              > Dear Paul,
                                              >
                                              > [trim]

                                              > I guess I should bring an example, the beauty behind our ROCOR church
                                              > was that it was basically always under the guidance of Russians. [...]

                                              I never saw it that way. As a non-Russian, all I cared about was
                                              the the Church was Orthodox, not that it was Russian, Greek, Arab,
                                              Serbian, Rumanian, or whatever else it might be. However, I will admit
                                              that my experiences were other than those of many in ROCOR. True, I
                                              spent over half a year at the St. Herman of Alaska skete. But beyond
                                              that, my main connection with the Church was in company of those
                                              largely who came to be later called, by some, "Panteleimonites."
                                              Indeed, I was baptized by then-Schemahieromonk Panteleimon at Holy
                                              Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline. (That was before HOCNA, which
                                              I consider schismatic.)

                                              > [trim]

                                              > We are not the Catholic Church, or Protestants, and so forth, who
                                              > have multi nationalities, at the thrown of the church.

                                              I see this as essentially irrelevant. Did not Christ in the Gospel
                                              commission the Apostles to go and preach the Gospel to the whole world?
                                              It seems to me that the Orthodox Church must be a big tent, welcoming
                                              all into it, regardless of their ethnicity. That means that in
                                              practice eventually ethnicities must fade. If I were able to come back
                                              to the Church, I would probably feel most comfortable among those
                                              sometimes called "Western Orthodox" (provided, of course, they were
                                              truly Orthodox and not playing games). Indeed, my favorite form of
                                              Orthodox chant in Church is Gregorian, not Byzantine or Russian.

                                              > I have nothing against any converts in our church, to the Russian
                                              > Orthodox Church,

                                              Rightly or wrongly -- apparently wrongly on my part -- that was how
                                              I interpreted your message. My apology for my error.

                                              > I have taken alot of non orthodox (or non ROCA
                                              > parisioners) believers to our ROCA church in the past, and consider
                                              > some of them, more Orthodox than I am today, while others just fade
                                              > away.

                                              Just like some "born" "ethnic" Orthodox Christians.

                                              > Unlike Fr Seraphim Rose, who too was a convert, but he didn't take
                                              > such drastick changes or push forward any new guidances, or 180*
                                              > changes to the ROCA jurisdiction. he too found something sacred in
                                              > our church. maybe one of the reasons was that it was under Russian
                                              > guidance, the Russian soul, something that hasn't been tampered with.

                                              Having known Fr. Seraphim personally, I would say that although,
                                              yes, he was much taken with things Russian and gave his allegiance to
                                              ROCOR, his first concern was that it was Orthodox, not that it was
                                              Russian.

                                              > Again, I meant no harm to any converts, including the clergy members.
                                              > I'm not a nationalist, but I do believe that our ROCA church has to
                                              > be under the guidance and authority of Russian background. [...]

                                              Historically it was the Russians who brought Orthodox Christianity
                                              to North America, and therefore according to an ancient principle the
                                              Russian Church had primary responsibility for the Church in this
                                              continent. That was one principle that brought me into ROCOR instead
                                              of into another jurisdiction. However, just as eventually the Russian
                                              Church was no longer under the thumb of the Byzantines, eventually the
                                              Church in North America must be no longer under the thumb of the
                                              Russians but standing on their own in world Orthodoxy. To me the
                                              question is only a matter of when. If I come back to the Faith,
                                              perhaps I should go to OCA?

                                              > Didn't mean to ofend anyone.

                                              No offense taken.

                                              --
                                              Paul Bartlett
                                            • vkozyreff
                                              Dear Father Alexander, bless. You write: No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Peter was the legitimate Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne. No one
                                              Message 22 of 22 , Nov 26, 2005
                                              • 0 Attachment
                                                Dear Father Alexander, bless.

                                                You write:

                                                "No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Peter was the legitimate
                                                Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne. No one seriously doubts that
                                                Metropolitan Sergius was the legitimate Deputy (or Vice) Locum Tenens
                                                of the Patriarchal Throne, according to the instructions of
                                                Metropolitan Peter.So--when did he and his Synod become **not** the
                                                Church?"

                                                Why do you write such things? Do you not know that many have the
                                                serious doubts that you discard as non-existent. ROCOR did in 2000.
                                                And we all know it.

                                                See text below.

                                                In Christ,

                                                Vladimir Kozyreff

                                                "The portion of the Church of Russia abroad considers itself an
                                                inseparable, spiritually united branch of the great Church of Russia.
                                                It does not separate itself from its Mother Church, and does not
                                                consider itself autocephalous.

                                                As before, it considers its head to be the patriarchal locum tenens
                                                Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa, and commemorates him [as such] during
                                                the divine services."

                                                At that time, we discovered that the lawful first hierarch of the
                                                Church of Russia had rebuked his deputy, Metropolitan Sergius, from
                                                exile, for "exceeding his authority", and commanded him to "return"
                                                to the correct ecclesiastical path; but he was not obeyed.

                                                In fact, even while Metropolitan Peter was alive, Metropolitan
                                                Sergius usurped, first his diocese (which, according to the canons,
                                                is strictly forbidden), and later his very position as locum tenens.

                                                These actions constituted not only a personal catastrophe, but also a
                                                universal catastrophe for our Church".

                                                To the Russian Orthodox People, A Statement of the ROCOR Bishops
                                                Concerning the Moscow Patriarchate (2000)

                                                http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/rocor_mpstatement.aspx

                                                --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff"
                                                <lebedeff@w...> wrote:
                                                >
                                                > Recently, several posts have come up that have touched upon a
                                                couple
                                                > of questions that I would like to respond to.
                                                >
                                                > 1) Is the Moscow Patriarchate a Church?
                                                >
                                                > When this question is brought up, it immediately begs the
                                                > question--if it is not a Church, when did it stop being a Church?
                                                >
                                                > No one seriously doubts that the Moscow Patriarchate headed by
                                                > Patriarch Tikhon was the legitimate canonical Church of Russia.
                                                >
                                                > No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Peter was the legitimate
                                                > Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne.
                                                >
                                                > No one seriously doubts that Metropolitan Sergius was the
                                                legitimate
                                                > Deputy (or Vice) Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, according
                                                > to the instructions of Metropolitan Peter.
                                                >
                                                > So--when did he and his Synod become **not** the Church?
                                                >
                                                > Certainly not as a result of his signing the "Declaration" of 1927.
                                                >
                                                > The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
                                                Russia
                                                > absolutely did not think so, since it addressed an Epistle to the
                                                > Flock in 1933 (six years **after** the Declaration), where it says:
                                                >
                                                > "We are taking fully into account the extraordinary difficulties of
                                                > the position of Metropolitan Sergius, who is now the de facto head
                                                of
                                                > the Church of Russia, and are aware of the heavy burden of
                                                > responsibility for the fate of the latter, which lies upon him. No
                                                > one, therefore, has the audacity to accuse him for the mere attempt
                                                > to enter into dialogue with the Soviet regime so as to obtain legal
                                                > standing for the Church of Russia. Not without foundation does the
                                                > deputy locum tenens of the Patriarchal Throne say in his
                                                > aforementioned Declaration that only "armchair dreamers can think
                                                > that such a vast community as our Orthodox Church, with all its
                                                > organization, can exist peacefully in a country while walling
                                                itself
                                                > off from the authorities."
                                                >
                                                > Certainly the Moscow Patriarchate was not considered by the Church
                                                > Abroad to be "not the Church" in 1938, when the Bishops' Sobor
                                                Abroad
                                                > issued the following resolution:
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > "DISCUSSED: concelebration with the clergymen of the jurisdiction
                                                of
                                                > Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod.
                                                >
                                                > METROPOLITAN ANASTASSY points out that clergymen arriving from
                                                Russia
                                                > from this jurisdiction are immediately admitted into prayerful
                                                > communion, and refers to the opinion of Metropolitan Kirill of
                                                Kazan
                                                > in his epistle, published in Tserkovnaya Zhizn' [Church Life], that
                                                > Metropolitan Sergius' sin does not extend to the clergymen under
                                                him.
                                                >
                                                > DECREED: To recognize that there are no obstacles to prayerful
                                                > communion and concelebration with clergymen of Metropolitan
                                                Sergius."
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Now, some say that the Moscow Patriarchate became "not a Church"
                                                from
                                                > 1943, from the time that Stalin permitted the restoration of the
                                                Patriarchate.
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > But, ten years later, it is clear that the Church Abroad did not
                                                > consider the Moscow Patriarchate to be **not** the Church. In 1953,
                                                > at the Bishops' Sobor, Metropolitan Anastassy said the following:
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > "Do we recognize in principle the authenticity of the ordinations
                                                of
                                                > today's Patriarch and his bishops? But can we even question them?
                                                > Then we would have to declare the entire Church without grace. Do
                                                we
                                                > have the audacity to declare her entirely without grace? Until now
                                                we
                                                > have not posed this question so radically. . .
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > "They say that Patriarch Alexy sinned more than his predecessor.
                                                > Whether he sinned more or less, we cannot deny his ordination. Much
                                                > is said of their apostasy. But we must be cautious. We can hardly
                                                > make an outright accusation of apostasy. In no place do they affirm
                                                > atheism. In their published sermons they attempt to hold to the
                                                > Orthodox line. They took and continue to take very strict measures
                                                > with regard to the obnovlentsy, and did not tear their ties with
                                                > Patriarch Tikhon. The false policy belongs to the church authority
                                                > and the responsibility for it falls on its leaders. Only heresy
                                                > adopted by the whole Church tarnishes the whole Church. In this
                                                case,
                                                > the people are not responsible for the behavior of the leaders, and
                                                > the Church, as such, remains unblemished."
                                                >
                                                > Now, some people have been accusing me (and others) of radically
                                                > changing our attitude towards the Moscow Patriarchate, and
                                                wondering why?
                                                >
                                                > The answer is simple. I will speak for myself.
                                                >
                                                > Ten years ago, I was not familiar with the Epistle of the Sobor of
                                                > Bishops of the ROCOR from 1933. I was not familiar with the
                                                > Resolution of the Sobor of Bishops of 1938 regarding concelebration
                                                > with the clergy of Metropolitan Sergius. I was not familiar with
                                                the
                                                > Minutes of the 1953 Council of Bishops.
                                                >
                                                > Another eye-opener for me was the publication of the Archival
                                                > Materials of the Politburo regarding Church issues, published just
                                                a
                                                > few years ago in two volumes. These previously top secret materials
                                                > show that Patriarch Tikhon collaborated far more with the Bolshevik
                                                > regime than I had previously believed--and that he, prior to his
                                                > repose, had agreed with the regime's request to issue a statement
                                                > which contained virtually all of the points found in the
                                                Declaration
                                                > signed by Metropolitan Sergius just two years later.
                                                >
                                                > I also became familiar with a great many documents proving that
                                                > Metropolitan Sergius was using every means at his disposal to try
                                                to
                                                > influence the Soviet regime to lessen the burden on the clergy, to
                                                > release the imprisoned and return the exiled bishops--including
                                                > specifically Metropolitan Peter. There are literally dozens of
                                                > Petitions by Metropolitan Sergius addressed to the Politburo
                                                > requesting this. There is also clear documentary evidence that
                                                > Metropolitan Sergius agreed to lie about the existence of
                                                persecution
                                                > of the Church at the infamous "Interview with foreign journalists"
                                                in
                                                > 1930--in return he was promised the release of 28 imprisoned and
                                                > exiled bishops, including Metr. Peter.
                                                >
                                                > I was not aware of any of this before.
                                                >
                                                > 2) Now, to the second question.
                                                >
                                                > Some have asked why the Church Abroad does not try to establish
                                                > contact with the Catacomb Church in Russia, since, if the Moscow
                                                > Patriarchate is not a Church, it constitutes the only remnant of
                                                the
                                                > legitimate Church of Russia that exists on that territory today.
                                                >
                                                > The answer is simple: there **is** no single entity that can
                                                > legitimately claim to be the Catacomb Church. There are only widely
                                                > dispersed catacomb communities, most of which live in complete
                                                > mistrust of one another.
                                                >
                                                > Virtually none of these catacomb communities can prove that it has
                                                > legitimate apostolic succession--for when consecrations and
                                                > ordinations were performed in the catacombs--typically no
                                                > certificates of ordination were issued.
                                                >
                                                > Many of the catacomb communities, having no theological
                                                institutions
                                                > or visible structure, no ecclesiastical discipline, have
                                                deteriorated
                                                > to the point where superstitions have replaced dogma, and services
                                                > are incorrectly performed.
                                                >
                                                > Others have become so fiercely nationalistic, that they have become
                                                > fascist in their views, with swastikas decorating their sites and
                                                > flags, and tributes to Hitler as the God-sent leader.
                                                >
                                                > The final point is that these communities have lost the reason for
                                                > their catacomb existence--they can only legitimately exist when
                                                there
                                                > is outright persecution. When persecution has ceased, they must
                                                come
                                                > out of the catacombs and rejoin the legitimate Church structure
                                                that
                                                > has been preserved.
                                                >
                                                > I am afraid that some people who call themselves Traditionalist of
                                                > "Genuine" Orthodox have lost some fundamental understanding of what
                                                > the Church is.
                                                >
                                                > It is not simply where a correct teaching is to be found.
                                                >
                                                > It is also where there is a legitimate ecclesiastical authority in
                                                > accordance with the Canons--which give that authority a particular
                                                > territory and administrative structure.
                                                >
                                                > You cannot have more than one legitimate Church of Russia. You
                                                cannot
                                                > have more than one legitimate Church of Greece.
                                                >
                                                > And anyone outside that one legitimate Church is not a member of
                                                the
                                                > Church at all, but a member of a parasynagogue.
                                                >
                                                > That is what all of these Mansonvillians, Varnavites, Lazarites,
                                                > Valentinites, Gregoryites, Panteleimonites, etc. are--outside of
                                                the Church.
                                                >
                                                > The existence of ten or twenty Greek Old Calendarist jurisdictions,
                                                > and as many "independent bishops" is an absolute affront to
                                                Orthodoxy.
                                                >
                                                > And it is completely naive to think that they will ever join
                                                > together. Their reasons for splitting apart are the fact that they
                                                > all have lost touch with the legitimate body of the Church.
                                                >
                                                > Look at a fire.
                                                >
                                                > If an ember splits off from the burning log and rolls away, it
                                                > fragments, and then these fragments quickly die.
                                                >
                                                > The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has a mandate--stated
                                                > in its Constitution (Statutes) -- to administer itself as an
                                                > independent entity, only on the territories outside of Russia, and
                                                > only until the fall of the Soviet regime.
                                                >
                                                > Now that time has come.
                                                >
                                                > Time for the Russian Church to be whole again.
                                                >
                                                > With love in Christ,
                                                >
                                                > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                >
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