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Re: Reflections

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  • 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 1 of 22 , Oct 8, 2005
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      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 2 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* |
        +-------------------------------------------------------------+




        __________________________________
        Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005
        http://mail.yahoo.com
      • 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 3 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]
          >
        • 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 4 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 5 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 6 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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              • 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 7 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 8 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 9 of 22 , Nov 2, 2005
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                      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
                      > >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >Archives located at
                      ><http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod>http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
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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 10 of 22 , Nov 2, 2005
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                        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 11 of 22 , Nov 3, 2005
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                          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 12 of 22 , Nov 3, 2005
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                            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 13 of 22 , Nov 26, 2005
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                              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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