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Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: Reflections ( a house divided ... )

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  • 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 1 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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    • 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 2 of 22 , Nov 2, 2005
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        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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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