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Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: Reflections

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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