Re: Reflections (Paul Bartlett)
- 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
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
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.
- On Thu, 3 Nov 2005, kato_ny wrote:
> Dear Paul,I never saw it that way. As a non-Russian, all I cared about was
> I guess I should bring an example, the beauty behind our ROCOR church
> was that it was basically always under the guidance of Russians. [...]
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]I see this as essentially irrelevant. Did not Christ in the Gospel
> We are not the Catholic Church, or Protestants, and so forth, who
> have multi nationalities, at the thrown of the church.
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 RussianRightly or wrongly -- apparently wrongly on my part -- that was how
> Orthodox Church,
I interpreted your message. My apology for my error.
> I have taken alot of non orthodox (or non ROCAJust like some "born" "ethnic" Orthodox Christians.
> parisioners) believers to our ROCA church in the past, and consider
> some of them, more Orthodox than I am today, while others just fade
> Unlike Fr Seraphim Rose, who too was a convert, but he didn't takeHaving known Fr. Seraphim personally, I would say that although,
> 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.
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
> Again, I meant no harm to any converts, including the clergy members.Historically it was the Russians who brought Orthodox Christianity
> I'm not a nationalist, but I do believe that our ROCA church has to
> be under the guidance and authority of Russian background. [...]
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.
- Dear Father Alexander, bless.
"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
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.
"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)
--- In email@example.com, "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff"
> Recently, several posts have come up that have touched upon a
> of questions that I would like to respond to.legitimate
> 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
> Deputy (or Vice) Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, accordingRussia
> 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
> absolutely did not think so, since it addressed an Epistle to theof
> 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
> the Church of Russia, and are aware of the heavy burden ofitself
> 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
> off from the authorities."Abroad
> Certainly the Moscow Patriarchate was not considered by the Church
> Abroad to be "not the Church" in 1938, when the Bishops' Sobor
> issued the following resolution:of
> "DISCUSSED: concelebration with the clergymen of the jurisdiction
> Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod.Russia
> METROPOLITAN ANASTASSY points out that clergymen arriving from
> from this jurisdiction are immediately admitted into prayerfulKazan
> communion, and refers to the opinion of Metropolitan Kirill of
> in his epistle, published in Tserkovnaya Zhizn' [Church Life], thathim.
> Metropolitan Sergius' sin does not extend to the clergymen under
> DECREED: To recognize that there are no obstacles to prayerful
> communion and concelebration with clergymen of Metropolitan
> Now, some say that the Moscow Patriarchate became "not a Church"
> 1943, from the time that Stalin permitted the restoration of thePatriarchate.
> 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
> today's Patriarch and his bishops? But can we even question them?we
> Then we would have to declare the entire Church without grace. Do
> have the audacity to declare her entirely without grace? Until nowwe
> have not posed this question so radically. . .case,
> "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
> the people are not responsible for the behavior of the leaders, andwondering why?
> 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
> 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
> Minutes of the 1953 Council of Bishops.a
> Another eye-opener for me was the publication of the Archival
> Materials of the Politburo regarding Church issues, published just
> few years ago in two volumes. These previously top secret materialsDeclaration
> 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
> signed by Metropolitan Sergius just two years later.to
> I also became familiar with a great many documents proving that
> Metropolitan Sergius was using every means at his disposal to try
> influence the Soviet regime to lessen the burden on the clergy, topersecution
> 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
> of the Church at the infamous "Interview with foreign journalists"in
> 1930--in return he was promised the release of 28 imprisoned andthe
> 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
> legitimate Church of Russia that exists on that territory today.institutions
> 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
> or visible structure, no ecclesiastical discipline, havedeteriorated
> to the point where superstitions have replaced dogma, and servicesthere
> 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
> is outright persecution. When persecution has ceased, they mustcome
> out of the catacombs and rejoin the legitimate Church structurethat
> has been preserved.cannot
> 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
> have more than one legitimate Church of Greece.the
> And anyone outside that one legitimate Church is not a member of
> Church at all, but a member of a parasynagogue.the Church.
> That is what all of these Mansonvillians, Varnavites, Lazarites,
> Valentinites, Gregoryites, Panteleimonites, etc. are--outside of
> The existence of ten or twenty Greek Old Calendarist jurisdictions,
> and as many "independent bishops" is an absolute affront to
> 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]