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Re: [orthodox-synod] Write anything....[was Re: ROCOR-LIST]

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  • michael nikitin
    This letter to the faithful of ROCOR in 1998 from our then first hierarch, Metr.Vitaly, may explain some misunderstandings one may have. Michael N As Arch
    Message 1 of 149 , Jan 2, 2006
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      This letter to the faithful of ROCOR in 1998 from our then first hierarch, Metr.Vitaly, may explain some misunderstandings one may have.

      Michael N


      As Arch pastor of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, I considerit my sacred duty to address this letter to all the children of our Church.I find myself compelled to do this by a certain spiritual indifference tothe truth which has arisen, and by what has become a profound lack ofunderstanding of the exceptional, unique significance of our Church forthe whole Orthodox world and for the world of heterodox westernChristianity.

      So let it be said that, for however many years the Lord wills it to
      exist outside the borders of Russia, our Church never was, is not, and neverwill be a "jurisdiction," but Christ's true Church of Russia, with all thatthis great name implies. It has its canonical episcopate with the fullness ofApostolic succession. It is now led by its fourth Metropolitan in
      accordance with the blessing and intentional decree of the last lawful Patriarch,Tikhon, who was freely elected by the free episcopate of the whole ofRussia at its last Council in Moscow in 1918.

      Our Church has already been adorned by the holiness of its own saints,
      which it has glorified here, outside Russia, and by the whole choir of
      martyrs, both those known to us and those unknown. Our Church, which is found inall countries of the world, carries out missionary work in each of its parishes bringing people of other nationalities into communion with our Holy Orthodox Faith. It holds regular meetings of its full Council of Bishops, as well as meetings of its Synod of Bishops, which direct the affairs of the Churchin the periods between Councils. It also has its monasteries and convents where monks and nuns lead the monastic life, which is one of the most important facets of the nature of every true Church. Finally we have our own press, regularly printing publications and newsletters containing spiritually edifying material.

      Now let us look at its spiritual essence. Our Church is the Virgin
      fleeing across the wilderness from the red dragon (Rev. 12: 3-6). The desert is the de-Christianized west, in which freedom can still be found -freedom which our Church seeks, because in reality this is all that it needs. Through our Holy Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia sounds the voice of Holy Russia, the very essence and nature of which is the inner, secret, spiritual, ever-insatiable thirst of the Russian soul to live the life of the saints, to live according to the Holy Gospel, as far as strength permits, and always only with the help of God. Her voice has always sounded through all the thousands of years of the historical existence of the Russian Church. It has never been afraid of anybody, and never kept silent. Through the mouth of Basil the Blessed it reproached Ivan the Terrible, and it was not afraid
      of Peter I. If this voice is silenced, there will no longer be a Holy
      Russia, nor any Russia at all. When the Bolsheviks led by Lenin had come to dominate almost all of Russian soil, in the south, in the Crimea, General Wrangel's White Army became the nucleus of armed resistance. From all over Russia all those who wanted to join its ranks made their way to the Crimea, all the faithful sons of Holy Russia. Hundreds of thousands of refugees were leaving their homeland across Russia's immeasurably long frontiers. Those who joined the Crimean exodus were distinguished by their uncompromising stand, their unity and their idealism. Our Odigitria, the Mother of God Herself, in her Icon, the Kursk Root lcon, that most ancient of Russian holy objects, left together with this Crimean exodus, and it was accompanied by a vast
      assembly of hierarchs, led by the most senior of them, Metropolitan Anthony, together with hundreds of priests and clergymen, with the flower of the Russian people, right thinking Russian intellectuals and world-renowned scholars. Together with this great exodus the voice of Holy Russia left the Russian land. This voice was taken up by the Holy Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. And now, when we hear reports on the world wide web of the Internet to the effect that the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate are two parts of one Church, and that it is none other than
      the Moscow Patriarchate that is the "Mother Church" of all Orthodox Russia - I consider it my duty to make a reply to this crude error, bordering on heresy.

      If the Church is Christ Himself, then how is it possible to imagine
      Christ Our Lord with the traitor Metropolitan Sergius next to Him, or Christ next to Drozdov* (Alexis II)? If the Serbian holy man, Justin Popovitch, could say and write that the last two Serbian patriarchs were unlawfully elected to this highest level of the hierarchy by the communist party, then we can have no hesitation in saying that the last four patriarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate have been chosen by the communist state * * , which has suddenly declared itself to be a democracy. This senior administration of the Moscow Patriarchate is simply a government institution, devoid of Divine grace, and those who comprise it are no more than government officials in cassocks. There are "clever" people who will tell you that this entireletter is just the Metropolitan's own personal opinion. But here I will reply that I have been compelled to write this letter by endless protests from throughout our great Russian Diaspora. So this letter of mine is the voice of our Holy Russia outside
      the borders of Russia, and I have simply expressed it for all to hear. God grant that those who do not agree with this letter will not let their differences of opinion become transformed into a more profound disunity of soul; this would be the real tragedy.

      Let us always thank the Lord that we are in the Holy Russian Orthodox
      Church Outside Russia, which throughout the 80 years of its existence has trodden the straight, royal path of God, without ever turning aside and losing its way.

      + Metropolitan Vitaly
      Great Lent 1998

      **Canon 3 of the 7th Ecumenical Council at Nicaea
      Every appointment of a bishop, or of a presbyter, or of a deacon made by civil rulers shall remain void in accordance with the Canon (Apostolic
      Canon 30) which says "If any bishop comes into possession of a church by employing secular rulers, let him be deposed from office, and let him be excommunicated, together with all those who communicate with him."




      Richard <rchrdmason@...> wrote:



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      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Glenn Fleurinck
      Mr. Kozyreff, You are painting a very romanticised but innaccurate and unrealistic picture of both Russian culture and the Russian immigrant community outside
      Message 149 of 149 , Jan 8, 2006
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        Mr. Kozyreff,

        You are painting a very romanticised but innaccurate and unrealistic picture of both Russian culture and the Russian immigrant community outside Russia.

        First, 7 decades of communist oppresion had their impact. And many contemporary russians have to go in search for their roots as they have very little feeling left with their orthodox heritage. Their was also a time mind you when " Christian" and " European" were synonymous.

        And what i know the immigrant community in this country is that they behave like any other immigrant group. A little island withing society closed in themselves. ( But yes i have some wonderfull Russian friends here just the same)
        But i still have to experience this extraordinary open welcoming bunch of people as you describe them. And I don't blame them. They are only humans trying to live the best they can in a foreign country. I have lived outside Belgium for 10 years myself I know what it's like.

        You write: " The fashion in Western "RC" churches for icons is that they look
        picturesque. They do so because they are foreign and look "primitive" or
        naive to the West."

        Allow me to disagree. For many they are part of a spiritual journey and not just some oriental fashion. I was first introduced to icons by Carmelite Friars and they definately were more then " picturesque" to them.
        The strange and delightful attraction of icons is largely responsible for my own journey towards orthodoxy.

        But then again as a westerner according to you will never really " gett it" anyway. No sir no way i would ever be fully orthodox. That is like saying : " we'll tollerate you If you really must "convert"but you'll never fully be one of us. ( and you still dare to describe yourself as open ,hospitable and welcomming?) Well my friend I find that offensive and an affront to those many converts who have experienced their conversion as a true homecomming and a return indeed to the faith of their forefathers.

        Glenn in Begium,
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Vladimir Kozyreff
        To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2006 10:03 AM
        Subject: Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: Anyone can Write anything


        Dear Glenn,

        I am not talking about "ethnic groups", I talk about civilisations. Russia
        is not an "ethinc group". There was a time when "Christian" and "Russian"
        were just synonymous.

        The fashion in Western "RC" churches for icons is that they look
        picturesque. They do so because they are foreign and look "primitive" or
        naive to the West. The West produced Boticelli's Madonas or Rubens's
        descents from the cross, which are familiar to all Western people. These
        pieces of art are just that. They are not ethnically, but culturally and
        spiritually totally unorthodox. Orthodoxy is as new to converting Westerners
        as the Aztec culture is to the present Mexicans who start studying it or as
        the ancient Egyptian culture is to the present Egyptians. Some cataclysms
        in history can cut peoples away from their own roots.

        The French consider that their roots are not St Ireneaus of Lyons or St
        Martin of Tours, but the "assemblée constituante". Even their own "gothic
        cathedrals" dedicated to "our Lady" have become foreign to them. When they
        come to the orthodox culture, they cannot find any remnants of it in their
        own traditions. It is the Russian emigration which introduced them to
        orthodoxy. They have no French icons, or no French spiritual music.

        The cu!lt of beauty in the liturgy combined with the spiritual rigor of
        orthodoxy is not traditional at all in Western "RC". The principle that the
        message of Christ is not to be adapted to the times, etc., etc. makes it a
        difficult cultural effort for a Westerner who converts to orthodoxy.

        The Russians are one of the most hospitable and less chauvinistic nations in
        the world, even in exile. They never caused any xenophobic reaction in the
        countries were they arrived in so large numbers. As soon as they settled in
        their exile, they attracted the locals to them. They have never kept the
        local people from converting, they have just helped them to convert. The
        fact that I was Russian has always helped me in my social contacts with the
        local people. They never felt snobbed by the Russian community, but rather
        interested or attracted by it, because they are always so warmly welcomed..

        In Christ,

        Vladimir Kozyreff


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Glenn Fleurinck" <Glenn.Fleurinck@...>
        To: <orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2006 6:16 PM
        Subject: Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: Anyone can Write anything


        > Vladimir Kozyreff wrote: I think however that orthodoxy is never felt by
        > any Westerner as
        > being his roots. He discovers it by historical considerations, not by
        > any spontaneous reflex of the heart.
        > And being that only God knows the hearts of humankind this is not for you
        > to know. This is tottaly based on preconceived ideas.
        > And it is this attitude that sadly enough keeps many away from orthodoxy.
        > Many parishes are very unwelcoming to those who do not belong to their
        > particular ethnic group.
        >
        > Glenn in Belgium
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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