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Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: The MP, the ROCOR and ecumenism

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  • kseniya k
    what is ecumenism? can someone answer me? Oksana Mike Woodson wrote: Dear Rev. Protopriest Alexander: Surely you believe ecumenism
    Message 1 of 26 , Aug 1, 2006
      what is ecumenism? can someone answer me?
      Oksana

      Mike Woodson <singingmountains@...> wrote:
      Dear Rev. Protopriest Alexander:

      Surely you believe ecumenism is a good thing, since you advocate for
      the Moscow Patriarchate's position on many matters. The MP is a
      member of the WCC.

      --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff"
      <lebedeff@...> wrote:
      >
      > In discussions regarding the MP and Ecumenism, many seem to be under
      > the impression that the MP was **always** involved in ecumenism, and
      > that the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was **always**
      > staunchly against ecumenism and participation in the WCC.

      The assumption that debunking an absolute statement of "always"
      involved or against ecumenism, picks an aspect of the argument that
      isn't central to the argument, that is, its perfect continuity in
      time. And, it doesn't speak to the changes in circumstances in the
      subject, that is how the WCC was then, as opposed to now, the inroads
      into the WCC and its members made by communist sypathetic clergy, and
      other factors, such as the introduction of patently offensive
      doctrines to Christian Orthodoxy by the WCC itself, which would make
      participation noxious.

      > Nothing could be further from the truth.

      Nothing? Nothing at all?

      >
      > In fact, when the World Council of Churches was officially founded
      > in
      > 1948, the Moscow Patriarchate convened a Pan-Orthodox Council that
      > categorically rejected ecumenism and stated that participation in
      >the
      > WCC was incompatible with Orthodox ecclesiology.

      Translation: it was imcompatible with the re-emerging hardline
      communist ideology asserted over Russia and the other enslaved
      republics by the Communist party following the end of WWII.

      I will quote St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco on this point of
      history from The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad: A Short History, p. 33:

      "When it was necessary, the Soviet government took broad advantage of
      the patritotism of the Russian people and put itself forth as an
      authrentically Russian government; but the war had not even been
      finished when the Russian patriotic slogans were thrown out, the
      government put in the first place the international politics and aims
      of Communism, although for the time being it did not completely
      renounce historical Russian aims that were useful for it at that time."

      Indeed, Orthodox ecclesiology was irrelevant to the regime by 1948, as
      evidenced by St. John's following account of the actions, not the
      words, of the ruling party:

      "Again, permitting an increase in the influence of the army and its
      officers during the war, the Soviet government later separated itself
      from the generals who had become popular, and sent into exile many
      outstanding soldiers, declaring that the whole success of the war
      should be ascribed to the Communist Party."

      This means any religious pronouncements of the time were calculated to
      make the Moscow Patriarchate appear religiously correct when in fact
      the Communist Party was paranoid of the MP having contact with outside
      influences, WCC or otherwise.

      In fact, it seems that ROCOR hierarchs were holding out hope that the
      Communists would be overthrown after WWII, and when it did not happen,
      by 1948, Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville was established,
      according to St. John's history, p. 56.

      >
      > At that time, the ROCOR was actively involved with ecumenism, as it
      > had been since the 1920s, and during the entire time of the tenure of
      > Metropolitans Anthony and Anastassy.

      Let's put this in context: the ROCOR's "involvment" was as an "observer."

      >
      > The ROCOR was a Charter Member of the original founding
      > organization--the precursor of the WCC and to this day one of its key
      > elements: The Committee on Faith and Order.
      >
      > The ROCOR Sobors of Bishops blessed participation by bishops and
      > clergy representatives at all of the meetings of the Faith and Order
      Commission.
      >

      A commission is one thing, a council another.

      > Even as late as 1951, the ROCOR sponsored a European sub-Assembly of
      > the WCC, held in Baden-Baden. You can see pictures of this assembly,
      > with ROCOR Archbishop Benedict and Bishop Alexander surrounded by the
      > usual WCC melange of Copts, Armenians, Anglicans, Methodists,
      > Lutherans, etc. in the official history of the ROCOR, published
      > during the time of Metropolitan Philaret in 1968 (the two-volume
      > Sollogub opus).

      And which sub-assembly was it. For what purpose? Were they on
      observer status? Where else would they gather information? Could
      they walk in and ask for access from any Western government? Not hardly.

      By 1951, Metropolitan Anastassy and the Synod of Bishops had moved to
      America, according to St. John's history. This is consistent with the
      racheting up of the Cold War by the Soviets, the drawing down from war
      and the cranking-up of clandestine KGB activity in Europe and through
      international organizations. I suspect that safety for the Synod of
      Bishops could not be guaranteed where they had been, and coming to the
      United States made sense for the long haul, considering the success of
      the Soviet regime in hardening itself once again to the reality that
      the people of faith had just saved its sorry artificial self again.

      >
      > There you can also see pictures of Ecumenical meetings with
      > Metropolitan Anthony participating in Serbia--especially meetings
      > with Anglicans. One can see the bishops of the ROCOR in ecumenical
      > dialogue with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Anglican bishops.

      A very real illustration of how a picture is not worth a thousand words.

      >
      > Recently, someone claimed that there was an Ukaz of the ROCOR in 1953
      > banning all contact with the World Council of Churches.
      >
      > Why then do I have before me the Report to the Council of Bishops by
      > Protopriest George Grabbe, describing in detail his participation in
      > the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches at Evanston in
      > 1954? He was officially an observer, but was certainly officially
      > representing the Church Abroad.

      "Someone claimed," without more, doesn't tell us much. In any case,
      "any contact" could well be interpreted not to ban "observer" status.
      For example, one may observe an enemy force without having contact
      with it. The changing composition of the WCC, and the active efforts
      by the Soviets to infiltrate international organizations could well
      explain the changing nature of the WCC over time. There had been
      socialist ideologies which, even when WCC member churches and their
      missionaries held them in earnest or with good intentions, were
      exploited by the Soviet apparatus.

      >
      > And why is no one talking about the official delegation of the ROCOR
      > to the Second Vatican Council in Rome, at the invitation of Pope
      > John XXIII?

      The ROCOR sending a delegation would be the only way to find out what
      changes in the Roman Church were actually taking place without having
      to rely on the representations of others. I don't think it meant they
      were dancing with wolves with the Vatican in Australia or anything.
      Of that I'm confident.

      Also, let's compare sending a delegation to joining an extra-Church
      COUNCIL WITH the Vatican as the Moscow Patriarchate did. No obsever
      status, no sub-commission attendance, no nothing circumspect --
      wholesale, opportunistic joining of a Council other than that of the
      Orthodox Church. Again, the Orthodox Church is not enough for the
      Moscow Patriarchate -- it must have more -- it must be intimately
      involved with bigger councils outside of the Eastern Orthodox tree.

      You have to wonder if this sort of External Church Relations
      Department interaction could lead to an axe put to that tree by the
      hands of those claiming to lead within the Orthodox Church. One out
      of twelve can go bad from the beginning. Or do we not remember how
      St. Paul said that some were preaching unto his chains? Who else
      except those following the gospel according to Judas? Betrayal and
      denial are engraved on the External Church Relations Department of the
      Sovietized MP.

      >
      > This was an official delegation, headed by Archbishop Anthony of
      > Geneva, Archimandrite Ambrose (Pogodin), Protopriests Igor Troyanoff
      > and Alexander Troubnikoff-- with official Observer status.

      Observer status. Of course, and see above.

      >
      > They participated in all of the major "official" events, such as the
      > opening ceremonies in St. Peter's Cathedral, where they processed as
      > part of the Orthodox church representatives, and the official
      > receptions given to the "Orthodox sister churches" by the Pope.

      The Pope said it, but that didn't make it sisterly in fact.

      >
      > (This was actually quite interesting, because the Moscow Patriarchate
      > had also been invited, and sent a delegation headed by Metropolitan
      > Nikodim (Rotov). This was the first occasion where both a ROCOR and
      > an MP delegation participated side by side, representing the Russian
      > Church--which caused quite some interesting issues of protocol--order
      > in the procession, seating at the sessions, receptions and banquets,
      etc.)
      >
      > And all of this with the full blessing of the Council of Bishops of
      > the Church Abroad under Metropolitans Anastassy and Philaret.

      When you need to know what's going on between the Vatican and the MP,
      and what changes are actually going to happen in Rome, you go
      yourself. When someone else controls the invitation list, you have no
      power over that. The degree of mischaracterization here is high.

      >
      > Another rarely-mentioned fact in the collaboration of the ROCOR with
      > the World Council of Churches and allied ecumenical organizations is
      > that all of the bishops and clergy of the ROCOR in Germany and
      > Austria received their salaries from the local Church World Service
      > of the WCC--throughout all of the time that Metropolitan Philaret was
      > First Hierarch. This continued virtually to the end of the 1990's.
      > Our parishes in Germany and Austria were able to exist only because
      > of the very significant subsidies received from the ecumenists-- for
      decades.
      >

      Virtually? It is especially telling that only the clergy in Germany
      and Austria received their salaries in this fashion since East Germany
      was a Soviet satellite at the time, and the Soviets had successfully
      crashed the WCC after which the socialist ideologies began flowing
      therein more rapidly. It is no coincidence, nor that the East German
      clergy were beholden to the Soviet influence up to the 90s, followed
      by rapid efforts by the MP to distinguish itself from the Soviets
      after that, presenting a harmless face to the WCC, and bearing fruit
      now by winning the status of hosts to the world's interreligious
      conference meeting.

      There is no doubt a larger agenda, the recommunion with the ROCOR of
      which is just a preliminary but necessary part. The more the MP is
      involved in unified international heterodox and non-Christian
      organizations, the more influence can be had through them to bring
      other Orthodox Christians you don't agree with into submission. For
      it is usually someone of your own camp Didn't we see this in a
      microcosm when the MP sicked the PLO security forces on the Hebron
      monastery? Yes.

      > One should also mention that the majority of members of the ROCOR who
      > emigrated to the United States, Canada, Australia, and other
      > countries from "Displaced Persons" camps in Germany and Austria had
      > their travel expenses paid by the ecumenical Church World Service--so
      > most of our older generation of parishioners (and clergy) -- are here
      > only because of ecumenical organizations outreach programs.

      "Only because" is an overstatement, however, it sounds like you are
      calling in a debt now ostensibly owed by the old timers to the
      ecumenical movement because of those days? And / or this is a reason
      to give a pass to the MP and its membership in the WCC now, as if we
      are talking about the same membership between eras? They differ
      significantly -- even starkly. For when they received help from any
      such heterodox organizations in the past, none had officially
      sanctioned homosexual clergy, bishops, or woman priests.

      On one hand the MP has supposed to evangelize the WCC, however now,
      one of its advocates is chastising the ROCOR members opposing
      ecumenism in a way that suggests the ecumenical movement today should
      be evangelizing the ROCOR instead when it is nowhere the same as then.

      Or do we remember the Holy Orthodox Church's stories of Muslim regimes
      throughout history offering hospitality and assistance if only the
      Christian would give up his or her stubborn adherence to the Orthodox
      faith and become a Muslim. But that only happened when Islam was also
      the government. And now, the Moscow Patriarchate, itself a Russian
      Federation entity as well as an ostensible Church organization, is
      coming to power again and asserting leveraging arguments in every area.

      It is especially incongruent to hear this argument about our ROCOR old
      timers from the same entity that presided over their forced relocation
      in life. But for the men currently in power in the MP, and their
      trainers and longtime benefactors, that forced relocation would not
      have been necessary. That is like a protection racket -- the thug who
      kicked you out of your house, when it becomes a powerful member of the
      landlord's ruling house, comes to you and argues that you owe
      gratitude to that house in the thug's name. So much for choices, so
      much for freedom, and so much for spiritual focus by the MP.

      >
      > Cooperation by the ROCOR continues with ecumenical organizations to
      > this day. The Russian Home for the Aged near the Strathfield
      > Cathedral in Sydney, Australia, is operated by the National Council
      > of Churches of Australia in close cooperation with our Diocese of the
      > Church Abroad. If there were no cooperation between the NCCA and the
      > ROCOR, thirty-five elderly ROCOR parishioners would have no home to
      > live in.

      And yet the MP has backed laws which ban activity by member churches
      that are involved in the NCC. And so, why would you argue that the
      ROCOR must express its gratitude for help now? Only because it is
      done in defense of the MP. Otherwise we would have heard such
      arguments earlier on. However, even then, gratitude could be
      expressed in other ways.

      >
      > So, it is completely false to depict the ROCOR as being historically
      > anti-ecumenical, while condemning the Moscow Patriarchate for
      > participating in the WCC.

      Completely -- more extremes. And, the above assertion does not
      properly characterize the ROCOR in its actions in the past.

      >
      > It was the Moscow Patriarchate which first condemned, on strict
      > Orthodox ecclesiological grounds, Orthodox participation in
      > ecumenical organizations and specifically, the WCC.

      "Strict Orthodox ecclesiological grounds" had no meaning in the Soviet
      MP of 1948. It is only smoke.

      > The Moscow Patriarchate joined the WCC only in 1961--when the ROCOR
      > had been involved in it and its precursor throughout all of the
      > previous decades since the 1920's -- and this cooperation continued,
      > especially in the area of having clergy salaries paid in Europe by
      > the WCC until just a few years ago.
      >
      > Condemning an organization while taking money from it would really be
      > the height of hypocrisy, wouldn't it?

      Again "involved" is a serious weasel word in this context as applied
      to the ROCOR, however, you have to say "joined" in reference to the
      MP. And the channeling of clergy salaries in Germany and Austria is a
      pretty narrow "involvement" which other churches also may have used.
      Who knows, the ROCOR may have even paid a fee for the service.

      > With love in Christ,
      >
      > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >

      deferring to the love of Christ,
      Michael Woodson






      ---------------------------------
      Do you Yahoo!?
      Next-gen email? Have it all with the all-new Yahoo! Mail Beta.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Mike Woodson
      Dear Oksana, The meaning of ecumenical is positive, in the sense of the First Ecumenical Council, that is, the universal Orthodox Church of Christ. Here, in
      Message 2 of 26 , Aug 4, 2006
        Dear Oksana,

        The meaning of ecumenical is positive, in the sense of the First
        Ecumenical Council, that is, the universal Orthodox Church of Christ.

        Here, in discussions about involvement between Moscow and the WCC and
        the interreligious body it recently hosted, ecumenism is the movement
        toward unity between non-Orthodox Christian churches (heterodox) or
        non-Christian faiths, and the Orthodox Church of Christ at the cost of
        Orthodoxy in Christ. Some part or more of what makes the Orthodox
        Christian Church Orthodox goes by the wayside to close the deal on
        ecumenical unity. It also has the sense of a marriage of Israel with
        other gods.

        The problem as I understand this is that "a little leaven leaveneth
        the whole lump," when it comes to introducing compromises while
        entrusted with the Way, Truth and Life by the Church militant on
        earth, in her Orthodox tradition, scriptural rendering, and especially
        the precise path of spirituality which has at great cost over the
        thousands of years been expressed through the shedding of tears, sweat
        and blood to resist sin, to repent of it, and to replace it with the
        Orthodox Way of Christ.

        And so, as has been the case with many terms with a standard in them
        implied, "ecumenism" implies a standard of old, however, the
        conditions of the standard, i.e. universal Christ among us, if they
        fail, also cause the standard in the definition to fail. False
        universality of life in Christ is not universality of life in Christ.

        That's my limited understanding of ecumenism and the difference
        between the way it is treated in the ecumenical movement versus the
        Orthodox Church of Christ.

        Why would people be so stubborn about this? Because as we see, the
        world is not any tamer a sea, and the Ark was built to last, not to
        spring leaks and mix the salt water with the drinking water below and
        thereby driving the crew and the passengers mad, or alternatively,
        kill them with spiritual thirst over the long voyage of this life.

        I'd waited to answer your question in hopes a member of the clergy
        might write in first, but my post was quoted and so it appears you
        asked me. Apologies in advance for the long-winded answer.

        Glory to God.

        Michael


        --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, kseniya k
        <city_girl_in_jeans@...> wrote:
        >
        > what is ecumenism? can someone answer me?
        > Oksana
      • kseniya k
        thank you, Michael. Oksana Mike Woodson wrote: Dear Oksana, The meaning of ecumenical is positive, in the sense of the First
        Message 3 of 26 , Aug 4, 2006
          thank you, Michael.
          Oksana

          Mike Woodson <singingmountains@...> wrote:
          Dear Oksana,

          The meaning of ecumenical is positive, in the sense of the First
          Ecumenical Council, that is, the universal Orthodox Church of Christ.

          Here, in discussions about involvement between Moscow and the WCC and
          the interreligious body it recently hosted, ecumenism is the movement
          toward unity between non-Orthodox Christian churches (heterodox) or
          non-Christian faiths, and the Orthodox Church of Christ at the cost of
          Orthodoxy in Christ. Some part or more of what makes the Orthodox
          Christian Church Orthodox goes by the wayside to close the deal on
          ecumenical unity. It also has the sense of a marriage of Israel with
          other gods.

          The problem as I understand this is that "a little leaven leaveneth
          the whole lump," when it comes to introducing compromises while
          entrusted with the Way, Truth and Life by the Church militant on
          earth, in her Orthodox tradition, scriptural rendering, and especially
          the precise path of spirituality which has at great cost over the
          thousands of years been expressed through the shedding of tears, sweat
          and blood to resist sin, to repent of it, and to replace it with the
          Orthodox Way of Christ.

          And so, as has been the case with many terms with a standard in them
          implied, "ecumenism" implies a standard of old, however, the
          conditions of the standard, i.e. universal Christ among us, if they
          fail, also cause the standard in the definition to fail. False
          universality of life in Christ is not universality of life in Christ.

          That's my limited understanding of ecumenism and the difference
          between the way it is treated in the ecumenical movement versus the
          Orthodox Church of Christ.

          Why would people be so stubborn about this? Because as we see, the
          world is not any tamer a sea, and the Ark was built to last, not to
          spring leaks and mix the salt water with the drinking water below and
          thereby driving the crew and the passengers mad, or alternatively,
          kill them with spiritual thirst over the long voyage of this life.

          I'd waited to answer your question in hopes a member of the clergy
          might write in first, but my post was quoted and so it appears you
          asked me. Apologies in advance for the long-winded answer.

          Glory to God.

          Michael

          --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, kseniya k
          <city_girl_in_jeans@...> wrote:
          >
          > what is ecumenism? can someone answer me?
          > Oksana






          ---------------------------------
          Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. Make PC-to-Phone Calls to the US (and 30+ countries) for 2¢/min or less.

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Aleksandr Andreev
          Mike Woodson writes: Here, in discussions about involvement between Moscow and the WCC and the interreligious body it recently hosted, ecumenism is the
          Message 4 of 26 , Aug 4, 2006
            Mike Woodson writes:
            "Here, in discussions about involvement between Moscow and the WCC and
            the interreligious body it recently hosted, ecumenism is the movement
            toward unity between non-Orthodox Christian churches (heterodox) or
            non-Christian faiths, and the Orthodox Church of Christ at the cost of
            Orthodoxy in Christ."

            "Ecumenism" is one of the most frequently used, and misused, terms in
            the Orthodox world. I think that it's important to distinguish between:

            a. "Ecumenism" per se, that is, a belief that either the whole truth
            does not exist in one "confession" or "denomination", and that the whole
            truth can be re-established by bringing together different "confessions"
            or "denominations"; or, a belief that dogmatic differences are
            unimportant and should be ignored. I once met a guy on campus who told
            me he didn't believe in creeds because creeds divide people.

            b. "Pluralism", that is, an understanding that multiple religions exist,
            and casting aside debate over truth and falsity, learning to cooperate
            between religions. (because, quite frankly, any unbiased observer can
            conclude which religion is true. The problem is, there are few unbiased
            observers.)

            The point of the latest inter-religious assembly, which gathered in
            Moscow before the G8 summit was clearly not "ecumenical" but
            "pluralistic". The point was to let G8 leaders know that religious
            people are in the world, that they're active, and that political leaders
            should consider their views. The point was also to discuss common
            problems, like terrorism and inter-religious violence. All of these are
            noble reasons, and should be praised: in our increasingly secular world,
            religious people do need to have their voice heard, so that next time
            politicians are about to do something stupid, they consider what we have
            to say about it.

            But then, perhaps some were disappointed that the G8 summit was held in
            the dark, dismal, atheist, autocratic Russia and that Russian Church
            hierarchs and leading Russian historians and sociologists were telling
            delegates about how to deal with inter-religious violence. But then,
            what's wrong with that? After all, Russia didn't know religious violence
            until 1917. Russia didn't exterminate its native populations. Russia
            didn't forcibly convert anyone to (or from) anything.

            +Aleks

            ---------------
            Aleksandr Andreev
            Duke University
            aleksandr.andreev@...
            http://www.duke.edu/~aa63/
          • Mike Woodson
            Dear Aleks, ... whole ... confessions ... The above definition is ecumenism from the heterodox perspective. Heterodoxy is its premise, or and ecumenism is
            Message 5 of 26 , Aug 6, 2006
              Dear Aleks,



              --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, Aleksandr Andreev
              <aleksandr.andreev@...> wrote:
              >
              > "Ecumenism" is one of the most frequently used, and misused, terms in
              > the Orthodox world. I think that it's important to distinguish
              between:
              >
              > a. "Ecumenism" per se, that is, a belief that either the whole truth
              > does not exist in one "confession" or "denomination", and that the
              whole
              > truth can be re-established by bringing together different
              "confessions"
              > or "denominations"; or, a belief that dogmatic differences are
              > unimportant and should be ignored. I once met a guy on campus who told
              > me he didn't believe in creeds because creeds divide people.

              The above definition is ecumenism from the heterodox perspective.
              Heterodoxy is its premise, or and ecumenism is heterodoxy's
              self-fulfilling prophecy which it would like the Orthodox Christian
              Churches to adopt. They would call this "reconciliation" with the
              Orthodox Church.

              > b. "Pluralism", that is, an understanding that multiple religions
              exist,
              > and casting aside debate over truth and falsity, learning to cooperate
              > between religions. (because, quite frankly, any unbiased observer can
              > conclude which religion is true. The problem is, there are few
              unbiased
              > observers.)

              According to one definition of pluralism
              <http://www.bartelby.com/61/45/P0384500.html> , cooperation is not the
              standard of pluralism, but tolerance. Tolerance does not necessarily
              equal cooperation. And another definition holds that there can be no
              monolithic (singular) explanation of all that is, that is, no universal
              theory, which parallels ecumenism as you've defined it above.

              > The point of the latest inter-religious assembly, which gathered in
              > Moscow before the G8 summit was clearly not "ecumenical" but
              > "pluralistic". The point was to let G8 leaders know that religious
              > people are in the world, that they're active, and that political
              leaders
              > should consider their views. The point was also to discuss common
              > problems, like terrorism and inter-religious violence. All of these
              are
              > noble reasons, and should be praised: in our increasingly secular
              world,
              > religious people do need to have their voice heard, so that next time
              > politicians are about to do something stupid, they consider what we
              have
              > to say about it.

              from the Moscow Summit Religious Statement
              <http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=45156> (my emphases
              with underlines):

              "Our communities are also ready to develop dialogue with the adherents
              of non-religious views, with politicians, with all civil society
              structures, with international organizations. It is our hope that such a
              dialogue continues, permitting religions to contribute to concord and
              understanding among nations, a common home founded on the truth, built
              according to justice, vivified by love and liberty. This dialogue should
              be conducted on an equal footing, in a responsible way and on a regular
              basis, with openness to any themes, without ideological prejudice. We
              believe that the time has come for a more systemic partnership of
              religious leaders with the United Nations."

              And:

              "We need to build a world order which combines democracy - as the way of
              harmonizing different interests and as people's participation in
              national and global decision-making - and respect to the moral feeling,
              way of life, various legal and political systems, and national and
              religious traditions of people."

              > But then, perhaps some were disappointed that the G8 summit was held
              in
              > the dark, dismal, atheist, autocratic Russia and that Russian Church
              > hierarchs and leading Russian historians and sociologists were telling
              > delegates about how to deal with inter-religious violence. But then,
              > what's wrong with that? After all, Russia didn't know religious
              violence
              > until 1917. Russia didn't exterminate its native populations. Russia
              > didn't forcibly convert anyone to (or from) anything.

              We could revisit this last paragraph later.

              >
              > +Aleks
              >
              Thanks, Aleks.

              Mike W.



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Mike Woodson
              Hello again Aleks, Pluralism is also a governing theory. It suggests that groups govern, not the people in their diversity as individuals. The implication:
              Message 6 of 26 , Aug 7, 2006
                Hello again Aleks,

                Pluralism is also a governing theory. It suggests that groups govern,
                not the people in their diversity as individuals. The implication:
                those who organize into blocs will win over individuals in the battle to
                be arbiters of resources. The blocs that plague individual freedom,
                both from sin and from government, are called parties, or, worse, The
                Party. For it is in these organized blocs that the most venal,
                ambitious and power seeking passions may be found, which move to
                isolate, discredit or defeat all dissenters from the Party in power.
                The best sort of government for people subject to the temptations of
                power is one with lots of checks and balances.

                --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, Aleksandr Andreev
                <aleksandr.andreev@...> wrote:
                > The point of the latest inter-religious assembly, which gathered in
                > Moscow before the G8 summit was clearly not "ecumenical" but
                > "pluralistic". The point was to let G8 leaders know that religious
                > people are in the world, that they're active, and that political
                leaders
                > should consider their views.

                Or else, what? They will strike out as power brokers over billions of
                religious persons all over the globe and instruct the faithful to
                overthrow or vote-out the governments that disagree with them? If once
                such an interreligious body of leaders exercises the shared political
                power of a new entity, do you think it will disband when it achieves a
                few objectives? Or will it find the power more and more alluring,
                seeking entrenchment and expansion?

                Should any Church that names the name of Christ seek out such worldly
                power? Is that what the Lord Jesus Christ sought? Did he accept it
                even when it was set before him as a temptation by the devil in the
                wilderness? And so what should Orthodox Christian clergy, even the holy
                hierarchs, do? Organize and join a world interreligious organization to
                keep from being "left out"? Or commune in their hearts with the Church
                triumphant and wait on the Lord Jesus Christ to come establish the
                government to end all governments, that is, the self-government of the
                Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, or God Is Love?

                > The point was also to discuss common
                > problems, like terrorism and inter-religious violence. All of these
                are
                > noble reasons, and should be praised: in our increasingly secular
                world,
                > religious people do need to have their voice heard, so that next time
                > politicians are about to do something stupid, they consider what we
                have
                > to say about it.

                As a political bloc? When Pilate was about to order the scourging and
                crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ and he asked the Lord if he knew
                that he (Pilate) had the power to release him or send him to his death,
                the Lord answered Pilate in a way that ministered to Pilate's need to be
                healed of pride -- He said, " you would not have the power unless it
                had been given to you from on high." And the Lord did not even say,
                "unless I had given it to you," even though He could have said so. How
                great He Is in His Lordly humility.

                > But then, perhaps some were disappointed that the G8 summit was held
                in
                > the dark, dismal, atheist, autocratic Russia and that Russian Church
                > hierarchs and leading Russian historians and sociologists were telling
                > delegates about how to deal with inter-religious violence. But then,
                > what's wrong with that? After all, Russia didn't know religious
                violence
                > until 1917. Russia didn't exterminate its native populations. Russia
                > didn't forcibly convert anyone to (or from) anything.

                Not at all. Russia is a fine place to hold a G8 Summit in and of
                itself. What is disappointing is that those whose careers enforced the
                dark, dismal, atheist, autocratic Russia remain in positions of power
                that they have never even tried to relinquish as a repentance. Worse,
                they now reach out to expand their influence to international political
                affairs, using the Church as a vehicle and leveraging tool. And yet the
                Lord said that His Kingdom was not of this world.

                As for Russia not exterminating, not doing religious violence to, and
                not forcibly converting anyone before the revolution in 1917 I will
                defer to your expertise in making that statement, however, I would ask
                you: what is a Pogrom other than a clap of thunder?

                Remember what St. John Maximovitch envisioned as the repentance of those
                in the Moscow Patriarchate who collaborated with pain and reservations
                with the Soviet monstrosity. He wrote:

                "The Lord God, Who preserved seven thousand men who did not bend the
                knee
                to Baal in the days of Elias, today also has a multitude of His servants
                who secretly serve and pray to Him throughout the whole expanse of the
                Russian Land. Even among the hieararchs outwardly subject to the Soviet
                Regime, many are inwardly tormented by this; when the opportunity comes,
                they will act according to the example of those at the Council of
                Chalcedon who declared with tears that they had given their signatures
                at the Robber Council under coercion, following the example of the Most
                Holy Patriarch Paul, who was tortured by his conscience and took the
                Schema in recognition of his weakness under the Iconoclasts."
                --from The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad: A Short History, p. 37.

                And when the wondrous St. John said St. Paul took on the Schema, what is
                the story behind that? Read here:

                "For, when the most holy Patriarch Paul, by the divine will, was about
                to be liberated from the bands of mortality and to exchange his earthly
                pilgrimage for a heavenly home with his Master Christ, he abdicated the
                Patriarchate and took upon him the monastic life, and when we asked
                him, Why hast thou done this? he answered, Because I fear that, if
                death should surprise me still in the episcopate of this royal and
                heaven-defended city, I should have to carry with me the anathema of
                the whole Catholic Church, which consigns me to that outer darkness
                which is prepared for the devil and his angels; for they say that a
                certain synod hath been held here in order to the subversion of
                pictures and images which the Catholic Church holds, embraces, and
                receives, in memory of the persons whom they represent. This is that
                which distracts my soul -- this is that which makes me anxiously to
                enquire how I may escape the judgment of God -- since among such men I
                have been brought up and with such am I numbered. No sooner had he thus
                spoken in the presence of some of our most illustrious nobles than he
                expired." --from The Imperial Sacra. Read at the First Session. (Found
                in Labbe
                and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. VII., col. 49.) page 531, with permission
                from Medieval Sourcebook: The Second Council of Nicea, 787 AD
                <http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/nicea2.html
                <http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/nicea2.html> > .


                This post is too long, and that, by an unworthy sinner.

                Glory to God in the highest.

                Michael



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • antiquariu@aol.com
                In a message dated 8/7/2006 8:49:53 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, singingmountains@yahoo.com writes: But then, perhaps some were disappointed that the G8 summit
                Message 7 of 26 , Aug 7, 2006
                  In a message dated 8/7/2006 8:49:53 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
                  singingmountains@... writes:

                  But then, perhaps some were disappointed that the G8 summit was held
                  in
                  > the dark, dismal, atheist, autocratic Russia and that Russian Church
                  > hierarchs and leading Russian historians and sociologists were telling
                  > delegates about how to deal with inter-religious violence. But then,
                  > what's wrong with that? After all, Russia didn't know religious
                  violence
                  > until 1917. Russia didn't exterminate its native populations. Russia
                  > didn't forcibly convert anyone to (or from) anything.






                  Aleks, making statements like the above seriously compromises your
                  credibility. The one thing you can say about the Romanovs, since the accession of
                  Mikhail Feodorovich, is that they have gone out of their way to ruthlessly
                  suppress and exterminate Russia's native populations, they just haven't been
                  terribly successful at it. It has nothing to do with some type of religious point
                  of view. It's sort of a Russian tradition: Bulgars -- hey, we even have a
                  saint called "The Bulgar Slayer", Koryaks, Chukchi, Itelmen, most of the
                  Central Asian states (remember the sieges of the Khanate of Bukhara? And the
                  reason that the Russians have such major problems in Chechnya today is because
                  they have been ruthlessly hunting Chechens for more than 300 years. Stalin,
                  like Hitler, just perfected technique.


                  Vova H.


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                  Virginia's beautiful Hunt Country.

                  Sincerely,

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                  Director of Operations
                  ALS, Inc!

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                  Salem House
                  Marshall, VA 20115
                  1-540-364-9041
                  1-703-832-0692 24 hour fax


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • goossir
                  For your information: 03 August 2006, 17:32 Alexy II highly appreciates Cardinal Willebrands work for Orthodox- Catholic relations Moscow, August 3, Interfax
                  Message 8 of 26 , Aug 7, 2006
                    For your information:

                    03 August 2006, 17:32
                    Alexy II highly appreciates Cardinal Willebrands' work for Orthodox-
                    Catholic relations

                    Moscow, August 3, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All
                    Russia extended condolences to Pope Benedict XVI over the death of
                    Cardinal Johannes Willebrands.

                    'I was grieved to learn about the death of Cardinal Johannes
                    Willebrands, one of the oldest prelates of the Roman Catholic Church,
                    with whom I was thoroughly acquainted. I would like to express my
                    sincere condolences to you and all those who knew this outstanding
                    church leader', the patriarch says in his message to the head of the
                    Vatican.

                    The primate of the Russian Church noted that Cardinal Willebrands was
                    well known and respected in the Orthodox world.

                    'A participant in Vatican II, gifted theologian and diplomat, he made
                    an invaluable contribution to the development of Orthodox-Catholic
                    dialogue', the patriarch stressed.

                    Throughout his long life, Cardinal Willebrands 'selflessly served his
                    flock and the cause of Christian unity, the establishment of good
                    relations among believers in Christ in the spirit of brotherly love',
                    reads the message whose text has been communicated by the Orthodox
                    Encyclopedia research center on Thursday.

                    Dutch by origin, Johannes Willebrands was born in September 1909,
                    ordained in 1934 and consecrated to bishop in 1960. That same year,
                    he was appointed secretary of the Council for Promoting Christian
                    Unity, a new body established by Pope John XXIII. In 1969, he was
                    made its president and remained in this office till December 1989.
                  • Fr. John R. Shaw
                    ... JRS: I see no harm in saying kind words about the dead. Dancing on somebody s grave, because they weren t Orthodox, is not going to win us any converts. In
                    Message 9 of 26 , Aug 7, 2006
                      --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "goossir" <irene.goossens@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > For your information:
                      >
                      > 03 August 2006, 17:32
                      > Alexy II highly appreciates Cardinal Willebrands' work for Orthodox-
                      > Catholic relations

                      JRS: I see no harm in saying kind words about the dead. Dancing on somebody's grave,
                      because they weren't Orthodox, is not going to win us any converts.

                      In Christ
                      Fr. John R. Shaw
                    • Aleksandr Andreev
                      Vova H writes: The one thing you can say about the Romanovs, since the accession of Mikhail Feodorovich, is that they have gone out of their way to
                      Message 10 of 26 , Aug 7, 2006
                        "Vova H" writes:
                        "The one thing you can say about the Romanovs, since the accession of
                        Mikhail Feodorovich, is that they have gone out of their way to ruthlessly
                        suppress and exterminate Russia's native populations, they just haven't been
                        terribly successful at it."

                        Please present evidence to back up this statement.

                        The only group that has been "suppressed" as government policy were the
                        Old-Believers, primarily for political reasons, because the Russian government
                        perceived them as a security threat. At one point, that perception was
                        probably
                        justified, given that many Old-Believer groups were opposed to the government.
                        However, under Nicholas II, that policy was reversed.

                        No "native populations" in Imperial Russia were ever "suppressed", much less
                        "exterminated", as our interlocutor claims. There were no reservations, there
                        was no analogue to "Indian wars", there were no exterminations, and there were
                        no forced conversions to or from a religion. Those ethnic groups which
                        converted to Orthodoxy, like the Mordva, Ossetiny, &c, did so of free will.
                        Those who remained Muslim, Buddhist, or pagan, did so freely. Hence, Russia
                        still has substantial Muslim, Buddhist, and pagan populations.

                        The seiges of Khiva and Boukhara under Aleksandr II were political
                        moves, aimed
                        at counterbalancing growing British influence in Central Asia. Note that the
                        Khans of Khiva and Boukhara remained in power, simply reckognizing the
                        authority of St Petersburg, and that the populations remained Muslim.

                        As for the war in the Caucasus, ask any Ossetin or Ingush about the Chechens.
                        There was no Russian policy to exterminate Chechens, only a policy to defend
                        innocent people (many of them non-ethnic Russian) from ruthless bums.

                        Most (if not all) of the ethnic problems in modern Russia are the creation of
                        Lenin, Stalin, and communist ethnic ideology.

                        On Russian relations with ethnic minorities, I recommend reading N. Ya.
                        Danilevskiy, Rossiya i Evropa.

                        +Aleks

                        ---------
                        Aleksandr A Andreev
                        Duke University
                        aleksandr.andreev@...
                        http://www.duke.edu/~aa63/
                      • antiquariu@aol.com
                        In a message dated 8/7/2006 11:29:27 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, aleksandr.andreev@duke.edu writes: Vova H writes: The one thing you can say about the
                        Message 11 of 26 , Aug 7, 2006
                          In a message dated 8/7/2006 11:29:27 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
                          aleksandr.andreev@... writes:

                          Vova H" writes:
                          "The one thing you can say about the Romanovs, since the accession of
                          Mikhail Feodorovich, is that they have gone out of their way to ruthlessly
                          suppress and exterminate Russia's native populations, they just haven't been
                          terribly successful at it."

                          Please present evidence to back up this statement.



                          The only group that has been "suppressed" as government policy were the
                          Old-Believers, primarily for political reasons, because the Russian
                          government
                          perceived them as a security threat. At one point, that perception was
                          probably justified, given that many Old-Believer groups were opposed to the
                          government.
                          However, under Nicholas II, that policy was reversed.

                          No "native populations" in Imperial Russia were ever "suppressed"No "native
                          "exterminated""exterminated"<WBR>, as our interlocutor claims. There were no
                          was no analogue to "Indian wars",
                          No, they were just Uncle-Tommed out. It was specific Imperial policy to
                          categorize the native population as "inorodtsy" (different from us. . . ).
                          There's your analogue.


                          According to Akademiya Nauk anthropologist B. Dolgikh, Russians started the
                          elimination of the Yukaghir and the Koryak in 1635. Study of the Yukaghir is
                          indicative. The initial aim was to collect tribute in the form of sable furs
                          from the native people and to build fortified towns along the banks of the
                          River Yana. From there, they proceeded to the Indigirka, and then on to other
                          areas. The Kolyma Valley was settled around 1643. The new settlers built
                          towns to facilitate the collecting of tributes from the local inhabitants. The
                          towns also served as places to keep hostages. Special detention houses were
                          filled with hostages, held in order to force their relatives to bring in more
                          pelts. Approximately 6 % of the adult males were permanently kept hostage.
                          However, the Russians realized that this reduced the number of able-bodied
                          hunters, so toward the end of the 17th century the system was changed and, instead
                          of prime males, youngsters were detained. The mortality rate was high. The
                          anthropologist B. Dolgikh considers hostage-taking to be one reason for drastic
                          decrease in the Yukaghir population following the Russian invasion. The
                          Russians managed to put a strain on relations between the Chukchi, the Koryak and
                          the Yukaghir people. Among Russian officials there was competition for the
                          right to collect tribute from the local people. The result was that some of
                          the tribes had to pay tribute and supply hostages twice or more. Resistance
                          was punished by wives and children being taken captive. Thus in the 17th
                          century a lot of Yukaghir women were in the hands of Russian officials and
                          traders. Dolgikh claims that between 1770 and 1780, for example, approximately 10 %
                          of Yukaghir women of marrying age lived with officials and traders. The
                          imbalance between the number of men and women, warfare, intermingling with
                          neighboring peoples and the smallpox epidemics which ravaged Yakutia in 1657,
                          1659--1660 and 1691--1692, all contributed to a marked decline in the Yukaghir
                          population. While in the mid-17th century the Yukaghir numbered approximately
                          4,700, by the 1680s the population had fallen to 3,700 and by the end of the
                          century the number was 2,600 (B. Dolgikh). Thousands of people continued to fall
                          victim to venereal diseases and frequent famines and in 1861 there were only
                          1,000 Yukaghir in the province of Yakutia. In the 17th century the invaders
                          did not have time to put ideological pressure on the Yukaghir or any other
                          native people of Siberia. Conversions to the Russian Orthodox religion were
                          random (The Yukaghir were given a drink and, when drunk, were made to cross
                          themselves). Systematic conversions began in the early 18th century after a
                          church had been built in the fort of Zashiver, on the Indigirka.So, holding
                          hostages and forcing high mortality sounds pretty bad to me. The Yukaghir, who
                          once blanketed eastern SIberia, are now down to less than 500 people. I give
                          you your Indians.

                          there were no exterminations, and there were no forced conversions to or
                          from a religion. Those ethnic groups which converted to Orthodoxy, like the
                          Mordva, Ossetiny, &c, did so of free will. Those who remained Muslim, Buddhist,
                          or pagan, did so freely. Hence, Russia still has substantial Muslim,
                          Buddhist, and pagan populations.

                          Free will? You're serious? That's why Kaufmann and Bogolyubov had large
                          cadre of priests with them when the invading armies pulled out of Orenburg?
                          According to Bororas (Ak. Nauk), the eastern Siberian tribes were so upset at
                          Russian efforts that they banded together for the purpose of squashing
                          whatever Russian military influence could be brought to bear on them. That is why
                          the Koryak are one of the few nationalities who retained their ethnic identity
                          even beyond Stalin.

                          And although this remark will get me in trouble, let's talk about Orthodoxy
                          in Alaska. It's significant that Orthodoxy never spread among the Indians in
                          Alaska and California, despite a major Russian presence. Why: the Aleut
                          cosmology at time of contact had plenty of creation myth and death rite
                          symbology which had orthodox parallels. So, Aleut conversions, no problem. The
                          Tlingit continued attacking until 1867. The California Indians essentially
                          ignored the Russians, as did the Haida and the Tsimshian. For what its worth,
                          the latter two had no problem with Sheldon Jackson.





                          The seiges of Khiva and Boukhara under Aleksandr II were political
                          moves, aimed at counterbalancing growing British influence in Central Asia.
                          Let's see if I understand this -- where were the thousands of British troops
                          in Central Asia? There were none.



                          Note that the Khans of Khiva and Boukhara remained in power, simply
                          reckognizing the authority of St Petersburg, and that the populations remained
                          Muslim.
                          Really? Is this why Khokand disappeared? And why the entire Shakhriyabz
                          valley was suppressed, vacated, and opened for Russian settlement - even with a
                          new name - Ferghana. And seeing how Russian adventurism in Central Asia
                          started in the 17th century, why blame the Brits? Yes, two of the three
                          Khanates survived as vassal states, but the die were cast: the locals could not
                          stand Russians, and revolted every time they got the chance, all the way to the
                          1905 revolution and then the October revolution. Don't forget the Sufi
                          revolt of 1898 (that would be Mohammad Ali Khalfa) who called for jihad against
                          the Russians, not suppressed until practically the entire party was put to
                          death. Then the draft board riots and stripping of autonomy in 1898, 1905, and
                          1916. 1905 also saw the rise of the Jadid, who were also suppressed by
                          shipping out to the Dal'nyj Vostok by the Gossudar, but that bit him later, when
                          they returned in 1917 only too happy to serve the Commies.



                          As for the war in the Caucasus, ask any Ossetin or Ingush about the
                          Chechens.
                          There was no Russian policy to exterminate Chechens, only a policy to defend
                          innocent people (many of them non-ethnic Russian) from ruthless bums.



                          Not so simple. A lot of these innocent people don't want to be defended by
                          Russians. The Caucasus Wars went from 1817 to 1864, and the one thing we can
                          say about all of them is that the Russians got their clocks cleaned. Those
                          innocent people hated their defenders so much that widespread guerilla
                          warfare (not just from Chechens) continued for almost a half century, and at least
                          from the viewpoint of Western historians, is the single cause of the problems
                          in the Caucasus today. Read your own national poets (Pushkin, and
                          Shevchenko, although he's a Ukie). Fact is, Russians were in the Caucasus for the
                          same reason Americans were on the 48th parallel - Manifest Destiny. It's just
                          that the local populations were defeated. Could that be why Shamil is still
                          considered a hero in the area today?


                          Most (if not all) of the ethnic problems in modern Russia are the creation
                          of
                          Lenin, Stalin, and communist ethnic ideology.
                          And they go back to the Messianic attitude (similar to the Brits' "White
                          Man's Burden") of the Russians, in assuming that the entire Asian landmass was
                          waiting for that infusion of Russian kulchur...



                          On Russian relations with ethnic minorities, I recommend reading N. Ya.
                          Danilevskiy, Rossiya i Evropa.





                          Yessir, I'll get right on it. Sorry Professor, there are more sides to
                          Russian history than one.

                          Vova H.


                          Thankyou for your translation workorder! ALS appreciates the opportunity to
                          serve. Please come visit us at our corporate headquarters in the heart of
                          Virginia's beautiful Hunt Country.

                          Sincerely,

                          Werner Saemmler-Hindrichs
                          Director of Operations
                          ALS, Inc!

                          "Your global language solution!"

                          Salem House
                          Marshall, VA 20115
                          1-540-364-9041
                          1-703-832-0692 24 hour fax


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Basil Yakimov
                          Dear ALL, See below the attachment in Russian - Father Alexander wrote before he bacame an advocate for the post soviet MP... Indeed it is very interesting
                          Message 12 of 26 , Aug 9, 2006
                            Dear ALL,

                            See below the attachment in Russian - Father Alexander wrote before he
                            bacame an advocate for the post soviet MP... Indeed it is very interesting
                            reading , to say the least... it has now been translated...

                            S Bogom!

                            protodeacon Basil from Canberra


                            "The Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Movement Today

                            Protopriest Alexander Lebedev

                            Ecumenism is a terrible spiritual illness which has currently infected
                            almost all Local Orthodox Churches. If we recall, that it was namely
                            ecumenism which was the main reason for introducing the pernicious new
                            calendar which destroyed not only the liturgical unity of the Orthodox
                            Church but caused an entire series of woeful schisms and even the
                            persecution of some Orthodox Christians by others, then one can justly
                            assess ecumenism as truly the greatest evil of our times.

                            The purpose of this article is not a reiteration of the well known history
                            of the emergence of ecumenism among Orthodox Churches, in connection with
                            which an anathema was proclaimed against ecumenism by the Russian Orthodox
                            Church Abroad in 1983 and confirmed by it in 1998, but a brief overview of
                            some of the latest events and documents which relate to the sphere of the
                            ecumenical movement and the participation in it of Orthodox Churches.

                            It would seem that there is no need to dwell on the precise definition of
                            ecumenism, about which so much has been and is being written.

                            However, currently the Russian Church Abroad is being attacked from two
                            sides. From one side, the representatives of so-called "world Orthodoxy",
                            particularly its liberal circles, consider us to be "schismatics", who are
                            using the fight against ecumenism as a justification for our schism and to
                            condemn Universal Orthodoxy. From the other side, the ultra-Orthodox
                            fanatics are labeling our Church Abroad as "ecumenical" because of Her
                            refusal to sever ties with the Jerusalem and Serbian Patriarchates which
                            had been established throughout the entire history of the Russian Orthodox
                            Church Abroad.

                            The accusation that the Russian Orthodox Church is ecumenical is completely
                            preposterous, since it was precisely the Russian Orthodox Church which
                            first released the warning (in the epistles of the ever-memorable
                            Metropolitan Philaret, who on five occasions appealed to the Heads of the
                            Local Churches, attempting to explain how ruinous their involvement in
                            ecumenism was). It was namely the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad which
                            anathematized ecumenism. It was namely the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
                            which published and continues to publish articles and books against
                            ecumenism.

                            Unfortunately, certain members of our flock are falling under the influence
                            of such "zealots not according to reason", and we, the pastors are then
                            forced to deflect these unjust accusations.

                            The thinking of certain "ultra-Orthodox" zealots is so narrow, that for
                            them even any personal meeting of an Orthodox clergyman with
                            representatives of other faiths is already deemed to be "ecumenism".

                            Because of this one must again give a precise definition of what exactly
                            ecumenism is, and what is not ecumenism.

                            In the simplest definition, ecumenism is the refutal of the basic teaching
                            on the Unity of the Church. Ecumenism refutes the fact that the Church is
                            One, and asserts that truth also exists within other religions, or that
                            the fullness of truth exists only in a synthesis of them all.

                            For an Orthodox person such a concept is unthinkable. As the Holy
                            Scriptures state: "one Lord, one faith" (Eph.4:5). From this completely
                            simple assertion proceeds the correct Orthodox attitude toward ecumenism as
                            negative.

                            Let us proceed to the main topic of this lecture: what new phenomena
                            within ecumenism and participation therein of Orthodox Churches can be
                            observed over the last few years?

                            First of all we see in all the Orthodox Churches which participate in the
                            ecumenical movement and who are members of the World Council of Churches,
                            an increasingly growing resistance to ecumenism on the part of the clergy
                            and laity, which is expressed in increasingly louder appeals for these
                            Churches to withdraw from the WCC, and from the ecumenical movement in
                            general.

                            Under pressure from their flock, the Georgian and Bulgarian Churches have
                            completely withdrawn from the WCC.

                            In May of 1997, the Serbian Orthodox Church at its regular Hierarchical
                            Council heard the report of a specially appointed hierarchical commission
                            chaired by the Metropolitan of Montenegro, Amphilochius on the question of
                            ecumenism, and officially endorsed that report together with the resolution
                            it contained on the withdrawal of the Serbian Church from the ecumenical
                            movement and WCC. Back in 1994, Bishop Artemii of Prizrensk had read his
                            extensive epistle at a regular Hierarchical Council meeting which condemned
                            ecumenism and the participation of the Serbian Church in the WCC.

                            Under obvious pressure from its clergy and judicious flock, almost all the
                            Orthodox Churches which had previously actively participated in the WCC,
                            began to express, initially with caution, but later more openly,
                            condemnation of this organization and began to raise the issue of continued
                            participation in it of Orthodox Churches.

                            The result of this was the Inter-Orthodox Meeting in Thessaloniki on April
                            29-May 2, 1998, in which representatives of all Churches in communion with
                            the Patriarch of Constantinople participated, and was chaired by its
                            representative, Metropolitan Chrysostom of Ephesus.

                            This meeting was held on the initiative of the Russian and Orthodox
                            Churches in connection with the withdrawal of the Georgian Church from the
                            WCC, and particularly to define the level of participation of Orthodox
                            delegations at the forthcoming 8th General Assembly of the WCC in Harare,
                            Zimbabwe.

                            I will cite some quotes from the Concluding Document of this Inter-Orthodox
                            Meeting:

                            "9. However there are also certain tendencies among some of the Protestant
                            members of the Council, which are reflected in WCC debates, but are
                            unacceptable for the Orthodox. At many WCC meetings the Orthodox are
                            forced to participate in discussions on matters which are completely
                            foreign to their tradition. At the 7th Assembly in Canberra in 1991 and at
                            the Central Committee meetings after 1992, the Orthodox delegates occupied
                            a decisive position against intercommunion with the heterodox, against
                            inclusive language, the ordination of women, the rights of sexual
                            minorities and definite tendencies toward church syncretism. Their
                            statements on these matters were considered to be statements from the
                            minority, and as such, could not influence the procedure and moral
                            character of the WCC."

                            Specifically, the Inter-Orthodox meeting resolved that:
                            a) Orthodox delegates participating in the Harare Assembly will
                            jointly submit a statement from the Inter-Orthodox meeting in
                            Thessaloniki.
                            b) Orthodox delegates will not participate in ecumenical
                            services, common prayer, divine services and other religious
                            ceremonies at the Assembly.
                            c) Orthodox delegates will not participate in the voting
                            procedure, except for certain cases affecting the Orthodox, and with
                            mutual consent. If necessary, they will represent Orthodox opinions
                            and positions in discussions at plenary sessions and groups.
                            d) These powers will remain in force until the completion of the
                            radical transformation of the WCC, which would enable the appropriate
                            participation of Orthodox churches."

                            "Therefore, we state, that the current forms of Orthodox membership in the
                            WCC no longer satisfy us. If the WCC structures do not change radically,
                            other Orthodox Churches will also withdraw from the WCC, as the Georgian
                            Orthodox Church has done."

                            Indeed, at the 8th General Assembly in Harare, the Orthodox delegates acted
                            in full accordance with the Thessaloniki resolutions. Here is what was
                            written in this regard in the official announcement on the results of the
                            Assembly:

                            "At the Assembly a special place was occupied by the question of the
                            Orthodox Churches' participation in the work of the WCC. The Orthodox
                            Churches jointly presented the Assembly with a document from the
                            Inter-Orthodox Meeting in Thessaloniki (April 29 - May 2, 1998) as a
                            co-ordinated pan-Orthodox position with regards to the Council. The
                            delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church (one infers the Moscow
                            Patriarchate, A.L.), pursuant to the recommendations of the Inter-Orthodox
                            meeting, refrained from participating in voting and prayers at the
                            Assembly."

                            "The Assembly adopted the decision to create a special commission of the
                            World Council of Churches and representatives of Orthodox Churches to
                            develop new WCC structural forms which would be acceptable for the Orthodox
                            and would reflect their ecclesiological consciousness."

                            It is likewise noteworthy that unlike previous General Assemblies, where
                            the Moscow Patriarchate delegation was headed by several prominent
                            metropolitans and archbishops, in Harare, the delegation was headed only by
                            a hieromonk. We read in the official announcement:

                            "The delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church was headed by the Secretary
                            of Inter-Christian relations of the Department of External Church Relations
                            of the Moscow Patriarchate, Hieromonk Hilarion (Alfeev)."

                            The reaction of leading Protestant circles of the WCC to these demands from
                            Orthodox members on the radical change in WCC structures and to the threat
                            of the possible withdrawal of all Orthodox Churches from that organization
                            indicated that they were quite alarmed. For them, the Protestants, the
                            participation of the Orthodox Churches in the WCC is the sole link which
                            connects them to the early Apostolic Church, and since the Roman Catholic
                            had never been a member of the WCC, the departure of the Orthodox would
                            make the WCC an organization which would represent only the throng of
                            feuding Protestant religious organizations.

                            One must note, that even among the most ardent Protestant ecumenists one
                            senses a change in their ecclesiology and in their understanding of the
                            form and goals of the ecumenical movement and the role of the WCC.

                            If recently it seemed that the goal of the WCC was to create some sort of
                            "super-church" which would abolish those aspects dividing member churches,
                            now the most prominent Protestant ecumenists preach something different.
                            This is written about by the famous church writer Olga Mitrenina, in her
                            article "Two Orthodoxies" printed in the internet journal "Religion in
                            Russia", October 19th, 2001:

                            "The idea of ecumenism as a new super-religion, uniting all existing
                            religious ideas has become outdated. It is being replaced by a new theory
                            - "Unity within plurality" (it is this combination which more frequently
                            appears in the titles of conferences and ecumenical meetings), or as the
                            Lutheran bishop Gunner Staalsett expressed, "reconciled diversity" of
                            religions. Speaking on August 7, 2000 at the "Festival of Peace" in
                            Auxburg (reported by ENI, August 23, 2000), Bishop Staalsett noted that
                            "the first instinctive reaction to globalization is the increased attention
                            to phenomena connected with personal identity". Staalsett emphasized that
                            the system of relations among religions "should not lean on the idea of one
                            religion and should not strive toward syncretism, that is the mixing of
                            religions."

                            This change is merely a transfer into the church sphere of new concepts for
                            battling with the enemies of the idea of "globalization". In precisely the
                            same manner they had previously spoken about the idea of a "Unified
                            Europe", where people would not be citizens of their own countries but
                            citizens of a One Europe. When this was not accepted by the public at
                            large and provoked loud opposition, they then began to speak about
                            "oneness in diversity". Currently this trend has also affected the WCC,
                            where all are now invited to keep their diversity with the condition, of
                            course, that they will all be together under a common aegis of a global
                            interchurch organization.

                            In returning to the topic of the attitude of the Moscow Patriarchate toward
                            the ecumenical movement, it must be recalled that in August 2000 the
                            Hierarchical Sobor of the Moscow Patriarchate was held, which confirmed
                            certain platform reports including the attitude of the MP toward the
                            ecumenical movement. This document had already been discussed at the
                            previous Hierarchical Sobor of our Church, and we have no need to discuss
                            it again thoroughly. Many positive elements could be found in it, but it
                            still is far from reflecting that principal Orthodox position which one
                            would like to see.

                            In general when one examines the participation of the Orthodox Churches in
                            the ecumenical movement, it is important to keep in mind that the
                            participation of these Churches is not a reflection of some sort of organic
                            movement within each of these Churches; it is spurred on and supported
                            only by those whom one may call "professional ecumenists". In each of the
                            Local Churches there is a definite small group of people whose primary
                            occupation is attending various international ecumenical conferences and
                            meetings, or hosting them. They all know each other well, and comprise a
                            sort of "club of the select", whose members travel around the world, at the
                            expense of the church, of course, and who are far more familiar with the
                            inner and social rooms and services of the most prestigious hotels than
                            with the altar, whose servants they are according to ordination.

                            It will be very difficult for these "professional ecumenists" to reject
                            their privileges and fraternity in the select club, and it's understandable
                            that they will deploy every effort to resist their abolition.

                            However, among the ordinary clergy and the broad mass of flock in all the
                            Churches of so-called "World Orthodoxy" ecumenism is not even an issue.
                            What does ecumenism mean to the believing granny in Russia, or in Greece or
                            in Serbia? How few of them know of its existence?

                            This is why we must realistically examine the issue of ecumenism and
                            understand that even ecumenical meetings and periodic statements from,
                            let's say, the Patriarch of Constantinople, membership of Local Churches in
                            the WCC and the work of "professional ecumenists" do not reflect on the
                            broad circle of the faithful in these Local Churches, and who continue to
                            remain unblemished and completely Orthodox.

                            On the backdrop of the foregoing, concretely, can the Orthodox Church
                            participate and be a member of the WCC or similar organizations?

                            In the early period of the existence of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad,
                            this question had received a positive answer.

                            As the ever-memorable Metropolitan Philaret wrote in his first "Sorrowful
                            Epistle":

                            "What concerns our Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, Her view was expressed
                            with particular precision upon appointing representation on December 18/31,
                            193l to the Committee on the Continued Conference on Faith and Order.

                            This definition states:

                            "In preserving the faith in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the
                            Synod of Bishops confesses that this Church had never divided. The only
                            question is who belongs to it and who does not. Simultaneously, the Synod
                            of Bishops ardently greets every attempt of the heterodox to study Christ's
                            teaching on the Church in the hopes that through such study, particularly
                            through the participation of representatives from the Holy Orthodox Church,
                            they will ultimately come to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church, being
                            the pillar and ground of truth (I Tim:3,15), has fully and without error
                            preserved the teaching handed by Christ the Saviour to His disciples. With
                            this faith and such a hope the Synod of Bishops gratefully receives the
                            invitation of the Committee on the Continued Conference on Faith and
                            Order."

                            Now, of course, the situation is different. Even the representatives of
                            world Orthodoxy at the aforementioned Inter-Orthodox meeting in
                            Thessaloniki would have had to recognize that: "After one hundred years of
                            Orthodox involvement in the ecumenical movement and fifty years in the WCC
                            we do not see sufficient progress in the multilateral theological
                            discussions among Christians. On the contrary, the gap between the
                            Orthodox and Protestants grows wider commensurate with the strengthening of
                            the above-mentioned tendencies within certain Protestant denominations."

                            Even the very name of the WCC is unacceptable for an Orthodox person, since
                            it places an equal sign between all religious organizations which are part
                            of it, thereby asserting that the Church is not One, but that there are
                            many.

                            Unconditionally, the Orthodox conscience cannot permit any Orthodox Church
                            to belong to such organizations.

                            On the other hand, is any contact or even joint action between Orthodox
                            clergy and laity and representatives of other faiths ecumenism and a
                            betrayal of Orthodoxy?

                            Of course not.

                            As it was written in the 1933 Encyclical Epistle of the Hierarchical Sobor
                            of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, within the lifetime of Metropolitan
                            Anthony and Archbishop Anastassy:

                            "While the Church exists on the earth, it remains closely linked with the
                            destinies of human society and cannot be imagined outside of space and
                            time. For Her it is impossible to remain outside of any contact."
                            Although these words were written within the context of the attitude of the
                            Church toward the state, they are completely applicable to the question of
                            contact with other faiths, particularly bearing in mind the fact, that
                            almost all of us are living in lands where Orthodoxy is not the prevalent
                            religion and we are surrounded by heterodox.

                            Hence, encounters with the heterodox are not only unavoidable, but even
                            desirable in certain circumstances.

                            We, the Orthodox are also members of a society and citizens of the
                            countries where we live. And we are called upon by the Lord Himself to
                            witness before the entire world and distribute the Light of Christ's Truth,
                            and not to hide that light which "enlightens all" under a bushel, but to
                            place it on the "candlestand that it may shine to all". We can, therefore,
                            meet with the heterodox to instruct them in the true faith, to explain
                            questions about the Orthodox faith, to overturn prejudices and false
                            information about Orthodoxy, and also to engage in joint actions which are
                            beneficial for society. For example, it is permissible to jointly, with
                            representatives of other faiths, appeal to government bodies, both local
                            and national, for the protection of the innocent, for the defence of civil
                            morality, to fight against the killing of unborn infants, to jointly
                            collect funds for charity and to participate in national mourning for
                            victims of natural disasters, for instance, earthquakes, floods,
                            hurricanes, or as recently, terrorist attacks.

                            The Orthodox do not need to hide from such joint actions at all. This is
                            not ecumenism, but merely the active and vital participation in the life of
                            the country and its people, of which we are a part.

                            What is impermissible for Orthodox clergy is concelebration or joint prayer
                            with representatives of other faiths, for such conduct is strictly
                            forbidden by the Holy Canons of the Church.

                            However, the mere presence, of course without vestments, at a prayer by
                            representatives of other faiths during a gathering to mourn victims of a
                            disaster can in no way be called concelebration or joint prayer with
                            heretics. If an Orthodox clergyman is participating in such a gathering
                            (of course, the priest must receive a blessing in advance from his ruling
                            bishop), he may sit courteously during the prayers by representatives of
                            other faiths, and if invited by the organizers of the gathering to read a
                            brief prayer, Orthodox in form and content, he may, without embarrassment,
                            as has regrettably happened, call upon the Holy Trinity and our Saviour,
                            the Lord Jesus Christ.

                            For the Apostles, after the Resurrection of Christ, continued to come to
                            Jewish temple and pray there, and also preach in pagan temples, as is seen
                            from the book of Acts of the Holy Apostles. No one would dare call then
                            "ecumenists" because of such conduct.

                            Similarly, one cannot accuse the Most Blessed Metropolitan Anastassy of
                            ecumenism for being present, on the invitation of the Archbishop of
                            Canterbury, at a service in the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Apostle Paul
                            in London, and when the Archbishop of Canterbury introduced Metropolitan
                            Anastassy and offered that he bless the congregation on behalf of the
                            entire suffering Russian Church, the Metropolitan obliged.

                            Of course, in all these matters one must adhere to the voice of pastoral
                            conscience, and also to the guidance of the canons of the Holy Church and
                            directions from Supreme Church Authority.

                            In conclusion I would like to make several concrete suggestions, in order
                            to help both the clergy and flock of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
                            correctly relate to the problem of ecumenism and the attitude to the
                            heterodox.

                            1. Continue to publish and distribute articles, books, videos and
                            information on the internet about the pernicious essence of
                            ecumenism.

                            2. Continue in the spirit of the ever-memorable Metropolitan
                            Philaret in presenting the representatives of the Local Churches with
                            Epistles, explaining the
                            incompatibility of the ecumenical movement with Orthodoxy.

                            3. To encourage and support the Churches which have withdrawn from the
                            WCC, and to support those in other Local Churches, who battle with
                            ecumenism, and particularly in our much-suffering Homeland.

                            4. To make withdrawal from the WCC an absolute condition for
                            establishing or restoring eucharistic union between the Russian
                            Orthodox Church Abroad with any Local Church.

                            5. To carefully follow all new trends in the ecumenical milieu, analyze
                            them from an Orthodox perspective and, when appropriate, to openly
                            expose all actions which do not correspond to the Orthodox view.

                            6. To reprint and disseminate guiding rules for the clergy of our
                            Russian Church Abroad which concern contacts with representatives of
                            heterodox religions.

                            7. And of course, to pray heartily to God for the conversion of our
                            Orthodox brethren who have gone astray, that the Lord may enlighten
                            their minds and hearts and that once again the true holy faith may be
                            established on the entire earth.

                            Missionary Leaflet #131, Holy Trinity Orthodox Mission, 2001".


                            > In discussions regarding the MP and Ecumenism, many seem to be under
                            > the impression that the MP was **always** involved in ecumenism, and
                            > that the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was **always**
                            > staunchly against ecumenism and participation in the WCC.
                            >
                            > Nothing could be further from the truth.
                            >
                            > In fact, when the World Council of Churches was officially founded in
                            > 1948, the Moscow Patriarchate convened a Pan-Orthodox Council that
                            > categorically rejected ecumenism and stated that participation in the
                            > WCC was incompatible with Orthodox ecclesiology.
                            >
                            > At that time, the ROCOR was actively involved with ecumenism, as it
                            > had been since the 1920s, and during the entire time of the tenure of
                            > Metropolitans Anthony and Anastassy.
                            >
                            > The ROCOR was a Charter Member of the original founding
                            > organization--the precursor of the WCC and to this day one of its key
                            > elements: The Committee on Faith and Order.
                            >
                            > The ROCOR Sobors of Bishops blessed participation by bishops and
                            > clergy representatives at all of the meetings of the Faith and Order
                            > Commssion.
                            >
                            > Even as late as 1951, the ROCOR sponsored a European sub-Assembly of
                            > the WCC, held in Baden-Baden. You can see pictures of this assembly,
                            > with ROCOR Archbishop Benedict and Bishop Alexander surrounded by the
                            > usual WCC melange of Copts, Armenians, Anglicans, Methodists,
                            > Lutherans, etc. in the official history of the ROCOR, published
                            > during the time of Metropolitan Philaret in 1968 (the two-volume
                            > Sollogub opus).
                            >
                            > There you can also see pictures of Ecumenical meetings with
                            > Metropolitan Anthony participating in Serbia--especially meetings
                            > with Anglicans. One can see the bishops of the ROCOR in ecumenical
                            > dialogue with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Anglican bishops.
                            >
                            > Recently, someone claimed that there was an Ukaz of the ROCOR in 1953
                            > banning all contact with the World Council of Churches.
                            >
                            > Why then do I have before me the Report to the Council of Bishops by
                            > Protopriest George Grabbe, describing in detail his participation in
                            > the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches at Evanston in
                            > 1954? He was officially an observer, but was certainly officially
                            > representing the Church Abroad.
                            >
                            > And why is no one talking about the official delegation of the ROCOR
                            > to the Second Vatican Council in Rome, at the invitation of Pope John
                            > XXIII?
                            >
                            > This was an official delegation, headed by Archbishop Anthony of
                            > Geneva, Archimandrite Ambrose (Pogodin), Protopriests Igor Troyanoff
                            > and Alexander Troubnikoff-- with official Observer status.
                            >
                            > They participated in all of the major "official" events, such as the
                            > opening ceremonies in St. Peter's Cathedral, where they processed as
                            > part of the Orthodox church representatives, and the official
                            > receptions given to the "Orthodox sister churches" by the Pope.
                            >
                            > (This was actually quite interesting, because the Moscow Patriarchate
                            > had also been invited, and sent a delegation headed by Metropolitan
                            > Nikodim (Rotov). This was the first occasion where both a ROCOR and
                            > an MP delegation participated side by side, representing the Russian
                            > Church--which caused quite some interesting issues of protocol--order
                            > in the procession, seating at the sessions, receptions and banquets,
                            etc.)
                            >
                            > And all of this with the full blessing of the Council of Bishops of
                            > the Church Abroad under Metropolitans Anastassy and Philaret.
                            >
                            > Another rarely-mentioned fact in the collaboration of the ROCOR with
                            > the World Council of Churches and allied ecumenical organizations is
                            > that all of the bishops and clergy of the ROCOR in Germany and
                            > Austria received their salaries from the local Church World Service
                            > of the WCC--throughout all of the time that Metropolitan Philaret was
                            > First Hierarch. This continued virtually to the end of the 1990's.
                            > Our parishes in Germany and Austria were able to exist only because
                            > of the very significant subsidies received from the ecumenists-- for
                            > decades.
                            >
                            > One should also mention that the majority of members of the ROCOR who
                            > emigrated to the United States, Canada, Australia, and other
                            > countries from "Displaced Persons" camps in Germany and Austria had
                            > their travel expenses paid by the ecumenical Church World Service--so
                            > most of our older generation of parishioners (and clergy) -- are here
                            > only because of ecumenical organizations outreach programs.
                            >
                            > Cooperation by the ROCOR continues with ecumenical organizations to
                            > this day. The Russian Home for the Aged near the Strathfield
                            > Cathedral in Sydney, Australia, is operated by the National Council
                            > of Churches of Australia in close cooperation with our Diocese of the
                            > Church Abroad. If there were no cooperation between the NCCA and the
                            > ROCOR, thirty-five elderly ROCOR parishioners would have no home to live
                            > in.
                            >
                            > So, it is completely false to depict the ROCOR as being historically
                            > anti-ecumenical, while condemning the Moscow Patriarchate for
                            > participating in the WCC.
                            >
                            > It was the Moscow Patriarchate which first condemned, on strict
                            > Orthodox ecclesiological grounds, Orthodox participation in
                            > ecumenical organizations and specifically, the WCC.
                            >
                            > The Moscow Patriarchate joined the WCC only in 1961--when the ROCOR
                            > had been involved in it and its precursor throughout all of the
                            > previous decades since the 1920's -- and this cooperation continued,
                            > especially in the area of having clergy salaries paid in Europe by
                            > the WCC until just a few years ago.
                            >
                            > Condemning an organization while taking money from it would really be
                            > the height of hypocrisy, wouldn't it?
                            >
                            > With love in Christ,
                            >
                            > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff


                            (See attached file: Lebedev Fr Alexander Ecumenism 01.11.25.doc)

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • frvictor@comcast.net
                            Dear Father Basil, With all due respect, I think it is rather a cheap shot to call Father Alexander an advocate for the post Soviet MP. That the Sobor of
                            Message 13 of 26 , Aug 9, 2006
                              Dear Father Basil,
                              With all due respect, I think it is rather a cheap shot to call Father Alexander "an advocate for the post Soviet MP." That the Sobor of Bishops assigned Father Alexander as the Secretary of our Commission is true, and that the purpose of the Commission is to see if the divisions of the Russian Church came be overcome, particularly the issues with seemed to concern our Church, the actions of Metropolitan Sergius, and Eccumenism. That it is the desire for the division to end, is the position of the Russian Church Abroad. Father Alexander is an advocate of the Russian Church Abroad, and is a faithful servant of his ruling bishop, Archbishop Kyrill, and a faithful servant of our First Hierarch, Metropolitan Laurus, I think this is beyond question. I think it would be fair the Father Alexander is an advocate in healing the wounds of the Russian Church and ending the division.

                              Father Alexander accepted his assignment as Secretary out of obedience, and in the process of diolog, clearly understands to situation of the Russian Church in Russia much better than many of us do, and much better than I suppose he understood at any earlier time, just as Archimandrite Luke, for example admitted that his views on the Moscow Patriarchate changed after going to Russia.

                              It is good that Father Alexander's article was translated, and is circulating. Like most of what he writes, it is very solid. It would be fair as well, however, to have asked Father Alexander if he would like for it to be posted, if he wishes to edit any parts, especially given his experience over the past five years on this and other subjects.

                              I am left with the impression, given your introductory remarks, that what is really going on here is the old "got ya." Father Alexander wrote " ...To make withdrawal from the WCC an absolute condition for establishing or restoring eucharistic union between the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad with any Local Church." It is fair to ask if Father Alexander still holds such a rigid view given his expanded knowledge and recent experience. Bishop Evtikhi seems to have changed his views after Sobor --isn't this normal for someone who ultimately trusts the will of the Church, and not his own opinions? Are we going to keep on posting articles and sermons of his when he held a different view? Our Church is blessed to have such faithful servants such as the members of the Commission, which includes the V. Rev. Alexander Lebedev. Because, in part, of their efforts, there is real hope that our division with the Church in Russia may soon be over. None of them should be labeled "advocates of the
                              post Soviet M.P."

                              Again, the article is an excellent read, it is good it is posted. Let's just be fair.

                              In Christ,
                              Priest Victor Boldewskul

                              p.s. I admit that my continual hammering at the point that you serve with the Serbian Church, including with the Patriarchate, even though they are members of the WCC, may be a cheap shot as well. This will be the last time I'll do it ...(:


                              \-------------- Original message --------------
                              From: Basil Yakimov <byakimov@...>

                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Dear ALL,
                              >
                              > See below the attachment in Russian - Father Alexander wrote before he
                              > bacame an advocate for the post soviet MP... Indeed it is very interesting
                              > reading , to say the least... it has now been translated...
                              >
                              > S Bogom!
                              >
                              > protodeacon Basil from Canberra
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Archives located at http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod
                              >
                              >
                              > Yahoo! Groups Links
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >

                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Mike Woodson
                              Dear Rev. Fr. Victor, By stating the circumstances of appointment to the Commission, the job called for, and your view of the writings of Father Alexander, it
                              Message 14 of 26 , Aug 12, 2006
                                Dear Rev. Fr. Victor,

                                By stating the circumstances of appointment to the Commission, the job
                                called for, and your view of the writings of Father Alexander, it does
                                not refute the position that he has been an advocate for the Moscow
                                Patriarchate. It suggests that he is following orders, and that you
                                believe that the MP's positions on lifting the suspension on
                                communion are sound. Many in the Church do not share that view.

                                Fr. Alexander has chastised persons in the ROCOR for opposing the
                                Moscow Patriarchate's agenda in his writings. And the MP's agenda is
                                consistently portrayed as a simple desire for loving reconciliation
                                while its actions (fruits) do not comply with that. This current MP,
                                possessing the legitimacy of the ROCOR's communion under its power,
                                will be able to set the tone for MP's to come and will also insure
                                that the political interests supporting it will more easily
                                consolidate their hold on power in Russia.

                                If your position is that it is impossible for clergy to be misled then
                                laymen might as well just cease to speak and act at all.

                                And yet, isn't this what the entire MP (Soviet and post-Soviet)
                                problem is? That it says one thing to some clergy and laypersons
                                (ROCOR), and another to other clergy and laypersons, on the basis of
                                political advantage and posturing but no one can question it because
                                it comes from higher ranks of clergy. Is that what the MP the ROCOR
                                should legitimize in the eyes of the Russian people? Authority
                                without repentance to make it humbly held authority?

                                It has often been argued that those opposing the lift on the
                                suspension of communion under this MP's influence, are like broken
                                records. Do you know why? It is because those who would gloss over
                                the MP's lack of fulfillment of the conditions keep up with the same
                                denials and platitudes which sound very much like the MP's official
                                positions.

                                The presumption that reconciliation means reconciliation on this MP's
                                terms (that is, now, under this MP) is the essence of Father
                                Alexander's recent writings. The motive is unclear, but the reality
                                is, Fr. Alexander has been an advocate for the MP's desires.

                                Michael



                                --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, frvictor@... wrote:
                                >
                                > Dear Father Basil,
                                > With all due respect, I think it is rather a cheap shot to call
                                Father Alexander "an advocate for the post Soviet MP." That the Sobor
                                of Bishops assigned Father Alexander as the Secretary of our
                                Commission is true, and that the purpose of the Commission is to see
                                if the divisions of the Russian Church came be overcome, particularly
                                the issues with seemed to concern our Church, the actions of
                                Metropolitan Sergius, and Eccumenism. That it is the desire for the
                                division to end, is the position of the Russian Church Abroad. Father
                                Alexander is an advocate of the Russian Church Abroad, and is a
                                faithful servant of his ruling bishop, Archbishop Kyrill, and a
                                faithful servant of our First Hierarch, Metropolitan Laurus, I think
                                this is beyond question. I think it would be fair the Father Alexander
                                is an advocate in healing the wounds of the Russian Church and ending
                                the division.
                                >
                                > Father Alexander accepted his assignment as Secretary out of
                                obedience, and in the process of diolog, clearly understands to
                                situation of the Russian Church in Russia much better than many of us
                                do, and much better than I suppose he understood at any earlier time,
                                just as Archimandrite Luke, for example admitted that his views on the
                                Moscow Patriarchate changed after going to Russia.
                                >
                                > It is good that Father Alexander's article was translated, and is
                                circulating. Like most of what he writes, it is very solid. It would
                                be fair as well, however, to have asked Father Alexander if he would
                                like for it to be posted, if he wishes to edit any parts, especially
                                given his experience over the past five years on this and other subjects.
                                >
                                > I am left with the impression, given your introductory remarks, that
                                what is really going on here is the old "got ya." Father Alexander
                                wrote " ...To make withdrawal from the WCC an absolute condition for
                                establishing or restoring eucharistic union between the Russian
                                Orthodox Church Abroad with any Local Church." It is fair to ask if
                                Father Alexander still holds such a rigid view given his expanded
                                knowledge and recent experience. Bishop Evtikhi seems to have changed
                                his views after Sobor --isn't this normal for someone who ultimately
                                trusts the will of the Church, and not his own opinions? Are we going
                                to keep on posting articles and sermons of his when he held a
                                different view? Our Church is blessed to have such faithful servants
                                such as the members of the Commission, which includes the V. Rev.
                                Alexander Lebedev. Because, in part, of their efforts, there is real
                                hope that our division with the Church in Russia may soon be over.
                                None of them should be labeled "advocates of the
                                > post Soviet M.P."
                                >
                                > Again, the article is an excellent read, it is good it is posted.
                                Let's just be fair.
                                >
                                > In Christ,
                                > Priest Victor Boldewskul
                                >
                                > p.s. I admit that my continual hammering at the point that you serve
                                with the Serbian Church, including with the Patriarchate, even though
                                they are members of the WCC, may be a cheap shot as well. This will be
                                the last time I'll do it ...(:
                                >
                                >
                                > \-------------- Original message --------------
                                > From: Basil Yakimov <byakimov@...>
                                >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > Dear ALL,
                                > >
                                > > See below the attachment in Russian - Father Alexander wrote
                                before he
                                > > bacame an advocate for the post soviet MP... Indeed it is very
                                interesting
                                > > reading , to say the least... it has now been translated...
                                > >
                                > > S Bogom!
                                > >
                                > > protodeacon Basil from Canberra
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > Archives located at http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >
                              • Archpriest David Moser
                                ... I frequently have the opportunity to speak with Fr Alexander Lebedeff about this and many other issues. I can state unequivocably that Fr Alexander is NOT
                                Message 15 of 26 , Aug 12, 2006
                                  --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Woodson"
                                  <singingmountains@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > the reality
                                  > is, Fr. Alexander has been an advocate for the MP's desires.
                                  >

                                  I frequently have the opportunity to speak with Fr Alexander Lebedeff
                                  about this and many other issues. I can state unequivocably that Fr
                                  Alexander is NOT an "advocate for the MP's desires" He is, however,
                                  an advocate for the welfare of the Church and especially for the
                                  welfare of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Certainly
                                  it is true that at times he may *appear* to acvocate for the "MP" but
                                  those are the times when the desires of the MP coincide with the
                                  welfare and good estate of the whole Russian Church. There are many
                                  hings about which Fr Alexander is not free to speak publicly (nor will
                                  I knowingly betray his confidence) however, after speaking with him
                                  (and being forthright about my own concerns and questions,) I have
                                  never gone without a reasoned and well supported answer which is, in
                                  the end, to the greater benefit of ROCOR and of the Russian Church as
                                  a whole. Yes, there are things which would be to our (ROCOR's) sole
                                  benefit but which would harm the Russian Church and Fr Alexander
                                  always chooses the welfare and benefit of the whole Church over even
                                  the parochial interests of his (our) little part of the Church. Your
                                  accusation that he is "an advocate for the MP" is certainly inaccurate
                                  and mistaken at best, and at the worst outright slander.

                                  Archpriest David Moser
                                • Mike Woodson
                                  Dear Rev. Fr. David, It is understandable that you hold your friendship with loyalty. However, if as you wrote to me regarding Fr. Alexander: it is true that
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Aug 14, 2006
                                    Dear Rev. Fr. David,

                                    It is understandable that you hold your friendship with loyalty.

                                    However, if as you wrote to me regarding Fr. Alexander:

                                    "it is true that at times he may *appear* to advocate for the "MP""

                                    and

                                    "Your accusation that he is "an advocate for the MP" is certainly
                                    inaccurate and mistaken at best, and at the worst outright slander."

                                    . . then the second statement presupposes that to advocate for the MP
                                    would be so bad as to constitute a "accusation" and a "slander" toward
                                    anyone to whom that role was attributed. And yet, there are times,
                                    you have stated, in which advocacy for the MP would be good for the
                                    Russian Orthodox Church as a whole.

                                    How could all of those positions implied in your post be true at the
                                    same time if you have forcefully identified advocacy with the MP as
                                    something evil to be associated with? If true, why must we associate
                                    boost such an organization with the ROCOR's endorsement?

                                    Michael





                                    --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Archpriest David Moser"
                                    <moserd@...> wrote:
                                    > --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Woodson"
                                    > <singingmountains@> wrote:
                                    > > the reality
                                    > > is, Fr. Alexander has been an advocate for the MP's desires.
                                    > >
                                    > I frequently have the opportunity to speak with Fr Alexander Lebedeff
                                    > about this and many other issues. I can state unequivocably that Fr
                                    > Alexander is NOT an "advocate for the MP's desires" He is, however,
                                    > an advocate for the welfare of the Church and especially for the
                                    > welfare of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Certainly
                                    > it is true that at times he may *appear* to acvocate for the "MP" but
                                    > those are the times when the desires of the MP coincide with the
                                    > welfare and good estate of the whole Russian Church. There are many
                                    > hings about which Fr Alexander is not free to speak publicly (nor will
                                    > I knowingly betray his confidence) however, after speaking with him
                                    > (and being forthright about my own concerns and questions,) I have
                                    > never gone without a reasoned and well supported answer which is, in
                                    > the end, to the greater benefit of ROCOR and of the Russian Church as
                                    > a whole. Yes, there are things which would be to our (ROCOR's) sole
                                    > benefit but which would harm the Russian Church and Fr Alexander
                                    > always chooses the welfare and benefit of the whole Church over even
                                    > the parochial interests of his (our) little part of the Church. Your
                                    > accusation that he is "an advocate for the MP" is certainly inaccurate
                                    > and mistaken at best, and at the worst outright slander.
                                    >
                                    > Archpriest David Moser
                                    >
                                  • Archpriest David Moser
                                    ... Mr Woodson, you chose to state that Fr Alexander holds a position that he does not, and further you imply that such a position is somehow not desirable. I
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Aug 14, 2006
                                      --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Woodson"
                                      <singingmountains@...> wrote:

                                      > . . then the second statement presupposes ....

                                      Mr Woodson, you chose to state that Fr Alexander holds a position that
                                      he does not, and further you imply that such a position is somehow not
                                      desirable. I answered you in that spirit. If you want to pick apart
                                      the semantics of a comment - please go right ahead, but that doesn't
                                      change the fact that both the ROCOR and the MP are parts of the
                                      Russian Church and that for both of us the welfare of the whole
                                      Russian Church should outweigh our own petty politics.

                                      I have seen the reality of the IV All-Diaspora Council distorted
                                      beyond belief into an account of something I don't even recognize as
                                      having been a part of. I have seen those who truly love the Russian
                                      Church and who have worked to the limit of their own strength on her
                                      behalf slandered and twisted and misrepresented. You and many of
                                      those who have become your allies and advocates have taken something
                                      beautiful (the true sense of sobornost and oneness that we experienced
                                      at the Sobor) and defaced it - Lord have mercy. I assume that you too
                                      love the Russian Church, however, your "defense" of her seems to be
                                      worse than the alternative - but God knows. Please, if you feel it
                                      necessary, continue to slander me, to slander the senior clergy and
                                      our hierarchs who have been given the responsibility to find the truth
                                      of the matter - but just because you continue to act in this vein
                                      doesn't make it right and doesn't make it true or right or good.

                                      May God forgive you - and for my part can I do any less.

                                      Archpr David Moser
                                    • Mike Woodson
                                      Dear Rev. Fr. David, Our exchange was not over semantics. May God resolve the distance between us by His Truth, and have mercy on everyone subject to this
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Aug 15, 2006
                                        Dear Rev. Fr. David,

                                        Our exchange was not over semantics. May God resolve the distance
                                        between us by His Truth, and have mercy on everyone subject to this
                                        current deception coming from the MP and filtering its way through men
                                        who easily give sway to authorities for authority's sake.

                                        Thank you for saying 'God forgive you,' as I need God's forgiveness.
                                        However, my conscience is not troubled by opposing the powerplays of
                                        this Moscow Patriarchate until its political hierarchs resign in
                                        penance.

                                        Too many want to be on the winning team no matter whether the team is on
                                        government steriods or not. For the MP it is clear: the Holy Church,
                                        and her Holy Mysteries, is not enough. Waiting on the Lord for change
                                        is not enough. There must be worldly commissions, conferences and
                                        political intrigues.

                                        The worldly agenda is about appearances, and will not permit the sort of
                                        confessions and actions that the hierarchs of the MP need to make to be
                                        truthful about their ongoing role in Caesar's affairs, failing to obey
                                        the Lord Jesus Christ and embezzling time and energy from His House of
                                        Prayer to feed Ceasar's petulant demands. This spirit that believes
                                        that the Church is not enough is or is like the one that deeply poisoned
                                        Rome and led it to exemplify the schism that bred many more, and brought
                                        yet more war and bloodshed.

                                        Glory to God in the middle of this mess. God will steer the Ark and
                                        deliver the Church.

                                        michael


                                        --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Archpriest David Moser"
                                        <moserd@...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Mr Woodson, you chose to state that Fr Alexander holds a position that
                                        > he does not, and further you imply that such a position is somehow not
                                        > desirable. I answered you in that spirit. If you want to pick apart
                                        > the semantics of a comment - please go right ahead, but that doesn't
                                        > change the fact that both the ROCOR and the MP are parts of the
                                        > Russian Church and that for both of us the welfare of the whole
                                        > Russian Church should outweigh our own petty politics.
                                        >
                                        > I have seen the reality of the IV All-Diaspora Council distorted
                                        > beyond belief into an account of something I don't even recognize as
                                        > having been a part of. I have seen those who truly love the Russian
                                        > Church and who have worked to the limit of their own strength on her
                                        > behalf slandered and twisted and misrepresented. You and many of
                                        > those who have become your allies and advocates have taken something
                                        > beautiful (the true sense of sobornost and oneness that we experienced
                                        > at the Sobor) and defaced it - Lord have mercy. I assume that you too
                                        > love the Russian Church, however, your "defense" of her seems to be
                                        > worse than the alternative - but God knows. Please, if you feel it
                                        > necessary, continue to slander me, to slander the senior clergy and
                                        > our hierarchs who have been given the responsibility to find the truth
                                        > of the matter - but just because you continue to act in this vein
                                        > doesn't make it right and doesn't make it true or right or good.
                                        >
                                        > May God forgive you - and for my part can I do any less.
                                        >
                                        > Archpr David Moser
                                        >
                                      • Bratislav Peplinski
                                        Dear in Christ Mr Woodson, You write below that you will oppse the MP untill its political hierarchs resign in penance . Such a demand seems out of character
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Aug 15, 2006
                                          Dear in Christ Mr Woodson,

                                          You write below that you will oppse the MP untill "its political hierarchs resign in penance". Such a demand seems out of character for you, who so highly values the privacy of ones spiritual status. You realize that you have no authority or right to decide who needs penances, let alone what the penances should be. What any particular Bishop of Christ repents of (excepting, perhaps, heresy) is between him, his spiritual Father and God. And it is also between these three that any penance will be decided upon, whether or not you happen to think it a just enough penance to "fit the crime".

                                          Also, I've read your views about "waiting on the Lord" when it comes to the Mp. But do you think it even possible that while you are "waiting for the Lord" to start His work, He is already in the midst of it, waiting for you to join Him?

                                          Your brother,
                                          Bratislav
                                          Mike Woodson <singingmountains@...> wrote:
                                          Dear Rev. Fr. David,

                                          Our exchange was not over semantics. May God resolve the distance
                                          between us by His Truth, and have mercy on everyone subject to this
                                          current deception coming from the MP and filtering its way through men
                                          who easily give sway to authorities for authority's sake.

                                          Thank you for saying 'God forgive you,' as I need God's forgiveness.
                                          However, my conscience is not troubled by opposing the powerplays of
                                          this Moscow Patriarchate until its political hierarchs resign in
                                          penance.

                                          Too many want to be on the winning team no matter whether the team is on
                                          government steriods or not. For the MP it is clear: the Holy Church,
                                          and her Holy Mysteries, is not enough. Waiting on the Lord for change
                                          is not enough. There must be worldly commissions, conferences and
                                          political intrigues.

                                          The worldly agenda is about appearances, and will not permit the sort of
                                          confessions and actions that the hierarchs of the MP need to make to be
                                          truthful about their ongoing role in Caesar's affairs, failing to obey
                                          the Lord Jesus Christ and embezzling time and energy from His House of
                                          Prayer to feed Ceasar's petulant demands. This spirit that believes
                                          that the Church is not enough is or is like the one that deeply poisoned
                                          Rome and led it to exemplify the schism that bred many more, and brought
                                          yet more war and bloodshed.

                                          Glory to God in the middle of this mess. God will steer the Ark and
                                          deliver the Church.

                                          michael

                                          --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Archpriest David Moser"
                                          <moserd@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Mr Woodson, you chose to state that Fr Alexander holds a position that
                                          > he does not, and further you imply that such a position is somehow not
                                          > desirable. I answered you in that spirit. If you want to pick apart
                                          > the semantics of a comment - please go right ahead, but that doesn't
                                          > change the fact that both the ROCOR and the MP are parts of the
                                          > Russian Church and that for both of us the welfare of the whole
                                          > Russian Church should outweigh our own petty politics.
                                          >
                                          > I have seen the reality of the IV All-Diaspora Council distorted
                                          > beyond belief into an account of something I don't even recognize as
                                          > having been a part of. I have seen those who truly love the Russian
                                          > Church and who have worked to the limit of their own strength on her
                                          > behalf slandered and twisted and misrepresented. You and many of
                                          > those who have become your allies and advocates have taken something
                                          > beautiful (the true sense of sobornost and oneness that we experienced
                                          > at the Sobor) and defaced it - Lord have mercy. I assume that you too
                                          > love the Russian Church, however, your "defense" of her seems to be
                                          > worse than the alternative - but God knows. Please, if you feel it
                                          > necessary, continue to slander me, to slander the senior clergy and
                                          > our hierarchs who have been given the responsibility to find the truth
                                          > of the matter - but just because you continue to act in this vein
                                          > doesn't make it right and doesn't make it true or right or good.
                                          >
                                          > May God forgive you - and for my part can I do any less.
                                          >
                                          > Archpr David Moser
                                          >






                                          ---------------------------------
                                          How low will we go? Check out Yahoo! MessengerÂ’s low PC-to-Phone call rates.

                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        • Mike Woodson
                                          Dear Bratislav, Thanks for your response, and those are fair and reasonable questions. It really isn t my call for repentance alone, it was St. John
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Aug 16, 2006
                                            Dear Bratislav,

                                            Thanks for your response, and those are fair and reasonable questions.
                                            It really isn't my call for repentance alone, it was St. John
                                            (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco.

                                            Here is the sort of repentance St. John expected of the hierarchy of the
                                            Moscow Patriarchate, and a passage to the proceedings in the 8th Century
                                            to which he refers as an example:

                                            Remember what St. John Maximovitch envisioned as the repentance of those
                                            in the Moscow Patriarchate who collaborated with pain and reservations
                                            with the Soviet monstrosity. He wrote:

                                            "The Lord God, Who preserved seven thousand men who did not bend the
                                            knee to Baal in the days of Elias, today also has a multitude of His
                                            servants who secretly serve and pray to Him throughout the whole expanse
                                            of the Russian Land. Even among the hieararchs outwardly subject to the
                                            Soviet Regime, many are inwardly tormented by this; when the opportunity
                                            comes, they will act according to the example of those at the Council of
                                            Chalcedon who declared with tears that they had given their signatures
                                            at the Robber Council under coercion, following the example of the Most
                                            Holy Patriarch Paul, who was tortured by his conscience and took the
                                            Schema in recognition of his weakness under the Iconoclasts."

                                            --from The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad: A Short History, p. 37.

                                            And when the wondrous St. John said St. Paul took on the Schema, what is
                                            the story behind that? Read here:

                                            "For, when the most holy Patriarch Paul, by the divine will, was about
                                            to be liberated from the bands of mortality and to exchange his earthly
                                            pilgrimage for a heavenly home with his Master Christ, he abdicated the
                                            Patriarchate and took upon him the monastic life, and when we asked him,
                                            Why hast thou done this? he answered, Because I fear that, if death
                                            should surprise me still in the episcopate of this royal and
                                            heaven-defended city, I should have to carry with me the anathema of the
                                            whole Catholic Church, which consigns me to that outer darkness which is
                                            prepared for the devil and his angels; for they say that a certain synod
                                            hath been held here in order to the subversion of pictures and images
                                            which the Catholic Church holds, embraces, and receives, in memory of
                                            the persons whom they represent. This is that which distracts my soul --
                                            this is that which makes me anxiously to enquire how I may escape the
                                            judgment of God -- since among such men I have been brought up and with
                                            such am I numbered. No sooner had he thus spoken in the presence of some
                                            of our most illustrious nobles than he expired."

                                            --from The Imperial Sacra. Read at the First Session. (Found in Labbe
                                            and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. VII., col. 49.) page 531, with permission
                                            from Medieval Sourcebook: The Second Council of Nicea, 787 AD:

                                            http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/nicea2.html

                                            ---

                                            It seems to me that if praying at St. John's place of repose during the
                                            All Diaspora Conference was an important act of consultation, how
                                            important was it to follow his counsel as written? The Holy Gospels in
                                            which the Lord asks his disciples, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, but
                                            do not what I say?" applies, except that I could wonder whether St. John
                                            of Shanghai and SF is wondering, why do you call on me for consultation
                                            but not listen to what I have already counseled on this matter of the
                                            repentance of the Moscow Patriarchate hierarchs?

                                            Why no one responds to what St. John said on this, because it cannot be
                                            avoided that they are disregarding the actual saint when seeking his
                                            counsel.

                                            your brother,
                                            Michael







                                            --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, Bratislav Peplinski
                                            <bratislavbrad@...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            > Dear in Christ Mr Woodson,
                                            >
                                            > You write below that you will oppse the MP untill "its political
                                            hierarchs resign in penance". Such a demand seems out of character for
                                            you, who so highly values the privacy of ones spiritual status. You
                                            realize that you have no authority or right to decide who needs
                                            penances, let alone what the penances should be. What any particular
                                            Bishop of Christ repents of (excepting, perhaps, heresy) is between him,
                                            his spiritual Father and God. And it is also between these three that
                                            any penance will be decided upon, whether or not you happen to think it
                                            a just enough penance to "fit the crime".
                                            >
                                            > Also, I've read your views about "waiting on the Lord" when it comes
                                            to the Mp. But do you think it even possible that while you are "waiting
                                            for the Lord" to start His work, He is already in the midst of it,
                                            waiting for you to join Him?
                                            >
                                            > Your brother,
                                            > Bratislav





                                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          • Bratislav Peplinski
                                            Dear in Christ Michael, You make a good point and it is indeed a point that should not go unconsidered. To be honest, I agree with the sentiment that St John
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Aug 16, 2006
                                              Dear in Christ Michael,

                                              You make a good point and it is indeed a point that should not go unconsidered. To be honest, I agree with the sentiment that St John (and yourself) express. But that does not mean that without the penitential act of resignation I will oppose the MP and refuse to call them brothers and share with them the One Cup and One Loaf. It is not for me and even, unfortunately perhaps, not for St John to mete out penances. Such things will be decided by the All Russian Synod when that is possible.

                                              Lastly, I do not believe that our hierarchs are so evil or blind as to merely pay lip service to St John while they knowingly or unknowingly act contrary to his written opinions. It pains me to say it, because St John holds a dear place in my heart, but even the opinions of saints can be wrong or to some degree unfitting for the circumstances. Our current leaders might see there to be a big enough difference between the MP St John wrote of and the MP we are seeking to reconcile with as to warrant action other than recommended by our saintly Vladyka.

                                              Be well and God keep you,
                                              Bratislav

                                              Mike Woodson <singingmountains@...> wrote:
                                              Dear Bratislav,

                                              Thanks for your response, and those are fair and reasonable questions.
                                              It really isn't my call for repentance alone, it was St. John
                                              (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco.

                                              Here is the sort of repentance St. John expected of the hierarchy of the
                                              Moscow Patriarchate, and a passage to the proceedings in the 8th Century
                                              to which he refers as an example:

                                              Remember what St. John Maximovitch envisioned as the repentance of those
                                              in the Moscow Patriarchate who collaborated with pain and reservations
                                              with the Soviet monstrosity. He wrote:

                                              "The Lord God, Who preserved seven thousand men who did not bend the
                                              knee to Baal in the days of Elias, today also has a multitude of His
                                              servants who secretly serve and pray to Him throughout the whole expanse
                                              of the Russian Land. Even among the hieararchs outwardly subject to the
                                              Soviet Regime, many are inwardly tormented by this; when the opportunity
                                              comes, they will act according to the example of those at the Council of
                                              Chalcedon who declared with tears that they had given their signatures
                                              at the Robber Council under coercion, following the example of the Most
                                              Holy Patriarch Paul, who was tortured by his conscience and took the
                                              Schema in recognition of his weakness under the Iconoclasts."

                                              --from The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad: A Short History, p. 37.

                                              And when the wondrous St. John said St. Paul took on the Schema, what is
                                              the story behind that? Read here:

                                              "For, when the most holy Patriarch Paul, by the divine will, was about
                                              to be liberated from the bands of mortality and to exchange his earthly
                                              pilgrimage for a heavenly home with his Master Christ, he abdicated the
                                              Patriarchate and took upon him the monastic life, and when we asked him,
                                              Why hast thou done this? he answered, Because I fear that, if death
                                              should surprise me still in the episcopate of this royal and
                                              heaven-defended city, I should have to carry with me the anathema of the
                                              whole Catholic Church, which consigns me to that outer darkness which is
                                              prepared for the devil and his angels; for they say that a certain synod
                                              hath been held here in order to the subversion of pictures and images
                                              which the Catholic Church holds, embraces, and receives, in memory of
                                              the persons whom they represent. This is that which distracts my soul --
                                              this is that which makes me anxiously to enquire how I may escape the
                                              judgment of God -- since among such men I have been brought up and with
                                              such am I numbered. No sooner had he thus spoken in the presence of some
                                              of our most illustrious nobles than he expired."

                                              --from The Imperial Sacra. Read at the First Session. (Found in Labbe
                                              and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. VII., col. 49.) page 531, with permission
                                              from Medieval Sourcebook: The Second Council of Nicea, 787 AD:

                                              http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/nicea2.html

                                              ---

                                              It seems to me that if praying at St. John's place of repose during the
                                              All Diaspora Conference was an important act of consultation, how
                                              important was it to follow his counsel as written? The Holy Gospels in
                                              which the Lord asks his disciples, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, but
                                              do not what I say?" applies, except that I could wonder whether St. John
                                              of Shanghai and SF is wondering, why do you call on me for consultation
                                              but not listen to what I have already counseled on this matter of the
                                              repentance of the Moscow Patriarchate hierarchs?

                                              Why no one responds to what St. John said on this, because it cannot be
                                              avoided that they are disregarding the actual saint when seeking his
                                              counsel.

                                              your brother,
                                              Michael

                                              --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, Bratislav Peplinski
                                              <bratislavbrad@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > Dear in Christ Mr Woodson,
                                              >
                                              > You write below that you will oppse the MP untill "its political
                                              hierarchs resign in penance". Such a demand seems out of character for
                                              you, who so highly values the privacy of ones spiritual status. You
                                              realize that you have no authority or right to decide who needs
                                              penances, let alone what the penances should be. What any particular
                                              Bishop of Christ repents of (excepting, perhaps, heresy) is between him,
                                              his spiritual Father and God. And it is also between these three that
                                              any penance will be decided upon, whether or not you happen to think it
                                              a just enough penance to "fit the crime".
                                              >
                                              > Also, I've read your views about "waiting on the Lord" when it comes
                                              to the Mp. But do you think it even possible that while you are "waiting
                                              for the Lord" to start His work, He is already in the midst of it,
                                              waiting for you to join Him?
                                              >
                                              > Your brother,
                                              > Bratislav

                                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





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                                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            • Mike Woodson
                                              Dear Bratislav, Thank you for your kind words, and especially for those good words about holy Saint John the Wonderworker. During his writing of the Short
                                              Message 22 of 26 , Aug 18, 2006
                                                Dear Bratislav,

                                                Thank you for your kind words, and especially for those good words
                                                about holy Saint John the Wonderworker. During his writing of the
                                                Short History of the ROCOR, St. John's thinking was steeped in prayer,
                                                labor and peace, without a semblance of passionate lecturing.

                                                Such are reasons that I trust his substantive observations, and not
                                                only that, there are very significant distinctions between the MP on
                                                one hand and the people of the Church in Russia on the other. To my
                                                mind, putting off the MP is not equal to harming, hurting or
                                                condemning the Russian faithful. On the contrary, for Russians
                                                rediscovering their faith, it would be spiritually and perhaps
                                                physically protective to wait out the resignation or passing of the MP
                                                hierarchs as God permits their era to pass.

                                                Too many words (as usual).

                                                Michael

                                                --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, Bratislav Peplinski
                                                <bratislavbrad@...> wrote:
                                                >
                                                > Dear in Christ Michael,
                                                >
                                                > You make a good point and it is indeed a point that should not go
                                                unconsidered. To be honest, I agree with the sentiment that St John
                                                (and yourself) express. But that does not mean that without the
                                                penitential act of resignation I will oppose the MP and refuse to call
                                                them brothers and share with them the One Cup and One Loaf. It is not
                                                for me and even, unfortunately perhaps, not for St John to mete out
                                                penances. Such things will be decided by the All Russian Synod when
                                                that is possible.
                                                >
                                                > Lastly, I do not believe that our hierarchs are so evil or blind
                                                as to merely pay lip service to St John while they knowingly or
                                                unknowingly act contrary to his written opinions. It pains me to say
                                                it, because St John holds a dear place in my heart, but even the
                                                opinions of saints can be wrong or to some degree unfitting for the
                                                circumstances. Our current leaders might see there to be a big enough
                                                difference between the MP St John wrote of and the MP we are seeking
                                                to reconcile with as to warrant action other than recommended by our
                                                saintly Vladyka.
                                                >
                                                > Be well and God keep you,
                                                > Bratislav
                                                >
                                                >
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