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Re: So much has changed

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  • Mitin, Stiva
    ... Imagine that! From the Cheka to KGB to FSU, we have a complete 180 about-face. The prodigy of those that carried out the terror after 1917 wish to restore
    Message 1 of 18 , Sep 30, 2006
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      > Posted by: "Hristofor" hristofor@...
      > Date: Fri Sep 29, 2006 5:57 am (PDT)
      >
      > Readers maybe interested in the following piece called "Monarchist Past &
      > Future," which was published yesterday in English on Russia Progile.
      > http://www.russiaprofile.org/politics/2006/9/28/4475.wbp The article sites
      > Russia-wide polls on the restoration of the monarchy, the differences
      > between restorationists of the early 90's and today, unofficial support from
      > the ROC etc. The focal point of the article, however, is an anonymous book
      > entitled "Russia Project," which apparently is a scathing critique of
      > democracy, while stating that "There is no greater authority than the power
      > from God." The book appears in Russian at the following site:
      > http://projectrussia.ru/ Russian liberals are already outraged by the
      > text.


      Imagine that! From the Cheka to KGB to FSU, we have a complete 180
      about-face. The prodigy of those that carried out the terror after 1917 wish
      to restore that what was! Nasha Strana will need to get its presses
      cranking, since a new front has opened. Despite the overwhelming evidence to
      the contrary, a vocal portion on this list says nothing has changed, the new
      Russian government is simply the same old commies in fancy Armani and Hermes
      clothes. If that is the case, how do you explain this? Simply another Trojan
      horse orchestrated to hoodwink the White Russian diaspora? It is 2006, not
      1926 [when Soviet agents killed Russians in the West, suspected of fomenting
      plots against the USSR].

      Forget the restoration of an absolute monarchy or even King George III [in
      the US]. I am trying to visualize a true conservative (not neo-con) running
      on a platform of "There is no greater authority than the power from God" and
      calling for the restoration of prayer in US public schools and (voluntary)
      restoration of moral and family values in the arts and entertainment,
      abortion abolition. This would be a candidate who says that the US was
      founded on Judaeo-Christian values, by Christians seeking freedom of
      religion, that Christianity holds the spot of being the primary (but not
      exclusive religion) of the US; that it is OK to have Christmas pageants once
      again in schools and not "Holiday" plays where its OK to sing "Dradle,
      dradle", but not "Silent Night". And if all the recent immigrants who have
      arrived on our shores after Kennedy relaxed immigration rules from
      non-European (and non-Christian) lands, well, they can just pack up their
      bags and go back to those tolerant countries from which they hail. Think
      that candidate would be in many primaries past Iowa? Would he/she even get
      to Iowa?

      Funny how the possible is allowed in "undemocratic" Russia, but in fact is
      impossible in the "democratic" West.

      ______________

      And on the argument that it is impossible for change to have occurred so
      quickly in Russia, either since the coup of '91 or the Synodal Epistle of
      '00: changes do occur and they can happen rapidly and radically. Air travel
      on 9/10 and air travel just a few days later where radically different.
      Things/words which I never would have dreamed of hearing as a teen in the
      early 80s are now mentioned on the air like nothing. After 8 yrs of Clinton,
      the moral thermometer in the US went down a bit. It is true that things may
      not have changed much in the ghetto of our Diaspora over the decades since
      the DPs arrived (save for the falling away of many). It is, however, pure
      fantasy to think that had the revolution not occurred in Russia, that
      Russian life in 2006 would be a mirror of Russian life in 1906.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • V. Boitchenko
      No, Michael. Metropolitan Philaret is not alleging anything because he is dead. It is you, who claims that Met. Philaret (of blessed memory) is alleging
      Message 2 of 18 , Oct 2, 2006
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        No, Michael. Metropolitan Philaret is not alleging anything because he is
        dead. It is you, who claims that Met. Philaret (of blessed memory) is
        alleging something. You are just hiding behind his back.

        >We don't even know whether the bishops or clergy are all baptized or
        >ordained and by whom.

        Michael, who is "we?" What other deceased hierarchs are included in that
        "We"?

        viatcheslav



        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "michael nikitin" <nikitinmike@...>
        To: <orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sunday, October 01, 2006 8:53 PM
        Subject: Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: So much has changed


        It is not I who alleging this. It was Holy Metr.Philaret, previous First
        Hierarch of ROCOR
        who wrote it. Frankly you are calling him a liar, but he lived through it
        and quotes from other hierarch's who have lived through it all. Are you
        suggesting that on a visit one can make good judgement on the MP? We don't
        even know whether the bishops or clergy are all baptized or ordained and by
        whom.

        Michael N

        ----- Original Message ----
        From: George Edward Green III <kharaku@...>
        To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 1:21:05 PM
        Subject: Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: So much has changed

        I just returned from Russia.

        While there I visited several monasteries far from Moscow, and St
        Peterburg and what you're alleging is a lie, frankly you know it's a
        lie, and it's vile you suggest what you do.

        George

        On Sep 29, 2006, at 11:29 AM, michael nikitin wrote:

        > The hierarch Theophan the Recluse in his own day warned that a
        > terrible time was approaching when people would behold before their
        > eyes all the appearance of church grandeur solemn services, church
        > order, and such while on the inside there would be total betrayal
        > of the Spirit of
        > Christ. Is this not what we see in the Soviet church? Patriarchs,
        > Metropolitans, all the priestly and monastic orders and at the very
        > same time, an alliance with the God-haters, that is, a manifest
        > betrayal of Christ.(Holy Metr.Philaret letter to Abbess Magdalena).
        >
        > NOTE:
        > The letter to Abbess Magdalena and the one to Fr. Victor Potapov can
        > also be found in the on-line archive of Tserkovnie Novosti / Church
        > News, edited by Matushka Anastasia Schatiloff (ne Grabbe):
        > http://www.roacusa.org/documents.html
        >
        > Michael N
        >
        > ----- Original Message ----
        > From: Fr. John R. Shaw <vrevjrs@...>
        > To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 8:06:49 AM
        > Subject: [orthodox-synod] Re: So much has changed
        >
        > --- In orthodox-synod@ yahoogroups. com, Melissa Bushunow
        > <cafeconlechemom@ ...>
        > wrote:
        >
        >>> We don't have to go around looking for "what they can find...in the
        >> writings of long-deceased ROCOR clergy, that they can use against the
        >> Patriarchal Church," as Fr. John Shaw claims. It is right there in
        >> front of our eyes.
        >
        > JRS: It is indeed in front of your eyes, but it seems you only pick
        > what you want to see.
        >
        >> The hegumen √ who was "powdered" ("napudrenyi" ), with short hair and
        >> and a short, neatly trimmed beard -- continually grabbed his ringing
        >> cellphone. When one of visitors commented that it was the first time
        >> he had ever seen a monk with a cellphone, the hegumen replied that
        >> his
        >> higher-ups want to be able to reach him at all times, and if he
        >> doesn't
        >> answer right away he will be in big trouble.
        >
        > JRS: Whoever wrote "napudreny" makes his bias obvious.
        >
        > Years and years ago, one of the Russian clergy from Australia who
        > had joined the OCA
        > visited Vl. Nikon's ROCOR cathedral in the Bronx, and wrote an
        > attack similar to the above.
        >
        > From what actual information you give in the above account, it
        > sounds as if someone
        > visited the St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg, where the
        > buildings are only
        > slowly being returned to the monastery.
        >
        > The main monastery church had been given back to the faithful just
        > before Khruschev's
        > renewed persecutions, but in reality there was no monastery: only a
        > church, with several
        > priestmonks who conducted services there.
        >
        > The restored monastery buildings are only slowly being given back
        > to religious use; so far
        > as I know, the process is still not complete.
        >
        > Before the revolution, there were various workshops in the Lavra,
        > including, I believe, a
        > printery, an icon studio, gardens, and probably care of the
        > extensive cemeteries.
        >
        > Until the monastery is "put back together", the main activity for
        > the monks may be
        > teaching in the St. Petersburg seminary and theological academy,
        > which is on the
        > premises.
        >
        >> Then there is, by God's mercy, the true rebirth of Orthodoxy in
        >> Russia
        >> -- at which we rejoice and which we support with our prayers and
        >> material help -- which is occurring, despite the MP.
        >
        > JRS: Here you have an interesting comment: you distinguish between
        > the Russian Church
        > *as a whole*, and the central administration of the Moscow
        > Patriarchate.
        >
        > This is just what our hierarchs in the past did: when they rebuked
        > the Moscow
        > Patriarchate, they were referring, not to all the bishops, priests,
        > deacons and others, but to
        > a few people in Moscow who were claiming there was "no persecution" .
        >
        > But today, I doubt that the central administration is as corrupt as
        > you like to think. Our
        > church in Milwaukee has been installing new icons in traditional
        > Russian iconographic
        > style.
        >
        > But the icons are not from Jordanville or from Synod, and nobody at
        > either Jordanville or
        > the Synod House is involved.
        >
        > Is that a rebuke to Jordanville, or to ROCOR? Hardly. Nobody ever
        > expected the
        > Metropolitan or the Synod or the Diocese to come in and do things
        > for us in the parish.
        >
        >> How has the MP really moved forward? The Patriarch congratulates
        >> Communist heads of countries which actively persecute Christians.
        >
        > JRS: Not correct. He congratulated Fidel Castro, who supported the
        > building of two
        > Orthodox churches in Havana: one for the Greeks, and another for
        > the Russians.
        >
        >> If we only moved forward and didn't look backward, didn't read the
        >> lives of the Saints and the New Martyrs and their writings...
        >
        > JRS: I think you know full well that reading the lives of the
        > Saints, and better yet, the
        > homilies of the Church Fathers and the Catechism, not to mention
        > the Scriptures, is not
        > looking backward at all, but looking forward: to the life to come.
        >
        > In Christ
        > Fr. John R. Shaw
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Archives located at http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >





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      • George Edward Green III
        I can certainly gauge the sincerity of the numerous Monks I interacted with at the monastaries and know that your allegation that all Monastics in the MP are a
        Message 3 of 18 , Oct 2, 2006
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          I can certainly gauge the sincerity of the numerous Monks I interacted with at the monastaries and know that your allegation that all Monastics in the MP are a lie and a fascade is a bold and deliberate lie.

          Folks working hard to rebuild the churches the communists destroyed in places such as Vladimir, Suzdal, Kazan, and even tiny monasaries like the one I visted in the republic of Mari El.

          You lumped all these folks into your vile attack calling one and all God-haters.

          There is no comparison between the Communist era agents, who'd have as soon knocked down a church as rebuild one, and these folks who've dedicated themselves fully to trying to repair what the Soviet armies did; one brick at a time, often with little or no support from the upper administrative echelons.

          I half wonder when those sewing discord and separatism will produce their own Crown of Monomakh and suggest that there is a 4th Rome. These claims that tiny separatist groups are the 'real church' are no different than the protestant claims that there was no real church until the reformation.

          And FYI this is hardly the ONLY time I've visted Russia or monastaries and churches in Russia. Though Russia's continued progress in recovering from the damage the athiests inflicted is no less wonderful to witness on each successive visit. But I'll gladly admit that my conclusions are from what I've seen and done personally and not try to project my views onto the comments of Metropolitans who were speaking on a very different situation, in a very different time.

          George

          >It is not I who alleging this. It was Holy Metr.Philaret, previous First
          >Hierarch of ROCOR
          >who wrote it. Frankly you are calling him a liar, but he lived through it
          >and quotes from other hierarch's who have lived through it all. Are you
          >suggesting that on a visit one can make good judgement on the MP? We don't
          >even know whether the bishops or clergy are all baptized or ordained and by
          >whom.
          >
          >Michael N
          >
          >----- Original Message ----
          >From: George Edward Green III <kharaku@...>
          >To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
          >Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 1:21:05 PM
          >Subject: Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: So much has changed
          >
          >I just returned from Russia.
          >
          >While there I visited several monasteries far from Moscow, and St
          >Peterburg and what you're alleging is a lie, frankly you know it's a
          >lie, and it's vile you suggest what you do.
          >
          >George
          >
          >On Sep 29, 2006, at 11:29 AM, michael nikitin wrote:
          >
          >> The hierarch Theophan the Recluse in his own day warned that a
          >> terrible time was approaching when people would behold before their
          >> eyes all the appearance of church grandeur solemn services, church
          >> order, and such while on the inside there would be total betrayal
          >> of the Spirit of
          >> Christ. Is this not what we see in the Soviet church? Patriarchs,
          >> Metropolitans, all the priestly and monastic orders and at the very
          >> same time, an alliance with the God-haters, that is, a manifest
          >> betrayal of Christ.(Holy Metr.Philaret letter to Abbess Magdalena).
          >>
          >> NOTE:
          >> The letter to Abbess Magdalena and the one to Fr. Victor Potapov can
          >> also be found in the on-line archive of Tserkovnie Novosti / Church
          >> News, edited by Matushka Anastasia Schatiloff (ne Grabbe):
          >> http://www.roacusa.org/documents.html
          >>
          >> Michael N
          >>
          >> ----- Original Message ----
          >> From: Fr. John R. Shaw <vrevjrs@...>
          >> To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
          >> Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 8:06:49 AM
          >> Subject: [orthodox-synod] Re: So much has changed
          >>
          >> --- In orthodox-synod@ yahoogroups. com, Melissa Bushunow
          >> <cafeconlechemom@ ...>
          >> wrote:
          >>
          >>>> We don't have to go around looking for "what they can find...in the
          >>> writings of long-deceased ROCOR clergy, that they can use against the
          >>> Patriarchal Church," as Fr. John Shaw claims. It is right there in
          >>> front of our eyes.
          >>
          >> JRS: It is indeed in front of your eyes, but it seems you only pick
          >> what you want to see.
          >>
          >>> The hegumen ? who was "powdered" ("napudrenyi" ), with short hair and
          >>> and a short, neatly trimmed beard -- continually grabbed his ringing
          >>> cellphone. When one of visitors commented that it was the first time
          >>> he had ever seen a monk with a cellphone, the hegumen replied that
          >>> his
          >>> higher-ups want to be able to reach him at all times, and if he
          >>> doesn't
          >>> answer right away he will be in big trouble.
          >>
          >> JRS: Whoever wrote "napudreny" makes his bias obvious.
          >>
          >> Years and years ago, one of the Russian clergy from Australia who
          >> had joined the OCA
          >> visited Vl. Nikon's ROCOR cathedral in the Bronx, and wrote an
          >> attack similar to the above.
          >>
          >> From what actual information you give in the above account, it
          >> sounds as if someone
          >> visited the St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg, where the
          >> buildings are only
          >> slowly being returned to the monastery.
          >>
          >> The main monastery church had been given back to the faithful just
          >> before Khruschev's
          >> renewed persecutions, but in reality there was no monastery: only a
          >> church, with several
          >> priestmonks who conducted services there.
          >>
          >> The restored monastery buildings are only slowly being given back
          >> to religious use; so far
          >> as I know, the process is still not complete.
          >>
          >> Before the revolution, there were various workshops in the Lavra,
          >> including, I believe, a
          >> printery, an icon studio, gardens, and probably care of the
          >> extensive cemeteries.
          >>
          >> Until the monastery is "put back together", the main activity for
          >> the monks may be
          >> teaching in the St. Petersburg seminary and theological academy,
          >> which is on the
          >> premises.
          >>
          >>> Then there is, by God's mercy, the true rebirth of Orthodoxy in
          >>> Russia
          >>> -- at which we rejoice and which we support with our prayers and
          >>> material help -- which is occurring, despite the MP.
          >>
          >> JRS: Here you have an interesting comment: you distinguish between
          >> the Russian Church
          >> *as a whole*, and the central administration of the Moscow
          >> Patriarchate.
          >>
          >> This is just what our hierarchs in the past did: when they rebuked
          >> the Moscow
          >> Patriarchate, they were referring, not to all the bishops, priests,
          >> deacons and others, but to
          >> a few people in Moscow who were claiming there was "no persecution" .
          >>
          >> But today, I doubt that the central administration is as corrupt as
          >> you like to think. Our
          >> church in Milwaukee has been installing new icons in traditional
          >> Russian iconographic
          >> style.
          >>
          >> But the icons are not from Jordanville or from Synod, and nobody at
          >> either Jordanville or
          >> the Synod House is involved.
          >>
          >> Is that a rebuke to Jordanville, or to ROCOR? Hardly. Nobody ever
          >> expected the
          >> Metropolitan or the Synod or the Diocese to come in and do things
          >> for us in the parish.
          >>
          >>> How has the MP really moved forward? The Patriarch congratulates
          >>> Communist heads of countries which actively persecute Christians.
          >>
          >> JRS: Not correct. He congratulated Fidel Castro, who supported the
          >> building of two
          >> Orthodox churches in Havana: one for the Greeks, and another for
          >> the Russians.
          >>
          >>> If we only moved forward and didn't look backward, didn't read the
          >>> lives of the Saints and the New Martyrs and their writings...
          >>
          >> JRS: I think you know full well that reading the lives of the
          >> Saints, and better yet, the
          >> homilies of the Church Fathers and the Catechism, not to mention
          >> the Scriptures, is not
          >> looking backward at all, but looking forward: to the life to come.
          >>
          >> In Christ
          >> Fr. John R. Shaw
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >> Archives located at http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod
          >>
          >>
          >> Yahoo! Groups Links
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >Archives located at http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod
          >
          >
          >Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
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          >
          >
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          >
          >
          >
          >
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          >
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          >
          >
          >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >Archives located at http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod
          >
          >
          >Yahoo! Groups Links
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        • Melissa Bushunow
          ... ... Fr. John R. Shaw: Not correct. He congratulated Fidel Castro, who supported the building of two Orthodox churches in Havana: one
          Message 4 of 18 , Oct 7, 2006
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            --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, Melissa Bushunow
            <cafeconlechemom@...>
            wrote:
            > How has the MP really moved forward? The Patriarch congratulates
            > Communist heads of countries which actively persecute Christians.

            Fr. John R. Shaw: Not correct. He congratulated Fidel Castro, who
            supported the building of two
            Orthodox churches in Havana: one for the Greeks, and another for the
            Russians.


            And what about the run-of-the-mill Cubans? Are they permitted to go to
            these churches?

            �China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam [are] still considered to
            have communist regimes in power. While most experts agree that
            communism as an ideology is all but dead, the power structures (my bold
            face, MB) in these countries have endured. What�s more, they do not
            tolerate the growth of any group perceived as a threat to total
            control. North Korea is probably the most restricted nation in the
            world. Confessing to being a Christian -- or even suspected of being
            one -- will result in imprisonment or death.�
            http://www.compassdirect.org/en/display.php?
            page=news&lang=en&length=long&idelement=224

            For today, I�ll restrict discussion to Cuba. More on the MP and
            Vietenam and North Korea later.

            The state of religion in Cuba, as described by the 2006 International
            Religious Freedom Report released by the the US Bureau of Democracy,
            Human Rights, and Labor, in part reads:

            �There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom
            during the period covered by this report. Overall human rights
            conditions remained poor. Some religious figures who criticized the
            Government's totalitarian system in sermons were subjected to intense
            harassment. In general, unregistered religious groups continued to
            experience varying degrees of official interference, harassment, and
            repression. The Government maintained its policy of permitting
            apolitical religious activity to take place in government-approved
            sites. However, state security forces continued to subject to
            surveillance citizens worshipping in officially sanctioned churches,
            and the Government's continued its efforts to maintain a strong degree
            of control over religion.�

            http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2006/71456.htm

            People are not allowed to worship freely in Cuba and are actively
            persecuted for trying. See, for example:

            http://www.payolibre.addr.com/PRESO-%20Ricardo%20Santiago%20Medina.htm

            http://www.cswusa.com/Reports%20Pages/Reports-Cuba.htm

            http://www.christianpersecution.info/news/leading-cuban-christian-
            dissident-antunez-beaten-in-prison/

            www.compassdirect.org/en/display.php?
            page=news&lang=en&length=long&idelement=224



            The Orthodox churches in Havana, be they Greek or Russian, are just so
            many more tourist dollars/rubles/euros in Castro's pocket. That is
            exactly how churches "worked" in the Soviet Union (and there still are
            those functioning this way in way in the RF), so it's no surprise that
            Patriarch Alexei II congratulated Castro on catching on to this great
            money-making scheme. With God everything is possible, but I don't
            think we (with the exception of Fr. John) are anywhere near to
            glorifying Fidel as the enlightener of Cuba.

            ROCORites are not the only ones who think this. Orthodox priest, Rev.
            Johannes L. Jacobse identified the Soviet playbook: �When Ecumenical
            Patriarch Bartholomew visited Cuba in late January [2004], he followed
            a script written in the 1970s. We might call this the Fidel Castro
            scenario: Invite a prominent Church leader to take part in a public
            show of religious tolerance in order to mask the fundamentally
            anti-religious policies of the Cuban dictator's regime. When the
            Patriarch consecrated an Orthodox Church that closed when Communism was
            imposed on Cuba, he barely whispered a word about Castro's human right
            abuses.� See:

            http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles4/JacobseCubaVisit.php
            Patriarch Bartholomew's Visit to Cuba: A Missed Opportunity for Human
            Rights


            This is not a question of MP vs. EP. This is the MP showing its
            communist, sergianist colors by cozying up with Castro to build
            churches for show. Metropolitan Kirill says as much:

            �The church will constitute �a monument to Cuban-Russian friendship,�
            said Metropolitan Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church's
            foreign relations department. He traveled to Cuba from Moscow for the
            consecration. The church will also pay homage to the thousands of
            Russian workers, soldiers and technicians who cooperated with communist
            Cuba for three �glorious� decades before the fall of the Soviet Union,
            he said. �The past can reunite with the present, with the result being
            a common future,� Metropolitan Kirill said. �Russia will again be a
            great power ... that supports and defends its friends.��
            http://www.wwrn.org/article.php?idd=7434&sec=15&cont=6

            This intertwining of atheistic state and church is the sergianism with
            which the MP lives and breathes, and which it is spreading along with
            its �church planting� throughout the world.

            Churches are to built to give glory to God and His saints. They are not
            built to pay homage to people who � wittingly or unwittingly � were
            enlisted by the Soviet Union/RF with its partner the MP and Communist
            Cuba to enslave the Cubans. Nor can the new Orthodox churches being
            built there be regarded as anything but churches of the antichrist for
            the further enslavement of the Cubans until the Cuban government and
            all those who morally, financially, and spiritually support it repent
            -- publically, in word and deed. The Moscow Patriarchate should be
            first in line.


            Melissa Bushunow

















            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Fr. John R. Shaw
            ... JRS: Thus far, no one has even claimed that people were not being admitted to these churches. ... JRS: That statement is obviously false. Saudi Arabia, not
            Message 5 of 18 , Oct 8, 2006
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              --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, Melissa Bushunow <cafeconlechemom@...>
              wrote:

              > And what about the run-of-the-mill Cubans? Are they permitted to go to
              > these churches?

              JRS: Thus far, no one has even claimed that people were not being admitted to these
              churches.

              > North Korea is probably the most restricted nation in the
              > world. Confessing to being a Christian -- or even suspected of being
              > one -- will result in imprisonment or death."
              > http://www.compassdirect.org/en/display.php?
              > page=news&lang=en&length=long&idelement=224

              JRS: That statement is obviously false.

              Saudi Arabia, not North Korea, is the "most restricted nation in the world", and it is in
              Saudi Arabia that there is a death penalty for Christian worship, with special Islamic
              religious police.

              > "Overall human rights
              > conditions remained poor. Some religious figures who criticized the
              > Government's totalitarian system in sermons were subjected to intense
              > harassment. In general, unregistered religious groups continued to
              > experience varying degrees of official interference, harassment, and
              > repression. The Government maintained its policy of permitting
              > apolitical religious activity to take place in government-approved
              > sites.

              JRS: First of all, the same thing could have been said of Russia before the revolution; let
              alone of the Byzantine Empire, where St. John Chrysostom was exiled for criticizing the
              empress.

              It could also be said of many non-communist Latin American dictatorships, or of Franco's
              Spain.

              However, the "lack of democracy" is not a canonical, or even a religious, issue. The
              Orthodox Church has existed and functioned throughout its history under "authoritarian
              regimes".

              In Christ
              Fr. John R. Shaw
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