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The Vanishing Russians Parts I-III: What Responsibility Has the MP Taken?

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  • Mike Woodson
    This discussion hinges on the facts reported in the following articles published in the L.A. Times earlier this month, and what they tell us about the true
    Message 1 of 22 , Oct 28, 2006
      This discussion hinges on the facts reported in the following articles
      published in the L.A. Times earlier this month, and what they tell us
      about the true colors of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian
      Federation regime.

      A Dying Population
      <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-empty8oct08,0,40797\
      05.story?coll=la-home-headlines>

      For the Sick, No Place to Turn
      <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-collapse9oct09,0,59\
      57312.story?coll=la-home-headlines>

      The Future Looks a Lot More Diverse
      <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-recede10oct10,0,217\
      1059.story?coll=la-home-headlines>

      In a Battered City, Gravestones Tell the Story of a New Russia
      <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-graves9oct09,0,7837\
      118.story?coll=la-home-headlines>

      Reading the above articles is prerequisite to discussing the merits of
      the following arguments that I make from the facts reported:

      1. The Moscow Patriarchate and the Patriarch in power for the past 15
      years have not pushed for the building of hospitals affiliated with the
      Orthodox Church, but have rather accepted government funds for the
      building of beautiful and ornate churches. True religion is taking care
      of the orphan and widow, however, buildings and literature have trumped
      that at MP HQ. Therefore, the Moscow Patriarchate has been complicit in
      a regime of systematic neglect and ill-conceived transition from
      communism to a democratic republic, favoring its own title to properties
      rather than obtaining government land grants for the purpose of
      developing religious and spiritually centered health care facilities to
      treat the Russian people, care for the needs of the poor, and love the
      neighbor. No one cares how much you know until they know how much you
      care. That goes for giving literature to hungry families and building
      buildings for dying people who will likely not be able to come to them
      as they get sicker and sicker without help. The very rich will come,
      because they can afford health care in Russia. And frankly, their
      attention has been the Moscow Patriarchate's focus. Bring the big bucks
      to Church. Has anyone seen this subtle attitude operational in their
      parishes? Does money go to poor Russian emigres first, and then to the
      building fund? Or is it the opposite? Let every soul with that knowledge
      answer that one for themselves and then ask: what are we doing? Is it
      right?

      2. The Russian Federation government of Vladimir Putin, who has put his
      personal stamp on Russian government and law, has criminally neglected
      health care and agricultural development spending and reforms that would
      have made the transition from communism to a democratic republic with a
      quasi-free market more orderly and beneficial. Instead, a fully-free
      gangster economy, such as the kind the U.S. corrected in its own
      history, took off. Not only Yeltsin, but Putin, and Putin's "partners"
      among Russian parties, organizations, and business, have collectively
      fed their own political and business interests in said environment
      rather than tending to the needs of the Russian majority in true
      Orthodox Christian fashion. Only just this past month, the Putin regime
      has suddenly (!) discovered the aweful state of health care in Russia
      and its republics, and has announced oil profits to be spent on that
      system.

      3. If we have seen a spiritual revival in Russia, why has health care
      for the people of Russia, most of whom make up the backbone of the
      Church in Russia, been so neglected. And, why has clean-up of
      industrially toxic and radiation stained lands been neglected? Do the
      people not rate highly enough? Or, should they, in obeisance to their
      hierarchical leaders, just shut up and not protest. Well, those who
      suffer the consequences of these disastrous priorities are too weak,
      sick and tired to protest -- or, drunk on whatever form of alcohol or
      alcohol substitute they can get their hands on to anesthesize themselve.
      And so, while the MP trumpets opposition to the sins of secularism in
      other countries, it does not preach about its own materialism which
      takes place in neglect of the dire needs of the Russian people.

      4. Nor does the MP preach, at risk to itself, against the criminal
      neglect of the Putin regime, because it has a conflict of interest
      receiving building funds and properties from the regime. The MP is not
      using those resources to care for the basic human needs of the people of
      Russia as it could. It prefers buildings to people. The Lord said, "As
      you do to the least of these, so you do also unto me." That is the
      bottom line for true religion in Christ if the Bible is relevant to the
      MP. Is the Holy Bible still relevant to governing the MP in conduct and
      not just in all of the pious sounding things it announces?

      Below I reproduce two key paragraphs buttressing my arguments of
      neglect, and specifically, because the paragraphs discussed conditions
      of 3 years ago, versus the LA Times report now, I argue that the Moscow
      Patriarchate, acting as the social policy arm of the government, has
      been partially responsible for these status quos. At the time of the
      below report excerpts from a 2003 US State Department Country Report
      <http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27861.htm> , Patriarch
      Alexei II who had been asserting that there had been a spiritual revival
      in Russia back in 2003, had been in office for twelve years (12) when
      the below statistics about the MP's government power, and about homeless
      children came out. What is said, and what is done, is yet again
      different. The virtous thing is written or said, and the reality is
      something else. See how this applied to children in 2003:
      The status of many children has deteriorated since the collapse of
      communism because of falling living standards, an increase in the number
      of broken homes, and domestic violence. Authorities cited 253,000
      parents in 2001 for leaving children on the street unattended, up from
      248,000 in 2000. In Moscow, approximately 6,000 children per year were
      brought to the Center of Temporary Isolation of Minor Delinquents
      (COVINA). These children stayed in COVINA for no more than 30 days.
      During this period, the child's case was investigated, and his or her
      guardian was located; however, in 90 to 95 percent of these cases, the
      police simply returned the children to their families or to the
      institution from which the children ran away. Many officials considered
      domestic problems private affairs and preferred not to interfere.
      Trafficking in children was a problem (see Section 6.f.)."

      Figures for homeless children were unreliable. According to the Ministry
      of Labor, there were estimates from 100,000 to 5 million neglected
      children in Russia. In 2002, about 681,000 vagrant children were
      detained by law enforcement agencies, 2.5 times the 2001 rate. About
      50,000 adolescents were on the local and federal wanted lists in 2002,
      13.5 percent more than in 2001. The Russian Children's Fund estimated in
      2001 that there were approximately 2.5 million children living on the
      street, although other estimates reached as high as 4 million;
      scientific studies used differing methodologies to count street
      children. During the year, Moscow authorities indicated that 40,000
      working street children lived in the capital but claimed 80 percent were
      from places other than Moscow. In addition, there were approximately
      3,000 young persons ageed 18 to 24 in Leningrad Oblast, most of them
      discharged from state institutions and given state housing, who had
      difficulty maintaining a residence and adapting to non-institutional
      life in general. Homeless children often engaged in criminal activities,
      received no education, and were vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse.
      Some young girls on the street turned, to or were forced into,
      prostitution in order to survive.

      And here is the report on the Moscow Patriarchate's true relationship to
      the Russian government, indicating its influential, yet apparently
      ineffectual and neglectful role during these years:

      Many religious minority groups and NGOs complained of what they believed
      was collusion between the Russian Orthodox Church and the state. Neither
      the Constitution nor the 1997 law accords explicit privileges or
      advantages to "traditional religions;" however, many politicians and
      public figures argued for closer cooperation with them, above all with
      the Russian Orthodox Church's Moscow Patriarchate. Public statements by
      some government officials, including President Putin, and anecdotal
      evidence from religious minority groups, suggested that the Russian
      Orthodox Church increasingly enjoyed a status that approached official.
      The Church has entered into a number of agreements with government
      ministries giving it special access to institutions such as schools,
      hospitals, prisons, the police, the FSB, and the army. The Russian
      Orthodox Church appears to have had greater success reclaiming
      pre-revolutionary property than other groups, and many religious workers
      believed that the Russian Orthodox Church played a role in the
      cancellation of visas held by non-Orthodox foreign religious workers.

      The child neglect problem was actually worsening 11 years into Patriarch
      Alexei II's reign over the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia. Same with
      the broken family problem. And if you consider health care part of
      Christian ministry, as I do, there were apparently very few if any
      attempts by the MP to spearhead reforms in on that front for the past
      fifteen (15) years.

      Neglect kills people just as sure as abortion does. St. Paul said, "He
      who knows to do good, but does not do it, to him that is a sin."

      It is this Moscow Patriarchate that the ROCOR stands to legitimize by
      lifting the suspension on communion. The suspension was never governing
      the same communion between those members of the Russian Church in Russia
      and Outside of Russia. It was always for the purpose of bringing the MP
      to repentance and Russia to freedom. The information on record shows a
      stunning bankruptcy in ethics at the MP for allowing its conflict of
      interest and cronyism with the Kremlin to numb it to the need to preach
      out and be the conscience and the moral leadership in getting the
      government and business to act to improve the health, welfare and
      development of Russia-at-Large.

      Is the Moscow Patriarchate that has still not repented of these lapses,
      really what the ROCOR wants to legitimize with the lift on the
      suspension of communion planned for 2007, given what we know of the MP's
      unrepentant priorities over these past 15 to 20 years?



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Fr. John R. Shaw
      ... JRS: Well, then, you are wrong: because the Moscow Patriarchate is not an arm of the government. In Christ Fr. John R. Shaw
      Message 2 of 22 , Oct 29, 2006
        --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Woodson" <singingmountains@...>
        wrote:

        > I argue that the Moscow
        > Patriarchate, acting as the social policy arm of the government, has
        > been partially responsible...

        JRS: Well, then, you are wrong: because the Moscow Patriarchate is not an arm of the
        government.

        In Christ
        Fr. John R. Shaw
      • Fr. John R. Shaw
        ... JRS: All the articles referred to by Mr. Woodson are by someone named Kim Murphy. I am sure that this Kim Murphy is not Orthodox, and she clearly does not
        Message 3 of 22 , Oct 29, 2006
          --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Woodson" <singingmountains@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > This discussion hinges on the facts reported in the following articles
          > published in the L.A. Times earlier this month, and what they tell us
          > about the true colors of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian
          > Federation regime.

          JRS: All the articles referred to by Mr. Woodson are by someone named Kim Murphy.

          I am sure that this Kim Murphy is not Orthodox, and she clearly does not know much
          about the Orthodox Church.

          But the fact that Mr. Woodson could make the following statement is amazing:

          > 1. The Moscow Patriarchate and the Patriarch in power for the past 15
          > years have not pushed for the building of hospitals affiliated with the
          > Orthodox Church, but have rather accepted government funds for the
          > building of beautiful and ornate churches. True religion is taking care
          > of the orphan and widow, however, buildings and literature have trumped
          > that at MP HQ.

          JRS: The above shows almost total ignorance of the situation of religion in Russia, as well
          as a Protestant bent.

          The first and most obvious step in the revival of the Church is Russia, is providing church
          services and places for people to worship in.

          Even in America, those of us who are active in the Orthodox Church know that parish life
          starts with regular church services, and a place to hold them.

          If there is no church, there is no parish.

          In Russia, the largest country in the world, there were only a handful of "functioning
          churches" as of 20 years ago.

          Take the example of Odessa (now in the Ukraine): the pre-revolution "Bolshaya
          Entsiklopedia" listed 46 Russian Orthodox churches there, plus several Greek parishes
          along with the houses of worship of other denominations.

          On the eve of the German invasion in World War II, there was only one church that was
          theoretically "functioning", in the First Christian Cemetery; but even that church was
          locked, without services, because they had arrested the last priest.

          During the German and then the Romanian occupation of Odessa, 35 churches were
          reopened.

          But by the time Mikahil Gorbachev came to power, only 3 of those churches were still open
          to the faithful.

          In Leningrad (St. Petersburg), there were theoretically 19 functioning churches, but most
          of them were in outlying areas or other towns; in the city itself, I was able to find only 4
          functioning churches when I was there in 1967 and 1969.

          And that, for a city of over a million people.

          In other cities, for example Murmansk, there were no churches at all, and no clergy. Few
          villages or smaller towns had a church.

          So the greatest need of the Russian Church has been providing churches for all areas of
          the country.

          Contemptuous remarks about "ornate churches" also show a Protestant bent: a great deal
          of love goes into making the house of God a place of prayer, and a bare "auditorium" with
          "simple services" is not satisfactory for that.

          However, the assertion that the church has not been providing hospitals and social
          services is quite false. One can read about these things on the church websites (if one is
          even interested in reading anything positive).

          It is amazing the Mr. Woodson goes to so much trouble amassing all this lengthy
          disinformation about the Russian Church, instead of trying to learn something genuine
          about Orthodoxy and about Russia.

          In Christ
          Fr. John R. Shaw
        • Carol Surgant
          Mike Woodson wrote: This discussion hinges on the facts reported in the following articles published in the L.A. Times
          Message 4 of 22 , Oct 29, 2006
            Mike Woodson <singingmountains@...> wrote: This discussion hinges on the facts reported in the following articles
            published in the L.A. Times earlier this month, and what they tell us about the true colors of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Federation regime.

            1. The Moscow Patriarchate and the Patriarch in power for the past 15 years have not pushed for the building of hospitals affiliated with the Orthodox Church, but have rather accepted government funds for the building of beautiful and ornate churches. ...

            cas: So how many Orthodox hospitals have been built in the USA? Where are the hospitials built by ROAC, ROCIE, HOCNA (since they are so perfectly Orthodox) or any other Orthodox Church in America? After over 100 years of unfettered Orthodoxy here?
            Why do you judge the Russian Church by a standard that even we have NOT fulfilled? Why can't you see it as a good thing that beautiful Churches are being built?
            Matt. 26:7-8 "There came unto Him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious myrrh, and poured it on His head, as He sat at table. But when the disciples saw it, they were indignant saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this myrrh might have been sold for much, and given to the poor."
            The explanation of these verses by Blessed Theophylact:
            "Nor should you think that because Christ in His love for mankind accepts mercy shown to others as something offered to Himself, that we should overlook God and only practice almsgiving. For if this were so, we ought then to steal from the temples and use what is stolen for almsgiving. But it is not so; and that you may understand that it is not the same thing to show mercy to the poor and to honor Christ Himself and to serve Him." - The Explanation by Theophylact of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew, http://chrysostompress.org

            Since you call the information in those articles *facts*, the fact is, very little in the articles had anything to do with the Church, rather they were a stern indictment against the Soviet regime, and its rather poor replacement. Yes, the articles are sad, but you falsely ascribe all social ills in Russia to the Church. Yes, there are many cities and towns in Russia with primitive medical facilities. I saw some of them in Ukraine, but you cannot fault the current government or the Church for an appalling medical clinic that looks like an American facility from the 1920's. Why didn't the USSR by 1989 provide all its people with up-to-date medical care? The same 1920's era clinic was also there in 1989 and it sure wasn't the Church's fault. Or did the Church build the copper smelter and pollute the land and rivers with radioactivity?

            As for truth printed by the L.A. Times, I'd rather line a rabbit cage with it.
            I prefer to get my information on the Church from my immigrant friends who lived there and the true witnesses on this list who have actually been to Russia, rather than from a socialist newspaper.

            Carol Surgant


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          • V. Boitchenko
            Mike, All three articles come from the same source and are written by the same author. Before even reading the articles, do we know the author? Do we know what
            Message 5 of 22 , Oct 30, 2006
              Mike,

              All three articles come from the same source and are written by the same author. Before even reading the articles, do we know the author? Do we know what her experience is? Do we know that she is not just another Russophobe who hates Russia, and see everything only in dark colors? My main question is how reliable is the source?

              viatcheslav




              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Mike Woodson
              To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Saturday, October 28, 2006 9:48 PM
              Subject: [orthodox-synod] The Vanishing Russians Parts I-III: What Responsibility Has the MP Taken?


              This discussion hinges on the facts reported in the following articles
              published in the L.A. Times earlier this month, and what they tell us
              about the true colors of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian
              Federation regime.

              A Dying Population
              <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-empty8oct08,0,40797\
              05.story?coll=la-home-headlines>

              For the Sick, No Place to Turn
              <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-collapse9oct09,0,59\
              57312.story?coll=la-home-headlines>

              The Future Looks a Lot More Diverse
              <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-recede10oct10,0,217\
              1059.story?coll=la-home-headlines>

              In a Battered City, Gravestones Tell the Story of a New Russia
              <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-graves9oct09,0,7837\
              118.story?coll=la-home-headlines>

              Reading the above articles is prerequisite to discussing the merits of
              the following arguments that I make from the facts reported:

              1. The Moscow Patriarchate and the Patriarch in power for the past 15
              years have not pushed for the building of hospitals affiliated with the
              Orthodox Church, but have rather accepted government funds for the
              building of beautiful and ornate churches. True religion is taking care
              of the orphan and widow, however, buildings and literature have trumped
              that at MP HQ. Therefore, the Moscow Patriarchate has been complicit in
              a regime of systematic neglect and ill-conceived transition from
              communism to a democratic republic, favoring its own title to properties
              rather than obtaining government land grants for the purpose of
              developing religious and spiritually centered health care facilities to
              treat the Russian people, care for the needs of the poor, and love the
              neighbor. No one cares how much you know until they know how much you
              care. That goes for giving literature to hungry families and building
              buildings for dying people who will likely not be able to come to them
              as they get sicker and sicker without help. The very rich will come,
              because they can afford health care in Russia. And frankly, their
              attention has been the Moscow Patriarchate's focus. Bring the big bucks
              to Church. Has anyone seen this subtle attitude operational in their
              parishes? Does money go to poor Russian emigres first, and then to the
              building fund? Or is it the opposite? Let every soul with that knowledge
              answer that one for themselves and then ask: what are we doing? Is it
              right?

              2. The Russian Federation government of Vladimir Putin, who has put his
              personal stamp on Russian government and law, has criminally neglected
              health care and agricultural development spending and reforms that would
              have made the transition from communism to a democratic republic with a
              quasi-free market more orderly and beneficial. Instead, a fully-free
              gangster economy, such as the kind the U.S. corrected in its own
              history, took off. Not only Yeltsin, but Putin, and Putin's "partners"
              among Russian parties, organizations, and business, have collectively
              fed their own political and business interests in said environment
              rather than tending to the needs of the Russian majority in true
              Orthodox Christian fashion. Only just this past month, the Putin regime
              has suddenly (!) discovered the aweful state of health care in Russia
              and its republics, and has announced oil profits to be spent on that
              system.

              3. If we have seen a spiritual revival in Russia, why has health care
              for the people of Russia, most of whom make up the backbone of the
              Church in Russia, been so neglected. And, why has clean-up of
              industrially toxic and radiation stained lands been neglected? Do the
              people not rate highly enough? Or, should they, in obeisance to their
              hierarchical leaders, just shut up and not protest. Well, those who
              suffer the consequences of these disastrous priorities are too weak,
              sick and tired to protest -- or, drunk on whatever form of alcohol or
              alcohol substitute they can get their hands on to anesthesize themselve.
              And so, while the MP trumpets opposition to the sins of secularism in
              other countries, it does not preach about its own materialism which
              takes place in neglect of the dire needs of the Russian people.

              4. Nor does the MP preach, at risk to itself, against the criminal
              neglect of the Putin regime, because it has a conflict of interest
              receiving building funds and properties from the regime. The MP is not
              using those resources to care for the basic human needs of the people of
              Russia as it could. It prefers buildings to people. The Lord said, "As
              you do to the least of these, so you do also unto me." That is the
              bottom line for true religion in Christ if the Bible is relevant to the
              MP. Is the Holy Bible still relevant to governing the MP in conduct and
              not just in all of the pious sounding things it announces?

              Below I reproduce two key paragraphs buttressing my arguments of
              neglect, and specifically, because the paragraphs discussed conditions
              of 3 years ago, versus the LA Times report now, I argue that the Moscow
              Patriarchate, acting as the social policy arm of the government, has
              been partially responsible for these status quos. At the time of the
              below report excerpts from a 2003 US State Department Country Report
              <http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27861.htm> , Patriarch
              Alexei II who had been asserting that there had been a spiritual revival
              in Russia back in 2003, had been in office for twelve years (12) when
              the below statistics about the MP's government power, and about homeless
              children came out. What is said, and what is done, is yet again
              different. The virtous thing is written or said, and the reality is
              something else. See how this applied to children in 2003:
              The status of many children has deteriorated since the collapse of
              communism because of falling living standards, an increase in the number
              of broken homes, and domestic violence. Authorities cited 253,000
              parents in 2001 for leaving children on the street unattended, up from
              248,000 in 2000. In Moscow, approximately 6,000 children per year were
              brought to the Center of Temporary Isolation of Minor Delinquents
              (COVINA). These children stayed in COVINA for no more than 30 days.
              During this period, the child's case was investigated, and his or her
              guardian was located; however, in 90 to 95 percent of these cases, the
              police simply returned the children to their families or to the
              institution from which the children ran away. Many officials considered
              domestic problems private affairs and preferred not to interfere.
              Trafficking in children was a problem (see Section 6.f.)."

              Figures for homeless children were unreliable. According to the Ministry
              of Labor, there were estimates from 100,000 to 5 million neglected
              children in Russia. In 2002, about 681,000 vagrant children were
              detained by law enforcement agencies, 2.5 times the 2001 rate. About
              50,000 adolescents were on the local and federal wanted lists in 2002,
              13.5 percent more than in 2001. The Russian Children's Fund estimated in
              2001 that there were approximately 2.5 million children living on the
              street, although other estimates reached as high as 4 million;
              scientific studies used differing methodologies to count street
              children. During the year, Moscow authorities indicated that 40,000
              working street children lived in the capital but claimed 80 percent were
              from places other than Moscow. In addition, there were approximately
              3,000 young persons ageed 18 to 24 in Leningrad Oblast, most of them
              discharged from state institutions and given state housing, who had
              difficulty maintaining a residence and adapting to non-institutional
              life in general. Homeless children often engaged in criminal activities,
              received no education, and were vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse.
              Some young girls on the street turned, to or were forced into,
              prostitution in order to survive.

              And here is the report on the Moscow Patriarchate's true relationship to
              the Russian government, indicating its influential, yet apparently
              ineffectual and neglectful role during these years:

              Many religious minority groups and NGOs complained of what they believed
              was collusion between the Russian Orthodox Church and the state. Neither
              the Constitution nor the 1997 law accords explicit privileges or
              advantages to "traditional religions;" however, many politicians and
              public figures argued for closer cooperation with them, above all with
              the Russian Orthodox Church's Moscow Patriarchate. Public statements by
              some government officials, including President Putin, and anecdotal
              evidence from religious minority groups, suggested that the Russian
              Orthodox Church increasingly enjoyed a status that approached official.
              The Church has entered into a number of agreements with government
              ministries giving it special access to institutions such as schools,
              hospitals, prisons, the police, the FSB, and the army. The Russian
              Orthodox Church appears to have had greater success reclaiming
              pre-revolutionary property than other groups, and many religious workers
              believed that the Russian Orthodox Church played a role in the
              cancellation of visas held by non-Orthodox foreign religious workers.

              The child neglect problem was actually worsening 11 years into Patriarch
              Alexei II's reign over the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia. Same with
              the broken family problem. And if you consider health care part of
              Christian ministry, as I do, there were apparently very few if any
              attempts by the MP to spearhead reforms in on that front for the past
              fifteen (15) years.

              Neglect kills people just as sure as abortion does. St. Paul said, "He
              who knows to do good, but does not do it, to him that is a sin."

              It is this Moscow Patriarchate that the ROCOR stands to legitimize by
              lifting the suspension on communion. The suspension was never governing
              the same communion between those members of the Russian Church in Russia
              and Outside of Russia. It was always for the purpose of bringing the MP
              to repentance and Russia to freedom. The information on record shows a
              stunning bankruptcy in ethics at the MP for allowing its conflict of
              interest and cronyism with the Kremlin to numb it to the need to preach
              out and be the conscience and the moral leadership in getting the
              government and business to act to improve the health, welfare and
              development of Russia-at-Large.

              Is the Moscow Patriarchate that has still not repented of these lapses,
              really what the ROCOR wants to legitimize with the lift on the
              suspension of communion planned for 2007, given what we know of the MP's
              unrepentant priorities over these past 15 to 20 years?

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





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • michael nikitin
              Fr. John explains to us there were very few Churches open in the Soviet Union. He is correct. After the MP was created by Stalin, Stalin picked HIS patriarch,
              Message 6 of 22 , Oct 30, 2006
                Fr. John explains to us there were very few Churches open in the
                Soviet Union. He is correct. After the MP was created by Stalin,
                Stalin picked HIS patriarch, HIS bishops, HIS clergy and created
                HIS "Church" the MP.
                And it has been functioning to this day with these clergy who are
                picked by the regime for their bidding.

                Of course the outward form is there. In the churches they sing,
                serve, ring bells...go through all the motions... but that is
                their job which they are picked for. God will judge everyone to
                their understanding.

                Michael N


                --- "Fr. John R. Shaw" <vrevjrs@...> wrote:

                > --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Woodson"
                > <singingmountains@...>
                > wrote:
                > >
                > > This discussion hinges on the facts reported in the following
                > articles
                > > published in the L.A. Times earlier this month, and what they
                > tell us
                > > about the true colors of the Moscow Patriarchate and the
                > Russian Federation regime.
                >
                > JRS: All the articles referred to by Mr. Woodson are by someone
                > named Kim Murphy.
                >
                > I am sure that this Kim Murphy is not Orthodox, and she clearly
                > does not know much about the Orthodox Church.
                >
                > But the fact that Mr. Woodson could make the following
                > statement is amazing:
                >
                > > 1. The Moscow Patriarchate and the Patriarch in power for the
                > past 15
                > > years have not pushed for the building of hospitals
                > affiliated with the
                > > Orthodox Church, but have rather accepted government funds
                > for the
                > > building of beautiful and ornate churches. True religion is
                > taking care
                > > of the orphan and widow, however, buildings and literature
                > have trumped that at MP HQ.
                >
                > JRS: The above shows almost total ignorance of the situation of
                > religion in Russia, as well as a Protestant bent.
                >
                > The first and most obvious step in the revival of the Church is
                > Russia, is providing church
                > services and places for people to worship in.
                >
                > Even in America, those of us who are active in the Orthodox
                > Church know that parish life
                > starts with regular church services, and a place to hold them.
                >
                > If there is no church, there is no parish.
                >
                > In Russia, the largest country in the world, there were only a
                > handful of "functioning churches" as of 20 years ago.
                >
                > Take the example of Odessa (now in the Ukraine): the
                > pre-revolution "Bolshaya
                > Entsiklopedia" listed 46 Russian Orthodox churches there, plus
                > several Greek parishes
                > along with the houses of worship of other denominations.
                >
                > On the eve of the German invasion in World War II, there was
                > only one church that was
                > theoretically "functioning", in the First Christian Cemetery;
                > but even that church was
                > locked, without services, because they had arrested the last
                > priest.
                >
                > During the German and then the Romanian occupation of Odessa,
                > 35 churches were reopened.
                >
                > But by the time Mikahil Gorbachev came to power, only 3 of
                > those churches were still open to the faithful.
                >
                > In Leningrad (St. Petersburg), there were theoretically 19
                > functioning churches, but most
                > of them were in outlying areas or other towns; in the city
                > itself, I was able to find only 4
                > functioning churches when I was there in 1967 and 1969.
                >
                > And that, for a city of over a million people.
                >
                > In other cities, for example Murmansk, there were no churches
                > at all, and no clergy. Few
                > villages or smaller towns had a church.
                >
                > So the greatest need of the Russian Church has been providing
                > churches for all areas of the country.
                >
                > Contemptuous remarks about "ornate churches" also show a
                > Protestant bent: a great deal
                > of love goes into making the house of God a place of prayer,
                > and a bare "auditorium" with
                > "simple services" is not satisfactory for that.
                >
                > However, the assertion that the church has not been providing
                > hospitals and social
                > services is quite false. One can read about these things on the
                > church websites (if one is
                > even interested in reading anything positive).
                >
                > It is amazing the Mr. Woodson goes to so much trouble amassing
                > all this lengthy
                > disinformation about the Russian Church, instead of trying to
                > learn something genuine
                > about Orthodoxy and about Russia.
                >
                > In Christ
                > Fr. John R. Shaw



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              • Fr. John R. Shaw
                ... JRS: Of course, Stalin did not create the MP: he simply lessened the persecution, when he needed all the popular support he could get during World War
                Message 7 of 22 , Oct 31, 2006
                  --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "michael nikitin" <"Peter Andreev"> wrote:
                  >
                  > Fr. John explains to us there were very few Churches open in the
                  > Soviet Union. He is correct. After the MP was created by Stalin,
                  > Stalin picked HIS patriarch, HIS bishops, HIS clergy and created
                  > HIS "Church" the MP.
                  > And it has been functioning to this day with these clergy who are
                  > picked by the regime for their bidding.

                  JRS: Of course, Stalin did not "create" the MP: he simply lessened the persecution, when he
                  needed all the popular support he could get during World War II.

                  The current Patriarch was elected, if anything, democratically, after the repose of Patriarch
                  Pimen in 1990.

                  In Christ
                  Fr. John R. Shaw
                • michael nikitin
                  http://religion.ng.ru/people/2004-02-04/4_blokada.html A major marker of a new state religious policy became the September 4, 1943 meeting which took place at
                  Message 8 of 22 , Oct 31, 2006
                    http://religion.ng.ru/people/2004-02-04/4_blokada.html

                    A major marker of a new state religious policy became the
                    September 4, 1943 meeting which took place at Stalin's dacha with
                    the participation of Georgiy Malenkov, Lavrentiy Beria,
                    representatives of the NKGB. Questions of opening parishes,
                    spiritual educational institutions, release of church
                    publications, election of a new patriarch, etc. were decided at
                    this meeting. Stalin and Molotov and Metropolitans
                    Sergiy(Stragorodskiy), Alexiy (Simanskiy) and
                    Nikolai (Yarushevich) summarized the results of the discussion at
                    an official night-time reception in the Kremlin. In September
                    1943,a special state organ was created - the Council for Russian
                    Orthodox Church Affairs, headed by Georgiy Karpov, a colonel of
                    state security.

                    http://experts.about.com/e/l/la/lavrentiy_beria.htm



                    --- "Fr. John R. Shaw" <vrevjrs@...> wrote:

                    > --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "michael nikitin"
                    > <"Peter Andreev"> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Fr. John explains to us there were very few Churches open in
                    > the Soviet Union. He is correct. After the MP was created by
                    > Stalin,Stalin picked HIS patriarch, HIS bishops, HIS clergy and
                    > created HIS "Church" the MP. And it has been functioning to
                    this day with these clergy who are picked by the regime for their
                    bidding.
                    >
                    > JRS: Of course, Stalin did not "create" the MP: he simply
                    > lessened the persecution, when he
                    > needed all the popular support he could get during World War
                    > II.
                    >
                    > The current Patriarch was elected, if anything, democratically,
                    > after the repose of Patriarch Pimen in 1990.
                    >
                    > In Christ
                    > Fr. John R. Shaw
                    >




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                  • Mike Woodson
                    Viatcheslav, I would take the opposite approach. Read the reports and then cross check the factual representations with other sources. I did that. By the
                    Message 9 of 22 , Oct 31, 2006
                      Viatcheslav,

                      I would take the opposite approach. Read the reports and then cross
                      check the factual representations with other sources. I did that. By
                      the comments that immediately came out of the usual corners, I could
                      tell that they were not made having carefully read the reports or
                      checked on the data referred to in them.

                      It is convenient to try to discredit the source of reports by "who
                      they are," such as Fr. John Shaw did, before reading. That's how the
                      entire Russian government and MP operate: by sticking their heads in
                      the sand and hoping the Russian population goes away without
                      scrutinizing them. They're going away alright.

                      Fr. John Shaw suggested that because the woman reporter who wrote the
                      LA Times series was named "Kim Murphy" that was somehow suspicious. He
                      also assumed that because she was not Orthodox, she might not know
                      anything about the Church. Well, you don't have to know much about the
                      Church to report on the realities in Russia. It is easy enough for the
                      reader to read other information about the MP and make the connection
                      between its leadership, power access, and emphases and the status quo
                      in Russia reported on by such as Kim Murphy. Sound Irish, do you think
                      she might be named for a Celtic Orthodox saint?

                      Here are data sources that I checked for consistency or inconsistency
                      with the LA Times articles' facts, which, by the way, checked out:

                      (1) Rand study which uses Russian data for its demographic analysis
                      and historical study of USSR and now Russian demographics. I linked to
                      and excerpted that study in previous posts here.

                      (2) CIA Factbook data on Russia updated this month, including vital
                      demographic stats.

                      (3) State Department Country Report 2003, Russia, cited and linked to
                      in my post.

                      (4) Statements by MP Archbishop Clement of Kaluga and Borovsk, a
                      leader of external affairs for the Patriarchate of Moscow, related to
                      Episcopal Church in a NY visit in 1998 about the state of the Russian
                      Church and Russia, and what it planned to build. Reproduced and cited
                      here. Now, where are all the rebuilded hospitals since 1992? He noted
                      that the Orthodox hospitals had been destroyed by the Bolsheviks and
                      had to be rebuilt. Have they been? How many? Where are they?

                      (5) Time Magazine recent report on the murder of the journalists in
                      Russia and other sources on same topic.

                      (6) Johnson's Russia report.

                      (7) Yahoo News! / AP / ITAR-TASS / Pravda / Novaya Gazeta / WSJ / The
                      Economist . . .

                      (8) Conversations with visitors returning from Russia.

                      And what some people here seem to be saying is that these reports are
                      just part of one big Russophobic conspiracy to destroy Russia.

                      My answer to that is, no one could do a better job at destroying
                      Russia than the Russian regime and the MP in how they have neglected
                      the Russian people while handling the transition, fully cognizant of
                      Russia's problems. Perhaps the leadership just snapped, seeing the
                      enormity of the job ahead; the elites of state decided to party and
                      finance friends in exchange for favors; and the elites of the Moscow
                      Patriarchate decided to store up for themselves the things that moth
                      and rust can destroy.

                      Was it overwhelming to take on that task? Surely it was, however, the
                      time for asserting control for the transition was at the beginning,
                      letting off as the Russian people and economy made the adjustment. Now
                      what is needed is investment, or else not all of the control in the
                      world will stop the catasrophe that must follow because a lack of
                      investment in the Russian people, their infrastructure and their
                      health. True spirituality at the helm of the Moscow Patriarchy would
                      make the authoritarian controls by Putin's administration unnecessary.

                      Now, instead of the USSR financing the worldwide communist revolution,
                      the RF state and Church leadership have been financing the elite and
                      themselves, as Sebastian Smith of Time pointed out. Who suffers? The
                      good, brilliant, kind and innately spiritual Russian people. One of
                      the greatest resources for the rest of the world gets knocked off with
                      democide by the most ruthless and greedy among them who seek power
                      dishonestly while they wait to be led honestly. It confirms that the
                      devil is truly in control of the world and the flesh.

                      The Russian people have been conditioned to just "go along to get
                      along." It was beat into them. And more recently, they're just not up
                      to protesting because so many of them are sick and dying or scrambling
                      to make a living.

                      I can speak for myself: I speak out to save Russian lives. I know that
                      if Russian lives are saved, and survival times go up, more Russians
                      will be able to get baptized, go to Church and live an Orthodox life
                      before they die. That's priority one. If they do that, the sooner St.
                      Seraphim of Sarov's prophecy about Russia's true spiritual greatness
                      comes true. And I'd like to be alive to benefit from that or see my
                      children benefit from Holy Russia on her feet again. Not another USSR
                      Reloaded.

                      Then, I also know that the Orthodox Christian culture will survive as
                      Russian birthrates increase again with heavy investment in the medical
                      infrastructure to get it turned around. This will insure that the
                      second largest nuclear, biological and chemical arsenal in the world
                      does not fall into the hands of a Muslim Russia halfway through this
                      next century. As I see it, Muslim Russia is an oxymoron. And the
                      people who are insuring that oxymoron for the future are just plain
                      morons.

                      Michael

                      --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "V. Boitchenko"
                      <tompkins440@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Mike,
                      >
                      > All three articles come from the same source and are written by the
                      same author. Before even reading the articles, do we know the author?
                      Do we know what her experience is? Do we know that she is not just
                      another Russophobe who hates Russia, and see everything only in dark
                      colors? My main question is how reliable is the source?
                      >
                      > viatcheslav
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > ----- Original Message -----
                      > From: Mike Woodson
                      > To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
                      > Sent: Saturday, October 28, 2006 9:48 PM
                      > Subject: [orthodox-synod] The Vanishing Russians Parts I-III: What
                      Responsibility Has the MP Taken?
                      >
                      >
                      > This discussion hinges on the facts reported in the following articles
                      > published in the L.A. Times earlier this month, and what they tell us
                      > about the true colors of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian
                      > Federation regime.
                      >
                      > A Dying Population
                      >
                      <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-empty8oct08,0,40797\
                      > 05.story?coll=la-home-headlines>
                      >
                      > For the Sick, No Place to Turn
                      >
                      <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-collapse9oct09,0,59\
                      > 57312.story?coll=la-home-headlines>
                      >
                      > The Future Looks a Lot More Diverse
                      >
                      <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-recede10oct10,0,217\
                      > 1059.story?coll=la-home-headlines>
                      >
                      > In a Battered City, Gravestones Tell the Story of a New Russia
                      >
                      <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-graves9oct09,0,7837\
                      > 118.story?coll=la-home-headlines>
                      >
                      > Reading the above articles is prerequisite to discussing the merits of
                      > the following arguments that I make from the facts reported:
                      >
                      > 1. The Moscow Patriarchate and the Patriarch in power for the past 15
                      > years have not pushed for the building of hospitals affiliated
                      with the
                      > Orthodox Church, but have rather accepted government funds for the
                      > building of beautiful and ornate churches. True religion is taking
                      care
                      > of the orphan and widow, however, buildings and literature have
                      trumped
                      > that at MP HQ. Therefore, the Moscow Patriarchate has been
                      complicit in
                      > a regime of systematic neglect and ill-conceived transition from
                      > communism to a democratic republic, favoring its own title to
                      properties
                      > rather than obtaining government land grants for the purpose of
                      > developing religious and spiritually centered health care
                      facilities to
                      > treat the Russian people, care for the needs of the poor, and love the
                      > neighbor. No one cares how much you know until they know how much you
                      > care. That goes for giving literature to hungry families and building
                      > buildings for dying people who will likely not be able to come to them
                      > as they get sicker and sicker without help. The very rich will come,
                      > because they can afford health care in Russia. And frankly, their
                      > attention has been the Moscow Patriarchate's focus. Bring the big
                      bucks
                      > to Church. Has anyone seen this subtle attitude operational in their
                      > parishes? Does money go to poor Russian emigres first, and then to the
                      > building fund? Or is it the opposite? Let every soul with that
                      knowledge
                      > answer that one for themselves and then ask: what are we doing? Is it
                      > right?
                      >
                      > 2. The Russian Federation government of Vladimir Putin, who has
                      put his
                      > personal stamp on Russian government and law, has criminally neglected
                      > health care and agricultural development spending and reforms that
                      would
                      > have made the transition from communism to a democratic republic
                      with a
                      > quasi-free market more orderly and beneficial. Instead, a fully-free
                      > gangster economy, such as the kind the U.S. corrected in its own
                      > history, took off. Not only Yeltsin, but Putin, and Putin's "partners"
                      > among Russian parties, organizations, and business, have collectively
                      > fed their own political and business interests in said environment
                      > rather than tending to the needs of the Russian majority in true
                      > Orthodox Christian fashion. Only just this past month, the Putin
                      regime
                      > has suddenly (!) discovered the aweful state of health care in Russia
                      > and its republics, and has announced oil profits to be spent on that
                      > system.
                      >
                      > 3. If we have seen a spiritual revival in Russia, why has health care
                      > for the people of Russia, most of whom make up the backbone of the
                      > Church in Russia, been so neglected. And, why has clean-up of
                      > industrially toxic and radiation stained lands been neglected? Do the
                      > people not rate highly enough? Or, should they, in obeisance to their
                      > hierarchical leaders, just shut up and not protest. Well, those who
                      > suffer the consequences of these disastrous priorities are too weak,
                      > sick and tired to protest -- or, drunk on whatever form of alcohol or
                      > alcohol substitute they can get their hands on to anesthesize
                      themselve.
                      > And so, while the MP trumpets opposition to the sins of secularism in
                      > other countries, it does not preach about its own materialism which
                      > takes place in neglect of the dire needs of the Russian people.
                      >
                      > 4. Nor does the MP preach, at risk to itself, against the criminal
                      > neglect of the Putin regime, because it has a conflict of interest
                      > receiving building funds and properties from the regime. The MP is not
                      > using those resources to care for the basic human needs of the
                      people of
                      > Russia as it could. It prefers buildings to people. The Lord said, "As
                      > you do to the least of these, so you do also unto me." That is the
                      > bottom line for true religion in Christ if the Bible is relevant
                      to the
                      > MP. Is the Holy Bible still relevant to governing the MP in
                      conduct and
                      > not just in all of the pious sounding things it announces?
                      >
                      > Below I reproduce two key paragraphs buttressing my arguments of
                      > neglect, and specifically, because the paragraphs discussed conditions
                      > of 3 years ago, versus the LA Times report now, I argue that the
                      Moscow
                      > Patriarchate, acting as the social policy arm of the government, has
                      > been partially responsible for these status quos. At the time of the
                      > below report excerpts from a 2003 US State Department Country Report
                      > <http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27861.htm> , Patriarch
                      > Alexei II who had been asserting that there had been a spiritual
                      revival
                      > in Russia back in 2003, had been in office for twelve years (12) when
                      > the below statistics about the MP's government power, and about
                      homeless
                      > children came out. What is said, and what is done, is yet again
                      > different. The virtous thing is written or said, and the reality is
                      > something else. See how this applied to children in 2003:
                      > The status of many children has deteriorated since the collapse of
                      > communism because of falling living standards, an increase in the
                      number
                      > of broken homes, and domestic violence. Authorities cited 253,000
                      > parents in 2001 for leaving children on the street unattended, up from
                      > 248,000 in 2000. In Moscow, approximately 6,000 children per year were
                      > brought to the Center of Temporary Isolation of Minor Delinquents
                      > (COVINA). These children stayed in COVINA for no more than 30 days.
                      > During this period, the child's case was investigated, and his or her
                      > guardian was located; however, in 90 to 95 percent of these cases, the
                      > police simply returned the children to their families or to the
                      > institution from which the children ran away. Many officials
                      considered
                      > domestic problems private affairs and preferred not to interfere.
                      > Trafficking in children was a problem (see Section 6.f.)."
                      >
                      > Figures for homeless children were unreliable. According to the
                      Ministry
                      > of Labor, there were estimates from 100,000 to 5 million neglected
                      > children in Russia. In 2002, about 681,000 vagrant children were
                      > detained by law enforcement agencies, 2.5 times the 2001 rate. About
                      > 50,000 adolescents were on the local and federal wanted lists in 2002,
                      > 13.5 percent more than in 2001. The Russian Children's Fund
                      estimated in
                      > 2001 that there were approximately 2.5 million children living on the
                      > street, although other estimates reached as high as 4 million;
                      > scientific studies used differing methodologies to count street
                      > children. During the year, Moscow authorities indicated that 40,000
                      > working street children lived in the capital but claimed 80
                      percent were
                      > from places other than Moscow. In addition, there were approximately
                      > 3,000 young persons ageed 18 to 24 in Leningrad Oblast, most of them
                      > discharged from state institutions and given state housing, who had
                      > difficulty maintaining a residence and adapting to non-institutional
                      > life in general. Homeless children often engaged in criminal
                      activities,
                      > received no education, and were vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse.
                      > Some young girls on the street turned, to or were forced into,
                      > prostitution in order to survive.
                      >
                      > And here is the report on the Moscow Patriarchate's true
                      relationship to
                      > the Russian government, indicating its influential, yet apparently
                      > ineffectual and neglectful role during these years:
                      >
                      > Many religious minority groups and NGOs complained of what they
                      believed
                      > was collusion between the Russian Orthodox Church and the state.
                      Neither
                      > the Constitution nor the 1997 law accords explicit privileges or
                      > advantages to "traditional religions;" however, many politicians and
                      > public figures argued for closer cooperation with them, above all with
                      > the Russian Orthodox Church's Moscow Patriarchate. Public
                      statements by
                      > some government officials, including President Putin, and anecdotal
                      > evidence from religious minority groups, suggested that the Russian
                      > Orthodox Church increasingly enjoyed a status that approached
                      official.
                      > The Church has entered into a number of agreements with government
                      > ministries giving it special access to institutions such as schools,
                      > hospitals, prisons, the police, the FSB, and the army. The Russian
                      > Orthodox Church appears to have had greater success reclaiming
                      > pre-revolutionary property than other groups, and many religious
                      workers
                      > believed that the Russian Orthodox Church played a role in the
                      > cancellation of visas held by non-Orthodox foreign religious workers.
                      >
                      > The child neglect problem was actually worsening 11 years into
                      Patriarch
                      > Alexei II's reign over the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia. Same
                      with
                      > the broken family problem. And if you consider health care part of
                      > Christian ministry, as I do, there were apparently very few if any
                      > attempts by the MP to spearhead reforms in on that front for the past
                      > fifteen (15) years.
                      >
                      > Neglect kills people just as sure as abortion does. St. Paul said, "He
                      > who knows to do good, but does not do it, to him that is a sin."
                      >
                      > It is this Moscow Patriarchate that the ROCOR stands to legitimize by
                      > lifting the suspension on communion. The suspension was never
                      governing
                      > the same communion between those members of the Russian Church in
                      Russia
                      > and Outside of Russia. It was always for the purpose of bringing
                      the MP
                      > to repentance and Russia to freedom. The information on record shows a
                      > stunning bankruptcy in ethics at the MP for allowing its conflict of
                      > interest and cronyism with the Kremlin to numb it to the need to
                      preach
                      > out and be the conscience and the moral leadership in getting the
                      > government and business to act to improve the health, welfare and
                      > development of Russia-at-Large.
                      >
                      > Is the Moscow Patriarchate that has still not repented of these
                      lapses,
                      > really what the ROCOR wants to legitimize with the lift on the
                      > suspension of communion planned for 2007, given what we know of
                      the MP's
                      > unrepentant priorities over these past 15 to 20 years?
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                    • Fr. John R. Shaw
                      ... JRS: You don t have to know anything about the Orthodox faith, or about the history of the Balkans, or even the details of current events there, to report
                      Message 10 of 22 , Nov 1, 2006
                        --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Woodson" <singingmountains@...>
                        wrote:

                        > Fr. John Shaw suggested that because the woman reporter who wrote the
                        > LA Times series was named "Kim Murphy" that was somehow suspicious. He
                        > also assumed that because she was not Orthodox, she might not know
                        > anything about the Church. Well, you don't have to know much about the
                        > Church to report on the realities in Russia.

                        JRS: You don't have to know anything about the Orthodox faith, or about the history of the
                        Balkans, or even the details of current events there, to "report on the realities of Serbia":
                        for years, Western journalists demonized the Serbs.

                        They produced a huge body of "information" about "Serbian aggression", enough to fill a
                        library.

                        It has even generated propaganda movies disguised as "action films", and a Saturday
                        morning children's show called "Bosnia 101", aimed at teaching children to hate the Serbs.

                        But it was all false. And it cost thousands of innocent people their lives.

                        There is also a huge realm of misleading writings about the Orthodox Church, claiming
                        that Orthodoxy "broke away from Rome", and once again one could fill a library with such
                        "learned information".

                        But it isn't the truth.

                        In the case of all this "informative writing" about Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church,
                        Mr. Woodson has collected material that supports a negative attitude.

                        Instead of looking up disinformation in the research library, I would recommend getting to
                        know Patriarchal clergy, seminarians, and monastics, personally.

                        In Christ
                        Fr. John R. Shaw
                      • V. Boitchenko
                        Mike, First of all, I must say I am amazed at the amount of text you produce in your posts. I work five days a week and I really have no time for this. I
                        Message 11 of 22 , Nov 1, 2006
                          Mike,

                          First of all, I must say I am amazed at the amount of text you produce in your posts. I work five days a week and I really have no time for this. I apologize.

                          You must agree that if the author is biased a certain way then even if the information is factually true, the conclusions drawn from it are most likely to be biased at best, if not entirely false. You must also understand that half or incomplete truth is nonetheless truth. To be frank with you, I don't think there is anything in those articles that I don't already know. It is only a matter where the author puts the accents. Russia is not an ideal society. I know that. I am aware of the problems. However, I don't see how a church that was persecuted for over 70 years is now, all of a sudden, guilty of all the social, political and demographic problems in the Russian society. I don't see how it would be spiritually beneficial for me to read more Russophobic ravings, get aggravated and try to argue with author. I am also under impression that you are preoccupied with Russian politics, while the path of the Church is really beyond politics. We are not seeking unity with the Russian government but with the Orthodox Church in Russia.

                          vb


                          >Viatcheslav, I would take the opposite approach. Read the reports and then cross
                          >check the factual representations with other sources. I did that. By
                          >the comments that immediately came out of the usual corners, I could
                          >tell that they were not made having carefully read the reports or
                          >checked on the data referred to in them...


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Mike Woodson
                          Dear Rev. Fr. John Shaw: Please see responses to your representations below each of them. ... ... Rather than engaging in false analogies
                          Message 12 of 22 , Nov 1, 2006
                            Dear Rev. Fr. John Shaw:

                            Please see responses to your representations below each of them.


                            --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. John R. Shaw"
                            <vrevjrs@...> wrote:
                            > --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Woodson"
                            <singingmountains@>
                            > wrote:
                            >
                            > Fr. John Shaw suggested that because the woman reporter who wrote
                            > the LA Times series was named "Kim Murphy" that was somehow
                            > suspicious. He also assumed that because she was not Orthodox, she
                            > might not know anything about the Church. Well, you don't have to
                            > know much about the Church to report on the realities in Russia.
                            >
                            > JRS: You don't have to know anything about the Orthodox faith, or
                            > about the history of the Balkans, or even the details of current
                            > events there, to "report on the realities of Serbia":
                            > for years, Western journalists demonized the Serbs.

                            Rather than engaging in false analogies with the Clinton
                            Administration's internationalist era, and absolutizing ALL Serbs as
                            angelic beings with no responsibility for what they've done in Europe
                            and the Balkans, and, sliming ALL Western journalists in general, why
                            don't we put the absolutizing of human behavior aside and turn off the
                            fog machine. Also, let's not engage in dueling hypocrisies of extreme
                            claims, either. To do my part, I'll keep citing hard data, since I'm
                            not a clairovoyant.

                            > They produced a huge body of "information" about "Serbian
                            > aggression", enough to fill a library.

                            There's no doubt in my mind that some journalists and some powerful
                            media corporations reported a much exaggerated death count which was
                            used as a pretext to accuse the Serbs of a genocide campaign and in
                            part, justify the bombing campaigns. (I'm so glad that the government
                            that used that information wrongly, to the extent that it did, is not
                            interweaving itself with the Orthodox Church, or vice versa.)

                            The L.A. Times, however, put a reporter on the ground who made
                            contrary reports as to the exaggerations. That is the same publication
                            reporting on the Russian people's blight now. I remember citing the
                            Times in some letters written to a national news outlet, encouraging
                            its investigative reporter to check into the figures, and also to do
                            an expose on the drug-running, terrorist infiltrated Kosovo Liberation
                            Army. It was done, and that was the beginning of the wider media
                            exposure of the KLA as a drug-running organization in Europe with ties
                            to the Afghan Mujahadeen. Also, K-FOR and authorities have been
                            putting KLA members on trial as well. Having said that, I'll just bet
                            you there are some naive Kosovar teenagers just waiting to please
                            their elders and join the KLA, just as there were many misguided young
                            folks who marched to the drum of the KGB etc. etc.. Well, wait a
                            minute, one of them's . . . President of Russia! What do you know? And
                            that comrade Castro, he's just a teddy bear of a leader. And how can
                            you hate Kim? He hasn't even got a competent barber.

                            > It has even generated propaganda movies disguised as "action films",
                            > and a Saturday morning children's show called "Bosnia 101", aimed at
                            > teaching children to hate the Serbs.

                            Actually, I saw one such movie with American actor Dennis Quaid in it;
                            he played a mercenary sniper. It wasn't an action movie, but a drama
                            with action that showed the human suffering caused by the action. And
                            it showed the suffering on both sides. It showed Muslim militants
                            lining up Serb women, children and old folks in a river, and killing
                            them in front of one another using digging tools, sledge hammers and
                            other instruments of torture when used against a person. It made it
                            clear how those atrocities provoked the Serb warriors.

                            But you know something? I've also seen the stories of English kings
                            subjugating the Scotsmen, American colonists and the Irish. I've seen
                            the stories and histories of the raping, pillaging and atrocity. And
                            then, I saw it in the American Civil War, perhaps as brutal a war as
                            any of them, ever, considering the lack of medical care. And, I've
                            read and seen accounts of the horrible chem warfare and human wave
                            trench warfare of WWI. And the Normandy invasion, and the campaigns in
                            the Pacific against the fascists, and so on. But I don't see Scotsmen
                            waging a war for all time against the English. I don't see the Irish
                            forever warring against the English. America is not warring against
                            Britain. Not even the American South is gearing up to do terrorist
                            acts in the North. And, the allies aren't doing terrorists acts or
                            "ethnic cleansing" of the Germans for their past transgressions in the
                            World Wars, and the massive suffering of those two World Wars. We've
                            let it go.

                            But not the Muslims and Serbs. They just keep at it and at it and at
                            it. And there's this thing against the Jews -- the Jews this, and the
                            Jews that -- constant talk of the Jewish conspiracies just keeps on
                            circulating in Russia. And, many Jews, feeling justified, reciprocate,
                            attacking the Christian faith. This is all human conflict at many
                            different levels that just keep rewinding and replaying. You've got to
                            step back at some point and let it go. It's just stupid and doesn't do
                            anybody a darn bit of good.

                            The central question in all of this seems to be: how do the people
                            deal with sin, fellow sinners and with overcoming passions? Is there a
                            spiritual light for them to follow in that land and in authority?

                            Nationalism will simply bury those questions and go after the same
                            solutions ad nauseum.

                            > But it was all false. And it cost thousands of innocent people their
                            > lives.

                            Whenever someone says "all" or "never" even our elementary school
                            teachers told us to watch out. Those answers are almost always wrong,
                            with the very rare exception. Why? Because the only absolute is God,
                            Who Is the Absolute Truth, and Absolutely Good.

                            Not even the devil is an absolute being, because it can't be as evil
                            as God Is Good. It can't be infinitely evil as God Is infinitely Good.

                            So when you apply absolutizing statements to the wars and conflicts of
                            men, it shows either a case of naivete, denial, or intentional
                            idolatry of some group of men or nation or another, and that
                            displeased God who taught us that we shall have no god before Him.

                            Also, if you are saying that the entire Western press gets it all
                            wrong, or, are in a massive conspiracy against the Serbs and Russians,
                            that would have to be some kind of conspiracy such that all of the
                            Orthodox Christian journalists wouldn't just quit corresponding with
                            their Western counterparts to report what was going on. The way you
                            talk, we can't rely on anything from the Western press. And yet they
                            covered Katrina, a self-critical coverage from the nationalist
                            perspective, very well. Wouldn't have happened in Russia today.

                            This is why those of us who have been at the receiving end of the MP's
                            propaganda understand the reason why the MP keeps repeating the lie
                            that this is about "reconciliation" or "unity" with the Russian
                            Church, so that it can make itself synonymous with the Russian Church
                            without repenting for what it is doing to that Church and to that
                            people. The MP/RF wants every person who disagrees with the lifting of
                            the suspension of communion with the local Russian Church **under the
                            Moscow Patriarchate's unrepentant authority**, to appear to be against
                            unity with the Russian Church herself, or her people, which is a
                            bold-faced lie.

                            The Moscow Patriarchate is a spiritually sick institution. If it were
                            not, there would be no reason to pretend that the ROCOR's Bishops, or,
                            the narrower authority of the Synod, where all the Bishops of the
                            ROCOR inconveniently disagree with Moscow, should have their own
                            administrative authority. Well, they won't, but there would be no
                            reason to pretend they will.

                            You see, the Moscow Patriarchate will be able to add parishes to the
                            ROCOR over time and man them, while halting ROCOR initiated growth
                            using its confirmation and agreement power. And these will change the
                            balance of the authority away from the Outside Russia hierarchy to an
                            inside Russia control, if it has not already been achieved. They can
                            pack the court, so to speak. Also, the ROCOR can't make additions of
                            parishes, as I understand it, without MP confirmation and agreement.
                            So the MP can stifle ROCOR directed parish openings while expanding
                            Moscow-directed parish openings abroad. I see no restriction on that
                            written in at present, and there appear to be many weasel words in the
                            Act of Canonical Communion document allowing a reversal of most
                            everything granted. For example, "of a Canonical character," etc.

                            So it is an end run, even as campaigns of internal influence and
                            control have been ongoing for some time now with the goal of turning
                            the ROCOR towards legitimizing the Soviet era leadership of the new
                            secular authoritarian Russia.

                            > There is also a huge realm of misleading writings about the Orthodox
                            > Church, claiming that Orthodoxy "broke away from Rome", and once
                            > again one could fill a library with such "learned information".
                            > But it isn't the truth.

                            That misleading information exists on one topic, does not mean that
                            misleading information on another topic follows. This analogy has no
                            real nexus between those who claimed the Orthodox Church broke from
                            Rome, with those who say the Moscow Patriarchy is corrupt with
                            Sovietized officials in the new Authoritarianism that neglects
                            Russians to death.

                            Putin's image gives Russians the wrong pride. He is the disciplined,
                            Judo master Soviet super-hero image-man. The ex-KGB soldier-statesman
                            for the Soviet, uh I mean, Russian state. But it is just an image, and
                            the leadership he has provided has once again moved toward dictatorial
                            control and away from investment in the Russian nation; towards
                            corruption and away from Christ. You see, if you control people so
                            that they never complain about dying off from all manner of
                            negligence, leadership vacuums and corrupt criminal neglect, then
                            there is no problem maintaining your well-dressed image. Silence
                            speech, and no problems exist! That's the Soviet solution.

                            However, now that Putin sees that his own future of enjoying behind
                            the scenes influence and security is at stake because of his political
                            ideology of nationalist negligence controlling Russia for the past 6
                            years, he is only now saying that he will spend significant money on
                            medical development of Russia. What a convenient decision, coming just
                            as major press and think-tanks, including the LA Times, shined a light
                            into his government's negligence and corruption. I imagine Putin sees
                            the freedom of press principle that led to those reports as the "lynch
                            mob" as you have defined as the hallmark of pure democracy, Fr. John.


                            > In the case of all this "informative writing" about Russia and the
                            > Russian Orthodox Church, Mr. Woodson has collected material that
                            > supports a negative attitude.

                            Again, your propaganda colors from the RF/MP show as loudly as a neon
                            tie that binds you to them, and against the interests of those you
                            were ordained to serve: the Russian Orthodox Church. You
                            mischaracterize my writing as being "about the Russian Orthodox
                            Church," when I have been writing about the influences of this Moscow
                            Patriarchate (not itself the Church or the people of Russia) and the
                            government that is kow-tows to, on the Russian people, and the Russian
                            Orthodox Church composed of those people.

                            The Russian Orthodox Church is the people Fr. John, and you keep
                            wanting to morph it into an institution that is indifferent to their
                            suffering. That is and was not the way of the Lord Jesus Christ.


                            > Instead of looking up disinformation in the research library, I
                            > would recommend getting to know Patriarchal clergy, seminarians, and
                            > monastics, personally.
                            > In Christ
                            > Fr. John R. Shaw


                            Why? So they can tell me what a genuine Orthodox Christian Mr. Putin
                            is while he admires the raping of ten women, dismisses as
                            insignificant the life of a journalist to generalize and de-specify
                            thinking about the execution murder of that journalist, sanitizes and
                            covers-up KGB histories of his own and the MP staff, and commits
                            criminally negligent democide against his own people? C'mon Fr. John.

                            I'd rather not listen to all of the things they say, but keep an eye
                            on what they're doing and not doing. Many of them use the reverential
                            respect that we all must have for the symbols and garmets and offices
                            they wear to assert control over the people of the Church. But that
                            only goes so far before people start seeing them for what they are.
                            Why would I want to hang around with them and make a pretence of the
                            legitimacy of their present course of anti-Christ nationalism?

                            That's the fruit our Lord Jesus Christ told us to keep a watch out for
                            so we will know whether they are from Him, or serving some other god.

                            Surely there are clergy members within Russia who are genuine and
                            sincere folks. They are the ones who I believe will one day be asked
                            by the Church to fill all positions in the leadership of the One
                            Russian Church. But first, those slots must be patiently left by the
                            repentance of resigning hierarchs. At present, under Putin and Alexei
                            II, there will be a scoffing sound at this suggestion that comes from
                            the scoffers' seats.

                            However, the ones who get sent to America to get the communion
                            suspension lifted know where their butter comes from, and what they
                            are here to do. The question of legitimacy from the top, and the
                            state-church indistinction make it hard to know who you are speaking
                            with. The envoy for Caesar, or an ambassador for a higher government
                            of the Lord Jesus Christ. It's just that the latter don't seem to ride
                            up to you first class on an airplane, in a Mercedes or with a look of
                            condescension on their faces, rolling their eyes at your parish priest
                            when he makes a mistake during services and thus undermining him
                            before his flock. Where things and agendas become more important than
                            souls, and power and pomp more important than spirituality, you know
                            who has come to town, and it isn't the generous, loving Saint Nicholas.

                            By their fruit ye shall know them, or worse, who turned them. May the
                            pen be precise to who this may help turn back merely by saying what's
                            true from someone who is not a power-broker or insider. Obviously I'm
                            not, because look at the entirely opposite view I have from the
                            official course. Also, I can tread water for a long time waiting until
                            the hijackers of this part of the great Ark of Orthodox Christianity
                            have been removed from command at the helm.

                            To the Russians: when are you going to throw these counterfeits off of
                            your backs and bring in the humble who have not sought the power seats
                            and therefore who can rightfully represent Christ's leadership in the
                            One Russian Church? Where are the men who don't allow themselves to be
                            called humble or thank God in public that *they* led the spiritual
                            renewal of Russia, thinking more of their legacy than the reality.

                            Will the real clergy of the Holy government of Christ be ushered into
                            service by the Church in Russia with the help of the ROCOR? For that
                            to happen, the majority must stand up against the arrogant rulers and
                            principalities and powers and call on the the Lord Jesus Christ for
                            merciful deliverance from those powers and principalities playing
                            power games that make more chaos for their homeland and future
                            generations.
                          • Mike Woodson
                            HA! Dear Viatcheslav. No, the Russian Federation isn t paying me to be here. I work for myself to make posts at this momentous time as the government to which
                            Message 13 of 22 , Nov 1, 2006
                              HA! Dear Viatcheslav. No, the Russian Federation isn't paying me to be
                              here. I work for myself to make posts at this momentous time as the
                              government to which you are loyal tries to commandeer the Church.
                              After it is clear that I've done all I can do, I'll end my postings
                              just as joined only a few months ago on the grounds of conscience.

                              Tell you what. If you are upset at the amount of words I type, you
                              should try the Mavis Beacon typing program. It will increase your
                              speed too!

                              At 75 words a minute, thanks to Mavis, I can work six days a week and
                              donate a few extra paragraphs for a good cause without a government
                              paying me to do so. That's right, all supported by the private sector
                              sweat of my brow without so much as a government contract in sight.

                              How long have you been posting here Viatch? I mean, as Boitchenko, I
                              know it has been FIVE YEARS (since February 2001). I find it amazing
                              the amount of verbiage you can put out over five years for your
                              regime. The first one I could find I've pasted below between the lines.

                              Boitchenko's / Viatcheslav's first (?) comment from February 2001 in
                              response to Olga Ackerly's specific quotations, is reproduced below,
                              holding the party's line with conclusory statements:
                              _____________________________________________________________________

                              If I may only make a small comment: M. Thatcher is a Russophobe. She
                              could blame Russia for acting like the Russian Empire in the same
                              manner. Strategic alliance with China and India are in Russia's best
                              interests. Personally, I do not see any relevance to the church situation.

                              v
                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: "Ackerly, Olga" <ackerlyo@...>
                              To: <orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com>
                              Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2001 4:06 PM
                              Subject: [orthodox-synod]


                              For those who think that things in Russia have changed and who are
                              quietly sleeping, having been put to sleep by those promoting union
                              with the MP,here is a bit of what Margaret Thatcher had to say about
                              today's CIS (Russia). I certainly do not agree with everything she
                              says, but the lines below caught my eye in view of the brainwashing
                              taking place in favor of the MP and Putin in our midst. I wonder why
                              those promoting union with the MP on Orthodox lists are totally silent
                              on such and many other matters, or are they told not to disturb the
                              sheep? After all, silently for years, they have prepared the union
                              which, according to Drozdov's recent statement, is only a matter of
                              time. All this while silencing those who speak up and pacifying those
                              who voice concern for Rocor's threatened existence.

                              From The Hoover Digest:

                              "Russia. We don't need to look very far. One dysfunctional member of our
                              global
                              community has quite a familiar appearance. With every day that
                              passes, modern
                              Russia behaves more and more like the old Soviet Union. Its
                              foreign policy seems
                              still to be based heavily on its Soviet past.....
                              Russia is an enthusiastic proliferator of weapons of mass
                              destruction. It is also
                              intent on trying to forge a strategic partnership with China
                              aimed
                              at the West: Mr.
                              Putin was in Beijing recently doing just that. By any criteria
                              Russia still represents a
                              threat, even if that threat is only general.
                              There are also some worrying signs that the desire of ordinary
                              Russians for law and
                              order may provide the authorities with an excuse to return to
                              internal repression.
                              Whatever else he is, Russia's new president is clearly not a
                              liberal."



                              Olga Dolskaya-Ackerly
                              Department of Music History- Conservatory of Music
                              University of Missouri- Kansas City

                              "Krugom izmena, i trusost', i obman"
                              Martyr St. Nicholas


                              Archives located at http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod
                              ____________________________________________________________________


                              --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "V. Boitchenko"
                              <tompkins440@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Mike,
                              >
                              > First of all, I must say I am amazed at the amount of text you
                              produce in your posts. I work five days a week and I really have no
                              time for this. I apologize.
                              >
                              > You must agree that if the author is biased a certain way then even
                              if the information is factually true, the conclusions drawn from it
                              are most likely to be biased at best, if not entirely false.

                              I MUST? SAYS WHO VIATCH? YOU? Everyone's biased, so in your book,
                              everything is false.

                              You must also understand that half or incomplete truth is nonetheless
                              truth.

                              WHAT?

                              To be frank with you, I don't think there is anything in those
                              articles that I don't already know. It is only a matter where the
                              author puts the accents. Russia is not an ideal society. I know that.
                              I am aware of the problems. However, I don't see how a church that was
                              persecuted for over 70 years is now, all of a sudden, guilty of all
                              the social, political and demographic problems in the Russian society.
                              I don't see how it would be spiritually beneficial for me to read more
                              Russophobic ravings, get aggravated and try to argue with author. I am
                              also under impression that you are preoccupied with Russian politics,
                              while the path of the Church is really beyond politics. We are not
                              seeking unity with the Russian government but with the Orthodox Church
                              in Russia.
                              >
                              > vb
                              >
                              >
                              > >Viatcheslav, I would take the opposite approach. Read the reports
                              and then cross
                              > >check the factual representations with other sources. I did that. By
                              > >the comments that immediately came out of the usual corners, I could
                              > >tell that they were not made having carefully read the reports or
                              > >checked on the data referred to in them...
                              >
                              >
                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              >

                              __________________________________________________________________
                            • George Edward Green III
                              ... This reads like the major media apologetics for the Albanian Muslims in Kosovo. The genocide of Muslims in Kosovo and Serbia, etc were MADE UP. It s been
                              Message 14 of 22 , Nov 2, 2006
                                On Nov 1, 2006, at 12:57 PM, Mike Woodson wrote:

                                > Rather than engaging in false analogies with the Clinton
                                > Administration's internationalist era, and absolutizing ALL Serbs as
                                > angelic beings with no responsibility for what they've done in Europe
                                > and the Balkans, and, sliming ALL Western journalists in general, why
                                > don't we put the absolutizing of human behavior aside and turn off the
                                > fog machine. Also, let's not engage in dueling hypocrisies of extreme
                                > claims, either. To do my part, I'll keep citing hard data, since I'm
                                > not a clairovoyant.

                                This reads like the major media apologetics for the Albanian Muslims
                                in Kosovo.

                                The genocide of Muslims in Kosovo and Serbia, etc were MADE UP. It's
                                been proven there was no genocide, plans for genocide, nor apparent
                                interest in genocide.

                                I do not see how any Orthodox Christian could come to the defense of
                                invading Muslims who have killed Orthodox Christians and blown up
                                churches at a consistent pace since this began.

                                Serbs may not be angels but they were certainly trying to defend the
                                historical religious center of their nation from an invasion by
                                Muslim terrorists. Terrorists who've setup a heroin and human
                                trafficking hub in Kosovo since.

                                Me thinks you should check out:
                                http://www.interfax-religion.com/kosovo/

                                Also there is a book on the Orthodox Christian Heritage of Kosovo
                                which you can purchase in the bookstore in Jordanville.

                                George

                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Melissa Bushunow
                                Reporters Without Borders puts Russia as 140th out of 168 countries in rankings of journalistic freedom and safety. This latest ranking is based on events from
                                Message 15 of 22 , Nov 2, 2006
                                  Reporters Without Borders puts Russia as 140th out of 168 countries in
                                  rankings of journalistic freedom and safety. This latest ranking is
                                  based on events from September 2003 to September 2004. September
                                  2006's murders of ITAR-TASS Journalist Anatoly Voronin and Novaya
                                  Gazeta's reporter Anna Politkovskaya and all the other cases of
                                  journalist murder and intimidation for the past two years aren't
                                  figured in. http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=11716

                                  If those -- whose profession is to make their voice heard -- are not
                                  safe in the Russian Federation then a) it is not surprising that those
                                  without a voice are abused; b) the the scale of immorality and
                                  lawlessness of Putin's Russia is underreported. Below are a few
                                  incidents which did come to light.

                                  "Yekaterinburg, Russia � A massive child sex ring was exposed in
                                  downtown Yekaterinburg... The accused were caught selling young boys,
                                  renting them for sexual services and routinely raping them. Their
                                  victims were over 1,000 boys, ages 12 through 17. This �business� has
                                  been operating for five years..."
                                  http://www.russiablog.org/2006/08/boys_for_sale_and_sexual_servi.html

                                  In Putin's army young men and boys are being raped and beaten to death
                                  in the armed services, and no one in the upper ranks of officers has
                                  had to take any responsibility for the senseless brutality. One of the
                                  "victims is 19-year old Radik Habirov from Kazan, who was brought in
                                  to a local hospital weighing only 65 pounds and is now in a coma. This
                                  is the worst case of documented abuse in the Russian Army since the
                                  widely reported case of Pvt. Sychev six months ago. Last week in Moscow
                                  more details emerged from closed hearings about the extent of Pvt.
                                  Sychev�s mutilation. Even Army doctors accustomed to seeing scars and
                                  broken bones from abuse have been shocked at how severely Pvt. Sychev
                                  was tortured by his comrades. Army doctors had tried to cover up the
                                  crime, blaming the loss of Sychev�s legs on a pre-existing medical
                                  condition, but a civilian panel of medical examiners concluded that
                                  Sychev was gang raped in the barracks while taped to his bunk. After
                                  being sodomized repeatedly, he was forced to do squats, then made to
                                  hold in the squatting position for hours, until he lost circulation in
                                  his legs. By the time he was brought to a hospital, doctors could only
                                  save Sychev�s life by amputating his legs and genitals.
                                  http://www.russiablog.org/2006/07/russian_army_needs_a_reform.html


                                  The Soviets made it illegal for the Orthodox Church and Orthodox
                                  institutions to take care of the the ill, the orphans, the poor. The
                                  heirs of the Soviet system -- Putin and his soviet oligarchs (the
                                  soviets who were in power when the system "fell" maintained their grasp
                                  on power) -- have ignored the societal obligations that the soviet
                                  system seized and at least gave lip service to. And the MP since
                                  regaining its "freedom" has not taken up the slack.


                                  Yes, rebuilding churches is God-pleasing, printing literature is
                                  God-pleasing, but Christ said to the pharisees (St. Matthew 23:23) that
                                  they should have done the one and not ignored the other. Woe unto
                                  you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and
                                  anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law,
                                  judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to
                                  leave the other undone.


                                  Christ addresses the excuse of withholding care of the poor (in this
                                  case elderly parents) in order to donate to the temple: 3Jesus
                                  replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your
                                  tradition? 4For God said, 'Honor your father and mother'[a] and 'Anyone
                                  who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'[b] 5But you say
                                  that if a man says to his father or mother, 'Whatever help you might
                                  otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' [meaning
                                  that it is a gift to the temple] 6he is not to 'honor his father[c]'
                                  with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your
                                  tradition. 7You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about
                                  you:
                                  �8" 'These people honor me with their lips,
                                  ������but their hearts are far from me.
                                  �9They worship me in vain;
                                  ������their teachings are but rules taught by men.'[d]"

                                  The church is to be both Martha and Mary. We are reminded on the
                                  Sunday of the last Judgment that we will be judged for our care of the
                                  poor and ill.


                                  Why has the Orthodox Church MP not taken this subject up? Because it
                                  involves criticizing their past soviet masters, who are still their
                                  present day masters. If the MP would truly throw off the soviet yoke
                                  by complete confession of its past and continuing complicity, then its
                                  penance could include fulfilling its scriptural obligations. It would
                                  have the spiritual strength and legitimacy to criticize and help remedy
                                  the horrors and lawlessness occurring under Putin.







                                  On Oct 28, 2006, at 10:48 PM, Mike Woodson wrote:
                                  > Below I reproduce two key paragraphs buttressing my arguments of
                                  > neglect, and specifically, because the paragraphs discussed conditions
                                  > of 3 years ago, versus the LA Times report now, I argue that the
                                  > Moscow
                                  > Patriarchate, acting as the social policy arm of the government, has
                                  > been partially responsible for these status quos. At the time of the
                                  > below report excerpts from a 2003 US State Department Country Report
                                  > <http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27861.htm> , Patriarch
                                  > Alexei II who had been asserting that there had been a spiritual
                                  > revival
                                  > in Russia back in 2003, had been in office for twelve years (12) when
                                  > the below statistics about the MP's government power, and about
                                  > homeless
                                  > children came out. What is said, and what is done, is yet again
                                  > different. The virtous thing is written or said, and the reality is
                                  > something else. See how this applied to children in 2003:
                                  > The status of many children has deteriorated since the collapse of
                                  > communism because of falling living standards, an increase in the
                                  > number
                                  > of broken homes, and domestic violence. Authorities cited 253,000
                                  > parents in 2001 for leaving children on the street unattended, up from
                                  > 248,000 in 2000. In Moscow, approximately 6,000 children per year were
                                  > brought to the Center of Temporary Isolation of Minor Delinquents
                                  > (COVINA). These children stayed in COVINA for no more than 30 days.
                                  > During this period, the child's case was investigated, and his or her
                                  > guardian was located; however, in 90 to 95 percent of these cases, the
                                  > police simply returned the children to their families or to the
                                  > institution from which the children ran away. Many officials
                                  > considered
                                  > domestic problems private affairs and preferred not to interfere.
                                  > Trafficking in children was a problem (see Section 6.f.)."
                                  >
                                  > Figures for homeless children were unreliable. According to the
                                  > Ministry
                                  > of Labor, there were estimates from 100,000 to 5 million neglected
                                  > children in Russia. In 2002, about 681,000 vagrant children were
                                  > detained by law enforcement agencies, 2.5 times the 2001 rate. About
                                  > 50,000 adolescents were on the local and federal wanted lists in 2002,
                                  > 13.5 percent more than in 2001. The Russian Children's Fund estimated
                                  > in
                                  > 2001 that there were approximately 2.5 million children living on the
                                  > street, although other estimates reached as high as 4 million;
                                  > scientific studies used differing methodologies to count street
                                  > children. During the year, Moscow authorities indicated that 40,000
                                  > working street children lived in the capital but claimed 80 percent
                                  > were
                                  > from places other than Moscow. In addition, there were approximately
                                  > 3,000 young persons ageed 18 to 24 in Leningrad Oblast, most of them
                                  > discharged from state institutions and given state housing, who had
                                  > difficulty maintaining a residence and adapting to non-institutional
                                  > life in general. Homeless children often engaged in criminal
                                  > activities,
                                  > received no education, and were vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse.
                                  > Some young girls on the street turned, to or were forced into,
                                  > prostitution in order to survive.
                                  >
                                  > And here is the report on the Moscow Patriarchate's true relationship
                                  > to
                                  > the Russian government, indicating its influential, yet apparently
                                  > ineffectual and neglectful role during these years:
                                  >
                                  > Many religious minority groups and NGOs complained of what they
                                  > believed
                                  > was collusion between the Russian Orthodox Church and the state.
                                  > Neither
                                  > the Constitution nor the 1997 law accords explicit privileges or
                                  > advantages to "traditional religions;" however, many politicians and
                                  > public figures argued for closer cooperation with them, above all with
                                  > the Russian Orthodox Church's Moscow Patriarchate. Public statements
                                  > by
                                  > some government officials, including President Putin, and anecdotal
                                  > evidence from religious minority groups, suggested that the Russian
                                  > Orthodox Church increasingly enjoyed a status that approached
                                  > official.
                                  > The Church has entered into a number of agreements with government
                                  > ministries giving it special access to institutions such as schools,
                                  > hospitals, prisons, the police, the FSB, and the army. The Russian
                                  > Orthodox Church appears to have had greater success reclaiming
                                  > pre-revolutionary property than other groups, and many religious
                                  > workers
                                  > believed that the Russian Orthodox Church played a role in the
                                  > cancellation of visas held by non-Orthodox foreign religious workers.
                                  >
                                  > The child neglect problem was actually worsening 11 years into
                                  > Patriarch
                                  > Alexei II's reign over the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia. Same
                                  > with
                                  > the broken family problem. And if you consider health care part of
                                  > Christian ministry, as I do, there were apparently very few if any
                                  > attempts by the MP to spearhead reforms in on that front for the past
                                  > fifteen (15) years.
                                  >
                                  > Neglect kills people just as sure as abortion does. St. Paul said, "He
                                  > who knows to do good, but does not do it, to him that is a sin."
                                  >
                                  > It is this Moscow Patriarchate that the ROCOR stands to legitimize by
                                  > lifting the suspension on communion. The suspension was never
                                  > governing
                                  > the same communion between those members of the Russian Church in
                                  > Russia
                                  > and Outside of Russia. It was always for the purpose of bringing the
                                  > MP
                                  > to repentance and Russia to freedom. The information on record shows a
                                  > stunning bankruptcy in ethics at the MP for allowing its conflict of
                                  > interest and cronyism with the Kremlin to numb it to the need to
                                  > preach
                                  > out and be the conscience and the moral leadership in getting the
                                  > government and business to act to improve the health, welfare and
                                  > development of Russia-at-Large.
                                  >
                                  > Is the Moscow Patriarchate that has still not repented of these
                                  > lapses,
                                  > really what the ROCOR wants to legitimize with the lift on the
                                  > suspension of communion planned for 2007, given what we know of the
                                  > MP's
                                  > unrepentant priorities over these past 15 to 20 years?
                                  >


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Fr. John R. Shaw
                                  ... JRS: If that is what you believe, then you are simply misinformed about the current role, voice and and activities of the Moscow Patriarchate. I would
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Nov 2, 2006
                                    --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, Melissa Bushunow <cafeconlechemom@...>
                                    wrote:

                                    > The Soviets made it illegal for the Orthodox Church and Orthodox
                                    > institutions to take care of the the ill, the orphans, the poor. The
                                    > heirs of the Soviet system -- Putin and his soviet oligarchs (the
                                    > soviets who were in power when the system "fell" maintained their grasp
                                    > on power) -- have ignored the societal obligations that the soviet
                                    > system seized and at least gave lip service to. And the MP since
                                    > regaining its "freedom" has not taken up the slack.

                                    JRS: If that is what you believe, then you are simply misinformed about the current role,
                                    voice and and activities of the Moscow Patriarchate.

                                    I would recommend following the news and historical articles at "pravoslavie.ru" and
                                    "sedmitza.ru". Every day, there are key developments.

                                    You might be quite surprised, if you listen other voices besides those who attack the
                                    Patriarchal Church.

                                    In Christ
                                    Fr. John R. Shaw
                                  • Fr. John R. Shaw
                                    ... JRS: 1) You are representing the current hierarchy of the Church of Russia as being somehow false bishops, mostly because they agreed to be bishops. Not
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Nov 2, 2006
                                      --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Woodson" <singingmountains@...>
                                      wrote:

                                      > To the Russians: when are you going to throw these counterfeits off of
                                      > your backs and bring in the humble who have not sought the power seats
                                      > and therefore who can rightfully represent Christ's leadership in the
                                      > One Russian Church? Where are the men who don't allow themselves to be
                                      > called humble or thank God in public that *they* led the spiritual
                                      > renewal of Russia, thinking more of their legacy than the reality.

                                      JRS: 1) You are representing the current hierarchy of the Church of Russia as being
                                      somehow false bishops, mostly because they agreed to be bishops.

                                      Not only are the accusations you bring against them false and undeserved: the same
                                      supposed guilt of "having sought the power seats" could be applied to anyone else who
                                      was willing to become a bishop.

                                      2) Calling on "the Russians" to rise up and overthrow the Church hierarchy is completely
                                      contrary to Orthodox Christianity.

                                      It is the way of the Protestant reformation, and if followed, could lead to nothing good.

                                      3) However, the Moscow Patriarchate and its bishops and clergy are, if anything, much
                                      more popular today than the Russian clergy were before the revolution, when anticlerical
                                      attitudes were a well-known (and well-documented) problem.

                                      Ironically, the older Russian emigration sometimes preserved those anticlerical attitudes,
                                      whereas the new arrivals from Russia usually are respectful towards the clergy, and
                                      constantly seek their prayers and advice.

                                      4) The overwhelming majority of the Russian clergy, including the majority of the bishops,
                                      have been ordained since the fall of communism, mostly in the past few years.

                                      There are no canonical grounds for replacing them, few candidates with any training to
                                      could take their places, and in any case, the next generation of bishops, priests and
                                      deacons would still be "the successors" of those who went before them: thus they too
                                      would be attacked in the same way, by persons of your mindset.

                                      Consequently, what you are calling for is both unreasonable, and impossible to achieve.

                                      > The L.A. Times, however, put a reporter on the ground who made
                                      > contrary reports as to the exaggerations. ... I remember citing the
                                      > Times in some letters written to a national news outlet, ... and that was
                                      > the beginning of the wider media
                                      > exposure of the KLA as a drug-running organization in Europe with ties
                                      > to the Afghan Mujahadeen.

                                      JRS: Unfortunately, that "wider media exposure" has been anything but wide. I would
                                      recommend waiting until a few more people learn of it, before taking credit.

                                      > The central question in all of this seems to be: how do the people
                                      > deal with sin, fellow sinners and with overcoming passions? Is there a
                                      > spiritual light for them to follow in that land and in authority?

                                      JRS: The spiritual light for them, and for us, can only be in the Church.

                                      In Christ
                                      Fr. John R. Shaw
                                    • DDD
                                      On Thu, 2 Nov 2006 12:38:24 -0500, Melissa Bushunow wrote: Why has the Orthodox Church MP not taken this subject up?  Because it involves criticizing their
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Nov 2, 2006
                                        On Thu, 2 Nov 2006 12:38:24 -0500, Melissa Bushunow wrote:

                                        Why has the Orthodox Church MP not taken this subject up?  Because it
                                        involves criticizing their past soviet masters, who are still their
                                        present day masters.  If the MP would truly throw off the soviet yoke
                                        by complete confession of its past and continuing complicity, then its
                                        penance could include fulfilling its scriptural obligations.  It would
                                        have the spiritual strength and legitimacy to criticize and help remedy
                                        the horrors and lawlessness occurring under Putin.
                                        __________________________________________________________

                                        Wow. By this logic, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia "would
                                        have the spiritual strength and legitimacy to criticize and help remedy" Clinton's mass-murder and bombing of Orthodox Serbs and all the "horrors and lawlessness" that occurred under Clinton.

                                        --Dimitra Dwelley
                                      • Mike Woodson
                                        Dear Very Rev. Fr. John, See my responses below your comments. ... ... Fr. John, that s your take. I said throw these counterfeits off,
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Nov 3, 2006
                                          Dear Very Rev. Fr. John,

                                          See my responses below your comments.


                                          --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. John R. Shaw"
                                          <vrevjrs@...> wrote:
                                          > --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Woodson"
                                          <singingmountains@>
                                          > wrote:
                                          > To the Russians: when are you going to throw these counterfeits
                                          > off of your backs and bring in the humble who have not sought the
                                          > power seats and therefore who can rightfully represent Christ's
                                          > leadership in > the One Russian Church? Where are the men who don't
                                          > allow themselves to be called humble or thank God in public that
                                          > *they* led the spiritual renewal of Russia, thinking more of their
                                          > legacy than the reality.
                                          >
                                          > JRS: 1) You are representing the current hierarchy of the Church of
                                          > Russia as being somehow false bishops, mostly because they agreed to
                                          > be bishops.


                                          Fr. John, that's your take. I said "throw these counterfeits off,"
                                          which refers to the counterfeits among them. You generalized it to
                                          all, something I did not do. That was a mistake, or, yet another spin.

                                          Other items:


                                          Why haven't you responded about MP Bishop Clement's admission to the
                                          Episcopal Church in New York in 1998 that the Soviets had destroyed
                                          the Orthodox hospitals or commandeered them, and needed to be rebuilt?


                                          What are the names, locations and dates of Orthodox Christian
                                          hospitals rebuilt since 1992 when Bishop Clement said Perestroika had
                                          opened the door? Really, point them out. I can't find records.


                                          Why was Bishop Clement in New York thanking the Episcopalians
                                          (protestants) in the first place?


                                          By speaking ill of the protests of protestants, do you imply that the
                                          Roman Catholic Church was in their right not to be protested against?
                                          Just sit there and let them burn folks to death? Don't protest? Don't
                                          speak up?


                                          Today the equivalent would be: Don't preach against the neglect of the
                                          young, old and dying by the Putintocracy. Let their sacrifice be a
                                          gift to the Patriarchate's needs, right?


                                          Rather, you have singled out the elderly and their distrust of the
                                          clergy for special mention -- bad 'ole folks -- they ruin the
                                          sanitization of the Soviet legacy going on now, messing up the agenda.
                                          They're a problem because they remember the truth and don't sell it out.


                                          The USSR got so many people so sick with the pollution, neglect, and
                                          indifference to human life, that Putin knows it would be easier just
                                          to let entire generations die off than it would to take care of them.


                                          It's either that, or he was unaware while President of Russia for six
                                          (6) years that Russia was so sick before he announced spending. "As
                                          you do to the least of these, so you do unto me."

                                          > Not only are the accusations you bring against them false and
                                          > undeserved: the same supposed guilt of "having sought the power
                                          > seats" could be applied to anyone else who
                                          > was willing to become a bishop.

                                          Willing to become a Bishop is one thing. Accepting posts and seeking
                                          out higher posts by carrying out KGB/FSB orders to get there is
                                          another. From the 1950s to 1991 everyone acts like Drozdov (Alexei II)
                                          didn't exist. The highest posts are the men with tenure. They call the
                                          shots, and pick their picks.

                                          Which of those ordinations did not require the approval of the
                                          Patriarch Alexei II (Agent Drozdov)?

                                          Why haven't those MP Bishops been preaching against Vladimir Putin's
                                          conduct of a repressive government and neglect of the Russian people's
                                          colossal medical, agricultural and preventive health needs?

                                          If blood could be on their hands, shouldn't they step down? If the KGB
                                          /FSB elicited info from clergy (now the higher ups) about people in
                                          their communities, and they gave it up to protect their families,
                                          while that is understandable and forgiveable under the stress of the
                                          regime, just as Judas was forgivable had he repented, how do they know
                                          whether their information was used for killing human beings?

                                          > 2) Calling on "the Russians" to rise up and overthrow the Church
                                          > hierarchy is completely contrary to Orthodox Christianity.

                                          Only the "counterfeits," just as I said. The real hierarchy, the
                                          sincere, would not be overthrown. Overthrowing counterfeits means
                                          calling the pretenders to publicly resign. That requires an
                                          investigation to ferret out those who were active Soviet informants
                                          and agents. As I said, it would be easier if they would resign. If
                                          that doesn't happen, or an investigation is impossible because of
                                          destroyed records or lack of witnesses, it would be better to have
                                          patience until the dark cloud of their falsity has passed.

                                          Perhaps this is another reason for the neglect: so that all of the
                                          aging witnesses of the actions of KGB informants would die off. It is
                                          the ultimate sanitization of a record; killing the memory of the truth
                                          by hastening the death of those with the memory. But don't worry,
                                          there is a Higher governing Church Triumphant, and there are clouds of
                                          witnesses there.

                                          The investigation is not going to happen with Putin in power, so it
                                          will have to be a while. Another perestroika is needed to get the FSB
                                          and associated agencies to release all concealed KGB records.
                                          Independent and honest investigators loyal to the Russian laws of the
                                          Russian people, would also help. By now, I am concerned that the
                                          records are sanitized or destroyed.


                                          > It is the way of the Protestant reformation, and if followed, could
                                          > lead to nothing good.

                                          Yes, it would, and it wouldn't be a reformation, it would be a
                                          correction within the true Church, pruning the tree of that which the
                                          atheists grafted into the Patriarchate.

                                          > 3) However, the Moscow Patriarchate and its bishops and clergy are,
                                          if anything, much
                                          > more popular today than the Russian clergy were before the
                                          revolution, when anticlerical
                                          > attitudes were a well-known (and well-documented) problem.

                                          Popular in what way? Are pollsters calling the Russian households with
                                          polls to extrapolate approval ratings on the clergy in general? Since
                                          when were political perceptions of clergy measured by pollsters? Why
                                          would that be an emphasis or expenditure?

                                          It seems to me the Russian people have some reason for their
                                          anti-clerical attitudes, considering that there were clerics informing
                                          on their families, or participating with authorities in hunting down
                                          innocent people.


                                          > Ironically, the older Russian emigration sometimes preserved those
                                          > anticlerical attitudes,

                                          I wouldn't count distrust as anti-clerical. And their distrust comes
                                          from knowing how the regime worked. The younger generations don't take
                                          these things as seriously because they witnessed the USSR/Russia after
                                          opposition, dissidents and truthtellers had already been crushed. The
                                          elder emigres fully understood the single-minded focus of the
                                          Committee for State Security and its resolve to finish the job on the
                                          Church.

                                          I am really, really glad St. John wrote his concise history of the
                                          ROCOR. That has really helped us see the light about how dogged the
                                          pursuers of the flock have been, especially since the Russian
                                          government is reverting to Soviet practices again.


                                          > whereas the new arrivals from Russia usually are respectful towards
                                          the clergy, and
                                          > constantly seek their prayers and advice.

                                          You mean the people who left Russia to live here? They've come to the
                                          ROCOR. Doesn't that beg the question?

                                          >
                                          > 4) The overwhelming majority of the Russian clergy, including the
                                          > majority of the bishops,
                                          > have been ordained since the fall of communism, mostly in the past
                                          > few years.

                                          We're talking about Bishops here Fr. John. When were they ordained as
                                          priests, that's the question. Were they informants? That's what
                                          determines who they're loyal to, Christ or the worldly government?

                                          >
                                          > There are no canonical grounds for replacing them, few candidates
                                          with any training to
                                          > could take their places, and in any case, the next generation of
                                          bishops, priests and
                                          > deacons would still be "the successors" of those who went before
                                          them: thus they too
                                          > would be attacked in the same way, by persons of your mindset.

                                          There would be no canonicity to the placement of the counterfeits in
                                          the first place, would there? Formal removal would not seem necessary.
                                          It would be easier to tell who was who with a thorough investigation
                                          and release of all KGB records. If the KGB and USSR are history, then
                                          why are their records active secrets? Too embarrassing what could be
                                          in there about the leadership, I'll bet.

                                          > Consequently, what you are calling for is both unreasonable, and
                                          > impossible to achieve.

                                          How about a formal, careful, professional investigation to get to the
                                          truth?

                                          > > The L.A. Times, however, put a reporter on the ground who made
                                          > > contrary reports as to the exaggerations. ... I remember citing the
                                          > > Times in some letters written to a national news outlet, ... and
                                          that was
                                          > > the beginning of the wider media
                                          > > exposure of the KLA as a drug-running organization in Europe with ties
                                          > > to the Afghan Mujahadeen.
                                          >
                                          > JRS: Unfortunately, that "wider media exposure" has been anything
                                          but wide. I would
                                          > recommend waiting until a few more people learn of it, before taking
                                          credit.
                                          >

                                          At the time the Washington Times was the at the forefront of
                                          Washington newspapers keeping the Clinton Administration honest, and
                                          their KLA coverage spurred Washington Post and Wall Street Journal
                                          competition to widen that publicity. It's staff gets the credit for
                                          breaking the KLA connections stories I'm referring to. You can see
                                          them referenced online, or you can go to their archive. I saw
                                          irregularities at CNN, including one report in which Kosovar Albanians
                                          were sitting on a hillside laughing, and the camera turned on them and
                                          they began lamenting and crying for the camera. Too many things were
                                          irregular, much as is true for the Annexation of the ROCOR by the MP
                                          today.

                                          > > The central question in all of this seems to be: how do the people
                                          > > deal with sin, fellow sinners and with overcoming passions? Is there a
                                          > > spiritual light for them to follow in that land and in authority?
                                          >
                                          > JRS: The spiritual light for them, and for us, can only be in the
                                          > Church.

                                          Yes. And the boundaries of the Church God sets, not you or me. It
                                          seems to me the boundaries don't include false prophets and politicos
                                          installed by governments. Wouldn't you agree?

                                          >
                                          > In Christ
                                          > Fr. John R. Shaw
                                          >

                                          God help us.
                                          Michael
                                        • Mike Woodson
                                          Dear Dimitra, If that was the ROCOR s mission, yes. We are talking about the Church of Christ, living in faith. Yes. Michael ... would ... remedy Clinton s
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Nov 3, 2006
                                            Dear Dimitra,

                                            If that was the ROCOR's mission, yes. We are talking about the Church
                                            of Christ, living in faith. Yes.

                                            Michael

                                            --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, DDD <dimitradd@...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            > Wow. By this logic, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
                                            "would
                                            > have the spiritual strength and legitimacy to criticize and help
                                            remedy" Clinton's mass-murder and bombing of Orthodox Serbs and all
                                            the "horrors and lawlessness" that occurred under Clinton.
                                            >
                                            > --Dimitra Dwelley
                                            >
                                          • DDD
                                            On Fri, 03 Nov 2006 13:11:38 -0000, Mike Woodson wrote: Dear Dimitra, If that was the ROCOR s mission, yes. We are talking about the Church of Christ, living
                                            Message 21 of 22 , Nov 4, 2006
                                              On Fri, 03 Nov 2006 13:11:38 -0000, Mike Woodson wrote:
                                              Dear Dimitra,

                                              If that was the ROCOR's mission, yes. We are talking about the Church
                                              of Christ, living in faith. Yes.

                                              Michael

                                              --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, DDD <dimitradd@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > Wow. By this logic, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
                                              "would
                                              > have the spiritual strength and legitimacy to criticize and help
                                              remedy" Clinton's mass-murder and bombing of Orthodox Serbs and all
                                              the "horrors and lawlessness" that occurred under Clinton.
                                              >
                                              > --Dimitra Dwelley
                                              ________________________________________________________________

                                              Dear Michael,
                                              Criticizing the U.S. government was not at all ROCOR's mission. I'm sorry you don't see the absurdity of it. It is for men to come to the Church. The Church does not *force* repentance, nor does it start taking on governments. If you remember, in the Gospels, the Jews had your same point: they wanted the Saviour to do something about the un-Jewish Roman rule. He refused. He even condoned paying tribute to (pagan) Caesar, which pious Jews considered to be the same as apostasy, since Caesar set himself up as a Roman god. This passage is worth serious reflection.
                                              But the Church in Russia "took on" the government in a far different way: by its podvigi of existence under the cruel soviet regime, by prayer, by maintaining contact with God-bearing elders, by God's might working when we ourselves were powerless--and by martyrdom (yes, in the Moscow Patriarchate, which even the first Catacomb people were part of, since they recognized St. Peter of Krutista as patriarchal locum tenens.) By this means--spiritual means--the atheistic government in Russia was overcome and bloodlessly overthrown. This is a miracle for which we should all now be giving thanks to God!
                                              I am reading the life of St. Seraphim of Vyritsa, who was a wonderworking, clairvoyant starets born before the Revolution and who reposed in 1949. Many who were not believers would somehow end up visiting him in times of personal sorrow--someone would say to them, "There is an old man in Vyritsa who can help you." And these people would come away believers. *This* is how the Russian Church has conquered atheism.
                                              As for Putin, anything done by him as far as government goes is also done by our own government. That's why your accusation of the Orthodox Church is absurd--ah! the government has done something (you say) wrong, therefore the Church is not real. To go back to my comparison: that's like saying, "The Roman government was crucifying thousands of Jews; if Jesus were the Son of God He would come down from the Cross and overthrow the Roman government." But that's not what happened. He overthrew it in an entirely different way.
                                              Meanwhile, under Putin, thousands of churches are being rebuilt, going to church is legal and not only allowed, but thriving. For this we should be giving thanks. If you don't like something else he is doing, by all means move to Russia and get involved in politics and speak up. Or, you could simply pray that the pious and God-fearing Tsar prophesied by the Optina Elders, St. Theophan of Poltava, Starets Lavrentii of Chernigov and others will now appear.

                                              --Dimitra Dwelley
                                              PS: In writing, it is impossible to convey tone of voice. I do not mean this in any kind of hostile tone of voice, Michael.
                                            • Fr. John R. Shaw
                                              ... JRS: You seem fond of accusing us of spin and of misrepresentation of the facts, and of all manner of things you do yourself. If only some of the clergy
                                              Message 22 of 22 , Nov 4, 2006
                                                --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Woodson" <singingmountains@...>
                                                wrote:

                                                > Fr. John, that's your take. I said "throw these counterfeits off,"
                                                > which refers to the counterfeits among them. You generalized it to
                                                > all, something I did not do. That was a mistake, or, yet another spin.

                                                JRS: You seem fond of accusing us of "spin" and of misrepresentation of the facts, and of
                                                all manner of things you do yourself.

                                                If only some of the clergy in Russia are "counterfeits", how do you claim to know which is
                                                which, when you seem to gain all information from American newspapers?

                                                And who is supposed to decide that in Russia?

                                                In any case, revolutions and overthrowing of bishops and priests by the laity is not
                                                accepted in the Orthodox Church.

                                                If a cleric is guilty of some specific offense, he can be tried before an ecclesiastical court.

                                                > Why haven't you responded about MP Bishop Clement's admission to the
                                                > Episcopal Church in New York in 1998 that the Soviets had destroyed
                                                > the Orthodox hospitals or commandeered them, and needed to be rebuilt?

                                                JRS: I do not read everything you write. I believe in getting to the point, and keeping my
                                                remarks as concise as I can.

                                                In 1998, he was already Archbishop Clement.

                                                As for his remark as quoted, obviously it's true: the Church's hospitals, that it had before
                                                the revolution were all taken away from it, and today they are being gradually rebuilt.

                                                > What are the names, locations and dates of Orthodox Christian
                                                > hospitals rebuilt since 1992 when Bishop Clement said Perestroika had
                                                > opened the door? Really, point them out. I can't find records.

                                                JRS: Two suggestions:

                                                1) Learn to read Russian, and

                                                2) follow the daily accounts of these things at the several MP websites.

                                                > Why was Bishop Clement in New York thanking the Episcopalians
                                                > (protestants) in the first place?

                                                JRS: Who knows? Who cares?

                                                Our own bishops (among them, Patriarch St. Tikhon) did that often enough in times past.

                                                > By speaking ill of the protests of protestants, do you imply that the
                                                > Roman Catholic Church was in their right not to be protested against?
                                                > Just sit there and let them burn folks to death? Don't protest? Don't
                                                > speak up?

                                                JRS: What has that got to do with the time of day?

                                                > The USSR got so many people so sick with the pollution, neglect, and
                                                > indifference to human life, that Putin knows it would be easier just
                                                > to let entire generations die off than it would to take care of them.

                                                JRS: There are some writers on the internet that make ME sick, you know...

                                                In Christ
                                                Fr. John R. Shaw
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