Dear Very Rev. Fr. John,
See my responses below your comments.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org
, "Fr. John R. Shaw"
> --- In email@example.com, "Mike Woodson"
> 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.
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
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
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
> 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
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
> > 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
> > 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
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
> > 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
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.