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Black Cloud Over Moscow

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  • nchernja@rochester.rr.com
    Black Cloud Over Moscow Over eighty years ago and half a world away from where I now sit writing this, what came to be known as the Russian Orthodox Church
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 28, 2006
      Black Cloud Over Moscow



      Over eighty years ago and half a world away from where I now sit writing this, what came to be known as the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (aka Russian Church Abroad) was born. It was not a joyous occasion. In fact, the ascent of the communist regime in Russia, which was the reason Patriarch Tikhon issued the directive to form a separate church administration, was the dawn of the bloodiest persecution of Christians in history. This is not an overstatement.



      I had not experienced it, but I knew those who had. Though I was raised in the United States in the latter half of the 20th century, I was always aware of the sheer magnitude of the evil that had overtaken my parents' and grandparents' homeland. I remember looking at the icon of the Russian New Martyrs and being amazed at the countless number of people standing in a crowd stretching out to the horizon ready to receive the crown of martyrdom from the angels passing them out to those who stood firm in their confession of Christ. I'll never forget the grainy black and white footage of churches and bell towers collapsing to the ground following the detonation of explosives at the base. One, after another, after another, after another. Almost as disheartening was seeing the churches that survived, many of which were turned into warehouses, movie theaters, and, most insulting, public toilets. I got to see these with my own eyes when I visited in 1991.



      Perhaps the most haunting were the photographs of bishops, starting with Patriarch Tikhon himself, that were martyred for the faith - killed because they refused to compromise their unshaken belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and their sacred duty to His Church. I found them in the back of a book in Russian about the persecutions. Somehow, the sight of their faces brought to life the stories of the incredibly cruel tortures they endured at the hands of the Soviets. What struck me was just how many martyred bishops there were: two-hundred and eight. With four photos per page and just a tiny caption telling who they were and when they were martyred, I slowly leafed through that appendix. These are my heroes. These are the men who, in this age of cynicism, show that there are still those who are willing to drink of the cup that the Lord drank of and to be baptized with the baptism that He was baptized with. Their stories should be trumpeted from the heights, for they are the genuine article. No politics, no self-interest, just Christ.



      Sadly, not all of the bishops in Russia endured during this dark period. Some were broken and capitulated to the communists. These were the ones that survived in slavery to the regime. After the Patriarch was martyred and his replacement was exiled, the Soviet government gave the leadership of the Russian Church to Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky), who infamously declared in 1927 that the Soviet Union's "joys and successes are our joys and successes, and [its] sorrows are our sorrows. Every blow directed against the [Soviet] Union.we acknowledge as a blow directed against us."1 This was a watershed moment and the term "Sergianism" began to be used with reference to the policy expressed in this declaration. From that moment on, the official bishops who had submitted themselves to the militantly atheistic communist state did not utter a word of public protest to anything the State did, even though the country was drenched in the blood of tens of millions of people. The present day Moscow Patriarchate is the inheritor of this legacy.



      What followed this capitulation in 1927, unfortunately up until the present day, was a Church that marched in lock-step with the regime. If there were any rumors of persecution that made it to the West, they were vehemently and universally denied by the Patriarchate. In 1930, when the ruthless extermination of clergy and faithful by the Soviet government was at a fever pitch that was maintained for the next ten years, Sergius came out and told the world, "There never has been religious persecution in the USSR, nor is there now." 2 And if churches are being closed, it is "not being initiated by the government, but by the wishes of the people, and in other cases, even by decision of the faithful." 3 Outrageous lies became the face of a Moscow Patriarchate firmly under the boot-heel of the "wise, God-appointed leader of the people of our great Union" as Metropolitan Sergius frequently called Joseph Stalin, one of the bloodiest dictators in history. 4



      Those first bishops who led the Patriarchate in the Soviet period eventually died and gave way to new bishops. These new bishops grew up and were educated in the Soviet Union. The most promising and energetic apologists for the regime were recruited by the KGB and pushed up through the ranks to become the mouthpieces of the State. As one disillusioned ex-KGB officer put it, "The KGB's near-total control of the Russian Orthodox Church, both at home and abroad, is one of the most sordid and little known chapters in the history of our organization." 5 Indeed, the information that has become available on this topic paints a gruesome picture. Right up to the break-up of the Soviet Union, these bishops would faithfully make statements like, "The laws of this country forbid persecution of citizens for their religious beliefs," 6 and "We are all united by our love for our Socialist motherland." 7



      I am writing all of this, not because I want to publicly skewer the Moscow Patriarchate. In fact, I can't express in words how much I would love to see the Church in Russia completely cleansed! The joy this would bring to both Church militant and Church triumphant would be without bounds! No, the reason for my writing this is to explain my own view, to anyone who would care to read it, on why the current basis for rapprochement between the Russian Church Outside of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate is completely wrong and would lead the entire Orthodox Church to bear the burden of the sins of those same Moscow Patriarchate bishops I have mentioned. This cannot be swept under the rug. It is not going away.



      Let me first clarify that the personal spiritual state of those hierarchs who capitulated is not at issue here. They will be judged as we all will be judged, by Christ in the Final Judgment. Certainly, these bishops are to be greatly pitied. I would hope that I would have endured had I been in their shoes. However, I have four little reasons to think that I may not have endured running around the house right now. There, but for the Grace of God, go I.



      However, it is essential that we judge ideas, and the idea of Sergianism as a way to "save" the Church is as without precedent in Christian teaching as it is lethal. Notice, what I am arguing is not that we should stop praying for or pitying the hierarchs whose strength failed them during what had to be an unimaginably terrible time. What I am arguing is that becoming Stalin's sock-puppet doesn't make someone a hero, and it certainly doesn't save the Church. The heroes that were saving the Church were being tortured and killed in the Gulag. The Lord Himself, as well as millions who followed Him, showed us that this was the way.



      Unfortunately, the position of the Moscow Patriarchate continues to stand at odds with this. In 2003, a book about Metropolitan Sergius, called The Guardian of the House of the Lord, was published by the Moscow Patriarchate. The book itself is a lengthy biography which also reads, in parts, like an apologetic work for the Church's capitulation to the Soviet regime. If that weren't bad enough, the forward was written by the current Patriarch, Alexy II, in which he praises the heroic path taken by Sergius and viciously castigates the critics of this path. Concerning those that did not follow Sergius in his submission to Stalin, he writes that these "schismatics", "not having reconciled themselves to the new government, became a danger just as big as the persecutions." 8 Sergius' actions, on the other hand, only get words of praise, as he is credited with averting, "maybe even the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church itself." 9 Not one word about how human weakness led Sergius to a disastrous compromise and the sorrowful path of the enslaved Church in the Soviet Union. Had the Patriarch said this, it would be an admission that Sergius' action, while understandable, was wrong.



      But the Moscow Patriarchate's actions show that it considers Sergianism to be anything but wrong. In fact, it is heroic. The Patriarchate tries to pacify critics by pointing to a sub-section in a document called the "Basis of the Social Concept" where it says that, in general, if the government asks the Church to do something it considers wrong, the Church is free to reject this. But at the same time, the Patriarch has blessed the construction of a memorial complex in honor of Metropolitan Sergius, complete with a square, a museum and a monument. 10 The only comparison I can come up with is if Britain decided to build a monument to honor the heroic actions of Neville Chamberlain, but that would be unfair to Chamberlain because his policy of appeasing Hitler was neither as deep nor as long lasting as Sergianism was, or perhaps I should say, is.



      As a bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate during the Soviet period, how many times do you drive past a pile of rubble that was a church or a church converted into a public toilet, before you begin to doubt whether or not you are even serving, much less "saving", the Russian Church? This question, of course, presupposes that there were bishops who deceived themselves into thinking that they were "saving" the Russian Church, but this is history. A more pertinent question is why does the Moscow Patriarchate continue to embrace Sergianism?



      The answer, I believe, lies in the fact that the mentality of the present leadership of the Moscow Patriarchate stems from a Sergianist past, and they live in a state of subservience to the government even now. For example, in May of 2005, Patriarch Alexy wrote a congratulatory epistle to the president of Vietnam on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the communist victory in the Vietnam War. He called it a "glorious anniversary" and said that it opened up new horizons for the Vietnamese people. 11 Why would any Christian leader praise an event that led to a Vietnamese system of camps for reeducation and extermination, thousands of boat people fleeing misery and repression, not to mention the unimaginable terror that was unleashed in neighboring Cambodia? There seems to be only two possible answers: either the Patriarch is a communist sympathizer, or the Kremlin directed him to write this. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated event in that similar letters have been sent to the leaders of North Korea and Cuba.



      The Moscow Patriarchate again finds itself with a government that does not tolerate dissent. Ever since Vladimir Putin's election as president of Russia, nostalgia for the Soviet past has increased just as personal freedoms have been eroded. This is not a man who would let a powerful organization like the Moscow Patriarchate do as it pleases, and he has found willing accomplices in the top hierarchs who continue to trumpet Sergianism as heroic. In today's Russia, critics of the Kremlin are dealt with swiftly and ruthlessly, but this has not affected the Patriarchate, as there seems to be not a peep of criticism coming from those quarters. It is also a curious thing that it was Putin who initiated the process to bring the Russian Church Abroad under Moscow's influence.



      Is it a hopeless scenario then? As long as we have God, we have hope. However, the Russian Church Abroad stands on the cusp of integration with the Moscow Patriarchate, effectively silencing it as a voice against the idea that those who capitulate to dictators are heroes. Before, it was a Russian problem. Now, it becomes the Orthodox Church's problem. The Western Church has lived with the historical burden of the Inquisition and the Crusades but the Orthodox Church has been able to disassociate itself from any such tragedies - until now.



      If persecution should resume, and someday it will, God forbid that what the Moscow Patriarchate paints as being heroic actions of Metropolitan Sergius should be taken as a precedent! We, as Christians, know that the future holds something called the End Times. When they will occur, nobody can tell, and certainly it isn't good to be preoccupied by them. But someday, a great evil will grip all of humanity, and this evil will be looking for precisely the kind of bishops that the Moscow Patriarchate calls heroes - the capitulators. This is why it is imperative to loudly and thoroughly denounce the Sergianist innovation as being wrong and completely contrary to the example shown to us by the Church for two-thousand years.



      The Orthodox Christian Church is the light to the world that the Lord provided for us at Pentecost. Steadfastly over the past two millennia, the Church has guided those in this storm-tossed life to a safe haven in the Lord. The world has fought against it.



      But there is a black cloud over Moscow. Tens of millions died, while the bishops in the Patriarchate looked on. This black cloud will continue to hang there no matter how many agreements and resolutions come out swearing that it is white. The only way that it will go away is through the method demonstrated by the spiritual giants of old: repentance. A firm, loud and universal declaration, backed by deeds, that the way of Christ is not the way of compromise with evil, but a stand for Truth, even unto death.



      Please pray for the bishops of the tiny Russian Church Abroad that they withstand the pressure to quickly unite with the Moscow Patriarchate under circumstances where rejection of Sergianism is feeble, forced and parenthetical and the embracing of Sergius' path is being solidified as a proud Russian heritage. Also, we must pray for the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate, and of the entire Holy Orthodox Church as a whole that the dreadful legacy of the Russian Church's enslavement to the Soviet regime might not spread, but be expunged forever.



      Deacon Nicholas Chernjavsky

      The Protection of the Mother of God Parish (ROCOR)

      Rochester, NY





















      Notes:



      1. Alexey Young, The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (St. Willibrord's Press, 1995) p.31



      2. M.E. Gubinin, Akti Svyateyshego Patriarkha Tikhona i pozdneyshiye dokumenti o preemstve visshey tserkovnoy vlasti 1917-1945 (St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Institute, 1994)



      3. Ibid.



      4. Vladimir S. Rusak, Istoria Rossiyskoy Tserkvi (1993) p. 444



      5. Oleg Kalugin, The First Directorate (St. Martin's Press, 1994) p. 197



      6. Jane Ellis, The Russian Orthodox Church (Indiana University Press, 1986) p. 209



      7. Christopher Andrew, The Sword and the Shield (Basic Books, 1999) p.498. This is a fascinating collection of KGB materials that were smuggled out of the Soviet Union by KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin. There is an entire chapter detailing the systematic infiltration and manipulation of the Moscow Patriarchate by the KGB.



      8. Sergei Fomin, Strazh Doma Gospodnya (Moskovsky Sretensky Monastir', 2003)



      9. Ibid.



      10. News item on the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate, www.mospat.ru, entitled "Svyateyshiy Patriarkh Aleksiy blagoslovil sozdaniye v Arzamse memorialnogo kompleksa, posvyaschennogo Patriarkhu Sergiyu (Stragorodskomu)", April 22, 2005



      11. Posting on the official site of the Moscow Patriarchate, www.mospat.ru, entitled "Predstoyatel' Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tservi pozdravil v'etnamsky narod c 30-letiyem pobedi v voyne soprotivleniya", May 2005


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Fr. John R. Shaw
      ... JRS: I got to see them with my own eyes a bit earlier, in 1967 and 1969, when I visited Russia. Before setting off on my trip (the 1967 visit was a group
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 29, 2006
        --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, <nchernja@...> wrote:

        > I had not experienced it, but I knew those who had.
        > Almost as disheartening was seeing the churches that survived, many of which were
        >turned into warehouses, movie theaters, and, most insulting, public toilets. I got to see
        >these with my own eyes when I visited in 1991.

        JRS: I "got to see them with my own eyes" a bit earlier, in 1967 and 1969, when I visited
        Russia.

        Before setting off on my trip (the 1967 visit was a group tour for students of Russian), I
        studied the old maps of several cities I would visit, in the 1911 "Baedeker's Russia",
        showing where churches were located before the revolution.

        Then, whenever I had the opportunity, I walked to those places to see what was what.

        It was certainly disheartening to see them closed, desecrated, or vanished: a few were still
        open for worship, though, and my memories of the wonderful, vibrant worship in Russia
        stays with me today.

        Ironically, when I came back, almost nobody in our emigre churches seemed to have any
        interest in what I saw.

        Some of the clergy actually became angry when I told them that the few functioning
        churches were packed: they did not want to hear that!

        Those reactions seemed very strange to me.

        > Sadly, not all of the bishops in Russia endured during this dark period. Some were
        >broken and capitulated to the communists.

        JRS: It is easy not to make any compromises, when you live in a society that guarantees
        freedom of religion, and where no one even suggests that you should make a
        compromise!

        But those who did this, did not do it because they were "broken": it was the only way to
        keep a few churches open.

        They also suffered, but they fought to keep some access to the Orthodox Church alive for
        those 70-odd years.

        In the areas where there were no churches at all, it is hardest now to revive the Orthodox
        Church.
        Metropolitan Sergius frequently called Joseph Stalin, one of the bloodiest dictators in
        history.

        > As a bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate during the Soviet period, how many times do
        >you drive past a pile of rubble that was a church or a church converted into a public
        >toilet, before you begin to doubt whether or not you are even serving, much less
        >"saving", the Russian Church?

        JRS: In my own travels in Russia back in the late 1960's, I saw many closed and defaced
        churches, but I do not recall seeing any of them turned into a public toilet.

        It's true that bishops did ride in cars (in those days in Russia, most people did not), but
        few of them looked out the window, I suspect. That was more characteristic of foreign
        visitors: those not accustomed to Soviet life.

        > In today's Russia, critics of the Kremlin are dealt with swiftly and ruthlessly, but this has
        not affected the Patriarchate, as there seems to be not a peep of criticism coming from
        those quarters.

        JRS: No one who reads the websites of the Moscow Patriarchate could believe such a
        statement as that!

        > The Western Church has lived with the historical burden of the Inquisition and the
        Crusades but the Orthodox Church has been able to disassociate itself from any such
        tragedies - until now.

        JRS: No one who reads the Western media about Serbia can say that the Orthodox Church
        "has been able to dissociate itself", since the Church has continued to be victimized till
        now.

        > Notes:
        > 2. M.E. Gubinin, Akti Svyateyshego Patriarkha Tikhona i pozdneyshiye dokumenti o
        preemstve visshey tserkovnoy vlasti 1917-1945 (St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological
        Institute, 1994)

        JRS: The fact that a piece of writing is equipped with footnotes, does not prove that its
        thesis is correct.

        The above book is also in my library, but I draw very different conclusions from its
        contents.

        In Christ
        Fr. John R. Shaw
      • frvictor@comcast.net
        Fr. John wrote: But those who did this, did not do it because they were broken : it was the only way to keep a few churches open. Me: And it was in those
        Message 3 of 10 , Nov 29, 2006
          Fr. John wrote: "But those who did this, did not do it because they were "broken": it was the only way to keep a few churches open."

          Me: And it was in those open churches many of our parishioners from the second emigration were baptized in (1930s and 1940s)....

          Priest Victor Boldewskul

          -------------- Original message --------------
          From: "Fr. John R. Shaw" <vrevjrs@...>
          --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, <nchernja@...> wrote:

          > I had not experienced it, but I knew those who had.
          > Almost as disheartening was seeing the churches that survived, many of which were
          >turned into warehouses, movie theaters, and, most insulting, public toilets. I got to see
          >these with my own eyes when I visited in 1991.

          JRS: I "got to see them with my own eyes" a bit earlier, in 1967 and 1969, when I visited
          Russia.

          Before setting off on my trip (the 1967 visit was a group tour for students of Russian), I
          studied the old maps of several cities I would visit, in the 1911 "Baedeker's Russia",
          showing where churches were located before the revolution.

          Then, whenever I had the opportunity, I walked to those places to see what was what.

          It was certainly disheartening to see them closed, desecrated, or vanished: a few were still
          open for worship, though, and my memories of the wonderful, vibrant worship in Russia
          stays with me today.

          Ironically, when I came back, almost nobody in our emigre churches seemed to have any
          interest in what I saw.

          Some of the clergy actually became angry when I told them that the few functioning
          churches were packed: they did not want to hear that!

          Those reactions seemed very strange to me.

          > Sadly, not all of the bishops in Russia endured during this dark period. Some were
          >broken and capitulated to the communists.

          JRS: It is easy not to make any compromises, when you live in a society that guarantees
          freedom of religion, and where no one even suggests that you should make a
          compromise!

          But those who did this, did not do it because they were "broken": it was the only way to
          keep a few churches open.

          They also suffered, but they fought to keep some access to the Orthodox Church alive for
          those 70-odd years.

          In the areas where there were no churches at all, it is hardest now to revive the Orthodox
          Church.
          Metropolitan Sergius frequently called Joseph Stalin, one of the bloodiest dictators in
          history.

          > As a bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate during the Soviet period, how many times do
          >you drive past a pile of rubble that was a church or a church converted into a public
          >toilet, before you begin to doubt whether or not you are even serving, much less
          >"saving", the Russian Church?

          JRS: In my own travels in Russia back in the late 1960's, I saw many closed and defaced
          churches, but I do not recall seeing any of them turned into a public toilet.

          It's true that bishops did ride in cars (in those days in Russia, most people did not), but
          few of them looked out the window, I suspect. That was more characteristic of foreign
          visitors: those not accustomed to Soviet life.

          > In today's Russia, critics of the Kremlin are dealt with swiftly and ruthlessly, but this has
          not affected the Patriarchate, as there seems to be not a peep of criticism coming from
          those quarters.

          JRS: No one who reads the websites of the Moscow Patriarchate could believe such a
          statement as that!

          > The Western Church has lived with the historical burden of the Inquisition and the
          Crusades but the Orthodox Church has been able to disassociate itself from any such
          tragedies - until now.

          JRS: No one who reads the Western media about Serbia can say that the Orthodox Church
          "has been able to dissociate itself", since the Church has continued to be victimized till
          now.

          > Notes:
          > 2. M.E. Gubinin, Akti Svyateyshego Patriarkha Tikhona i pozdneyshiye dokumenti o
          preemstve visshey tserkovnoy vlasti 1917-1945 (St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological
          Institute, 1994)

          JRS: The fact that a piece of writing is equipped with footnotes, does not prove that its
          thesis is correct.

          The above book is also in my library, but I draw very different conclusions from its
          contents.

          In Christ
          Fr. John R. Shaw




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Deacon Nicholas Chernjavsky
          ... period. Some were ... JRS: It is easy not to make any compromises, when you live in a society that guarantees freedom of religion, and where no one even
          Message 4 of 10 , Nov 29, 2006
            --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, <nchernja@...> wrote:


            > Sadly, not all of the bishops in Russia endured during this dark
            period. Some were
            >broken and capitulated to the communists.

            JRS: It is easy not to make any compromises, when you live in a
            society that guarantees freedom of religion, and where no one even
            suggests that you should make a compromise!

            DN: On the contrary, I make compromises all the time. But, I don't
            label them "victories".

            JRS: But those who did this, did not do it because they
            were "broken": it was the only way to keep a few churches open.

            DN: Too bad nobody told the New Martyrs that. All that torture &
            dying, when all they needed to do was agree to become puppets of the
            Soviet regime.

            > The Western Church has lived with the historical burden of the
            Inquisition and the Crusades but the Orthodox Church has been able
            to disassociate itself from any such tragedies - until now.

            JRS: No one who reads the Western media about Serbia can say that
            the Orthodox Church "has been able to dissociate itself", since the
            Church has continued to be victimized till now.

            DN: I was talking about a Church which took part in the bloody act
            of an aggressor. That it was a victim is without question, just as
            there is no doubt that the policy of Sergianism made the MP an
            accomplice as well. It was either destroying itself, or working the
            international scene for the purposes of Soviet propaganda, depending
            on what the Kremlin told it to do.

            In Christ,
            Deacon Nicholas
          • DDD
             On Wed, 29 Nov 2006 12:22:44 -0000, Fr. John R. Shaw wrote:  do  you drive past a pile of rubble that was a church or a church
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 29, 2006
               On Wed, 29 Nov 2006 12:22:44 -0000, Fr. John R. Shaw wrote:
               do
               you drive past a pile of rubble that was a church or a church

              ________________________________________________
               
              Having just been to St. Petersburg, I saw these "piles of rubble" with my own eyes--lovingly and laboriously being built back into functioning Orthodox churches, by devoted priests, monks, nuns, and parishioners.  Piles of new bricks shoulder-high everywhere, building back what had been destroyed.  And someone who went with us said he had been there just a couple or three years ago, and he didn't recognize it now--when he had been there it was still unfinished rubble and now there are finished churches in place of the rubble.
               
              So, --the time to think about the rubble is over; the time to thank God that the rubble is being rebuilt is here.  And, the best way to "think" or "thank" is to go over there and put a few thousand roubles (650 roubles is only $25) into the slot labelled "for restoration."
               
              --Dimitra Dwelley
            • michael nikitin
              During the 30 s and 40 s things were not yet clear. There were no T.V.s, phones, no internet, etc...Metr.Kirill, Metr. Peter and Metr. Joseph of Petrograd were
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 29, 2006
                During the 30's and 40's things were not yet clear. There were no
                T.V.s, phones, no internet, etc...Metr.Kirill, Metr. Peter and
                Metr. Joseph of Petrograd were all murdered in the late 30's.

                Many didn't know the difference and were baptized in Churches
                belonging to Metr.Sergius. Those who knew did not. Fr.Job(Iov)
                of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville was baptized by a
                Catacomb priest. BUT when those who didn't know escaped, they
                joined ROCOR not the MP.

                St. John Maximovitch and Holy Metr. Philaret joined ROCOR, not
                the MP and did not go with the OCA when they left to join the MP.

                Fr. John wrote: "But those who did this, did not do it because
                > they were "broken": it was the only way to keep a few churches
                > open."

                When will New ROCOR together with MP glorify Metr.Sergei, of
                sorrowful memory, to sainthood for saving the "Russian Mother
                Church", which Fr.John and Fr.Victor believe is the MP?

                Excerpt from letter of Holy Metr. Philaret to Abbess Magdalena:

                That fact, that many from among the "Orthodox" indiscriminately
                attend what ever church, what does it tell us? Why simply that
                people do not hold the truth dear. For this very reason they
                don't bother giving the matter much thought. "The services are
                identical, everything is the same what need is there to
                philosophize?" Or, as our Fr. John Storozhev in Harbin (the last
                spiritual father of the murdered Imperial family), one of the
                best pastors of the Diaspora, used to say with poignant irony:
                "the bells ring; the popes [colloquial Russian for simple village
                priest] serve; the singing is good what more do you want?" To
                which may be added the oh, so familiar "After all, God is
                one!"...


                Michael N


                --- frvictor@... wrote:

                > Fr. John wrote: "But those who did this, did not do it because
                > they were "broken": it was the only way to keep a few churches
                > open."
                >
                > Me: And it was in those open churches many of our parishioners
                > from the second emigration were baptized in (1930s and
                > 1940s)....
                >
                > Priest Victor Boldewskul
                >





                ____________________________________________________________________________________
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              • Melissa Bushunow
                ... It s not surprising that the few remaining churches were packed; there had been thousands, then there were tens. ... Perhaps it was because many of them
                Message 7 of 10 , Nov 29, 2006
                  On Nov 29, 2006, at 7:22 AM, Fr. John R. Shaw wrote:


                  > JRS: It was certainly disheartening to see them closed, desecrated,
                  > or vanished: a few were still
                  > open for worship, though, and my memories of the wonderful, vibrant
                  > worship in Russia
                  > stays with me today.
                  >
                  > Ironically, when I came back, almost nobody in our emigre churches
                  > seemed to have any
                  > interest in what I saw.
                  >
                  > Some of the clergy actually became angry when I told them that the
                  > few functioning
                  > churches were packed:


                  It's not surprising that the few remaining churches were packed; there
                  had been thousands, then there were tens.


                  > they did not want to hear that!
                  >
                  > Those reactions seemed very strange to me.


                  Perhaps it was because many of them had relatively recently (and with a
                  more eternal view of things) been there, and knew very well what you
                  saw. They had not been beguiled, or they became "disenchanted" once
                  they found the free Church, and so reacted to your reports like parents
                  who express concern with anger, yet inspired by love, over their
                  children's danger.


                  >
                  > > Sadly, not all of the bishops in Russia endured during this dark
                  > period. Some were
                  > >broken and capitulated to the communists.
                  >
                  > JRS: It is easy not to make any compromises, when you live in a
                  > society that guarantees
                  > freedom of religion, and where no one even suggests that you should
                  > make a
                  > compromise!
                  >

                  There seems to be a large part of our clergy and laity who are doing
                  just that: making compromises in a society where freedom of religion
                  is guaranteed. They are spending amazing amounts of time, energy and
                  money to do so -- on the internet, at parish meetings, at diocesan
                  conferences, at balls -- promoting and defending these compromises.

                  It shouldn't be easy to make these compromises because they directly
                  disobey the teachings of the free Church -- the anathemas of the
                  Bolsheviks in 1918, the writings of the New Martyrs, and the directives
                  of our hierarchs of blessed memory -- in regard to the soviets,
                  Metropolitan Sergius and his heirs the MP . But these absolutely
                  detrimental compromises are being made.

                  All of a sudden (once again, relative to the traditional ROCOR stance
                  and eternal view of things) our bishops on down have been pushing these
                  compromises -- on sergianism ("oh, don't talk to them about that, it
                  might derail the discussions."); on ecumenism (ok, you don't have to
                  leave the WCC like we said you would need to for us to talk further");
                  on the New Martyrs ("it doesn't matter that they refused to glorify St.
                  Joseph of Petrograd because of his stand against Metropolitan
                  Sergius").

                  In fact, these compromises made in freedom are far more grievous than
                  any compromises made under duress. Judas vs. the Apostle Peter's
                  frightened denial.

                  But they all can be repented of.

                  My prayer is that these three compromises (and all their corollaries)
                  will be repented of and grieved over like Peter wept bitterly over his
                  three-fold denial of Christ, and that it won't be a kiss of Judas
                  scenario.

                  >
                  > JRS: No one who reads the websites of the Moscow Patriarchate could
                  > believe such a
                  > statement as that!
                  >
                  > JRS: The fact that a piece of writing is equipped with footnotes,
                  > does not prove that its
                  > thesis is correct.
                  >

                  The fact that a piece of writing is read (or based on what is read) on
                  the websites of the Moscow Patriarchate does not prove that its thesis
                  is correct.

                  > The above book is also in my library, but I draw very different
                  > conclusions from its
                  > contents.
                  >

                  Conclusions are determined by, among other things, one's starting
                  point, in this case by one's world view. We can choose the world view
                  of the New Martyrs, or that of Metropolitan Sergius as our starting
                  point. Simplified: we choose Christ or Belial.

                  > In Christ
                  > Fr. John R. Shaw
                  >

                  May the Lord have mercy on us all,

                  Melissa Bushunow

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Fr. John R. Shaw
                  ... JRS: But there had also been decades of persecution, the people were deprived of any religious education, and it was not wise to go to church, as those
                  Message 8 of 10 , Nov 29, 2006
                    --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, Melissa Bushunow <cafeconlechemom@...>
                    wrote:

                    > It's not surprising that the few remaining churches were packed; there
                    > had been thousands, then there were tens.

                    JRS: But there had also been decades of persecution, the people were deprived of any
                    religious education, and it was "not wise" to go to church, as those who were identified as
                    churchgoers, were liable not to get into the university, or a promotion at work, or the like.

                    Not only were the churches packed (every day), but there was a wonderful intensity of
                    worship that I had never seen anywhere else (including in our parishes abroad).

                    > Perhaps it was because many of them had relatively recently (and with a
                    > more eternal view of things) been there, and knew very well what you
                    > saw. They had not been beguiled, or they became "disenchanted" once
                    > they found the free Church, and so reacted to your reports like parents
                    > who express concern with anger, yet inspired by love, over their
                    > children's danger.

                    JRS: On the contrary, I don't think any of them had gone there, except for the older
                    generation that had fled from Russia.

                    But the one person who did show a serious interest in "the state of the Church in Russia"
                    was Archimandrite Constantine.

                    > The fact that a piece of writing is read (or based on what is read) on
                    > the websites of the Moscow Patriarchate does not prove that its thesis
                    > is correct.

                    JRS: Who is talking about "theses"?

                    I'm referring to facts, everyday events such as the founding and opening of churches and
                    monasteries, the teaching of religion in the schools, hospital and prison ministries,
                    publication of spiritual writings, public action on behalf of Orthodox issues.

                    These aren't "theses": they are what the Church is doing, day by day.

                    > Conclusions are determined by, among other things, one's starting
                    > point, in this case by one's world view. We can choose the world view
                    > of the New Martyrs, or that of Metropolitan Sergius as our starting
                    > point. Simplified: we choose Christ or Belial.

                    JRS: We can also choose to find out the real facts.

                    In Christ
                    Fr. John R. Shaw
                  • DDD
                     On Thu, 30 Nov 2006 00:55:35 -0000, Fr. John R. Shaw wrote:  I m referring to facts, everyday events such as the founding and  opening of churches and
                    Message 9 of 10 , Nov 29, 2006
                       On Thu, 30 Nov 2006 00:55:35 -0000, Fr. John R. Shaw wrote:
                       I'm referring to facts, everyday events such as the founding and
                       opening of churches and monasteries, the teaching of religion in the
                       schools, hospital and prison ministries, publication of spiritual
                       writings, public action on behalf of Orthodox issues.

                      ____________________________________________________
                       
                      "By their fruits ye shall know them," and these are GOOD fruits.  Very good fruits. Do we have anything comparable in this country? Be honest....

                      --Dimitra Dwelley
                    • frvictor@comcast.net
                      A rather bazzar response to a simple fact; many of our older emigress where baptized in the Moscow Patriarchate. I don t think that is a big deal. During the
                      Message 10 of 10 , Nov 29, 2006
                        A rather bazzar response to a simple fact; many of our older emigress where baptized in the Moscow Patriarchate. I don't think that is a big deal.

                        During the 30s and 40s, by the way, things were very, very, very clear. It is true, however, there was no Internet then.

                        Priest Victor Boldewskul


                        -------------- Original message --------------
                        From: michael nikitin <nikitinmike@...>

                        During the 30's and 40's things were not yet clear. There were no
                        T.V.s, phones, no internet, etc...Metr.Kirill, Metr. Peter and
                        Metr. Joseph of Petrograd were all murdered in the late 30's.

                        Many didn't know the difference and were baptized in Churches
                        belonging to Metr.Sergius. Those who knew did not. Fr.Job(Iov)
                        of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville was baptized by a
                        Catacomb priest. BUT when those who didn't know escaped, they
                        joined ROCOR not the MP.

                        St. John Maximovitch and Holy Metr. Philaret joined ROCOR, not
                        the MP and did not go with the OCA when they left to join the MP.

                        Fr. John wrote: "But those who did this, did not do it because
                        > they were "broken": it was the only way to keep a few churches
                        > open."

                        When will New ROCOR together with MP glorify Metr.Sergei, of
                        sorrowful memory, to sainthood for saving the "Russian Mother
                        Church", which Fr.John and Fr.Victor believe is the MP?

                        Excerpt from letter of Holy Metr. Philaret to Abbess Magdalena:

                        That fact, that many from among the "Orthodox" indiscriminately
                        attend what ever church, what does it tell us? Why simply that
                        people do not hold the truth dear. For this very reason they
                        don't bother giving the matter much thought. "The services are
                        identical, everything is the same what need is there to
                        philosophize?" Or, as our Fr. John Storozhev in Harbin (the last
                        spiritual father of the murdered Imperial family), one of the
                        best pastors of the Diaspora, used to say with poignant irony:
                        "the bells ring; the popes [colloquial Russian for simple village
                        priest] serve; the singing is good what more do you want?" To
                        which may be added the oh, so familiar "After all, God is
                        one!"...

                        Michael N

                        --- frvictor@... wrote:

                        > Fr. John wrote: "But those who did this, did not do it because
                        > they were "broken": it was the only way to keep a few churches
                        > open."
                        >
                        > Me: And it was in those open churches many of our parishioners
                        > from the second emigration were baptized in (1930s and
                        > 1940s)....
                        >
                        > Priest Victor Boldewskul
                        >

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