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[orthodox-synod] Kishkovsky , Nezavisimaya Gazeta in English

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  • Priest Seraphim Holland
    This stuff appeared in Russian a while ago. Their words were smoother than oil, and yet they are darts. I also remind people of the well tested axiom in
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2000
      This "stuff" appeared in Russian a while ago.
      Their words were smoother than oil, and yet they are darts.

      I also remind people of the well tested axiom in internet
      correspondence that the first person to bring up Hitler in an
      argument loses!


      Nezavisimaya Gazeta Net version No 4(51)
      23 February 2000


      Each side involved in the conflict is holding something back.
      Maksim Shevchenko, Maria Kozlova

      The events surrounding the plot of land in Jericho are being carried
      out on such a dramatic level that one can no longer believe the
      participants. One simply wants to cry out “Enough! You are
      overdoing it!” as if they were actors in a poorly staged play. At
      some point the heated hysterics of mutual accusations reached
      such a level that one was forced to step back and seriously think
      about what exactly are the aims of each of the participants in the
      Jericho mess and who is really behind each side. The open letter
      by George Edelshtein, a priest of the Moscow Patriarchate
      (whose relative is a highly-placed official in Israel) in which he
      “exposes” the Patriarchate as well as the appeals, full of despair,
      from the suffering ROCA nuns, both appear to be questionable.

      On 9 February Patriarch Aleksii II of Moscow and all Russia sent a
      special message to US President Bill Clinton in which he
      expressed his views of the problem. The Patriarch expressed his
      deep anxiety and concern in that officials from the American
      Department of State took an active part in the conflict “with respect
      to the rightful restoration of properties historically belonging to the
      Russian Church to the Moscow Patriarchate, which are within the
      territory of the Palestinian National Autonomy in Jericho.”

      In the Patriarch’s opinion, “the American diplomacy, in supporting
      by all means at its disposal, the schismatic Russian Orthodox
      Church Abroad (ROCA), the initiator of the conflict, which lays
      unfounded pretensions towards the Russian Church’s property,
      adds confusion to the solution of the ownership problem which is
      not of the slightest concern to the sovereign interests of the USA.”

      The Patriarch presumes that the American government is in
      solidarity with the confrontational activity of the ROCA group which
      is extremely hostile towards the Russian Orthodox Church.

      Thus we have a document which can be refuted by an analysis of
      the position of all sides.

      The first question is raised when one hears stream of words “the
      rightful restoration of Church properties historically belonging to
      Russia, which are within the territory of the Palestinian
      Autonomy.” Did Russia express its rights to those objects which
      belonged to it or its citizens prior to the 1917 revolution? If such
      is the case then are the plans for the appropriate restoration
      limited only to Israel ? Prior to the revolution the Russian empire
      and the Church (which was a state Church and lacked any broad
      independence in matters of property) owned significant property in
      the Baltic states, in Finland, in Poland and in the present Trans-
      Caucasian republics. Let’s not forget that some of the
      autocephalous Churches (such as the Georgian, Polish and
      Finnish) were on the level of Orthodox Eparchies and parts of the
      Church of the of the empire.

      Why then, the rightful restoration is limited only to Church
      property? Doesn’t it make sense to raise the question about the
      rights of ownership to lands (existing prior to 1917) and the
      ownership of real estate and about compensating the heirs of the
      millions who were robbed and repressed? Why does one speak
      only about the ROC [Russian Orthodox Church] and the Moscow

      The second question. Is the ROCA to be considered an illegal and
      illegitimate church institution? The answer is known. It is assumed
      that it is not. The fact that its leaders have factually lost their
      minds and maintain the position of an absolute rejection of any
      dialogue does not deprive them of canonicity. It is obvious that to
      resolve the problem of the ROCA a Local Council is needed. But
      as it happens, it was canceled by members of the [MP] Synod.

      The third question. If, in the opinion of the ROCA, the
      representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate are “KGB agents in
      cassocks” then aren’t the ROCA representatives “SS agents in
      cassocks”? What then? The assurances that the latter are
      independent of, and have no relation with, the American
      intelligence services (perhaps in a greater extent than the
      Moscow Patriarchate and the Soviets) could be received with
      loud laughter. Established by such princes of the Church as
      Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) the ROCA was actively used
      throughout the Cold War to subvert the influence of the Moscow
      Patriarchate in the USSR. And had it not been financed by the
      appropriate sections of the US State Department and the CIA?
      The fact that these organizations are champions of democracy is
      also questionable.

      The fourth question. Has any information been kept from the public
      which could have cut through the fog surrounding the Jericho

      In this connection one cannot argue with the following: is there any
      truth to the rumor that the plot of land was to be turned over by
      the Russian Orthodox Church to the appropriate units of the
      Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the establishment thereon
      of a permanent Russian representation in the Palestinian

      If this is so, then many things become clear. Let us note that
      Russia has not as yet recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s official
      capital and maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv. The US transferred
      its embassy to the “city of three faiths”. It is obvious that the
      opening of the Russian representation in Jericho (20 minutes from
      Jerusalem) on Palestinian territory with the concurrent
      maintenance of its embassy in Tel Aviv (120 minutes from
      Jerusalem), radically changes Russia’s status in Israel and in the
      Palestinian Autonomy and implies Russia’s de facto support of
      the Palestinians in that Jerusalem’s status is still not resolved.

      Neither the US nor Israel could tolerate this. The crude actions of
      our monastics and diplomats were easily taken over by the
      American and Israeli intelligence agencies. Sister Maria
      Stephanopoulos , sincerely believing that she is struggling against
      the KGB, apparently is unaware that her struggle is not on the side
      of the “True Church” but rather on the side of the American and
      Israeli diplomacy.

      I believe that the faithful of the two parts of the Russian Church
      must take hold of themselves and restrain themselves from
      insulting each other. (In this connection there is another question.
      Was Fr George Edelshtein’s the noisy and scandalous letter not
      written in the village of Karabanova, Kostroma territory, as it
      states, citing his inability “to fall at the feet of the ROCA nuns in
      Jericho”, but rather in Washington, District of Columbia, from
      which he could easily flown to Israel, even by first class?)


      We asked Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky of the OCA to comment
      on the events in Jericho who also is one of the people who has the
      ear of the US Department of State.

      - Father Leonid, how do you view the conflict in Jericho?

      I don’t have detailed information about this conflict. But neither the
      Moscow Patriarchate nor the ROCA appear too attractive in all
      this. In my view, the Church Abroad shows some contradictions in
      the Jericho conflict. The representatives of the ROCA insist that it
      is an American ecclesiastical institution. They are asking the US
      Government to defend their rights in the Holy Land. But what kind
      of rights could an American church possibly have in the Russian
      churches and monasteries in the Holy Land? I see a logical conflict
      here. Yes, this is natural from the political point of view in the
      sense of what they consider themselves to be. The ROCA world-
      view is basically that it considers itself the only legitimate
      Russian Church. From their point of view the Moscow Patriarchate
      is a sham. Even if many representatives of the ROCA have not
      reached the point of denying the grace of sacraments performed in
      the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, nonetheless there is
      talk of rejecting the authenticity of the Russian Orthodox Church,
      Moscow Patriarchate.

      The Church Abroad leads its flock along the way of factual isolation
      from the whole Orthodox world. We feel this very strongly in the
      US. For example when the traditional observation of the Triumph
      of Orthodoxy with the participation of Orthodox Churches of all
      jurisdictions, the ROCA never takes part. When 30 years ago, the
      Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America was
      organized, everyone was invited including the ROCA. But there
      was no agreement on their part. I believe that this is motivated by
      their view of all Orthodox, not only of Moscow, as apostates and

      It would not be proper for me to comment on specific facts since I
      don’t have all information on the Jericho problem. Unfortunately,
      people in this world do not always act decorously even in Church.
      But to view the situation globally, why is it that only the
      indecorous act is considered improper? Is an indecorous position
      always normal and acceptable? Why is it decorous that for
      decades many of the important leaders of the ROCA actually
      reject the Moscow Patriarchate as a Church? There is a degree
      of injustice here. That which is taking place in abnormal ways in
      the Holy Land obviously brings out human frailty. But this is a
      conflict between two understandings of the Church. Such a global
      problem is not insignificant in this context.

      -Does this mean that the transfer of the Hebron and Jericho
      properties can be viewed as a political act on the part of Yaser

      This situation is beyond my competence. What can Arafat expect
      to gain from Moscow? Practically nothing. If this is “grand politics”
      then his politics are not so grand. Certainly, everyone needs
      friends. It is better to have some friends who are not too influential
      than none at all.

      -The Mayor of New York called a special press conference on the
      Hebron conflict. What can you tell us about this?

      Do you really think that the Mayor of New York, who knows nothing
      about either the ROCA or the Moscow Patriarchate is acting on
      behalf of justice as such? This is a political situation the basis of
      which is that the central figure in this conflict turned out to be the
      sister of a former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos. Some
      might imagine that George picked up the phone and called Clinton
      and personally created a lobby. It isn’t likely that this happened but
      this piquant situation obviously becomes interesting to the mass
      Priest Seraphim Holland St Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas, Texas, USA
      seraphim@... Ph:972/529-2754 MOBILE & VOICE MAIL 214 336-3464
      FAX: 603/908-2408 Home Address: 2102 Summit, McKinney, TX 75070, USA
      WEBMASTER FOR: St Nicholas Home Page - http://www.orthodox.net
      Official ROCOR Page - http://www.rocor.org
      10 questions (many subjects) http://www.orthodox.net/questions
      Thoughts on the Sunday gospels http://www.orthodox.net/sermons
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