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Re: Points which changed our minds?

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  • Alexandra Svetlov
    Maybe..... Maybe Arch Sergei (of THE Declaration) was right, the communist Gov t was martyring Christians by the will of God, and all should have supported
    Message 1 of 17 , Feb 25, 2007
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      Maybe.....

      Maybe Arch Sergei (of THE Declaration) was right, the communist
      Gov't was martyring Christians by the will of God, and all should
      have supported them in their endevour to speed these souls to their
      reward...

      Maybe all the new martyrs who withstood "serginism" were misguided
      and their persecutors were serving God...

      Maybe the MP being in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate is
      a very good 1st step to uniting over one challice with all
      the "Orthodox Churches", then with the Roman Catholics, and then all
      Christians in general as per the charter of the World Council of
      Churches...

      Brotherly love is the most important thing, so lets also unite in
      spirit with Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and pagans, after all God is
      One and loves us all...

      Maybe some are right and Judas Escariot is a saint who by his deeds
      allowed Christ's death and therefore His ressurection, and our
      salvation...

      But most of all if black is white, and we have accepted
      Lucifers "logic"... we are whatever we want to be, but we are no
      longer in Christ's Church.

      And for those who are going to "re-unify" with the MP for the 1000
      good reasons to do so, I beg you, in the name of Jesus Christ, heed
      His words, and "by their actions know them", and when you do, listen
      to His voice.

      At this time of lenten podvig, may we all pray to stay on the path
      which Our Lord wills for us. Wonderous are His ways, and unlimited
      is His love for us. If we ask for guidance in the name of Jesus
      Christ, He will guide us.

      With hope in the Risen Christ,
      alexandra





      --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "search_all_things"
      <search_all_things@...> wrote:
      >
      > Thank you Melissa for posting this. Fr. Peter has some very sharp
      > words about the MP **BUT** consider our situation from another
      point
      > of view taking what Fr. Alexandar has posted at face value:
      >
      > Perhaps the new information that was discovered by Fr. Alexandar
      was
      > ALSO made available to Fr. Peter as well for him to change his
      > position? Granted, a complete 180 turn around is quite a shock
      but
      > **maybe** - based on the same info that Fr. Alexandar has posted -

      > Pat. Alexi II has been right all along. That ROCOR and the
      Catacomb
      > Church really are schismatics. Why else would our hierarchs do
      such
      > a radical about-face? The MP is not really the "bastard off
      spring
      > of Stalin" after all but rather our Mother Church to whom which we
      > must return. Has the MP also taken a 180 on their stand
      concerning
      > ROCOR and the Catacomb Church? If not - yet we have - then the
      talk
      > I hear that Met. Laurus will stand in front of the Royal Doors at
      the
      > official concelebration with the MP and ask forgiveness for the
      sins
      > of ROCOR makes perfect sense now. After all, **IF** the
      information
      > is authentic that Fr. Alexandar posted then ROCOR has certainly
      been
      > in schism after St. Tikhon (twice) issued the decree that our
      synod
      > be disbanded.
      >
      > The information that Fr. Alexandar has posted makes perfect sense
      of
      > the about face as well as the attitude of the MP
      twords 'schismatic'
      > ROCOR.
      >
      > If not, then why not?
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, Melissa Bushunow
      > <cafeconlechemom@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Fr. Alexander suggests reading Fr. Peter Perekrestov's "25
      > Questions
      > > and Answers" also known as "The Church's Helmsman, Both Then
      and
      > Now,
      > > Is the Almighty Spirit of God." Below are some of Fr. Peter's
      > other
      > > thoughts on the same topics.
      > >
      > > Melissa
      > >
      > > On Feb 16, 2007, at 2:12 PM, Rev. Alexander Lebedeff wrote:
      > >
      > > > I would also suggest that you read carefully the "25
      Questions
      > and
      > > > Answers" by Fr. Peter Perekrestov at:
      > > >
      > > > http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/engdocuments/
      > > > enart_perekrostov25q.html
      > > >
      > > > where you will find more answers to your questions.
      > > >
      > > > With love in Christ,
      > > > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
      > > >
      > >
      > > Recently, an article entitled "The Church's Helmsman, Both Then
      > and
      > > Now, is the Almighty Spirit of God," by Archpriest Peter
      > Perekrestov,
      > > has appeared on the internet
      > > (http://www.wadiocese.com/edocs_comments.php?id=136_0_13_0_C)
      and
      > has
      > > been circulated by e-mail. This article, in the form of a series
      > of
      > > questions and answers, deals with various aspects of the
      impending
      > > union of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad with the Moscow
      > > Patriarchate.  Other views on this important subject certainly
      > exist,
      > > but because of the lengthiness and comprehensiveness of Father
      > Peter's
      > > article,  comparable responses may take a while to appear. As
      an
      > > interim measure, the below article is presented for
      consideration.
      > It
      > > addresses many of the same points, but from a different
      > perspective. It
      > > is important that this perspective be considered, not only by
      those
      > for
      > > whom the fate of the Russian Church Abroad is important, but
      also
      > by
      > > anyone having an interest in Russian Church affairs.
      > >
      > > Although the article below was originally written twelve years
      ago,
      > it
      > > is remarkably topical. Beyond that, some of the author's
      > observations
      > > have proved to be prescient, or even prophetic.  The text below
      > has
      > > been taken from the November-December 1994 issue of "Orthodox
      > Life"
      > > (Volume 44, Number 6) published by Holy Trinity Monastery,
      > Jordanville,
      > > New York, and is presented as it appeared therein.  The author
      is
      > the
      > > same Archpriest Peter Perekrestov.
      > >
      > > WHY NOW?
      > > The following is a letter by Archpriest Peter Perekrestov to
      the
      > > Council of Bishops recently held at the Convent of the Mother of
      > God of
      > > Lesna in France (November 1994). Father Peter offers his
      thoughts
      > on
      > > some important questions concerning relations between the
      Russian
      > > Church Abroad and the Moscow Patriarchate. Father Peter is a
      > graduate
      > > of Holy Trinity Seminary and currently serves at the Cathedral
      > of "Our
      > > Lady Joy of All who Sorrow" in San Francisco. The original
      letter
      > has
      > > been edited by the author.
      > >
      > >   Why is the question of talks with the Moscow Patriarchate
      being
      > > raised at the present time?
      > >
      > >   This has mainly occurred under the influence of the Russian
      > community
      > > in the diaspora which loves Russia very much and considers that
      > our
      > > church divisions are weakening Russia in these troubled times in
      > her
      > > history. Unfortunately the overwhelming majority of these people
      > are
      > > guided more by emotional than by spiritual and ecclesiastical
      > criteria.
      > > The questions of "talks" has also been raised now due to the
      > > difficulties which have arisen in connection with the
      establishment
      > of
      > > the Free Russian Church, i.e. the Church in Russia which
      consists
      > of
      > > catacomb communities, parishes which have left the Moscow
      > Patriarchate
      > > and newly founded parishes — all under the spiritual and
      > administrative
      > > jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Besides the
      > above
      > > reasons, some of the clergy which remains in the bosom of our
      > Church
      > > but are not in agreement (or never where) with the Church's
      > principles,
      > > or who suffer from an inferiority complex due in part to the
      > Russian
      > > Orthodox Church Abroad's small size, are drawing our Church
      vessel
      > > towards union with the Moscow Patriarchate. In conversations one
      > has
      > > with these people, everything ultimately boils down to
      > personalities,
      > > to comments or statements made by someone to somebody (comments
      > which
      > > cannot be proven or refuted) frequently by people who have
      reposed
      > and
      > > have not left any written testaments on their positions
      regarding
      > > certain church issues. As a rule, ideals and principles are
      absent.
      > >
      > >   Why could a Church council resolution regarding "talks" be
      > dangerous?
      > >
      > >    There is little doubt that such a resolution, especially if
      it
      > is
      > > not clearly stipulated, would elicit confusion among the flock
      in
      > the
      > > diaspora, as well as among the clergy and faithful in the Free
      > Russian
      > > Church in Russia. No matter what is meant under the heading
      > of "talks,"
      > > it will be perceived by many as capitulation and compromise.
      Such
      > a
      > > resolution would be especially painful for the catacomb faithful
      > in
      > > Russia. They will feel that they have been betrayed. One should
      > > especially fear this — betrayal of one's brothers. Some people
      > will
      > > interpret "talks" as unofficial meetings with representatives of
      > the
      > > Moscow Patriarchate. Others will see a resolution as a signal to
      > take
      > > part in conferences, dialogue, celebrations, joint projects,
      > exchanges
      > > — everything short of liturgical concelebration. One should also
      > keep
      > > in mind that the translations from "talks" to "negotiations" can
      > be
      > > instantaneous. For example, at the Council of Bishops in San
      > Francisco
      > > in July the possibility of some type of "talks" with the Moscow
      > > Patriarchate was brought up, but on the list of questions sent
      to
      > all
      > > members of the Council in France the following questions: "What
      is
      > the
      > > goal of the proposed negotiations with the Moscow Patriarchate?"
      > was
      > > posed. And in the widely circulated Assur-Zelenin-Rahr-Holodny
      > > "Address" it was announced that: "The long awaited day for the
      > > establishment of canonical unity of the Russian Church Abroad
      with
      > the
      > > Mother Church has arrived?"!
      > >
      > >    What separates us from the Moscow Patriarchate?
      > >
      > >    It seems to me that before the questions of talks with the
      > Moscow
      > > Patriarchate can be raised we ourselves must clearly, from a
      > spiritual
      > > and church perspective, clarify those issues which divide us.
      > >    Sergianism. What is Sergianism? We do not have one
      definition
      > of
      > > it. For some it is the voluntary/involuntary collaboration of
      the
      > > Church with the godless authorities. For others it is a
      spiritual
      > > state, a spiritual condition, a spiritual illness in which a
      person
      > is
      > > unable to confess the Faith. There are other definitions of
      > Sergianism:
      > > the legalized worship of Mammon; the ecclesiastical
      justification
      > of
      > > lies (the classis Jesuit "the end justifies the means"); the
      > teaching
      > > that the first responsibility of the Orthodox Church is in the
      > > preservation of the outward, organization church structure as
      > opposed
      > > to faithfulness to Christ and to the true Spirit of Orthodoxy,
      at
      > > whatever cost. The late Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko)
      wrote: "They
      > say
      > > that the Patriarchate has not changed anything in dogmas, in
      the
      > > services, in the rites. No, we answer, — the Patriarchate has
      > destroyed
      > > the essence of the Dogma of the Church of Christ, it has
      rejected
      > her
      > > essential purpose — to serve for the renewal of the people, and
      > > replaced it with what is unnatural for the Church, serving the
      > godless
      > > goals of Communism. This apostasy is worse than all previous
      > Arianisms,
      > > Nestorianisms, Iconoclasms and others. This is not the personal
      sin
      > of
      > > one or another hierarch, but rather the deep rooted sin of the
      > > Patriarchate, which is confirmed, proclaimed by them, bound by
      > them
      > > before the whole world, what one might call dogmatized
      apostasy"
      > > (Themes of my Life, p. 25).
      > >    In the official, what one might call leading, ranks of the
      > Moscow
      > > Patriarchate not only has the principle of Sergianism not been
      > rejected
      > > (the principle, as opposed to the person of Metropolitan
      Sergius),
      > but
      > > conversely, as of late, it is being theologically justified (see
      > for
      > > example an article by Igumen Innokenty (Pavlov)
      > entitled "Concerning
      > > Metropolitan Sergius's Declaration" or Deacon Andrei
      > Lorgus's "Render
      > > to Caesar the Things that are Caesar's" in a recent issue of
      the
      > > official periodical "The Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate," or
      > the
      > > article by E. Polischuk, the editor of "The Official Chronicle
      of
      > the
      > > Moscow Patriarchate," in the Paris based "Vestnik"). Archbishop
      > Mark of
      > > Berlin and Germany paid particular attention to this new trend
      in
      > an
      > > interview published in the Moscow journal "Vertograd."
      > >   When some people refer to that fact that Patriarch Alexis
      II
      > > "repented" of Sergianism in one of his numerous interviews
      ("Golos"
      > No.
      > > 33, p. 11), this is misleading. Firstly, official
      ecclesiastical
      > > positions and policy are made by the highest church authority,
      > i.e., by
      > > a council of bishops, not by one hierarch in a newspaper
      > interview,
      > > even if it is the chief hierarch. Secondly, Patriarch Alexis did
      > not
      > > repent of Sergianism, but rather declared: "I do not renounce it
      > [i.e.,
      > > the Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius], for it is impossible
      to
      > > renounce one's own history…  I think that in the present year we
      > [the
      > > Church, i.e., the Moscow Patriarchate] have been able to
      withdraw
      > from
      > > under the state's trivial [sic!] charge and, therefore, we have
      > the
      > > moral right to affirm the fact that Metropolitan Sergius's
      > Declaration
      > > is a fact belonging to the past, and we no longer are guided by
      it.
      > At
      > > the same time, however, this does not mean that we are against
      the
      > > government… The hierarchs of the Church took upon their souls
      > certain
      > > sins: the sin of silence, the sin of lying for the good of the
      > people,
      > > lying in order that they themselves should not disappear
      > completely
      > > from real life. It happened that I, too, whether heading a
      diocese
      > or
      > > administrating the affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate would,
      while
      > I
      > > stood my ground on one thing, I would give in on another. I ask
      > > forgiveness, understanding, and prayers, not only before God,
      but
      > > before all those people to whom these compromises, silence,
      forced
      > > passivity, or displays of loyalty on the part of the hierarchy
      of
      > this
      > > period inflicted pain. I say to them: `Forgive me, dear ones,
      > forgive
      > > me, my children.'"
      > >    Undoubtedly, there are healthy elements in the Moscow
      > Patriarchate,
      > > mainly in the lower ranks. For example, there is a well-known
      > priest in
      > > the Moscow Patriarchate, Archpriest Vladislav Sveshnikov, who,
      > although
      > > not in agreement with the "opening" of parishes under the Church
      > Abroad
      > > in Russia (in fact, not one parish has been opened by our
      Synod,
      > > parishes have been only been received), not long ago wrote an
      > essay
      > > titled "The Psychology of Neo-Sergianism" in which he states
      that
      > the
      > > most damaging consequence of Metropolitan Sergius's politics was
      > the
      > > extreme distortion of Church consciousness. This distortion
      also
      > > manifested itself in acts of collaboration with certain
      government
      > > agencies and in "a lie, an extensive, evil lie which entered
      into
      > the
      > > life of the Church after the Church was legalized. The evil of
      > this
      > > consists foremost in the fact that we say one thing, but a
      > completely
      > > different meaning stands behind it." The same author
      writes: "Now
      > good
      > > and valuable it would be if, by some council of the Russian
      Church,
      > a
      > > resolution was approved in which all the wounds, sins, and
      defects
      > of
      > > the recent past of our Church would be exposed honestly,
      > seriously,
      > > with utter frankness and without compromise. What a joyful sigh
      > would
      > > resound from a multitude of hearts. What a final, living and
      pure
      > unity
      > > in love this would lead to in the Church in all its fullness."
      > Father
      > > Vladislav further writes about the distinguishing features of
      > > contemporary neo-Sergianism. They are the following:
      > >    1) The task of neo-Sergiansim is to justify Sergianism, to
      not
      > only
      > > search for theological and historical interpretations for it,
      but
      > to
      > > glorify Sergianism.
      > >    2) The lack of desire to see or know the historical truth.
      > >   3) The loss of Christianity, properly speaking, as a moral
      > religion.
      > >    4) The Church's mystical life takes on an exclusively
      > psychological
      > > dimension.
      > >    5) Instead of repentance, justification, if not of the sin,
      > then
      > > the motive for the sin — giving it a lofty sacrificial
      appearance.
      > >    6) Due to the above, Father Vladislav concludes, many young
      > people
      > > now are indifferent to martyrs. Thus, Sergianism, or neo-
      > Sergianism, is
      > > alive. The most aware and sensitive pastors in the bosom of the
      > Moscow
      > > Patriarchate sense this; the masses, as a rule, do not.
      > >    Ecumenism. The subject of ecumenism is also complex. It is
      > certain
      > > that ecumenism is unacceptable to the Russian Orthodox people
      (see,
      > for
      > > example, numerous articles attesting to the this in such
      > publications
      > > as "Russkiy Vestnik," "Rus' Derzhavnaya," "Literaturnyi
      Irkutsk").
      > As a
      > > rule, the Moscow Patriarchate's ecumenical activities take place
      > behind
      > > the scenes, i.e., on the highest level, behind closed doors, or
      > abroad.
      > > Not only the people, but the majority of the clergy do not even
      > suspect
      > > what is happening. The publications which report "ecumenical
      > contacts,"
      > > "peacemaking activities" and conferences on "the holy gift of
      > life,"
      > > are generally accessible to a very small percentage of
      > parishioners,
      > > mainly to the ones in Moscow and St. Petersburg. When
      evaluating
      > > ecumenism, it is very important to keep in mind that, at its
      > inception,
      > > the ecumenical movement was inspired by genuine and sincere
      > motives —
      > > the desire to find a common language among Christian
      denominations.
      > But
      > > this initial motive quickly evolved and a demand for
      participation
      > in
      > > common prayer, acceptance of common theological statements, the
      > > recognition of one another as "sister churches" and the
      > establishment
      > > of a "new religious world order" took over. Therefore, one
      cannot
      > > compare the ecumenical movement of the 1920's, or even the
      1940's
      > and
      > > 1950's with ecumenism in the late 1960's to the present. A
      > > representative of the Moscow Patriarchate signed the document
      > which
      > > achieved union with the Monophysites at Balamand, but this Unia
      has
      > not
      > > yet been ratified by a council of the Moscow Patriarchate. Many
      > > outstanding theologians have expressed their alarm regarding
      > > contemporary ecumenism: a faithful son of the Church Abroad,
      Fr.
      > > Seraphim Rose, Archimandrite Justin (Popovich) of the Serbian
      > Orthodox
      > > Church, Archimandrite Seraphim (Alexiev) of the Bulgarian
      Orthodox
      > > Church… This alarm is not the "politics" of some "party" of
      bishops
      > of
      > > our Church, but an awareness of the soul-destructive element of
      > this
      > > "pan-heresy." Few have paid heed to one very important
      ecumenical
      > event
      > > in the life of the Moscow Patriarchate, perhaps because the
      > activities
      > > of the Moscow Patriarchate in the World  Council of Churches are
      > more
      > > obvious. This event was the spiritual and moral approchement of
      > > Patriarch Alexis with Judaism. In 1991 he met with New York
      > rabbis,
      > > presented them with a bowl (not liturgical) and delivered his
      > famous
      > > speech "Your Prophets are Our Prophets." Later, despite the
      outcry
      > of a
      > > significant part of the clergy in Russia, Patriarch Alexis did
      not
      > > renounce his address, but in one of his interviews he even
      referred
      > to
      > > this meeting as an example of the absence of anti-Semitism in
      the
      > > Moscow Patriarchate ("Trud" Nov. 29, 1991). In the fall of
      1993,
      > > Patriarch Alexis was honored by the Appeals of Conscience
      > Foundation in
      > > New York and the president of the Fund, Rabbi Arthur Schneier
      > presented
      > > him with an award for his "leadership in the strengthening of
      the
      > > spiritual renaissance of the Russian people." One is hard-
      pressed
      > not
      > > to ask the question: why is a rabbi thanking an Orthodox
      patriarch
      > for
      > > his spiritual activities?
      > >
      > >   The new politics of the Moscow Patriarchate.
      > >
      > >     Previously, active, idealistic or outstanding pastors
      were
      > > worrisome to the hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate. Now the
      > attitude
      > > of the Patriarchate has changed. In part, this is thanks to
      > parishes
      > > under the jurisdiction of the Church Abroad in Russia. The
      Moscow
      > > Patriarchate hierarchs are simply afraid to take any measures
      > against
      > > many of these priests, for fear that the latter will leave the
      > > Patriarchate and join the Free Russian Church. In fact one
      > > authoritative archpriest of the Moscow Patriarchate has
      recently
      > > written a letter to one of our bishops thanking God that
      parishes
      > of
      > > the Free Russian Church exist openly in Russia, otherwise it
      would
      > be
      > > very difficult for him and other priests of like mind with him.
      > >    But the new politics of the Moscow Patriarchate really stem
      > from
      > > the fact that it has no firm principles. The key question for
      them
      > is
      > > one of power. It is not important to them whether a priest is
      > involved
      > > in shady business dealings or purely church activities; whether
      he
      > is a
      > > democrat or a monarchist; whether an ecumenist or zealot;
      whether
      > he
      > > wants to serve Vigil for six hours or one; whether the priest
      > serves a
      > > panikhida for the victims who defended the White House or a
      moleben
      > for
      > > those who sided with Yeltsin; whether the priest wants to
      baptize
      > by
      > > immersion or by sprinkling; whether he serves in the catacombs
      or
      > > openly; whether he venerates the Royal Martyrs or not; whether
      he
      > > serves according to the New or Orthodox Calendar — it really
      > doesn't
      > > matter. The main thing is to commemorate Patriarch Alexis. Let
      the
      > > Church Abroad have its autonomy, let it even speak out, express
      > itself
      > > as in the past, but only under one condition: commemorate
      > Patriarch
      > > Alexis. This is a form of Papism. — let the priests be married,
      > let
      > > them serve according to the Eastern rite — it makes no
      difference,
      > what
      > > is important is that they commemorate the Pope of Rome.
      > >    Therefore one can in all sincerity say that the Moscow
      > Patriarchate
      > > is disassociating itself from ecumenism and venerates the New
      > Martyrs —
      > > this is true. But one can, with equal reason, say that the
      Moscow
      > > Patriarchate is renovationist and hates the Tsar Martyr — and
      this
      > is
      > > also true.
      > >    Patriarch Alexis's position constantly changes, depending
      on
      > the
      > > circumstances. For example, in 1990 he prayed for the unity of
      the
      > > communist party; during the putsch of 1991 he played a waiting
      > game;
      > > after the putsch he blessed Yeltsin's presidency. In an
      interview
      > > Patriarch Alexis explained ("We are Saved by Our Own
      > Labors," "Trud,"
      > > Nov. 29, 1991) that his blessing "clearly shows that we [the
      > Church]
      > > support the forces of democracy which, as you [i.e., the
      > correspondent
      > > for the newspaper "Trud"] have correctly stated, are personified
      in
      > the
      > > president of Russia." After the assault on the Parliament in
      > October of
      > > 1993, the Patriarch took no clear stand.
      > >    In 1994, submitting to the pressure of "traditionalist"
      > Moscow
      > > clergy, the Patriarch removed the "renovationist" priest,
      George
      > > Kochetkov, from his parish, yet shortly after he sent Father
      > George,
      > > together with Father Vladimir Vorobiev, to the Fifth
      International
      > > Theological Schools Consultation held in Halki — both in the
      > capacity
      > > of representatives of Moscow Patriarchate theological schools:
      > Father
      > > George from the liberal Father Alexander Men University and
      Father
      > > Vladimir from the conservative St. Tikhon's Theological
      Institute
      > in
      > > Moscow. In the introduction to one article ("In the Catacombs,"
      > > "Sovershenno Sekretno," No. 7, 1991) Patriarch Alexis wrote the
      > > following: "I believe that our martyrs and righteous ones,
      > regardless
      > > of whether they followed Metropolitan Sergius or did not agree
      with
      > his
      > > position, pray together for us." At the same time, in the
      weekly,
      > > "Nedelya," No. 2, 1/92, the same Patriarch Alexis states that
      the
      > > Russian Church Abroad is a schismatic church, and
      adds: "Equally
      > > uncanonical is the so-called `Catacomb' Church." In other words,
      > he
      > > recognizes the martyrs of the Catacomb Church (many of whom
      were
      > > betrayed to the godless authorities by Metropolitan Sergius's
      > church
      > > organization, and to their death (at the hands of these
      > authorities)
      > > refused to recognize Metropolitan Sergius as the head of the
      Church
      > of
      > > Russia), and at the same time declares that these martyrs are
      > > schismatic and uncanonical.
      > >
      > >    Why are talks with the Moscow Patriarchate dangerous at the
      > present
      > > time?
      > >
      > >    They may provoke a deep division among our clergy and flock,
      > both in
      > > Russia and abroad. Archpriest Lev Lebedev of Kursk considers the
      > moral
      > > decay among the Moscow Patriarchate's episcopate to have
      penetrated
      > too
      > > deeply. They lack any true sincerity. The priest Timothy
      Alferov,
      > while
      > > still in the Moscow Patriarchate, warned our Church that
      dialogue
      > with
      > > the hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate is impossible. I.
      Lapkin,
      > the
      > > well-known missionary of Siberia, warns that the Russian Church
      > will
      > > meets its end when "The Moscow Patriarchate will agree to all
      the
      > > demands of the Free Russian Church, renounce the Declaration of
      > > Metropolitan Sergius, canonize the New Martyrs, leave the World
      > Council
      > > of Churches, stop all ecumenical activity — all this without
      any
      > > corresponding inner rebirth. All this good may be done as a
      > political
      > > move and then the Russian Church Abroad will have not reason not
      to
      > sit
      > > down at the negotiating table. Then, by majority vote, the truth
      > will
      > > be suppressed" ("ZN," No. 12, 1993). For some reason we
      sometimes
      > do
      > > not hearken to the voice of our clergy in Russia, in particular
      to
      > > those priests who have sacrificed everything in order to be with
      > us.
      > > Have they been asked what they think of the present situation in
      > Russia
      > > and the possibility of "talks" with the Moscow Patriarchate?
      Those
      > > clergy may feel that they have been cast aside and be overcome
      by
      > a
      > > feeling of abandonment.
      > >    In 1993, when I was in Russia, I met with many priests of
      the
      > > Moscow Patriarchate. I asked one Dean: "Of the bishops you know,
      > who
      > > can we pin our hopes on, which ones can be trusted?" The Dean,
      who
      > > remains in the Moscow Patriarchate, hung his head and
      replied: "Not
      > one
      > > of them." I asked another priest, a professor at one of the
      > theological
      > > academies, what were the ideological reasons for the recent
      > expulsion
      > > of the rectors (Archbishop Alexander of Dmitrov and Archpriest
      > Vladimir
      > > Sorokin) of the academies in Sergiev Posad and St. Petersburg.
      The
      > > priest began to laugh and I did not understand why. He explained
      to
      > me
      > > that I was very naïve: "What kind of talk can there be of
      > principles?
      > > If you dare to look the wrong way at some bishop's secretary,
      you
      > can
      > > be removed from you position." This priest told me that there is
      a
      > > gradual purge going on. There were opponents to Patriarch
      Alexis's
      > > election and now, little by little, reprisals are taking place.
      > This
      > > may explain why Metropolitan Pitirim of Volokolamsk is being
      > pushed
      > > into the background and is threatened with removal from the
      Synod
      > of
      > > the Moscow Patriarchate.
      > >    It is not rare that the Moscow Patriarchate in the persons
      of
      > its
      > > hierarchs says one thing and acts completely to the contrary. In
      > the
      > > Russian press and before representatives of Russian émigré
      > > organizations they call us to love and unity, while at the same
      > time,
      > > in Germany for example, they are making every effort to take
      away
      > our
      > > church property, a fact that Archbishop Mark can readily attest
      to.
      > >    After the beginning of "talks," pressure to
      > conduct "negotiations"
      > > will noticeably increase.
      > >
      > >    What would we lost by striving for unity with the Moscow
      > > Patriarchate?
      > >
      > >    Our final goal in Russia should not be unity with the
      Moscow
      > > Patriarchate, but the triumph of Truth. Hieromonk Seraphim
      (Rose)
      > > warned us that administrative, external unity is easily
      achieved,
      > but
      > > inner, spiritual unity is difficult to come by. It is my
      > conviction
      > > that if we pray, if we strive for the Truth and for a pure
      > confession
      > > of Faith, and if in Russia the faithful do likewise, we will
      > invariably
      > > get closer and our unity will be organic, natural and truly
      > > ecclesiological. Any unity achieved at round tables and "high
      > level
      > > dialogue" and secured by all types of "declarations" will not be
      > sound.
      > >    Unity with the Moscow Patriarchate at this time is
      dangerous.
      > We
      > > will lose our freedom. Even if we are autonomous, we will be
      bound
      > and
      > > become participants, although indirectly, of all the activities
      of
      > the
      > > hierarchy in Russia. We will be forced to indiscriminately
      receive
      > into
      > > our diocese abroad all the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate
      and
      > to
      > > serve with them. The Moscow Patriarchate is closely tied with
      some
      > > apostate churches and also heterodox confessions. The latter pay
      > little
      > > attention to us now, but if we become a part of the Moscow
      > Patriarchate
      > > the Patriarchate will be pressured to force us to be silent — we
      > will
      > > lose the ability to be the free voice of Orthodoxy. We will also
      > lose
      > > our spiritual succession and unity with part of the Heavenly
      > Church —
      > > the assembly of New Martyrs of Russia who rejected Metropolitan
      > Sergius
      > > and his successors. In the Moscow Patriarchate we will simply
      > > "dissolve." "Talks" can become the beginning of this process.
      There
      > yet
      > > remains one point of no small importance: the criminal-mafia
      > essence of
      > > both the government and business apparatus in Russia. There is a
      > reason
      > > to assume that a considerable number of hierarchs in the Moscow
      > > Patriarchate have maintained close ties with their former
      > > "benefactors," some of whom are not part of a mafia structure.
      For
      > > example, the British weekly, "The Economist," recently published
      > an
      > > article about crime in the former U.S.S.R. The article mentioned
      > that
      > > one Volodya Pudel (Vladimir Petrovich Podatev) now controls the
      > city of
      > > Vladivostok. In the past he spent 17 years in prison for
      criminal
      > acts,
      > > and now he has his own political party, his own television
      station
      > and
      > > a "letter from the Patriarch of the Orthodox blessing his
      > charitable
      > > work."
      > >
      > >    Why does the Moscow Patriarchate yearn for union with us?
      > >
      > >    1) As long as our Church exists the Moscow Patriarchate will
      > not
      > > rest. Even if only on parish of our Church openly existed in
      > Russia, it
      > > would give the Moscow Patriarchate no peace. In the province of
      > > Novgorod one parish came under the omophorion of our Church. A
      Dean
      > of
      > > the Moscow Patriarchate sought to evict our community out of the
      > church
      > > building. Our priest and parishioners began to offer
      alternatives
      > > regarding usage of the church. They spoke of freedom of
      conscience,
      > of
      > > the possibility of coexisting communities and finally of a
      court
      > > process to resolve the property dispute. There was only one
      > answer:
      > > "You must not exist."
      > >   2) The Moscow Patriarchate needs legitimacy. As the
      > new "democratic"
      > > authorities in the Russian Federation needed the West's
      > recognition, so
      > > the Moscow Patriarchate needs the recognition of our Church for
      > the
      > > sake of legitimacy. The fact that we are not in communion with
      the
      > > Moscow Patriarchate is based not only on Metropolitan Sergius's
      > > Declaration, but also on the fact that Metropolitan Sergius
      > usurped
      > > Church authority. It is precisely for this reason that so many
      of
      > the
      > > hierarchs, future New Martyrs, opposed Metropolitan Sergius. The
      > Moscow
      > > Patriarchate is subconsciously aware of this. This is a very
      > important
      > > matter.
      > >    3) There is among the Moscow Patriarchate an element which
      > > sincerely desires unity, but which does not have  a true
      > > ecclesiological consciousness.
      > >
      > >     What should we do?
      > >
      > >     A few facts must be established.
      > >     1) Our goals in relation to Russia have not bee clearly
      > > formulated. If we do not have clear goals, it is difficult to
      know
      > > where and how to direct our efforts.
      > >     2) Our Church's position has at times been expressed in a
      > manner
      > > which is perceived as "super-correct." This has had an adverse
      > effect
      > > on the Russian people, including the flock in the diaspora.
      > >     3) It seems to me that we should consistently strive to
      > follow the
      > > middle "royal" path. On the one hand, we have the emotional,
      > purely
      > > nationalistic position held by some Russian patriots and
      Russian
      > > organizations abroad — this is unacceptable, for Russia, not
      > Christ, is
      > > central here. On the other hand, there exists a blind position
      > which
      > > can find nothing positive in contemporary church life in Russia
      is
      > > possible. Its constant scolding of the Moscow Patriarchate is
      > > unacceptable. It lacks both love and compassion. It is also a
      sign
      > of
      > > weakness and ultimately a lack of faith in the power of Truth.
      > >
      > >   Concretely, what can be proposed?
      > >
      > >     1) If the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox
      Church
      > Abroad
      > > finds it imperative to meet with representatives of the Moscow
      > > Patriarchate, this can be done without being formally stated,
      > i.e.,
      > > each bishop may decide how, when and with whom to meet. If our
      > Church
      > > is invited to participate in a conference or symposium in
      Russia,
      > then
      > > a suitable representative should be sent to uncompromisingly
      state
      > the
      > > position of our Church on the subject of the meeting.
      > >     2) There are positive forces in Russia, including among
      ranks
      > of
      > > the Moscow Patriarchate. It seems to me that the majority of
      clergy
      > in
      > > this category are usually in the country, away from the biggest
      > cities.
      > > Moscow clergy are often very bound. The positive church forces
      in
      > the
      > > ranks of the Moscow Patriarchate deserve our support. It would
      be
      > > beneficial to concretely approach these people, ask them what
      kind
      > of
      > > support they need and even inquire how we might positively
      > influence
      > > the course of church life in Russia. We should make contacts and
      > show
      > > support only on the lower levels — parish clergy, monastics and
      > > faithful. In this way we will not be supporting the Moscow
      > Patriarchate
      > > per se, but rather only the positive elements in their ranks.
      > >     3) The tone of our epistles should be softened. Russia
      needs
      > > tenderness, love and compassion. In our epistles this spirit
      > should
      > > come across. If we are to speak of helping the Church in Russia
      and
      > the
      > > Russian people then we must first strive for a peaceful
      > coexistence. We
      > > must be completely free of any malice. Even if we notice
      apostasy,
      > our
      > > intolerance must be directed towards the apostasy itself, not
      > toward
      > > people. We should strive for a "good" division and avoid a
      > > "treacherous" union (according to St. Gregory the Theologian).
      We
      > must
      > > be ready to account for our faith.
      > >     4) We should examine ourselves. Are we consistent in our
      > actions,
      > > in the confession of our Faith? Are we faithful to the canons,
      to
      > the
      > > principle of conciliarity and proper church order? Are our
      pastors
      > and
      > > parish life worthy of emulation?
      > >    5) Create a commission to work our various theological and
      > canonical
      > > questions (including Sergianism) and also to formulate our goals
      > in
      > > Russia.
      > >     6) Perhaps the time has come to convene a IV-th Council of
      > the
      > > whole Russian Orthodox Church Abroad with the participation of
      > clergy
      > > and faithful from around the world, including Russia. Possibly,
      > someone
      > > from among the positive element of the Moscow Patriarchate can
      be
      > > invited in the capacity of an observer, or maybe a speaker. It
      > would
      > > probably be more appropriate to call this Council simply a
      Russian
      > > Orthodox Council. Before such a Council convenes diocesan
      > assemblies
      > > would be held in all dioceses in order to choose representatives
      > and to
      > > discuss the main questions on the Council's agenda, including
      our
      > > relations with the Moscow Patriarchate, the possibility of
      closer
      > > contact with the Catacomb Church and our goals in Russia. Thus
      > > conciliar discussions concerning these important issues will
      take
      > > place. This will give us time for spiritual preparation and to
      > > unhurriedly consider many questions which stand before us.
      Often,
      > when
      > > steps and decisions are taken in haste, we regret them later.
      > >     Days of fasting and repentance should be set aside before
      > the
      > > opening of this Russian Orthodox Council. These days should be
      > strictly
      > > observed. Measures should be taken so that the faithful in
      Russia
      > might
      > > also take part in this fast (if the Moscow Patriarchate desires,
      it
      > can
      > > summon its flock to do so).
      > >     I think that such a period of preparation and such a
      Council
      > will
      > > demonstrate both to our flock and to the faithful in Russian
      that
      > we
      > > are striving in a conciliar manner to outline our Church's
      > direction
      > > and to do God's will. This will also show that we are taking
      the
      > > initiative. If we hope for a future All-Russian council, we must
      > first
      > > prepare ourselves for it. Perhaps then we will be made worthy of
      > God's
      > > mercy and a miracle. I think that such an approach will not be
      > rejected
      > > by anyone.
      > >
      > > Sincerely asking for your archpastoral blessing and prayers,
      > >
      > > Archpriest Peter Perekrestov
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      >
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