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Re: [orthodox-synod] Repost from 2000: More on Reception of Converts by the Russian Church

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  • michael nikitin
    ... Fr. Alexander Lebedeff wrote
    Message 1 of 2 , May 9, 2007
      >From: Basil <basil612@...>
      >To: ORTHODOX@...
      >Subject: Re: "Handbook for Clergy"
      >Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 18:13:56 -0400

      Fr. Alexander Lebedeff wrote <<There has been some disparagement
      of the Bulgakov "Handbook for Clergy" on these lists [...] It is,
      in reality, the most comprehensive compendium of ecclesiastical
      legislation of the Orthodox Church ever compiled. [...] So that
      when it states that Baptisms performed by heretics or schismatics
      are considered fully acceptable by the Orthodox Church--that is
      the official position of the Church of Russia. When it states
      that those who would baptize Roman Catholics coming to the Church
      are ignoramuses--that is the official position of the Church of
      Russia.>> [...] People who attack this Handbook are speaking
      against the official positions of the Church of Russia--not me.>>

      Unfortunately, Father is wrong on virtually every point here. See
      my response to his disinformation and attempts at consorship
      below, where I refute this disinformation. (the consorship issue
      and the heretical sacramnts issue are mixed together in these
      previous postings).

      Father Alexander wrote : <<Reader Constantine Wright is treading
      on very thin ice here. He has, on a public forum, openly accused
      me of holding an "un-Orthodox teaching," a very serious
      accusation indeed against a priest of his Church.>>

      That's the point, dear Father. Many of us on the
      OrthodoxTradition list believe your teachings are un-Orthodox. I
      have refrained from using the words heresy or heretic, but from a
      patristic point of view, many of your teachings are in serious
      error. You have opposed the teachings of the Apostolic Canons,
      Saint Cyprian, Saint Basil, Saint Ilarion (Ttoitskii),
      Metropolitan Anthony
      Khrapovitskii, Saint Philaret, the ROCOR decisions of 1971 and
      1983, and the Orthodox patristic consensus that there is only one
      True Church with Christ's True Mysteries. You say that those
      outside the Church may have the Body and Blood of Christ. All
      True Orthodox Christians world wide reject this as a serious
      error that is the precursor of the Branch Theory Heresy.

      <<I doubt that his spiritual father or his bishop has seen that
      accusation or would support his making it.>>

      ROCOR clergy--especially those who are in error concerning the
      Faith--- have no authority to censor anyone on any of these

      <<I have expressed absolutely no teaching other than that held by
      the Russian Orthodox Church, of which I am a priest.>>

      False. All Orthodox bishops promise at their consecrations
      to---above all else---follow the teachings and canons of the
      Apostles and the Ecumenical Synods (but note the order---the
      Apostolic Canons are considered primary and as the source of the
      ecumenical-counciliar canons). The Apostolic Canons and
      the entire Orthodox patristic consensus says that heretics lose
      the mysteries. ROCOR reaffirmed this consensus. You dissent from
      this teaching. You are free to do so, but we are all also free to
      say that you are not a loyal son of the Orthodox Church when you
      advocate this un-Orthodox teaching.

      Also, why the continued references to the "teaching" of the
      "Russian" church? Do you think that there is a difference in
      teaching between the Russian and other Orthodox churches
      historically? I believe that all Orthodox churches have
      historically taught the same thing: the Apostolic and
      Patristic consensus---no more and no less.

      <<This can be easily proven by examining the ecclesiastical
      legislation of that Church, and its official statements and

      Nothing is more official than the Apostolic and Ecumenical
      Canons---all of which teach that heretics lose the Mysteries. The
      official ROCOR positions of 1971 and 1983 teach the same. You do

      <<I challenge Constantine Wright to show any divergence of my
      teaching from the teaching of the historical Russian Church.>>

      I recently posted 17 pages worth of proof that your view on
      sacraments was un-Orthodox and that your claim that few if any
      teach the Branch Theory Heresy today was monstrous
      disinformation. Do you really want me to re-post that evidence?
      You have totally lost the argument---at least on the
      OrthodoxTradition list. We choose Saint Philaret and the
      patristic consensus---you choose westernized "manuals." We all
      know were each other stands. We also all know who represents the
      traditional Orthodox teaching and who defends the false

      <<If he cannot do that, he is subject to being brought before an
      ecclesiastical tribunal for slandering/libelling [sic] a
      clergyman and to the canonical penalties that would ensue if he
      cannot prove his statement.
      Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff>>

      Does ROCOR now discipline people who profess the Faith of the
      Holy Fathers and the official position of Saint Philaret and
      ROCOR? Many of us saw this starting to occur in 1986-1987. If it
      continues to occur, my own church, the Church of the True
      Orthodox Christians, which does profess this traditional Faith,
      would welcome Reader Constantine.

      Father Alexander wrote :<<I am a bit puzzled by all this
      preoccupation with "form," anyway.>>

      You shouldn't be surprised. There are ancient canons that talk
      about form (e.g., one immersion is uncanonical).

      << That seems to be a very Western, Latin, scholastic,
      rationalist approach.>>

      You are very wrong here. There are countless Orthodox treatises
      in Greek against the uncanonical forms of baptism. We True
      Orthodox do not divide Greeks from Slavs, we look for the most
      authentic practice. We wish you would also.

      <<We have many "forms" of the Holy Eucharist--and we know from
      the Acts of the Apostles that Confirmation (Descent of the Holy
      Spirit) was performed by them through the laying on of hands--not
      anointing with Chrism. So there are different forms--so what? It
      is the transfer of Divine grace that counts--not so much the

      The Church clearly teaches that pouring is wrong unless
      absolutely required for some extraordinary reason. Do you accept
      this teaching?

      <<Christ's directive did not say "Go out and teach all nations,
      baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the
      Holy Spirit and chrismating them with Holy Chrism.">>

      Laying on of hands and/or annointing has always been *a part* of
      the baptismal service since New Testament Times. What is your
      point here? Are you denying that Christ and the Apostles
      commanded it?

      --- "Rev. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@...> wrote:

      > The practice of receiving Latins by Chrismation is very ancient
      > in the Russian Church -- going back to the 1100s.
      > St. Niphon of Novgorod (died 1156), answered Kirik
      > of Novgorod's query about how to receive Latins that come to
      > Orthodoxy:
      > "If a Latin wishes to come under Russian law, let him attend
      > our Church for seven days. He is to be given a new name. Each
      day four prayers are devoutly read in his presence. Then let him
      bathe in the bathhouse. He will refrain from meat and dairy
      products for seven days, and on the eighth day,
      > having bathed, let him come to Church. Four prayers must be
      > read over him. He is dressed in clean clothes. A crown or a
      wreath is placed on his head.
      > He is anointed with Chrism and a wax candle is placed in his
      > hand. He receives Communion during the Liturgy and henceforth
      > considered a new Christian."

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