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Re: Fw: OK, Let's Focus on the Real Issue

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  • Fr. John Whiteford
    ... Excuse me for insisting. The issue you discuss may be basic , but is still not the real issue. The real issue is the content of the epistle, which you do
    Message 1 of 12 , Jul 2, 2001
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      --- Vladimir Kozyreff wrote:
      "Excuse me for insisting. The issue you discuss may be "basic", but
      is still not the real issue. The real issue is the content of the
      epistle, which you do not address."



      OK... which issues are not addressed already in
      the following document... just to point to one
      example?

      http://www.rocor.org/documents/2001-03-15-appeal.html

      =====
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      * and Conroe, Texas area. |\ *
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    • The Stephens
      Who has declared our Metropolitan to be incompetent? Fr. Seraphim Stephens ... From: Fr. Alexander Lebedeff To:
      Message 2 of 12 , Jul 2, 2001
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        Who has declared our Metropolitan to be incompetent?
        Fr. Seraphim Stephens
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@...>
        To: <orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sunday, July 01, 2001 10:09 PM
        Subject: Re: [orthodox-synod] Fw: OK, Let's Focus on the Real Issue


        > Regarding
        >
        >
        >
        > >I would like to add two remarks:
        > >
        > >- Concerning the enquiry on authorship, the hierarchs - specialists
        > >discuss the Metropolitan style, expressions, speeling etc., which they
        > >seem to know profoundly for having worked in close cooperation with him.
        > >The only thing they do not seem to be interested in is the thinking of
        the
        > >Metropolitan. The espistle is totally consistent with our Metropolitan
        > >thinking. Friends of mine who have privately visited the Metropolitan
        > >report that his conversation announced exactly the epistle he sent a few
        > >days later. One may be interested to know that the Metropolitan speaks
        > >also to lay people.
        >
        > That's fine, except for the fact that the Metropolitan often forgest what
        > he said or did only a half hour previously. So calling him or talking with
        > him later is of no consequence.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > >- My understanding of sobornost is that, in case a Council produces an
        > >epistle which is not understood or not accepted by a sizeable part of the
        > >Church (including a first hierarch, a few bishops,
        >
        > How stupid do you think our hierarchs are?
        >
        > This Epistle was read and discussed, voted on, and approved and signed by
        > the Council of Bishops, including the First Hierarch, Archbishop Lazarus,
        > and Bishops Agathangel and Benjamin.
        >
        > Are you seriously telling me that they **did not understand** what they
        > were doing??
        >
        > In that case, if they are too stupid to understand what they are doing,
        why
        > should any retraction that occurs by them months later carry any weight?
        > Did they somehow become more intelligent during those months?
        >
        > If they were morons in October, and their signatures on the Synod
        > resolutions and epistle were due to their stupidity, what miracle potion
        > has since been consumed by them to make them lose their denseness?
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > >a great number of priests and lay people),
        >
        > I imagine we could find some examples of denseness there, no?
        >
        >
        >
        > >the Council should gather again and rework its conclusions. Statutes are
        > >less important than unity of the Church, justice and Truth. The Holy
        > >Spirit does not blow only on the majority of the Synod. We are not
        papists.
        >
        >
        > Nor is intelligence the exclusive possesion of dissenting clergy. Quite
        the
        > contrary.
        >
        >
        > With love in Christ,
        >
        > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
        >
        >
        > Archives located at http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod
        >
        >
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
      • Vladimir Kozyreff
        Dear Father John, The disputed last epistle of Vl. Vitaly proposes that a new Council should meet to take into account the meaning of those within the Church
        Message 3 of 12 , Jul 2, 2001
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          Dear Father John,

          The disputed last epistle of Vl. Vitaly proposes that a new Council should
          meet to take into account the meaning of those within the Church who think
          that the post October council poslanie should be re-written.

          What can one oppose to such a conciliatory programme, if one is genuinely
          concerned about sobornost?

          Sobornost, sobor, council, unanimity, meeting... What other concepts can I
          quote to stress the idea of oneness, that should inspire and guide us?

          The text you mention of course has a lot of positive aspects. In orthodoxy,
          what governs is not statements or texts, but experience, be it mystical,
          personal contacts or whatever. Nothing will replace personal meetings for
          people to reunite and reconcile with one another.

          What is to be gained by not meeting and not searching unanimity? Is loosing
          face more tragic than loosing one's soul?

          Father Alexander says that I call the attitude of the Synod "stubborn"
          because I do not like it. Not so. I call it stubborn because it persists in
          ignoring the calls of a sizeable part of the Church.

          Father Alexander asks which "magic potion" had those who signed the post
          October Council poslanie change their minds. "Gospod umudryaiet sleptsi".
          Did it never occur to you that you reconsidered a position that you had held
          for a time? Is a person not stubborn to refuse in principle to reconsider
          his position? Is it not a lack of humility and a risk to miss the Truth?

          In God,

          Vladimir Kozyreff




          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Fr. John Whiteford" <frjohnwhiteford@...>
          To: <orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, July 02, 2001 12:55 PM
          Subject: [orthodox-synod] Re: Fw: OK, Let's Focus on the Real Issue


          > --- Vladimir Kozyreff wrote:
          > "Excuse me for insisting. The issue you discuss may be "basic", but
          > is still not the real issue. The real issue is the content of the
          > epistle, which you do not address."
          >
          >
          >
          > OK... which issues are not addressed already in
          > the following document... just to point to one
          > example?
          >
          > http://www.rocor.org/documents/2001-03-15-appeal.html
          >
          > =====
          > ********************************************************
          > * Fr. John Whiteford IC -|- XC *
          > * ----|---- *
          > * St. Jonah of Manchuria Orthodox Mission | *
          > * Serving the Spring, Woodlands, \| *
          > * and Conroe, Texas area. |\ *
          > * http://www.saintjonah.org/ NI | KA *
          >
          > __________________________________________________
          > Do You Yahoo!?
          > Get personalized email addresses from Yahoo! Mail
          > http://personal.mail.yahoo.com/
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Archives located at http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod
          >
          >
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >
          >
        • Father Maximos
          At the last regular Synod meeting the following document was issued, signed by His Eminance Metropolitan Vitaly. This meeting was only a few months ago, how
          Message 4 of 12 , Jul 2, 2001
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            At the last regular Synod meeting the following document was issued,
            signed by His Eminance Metropolitan Vitaly. This meeting was only a
            few months ago, how does one reconcile this with the ideas expressed
            in the so-called epistle recently issued?



            Having assembled for a regular session of the Synod of Bishops, we
            found it necessary to bear witness again to our inner unity and
            unshakable stand in the truth of the Church. We are alarmed by the
            discord which has drawn in certain parts of our ecclesial organism.
            In connection with this, we affirm that all of us, the members of the
            Synod of Bishops, presided over by our president, His Eminence
            Metropolitan Vitaly, unanimously stand by the decisions and
            statements adopted at the Council of Bishops, and we cannot agree
            with any attempt to introduce a spirit of doubt and disagreement into
            our midst.


            Over the course of eighty years, we have sensed that our
            responsibility lies before the fullness of the Church of Russia, both
            abroad and in our much-suffering homeland. Our decisions and thoughts
            are always guided by this twofold responsibility.


            It is not because we deserve it that we have inherited all the
            richness of the Church of Russia; yet we strive to preserve it and to
            pass it on. And now also we continue to occupy the steadfast
            positions of our confession of the Faith before the whole world,and
            we therefore naturally rejoice when we perceive positive changed
            occurring among our much-suffering Russian people.


            The Constitution of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
            itself defines our existence and binds our activities with
            responsibility before the entire Church of Russia. In our time, when
            it open persecution has ceased, our relations require interpretation
            and healthy assessment. With this aim in mind, the Council of Bishops
            which convened in the year 2000 set up several committees to study
            the paths of the Church of Russia, past and future. Such a step is
            not an innovation; rather it is organic, and consequently is an
            extension of our former path.


            Reminding all the faithful children of our Church that it is
            essential not to submit to the attempts of the enemy of our salvation
            to rend the seamless garment of the Church, we call upon you all
            henceforth to stand firmly in the truth of the Church and to preserve
            the unity of love.


            26 January/8 February 2001


            Metropolitan Vitaly [signature]
            President of the Synod


            Members of the Synod
            [signed:]
            Archbishop Laurus
            Archbishop Mark
            Archbishop Alypy
            Bishop Gabriel
            Bishop Kyrill
            Bishop Michael

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Anthony Bridges
            ... Metropolitan Vitaly. This meeting was only a ... issued? ... Father Maximos, asking your blessing, I want to try to answer your question. It appears to be
            Message 5 of 12 , Jul 3, 2001
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              --- Father Maximos <mga@...> wrote:
              > At the last regular Synod meeting the following
              > document was issued,signed by His Eminance
              Metropolitan Vitaly. This meeting was only a
              > few months ago, how does one reconcile this with the
              > ideas expressed in the so-called epistle recently
              issued?
              >

              Father Maximos, asking your blessing, I want to try to
              answer your question. It appears to be true, as we
              have been told, that there is a difference between the
              Metropolitan's signature affixed to a document from
              the Synod, such as you have quoted, and a document
              which only he himself produces.

              While I do not wish to give an opinion one way or the
              other about the current controversy (believing that in
              time it will be clarified), what I have said above
              seems to be supported by Vladyka Vitaly's
              "Post-Conciliar Epistle," whose views are apparently
              not in sympathy with those of the October 2000
              Epistle, even though he signed that Synodal Epistle as
              well.

              I quote the Post-Conciliar Epistle here:

              Epistle
              from Metropolitan Vitaly
              First Hierarch
              of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

              Beloved brothers and sisters

              Now that the meeting of the Bishops' Council, or
              Sobor, is over, I consider it my duty, as First
              Hierarch of the Holy Russian Orthodox Church Outside
              Russia, to assure all of you that our Church, which
              has followed along the straight path of Christ these
              80 years, will not turn aside into any dubious byways.
              On the other hand, we cannot be indifferent and silent
              as regards questions affecting what is happening on
              the spiritual level in Russia.

              The Moscow Patriarchate has now glorified the Royal
              Martyrs, whom we have glorified long ago, and we have
              sent thousands of icons of them throughout the whole
              of Russia. In this way the whole of Russia became
              aware of the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church
              Outside Russia. Now many people cannot help wondering
              why the Moscow Patriarchate did not simply recognize
              our glorification and adopt it for itself. The answer
              is very simple. To recognize our glorification would
              mean recognizing our Church Abroad as a lawful Church
              which had left the borders of the fatherland and
              existed these 80 years beyond the borders of Russia,
              with the blessing of the last lawful Patriarch of
              Russia, Patriarch Tikhon. This is something which the
              Moscow Patriarchate to this very day cannot and will
              not do. Meanwhile believers in Russia demand a
              glorification. So the Moscow Patriarchate decided to
              perform an act of political machination and undertake
              its own glorification, with the sole aim of quietening
              the voice of its believers and thereby managing to
              prolong its own existence. In other words, the Moscow
              Patriarchate, which is the direct heir of the Soviet
              executioners, arrayed in the fleece of an innocent
              sheep put on over its wolf's hide, is now glorifying
              the murdered and tormented victims of its own
              communist leaders. Before that, for years the Moscow
              Patriarchate was in full concord with the Bolsheviks
              and the rulers in the USSR who exterminated hundreds
              of thousands of believers. Despite this it was clear
              that the Russian people could not be torn away from
              the Church of Christ. That Pascha would always remain
              the peoples' greatest festivity. That red easter eggs,
              kulich and cheese-pascha would adorn everyone's table
              at Easter time and even the state bakeries would sell
              the special Easter kulich while calling it sweetened
              bread. Seeing all this, Stalin was brought to a state
              of wild fury and said, "Obviously we can't turn all
              Russians into Bolsheviks; so we and only we will give
              them a Patriarch, as well as all the reverend clergy
              they need, and we'll open churches, which we will sell
              to them and increase taxes the whole time until they
              have no more means to exist."

              The silent answer of believers in Russia to this was
              that they started to pray in their homes, and in each
              such apartment they made a house church with an
              iconostas and icons and even made their own incense
              using the resin from pine trees and drops of rose oil.
              Churches like this exist up to the present day.
              Despite the wonderful church buildings of the
              Patriarchate, the sumptuously arrayed clergy and
              splendid choirs, many believers prefer the crowded
              conditions of these apartments. Even at Pascha, when
              the processions are taking place in the official
              churches to the resounding peals of bells, there are
              people in apartment buildings, in corridors, quietly
              going in single file with candles in their hands, and
              singing in a whisper "Christ is Risen!" You cannot but
              ask yourself, "Who are these people?" They are
              believers who, while living in Russia alongside all
              the others, understand and feel precisely what the
              Moscow Patriarchate is, and what is its purpose and
              direction. These very people look to us, seeking our
              protection and understanding. Up to this day they have
              received this from us and I want to assure all the
              children of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
              that nothing has changed. As we have continued
              fearlessly on our path these 80 years, so we shall
              continue further. Our path is a very lonely one,
              because we stand for the Truth, but fear not, little
              flock, the Lord is with us! And if the Lord be with
              us, who shall be against us?

              Now I want to return to the questions which are so
              disturbing to many of you. Firstly I want to express
              my profound gratitude to all of you for your trust and
              love towards me, and in order to reassure you I want
              to explain the following. The Epistle from the Council
              of Bishops, in accordance with the laws governing a
              Council - an Assembly, or Sobor (since the very word
              "Sobor" means a common decision) must be signed by
              all. If any of the bishops has his own personal
              opinion, he has the right to express it separately in
              writing. The fact that I signed the Epistle is far
              from meaning that I am in agreement with each and
              every statement in it and I know that there are other
              bishops who thought as I do, but to compose an Epistle
              with which all would be completely satisfied is
              virtually impossible.

              There is one further point which is of great concern
              to many of you. This is the establishment of a Synodal
              Committee to discuss questions of the unity of the
              Russian Church. I myself questioned what unity could
              be under consideration, when it should be quite clear
              to all that the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
              Russia, which has preserved its spiritual freedom
              these 80 years, will never proceed to unite with the
              Moscow Patriarchate.

              And so, faithful children of the Russian Orthodox
              Church Outside Russia, know that our Church has not
              betrayed its path and that we also, if we desire our
              salvation, must follow her path. There will be many
              trials and temptations, but remain as always faithful
              to the Lord and His Church, and do not forget that the
              most terrible thing for us is to depart from the Truth
              - which is to say, from Christ Himself.

              Metropolitan Vitaly
              Feast of the Presentation of the
              Mother of God in the Temple
              21 November / 4 December, 2000


              And here is the epistle from the Synod you had
              previously quoted. Reading this one, it is clear that
              it is from the entire Synod, not only the
              Metropolitan, and, as we have been told, all must sign
              this type of document.

              So there is no mystery here.

              Father Deacon Anthony
              Our Lady, Joy of All Who Sorrow
              Cumming, GA


              >
              >
              > Having assembled for a regular session of the Synod
              > of Bishops, we found it necessary to bear witness
              again to our inner unity and
              > unshakable stand in the truth of the Church. We are
              > alarmed by the
              > discord which has drawn in certain parts of our
              > ecclesial organism.
              > In connection with this, we affirm that all of us,
              > the members of the
              > Synod of Bishops, presided over by our president,
              > His Eminence
              > Metropolitan Vitaly, unanimously stand by the
              > decisions and
              > statements adopted at the Council of Bishops, and we
              > cannot agree
              > with any attempt to introduce a spirit of doubt and
              > disagreement into
              > our midst.
              >
              >
              > Over the course of eighty years, we have sensed that
              > our
              > responsibility lies before the fullness of the
              > Church of Russia, both
              > abroad and in our much-suffering homeland. Our
              > decisions and thoughts
              > are always guided by this twofold responsibility.
              >
              >
              > It is not because we deserve it that we have
              > inherited all the
              > richness of the Church of Russia; yet we strive to
              > preserve it and to
              > pass it on. And now also we continue to occupy the
              > steadfast
              > positions of our confession of the Faith before the
              > whole world,and
              > we therefore naturally rejoice when we perceive
              > positive changed
              > occurring among our much-suffering Russian people.
              >
              >
              > The Constitution of the Russian Orthodox Church
              > Outside of Russia
              > itself defines our existence and binds our
              > activities with
              > responsibility before the entire Church of Russia.
              > In our time, when
              > it open persecution has ceased, our relations
              > require interpretation
              > and healthy assessment. With this aim in mind, the
              > Council of Bishops
              > which convened in the year 2000 set up several
              > committees to study
              > the paths of the Church of Russia, past and future.
              > Such a step is
              > not an innovation; rather it is organic, and
              > consequently is an
              > extension of our former path.
              >
              >
              > Reminding all the faithful children of our Church
              > that it is
              > essential not to submit to the attempts of the enemy
              > of our salvation
              > to rend the seamless garment of the Church, we call
              > upon you all
              > henceforth to stand firmly in the truth of the
              > Church and to preserve
              > the unity of love.
              >
              >
              > 26 January/8 February 2001
              >
              >
              > Metropolitan Vitaly [signature]
              > President of the Synod
              >
              >
              > Members of the Synod
              > [signed:]
              > Archbishop Laurus
              > Archbishop Mark
              > Archbishop Alypy
              > Bishop Gabriel
              > Bishop Kyrill
              > Bishop Michael
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been
              > removed]
              >
              >


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            • Ascension Monastery
              ... This is certainly possible, but there are other possible answers as well. The main difference between these two types of documents is that the one he signs
              Message 6 of 12 , Jul 5, 2001
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                >--- Father Maximos <mga@...> wrote:
                >> At the last regular Synod meeting the following
                >> document was issued,signed by His Eminance
                >Metropolitan Vitaly. This meeting was only a
                >> few months ago, how does one reconcile this with the
                >> ideas expressed in the so-called epistle recently
                >issued?
                >>
                >
                >Father Maximos, asking your blessing, I want to try to
                >answer your question. It appears to be true, as we
                >have been told, that there is a difference between the
                >Metropolitan's signature affixed to a document from
                >the Synod, such as you have quoted, and a document
                >which only he himself produces.
                >
                >While I do not wish to give an opinion one way or the
                >other about the current controversy (believing that in
                >time it will be clarified), what I have said above
                >seems to be supported by Vladyka Vitaly's
                >"Post-Conciliar Epistle," whose views are apparently
                >not in sympathy with those of the October 2000
                >Epistle, even though he signed that Synodal Epistle as
                >well.



                This is certainly possible, but there are other possible answers as
                well. The main difference between these two types of documents is
                that the one he signs in his capacity as the President of the Council
                of Bishops has the "force of law' as it were. It is the conciliar
                voice of the Church ( I am not claiming it is infallible) whereas the
                documents produced by himself alone are his considered opinions and
                they do not have the authority to reverse the decision of the Council
                of Bishops. Any reversal of the course chartered by the Council in
                2000, must be done by the Council of Bishops which is the supreme
                canonical authority. I am sure there will be an effort by some to do
                so at the next Council meeting, and we must have faith that the right
                and proper course will be pursued. May God grant strength to our
                Hierarchs to do that which is well-pleasing to God, and to resist the
                efforts of those who , though they may think they do well, are
                tearing our Church apart.


                In Christ

                the sinful monk

                Maximos+


                Rev.Hieromonk Maximos
                Ascension Monastery
                Russian Orthodox Church
                Outside of Russia (ROCOR)
                706-277-9442 ( voice)
                775-640-2325 ( fax)
                http://www.monastery.org
                http://shop.monasteryproducts.org


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Anthony Bridges
                Deacon Anthony wrote: It appears to be true, as we have been told, that there is a difference between the Metropolitan s signature affixed to a document from
                Message 7 of 12 , Jul 5, 2001
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                  Deacon Anthony wrote:

                  It appears to be true, as we have been told, that
                  there is a difference between the Metropolitan's
                  signature affixed to a document from the Synod, such
                  as you have quoted, and a document which only he
                  himself produces.

                  While I do not wish to give an opinion one way or the
                  other about the current controversy (believing that in
                  time it will be clarified), what I have said above
                  seems to be supported by Vladyka Vitaly's
                  "Post-Conciliar Epistle," whose views are apparently
                  not in sympathy with those of the October 2000
                  Epistle, even though he signed that Synodal [should be
                  Conciliar] Epistle as well.
                  >

                  Father Maximos wrote:

                  >
                  > This is certainly possible, but there are other
                  > possible answers as well. The main difference
                  > between these two types of documents is
                  > that the one he signs in his capacity as the
                  > President of the Council
                  > of Bishops has the "force of law' as it were. It is
                  > the conciliar voice of the Church ( I am not
                  > claiming it is infallible) whereas the
                  > documents produced by himself alone are his
                  > considered opinions and they do not have the
                  > authority to reverse the decision of the Council
                  > of Bishops. Any reversal of the course chartered by
                  > the Council in 2000, must be done by the Council of
                  > Bishops which is the supreme canonical authority.

                  Deacon Anthony replies:

                  Father, with your blessing, let me say that what you
                  have stated above is not a different answer to what I
                  gave, as far as I can see, but an explanatory
                  expansion of that answer. Your original question, as I
                  recall, was how could the same person have signed both
                  the October 2000 Epistle and the recent controversial
                  Epistle. The answer is that one is part of the
                  procedure of the Council of Bishops and the other is
                  from the Metropolitan himself.

                  We know that the Metropolitan does not have the
                  authority to reverse the decision of a Council.


                  > I am sure there will be an effort by some to do
                  > so [i.e "reverse the course chartered by
                  > the Council in 2000",from above] at the next Council
                  meeting,
                  > and we must have faith that the right and proper
                  > course will be pursued.


                  According to both the Council and the Metropolitan, we
                  have not entered upon a new course, so there is no
                  need for reversal.


                  > May God grant strength to our Hierarchs to do that
                  > which is well-pleasing to God,
                  > and to resist the efforts of those who, though they
                  > may think they do well, are tearing our Church
                  apart.
                  >

                  From this it sounds as though you already know what
                  "that which is well-pleasing to God" is. Or am I
                  misunderstanding you?


                  deacon Anthony






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                • Father Maximos
                  Dear Father Anthony, I think you are correct when you say there is no essential difference in what we both said. I think though there are those who wish to
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jul 5, 2001
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                    Dear Father Anthony,

                    I think you are correct when you say there is no essential difference
                    in what we both said. I think though there are those who wish to
                    create a scission between the Metropolitan and his fellow Hierarchs
                    and this is unfortunate.

                    You are very much correct when you say that the principles of the
                    2000 Sobor were not a "new course" but the historical course of the
                    Church Abroad, what I was attempting to say was the course as laid
                    out at the 2000 Sobor, forgive me if I was unclear or ambiguous.
                    Although you say you know that the Metropolitan cannot reverse the
                    decisions of the Council, there are many that do not appear to know
                    that is the case.

                    At 2:46 PM -0700 7/5/01, Anthony Bridges wrote:
                    >From this it sounds as though you already know what
                    >"that which is well-pleasing to God" is. Or am I
                    >misunderstanding you?


                    I hope that I do, and I hope you do too. If not why are we daring to
                    speak at all? I think following the traditional course of our Church
                    with respect and obedience to the norms of the Orthodox Church is
                    well pleasing to God. I think doing those things contrary to this is
                    not well pleasing to God.


                    In Christ

                    the least of monks

                    Maximos+
                  • Anthony Bridges
                    Father Deacon Anthony Bridges writes: I seem to have stuck my orarion in my diaconal mouth yet again! Most of my comments re the acrimony of orthodox lists do
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jul 5, 2001
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                      Father Deacon Anthony Bridges writes:

                      I seem to have stuck my orarion in my diaconal mouth
                      yet again!

                      Most of my comments re the acrimony of orthodox lists
                      do not apply to the orthodox-synod list, but mostly to
                      the orthodox-rocor list (if I have got them straight).
                      I get the two confused, because they are the two I
                      read on Yahoo!, and because there is a great deal of
                      cross-posting between the two.

                      However, I would reiterate the advice to stick to the
                      basics and avoid most of the Internet lists. A better
                      use for the Internet for new converts is to read the
                      doctrinal stuff on the various jurisdiction websites,
                      such as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and to read
                      the articles at orthodoxinfo.com, etc.

                      This advice is based on my own experience as a
                      convert. It takes a LONG time to get SOME perspective
                      and develop the patience required to deal with the
                      controversies on these lists. In fact, I can't claim
                      to have attained either, which is why I mostly stay
                      away from posting, and just read.

                      It is far more important to attend all the services at
                      church, to pay attention to what is being read, to
                      read the Fathers or good books by Metropolitan of
                      Nafpakthos, Hierotheos Vlachos, etc. (Ascension
                      Monastery Bookstore is a good place to buy some of
                      these wonderful books, www.mga.org, I believe). After
                      a few YEARS, one might start to gain some perspective,
                      if only a little.

                      The lists might be good for making contacts and asking
                      certain questions, and perhaps this orthodox-synod
                      list is intended for that, while avoiding the worst of
                      the controversy.

                      I apologize for any confusion I have caused, and I
                      retreat into the fast...

                      Deacon Anthony







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