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Re: ROCOR situation/dialogue/union/???

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  • mwoerl@yahoo.com
    I am not quite understanding exactly what is going on here, and while I m not right bright, I m not plumb dumb, either. If someone could be so kind as to
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 29, 2001
      I am not quite understanding exactly what is going on here, and
      while I'm not right bright, I'm not plumb dumb, either. If someone
      could be so kind as to explain the situation to me, I would be
      grateful.
      Allow me to elaborate . . . A few weeks back, I saw a letter to
      the Sobor composed (supposedly-I guess if you see it on the internet,
      you have to add that disclaimer) by Father Seraphim Holland. This
      letter was to be signed by "agreeing" clergy, stating that these
      clergy wanted to Sobor to "immediately vigorously pursue serious &
      brotherly dialogue with the MP with the aim of union . . ."
      This wording was changed (again, supposedly) by Father Alexander
      Lebedev to read "engage in wide ranging and open dialogue with the MP
      with the goal of the resolution of those issues and the elimination
      of those barriers that impede the restoration of the unity of the
      Russian Church . . ."
      To my mind, in 25 words or less, these two wordings say basically
      the same thing; possibly with the difference that Father Alexander's
      version is a bit less, shall we say, intense.
      Then, I see a posting by Father Seraphim Holland that states that
      if we don't have dialogue, the Church Abroad will become a "sect."
      Now, many say that the Church Abroad is already a sect because we are
      not in communion with the MP, or the EP, or whomever is making the
      charge wants us to be in communion with; I am afraid mere "dialogue"
      would not satisfy these critics, so I am unsure of the criterion that
      Father Seraphim is employing here, unless it is solely his own.
      Father Seraphim then went on to express sentiments that dialogue was
      not so bad, and that dialogue would not necessarily lead to union.
      Then Father Mark Gilstrap posted a message that expressed similar
      sentiments-something akin to "dialogue is not bad, it doesn't mean
      there will be union."
      Apparently, both Father Seraphim and Father Mark were signatories
      to the letter to the Sobor that wanted dialogue leading to union.
      Now, they both express a desire for, or defend, dialogue . . .but
      leading to what? I am not sure.
      So, has the position of the clergy who wanted dialogue leading to
      union changed to a position that now says, "we just want dialogue"?
      And what I have apparently missed is why we want dialogue and
      union, or just dialogue, and why now? Other than "because I say so,"
      basically, because that is about all I could get out of Father
      Seraphim's post.
      I also want to make it clear, so I don't get accused
      of "condemning, labelling, setting forth, and associating" again,
      that I am not posting this to criticise either Father Seraphim or
      Father Mark; I simply would like to understand the position of the
      clergy who are advocating "dialogue leading to union," or, more
      recently (maybe), just "dialogue."
      Although as I have posted before, I feel that it is inevitable at
      some point in the future, I don't think now is the right time. The MP
      is still involved in ecumenical activities, against the wishes of
      quite a large segment of their own clergy and laity, but, I think,
      despite their "Social" contract, statement, or whatever, at the
      prompting and support of the Russian government-gotta be "world
      players," you know. Also, the conduct of the MP of late in the Holy
      Land towards the Church Abroad has not been overly friendly. And,
      that's just the very beginning of the list of objections . . .
      I would also like to know the practical results of "dialogue
      leading to union" concerning our obvious entrance into communion with
      ALL of "World Orthodoxy," and our current relations with the Old
      Calendar Churches in Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria; union with the MP
      would most certainly mean that we would have to terminate those
      relationships. Do proponents of "dialogue leading to union" think
      that it would be for the greater good to abandon the Old Calendarists
      for union with the MP?
      So, if anyone could enlighten and allow me a look at the entire
      situation here, I would greatly appreciate it.
      With Love in Christ,
      Michael Woerl
    • Rev Mark Gilstrap
      Dear Michael, God Bless! ... No. I forwarded a post that summed up the objection many have to all this talk. The gist of it was that since (if) there is
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 29, 2001
        Dear Michael,

        God Bless!

        You wrote:

        > Then Father Mark Gilstrap posted a message that expressed similar
        > sentiments-something akin to "dialogue is not bad, it doesn't mean
        > there will be union."

        No. I forwarded a post that summed up the
        objection many have to all this talk. The gist of it
        was that since (if) there is such a big difference
        between dialogue and union then people should stop
        talking about "eventual union" and instead merely
        speak of "eventual dialogue." And dialogue is not
        just talking. As Mark Markish once explained on
        the ORTHODOX list, there is an implied willingness
        to compromise. This is not a problem when both
        sides believe the same, but it is the problem with
        ecumenical dialogue between mutually exclusive
        viewpoints (leading to syncretism), and to the extent
        that we are in some ways worlds apart from the MP,
        it is also what is wrong with dialogue with them too.

        "dialogue leading to union" are words that have not
        passed my lips or even been formed in my thoughts.
        Be very careful what you ascribe to others. .

        I used to take comfort in the fact that I am attacked
        from both the left and the right - a sign of my being on
        the golden path down the middle - but now I assume
        it is just the consequence of my poor commuication skills.

        It is very easy to misunderstand e-mail - as recent
        events have once again proven. Michael, you know
        me well. I am surprised you misunderstood me, but
        this just goes to show us how careful we must be
        with words that are disconnected from tone of voice,
        facial expressions and body language.

        > Apparently, both Father Seraphim and Father Mark were signatories
        > to the letter to the Sobor that wanted dialogue leading to union.

        Apparently?

        I am not at all inclined to such letters, and did
        not imply any ascent, let alone agree to have my
        name added. When I had the chance, I even
        communicated to Archbp Alypy that I intentionslly
        did not sign this letter.

        I do not advocate dialogue now, but *eventually*
        it is inevitable unless nothing changes and there is
        no fruit of repentance forthcoming from the hierarchy
        of the MP. We have to trust and pray for our
        bishops to make these decisons, and must not
        attempt to manipulate the bishops the way some
        spin on the internet..

        On these lists I read expressions that I know do not jibe
        with what Archbp Alypy tells us at clergy conferences.
        Unfortunately many people do not see or hear what
        the bishops are saying, but instead read (on such lists
        as these) what one person or another claims they say.
        What some people are claiming is not so comforting.
        If I were to believe everything I read on these lists I
        would have to not believe my own ears and eyes and
        heart.

        > relationships. Do proponents of "dialogue leading to union" think
        > that it would be for the greater good to abandon the Old Calendarists
        > for union with the MP?

        These are such difficult issues I can't imagine
        much progress towards discussion can be made
        on a list. I identify strongly with the struggles
        of other traditionalist old calendar groups, but
        strongly lament the lack of mutual support we
        are able to garner. Take a look at the archives
        of the orthodox-tradition list to get an idea of
        how dis-unified things are currently. Pray.

        'Fear not small flock.'

        In Christ,
        pr Mark

        p.s.
        I have recently attempted to limit discussions here
        on orthodox-synod to members of our church.
        I can't know who is and isn't in every case, but I
        do recognize some of those who have left our
        church but who continue to try to have influence
        through this list, often through members of ROCA
        who try to post the propaganda of Metropolitan
        Valentin and his followers, etc. It doesn't belong
        here.

        I am not trying to squash this perspective, (I am
        after all also the listowner of ORTHODOX ),
        but I am trying to keep this orthodox-synod list
        as a safe haven for those who prefer a little serenity
        while staying informed.

        More than ten years ago the ORTHODOX list
        was described in a publication as "Steel-belted
        Orthodoxy". As such I do not always recommend
        it, but for the full impact (of full coverage of all
        statements floating around), those who desire to
        know more details from all perspectives can
        read the ORTHODOX list from the archives at
        http://listserv.indiana.edu/archives/orthodox.html
      • Elias Gorsky
        ... ... Just for the record, Father Andrew Kensis posted on his website a list of signatures of the aforementioned letter, which HE felt were willing to sign
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 29, 2001
          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: Rev Mark Gilstrap [mailto:fr.mark@...]
          > Sent: Monday, October 29, 2001 10:34 PM
          > To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: ROCOR situation/dialogue/union/???

          ...

          >
          > > Apparently, both Father Seraphim and Father Mark were
          > signatories
          > > to the letter to the Sobor that wanted dialogue leading to union.
          >
          > Apparently?
          >
          > I am not at all inclined to such letters, and did
          > not imply any ascent, let alone agree to have my
          > name added. When I had the chance, I even
          > communicated to Archbp Alypy that I intentionally
          > did not sign this letter.
          >

          ...


          Just for the record, Father Andrew Kensis posted on his website a list of
          signatures of the aforementioned letter, which HE felt were willing to sign
          the letter. This list included persons, such as myself and apparently
          Father Mark, who never signed the letter, not made any statement of intent
          to sign. This "Kensis list" of signatories was then posted in the
          "Vertograd-disinform" web-site and that list is now being circulated
          everywhere as a list of signatories. It is causing confusion.

          Maybe Father Seraphim Holland can post the real list to avoid this
          confusion.

          With love in Christ,
          archpriest Ilya Gorsky
        • Igumeniya Iulianiya
          Dear Michael! I am sure you must lament the fact that so few priests have made a real effort to prepare their people for the terrible choices they must make,
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 31, 2001
            Dear Michael!
            I am sure you must lament the fact that so few priests
            have made a real effort to prepare their people for
            the terrible choices they must make, regarding eternal
            salvation. How extremely few seem able to distinguish
            truth from blatant lies! Yet, none of the vicious and
            Christ-hating behaviour of the MP "bishops" was done
            in a corner! Now that more archives are opening in
            Russia, the guilt becomes even more obvious and
            inexcusable. As I have said before, I think, it is not
            in my character to accept what is not logical. And
            nothing could be more illogical than to believe the
            shameless "wooing" of an organization which has openly
            been trying to destroy our Church for the past 70
            years or more years! Not one of the rigid barriers
            which seperate us has been lowered. On the contrary.
            We have been pitiably divided and all that is left is
            to swallow the fragments which these spiritual wolves
            will do while still muttering of "love" and
            "brother-hood"
            I think each priest responsible for immortal souls
            should gather his flock and spell it all out to them.
            This is not a time for personal opinions but it IS
            almost too late for seperating truth from falsehood
            and then let each person, with clear understanding of
            the issues, make his choice. Our Lord Jesus Christ has
            promised that His Church will endure intil He returns
            in glory to judge once and for all. And He has warned
            that He will confess those who have confessed Him,
            that is, been faithful to Him and His Church. But
            those who have denied Him and tried to crush His
            Church and destroy the souls for which He died and now
            lives, let those lovers of satan follow their master
            into hell, for the end of the tragedy is already
            written and the Free Will God has given each of us
            will decide for eternity. It is all very simple and
            crystal clear, just like God Himself, Who is TRUTH and
            LOVE.
            I felt a shock and could hardly believe it, when I
            saw signatures of so many respected clergy, who served
            and are still serving in our church for so many
            years! who signed in approval of a reply to the mushy
            letter from the MP. Can one approve of a
            reply(letter) which has not yet been written? Did I
            misunderstand the whole thing?
            Let us be in the "litle flock" to whom the Father will
            give the Kingdom.
            Prayer and fast are most needed now than ever. Also
            repentance.
            Abbess Juliana and sisters.














            --- mwoerl@... wrote:
            > I am not quite understanding exactly what is
            > going on here, and
            > while I'm not right bright, I'm not plumb dumb,
            > either. If someone
            > could be so kind as to explain the situation to me,
            > I would be
            > grateful.
            > Allow me to elaborate . . . A few weeks back, I
            > saw a letter to
            > the Sobor composed (supposedly-I guess if you see it
            > on the internet,
            > you have to add that disclaimer) by Father Seraphim
            > Holland. This
            > letter was to be signed by "agreeing" clergy,
            > stating that these
            > clergy wanted to Sobor to "immediately vigorously
            > pursue serious &
            > brotherly dialogue with the MP with the aim of union
            > . . ."
            > This wording was changed (again, supposedly) by
            > Father Alexander
            > Lebedev to read "engage in wide ranging and open
            > dialogue with the MP
            > with the goal of the resolution of those issues and
            > the elimination
            > of those barriers that impede the restoration of the
            > unity of the
            > Russian Church . . ."
            > To my mind, in 25 words or less, these two
            > wordings say basically
            > the same thing; possibly with the difference that
            > Father Alexander's
            > version is a bit less, shall we say, intense.
            > Then, I see a posting by Father Seraphim Holland
            > that states that
            > if we don't have dialogue, the Church Abroad will
            > become a "sect."
            > Now, many say that the Church Abroad is already a
            > sect because we are
            > not in communion with the MP, or the EP, or whomever
            > is making the
            > charge wants us to be in communion with; I am afraid
            > mere "dialogue"
            > would not satisfy these critics, so I am unsure of
            > the criterion that
            > Father Seraphim is employing here, unless it is
            > solely his own.
            > Father Seraphim then went on to express sentiments
            > that dialogue was
            > not so bad, and that dialogue would not necessarily
            > lead to union.
            > Then Father Mark Gilstrap posted a message that
            > expressed similar
            > sentiments-something akin to "dialogue is not bad,
            > it doesn't mean
            > there will be union."
            > Apparently, both Father Seraphim and Father Mark
            > were signatories
            > to the letter to the Sobor that wanted dialogue
            > leading to union.
            > Now, they both express a desire for, or defend,
            > dialogue . . .but
            > leading to what? I am not sure.
            > So, has the position of the clergy who wanted
            > dialogue leading to
            > union changed to a position that now says, "we just
            > want dialogue"?
            > And what I have apparently missed is why we want
            > dialogue and
            > union, or just dialogue, and why now? Other than
            > "because I say so,"
            > basically, because that is about all I could get out
            > of Father
            > Seraphim's post.
            > I also want to make it clear, so I don't get
            > accused
            > of "condemning, labelling, setting forth, and
            > associating" again,
            > that I am not posting this to criticise either
            > Father Seraphim or
            > Father Mark; I simply would like to understand the
            > position of the
            > clergy who are advocating "dialogue leading to
            > union," or, more
            > recently (maybe), just "dialogue."
            > Although as I have posted before, I feel that it
            > is inevitable at
            > some point in the future, I don't think now is the
            > right time. The MP
            > is still involved in ecumenical activities, against
            > the wishes of
            > quite a large segment of their own clergy and laity,
            > but, I think,
            > despite their "Social" contract, statement, or
            > whatever, at the
            > prompting and support of the Russian
            > government-gotta be "world
            > players," you know. Also, the conduct of the MP of
            > late in the Holy
            > Land towards the Church Abroad has not been overly
            > friendly. And,
            > that's just the very beginning of the list of
            > objections . . .
            > I would also like to know the practical results
            > of "dialogue
            > leading to union" concerning our obvious entrance
            > into communion with
            > ALL of "World Orthodoxy," and our current relations
            > with the Old
            > Calendar Churches in Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria;
            > union with the MP
            > would most certainly mean that we would have to
            > terminate those
            > relationships. Do proponents of "dialogue leading to
            > union" think
            > that it would be for the greater good to abandon the
            > Old Calendarists
            > for union with the MP?
            > So, if anyone could enlighten and allow me a look
            > at the entire
            > situation here, I would greatly appreciate it.
            > With Love in Christ,
            > Michael Woerl
            >
            >
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          • mwoerl@yahoo.com
            First, I want to thank Igumeniya Juliana for her reply. Then, I would like to make a comment: When I posted ROCOR situation/ dialogue/union??? , I asked to be
            Message 5 of 6 , Nov 1, 2001
              First, I want to thank Igumeniya Juliana for her reply.

              Then, I would like to make a comment: When I posted "ROCOR situation/
              dialogue/union???", I asked to be enlightened about the letter to our
              Hierarchs from the signed by a group of clergy. My questions are,
              specifically, again:
              Why dialogue and/or union now?
              Is it dialogue and union that is wanted (as stated in the letter), or
              now just dialogue?
              I think, personally, that if the priests who signed onto this letter
              would come forth with some expalanations, that it might help matters.
              Also, personally, it couldn't turn out worse than endless discussions
              about whether or not Metropolitan Vitaly was kidnapped, and by whom, or
              constant referrals to the "Lavrite Robber Synod"-which I find most
              distasteful.
              Another question-what will be the practical results of union with the
              MP in regards to our relation with the Greek, Romanian, and Bulgarian
              Old Calendarists? What about ecumenism in the MP? If the ROCOR 'unites'
              or 'reunites' with the MP, what about being in communioon with all of
              'World Orthodoxy'? And their positions on ecumenism, monophysites,
              etc., etc.?
              Now, I realize that I am an insignificant layman; however, if has been
              several days since I posted my questions; I would think that one of the
              clergy who urges dialogue and/or union with the MP would expplain his
              convictions. Or, perhaps, these reasons are to be kept in the dark, as
              the letter to the Sobor apparently was supposed to?
              With Love in Christ,
              Michael Woerl
            • ninamezencev@yahoo.com
              ... situation/ ... our ... or ... Dear Abbess Juliana: Your message apparently was not understood. I guess not everyone is meant to hear. Nina
              Message 6 of 6 , Nov 1, 2001
                --- In orthodox-synod@y..., mwoerl@y... wrote:
                >
                > First, I want to thank Igumeniya Juliana for her reply.
                >
                > Then, I would like to make a comment: When I posted "ROCOR
                situation/
                > dialogue/union???", I asked to be enlightened about the letter to
                our
                > Hierarchs from the signed by a group of clergy. My questions are,
                > specifically, again:
                > Why dialogue and/or union now?
                > Is it dialogue and union that is wanted (as stated in the letter),
                or
                > now just dialogue?


                Dear Abbess Juliana:

                Your message apparently was not understood. I guess not everyone is
                meant to hear. Nina
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.