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Re: [orthodox-synod] FWD: The historical position of the Church Abroad

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  • Fr. Gregory Williams
    With respect to Vladimir s latest post (in my opinion this thread has wandered into more fruitful ground than that in which it began): Please allow me to quote
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 29, 2002
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      With respect to Vladimir's latest post (in my opinion this thread has
      wandered into more fruitful ground than that in which it began):

      Please allow me to quote Metropolitan Philaret too:

      A letter from Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) to a priest of the Church
      Abroad concerning father Dimitry Dudko and the Moscow Patriarchate

      "In concluding my lengthy letter, I should like to point several things out
      to you, Father.

      -- please, Vladimir (or anyone else), provide an exact reference and source
      for the complete text of the letter. Lacking that (even though I'm
      reasonably certain this reflects our blessed Met. Philaret's thinking) the
      citation is of no great value.
    • vladimir kozyreff
      Dear List, Further research about what Metropolitan Philaret and our Church used to say about the MP suggests that father Alexander Lebedeff s comments might
      Message 2 of 10 , Jun 29, 2002
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        Dear List,

        Further research about what Metropolitan Philaret and our Church used to say
        about the MP suggests that father Alexander Lebedeff's comments might have
        to be revisited. Below is a documentation about this matter.

        In Christ,

        Vladimir Kozyreff

        FATHER ALEXANDER LEBEDEFF WRITES :

        "Metropolitan Philaret could easily have written the following: "In addition
        to the Catacomb Church and the Russian Church Abroad, which have preserved
        the Church both in Russia and abroad, there exists a third entity calling
        itself the Russian Church, namely the Moscow Patriarchate, which is a
        creation of the Stalinist regime and is totally the void of the grace." But,
        that's not what he wrote."

        METROPOLITAN PHILARET WRITES :

        "The question might be posed to me: why I didn't mention at the Sobor that I
        felt the appeal to be inappropriate. I would reply: because I saw the
        attitude at the Sobor and I feared an explosion and a possible catastrophe.
        For I had been forewarned that the enemies of the Church wished to arrange
        such an explosion, in order to "blow up" the Sobor from within. Therefore I
        was compelled to avoid issues which might have provoked heated exchanges"
        (Letter to abbess Magdalena of Lesna).

        "What then is the Soviet church? Archimandrite Constantine has often and
        insistently stated that the most horrible thing that the God-hating regime
        has done in Russia is the creation of the Soviet Church, which the
        Bolsheviks presented to the people as the true Church, having driven the
        genuine Orthodox Church into the catacombs or into the concentration camps.

        This pseudo-church has been twice anathematized. His Holiness Patriarch
        Tikhon and the All-Russian Church Sobor anathematized the Communists and all
        their collaborators. This dread anathema has not been lifted till this day
        and remains in force, since it can be lifted only by a similar All-Russian
        Church Sobor, as the canonical supreme ecclesiastical authority. And a
        terrifying thing happened in 1927, when the head of the Church, Metropolitan
        Sergius, by his infamous and apostate Declaration, subjected the Russian
        Church to the Bolsheviks and proclaimed collaboration with them. And thus in
        a most exact sense was fulfilled the expression in the prayer at the
        beginning of Confession: having fallen under their own anathema! For in 1918
        the Church anathematized all the confederates of Communism, while in 1927
        she herself joined the camp of these collaborators and began to laud the
        red, God-having regime to laud the red beast spoken of in the Apocalypse"
        (letter to father Victor Potapov).

        =======================================

        FATHER ALEXANDER LEBEDEFF WRITES :

        "However, if one really wants to understand the true historical position of
        the Church Abroad, the most logical place to turn would be to the official
        Conciliar Epistles of the various Bishop's Sobors over the many decades of
        the existence of the Church Abroad."
        RESOLUTION OF THE ROCOR SYNOD (September 1/14, 1971)

        "... 4. All of the elections of Patriarchs in Moscow, beginning in 1943, are
        invalid on the basis of the 30th Canon of the Holy Apostles and the 3rd
        Canon of the 7th Ecumenical Council ..."

        ======================================
        FATHER ALEXANDER LEBEDEFF WRITES :

        "the positions expressed by the Sobors of the Church Abroad in 2000 and 2001
        in no way have strayed from the historical positions expressed by previous
        Sobors."

        ENCYCLICAL OF METROPOLITAN ANTHONY KHRAPOVITSKY (Aug. 22, 1928)

        "the completely definitive declaration of our Synod of Bishops that the
        Moscow Synod has deprived itself of all authority, since it has entered into
        agreement with the atheists, and without offering any resistance it has
        tolerated the closing and destruction of the holy churches, and the other
        innumerable crimes of the Soviet government. That illegally formed
        organization which has entered into union with God's enemies, which
        Metropolitan Sergius calls an Orthodox Synod - but which the best Russian
        hierarchs, clergy and laymen have refused to recognize - . must not be
        recognized by our Orthodox Churches, nor by our Synod of Bishops with its
        flock here abroad.

        Furthermore, the organization of the Moscow Synod must be recognized to be
        exactly the same sort of apostates from the Faith as the ancient
        libellatici, that is, Christians who although they refused to blaspheme
        openly against Christ and offer sacrifices to the idols, nevertheless still
        received from the priests of the idols false documents verifying that they
        were in complete accord with the adherents of pagan religion."
      • Hristofor
        Although I imagine the intent of the recent posting by Mr Kozyreff was to show Metropolitan Philaret s strong stance against the MP, it turns out to be quite
        Message 3 of 10 , Jul 1, 2002
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          Although I imagine the intent of the recent posting by Mr Kozyreff was to
          show Metropolitan Philaret's strong stance against the MP, it turns out to
          be quite an indictment of ROCiE and the Varnavaites.

          From M. Philaret's letter:
          >And have written him letters, etc.? No matter how sincere a man you may have
          >considered him to be, nevertheless, can your private opinion annul a ruling
          >adopted by the Church? <...>

          Remember the hue and cry over the Epistle of October 2000? Some bishops
          signed and then removed their signatures, former Bp Varnava didn't even
          sign... It seems that many a private opinion from both clergy and lay alike
          interfered with the decision(s) of the Synod. Although Bp Varnava chose
          not sign, it did not mean that he did not have to abide by the Epistle; The
          Orthodox Church is neither a democracy nor a Chinese menu, where you can
          select the things you like about it and chose to ignore the things you don't.




          >But in the absence of that, your actions constitute a violation of
          >ecclesiastical discipline. Dudko wrote to me personally, but I did not
          >answer him although I could have said much. By the way, on what basis did
          >you, even before this, take into your head to commemorate an archbishop of
          >the Soviet church during the Great Entrance? Who gave you the right to do
          >that, which hierarch who, how, where, when?.. Be more careful, my dear,
          >zealous, but, ah, too impetuous fellow minister! "
          >
          >
          >In Christ,
          >
          >Vladimir Kozyreff
          >
          >
          >-----Message d'origine-----
          >De : Mark Gilstrap [mailto:gilstrap@...]
          >Envoye : jeudi 27 juin 2002 22:57
          >A : orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
          >Objet : [orthodox-synod] FWD: The historical position of the Church
          >Abroad
          >
          >
          > >From another list:
          >
          >---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
          >From: "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@...>
          >Reply-To: Orthodox Christianity <orthodox@...>
          >Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 12:45:38 -0700
          >
          >---------------------- Information from the mail
          >header -----------------------
          >Sender: Orthodox Christianity <orthodox@...>
          >Poster: "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@...>
          >Subject: The historical position of the Church Abroad
          >----------------------------------------------------------------------------
          >---
          >
          >There has been a lot of discussion on the lists concerning the historical
          >position of the Russian Church Abroad with regards to the Moscow
          >Patriarchate. Some people have provided quotes from individual Bishops,
          >priests, or lay persons, from polemical articles or from personal letters.
          >
          >However, if one really wants to understand the true historical position of
          >the Church Abroad, the most logical place to turn would be to the official
          >Conciliar Epistles of the various Bishop's Sobors over the many decades
          >of the existence of the Church Abroad.
          >
          >Even more important would be to look at the official Epistles of the
          >highest authority in the Church Abroad-- the All-Diasporan (Vsezarubezhbye)
          >Sobors, which take place with the participation not only of the bishops of
          >the Church, but also representatives of the clergy and the laity. There
          >have only been the three such All-Diasporan Sobors in the history of the
          >Church Abroad. The last one was held in 1974.
          >
          >I had the honor and the privilege of being a delegate and a speaker at this
          >Sobor, and participated in all of the sessions and deliberations.
          >
          >That Sobor produced an extremely important document, namely "The Epistle of
          >the Third All-Diasporan Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
          >Russia to the Orthodox Russian People in the Homeland."
          >
          >Now, it should be obvious to everyone that there can be no document that
          >would clearly state the official position of the Church Abroad to the
          >Church in Russia that would have more weight then of its official Epistle
          >to the Russian People in the Homeland. If Metropolitan Philaret and the
          >other Bishops of the Church Abroad and the clergy and the laity
          >participating in the Sobor truly believed that the Moscow Patriarchate was
          >a false church and devoid of grace, this Epistle to the Russian People in
          >the Homeland would have been just the instrument to warn the Russian flock
          >not to have anything to do with the apostate Moscow Patriarchate.
          >
          >But what, instead, do we read in this Epistle?
          >
          >"In their never-sleeping prayers for one another, in their love for the
          >Lord Jesus, in their faithfulness to the ideal of the past and f u t u r e
          >[original emphasis] Orthodox Russia (Rus') the faithful archpastors,
          >pastors, monks and laymen on both sides of the Iron Curtain are
          >one. Together they comprise the Holy Russian Church -- indivisible, as is
          >indivisible the seamless shroud of Christ."
          >
          >And let no one think that the Sobor was talking only of the Catacomb Church
          >in this context.
          >
          >The entire Epistle was a response to a Letter addressed to the
          >All-Diasporan Sobor by the noted Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and
          >it particularly addressed those issues that had been brought up by
          >Solzhenitsyn-- specifically concerning the Church in Russia.
          >
          >Here is another quote from this 5-page Epistle.
          >
          >"The Sobor witnesses:
          >
          >"The borderline between preservation of the Church and scandalous
          >self-preservation was drawn by the Most-Holy Patriarch Tikhon, by his
          >lawful Locum Tenens, Metropolitan Peter, by Metropolitan Kyrill of Kazan,
          >by the Metropolitan of Petrograd Joseph and by the confessors of Solovky
          >led by Archbishop Hilarion (Troitsky).
          >
          >"This borderline in recent years was again clearly delineated by Archbishop
          >Hermogen, some priests, among them Nikolai Gainov and Dimitri Dudko, by the
          >laymen of Vyatka led by Boris Talantov, by the defenders of the Pochaev
          >Lavra, such as Theodosia Kuzminichna Varavva, and by many others."
          >
          >Notice that the Sobor praised the stand of MP Archbishop Hermogen, of MP
          >Priests Gainov and Dudko, and others who were all part of the Moscow
          >Patriarchate. The Catacomb Church is not mentioned in this context at all.
          >
          >The Catacomb Church, however, is mentioned in the another context, in a
          >different part of the Epistle, where the Sobor states that after spiritual
          >renewal of Russia and the freeing of the Church which events are yet to
          >come, "then the Moscow Patriarchate and the Catacomb Church and we, the
          >Church Abroad will stand before the judgment of the local Council of the
          >Russian Orthodox Church."
          >
          >This clearly indicates that all three parts of the Russian Church,
          >explicitly including the Moscow Patriarchate, are equally subject to answer
          >before a future All-Russian Council.
          >
          >This part of the Epistle reflects the previously stated position of the
          >Church Abroad, proclaimed by Metropolitan Philaret in his own Epistle to
          >the Russian flock, that these are the three parts of the Russian Church. He
          >had written: "in addition to the Moscow Patriarchate and the Catacomb
          >Church, there is a third part of the Russian Church, namely the Russian
          >Church Abroad."
          >
          >Metropolitan Philaret could easily have written the following: "In addition
          >to the Catacomb Church and the Russian Church Abroad, which have preserved
          >the Church both in Russia and abroad, there exists a third entity calling
          >itself the Russian Church, namely the Moscow Patriarchate, which is a
          >creation of the Stalinist regime and is totally the void of the grace."
          >
          >But, that's not what he wrote.
          >
          >Therefore, all those who are interested in understanding the true
          >historical position of the Russian Church Abroad, should look carefully at
          >the official Epistles of the Sobors over previous decades.
          >
          >Only then will they see that the positions expressed by the Sobors of the
          >Church Abroad in 2000 and 2001 in no way have strayed from the historical
          >positions expressed by previous Sobors.
          >
          >Let me repeat the words of the Epistle of the 1974 All-Diasporan Sobor once
          >more, because they are so important:
          >
          >"In their never-sleeping prayers for one another, in their love for the
          >Lord Jesus, in their faithfulness to the ideal of the past and f u t u r e
          >[original emphasis] Orthodox Russia (Rus') the faithful archpastors,
          >pastors, monks and laymen on both sides of the Iron Curtain are
          >one. Together they comprise the Holy Russian Church -- indivisible, as is
          >indivisible the seamless shroud of Christ."
          >
          >That was the position of the Church Abroad 28 years ago.
          >
          >It is still the position of the Church Abroad today.
          >
          >With love in Christ,
          >
          >Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
          >
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        • goossir
          ... for the ... t u r e ... archpastors, ... indivisible, as is ... Yes, and quite understandably. At that time, the Church was still under the oppression of
          Message 4 of 10 , Jul 1, 2002
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            Father Alexander Lebedeff wrote:

            > "In their never-sleeping prayers for one another, in their love
            for the
            > Lord Jesus, in their faithfulness to the ideal of the past and f u
            t u r e
            > [original emphasis] Orthodox Russia (Rus') the faithful
            archpastors,
            > pastors, monks and laymen on both sides of the Iron Curtain are
            > one. Together they comprise the Holy Russian Church --
            indivisible, as is
            > indivisible the seamless shroud of Christ."
            >
            > That was the position of the Church Abroad 28 years ago.

            Yes, and quite understandably. At that time, the Church was still
            under the oppression of Communist regime. We, the Church Abroad
            were praying for our brothers and sisters suffering for their faith,
            thinking and hoping that many who were even part of the MP, were
            under a great hardship.
            And how could we judge our brothers and sisters? How could we ask
            them to be martyrs when, we, ourselves, do not know how we would
            have acted in such dreadful conditions. We could only pray for them
            and for their freedom.
            >
            > It is still the position of the Church Abroad today.

            Is it really?
            Since 1974, the situation changed quite a lot:
            The MP is now officially free from communist oppression, but it
            still declares that collaborating with communists, saved the
            Church. Instead of liberating themselves from this heresy by, i.e.
            regretting their weakness (which we can all understand) or repent,
            they proclaim it! As christians, we must forgive sinners but the
            sin in itself must be condemned. The MP's official position claims
            that the sin (we went with satan momentarily because we wanted to
            save the church) was a right thing to do.

            I cannot imagine for one second that our Church Abroad "together
            (with THIS MP) they comprise the Holy Russian Church -- indivisible,
            as is indivisible the seamless shroud of Christ". We are together
            with the millions of martyrs of Russia. They, and only they, saved
            the Church in Russia.
            Am I mistaken?
            or is this so difficult to understand?
            >
            Yours in Christ
            Irina
            >
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          • Russell Martin
            I find nothing whatsoever questionable and dubious in Fr. Alexander s post. In fact, it is the kind of thing that, if one listens to with a calm and
            Message 5 of 10 , Jul 2, 2002
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              I find nothing whatsoever questionable and dubious in Fr. Alexander's
              post. In fact, it is the kind of thing that, if one listens to with a
              calm and charitable heart, only stirs compassion and optimism. At least
              for me. On the other hand:

              <<< We are together
              with the millions of martyrs of Russia. They, and only they, saved
              the Church in Russia.
              Am I mistaken?
              or is this so difficult to understand?>>>

              It is I who am frequently mistaken, but it seems to me that the first
              thing to correct here is the notion that anyone--even the
              martyrs!--saves the Church. The Church saves us. We do not save the
              Church.

              I am not, moreover, familiar with any official proclamations that
              suggest that Met. Sergius, in taking the actions he did, "saved" the
              Church.

              In Christ,
              Roman Martin

              Russell E. Martin
              Asst. Professor of History
              Westminster College
              New Wilmington, PA 16172-0001
              phone: 724.946.7246
              fax: 724.946.7256
              webpage: http://www.westminster.edu/staff/martinre/
              other email: remartin@...
            • joeswaydyn2000
              ... was to ... out to ... you may have ... a ruling ... bishops ... even ... lay alike ... chose ... Epistle; The ... you can ... you don t. ... Just seeing it
              Message 6 of 10 , Jul 3, 2002
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                --- In orthodox-synod@y..., Hristofor <hristofor@m...> wrote:
                > Although I imagine the intent of the recent posting by Mr Kozyreff
                was to
                > show Metropolitan Philaret's strong stance against the MP, it turns
                out to
                > be quite an indictment of ROCiE and the Varnavaites.
                >
                > From M. Philaret's letter:
                > >And have written him letters, etc.? No matter how sincere a man
                you may have
                > >considered him to be, nevertheless, can your private opinion annul
                a ruling
                > >adopted by the Church? <...>
                >
                > Remember the hue and cry over the Epistle of October 2000? Some
                bishops
                > signed and then removed their signatures, former Bp Varnava didn't
                even
                > sign... It seems that many a private opinion from both clergy and
                lay alike
                > interfered with the decision(s) of the Synod. Although Bp Varnava
                chose
                > not sign, it did not mean that he did not have to abide by the
                Epistle; The
                > Orthodox Church is neither a democracy nor a Chinese menu, where
                you can
                > select the things you like about it and chose to ignore the things
                you don't.
                >

                Just seeing it from both sides here, not defending ROCE per se; if
                the ROCOR then signed a document affirming full membership with the
                WCC, the Bishops are obliged to abide by it? I mean, that would also
                be personal opinion. Let's be objective here.

                Joe
              • vkozyreff
                Dear List, Roman Martin writes: the first thing to correct here is the notion that anyone--even the martyrs!--saves the Church. The Church saves us. We do
                Message 7 of 10 , Jul 13, 2002
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                  Dear List,

                  Roman Martin writes:

                  "the first thing to correct here is the notion that anyone--even the
                  martyrs!--saves the Church. The Church saves us. We do not save the
                  Church."

                  Let me kindly comment as follows.

                  If there is no clergy left and no believers left in a country, the
                  Church has ceased to be present in that country (has been lost).
                  Achieving this in the USSR (destroying the Church) was the goal of
                  the communists. Preventing this from happening (by being faithful)
                  was "saving the Church".

                  The faith does save the Church. The Faith essential to the Church. No
                  faith, no Church. If all are living out of the faith, nobody is
                  living in it, and there is no Church.

                  The reason the Sergianists allowed themselves to collaborate with the
                  atheist regime is that they thought or claimed that this was the only
                  way to prevent the extinction of the faith in the Soviet Union.

                  In those who accepted this view, they actually did destroy the faith,
                  which is indispensable for the Church to be. A great deal of MP
                  faithful tell you now that had it not been for Met Sergius, there
                  would have been no place left to pray in the Soviet Union or even no
                  notion that Christ had ever existed. They thus considered that they
                  did save the Faith and thus the Church from disappearing.

                  We all know that the Church saves us if we are in Her. This does not
                  at all contradict the statement that the martyrs (in Christ) save (in
                  Christ) the Church from all our sins. Our faith is to believe that,
                  by the grace of God, there will always be martyrs on earth to save
                  the Church from disappearing from earth, in spite of all apparently
                  realistic predictions. In spite also of the fact that man can, if he
                  chooses to, refuse God and thus destroy the Chuch.

                  Our sins and our Sergianism in particular (a frequent mistake which
                  consists in using evil means for supposedly sacred goals) do harm
                  (kill) the Church. Acknowledging Christ in the most difficult
                  conditions (being a martyr) is counteracting our sins and thus saving
                  the Church.

                  The martyrs do prevent the Church from disappearing (save Her) and,
                  in doing so, allow us to be saved in Her. That is the Communion of
                  Saints.

                  Practicing or approving Sergianism is, by definition, not believing
                  in the Church, that is not believing Christ: "And I tell you that you
                  are rock, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of
                  Hell will not overcome it".(Matthew 16:18)

                  "for just as it is a work of his will and is called the world, so
                  also the salvation of men is his will and this is called the church"
                  (Clement of Alexandria).

                  In Christ,

                  Vladimir Kozyreff


                  --- In orthodox-synod@y..., "Russell Martin" <martinre@w...> wrote:
                  > I find nothing whatsoever questionable and dubious in Fr.
                  Alexander's
                  > post. In fact, it is the kind of thing that, if one listens to
                  with a
                  > calm and charitable heart, only stirs compassion and optimism. At
                  least
                  > for me. On the other hand:
                  >
                  > <<< We are together
                  > with the millions of martyrs of Russia. They, and only they, saved
                  > the Church in Russia.
                  > Am I mistaken?
                  > or is this so difficult to understand?>>>
                  >
                  > It is I who am frequently mistaken, but it seems to me that the
                  first
                  > thing to correct here is the notion that anyone--even the
                  > martyrs!--saves the Church. The Church saves us. We do not save
                  the
                  > Church.
                  >
                  > I am not, moreover, familiar with any official proclamations that
                  > suggest that Met. Sergius, in taking the actions he did, "saved" the
                  > Church.
                  >
                  > In Christ,
                  > Roman Martin
                  >
                  > Russell E. Martin
                  > Asst. Professor of History
                  > Westminster College
                  > New Wilmington, PA 16172-0001
                  > phone: 724.946.7246
                  > fax: 724.946.7256
                  > webpage: http://www.westminster.edu/staff/martinre/
                  > other email: remartin@p...
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