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The historical position of the Church Abroad

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  • 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 1 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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    • 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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