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Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: Vladyka Alypy

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  • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
    I would like to make some comments on this situation, which is causing a great deal of controversy and confusion among the faithful. First of all, I must state
    Message 1 of 26 , Aug 1, 2002
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      I would like to make some comments on this situation, which is causing a
      great deal of controversy and confusion among the faithful.

      First of all, I must state that I know Archbishop Alypy for almost forty
      years and have always been very devoted to him. When I was a Seminarian, I
      used to accompany Fr. Alypy every weekend to the parish in Schenectady,
      which he served, to read and sing (and conduct the choir). Later, we were
      graduate students together at Norwich University for several summers.

      Just before the tragic accident, I had come to Chicago as the guest speaker
      at the Pastoral Conference of the Chicago Archdiocese and spent several
      days with Archbishop Alypy while participating in the Conference and while
      present at the Diocesan Council meeting that followed.

      Regarding his current situation, I believe it is necessary to understand
      the physical and emotional trauma that Archbishop Alypy is going through.
      Although an exemplary monk and spiritual leader, Archbishop Alypy is not
      exempt from the natural human emotions that going through such a tragedy
      bring forth. The classic stages of denial, anger, and depression on the
      path to final acceptance must all be gone through, especially since the
      accident was clearly one that resulted from a personal choice made by
      Archbishop Alypy, who himself decided that he would climb a twelve-foot
      ladder with a saw in order to clear some branches--not a normal task for a
      seventy-five year old Archbishop. When one adds to this the fact that
      Archbishop Alypy, having fallen on his head onto concrete from a
      twelve-foot height, suffered a major concussion with all of the physical
      consequences of that head trauma, then the situation becomes even more
      complicated. And, finally, one must remember that Archbishop Alypy, who had
      always been a fiercely independent person, who always took care of his own
      needs, now, being semi-paralyzed from the waist down, must suffer the
      required personal care performed by others.

      All this has, undoubtedly, affected him, as it would every one of us in a
      similar situation.

      What is clear is that a person in such a vulnerable emotional state is
      particularly susceptible to influence. Certain individuals, among them some
      that Archbishop Alypy had perviously removed from all parish
      responsibilites began to visit him and to persuade him that he should not
      trust the clergy that had been taking care of him, that they were
      attempting to remove him and take over, and that the clergy were preventing
      the Archbishop from returning to his home.

      These individuals were able to influence Archbishop Alypy to the point that
      he signed a document appointing some lay person as his personal
      Representative for Health Care, and removing all of the clergy that had
      been involved in his care previously from being involved in any decisions
      regarding his care, or even receiving reports about his medical condition.

      A certain clergyman who had been officially suspended for serious issues,
      came to Archbishop Alypy and was able to get him to sign a document that
      this clergyman had prepared reversing the suspension.

      It should be noted that Metropolitan Laurus personally visited Archbishop
      Alypy to express his prayers and support, and to better understand his
      condition. Metropolitan Laurus knows Archbishop Alypy for almost 60 years,
      so there is no one who knows him better.

      Metropolitan Laurus expressed his observations to the Synod of Bishops--he
      noticed that Archbishop Alypy demonstrated signs of short-term memory loss
      and some confusion--he would repeat himself and would forget what he had
      just said.

      In order to better understand Archbishop Alypy's condition, the Synod
      decided on a prudent course--to have an assessment made by an independent
      team of neurologists and other medical experts as to the condition, the
      course of further treatment required and the final prognosis. This medical
      team also evaluated the suitability of the Archbishop's residence on Lee
      Street for someone in his condition.

      It was the assessment of the medical commission that Archbishop Alypy
      required more extensive medical care than that which could be provided at
      his home, and that the residence was not the best place for him to be.

      This is actually supported in the Letter of Archbishop Alypy, in which he
      describes how he, upon his return to the residence against the advice of
      this medical condition, had to be carried up and down stairs in a wheel
      chair, which was a grave danger to himself, as well as those carrying him.
      What would have happened if someone carrying him slipped or lost his grip?
      There individuals, in fact, placed him in mortal danger--certainly not the
      best care that he could be given.

      Many people who have written on this issue seem not to understand the
      established procedure in the Orthodox Church (in particular, the Statutes
      of the Russian Orthodox Church) regarding what must be done in the case of
      the incapacity of a Ruling Bishop.

      The Statutes require that in the case of a Ruling Bishop being
      incapacitated for longer than two months, the Synod must appoint another
      Bishop to have responsibility for the administration of the Diocese. The
      Synod also, typically appoints a senior priest in the Diocese to be the
      temporary administrator of the Diocese to manage the day to day affairs
      that do not require episcopal intervention.

      If the incapacity continues for six months or more, the Synod has the
      authority to retire the Ruling Bishop for health reasons and appoint another.

      And, contrary to what some may have understood, incapacity in the eyes of
      the Church does not mean unconciousness or mental disability, in addition
      to severe physical disability. It means, simply, being unable to perform
      the duties of a Ruling Bishop--among which a primary one is the ability to
      serve Liturgy, without which the bishop cannot perform ordinations.

      Very simply, a bishop who cannot serve Divine Liturgy **cannot**, by Church
      rules, continue to be a Ruling Bishop, no matter how clear his head may be.

      This situation was also the same in the case of Metropolitan Vitaly, who,
      for reasons of health, was unable to serve Divine Liturgy for a period of
      two or three years before his retirement.

      In the case of Archbishop Alypy, the appointment by the Synod of Fr. Pablo
      Iwasciewiec as Diocesan Administrator was completely canonical, and, in
      fact, required by the Statutes. It was in no way an attempt by Bishop
      Gabriel or Fr. Pablo to "take over the Diocese" or to "get rid of
      Archbsihop Alypy,"--simply a statutory administrative requirement, one
      which Archbishop Alypy knew about and had seen being executed in other
      dioceses many times over the past decades.

      The Letter of Archbishop Alypy that has been recently posted to the
      Internet is troublesome on many levels.

      I know Archbishop Alypy well, and I am convinced that Archbishop Alypy, if
      he were not in a vulnerable emotional state caused by his physical
      disability, would never have written such a letter.

      He has always been a most obedient monastic and totally loyal to the Synod
      of Bishops and he would never have threatened legal action against it.

      He would never allow anyone in the parish to see or receive copies of a
      letter that he sent to the Synod of Bishops complaining of any perceived
      injustice being done to him. He would consider such problems as being
      solely between him and his brother bishops--and not something that was to
      be brought out into the forum of public opinion.

      For this reason, the letter itself is a convincing testament to the fragile
      emotional state of Archbishop Alypy.

      If he was "helped" to write this letter by others, then he is clearly
      susceptible to their influence. Even if he himself, when asked, states that
      this letter is genuine, this cannot, in such a case, be accepted as a true
      validation.

      If he wrote it himself, then this proves that his emotional state is even
      more vulnerable, since he, in his normal pre-trauma state, would never have
      dreamed of writing a letter attacking his Synod, his fellow bishops, his
      own clergy, threatening legal action, and, especially, violating the
      confidentiality of inter-episcopal communication, allowing this letter to
      be disseminated among the flock.

      With love in Christ,

      Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
    • byakimov@csc.com.au
      Father Alexander I am afraid we in ROCA have not always treated our ailing Bishops with love & respect they deserve. Some career minded Fathers have always
      Message 2 of 26 , Aug 1, 2002
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        Father Alexander

        I am afraid we in ROCA have not always treated our ailing Bishops with love
        & respect they
        deserve. Some career minded Fathers have always managed to take advantage
        of the
        particular medical condition a Bishop was/is suffering. This goes for our
        Diocese in
        Australia too. In any case the letter posted by Father John Shaw esewhere
        supports the stance of Vladika
        Alypy and contradicts most of your statement.

        It is indeed diffucult & sad times we are living through. I hope & pray
        that Vladika Alypy will get better
        and be able to continue with his Diocesan duties.

        We all should pray for his complete recovery. Lord have mercy on all of us!

        unworthy protodeacon Basil from Canberra.





        "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@...> on 02/08/2002 01:06:32 AM

        Please respond to orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com

        To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
        cc:
        Subject: Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: Vladyka Alypy


        I would like to make some comments on this situation, which is causing a
        great deal of controversy and confusion among the faithful.

        First of all, I must state that I know Archbishop Alypy for almost forty
        years and have always been very devoted to him. When I was a Seminarian, I
        used to accompany Fr. Alypy every weekend to the parish in Schenectady,
        which he served, to read and sing (and conduct the choir). Later, we were
        graduate students together at Norwich University for several summers.

        Just before the tragic accident, I had come to Chicago as the guest speaker
        at the Pastoral Conference of the Chicago Archdiocese and spent several
        days with Archbishop Alypy while participating in the Conference and while
        present at the Diocesan Council meeting that followed.

        Regarding his current situation, I believe it is necessary to understand
        the physical and emotional trauma that Archbishop Alypy is going through.
        Although an exemplary monk and spiritual leader, Archbishop Alypy is not
        exempt from the natural human emotions that going through such a tragedy
        bring forth. The classic stages of denial, anger, and depression on the
        path to final acceptance must all be gone through, especially since the
        accident was clearly one that resulted from a personal choice made by
        Archbishop Alypy, who himself decided that he would climb a twelve-foot
        ladder with a saw in order to clear some branches--not a normal task for a
        seventy-five year old Archbishop. When one adds to this the fact that
        Archbishop Alypy, having fallen on his head onto concrete from a
        twelve-foot height, suffered a major concussion with all of the physical
        consequences of that head trauma, then the situation becomes even more
        complicated. And, finally, one must remember that Archbishop Alypy, who had
        always been a fiercely independent person, who always took care of his own
        needs, now, being semi-paralyzed from the waist down, must suffer the
        required personal care performed by others.

        All this has, undoubtedly, affected him, as it would every one of us in a
        similar situation.

        What is clear is that a person in such a vulnerable emotional state is
        particularly susceptible to influence. Certain individuals, among them some
        that Archbishop Alypy had perviously removed from all parish
        responsibilites began to visit him and to persuade him that he should not
        trust the clergy that had been taking care of him, that they were
        attempting to remove him and take over, and that the clergy were preventing
        the Archbishop from returning to his home.

        These individuals were able to influence Archbishop Alypy to the point that
        he signed a document appointing some lay person as his personal
        Representative for Health Care, and removing all of the clergy that had
        been involved in his care previously from being involved in any decisions
        regarding his care, or even receiving reports about his medical condition.

        A certain clergyman who had been officially suspended for serious issues,
        came to Archbishop Alypy and was able to get him to sign a document that
        this clergyman had prepared reversing the suspension.

        It should be noted that Metropolitan Laurus personally visited Archbishop
        Alypy to express his prayers and support, and to better understand his
        condition. Metropolitan Laurus knows Archbishop Alypy for almost 60 years,
        so there is no one who knows him better.

        Metropolitan Laurus expressed his observations to the Synod of Bishops--he
        noticed that Archbishop Alypy demonstrated signs of short-term memory loss
        and some confusion--he would repeat himself and would forget what he had
        just said.

        In order to better understand Archbishop Alypy's condition, the Synod
        decided on a prudent course--to have an assessment made by an independent
        team of neurologists and other medical experts as to the condition, the
        course of further treatment required and the final prognosis. This medical
        team also evaluated the suitability of the Archbishop's residence on Lee
        Street for someone in his condition.

        It was the assessment of the medical commission that Archbishop Alypy
        required more extensive medical care than that which could be provided at
        his home, and that the residence was not the best place for him to be.

        This is actually supported in the Letter of Archbishop Alypy, in which he
        describes how he, upon his return to the residence against the advice of
        this medical condition, had to be carried up and down stairs in a wheel
        chair, which was a grave danger to himself, as well as those carrying him.
        What would have happened if someone carrying him slipped or lost his grip?
        There individuals, in fact, placed him in mortal danger--certainly not the
        best care that he could be given.

        Many people who have written on this issue seem not to understand the
        established procedure in the Orthodox Church (in particular, the Statutes
        of the Russian Orthodox Church) regarding what must be done in the case of
        the incapacity of a Ruling Bishop.

        The Statutes require that in the case of a Ruling Bishop being
        incapacitated for longer than two months, the Synod must appoint another
        Bishop to have responsibility for the administration of the Diocese. The
        Synod also, typically appoints a senior priest in the Diocese to be the
        temporary administrator of the Diocese to manage the day to day affairs
        that do not require episcopal intervention.

        If the incapacity continues for six months or more, the Synod has the
        authority to retire the Ruling Bishop for health reasons and appoint
        another.

        And, contrary to what some may have understood, incapacity in the eyes of
        the Church does not mean unconciousness or mental disability, in addition
        to severe physical disability. It means, simply, being unable to perform
        the duties of a Ruling Bishop--among which a primary one is the ability to
        serve Liturgy, without which the bishop cannot perform ordinations.

        Very simply, a bishop who cannot serve Divine Liturgy **cannot**, by Church
        rules, continue to be a Ruling Bishop, no matter how clear his head may be.

        This situation was also the same in the case of Metropolitan Vitaly, who,
        for reasons of health, was unable to serve Divine Liturgy for a period of
        two or three years before his retirement.

        In the case of Archbishop Alypy, the appointment by the Synod of Fr. Pablo
        Iwasciewiec as Diocesan Administrator was completely canonical, and, in
        fact, required by the Statutes. It was in no way an attempt by Bishop
        Gabriel or Fr. Pablo to "take over the Diocese" or to "get rid of
        Archbsihop Alypy,"--simply a statutory administrative requirement, one
        which Archbishop Alypy knew about and had seen being executed in other
        dioceses many times over the past decades.

        The Letter of Archbishop Alypy that has been recently posted to the
        Internet is troublesome on many levels.

        I know Archbishop Alypy well, and I am convinced that Archbishop Alypy, if
        he were not in a vulnerable emotional state caused by his physical
        disability, would never have written such a letter.

        He has always been a most obedient monastic and totally loyal to the Synod
        of Bishops and he would never have threatened legal action against it.

        He would never allow anyone in the parish to see or receive copies of a
        letter that he sent to the Synod of Bishops complaining of any perceived
        injustice being done to him. He would consider such problems as being
        solely between him and his brother bishops--and not something that was to
        be brought out into the forum of public opinion.

        For this reason, the letter itself is a convincing testament to the fragile
        emotional state of Archbishop Alypy.

        If he was "helped" to write this letter by others, then he is clearly
        susceptible to their influence. Even if he himself, when asked, states that
        this letter is genuine, this cannot, in such a case, be accepted as a true
        validation.

        If he wrote it himself, then this proves that his emotional state is even
        more vulnerable, since he, in his normal pre-trauma state, would never have
        dreamed of writing a letter attacking his Synod, his fellow bishops, his
        own clergy, threatening legal action, and, especially, violating the
        confidentiality of inter-episcopal communication, allowing this letter to
        be disseminated among the flock.

        With love in Christ,

        Prot. Alexander Lebedeff






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      • kyracash@aol.com
        I agree with you totally. This should never have been brought to everyone s eyes so that everyone can sin. I originally posted the letter Vladika had
        Message 3 of 26 , Aug 5, 2002
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          I agree with you totally. This should never have been brought to everyone's
          eyes so that everyone can sin. I originally posted the letter Vladika had
          translated into English because he wanted everyone to know. Instead, why he
          couldn't sit down with Father Paul. After all, isn't he the Bishop. Instead
          everyone is now falling into sin, taking sides, saying nasty things to each
          other. I am no longer regularly attending the church because of all the
          hatred. Bishop has turned aagainst Bishop, Priest against priest, parishoner
          against parishoner. Now maybe you can undrstand why I would not want to be
          led by a Bishop and priest that cause me to fall into sin and choose sides on
          their behalf. I choose the side of Christ and will pray for them all at a
          Greek church. When I heard the Bishop calling a rally against Father Paul
          and Father Paul was out of town and could not defend himself and then a week
          prior Father Paul said Vladika was saying wrong things about him it saddened
          me that who I sought once for spiritual advice were now blind to their own
          desires and egos.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Margaret Lark
          From: kyracash@aol.com Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 14:02:39 EDT ... Well, kiddo.... If you can handle being told that the fast is man-made and that it s
          Message 4 of 26 , Aug 5, 2002
          • 0 Attachment
            From: kyracash@...
            Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 14:02:39 EDT

            >....I would not want to be
            >led by a Bishop and priest that cause me to fall into sin and choose sides on
            >their behalf. I choose the side of Christ and will pray for them all at a
            >Greek church....

            Well, kiddo....

            If you can handle being told that the fast is "man-made" and that it's sufficient to observe it by fasting from meat only, or even that we should just fast on Wednesdays and Fridays - during Great Lent, let alone the Dormition fast - or March 25 dinner-dances, complete with roast lamb.... Hey, be my guest. After 11 years, I've had enough, and am affiliating with ROCOR.

            As for the sniping and back-biting - I've come to see, that's human nature. Greeks are NOT immune. We all fall, we all struggle to get up, we all fall again, we all struggle to get up again. Thanks be to God that He is there to help us when we try to get up again.

            --
            In Christ,
            Margaret the sinner

            Glory to God for all things!
            --
          • pcarp88
            As a brand new ROCOR forum member, I don t know who Father Paul is or the ruling Bishop is or what the circumstances of the conflict between them that you are
            Message 5 of 26 , Aug 6, 2002
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              As a brand new ROCOR forum member, I don't know who Father Paul is or
              the ruling Bishop is or what the circumstances of the conflict
              between them that you are describing entail. But I do know this, all
              Bishops, Priests, Monastics, and Parishioners "fall into sin". So
              why is it that you've decided to attend a Greek Church?

              "For when a man is piously disposed towards the Priest, he is much
              more towards God. And even if the Priest be wicked, God seeing that
              thou respectest him, though unworthy of honor, through reverence to
              Him, will Himself reward thee. For if `he that receiveth a prophet
              in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward' (Matt. X.
              41); then he who honoreth and submitteth and giveth way to the Priest
              shall certainly be rewarded." St. John Chrysostom, Homily II (2
              Timothy i. 8-10), p 481, from The Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers,
              Volume XIII, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids
              Michigan. Reprinted July 1979. Available from the Holy Trinity
              Monastery Book Store, Jordanville, N.Y.


              --- In orthodox-synod@y..., kyracash@a... wrote:
              > I agree with you totally. This should never have been brought to
              everyone's
              > eyes so that everyone can sin. I originally posted the letter
              Vladika had
              > translated into English because he wanted everyone to know.
              Instead, why he
              > couldn't sit down with Father Paul. After all, isn't he the
              Bishop. Instead
              > everyone is now falling into sin, taking sides, saying nasty things
              to each
              > other. I am no longer regularly attending the church because of
              all the
              > hatred. Bishop has turned aagainst Bishop, Priest against priest,
              parishoner
              > against parishoner. Now maybe you can undrstand why I would not
              want to be
              > led by a Bishop and priest that cause me to fall into sin and
              choose sides on
              > their behalf. I choose the side of Christ and will pray for them
              all at a
              > Greek church. When I heard the Bishop calling a rally against
              Father Paul
              > and Father Paul was out of town and could not defend himself and
              then a week
              > prior Father Paul said Vladika was saying wrong things about him it
              saddened
              > me that who I sought once for spiritual advice were now blind to
              their own
              > desires and egos.
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • szmyte
              I am deeply appalled at the current state of affairs in my parish, the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois. Unfortunately, I find Reverend
              Message 6 of 26 , Aug 7, 2002
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                I am deeply appalled at the current state of affairs in my parish,
                the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois.
                Unfortunately, I find Reverend Father Alexander Lebedeff's letter to
                be of little consolation, and, on the contrary, more of a
                contribution to the controversy and confusion among the faithful.

                Father Alexander's letter is quite persuasively written, if one were
                to accept the premise that Archbishop Alypy is of questionable mental
                health. This seems to be the foundation of Father's commentary.
                This view is presented early in the letter with a tone imploring the
                reader – ironically enough – to show compassion and empathize: "…it
                is necessary to understand the physical and emotional trauma that
                Archbishop Alypy is going through." Father continues to hint at this
                dubious state of mind by suggesting that sawing branches at seventy-
                five shows poor judgement. This comes despite the later
                acknowledgement (to contrast how distraught Vladyka must feel now)
                that Vladyka was always fiercely independent and took care of his own
                needs. This theme is carried throughout the letter, ultimately
                degrading into the suggestion that parishioners are influencing our
                Archbishop and finally knotting itself into a tautology, in which any
                action by Vladyka Alypy can be construed as proof of emotional
                imbalance.

                Apparently the only sane choice Vladyka was expected to make would
                have been to allow questionable (certainly not compassionate,
                disputably empathetic, allegedly illegal) behavior to continue
                unanswered. As for the way in which Vladyka expressed this, I can
                only say that in my shock over reading our Archbishop's letter, I
                recalled the shocking manner in which our Lord Jesus Christ dealt
                with deplorable behavior at the temple. In light of this, there may
                be a case for such a method to expose shameless conduct. I, myself,
                am weary of such comparisons and the objections some may have to
                them, but if I can clarify…What type of conduct is there at our
                temple? As an example, on 4 August 2002, armed police were summoned
                into our temple during Divine Liturgy in accordance with restraining
                orders placed on parishioners during this "temporary
                administration". If this is a sign of things to come with our
                provisional "deanery" with Father Paul Iwaszewicz, ** in absentia
                already for weeks **, I can only implore your prayers. In addition,
                heated talk of physical violence could be heard on the parish grounds
                against those that support Archbishop Alypy and empathize with his
                situation. Is this the preferred state of affairs for Orthodox
                Christians in our Diocese? I should hope this is not what the Most
                Reverend Synod of Bishops had in mind during their, as Father
                Lebedeff put it, prudent course-charting.

                Administrative appointments aside, if Vladyka's residence was deemed
                unsuitable for his medical condition, what bothers me as a simple
                parishioner is to what extent research was done into improving it and
                making it an acceptable location. Everyone in our parish can
                speculate at the great costs the parish recently incurred for the
                extensive improvements in making Father Paul Iwaszewicz's residence
                suitable for his large family of eight. Vladyka's situation seems to
                be improving so rapidly that, by contrast, some investments (house or
                care) would be likely both small and temporary. Some sort of trial
                period could have been postulated at minimum. Instead, it seems
                there was an air of secrecy and hurriedness about this decision to
                keep Vladyka out of his own home (let alone cathedral) for whatever
                reasons. From what one can hear, and from physically seeing and
                hearing Vladyka and listening to his sermons, I can at least
                sympathize with Vladyka's conclusions. If the real issue is
                Vladyka's physical condition, why then is there the impression from
                Vladyka's reaction that he, a high ranking member of the Synod of
                Bishops, was not consulted with about his own future? It seems this
                is more of a riddle (from which certain logical, albeit unproven,
                conclusions can be made) rather than canonical statute?

                I'd like to add that my own father reposed after fighting Alzheimer's
                disease for over 6 years and it was not for several years and total
                incapacitation that the thought of displacing him from his residence
                even occurred to our family. Maybe this is extreme, but something
                approximating this should be the way we treat our spiritual fathers
                as well. Surely not after two months and in such health!

                I believe the details of events outlined in Father Alexander
                Lebedeff's letter are crucial and, frankly, missing. This is likely
                because they are largely unclear to him. This is obviated by the
                speculation at the end that Vladyka was "helped" in writing his
                letter and even-if-he-wasn't-but-says-he-was logic, etc. I believe
                Father's intention to explain this complicated issue from afar only
                served to perpetuate the speculation and forward the already much
                propagandized view against the Right Reverend Archbishop Alypy – a
                view Vladyka is so emphatically trying to expose as an injustice,
                that it is irresponsible not to listen to or investigate what he is
                saying simply because of the way he is saying it.
                I invoke the lesson of my patron Saint Thomas not just to believe,
                but to verify as well.

                I ask for your sincere prayers for Vladyka Alypy, our cathedral, the
                entirety of its clergy and parishioners, and for the Chicago-Detroit
                Episcopate.

                Eric (Thomas) Szmyt




                --- In orthodox-synod@y..., "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@w...>
                wrote:
                > I would like to make some comments on this situation, which is
                causing a
                > great deal of controversy and confusion among the faithful.
                >
                > First of all, I must state that I know Archbishop Alypy for almost
                forty
                > years and have always been very devoted to him. When I was a
                Seminarian, I
                > used to accompany Fr. Alypy every weekend to the parish in
                Schenectady,
                > which he served, to read and sing (and conduct the choir). Later,
                we were
                > graduate students together at Norwich University for several
                summers.
                >
                > Just before the tragic accident, I had come to Chicago as the guest
                speaker
                > at the Pastoral Conference of the Chicago Archdiocese and spent
                several
                > days with Archbishop Alypy while participating in the Conference
                and while
                > present at the Diocesan Council meeting that followed.
                >
                > Regarding his current situation, I believe it is necessary to
                understand
                > the physical and emotional trauma that Archbishop Alypy is going
                through.
                > Although an exemplary monk and spiritual leader, Archbishop Alypy
                is not
                > exempt from the natural human emotions that going through such a
                tragedy
                > bring forth. The classic stages of denial, anger, and depression on
                the
                > path to final acceptance must all be gone through, especially since
                the
                > accident was clearly one that resulted from a personal choice made
                by
                > Archbishop Alypy, who himself decided that he would climb a twelve-
                foot
                > ladder with a saw in order to clear some branches--not a normal
                task for a
                > seventy-five year old Archbishop. When one adds to this the fact
                that
                > Archbishop Alypy, having fallen on his head onto concrete from a
                > twelve-foot height, suffered a major concussion with all of the
                physical
                > consequences of that head trauma, then the situation becomes even
                more
                > complicated. And, finally, one must remember that Archbishop Alypy,
                who had
                > always been a fiercely independent person, who always took care of
                his own
                > needs, now, being semi-paralyzed from the waist down, must suffer
                the
                > required personal care performed by others.
                >
                > All this has, undoubtedly, affected him, as it would every one of
                us in a
                > similar situation.
                >
                > What is clear is that a person in such a vulnerable emotional state
                is
                > particularly susceptible to influence. Certain individuals, among
                them some
                > that Archbishop Alypy had perviously removed from all parish
                > responsibilites began to visit him and to persuade him that he
                should not
                > trust the clergy that had been taking care of him, that they were
                > attempting to remove him and take over, and that the clergy were
                preventing
                > the Archbishop from returning to his home.
                >
                > These individuals were able to influence Archbishop Alypy to the
                point that
                > he signed a document appointing some lay person as his personal
                > Representative for Health Care, and removing all of the clergy that
                had
                > been involved in his care previously from being involved in any
                decisions
                > regarding his care, or even receiving reports about his medical
                condition.
                >
                > A certain clergyman who had been officially suspended for serious
                issues,
                > came to Archbishop Alypy and was able to get him to sign a document
                that
                > this clergyman had prepared reversing the suspension.
                >
                > It should be noted that Metropolitan Laurus personally visited
                Archbishop
                > Alypy to express his prayers and support, and to better understand
                his
                > condition. Metropolitan Laurus knows Archbishop Alypy for almost 60
                years,
                > so there is no one who knows him better.
                >
                > Metropolitan Laurus expressed his observations to the Synod of
                Bishops--he
                > noticed that Archbishop Alypy demonstrated signs of short-term
                memory loss
                > and some confusion--he would repeat himself and would forget what
                he had
                > just said.
                >
                > In order to better understand Archbishop Alypy's condition, the
                Synod
                > decided on a prudent course--to have an assessment made by an
                independent
                > team of neurologists and other medical experts as to the condition,
                the
                > course of further treatment required and the final prognosis. This
                medical
                > team also evaluated the suitability of the Archbishop's residence
                on Lee
                > Street for someone in his condition.
                >
                > It was the assessment of the medical commission that Archbishop
                Alypy
                > required more extensive medical care than that which could be
                provided at
                > his home, and that the residence was not the best place for him to
                be.
                >
                > This is actually supported in the Letter of Archbishop Alypy, in
                which he
                > describes how he, upon his return to the residence against the
                advice of
                > this medical condition, had to be carried up and down stairs in a
                wheel
                > chair, which was a grave danger to himself, as well as those
                carrying him.
                > What would have happened if someone carrying him slipped or lost
                his grip?
                > There individuals, in fact, placed him in mortal danger--certainly
                not the
                > best care that he could be given.
                >
                > Many people who have written on this issue seem not to understand
                the
                > established procedure in the Orthodox Church (in particular, the
                Statutes
                > of the Russian Orthodox Church) regarding what must be done in the
                case of
                > the incapacity of a Ruling Bishop.
                >
                > The Statutes require that in the case of a Ruling Bishop being
                > incapacitated for longer than two months, the Synod must appoint
                another
                > Bishop to have responsibility for the administration of the
                Diocese. The
                > Synod also, typically appoints a senior priest in the Diocese to
                be the
                > temporary administrator of the Diocese to manage the day to day
                affairs
                > that do not require episcopal intervention.
                >
                > If the incapacity continues for six months or more, the Synod has
                the
                > authority to retire the Ruling Bishop for health reasons and
                appoint another.
                >
                > And, contrary to what some may have understood, incapacity in the
                eyes of
                > the Church does not mean unconciousness or mental disability, in
                addition
                > to severe physical disability. It means, simply, being unable to
                perform
                > the duties of a Ruling Bishop--among which a primary one is the
                ability to
                > serve Liturgy, without which the bishop cannot perform ordinations.
                >
                > Very simply, a bishop who cannot serve Divine Liturgy **cannot**,
                by Church
                > rules, continue to be a Ruling Bishop, no matter how clear his head
                may be.
                >
                > This situation was also the same in the case of Metropolitan
                Vitaly, who,
                > for reasons of health, was unable to serve Divine Liturgy for a
                period of
                > two or three years before his retirement.
                >
                > In the case of Archbishop Alypy, the appointment by the Synod of
                Fr. Pablo
                > Iwasciewiec as Diocesan Administrator was completely canonical,
                and, in
                > fact, required by the Statutes. It was in no way an attempt by
                Bishop
                > Gabriel or Fr. Pablo to "take over the Diocese" or to "get rid of
                > Archbsihop Alypy,"--simply a statutory administrative requirement,
                one
                > which Archbishop Alypy knew about and had seen being executed in
                other
                > dioceses many times over the past decades.
                >
                > The Letter of Archbishop Alypy that has been recently posted to the
                > Internet is troublesome on many levels.
                >
                > I know Archbishop Alypy well, and I am convinced that Archbishop
                Alypy, if
                > he were not in a vulnerable emotional state caused by his physical
                > disability, would never have written such a letter.
                >
                > He has always been a most obedient monastic and totally loyal to
                the Synod
                > of Bishops and he would never have threatened legal action against
                it.
                >
                > He would never allow anyone in the parish to see or receive copies
                of a
                > letter that he sent to the Synod of Bishops complaining of any
                perceived
                > injustice being done to him. He would consider such problems as
                being
                > solely between him and his brother bishops--and not something that
                was to
                > be brought out into the forum of public opinion.
                >
                > For this reason, the letter itself is a convincing testament to the
                fragile
                > emotional state of Archbishop Alypy.
                >
                > If he was "helped" to write this letter by others, then he is
                clearly
                > susceptible to their influence. Even if he himself, when asked,
                states that
                > this letter is genuine, this cannot, in such a case, be accepted as
                a true
                > validation.
                >
                > If he wrote it himself, then this proves that his emotional state
                is even
                > more vulnerable, since he, in his normal pre-trauma state, would
                never have
                > dreamed of writing a letter attacking his Synod, his fellow
                bishops, his
                > own clergy, threatening legal action, and, especially, violating
                the
                > confidentiality of inter-episcopal communication, allowing this
                letter to
                > be disseminated among the flock.
                >
                > With love in Christ,
                >
                > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
              • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
                ... I must say that I am very impressed with the frankness of Kyra s statement and her sincerity. At a time when others are trying to use the tragic situation
                Message 7 of 26 , Aug 7, 2002
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                  Kyra Cash wrote:

                  >I agree with you totally. This should never have been brought to everyone's
                  >eyes so that everyone can sin. I originally posted the letter Vladika had
                  >translated into English because he wanted everyone to know. Instead, why he
                  >couldn't sit down with Father Paul. After all, isn't he the Bishop. Instead
                  >everyone is now falling into sin, taking sides, saying nasty things to each
                  >other. I am no longer regularly attending the church because of all the
                  >hatred. Bishop has turned aagainst Bishop, Priest against priest, parishoner
                  >against parishoner. Now maybe you can undrstand why I would not want to be
                  >led by a Bishop and priest that cause me to fall into sin and choose sides on
                  >their behalf. I choose the side of Christ and will pray for them all at a
                  >Greek church. When I heard the Bishop calling a rally against Father Paul
                  >and Father Paul was out of town and could not defend himself and then a week
                  >prior Father Paul said Vladika was saying wrong things about him it saddened
                  >me that who I sought once for spiritual advice were now blind to their own
                  >desires and egos.
                  >


                  I must say that I am very impressed with the frankness of Kyra's statement
                  and her sincerity.

                  At a time when others are trying to use the tragic situation in Chicago as
                  an excuse to heap more invective on the Synod of Bishops of the Church
                  Abroad in order to justify their own schismatic actions, Kyra has "hit the
                  nail on the head."

                  She is absolutely correct that these situations should not be handled by
                  "Open Letters" and public meetings--all this causes untold grief, as it
                  forces people to take sides and breeds distrust, enmity, nam-calling, and
                  worse.

                  The matter is onc for the Bishops of the Synod to decide--they are the ones
                  who appointed Archbishop Alypy to his position as Ruling Bishop--and it is
                  to the Synod of Bishops that Archbishop Alypy has sworn obedience and fealty.

                  The decision regarding his ability to administer the Diocese while being
                  physically incapacitated is not his to make--nor is it a decision that a
                  Parish meeting can make--it is a decision that can only be made by the
                  Synod of Bishops.

                  Thank you, Kyra, for your perception of the situation.




                  With love in Christ,

                  Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
                • Margaret Lark
                  From: szmyte Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002 14:37:12 -0000 ... I didn t get this out of Father Alexander s letter at all. As I understood it,
                  Message 8 of 26 , Aug 8, 2002
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                    From: "szmyte" <szmyte@...>
                    Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002 14:37:12 -0000

                    >Father Alexander's letter is quite persuasively written, if one were
                    >to accept the premise that Archbishop Alypy is of questionable mental
                    >health. This seems to be the foundation of Father's commentary.
                    >This view is presented early in the letter with a tone imploring the
                    >reader – ironically enough – to show compassion and empathize: "…it
                    >is necessary to understand the physical and emotional trauma that
                    >Archbishop Alypy is going through." Father continues to hint at this
                    >dubious state of mind by suggesting that sawing branches at seventy-
                    >five shows poor judgement....

                    I didn't get this out of Father Alexander's letter at all. As I understood it, the Archbishop was sawing branches off his tree when he fell off the ladder and injured himself seriously. If that isn't enough to cause "physical and emotional trauma," I don't know what is.

                    Pardon my asking an ignorant question, but: Why would anyone want to depose the Archbishop? Outside of the obvious (worldly) reasons, the only reason I can think of is some kind of involvement, on *someone's* part, with the Mansonville mess?

                    --
                    In Christ,
                    Margaret the sinner

                    Glory to God for all things!
                    --
                  • kyracash@aol.com
                    Thank you. But I am not that strong. As I mentioned, I can t buy a candle without hearing people s sides and anger toward each other. No matter where I stand
                    Message 9 of 26 , Aug 8, 2002
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                      Thank you. But I am not that strong. As I mentioned, I can't buy a candle
                      without hearing people's sides and anger toward each other. No matter where
                      I stand in the church people are opening discussing the situation during the
                      liturgy. We are all sinful, but I don't need to attend a church where the
                      clergy seems to find nothing wrong with this and in fact incites this
                      behavior. I have heard Father Paul has left anyway before they were able to
                      lynch him. I feel bad for the next priest that comes in.


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Sandra Thompson
                      Message 10 of 26 , Aug 8, 2002
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                        > I have heard Father Paul has left anyway Where did he go?
                        >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >Archives located at http://www.egroups.com/group/orthodox-synod
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                      • szmyte
                        ... The whole issue is scandalous enough without this type of unwarranted sensationalism.
                        Message 11 of 26 , Aug 9, 2002
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                          --- In orthodox-synod@y..., kyracash@a... wrote:

                          > I have heard Father Paul has left anyway before they were able to
                          > lynch him. I feel bad for the next priest that comes in.
                          >

                          The whole issue is scandalous enough without this type of unwarranted
                          sensationalism.
                        • szmyte
                          ... [from Eric Szmyt s response to Fr. Alexander s letter:] ... [Margaret Lark s reaction:] ... It is unacceptable reasoning to make such a statement about how
                          Message 12 of 26 , Aug 9, 2002
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                            --- In orthodox-synod@y..., "Margaret Lark" <skovranok@t...> wrote:

                            [from Eric Szmyt's response to Fr. Alexander's letter:]
                            > >"…it is necessary to understand the physical and emotional
                            > >trauma that Archbishop Alypy is going through." Father continues
                            > >to hint at this dubious state of mind [...etc.]

                            [Margaret Lark's reaction:]
                            >
                            > I didn't get this out of Father Alexander's letter at all. As I
                            > understood it, the Archbishop was sawing branches off his tree when
                            > he fell off the ladder and injured himself seriously. If that
                            > isn't enough to cause "physical and emotional trauma," I don't know
                            > what is.
                            >

                            It is unacceptable reasoning to make such a statement about how
                            someone else is feeling based on what we *think* that person should
                            be going through.

                            As for physical trauma: Please don't misunderstand what I was
                            saying. Without doubt, Vladyka's fall produced an immediate
                            physical effect, but there is such a process as therapy and
                            recuperation. We are going on 4 months since the accident, and
                            Archbishop Alypy's progress has greatly impressed doctors. Father
                            Alexander's letter was written just the other day, but not having
                            personally seen Vladyka since the accident, Father's comments are
                            dependent on the accuracy of the information he receives, which is
                            part of the root of this whole issue.

                            As for emotional trauma: Who can speculate? The life of a monk is
                            one of strict discipline. And for an Archbishop living the vast
                            majority of his life within these spiritual guidelines and devotion
                            to God, rejoicing in the life given by God, despite suffering, who
                            can say how much or how long or even if there is emotional trauma
                            associated with the accident? If the thinking behind "emotional
                            trauma" is that Vladyka's mental faculties were effected by
                            the fall, this is totally not the case and never has been. The impact
                            compressed Vladyka's spine and injured one of the lower
                            vertebrae. Despite the fact that Vladyka fell directly on his head,
                            astonishingly there was only a surface wound with no internal injury
                            to the brain. Vladyka currently continues to deliver sermons at
                            Divine Liturgy (without preparing them on paper to be read as well).

                            In short, it is presumptuous to speak on behalf of Vladyka with
                            regard to his state of mind.

                            As far as I can tell, the behavior of his subordinates is more
                            frustrating to Vladyka Alypy than is his personal state as a result
                            of the accident. It is sad that the Orthodox hierarchy is apparently
                            so turned upside-down that priests may be in control of disseminating
                            misleading information about Archbishops.


                            > Pardon my asking an ignorant question, but: Why would anyone want
                            > to depose the Archbishop? Outside of the obvious (worldly)
                            > reasons, the only reason I can think of is some kind of
                            > involvement, on *someone's* part, with the Mansonville mess?

                            As for why someone would want to depose the Archbishop: Who knows?
                            Why do we sin? We know it is wrong in the eyes of God, and yet we do
                            so. To paraphrase what you've stated in a previous letter: we all
                            fall, get up, try to do better, and yet we fall again. As for your
                            postulation about the Mansonville mess, well, Father Paul Iwaszewicz
                            and the attempted move of a high-ranking Synod member *are* both
                            common denominators. That's not to say that proves any
                            connection,
                            though. The fact that he was present, however, may say something
                            about Father's character and zealousness for this type of
                            activity.

                            In Christ,

                            Eric (Thomas) Szmyt
                          • kyracash@aol.com
                            Dear Brother: If you attended the Cathedral as long as I have you will see how factions got together to help oust a priest they didn t like. It is not
                            Message 13 of 26 , Aug 21, 2002
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                              Dear Brother:
                              If you attended the Cathedral as long as I have you will see how factions got
                              together to help oust a priest they didn't like. It is not sensationalism it
                              is the truth. I attended services Mon. only because my 89 year old
                              grandmother wanted to go and the choir director came over to my car and asked
                              my passenger, not my grandmother whose side are you on. Before she commented
                              I said I was on the side of Christ. He said don't you support Vladika and
                              she said yes. He exclaimed good and was satisfied that another person was on
                              their side. Brother against brother. Instead of keeping this between
                              Vladika and Father Paul the whole church is divided now because meetings were
                              held against Father Paul with the Bishop and parishoners. Can you imagine if
                              the Lord judged us this way. I still ask and have not received an answer.
                              Why has Metr. Lauras not flown to Mansonville to meet with Metropolitan
                              Vitaly. If he can meet with the Serbs why can he not meet with our
                              Metropolitan.



                              In a message dated 8/9/2002 1:18:12 PM Central Daylight Time,
                              szmyte@... writes:


                              > > I have heard Father Paul has left anyway before they were able to
                              > > lynch him. I feel bad for the next priest that comes in.
                              > >
                              >
                              >




                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • kyracash@aol.com
                              In response to your post below, I saw Father Paul at Fr. Jeremiah s church in Wheaton on the vigil service of Transfiguration. I did not hear this from him
                              Message 14 of 26 , Aug 21, 2002
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                                In response to your post below, I saw Father Paul at Fr. Jeremiah' s church
                                in Wheaton on the vigil service of Transfiguration. I did not hear this from
                                him but from another parishoner that Vladika Alypy is not giving him a letter
                                of recommendation to leave the Cathedral where the parishoners have rose up
                                against him without him being there to accept or deny their allegations. I
                                don't know if him and his family of six is in limbo now. I asked one
                                parishoner at the Cathedral if people want him out why don't we help him find
                                another parish and that started a whole other disagreement.

                                In a message dated 8/8/2002 9:55:39 PM Central Daylight Time,
                                sandra@... writes:


                                > > I have heard Father Paul has left anyway Where did he go?
                                > >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >




                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
                                Kyra s commenst are right on the mark. It seems foolish to blame Fr. Pablo Iwaszczewicz alone for the problems and tensions at the Chicago Cathedral. Actually,
                                Message 15 of 26 , Aug 21, 2002
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                                  Kyra's commenst are right on the mark.

                                  It seems foolish to blame Fr. Pablo Iwaszczewicz alone for the problems and
                                  tensions at the Chicago Cathedral.

                                  Actually, over the past not too many years, two other young, talented
                                  priests, also graduates of Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, have had
                                  their lives made miserable by the same group causing problems for Fr.
                                  Pablo--and had to leave the parish because of the attacks against them and
                                  their families.

                                  Fr. Vladimir Boikov lasted four years.

                                  And Fr. Andrei Sommers lasted five--and was hounded out just after he had
                                  successfully organized and ran the All-Diasporan Youth Conference--a
                                  significant accomplishment.

                                  Fr. Pablo Iwaszewicz has lasted only two years before he has faced the same
                                  problems.

                                  I pity the next young, educated, pious, and idealistic priest who will
                                  receive the Chicago cathedral assignment.


                                  And please note that the problems encountered by Frs. Vladimir and Andrei
                                  came long before the retirement of Metropolitan Vitaly, so what happened to
                                  him cannot at all be considered as being the underlying cause of the
                                  current conflict.





                                  With love in Christ,

                                  Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
                                • Fr. John R. Shaw
                                  ... Please note that it was Kyra who first put Vl. Alypy s letter on the internet, and, while she felt Vladyka was the underdog , wrote in a tone suggesting
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Aug 22, 2002
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                                    Fr. Alexander Lebedeff wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Kyra's commenst are right on the mark.

                                    Please note that it was Kyra who first put Vl. Alypy's letter on the
                                    internet, and, while she felt Vladyka was the "underdog", wrote in a
                                    tone suggesting support for him.
                                    >
                                    > It seems foolish to blame Fr. Pablo Iwaszczewicz alone for the
                                    problems and
                                    > tensions at the Chicago Cathedral.

                                    Of course, Fr. Pablo has some important allies, some of them bishops,
                                    who have involved themselves directly.
                                    >
                                    > Actually, over the past not too many years, two other young,
                                    talented
                                    > priests, also graduates of Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, have
                                    had
                                    > their lives made miserable by the same group causing problems for Fr.
                                    > Pablo...

                                    Yes, but what "group" is that? Those supporting Vl. Alypy were not (and
                                    in fact, still are not), a united "group". There are, however, various
                                    people, some of whom have now become friends, who became concerned
                                    early on about what Fr. Pablo was doing.


                                    --and had to leave the parish because of the attacks against them and
                                    > their families.

                                    I suspect that is at least a slight exaggeration.
                                    >
                                    > Fr. Vladimir Boikov lasted four years.

                                    I lasted, as you may recall, *15* years in that parish. Consequently I
                                    know something about the situation there...

                                    When I was reassigned to Milwaukee rather suddenly, I too had many
                                    people who were sorry to see me go; some of them seem now to make
                                    a "connection" between that and the case of Fr. Pablo, and to support
                                    him. It is interesting that Fr. Alexander, nevertheless, did not
                                    say "*three* other priests"--and I was 29 when I arrived in Chicago--
                                    except that, of course, by now he probably is aware that I disagree
                                    with his statements about the Chicago cathedral.

                                    > And Fr. Andrei Sommers lasted five--and was hounded out just after he
                                    had
                                    > successfully organized and ran the All-Diasporan Youth Conference--a
                                    > significant accomplishment.

                                    Was he really "hounded out"--or did he simply grow weary of the general
                                    atmosphere in the Chicago cathedral?
                                    >
                                    > Fr. Pablo Iwaszewicz has lasted only two years before he has faced
                                    the same
                                    > problems.

                                    Actually, I think he brought the problems with him when he came.
                                    >
                                    > I pity the next young, educated, pious, and idealistic priest who
                                    will
                                    > receive the Chicago cathedral assignment.

                                    And I pity the parish that Fr. Pablo goes to next, although it would be
                                    selfish of me only to rejoice if, in fact, he does give up his vow to
                                    battle Vl. Alypy to the bitter end.
                                    >
                                    > And please note that the problems encountered by Frs. Vladimir and
                                    Andrei
                                    > came long before the retirement of Metropolitan Vitaly, so what
                                    happened to
                                    > him cannot at all be considered as being the underlying cause of the
                                    > current conflict.

                                    Here I of course agree with Fr. Alexander. But since Fr. Pablo was
                                    *also involved* in the unpleasant confrontation in Mansonville, and,
                                    moreover, wrote a denunciation of Bishop Michael that resulted in the
                                    latter's being removed from his diocese, some people do make the wrong
                                    connections between the two situations.

                                    Yet there would be no conflict at all if Fr. Pablo decided to stop it.

                                    In Christ
                                    Fr. John R. Shaw


                                    >
                                  • Hristofor
                                    Please remember in your prayers and at liturgy the newly departed servant of God, Alexey (Borisovich Jordan), who peacefully reposed in the Lord early in the
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Aug 22, 2002
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                                      Please remember in your prayers and at liturgy the newly departed servant
                                      of God, Alexey (Borisovich Jordan), who peacefully reposed in the Lord
                                      early in the morning of 8/13 August.

                                      Tsarstvo jemu nebesnoje i vjechnaja pamjat!

                                      Hristofor
                                    • szmyte
                                      In the search for truth many are discussing this issue, be it on the church grounds or here on the web. Please forgive me for taking issue with some statements
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Aug 22, 2002
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                                        In the search for truth many are discussing this issue, be it on the
                                        church grounds or here on the web.

                                        Please forgive me for taking issue with some statements in your
                                        letter, but they called to my conscience for some response.

                                        --- In orthodox-synod@y..., kyracash@a... wrote:
                                        > If you attended the Cathedral as long as I have you will see how
                                        > factions got together to help oust a priest they didn't like.

                                        This is not merely an issue of like or dislike based on subjective
                                        impressions. The central question revolves around the morality (and
                                        legality and canonical adherence) of a clergyman's behavior. In
                                        your years at the cathedral, the switch from parishioners ousting a
                                        priest to a priest ousting an Archbishop must be very distressing to
                                        witness, indeed.

                                        > It is not sensationalism it is the truth.

                                        The use of the term "lynch" **is** sensationalist. And may
                                        God grant us to live to the next priest. In the meantime, we should
                                        be concerned about the current situation.

                                        > I attended services Mon. only because my 89 year old grandmother
                                        > wanted to go and the choir director came over to my car and asked
                                        > my passenger, not my grandmother whose side are you on. Before she
                                        > commented I said I was on the side of Christ. He said don't you
                                        > support Vladika and she said yes. He exclaimed good and was
                                        > satisfied that another person was on their side. Brother against
                                        > brother.

                                        I understand your concern about all this happening in our parish, but
                                        this may be one of the tests God has for us.

                                        It is the nature of our Orthodox Christian struggle constantly to be
                                        answering the question (or a form of it): "Which side am I
                                        on?" And it will be asked either explicitly or implicitly from
                                        now through the day of Judgement.

                                        > Instead of keeping this between Vladika and Father Paul the whole
                                        > church is divided now because meetings were held against Father
                                        > Paul with the Bishop and parishoners.

                                        If this was kept between Vladyka and Fr. Paul, there would be no
                                        issue, correct. Archbishop Alypy would have been quietly shipped off
                                        to some home. We should not be so prepared to sacrifice truth and
                                        justice for comfort in togetherness.

                                        > Can you imagine if the Lord judged us this way.

                                        According to a recent sermon of Fr. Paul's, we will be judged (to
                                        simplify somewhat) in accord with our conscience. We will look down
                                        at the garment of our souls and occupy the side in the afterlife
                                        dictated by the sins with which we have stained it. You are correct,
                                        the Lord's judgement will be very different. There will be no
                                        fleeing from it.

                                        I continue to pray for our parish, all its clergy and all its
                                        parishioners. And I ask the same of all of you.

                                        In Christ,

                                        Eric (Thomas) Szmyt
                                      • Fr. Anthony Nelson
                                        ... There is much in all of this that calls out to our consciences. ... This is the crux of the matter. Our Vladyka has been abused - there is no other
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Aug 22, 2002
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                                          szmyte@... wrote:

                                          >Please forgive me for taking issue with some statements in your
                                          >letter, but they called to my conscience for some response.

                                          There is much in all of this that calls out to our consciences.

                                          >This is not merely an issue of like or dislike based on subjective
                                          >impressions. The central question revolves around the morality (and
                                          >legality and canonical adherence) of a clergyman's behavior. In
                                          >your years at the cathedral, the switch from parishioners ousting a
                                          >priest to a priest ousting an Archbishop must be very distressing to
                                          >witness, indeed.

                                          This is the crux of the matter. Our Vladyka has been abused - there is no
                                          other understanding possible. Thanks to those faithful ones who stepped in
                                          and gave their faithful support to our Archbishop. The disinformation
                                          spread about him and his condition was like a poison in the water of the
                                          spiritual life of this diocese and of our Russian Orthodox Church. Those
                                          who kept in touch with Vladyka personally or through others doing so were -
                                          Slava Bogu! - able to head off the attempted marginalization and even
                                          effective destruction of his archpastoral ministry to us who have so
                                          greatly benefited by it.

                                          If there can be something good said about this whole machination of the
                                          Evil One, it is that Vladyka Alypy demonstrated once again his blessed
                                          character by his merciful handling of the situation and those who
                                          perpetrated it.

                                          Fr. Anthony

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