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Thoughts on Discipline

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  • Hristofor
    As I read all the postings regarding the state of affairs in the Midwest, in addition to the awful sense of deja vu, I feel an indescribable loss at the lack
    Message 1 of 7 , Aug 6 6:05 AM
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      As I read all the postings regarding the state of affairs in the Midwest,
      in addition to the awful sense of deja vu, I feel an indescribable loss at
      the lack of discipline, obedience, punishment and ultimately, Fear of God
      in our Church (and probably in other jurisdictions as well). I
      unfortunately do not remember the Holy Father who wrote it (and this is a
      vague paraphrasing), but it I read that Hell is filled with the souls of
      not only sinners, heretics, atheists, but also many (Orthodox) priests,
      monks, bishops. And I think "How is this possible? Surely it must only be a
      handful!"

      Unfortunately (and I would love for a clergyman to respond to the reasons,
      if known), it seems that very rarely is any punishment, penance or
      discipline meted out in the Church. Usually "events" are minimized and in
      the rare cases when something is done, the penance never ends up being
      fulfilled. To wit, I know of a case where there was a personality conflict
      between priest and parish (not the most serious of offenses..) and although
      a Vladyka disciplined the priest, he immediately asked another bishop to
      accept him (and the parish) into his diocese. Another priest (and this was
      years ago) was given a penance and then just left the ROCA, without a
      canonical release, and, of course, was accepted by another jurisdiction.

      Vladyka Varanava and the French fathers didn't agree with the appointment
      of Vl Amvrosy, felt that they received no support from Synod. What did they
      do? Formed their own little schismatic church! What has happened to
      patience and accepting one's Cross? (And how heavy was the Cross of having
      Vl. Amvrosy as bishop?) How often do we read in the Lives of Saints that
      God allowed an abbot to persecute a saint? Or some other incredible yoke
      that a saint chose to bear unto his/her salvation? Maybe the Synod had just
      reasons to ignore the pleas of the French clergy, which may have been for
      their salvation, had they not been disobedient and ignored the directions
      of the bishops. Of course, in order to cover their errors, now the story is
      that the ROCA and the MP are drawing closer together and will unite any day
      now (although almost 2 years have passed since the October 2000 Sobor,
      unity really is imminent!) The varnavaites can talk about union with the MP
      until they are blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is Vl Varnava
      had no problem with concelebrating with MP clergy in the past. What evil
      error since his concelebrations has the MP committed to change his mind?

      When the problems occurred in Mansonville, our priest assured us that any
      clergy or lay in the ROCA who was guilty of any wrongdoing would be
      disciplined, but unfortunately that never seems to have occurred. I like to
      think that our bishops are so good-hearted, that they find it hard to
      punish; however, if this is true, I think that it leads to more
      transgressions, as people think that they can get away with anything.

      Hristofor



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Margaret Lark
      From: Hristofor Date: Tue, 06 Aug 2002 09:05:36 -0400 ... Dear Hristofor, I have to comment first that I m always interested in what you
      Message 2 of 7 , Aug 6 12:59 PM
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        From: Hristofor <hristofor@...>
        Date: Tue, 06 Aug 2002 09:05:36 -0400

        >...it seems that very rarely is any punishment, penance or
        >discipline meted out in the Church....

        Dear Hristofor,

        I have to comment first that I'm always interested in what you have to say, because my own very dear son is named Christopher. Christophers are some of the nicest people, I find.

        That said, two thoughts on your post: I for one am rather grateful that our Church is as forebearing as it is. I've been under penance. It is *not* fun. It took me a year after the penance was over to come to terms with it.

        And second: Yes, there are many who cause scandal. But do you remember the story of the monk who was an absolutely terrible monk, and yet on his deathbed, the angels came for him? His fellow monks couldn't believe their eyes! until one of the angels said to them, "We are taking your brother to heaven because in all his life, he never judged anybody."

        I struggle not to judge anybody, and I'm not very successful. So in a case like this, I'm all too happy to leave the judging to God, and focus on my own numberless sins. And those are just the ones I *know* about... =:o

        --
        In Christ,
        Margaret the sinner

        Glory to God for all things!
        --
      • pcarp88
        .....leave the judging to God,.... Margaret, All of us love Orthodoxy so much hence we become anxious and fearful of the scandals that surface and pose a
        Message 3 of 7 , Aug 7 9:02 AM
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          ".....leave the judging to God,...."

          Margaret,
          All of us love Orthodoxy so much hence we become anxious and fearful
          of the scandals that surface and pose a threat to the image of our
          beloved church & jurisdiction, i.e. 'why aren't our bishops doing
          anything about those heretics?...why is this sinful priest still
          serving?'....

          Your point is clear enough-- LEAVE THE JUDGING TO GOD,.. and let our
          appointed Hierarchs use what ever method of punishment as they deem
          necessary for the salvation of the flock.

          Nicolai from NY

          --- In orthodox-synod@y..., "Margaret Lark" <skovranok@t...> wrote:
          > From: Hristofor <hristofor@m...>
          > Date: Tue, 06 Aug 2002 09:05:36 -0400
          >
          > >...it seems that very rarely is any punishment, penance or
          > >discipline meted out in the Church....
          >
          > Dear Hristofor,
          >
          > I have to comment first that I'm always interested in what you have
          to say, because my own very dear son is named Christopher.
          Christophers are some of the nicest people, I find.
          >
          > That said, two thoughts on your post: I for one am rather grateful
          that our Church is as forebearing as it is. I've been under
          penance. It is *not* fun. It took me a year after the penance was
          over to come to terms with it.
          >
          > And second: Yes, there are many who cause scandal. But do you
          remember the story of the monk who was an absolutely terrible monk,
          and yet on his deathbed, the angels came for him? His fellow monks
          couldn't believe their eyes! until one of the angels said to
          them, "We are taking your brother to heaven because in all his life,
          he never judged anybody."
          >
          > I struggle not to judge anybody, and I'm not very successful. So
          in a case like this, I'm all too happy to leave the judging to God,
          and focus on my own numberless sins. And those are just the ones I
          *know* about... =:o
          >
          > --
          > In Christ,
          > Margaret the sinner
          >
          > Glory to God for all things!
          > --
        • Margaret Lark
          From: pcarp88 Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002 16:02:09 -0000 ... I understand that VERY well. As a former Roman Catholic, any time I see even a
          Message 4 of 7 , Aug 8 5:09 AM
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            From: "pcarp88" <pcarp88@...>
            Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002 16:02:09 -0000

            >".....leave the judging to God,...."
            >
            >Margaret,
            > All of us love Orthodoxy so much hence we become anxious and fearful
            >of the scandals that surface and pose a threat to the image of our
            >beloved church & jurisdiction...

            I understand that VERY well. As a former Roman Catholic, any time I see even a hint of ecumenism I go off the deep end, and I've been in the GOA for 11 years (hoping, now, to be released from it, now that I've found a ROCOR parish within an hour's driving distance).

            Still, I learned first-hand to be very careful of judging people. At one point, I had nothing good to say about our former priest, and he knew it. But when I needed help desperately, guess who was right there, and I saw a completely different side to him. Helped me to evaluate (yeah, ok, "judge"!) all his previous actions in an entirely different light, and now at least I make the *effort* to judge only myself. That's frightening enough... ;-)

            --
            In Christ,
            Margaret the sinner

            Glory to God for all things!
            --
          • sergerust2002
            ... Hold on a minute, Socrates replied. Before telling me anything I d like you to pass a little test ... you don t really know if it s true or not ... Is
            Message 5 of 7 , Aug 8 6:05 AM
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              Here are some comments on Xristofor's thoughts (post 6104):

              >Vladyka Varanava and the French fathers didn't agree
              > with the appointment of Vl Amvrosy, felt that they received
              > no support from Synod.

              "Hold on a minute, Socrates replied. Before telling me anything I'd
              like you to pass a little test ... you don't really know if it's
              true or not ... Is what you are about to tell me about the French
              Fathers something good?"



              > How often do we read in the Lives of Saints that God allowed
              > an abbot to persecute a saint? Or some other incredible yoke that
              > a saint chose to bear unto his/her salvation?

              Indeed, maybe God sent father Pablo Ivashevitch to persecute vl.
              Alypy and test his patience !
              What is striking in the Lives of Saints is that they accepted all
              kind of persecution and slander with joy ; only one accusation did
              they not accept : that of heresy !



              > Maybe the Synod had just reasons to ignore the pleas of the French
              clergy,
              > which may have been for their salvation, had they not been
              disobedient
              > and ignored the directions of the bishops.

              We have a little problem here with the Holy Canons :
              - "A bishop accused of whatever fault by credible people who are
              faithful shall NECESSARILY be summoned by the bishops ..." (Apostolic
              Canon 74)
              - "But if persons who are neither heretics, nor excommunicated, who
              were not condemned and are not under some accusation, believe they
              have reasons to complain about their Bishop about Church matters, the
              Saint Council ORDERS them to submit their complaints to the judgement
              of the gathered Bishops of the Province and to prove their
              accusations; and if the provincial Bishops are unable to remedy the
              fault of that bishop, then the plaintiffs will address the higher
              Council of the Diocese, which will meet and judge that matter" (2nd
              Ecumenical Council, 6).
            • Hristofor
              ... What I said was a truth: Formed their own little schismatic church! The ROCA considers Vl Varnava to be a monk and with the exception of the two clergy
              Message 6 of 7 , Aug 9 6:08 AM
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                At 09:05 AM 8/8/2002, you wrote:
                > >Vladyka Varanava and the French fathers didn't agree
                > > with the appointment of Vl Amvrosy, felt that they received
                > > no support from Synod.
                >"Hold on a minute, Socrates replied. Before telling me anything I'd
                >like you to pass a little test ... you don't really know if it's
                >true or not ... Is what you are about to tell me about the French
                >Fathers something good?"
                What I said was a truth: "Formed their own little schismatic church!" The
                ROCA considers Vl Varnava to be a monk and with the exception of the two
                clergy who have repented, the remaining priests are considered to be
                defrocked. Period. If a bishop or priest continue to serve against the
                wishes of the Synod, they are in schism.

                > > How often do we read in the Lives of Saints that God allowed
                > > an abbot to persecute a saint? Or some other incredible yoke that
                > > a saint chose to bear unto his/her salvation?
                >Indeed, maybe God sent father Pablo Ivashevitch to persecute vl.
                >Alypy and test his patience !
                Nice attempt to confuse the issue and possibly a true statement, only God
                knows. However, what on earth does Fr Pablo have to do with the situation
                in France?

                >What is striking in the Lives of Saints is that they accepted all
                >kind of persecution and slander with joy ; only one accusation did
                >they not accept : that of heresy !
                I will admit, I am not in France, so I do not have all the facts. May I
                extrapolate from your words above, the reason the French fathers did not
                want to commemorate Vl Amvrosy, was because he was a heretic?

                Recently, we all read the posting about the message from the athonite
                father, regarding the Holy Mysteries being given to the heterodox in
                Ravena. Mt Athos, although part of Greece, is under the omophor of the
                Eccumenical Patriarch, in spite the fact that they are Old Calendar and he
                is Gregorian, to name just one difference. To the best of my knowledge, the
                athonite monasteries still commemorate him during the liturgy, with
                the exception of one or two monasteries and sketes. Is Vladyka Amvrosy
                perceived as having committed the same offenses as the EP?

                As far as commemoration goes, in addition to being obedient, it is also a
                matter of respect. I think that the Patriarch of Jerusalem is commemorated
                in the ROCA churches in the Holy Land. None of us, unfortunately, live in a
                land with an Orthodox Sovereign, however heterodox rulers are still
                commemorated at the liturgy (but very importantly NOT during the prokonedija.)

                >We have a little problem here with the Holy Canons :
                >- "A bishop accused of whatever fault by credible people who are
                >faithful shall NECESSARILY be summoned by the bishops ..." (Apostolic
                >Canon 74)
                I have no knowledge of canon law, so there is very little that I can say. I
                think though, that we have heard plenty from both sides about the matter.

                In Christ,
                Hristofor
              • sergerust2002
                Dear in Christ Hristofor, In post 6131, I attempted to ask you, with Socrates, whether what you are about to tell about the French Fathers is something good ,
                Message 7 of 7 , Aug 9 7:39 PM
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                  Dear in Christ Hristofor,

                  In post 6131, I attempted to ask you, with Socrates, whether
                  "what you are about to tell about the French Fathers is something
                  good", if not true. You keep answering (post 6147) "What I
                  said was a truth". My question, though, was : when and where did
                  vl.
                  Varnava concelebrate with the MP (as you stated) ? You didn't
                  answer
                  this question. Instead, you deleted it, and another one, from the
                  indented sections !

                  Next, you suggest that the French Fathers were probably allowed by
                  God to be persecuted by the Synod. I conclude that maybe God sent
                  father Pablo Ivashevitch to persecute vl. Alypy and test his
                  patience ! But you find my answer a "nice attempt to confuse the
                  issue" and ask me "what on earth does Fr Pablo have to do
                  with the situation in France?" The answer, though, is quite
                  simple:

                  - when vladyka Alypy is abused by a trained kidnapper, than
                  you "doubt that such a phrase is his", you infer that his
                  letter comes "from the varnavite schism", and you deny that
                  bishop Alypy is "fully cognizant and did indeed pen the
                  letter";

                  - but when the European clergy is judged without being even heard
                  (against Holy Gospel, see John 7.51) and when their canonical plea is
                  ignored (as if in the MP universe), then you suggest that such abuse
                  is coming straight from God and even is not severe enough !

                  Maybe God or the Synod had their reasons for such methods; I only
                  fear for you (and the List) that you be "judged with the same
                  measure ...". Do not take my word badly : after all, all these
                  dramatic events that we witness are for our salvation, aren't
                  they ?

                  A certain Nicolay in NY (post 6116) said that we should "let our
                  appointed Hierarchs use whatever method of punishment as they deem
                  necessary for the salvation of the flock". Permit me to predict
                  that, when the abuse will fall on "his Honor", he will
                  instantly post a protest at least as sophisticated as vl. Alypy's
                  ...

                  Then you ask a very pertinent question : "May I extrapolate from
                  your words above, the reason the French fathers did not want to
                  commemorate Vl Amvrosy, was because he was a heretic?"

                  Rigorously, the past tense "was" cannot be used before a
                  Court declares him heretic. Justly or wrongly, he was perceived as
                  such by numerous, senior European clergy. This is a very serious
                  matter, not necessarily related to bad intentions, on either
                  part. "We fully understand the gravity of our action ... we are
                  conscious of the risks that we entail ... We do not attempt to
                  condemn bishop Amvrosy at any cost ..." did the plaintiffs write
                  to vl. Lavr in one of their letters.

                  If "you are not in France and do not have all the facts",
                  then it is
                  only sad that you spread to the whole List that "they
                  [simply]didn't
                  agree with the appointment of their bishop". Incidentally, the
                  plea
                  was introduced before the said appointment. Refer to post 5993 for
                  further basic facts.

                  Finally, you ask if "Vladyka Amvrosy is perceived as having
                  committed the same offenses as the Ecumenical Patriarch?" You add
                  "As far as commemoration goes, in addition to being obedient, it
                  is
                  also a matter of respect".

                  Actually he is not literally "perceived", as you say, he is
                  rather well known to have concelebrated, among others, with the Greek
                  archbishop Damaskinos of Chambésy, one of the most prominent
                  promoters of Ecumenism in Switzerland. Vl. Amvrosy does not deny it -
                  on the contrary he asked himself 3 times to be judged. He also
                  allowed some of his clergy to concelebrate with the MP and had clergy
                  from the eulogian schism celebrate in his churches.

                  Even for the "respected clergyman" of this List who find such
                  concelebration "in line with the historical stand of the
                  ROCOR" (thus preparing themselves to "rename the list"),
                  such practice was indeed perceived by the French clergy as
                  "disobedience" and "disrespect" to the very decrees
                  of the Synod, who
                  do prohibit such concelebration. This is why the matter would have
                  been better discussed in a Court, rather than in this Forum.

                  You are right in saying that "we have heard plenty from both
                  sides about the matter [of the Holy Canons]". Alas, still, we do
                  not know why vl. Amvrosy was not judged ! Even father Stefan Pavlenko
                  confesses his ignorance in this respect, because he "is not a
                  privileged member of the Synod" (post 6012). Nobody on this List
                  has been more "privileged" ever since. And, interestingly,
                  nobody seems to really care. In this situation, you will agree that
                  we can hardly share your assertive and satisfied
                  exclamation : "Period !".

                  In Canon law, indeed none of us is a professional. I would suggest
                  that father Alexander Lebedeff, who was a member of the Court which
                  defrocked the French clergy, and who is an unremitting member of this
                  List, explain to us why "the two clergy who have repented"
                  – like you term them, without explaining of what they repented -
                  still do not commemorate vl. Amvrosy ? I've seen this quiz in
                  post 5998. No answer so far. Maybe everybody waits them to change
                  their mind so that the question gets easier to answer?


                  May our Lord forgive us,
                  Serge Rust
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