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Metropolitan Philaret and Grace in the Moscow Patriarchate

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  • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
    A couple of questions regarding the attitude of Metropolitan Philaret towards the question of grace in the Moscow Patriarchate. 1) Metropolitan Philaret s
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 8, 2002
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      A couple of questions regarding the attitude of Metropolitan Philaret
      towards the question of grace in the Moscow Patriarchate.

      1) Metropolitan Philaret's father, Bishop (later Archbishop) Dimitry
      (Voznesensky), originally Bishop of Hailar, China, together with all of the
      other bishops of the Russian Church Abroad in China (except St. John
      (Maximovitch)), after the Soviet invasion, returned to the Motherland and
      he served as a bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate until the time he reposed.

      Do you believe that Metropolitan Philaret considered his father, a bishop
      in good standing in the Moscow Patriarchate, to be graceless and all the
      mysteries he performed to be invalid?

      2) Metropolitan Philaret, from 1945 until 1972, was himself a cleric of the
      Moscow Patriarchate (this is attested to by his own words at his
      installation as First Hierarch of the Church Abroad, where he spoke of the
      incredible trust shown to him by the bishops of the Church Abroad in
      elevating him to this post despite his previous association with the Moscow
      Patriarchate, and by his own biographical notes, in which he states that
      after being relesed from China and arriving in Hong Kong, he contacted
      Metropolitan Anastassy and asked to be received back into the Church
      Abroad. Metropolitan Anastassy replied affirmatively with joy, but stated
      that Archimandrite Philaret could be received only after he would make a
      formal repentance of being in the Moscow Patirarchate according to the
      established procedure of the Church Abroad--which Archimandrite Philaret
      immediately did).

      So the question is: did Metropolitan Philaret consider that all the time he
      was a clergyman of the Moscow Patriarchate that he was without grace and
      that all the mysteries he performed over those seventeen years were invalid?



      With love in Christ,

      Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
    • vkozyreff
      Dear Father Alexander, bless. The idea of Metropolitan Philaret recognising the MP as a true Church seems to be very dear and recurrent to you in spite of the
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 9, 2002
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        Dear Father Alexander, bless.

        The idea of Metropolitan Philaret recognising the MP as a true Church
        seems to be very dear and recurrent to you in spite of the
        overwhelming volume of documentation to the contrary. Your
        demonstrations are typically indirect (you know personally Vl Alypy,
        and you know he could not be the author of the letter, you know
        Father Paul, and he could not benefit from what he is suspected to
        have done).

        Your evidences are presented as discrediting dozens of documents (in
        this case, the father-son relationship: "Do you believe that
        Metropolitan Philaret considered his father, a bishop in good
        standing in the Moscow Patriarchate, to be graceless and all the
        mysteries he performed to be invalid?).

        You keep returning to your idea, apparently not taking into account
        the impressive volume of evidence that was presented to you. (See
        last post by S Rust, my message 6005 of June 29 in this forum: "…
        Further research about what Metropolitan Philaret and our Church used
        to say about the MP suggests that father Alexander Lebedeff's
        comments might have to be revisited. Below is documentation about
        this matter…")

        Another idea of yours is that holy canons and anathema are not that
        important except for fanatics, that praying and having communion with
        heretics is not that terrible after all. Blind obedience to the
        bishop is however demanded, even when believers think that they are
        not in line with the Church.

        As we have seen recently, many believers do not agree at all with
        your position and think it is not the position of the Church. If we
        do not control ourselves, we will wonder cui bono (God forbid).

        If I am correctly informed, you were part of the commission that
        defrocked the 12 French clerics, for not submitting to Vl Ambrose who
        was perceived as having the same position as yours. It is disturbing
        to know that a priest who holds such unorthodox position as yours,
        and who has sometimes unexpected ideas in essential matters (for
        instance about St Mark, of whom you thought that he did have
        communion with the Latino-Catholics) was a member of that commission.

        On May 02, 2001, you wrote: " Any person with half a brain
        understands that no clergyman can refuse to accept the appointment
        by the Sobor of Bishops of a Ruling Bishop for their diocese. If
        they refuse to accept such an appointment, then after due
        admonishment by senior clergy sent by the Synod and calls to return
        to obedience--these clergy are **suspended**. There is no other way.
        This is not persecution, but simple discipline. If any worker
        refused to accept the assignment of a manager or supervisor by
        company upper management, that worker would be told to either accept
        it or hit the highway. If any officer in the army would refuse to
        accept the appointment of a commanding officer over him, that
        rebellious officer would be court-martialled summarily."

        The 2 priests that were readmitted still do not commemorate Vl
        Ambrose, with the Synod's blessing.

        Does this all make sense?

        In Christ,

        Vladimir Kozyreff




        --- In orthodox-synod@y..., "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@w...>
        wrote:
        > A couple of questions regarding the attitude of Metropolitan
        Philaret
        > towards the question of grace in the Moscow Patriarchate.
        >
        > 1) Metropolitan Philaret's father, Bishop (later Archbishop)
        Dimitry
        > (Voznesensky), originally Bishop of Hailar, China, together with
        all of the
        > other bishops of the Russian Church Abroad in China (except St.
        John
        > (Maximovitch)), after the Soviet invasion, returned to the
        Motherland and
        > he served as a bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate until the time he
        reposed.
        >
        > Do you believe that Metropolitan Philaret considered his father, a
        bishop
        > in good standing in the Moscow Patriarchate, to be graceless and
        all the
        > mysteries he performed to be invalid?
        >
        > 2) Metropolitan Philaret, from 1945 until 1972, was himself a
        cleric of the
        > Moscow Patriarchate (this is attested to by his own words at his
        > installation as First Hierarch of the Church Abroad, where he spoke
        of the
        > incredible trust shown to him by the bishops of the Church Abroad
        in
        > elevating him to this post despite his previous association with
        the Moscow
        > Patriarchate, and by his own biographical notes, in which he states
        that
        > after being relesed from China and arriving in Hong Kong, he
        contacted
        > Metropolitan Anastassy and asked to be received back into the
        Church
        > Abroad. Metropolitan Anastassy replied affirmatively with joy, but
        stated
        > that Archimandrite Philaret could be received only after he would
        make a
        > formal repentance of being in the Moscow Patirarchate according to
        the
        > established procedure of the Church Abroad--which Archimandrite
        Philaret
        > immediately did).
        >
        > So the question is: did Metropolitan Philaret consider that all the
        time he
        > was a clergyman of the Moscow Patriarchate that he was without
        grace and
        > that all the mysteries he performed over those seventeen years were
        invalid?
        >
        >
        >
        > With love in Christ,
        >
        > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
      • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
        ... Overwhelming volume of documentation? There have appeared only two documents --both are private letters, never intended for publication. There is not
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 9, 2002
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          Vladimir Kozyreff wrote:

          >Dear Father Alexander, bless.
          >
          >The idea of Metropolitan Philaret recognising the MP as a true Church
          >seems to be very dear and recurrent to you in spite of the
          >overwhelming volume of documentation to the contrary.

          Overwhelming volume of documentation?

          There have appeared only two "documents"--both are private letters, never
          intended for publication. There is not even any proof that the letters are
          genuine, so what weight should they have, compared to official statements
          made by Metropolitan Philaret, in official Epistles meant for publication,
          the authenticity of which cannot be questioned?

          The fact is that Metropolitan Philaret, in an official Epistle, called the
          Moscow Patriarchate one of the three parts of the Russian Church--in
          addition to the Catacomb Church and the Church Abroad.

          You cannot deny that fact.

          You can also not deny the fact that Metropolitan Philaret wrote a special
          Epistle decrying the fact that the Soviet government passed a law
          forbidding children to participate in religious life, specifically
          attending Church and receiving Communion in the officially open churches
          (clearly those of the Moscow Patriarchate). Why would he be concerned about
          children being denied Communion in churches if he believed that in these
          churches the priests had no grace, and that therefore, there was no real
          Communion?

          It doesn't make sense.

          Also, when Metropolitan Philaret wrote a positive preface to an account
          about Moscow Patriarchate Elder Tavrion that was published in "Orthodox
          Word," the Synod of Bishops took him to task, and he was forced to write an
          apologetic explanation. This shows that the other Synod members were
          actually more strict with regards to the MP than Metropolitan Philaret.

          It is a known fact that Metropolitan Philaret signed the Ukaz directing all
          clergy of the Church Abroad to serve moliebens for MP cleric Fr. Dimitry Dudko.

          He also signed the Epistle of the All-Diasporan Council of 1974, which
          stated that the clergy and the faithful on bothe sides of the Iron Curtain
          were one.


          >Your
          >demonstrations are typically indirect (you know personally Vl Alypy,
          >and you know he could not be the author of the letter, you know
          >Father Paul, and he could not benefit from what he is suspected to
          >have done).

          Quite the contrary. On the matter of Metropolitan Philaret, I have
          consistently quoted from official documents--direct evidence, not opinion.

          On the matter of Archbishop Alypy, I was clear to state that I was
          expressing my opinion--I said "**I believe** that Archbishop Alypy, in his
          pre-traumatic state, would never have threatened to take legal action
          against his Synod." That is my opinion--and it was so expressed.;


          >Your evidences are presented as discrediting dozens of documents

          Dozens of documents???

          If you have "dozens of documents," I challenge you to cite them--or at
          least, list them, so that the sources can be checked. I have given full
          citations for the documents I have quoted from.



          >(in
          >this case, the father-son relationship: "Do you believe that
          >Metropolitan Philaret considered his father, a bishop in good
          >standing in the Moscow Patriarchate, to be graceless and all the
          >mysteries he performed to be invalid?).


          This was a rhetorical question, meant to have people think the matter
          through. I can, however, vouch that I observed Metropolitan Philaret
          serving Proskomedia many times and heard him commemorate his father--as a
          bishop, and not as a layman, for sure.



          >You keep returning to your idea, apparently not taking into account
          >the impressive volume of evidence that was presented to you.

          Impressive volume of evidence? A couple of private letters, which may or
          may not be authentic, that were never intended to be seen by anyone other
          than their recipient? Letters, that even if authentic, were probably stolen?


          >(See
          >last post by S Rust, my message 6005 of June 29 in this forum: "…
          >Further research about what Metropolitan Philaret and our Church used
          >to say about the MP suggests that father Alexander Lebedeff's
          >comments might have to be revisited. Below is documentation about
          >this matter…")


          Where the same two unverified private letters are quoted.




          >Another idea of yours is that holy canons and anathema are not that
          >important except for fanatics,

          Absolutely untrue. It is actually the fanatics who are trampling the Canons
          and anathemas, by causing schisms, which, according to the teaching of the
          Church, are worse than heresies. Such is the case of the so-called "True
          Orthodox" of ROCiE (both versions--Varnavite and Lazarite), ROAC, HOCNA, etc.



          > that praying and having communion with
          >heretics is not that terrible after all.

          I have never said that--please don't put words in my mouth.

          However, the historical (and current) position of the Church Abroad has
          been that the New Calendarists have grace and are not heretics, and that
          the Serbian Church has grace and is not heretical--so what is the problem?



          > Blind obedience to the
          >bishop is however demanded, even when believers think that they are
          >not in line with the Church.

          Believers going against their bishop and creating "unlawful assemblies"
          which they call Churches are anathematized by the Holy Canons. What heresy
          has Bishop Ambrose taught, bare-headed in Church? Whom exactly has he
          served with that Archbishop Anthony of Geneva (or St. John of Shanghai),
          his predecessors did not serve with?


          >As we have seen recently, many believers do not agree at all with
          >your position and think it is not the position of the Church. If we
          >do not control ourselves, we will wonder cui bono (God forbid).


          The last statement is incomprehensible to me. And, believe me, lots of
          believers (i.e. most of those who are not schismatics), agree with my
          position and consider it to be the position of the Church.

          >If I am correctly informed, you were part of the commission that
          >defrocked the 12 French clerics, for not submitting to Vl Ambrose who
          >was perceived as having the same position as yours. It is disturbing
          >to know that a priest who holds such unorthodox position as yours,

          Go ahead. Make my day. Prove that I have an unorthodox position.


          >
          >and who has sometimes unexpected ideas in essential matters (for
          >instance about St Mark, of whom you thought that he did have
          >communion with the Latino-Catholics)

          First of all, the question of St. Mark of Ephesus and his participation in
          the Coucil of Florence is hardly **essential**--it is not a matter of
          faith, just history. And, for the record, I **never** stated that St. Mark
          had communion with the Latino-Catholics--just that he traveled to Florence
          and participated in dialogue with them, used extremely flowery titles when
          addressing the Pope and other Roman Catholic prelates, and was certainly
          present at the prayers that opened every session that he participated in,
          and that he, after the Council, issued an encyclical in which he stated
          that he was now convinced that the Latins were undoubtedly heretics, and,
          as such, must be received into Orthodoxy by Chrismation (not Baptism). That
          is a matter of historical truth.



          > was a member of that commission.


          Yes, I was.

          >
          >
          >On May 02, 2001, you wrote: " Any person with half a brain
          >understands that no clergyman can refuse to accept the appointment
          >by the Sobor of Bishops of a Ruling Bishop for their diocese. If
          >they refuse to accept such an appointment, then after due
          >admonishment by senior clergy sent by the Synod and calls to return
          >to obedience--these clergy are **suspended**. There is no other way.
          >This is not persecution, but simple discipline. If any worker
          >refused to accept the assignment of a manager or supervisor by
          >company upper management, that worker would be told to either accept
          >it or hit the highway. If any officer in the army would refuse to
          >accept the appointment of a commanding officer over him, that
          >rebellious officer would be court-martialled summarily."
          >
          >The 2 priests that were readmitted still do not commemorate Vl
          >Ambrose, with the Synod's blessing.
          >
          >Does this all make sense?


          It does make perfect sense for the Synod to exercise its good management
          (economy) to ease the return of its clergy who had gone into schism back
          into the Church.

          With love in Christ,

          Prot. Alexander Lebedeff

          P.S. Vladimir is totally wrong when he, in another post, imputes any type
          of "ecumenical" leanings to me. I have written extensively against
          ecumenism, against the New Calendar, and against Sergianism and the errors
          of the Moscow Patriarchate. Perhaps he should look at the archives and see.
        • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
          Vladimir Kozyreff constantly talks about twelve priests, twelve French clerics. The actual number of former priests who have gone into schism with former
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 12, 2002
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            Vladimir Kozyreff constantly talks about "twelve priests," "twelve French
            clerics."

            The actual number of former priests who have gone into schism with former
            Bishop Varnava is actually much smaller.

            The ROCiE website lists only 6 priests, of whom only five are in France,
            and three of whom are not Russian. (This is not a denigration of their
            ethnicity, but just a statement that they would not be familiar with the
            majority of positional documents of the Church Abroad, which for the most
            part are available in Russian only).

            They are (Frs.) Benjamin Joukoff, Rado Apostolescu, Nicholas Apostolescu,
            Paul Poirier, Hieromonk Seraphim and Nicholas Semenoff (of Belgium and
            Holland).

            Not quite twelve, is it?

            And even more interesting is the case of Prot. Konstantin Fedoroff, who was
            one of the chief ideologues and instigators of the dissident movement.

            His signature had figured prominently on the group's Open Letters.

            However, at the last Sobor, in October of last year, Fr. Konstantin sent in
            a faxed letter in which he walled himself of from the other dissidents,
            said that he was completely loyal to the Synod and was not in opposition to
            Bishop Ambrose.

            With this volte face he avoided the canonical penalties imposed on the
            other rebellious clergy.


            With love in Christ,

            Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
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