Re: Dealing with Heresy -- A Historical Perspective
- Dear Father Alexander, bless.
· If you acknowledged that you judged the priests without due
understanding of the case, because you did not hear them and thus did
not know exactly the facts about Vl Ambrose's actions (which seems to
be a fair account of the reality);
· If you acknowledged that, having communed with the Serbian
Church yourself, you were prejudiced in a case regarding communion
with anathematised heresies (which would be true);
· If you acknowledged that you overlooked the fact that the
priests had been restored in their right (and their duty) to
celebrate by Vl Vitaly when you judged them (which is true);
· If you acknowledged that Father Stephan Pavlenko did not
understand exactly that the priests did accept to commemorate the
bishop while waiting for a judgement (which appeared true on this
· If you acknowledged that you were mistaken in believing that
obedience to the bishop was a prerequisite condition for the priest
to keep their priesthood (which is evidently not the case).
Then the judgement would be annulled, unity and peace in God would
return to our Church, the priests would be back in her fold, and the
schism would be over (Some economia might be applied as needed).
There is no shame in acknowledging an error, on the contrary. "If any
one ... is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone..."
All would respect you only even much more. You would give a wonderful
example of justice and love in Christ. All would praise your
rightness, and your love for your fellow priests, for the Truth and
for our Church.
I hope in you and I beg your prayers.
--- In orthodox-synod@y..., "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@w...>
> Dear Vladimir:
> The matter of the disobedience of the "French clergy" is directly
> by Canon XIII of the First-and-Second Council, where we read:accusations,
> "If any priest or deacon, having impugned his bishop with some
> prior to a conciliar investigation, deliberation and finaljudgement of him
> [the bishop], should dare to depart from communion with him, andwill not
> commemorate his name during holy prayers at the Liturgies inaccordance
> with the Church tradition: let such a cleric be subject to beingcast out
> and let him be deprived of any clerical honor. For a person who isplaced
> in the rank of a priest, and who arrogates unto himself judgementwhich is
> appointed to Metropolitans, and prior to a trial, solely by himselfshould
> strive to judge his Father and Bishop, is not worthy of the honor,or even
> the name of a presbyter. Those who would follow such a one, if theyare
> among the clergy, let them also be deprived of their honor: if theybe
> nonks or laymen, let them be completely excommunicated from theChurch,
> until they reject their communion with schismatics, and do not turnback to
> their Bishop."followed these
> Nothing could be more clear.
> And it applies directly to you, if you are a layman who has
> errant clergymen.the
> And, regarding obedience in the Church, it is appropriate to recall
> words of the ever-memorable Archbishop Anthony of Geneva andWestern Europe
> regarding obedience in the Church: "You know that in the Churchthere
> exists a hierarchy, in which the lower members must submitthemselves to
> the higher. So, for example, if a bishop does not submit himself tothe
> Council of Bishops, then he ceases to be a bishop of the Church ofthe
> Christ. If a priest does not listen to his bishop, he ceases to bea
> priest. If a layman does not listen to his pastors, he ceases to bea
> Christian. In this way all of the Church of Christ is based onobedience to
> God and every one who is a member of the Church is bound by thisobedience"
> (Reprinted in "Orthodox Russia", No. 17, 1999).Bishops
> Also, listen to the words of Metropolitan Philaret and the Sobor of
> of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, from theirResolution of
> August 12/25, 1981:distribution of
> "If, contrary to the apostolic teaching about hierarchical
> duties and responsibilities, all the clerics and laymen were tosupervise
> their hierarchs (I Cor. 12, 28-30), then instead of being ahierarchical
> Body of Christ, our Church would turn into a kind of democraticanarchy
> where the sheep assume the function of the shepherd. A specialgrace is
> bestowed upon bishops to help them in their work. Those who seek tocontrol
> their bishop should be reminded of Canon LXIV of the SixthEcumenical
> Council which quotes the words of St. Gregory theTheologian: 'Learning in
> docility and abounding in cheerfulness, and ministering withalacrity, we
> shall not all be the tongue which is the more active member, notall of us
> apostles, not all prophets, nor shall we all interpret. And again:Why dost
> thou make thyself a shepherd when thou art a sheep? Why become ahead when
> thou art a foot? Why dost thou try to be a commander when thou artenrolled
> in the number of the soldiers?..'"makes
> This is precisely what you are doing.
> Your are the sheep that makes itself a shepherd, a soldier that
> himself a commander, a foot that makes itself the head.inappropriate:
> And appeals to the concept of conciliarity (sobornost') are
> conciliarity is not a justification for putting the hierarchicalstricture
> of the Church on its head, and letting the feet make decisions thatare the
> head's to make.wife?"
> Finally, your following questions are totally specious:
> "Still you do not answer the question: did you defrock the clergy
> because you do not believe their documented evidence that the bishop
> communed with heretics, or did you defrock them because you think
> that a bishop that communes with heretics and acknowledges that he
> does, should be obeyed anyhow?"
> This is similar to the question: "Have you stopped beating your
> They contain a premise that one must agree with in order to answer
> But if the underlying premise is false, then the question cannot be
> The premise here is that Bishop Ambrose "communed with heretics."
> That is **your** premise--and one which is rejected by all of the
> of the Church Abroad.calendarists to
> The Church Abroad **never** declared the clergy of the new-
> be heretics or devoid of grace.Patriarchate
> The Church Abroad **never**declared the clergy of the Moscow
> to be heretics or devoid of grace.judgement for
> If you, personally, do--then you are substituting your own
> the judgement of the Synod of Bishops (as the Canon quoted abovestates:
> you are "arrogating to yourself judgement which is appointed toknowledgeable
> Do you really believe that Metropolitan Laurus, who is very
> about the teachings of the Holy Fathers (he taught Patrology at thewhat heresy
> Seminary for decades--I was one of his students), does not know
> Do you really beleieve that Archbishop Mark, who holds two
> including one in Theology, does not know what heresy is?better
> Do you really believe that you, Vladimir Kozyreff, a layman, know
> what heresy is than the bishops of our Church, some of whom wereclergymen
> and bishops while you were probably in diapers or not even born yet?detail, how
> If so, what incredible arrogance!
> I urge you, Vladimir, to re-read carefully Canon XIII of the
> First-and-Second Council, quoted above, and explain to me, in
> the "French clergy" do not fall under its canonical sanctions.Bishop
> And, although I asked this before, could you tell me exactly whom
> Ambrose concelebrated with that Archbishop Anthony of Geneva andArchbishop
> St. John of Brussels, later of San Francisco, two of hispredecessors on
> the Western-European cathedra, did not concelebrate with? (It is anboth
> indubitable fact that the latter two concelebrated with clergy from
> the Serbian Patriarchate and those under the jurisdiction of the
> Patriarchate of Constantinople).
> With love in Christ,
> Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
- Fr Alexander (Lebedeff) wrote:
> how in the world could you and your people say, as they did,Well, your arithmetic is mistaken, father.
> again and again, that the "majority" of the clergy
> of the Western-European Diocese broke with Bishop Amvrossy?
The 2 Castelbajacs broke with bishop Amvrossy this was the very
matter discussed still you count them on "your side".
Moreover, 2 other priests not mentioned at all in your count
left communion with vl. Lavr and joined vl. Varnava / Met.
Vitaly, but somehow you want to hide the matter to the List.
Last but not least, you count priest Adrian Eschevarria among the
How come ?
I thought he had been banned, together with priest Paul Tsvetkov
(who, subsequently repented) as a result of their public letter of
October 1/14 2000 (1)
(1) It might be worth reading this public and instructive letter:
Geneva, October 1/14, 2000
On the eve of the XXth century, our parish is at a turning point of
Many persons among the responsible parish organs expressed their wish
on one hand not to stay away anymore from the ecclesial renewal in
the Russian Church (to which our community is historically linked)
and, on the other hand, to be able to fully commune with the orthodox
pleroma from now on.
In response to the desire expressed by a part of the clergy and by
the Parish Council to join the Church of Russia, we very recently
received a proposal of His Holiness Alexis 2, Patriarch of Moscow and
of all Russia, to receive us in the bosom of the Moscow Patriarchate,
and to grant to our Parish the stavropigical status, i.e. of total
administrative and financial independence. The building and the goods
of our church will not be alienated by an external power, and the
members of the clergy will keep their posts.
The Parish Council, nearly in its entirety, finds it opportune to
answer favorably to this proposal. It is time, indeed, that mistrust,
ignorance and resentment give place to confidence, comprehension and
love in Christ.
We are conscious that some of you will be shocked, or even indignant,
by this perspective. Alas, the recent positions taken by the ROCOR
Synod of Bishops do not leave us other choices if we want to remain
members of the universal Orthodox Church.
We wish however to consult you. You will find attached a
"Reminder of the main events of the Russian Orthodox Church since
reestablishment of the Patriarchate in 1917". With this
information, you are kindly invited to express your opinion in
written, in Russian or in French, and to mail it to us before October
31, at the Chancellery of the church (Fr Paul or fr Adrain, Russian
orthodox church, 18 Baumont street, 1206 Geneva). Your personal
notice will be read only by your priests, who will draw an anonymous
May our Lord ... by the intercession of ... by the prayers of ...
bless you and grant you the wisdom so that we may do the right choice.
Priest Adrien Echevarria Archpriest Paul Tzvetkoff