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Re: Dealing with Heresy -- A Historical Perspective

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  • vkozyreff
    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
    Message 1 of 44 , Sep 6, 2002
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      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..."
      (John 8:6-8)

      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 God,

      Vladimir Kozyreff

      --- 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:
      > "If any priest or deacon, having impugned his bishop with some
      > prior to a conciliar investigation, deliberation and final
      judgement of him
      > [the bishop], should dare to depart from communion with him, and
      will not
      > commemorate his name during holy prayers at the Liturgies in
      > with the Church tradition: let such a cleric be subject to being
      cast out
      > and let him be deprived of any clerical honor. For a person who is
      > in the rank of a priest, and who arrogates unto himself judgement
      which is
      > appointed to Metropolitans, and prior to a trial, solely by himself
      > 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 they
      > among the clergy, let them also be deprived of their honor: if they
      > nonks or laymen, let them be completely excommunicated from the
      > until they reject their communion with schismatics, and do not turn
      back to
      > their Bishop."
      > Nothing could be more clear.
      > And it applies directly to you, if you are a layman who has
      followed these
      > errant clergymen.
      > And, regarding obedience in the Church, it is appropriate to recall
      > words of the ever-memorable Archbishop Anthony of Geneva and
      Western Europe
      > regarding obedience in the Church: "You know that in the Church
      > exists a hierarchy, in which the lower members must submit
      themselves to
      > the higher. So, for example, if a bishop does not submit himself to
      > Council of Bishops, then he ceases to be a bishop of the Church of
      > Christ. If a priest does not listen to his bishop, he ceases to be
      > priest. If a layman does not listen to his pastors, he ceases to be
      > Christian. In this way all of the Church of Christ is based on
      obedience to
      > God and every one who is a member of the Church is bound by this
      > (Reprinted in "Orthodox Russia", No. 17, 1999).
      > Also, listen to the words of Metropolitan Philaret and the Sobor of
      > of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, from their
      Resolution of
      > August 12/25, 1981:
      > "If, contrary to the apostolic teaching about hierarchical
      distribution of
      > duties and responsibilities, all the clerics and laymen were to
      > their hierarchs (I Cor. 12, 28-30), then instead of being a
      > Body of Christ, our Church would turn into a kind of democratic
      > where the sheep assume the function of the shepherd. A special
      grace is
      > bestowed upon bishops to help them in their work. Those who seek to
      > their bishop should be reminded of Canon LXIV of the Sixth
      > Council which quotes the words of St. Gregory the
      Theologian: 'Learning in
      > docility and abounding in cheerfulness, and ministering with
      alacrity, we
      > shall not all be the tongue which is the more active member, not
      all 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 a
      head when
      > thou art a foot? Why dost thou try to be a commander when thou art
      > in the number of the soldiers?..'"
      > 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.
      > And appeals to the concept of conciliarity (sobornost') are
      > conciliarity is not a justification for putting the hierarchical
      > of the Church on its head, and letting the feet make decisions that
      are the
      > head's to make.
      > 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
      > question.
      > 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.
      > The Church Abroad **never** declared the clergy of the new-
      calendarists to
      > be heretics or devoid of grace.
      > The Church Abroad **never**declared the clergy of the Moscow
      > to be heretics or devoid of grace.
      > If you, personally, do--then you are substituting your own
      judgement for
      > the judgement of the Synod of Bishops (as the Canon quoted above
      > you are "arrogating to yourself judgement which is appointed to
      > Metropolitans"),
      > Do you really believe that Metropolitan Laurus, who is very
      > about the teachings of the Holy Fathers (he taught Patrology at the
      > Seminary for decades--I was one of his students), does not know
      what heresy
      > is?
      > Do you really beleieve that Archbishop Mark, who holds two
      > including one in Theology, does not know what heresy is?
      > Do you really believe that you, Vladimir Kozyreff, a layman, know
      > what heresy is than the bishops of our Church, some of whom were
      > and bishops while you were probably in diapers or not even born yet?
      > 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
      detail, how
      > the "French clergy" do not fall under its canonical sanctions.
      > And, although I asked this before, could you tell me exactly whom
      > Ambrose concelebrated with that Archbishop Anthony of Geneva and
      > St. John of Brussels, later of San Francisco, two of his
      predecessors on
      > the Western-European cathedra, did not concelebrate with? (It is an
      > 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
    • sergerust2002 <sergerust@hotmail.com>
      ... Well, your arithmetic is mistaken, father. The 2 Castelbajacs broke with bishop Amvrossy – this was the very matter discussed – still you count them on
      Message 44 of 44 , Dec 13, 2002
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        Fr Alexander (Lebedeff) wrote:

        > how in the world could you and your people say, as they did,
        > again and again, that the "majority" of the clergy
        > of the Western-European Diocese broke with Bishop Amvrossy?

        Well, your arithmetic is mistaken, father.

        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
        ecclesiastically correct.

        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)

        Serge Rust

        (1) It might be worth reading this public and instructive letter:

        Geneva, October 1/14, 2000

        Dear parishioners,

        On the eve of the XXth century, our parish is at a turning point of
        its existence.

        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
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