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Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: Having communion with heretics is not that terrible after all

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  • Fr. Anthony Nelson
    ... As usual, Vladimir is making the false and unwarranted assumption that the Constantinople Church is heretical, or considered to be heretical by the
    Message 1 of 20 , Sep 9, 2002
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      vladimir.kozyreff@... wrote:

      >Regarding membership to the Parish council:
      >
      >"Starosta: People will say: I commune, but in the Constantinople
      >Church (Russian exarchate, Eulogians).
      >
      >Vl Ambrose: That is their business. I am categorically against any
      >type of inquisition. The only criterion is his word of honour. If he
      >is dishonest, he takes the sin on himsef, he will commune "for his
      >own condemnation".

      As usual, Vladimir is making the false and unwarranted assumption that the
      "Constantinople Church" is heretical, or considered to be heretical by the
      ROCOR: it is not, nor does the ROCOR consider it to be so.

      >Regarding communion, one must accept that this is an ecclesial act,
      >not a parochial act. Thus, whether one communes here or there does
      >not matter, it remains a communion.
      >
      >What is asked for by communing is to be in agreement not with the
      >parish council that manages parish affairs, but with the Church. I
      >repeat in Russian: no matter where I commune, communion remains valid.
      >
      >MK: Even if it is with the MP or the new calendarists?
      >
      >Vl Ambrose: One must accept this ("Il faut l'admettre").

      Vladyka is exactly correct. Those who wish to re-write the history and the
      positions of our Church along the lines of Catacombnik fanatics and Greek
      Old Calendarist/Panteleimonite false zealots are sowing the seeds of their
      own spiritual destruction as they attempt to lure other souls into their
      deceptions.

      Our Church simply does not believe nor teach that what some call "World
      Orthodoxy" is heretical or Graceless. That is a fantasy and a lie by those
      who do not understand the Church and her teachings.

      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
      Fr. Anthony Nelson * Emergency Cell Phone Email:
      St. Benedict Orthodox Church (ROCOR) * Up to 160 characters maximum
      Oklahoma City, OK USA 405-672-1441 * total allowed including return
      mailto:fr.anthony@... * address and Subject headers.
      http://www.orthodox.org/stbenedict/ * mailto:fra-mobile@...
    • vkozyreff
      Dear Father Anthony, bless. You wrote: As usual, Vladimir is making the false and unwarranted assumption that the Constantinople Church is heretical, or
      Message 2 of 20 , Sep 9, 2002
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        Dear Father Anthony, bless.

        You wrote:

        As usual, Vladimir is making the false and unwarranted assumption
        that the "Constantinople Church" is heretical, or considered to be
        heretical by the ROCOR: it is not, nor does the ROCOR consider it to
        be so.

        Please explain why a Church who is part of the anathematised
        panheresy of ecumenism is not heretic and is not considered to be
        one?

        What do I have to add to be a heretic if I am already participating
        openly in the heresy? Being heretic seems to be really a dificult
        thing to achieve.


        In God,

        Vladimir Kozyreff

        --- In orthodox-synod@y..., "Fr. Anthony Nelson" <fr.anthony@o...>
        wrote:
        > vladimir.kozyreff@s... wrote:
        >
        > >Regarding membership to the Parish council:
        > >
        > >"Starosta: People will say: I commune, but in the Constantinople
        > >Church (Russian exarchate, Eulogians).
        > >
        > >Vl Ambrose: That is their business. I am categorically against any
        > >type of inquisition. The only criterion is his word of honour. If
        he
        > >is dishonest, he takes the sin on himsef, he will commune "for his
        > >own condemnation".
        >
        > As usual, Vladimir is making the false and unwarranted assumption
        that the
        > "Constantinople Church" is heretical, or considered to be heretical
        by the
        > ROCOR: it is not, nor does the ROCOR consider it to be so.
        >
        > >Regarding communion, one must accept that this is an ecclesial act,
        > >not a parochial act. Thus, whether one communes here or there does
        > >not matter, it remains a communion.
        > >
        > >What is asked for by communing is to be in agreement not with the
        > >parish council that manages parish affairs, but with the Church. I
        > >repeat in Russian: no matter where I commune, communion remains
        valid.
        > >
        > >MK: Even if it is with the MP or the new calendarists?
        > >
        > >Vl Ambrose: One must accept this ("Il faut l'admettre").
        >
        > Vladyka is exactly correct. Those who wish to re-write the history
        and the
        > positions of our Church along the lines of Catacombnik fanatics and
        Greek
        > Old Calendarist/Panteleimonite false zealots are sowing the seeds
        of their
        > own spiritual destruction as they attempt to lure other souls into
        their
        > deceptions.
        >
        > Our Church simply does not believe nor teach that what some
        call "World
        > Orthodoxy" is heretical or Graceless. That is a fantasy and a lie
        by those
        > who do not understand the Church and her teachings.
        >
        > * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
        *
        > Fr. Anthony Nelson * Emergency Cell Phone Email:
        > St. Benedict Orthodox Church (ROCOR) * Up to 160 characters maximum
        > Oklahoma City, OK USA 405-672-1441 * total allowed including
        return
        > mailto:fr.anthony@o... * address and Subject headers.
        > http://www.orthodox.org/stbenedict/ * mailto:fra-mobile@o...
      • Michael Nikitin
        We in ROCOR were always taught not to go to the MP ,OCA or other Churches and never to commune in those Churches. If the MP had Grace why does ROCOR open
        Message 3 of 20 , Sep 9, 2002
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          We in ROCOR were always taught not to go to the MP ,OCA or other Churches
          and never to commune in those Churches.

          If the MP had Grace why does ROCOR open parishes in Russia?

          This has been the ecclesiology of our past Hierarch's. Those of us who lived
          then know.

          Fr.Anthony is writing the new ecclesiology of Metr. Laurus. That is why many
          are leaving ROCOR.



          Michael N.

          From: "Fr. Anthony Nelson" <fr.anthony@...>
          Reply-To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
          To: orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: Having communion with heretics is not
          that terrible after all
          Date: Mon, 09 Sep 2002 15:31:26 -0500
          MIME-Version: 1.0
          Received: from [66.218.66.104] by hotmail.com (3.2) with ESMTP id .com>

          vladimir.kozyreff@... wrote:

          >Regarding membership to the Parish council:
          >
          >"Starosta: People will say: I commune, but in the Constantinople
          >Church (Russian exarchate, Eulogians).
          >
          >Vl Ambrose: That is their business. I am categorically against any
          >type of inquisition. The only criterion is his word of honour. If he
          >is dishonest, he takes the sin on himsef, he will commune "for his
          >own condemnation".

          As usual, Vladimir is making the false and unwarranted assumption that the
          "Constantinople Church" is heretical, or considered to be heretical by the
          ROCOR: it is not, nor does the ROCOR consider it to be so.

          >Regarding communion, one must accept that this is an ecclesial act,
          >not a parochial act. Thus, whether one communes here or there does
          >not matter, it remains a communion.
          >
          >What is asked for by communing is to be in agreement not with the
          >parish council that manages parish affairs, but with the Church. I
          >repeat in Russian: no matter where I commune, communion remains valid.
          >
          >MK: Even if it is with the MP or the new calendarists?
          >
          >Vl Ambrose: One must accept this ("Il faut l'admettre").

          Vladyka is exactly correct. Those who wish to re-write the history and the
          positions of our Church along the lines of Catacombnik fanatics and Greek
          Old Calendarist/Panteleimonite false zealots are sowing the seeds of their
          own spiritual destruction as they attempt to lure other souls into their
          deceptions.

          Our Church simply does not believe nor teach that what some call "World
          Orthodoxy" is heretical or Graceless. That is a fantasy and a lie by those
          who do not understand the Church and her teachings.



          _________________________________________________________________
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        • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
          ... I would strongly suggest that Mr. Nikitin read the following quotations from the Epistle of the Hierarchical Sobor, dated June 4/17, 1964, signed by
          Message 4 of 20 , Sep 10, 2002
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            Michael Nikitin wrote:

            >We in ROCOR were always taught not to go to the MP ,OCA or other Churches
            >and never to commune in those Churches.
            >
            >If the MP had Grace why does ROCOR open parishes in Russia?
            >
            >This has been the ecclesiology of our past Hierarch's. Those of us who lived
            >then know.
            >
            >Fr.Anthony is writing the new ecclesiology of Metr. Laurus. That is why many
            >are leaving ROCOR.
            >
            >
            >

            I would strongly suggest that Mr. Nikitin read the following quotations
            from the Epistle of the Hierarchical Sobor, dated June 4/17, 1964, signed
            by Metropolitan Philaret and all of the bishops of the Church Abroad:

            "They [the God-opposing Communists] have contrived a new, truly diabolical
            plan in
            their war against the faithful: it is now forbidden by the godless government
            of the USSR for children and young men and women from the ages of 3 to 18
            to be allowed into God's churches and to be communed with the Body and
            Blood of Christ. And in order to mock the Church even more, this directive
            by the authorities has to be enforced by the clergymen themselves -- they
            are the ones who must prohibit youth from approaching the Chalice of Christ
            and demand the removal of children and youth from the churches".

            and


            "But the true situation is this: not many clergymen are left in the USSR,
            not many open churches are left, the faithful rarely can attend services.
            And now even at these rare services, which Christians, if they are not
            extremely old men and women, attend at the risk of being tagged by the
            active Soviet "watchers" and thus lose their jobs--parents cannot bring
            their young children, who, in their tender childhood and youth, so need
            graceful communion to the Fountain of life--to Christ the Savior, just as
            young little saplings need the light and the warmth of the sun."

            ===============================


            Can any rational person read these quotations and not come to the
            inescapable conclusion that Metropolitan Philaret, and Archbishop Averky,
            and all of the other bishops of the Synod who signed this
            Epistle--considered that the remaining open churches in the USSR (from the
            wording and context it is clear that they are talking about official open
            churches--not catacomb ones, for which no directives of the Soviet
            government would have any significance) were grace-filled, and were places
            where the faithful were able to "approach the Chalice of Christ" and "be
            communed with the Body and Blood of Christ"-- receiving "graceful communion
            with the Fountain of Life"?

            This is not the "new ecclesiology of Metropolitan Laurus."

            It is the official position of Metropolitan Philaret and the Church Abroad
            as expressed in a Conciliar Epistle in 1964!

            In all sincerity, I would really wish to hear Mr. Nikitin's comments on the
            above passages that express the historical position of the ROCOR--almost
            forty years before the "Sobor of 2000."





            With love in Christ,


            Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
          • vkozyreff
            Dear Father Alexander, bless. Please excuse me to contradict you. It seems to me that you are making a wrong reasoning here. As you often tend to do, you force
            Message 5 of 20 , Sep 11, 2002
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              Dear Father Alexander, bless.

              Please excuse me to contradict you. It seems to me that you are
              making a wrong reasoning here.

              As you often tend to do, you force into one single and illegitimate
              category people that are very different, even totally opposed to one
              another. In fact, as you will surely agree, we must distinguish:

              Category 1. This is the group who has been persecuted for Christ,
              those "faithful who rarely could attend services", those who attended
              liturgy at the risk of being tagged by the active Soviet "watchers".
              They were in the grace of God and we pray the saints among them every
              day. They belong to our true grace-filled orthodox Church. They are
              our brothers and sisters in Christ. They are examples for us.

              Category 2. In this one are the collaborating MP personnel and
              hierarchs, the "watchers", etc. We do not judge them. We know that
              many were coerced, and this attenuates certainly their sin. The
              saints are probably not among them. They were not inspired by the
              Holy Spirit. We do not pray them. In excommunicating the martyrs,
              they excommunicated themselves out of the grace-filled Church.

              In the ROCA, we are against the actions of category 2 (not against the
              people who were coerced, God have mercy, but we know their actions
              and their structures were wrong and without grace).

              We are also against those pseudo-bishops (the present sergianists,
              category 2 b) who, in total freedom, without a gun in their back,
              continue to claim that they were right to implement sergianism in the
              days of persecution. They cause the little ones (and the not so
              little ones) to tumble. We must beware of them. We must not commune
              with them. Those are the troops sent to take our churches and
              infiltrate our parish councils.

              Sergianism is presently the official position of the MP. It has been
              condemned by our Church as it has been by those "faithful who rarely
              could attend services, by the martyrs and by the Solovki bishops.

              Those who teach that sergianism is right are without grace. They
              attacks the orthodox faith. Their present freedom aggravates their
              sin by the same token as the past persecutions attenuated it.

              Can we agree on this?

              In God, and begging your prayers,

              Vladimir Kozyreff

              --- In orthodox-synod@y..., "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@w...>
              wrote:
              > Michael Nikitin wrote:
              >
              > >We in ROCOR were always taught not to go to the MP ,OCA or other
              Churches
              > >and never to commune in those Churches.
              > >
              > >If the MP had Grace why does ROCOR open parishes in Russia?
              > >
              > >This has been the ecclesiology of our past Hierarch's. Those of us
              who lived
              > >then know.
              > >
              > >Fr.Anthony is writing the new ecclesiology of Metr. Laurus. That
              is why many
              > >are leaving ROCOR.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
              > I would strongly suggest that Mr. Nikitin read the following
              quotations
              > from the Epistle of the Hierarchical Sobor, dated June 4/17, 1964,
              signed
              > by Metropolitan Philaret and all of the bishops of the Church
              Abroad:
              >
              > "They [the God-opposing Communists] have contrived a new, truly
              diabolical
              > plan in
              > their war against the faithful: it is now forbidden by the godless
              government
              > of the USSR for children and young men and women from the ages of 3
              to 18
              > to be allowed into God's churches and to be communed with the Body
              and
              > Blood of Christ. And in order to mock the Church even more, this
              directive
              > by the authorities has to be enforced by the clergymen themselves --
              they
              > are the ones who must prohibit youth from approaching the Chalice
              of Christ
              > and demand the removal of children and youth from the churches".
              >
              > and
              >
              >
              > "But the true situation is this: not many clergymen are left in the
              USSR,
              > not many open churches are left, the faithful rarely can attend
              services.
              > And now even at these rare services, which Christians, if they are
              not
              > extremely old men and women, attend at the risk of being tagged by
              the
              > active Soviet "watchers" and thus lose their jobs--parents cannot
              bring
              > their young children, who, in their tender childhood and youth, so
              need
              > graceful communion to the Fountain of life--to Christ the Savior,
              just as
              > young little saplings need the light and the warmth of the sun."
              >
              > ===============================
              >
              >
              > Can any rational person read these quotations and not come to the
              > inescapable conclusion that Metropolitan Philaret, and Archbishop
              Averky,
              > and all of the other bishops of the Synod who signed this
              > Epistle--considered that the remaining open churches in the USSR
              (from the
              > wording and context it is clear that they are talking about
              official open
              > churches--not catacomb ones, for which no directives of the Soviet
              > government would have any significance) were grace-filled, and were
              places
              > where the faithful were able to "approach the Chalice of Christ"
              and "be
              > communed with the Body and Blood of Christ"-- receiving "graceful
              communion
              > with the Fountain of Life"?
              >
              > This is not the "new ecclesiology of Metropolitan Laurus."
              >
              > It is the official position of Metropolitan Philaret and the Church
              Abroad
              > as expressed in a Conciliar Epistle in 1964!
              >
              > In all sincerity, I would really wish to hear Mr. Nikitin's
              comments on the
              > above passages that express the historical position of the ROCOR--
              almost
              > forty years before the "Sobor of 2000."
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > With love in Christ,
              >
              >
              > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
            • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
              ... There is, in reality,progress here. For the first time you seem to be gaining an understanding of what I have been trying to say. ... Actually, this
              Message 6 of 20 , Sep 12, 2002
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                Vladimir Kozyreff wrote:


                >Please excuse me to contradict you. It seems to me that you are
                >making a wrong reasoning here.


                There is, in reality,progress here. For the first time you seem to be
                gaining an understanding of what I have been trying to say.


                >As you often tend to do, you force into one single and illegitimate
                >category people that are very different, even totally opposed to one
                >another.


                Actually, this completely applies to you and many others who force into one
                single category--the Moscow Patriarchate--which they call illegitimate--
                people who are very different, even totally opposed to one another.

                It should be understood by all that the Moscow Patriarchate is not a
                monolithic organization that demands that all of its members hold to a
                particular mindset or "ecclesiology," as do, for example, the Matthewite
                Old Calendarists, who must all accept the 1935 Encyclical declaring the New
                Calendarists to be graceless as their defining position.

                In the Moscow Patriarchate there is a wide diversity of positions. There
                are some who are ecumenists, there are some who are violently
                anti-ecumenist, there are renovationists, there are strict conservatives,
                there are supporters of Stalin and supporters of Hitler, there are
                Sergianists, there are anti-Sergianists--a broad spectrum.

                The overwhelming majority of both the clergy and the people are, however,
                simply Orthodox Christians, who do not hold to any particular ideology or
                orientation--but simply go to the Church to pray, to go to Confession, to
                receive the Holy Mysteries, to have Pannikhidas for their departed
                relatives, to baptize their children, to be married and buried by the Church.


                >In fact, as you will surely agree, we must distinguish:



                >Category 1. This is the group who has been persecuted for Christ,
                >those "faithful who rarely could attend services", those who attended
                >liturgy at the risk of being tagged by the active Soviet "watchers".
                >They were in the grace of God and we pray the saints among them every
                >day. They belong to our true grace-filled orthodox Church. They are
                >our brothers and sisters in Christ. They are examples for us.
                >
                >Category 2. In this one are the collaborating MP personnel and
                >hierarchs, the "watchers", etc. We do not judge them. We know that
                >many were coerced, and this attenuates certainly their sin. The
                >saints are probably not among them. They were not inspired by the
                >Holy Spirit. We do not pray them. In excommunicating the martyrs,
                >they excommunicated themselves out of the grace-filled Church.
                >
                >In the ROCA, we are against the actions of category 2 (not against the
                >people who were coerced, God have mercy, but we know their actions
                >and their structures were wrong and without grace).
                >
                >We are also against those pseudo-bishops (the present sergianists,
                >category 2 b) who, in total freedom, without a gun in their back,
                >continue to claim that they were right to implement sergianism in the
                >days of persecution. They cause the little ones (and the not so
                >little ones) to tumble. We must beware of them. We must not commune
                >with them. Those are the troops sent to take our churches and
                >infiltrate our parish councils.


                This whole argumentation fails immediately when one remembers that both
                category one and category two attend the same churches where the same
                hierarchy is commemorated.

                The are all members of the same Moscow Patriarchate--whether they attended
                Church at the risk of losing their jobs, or not.

                How can category one be "members of the grace-filled Church" and category
                two not be, when they attend Churches within the same hierarchical
                structure of the Moscow Patriarchate, when they receive the Holy Mysteries
                from clergy who were all ordained by the same bishops of the Moscow
                Patriarchate (whom you label as "pseudo bishops")?

                Such a position is untenable.

                If Metropolitan Philaret and the Sobor of Bishops in 1964 declared that the
                faithful attending the remaining open churches of the Moscow Patriarchate
                (remember that this was just after the terrible Khrushchev persecutions of
                the Church in 1961-62, when 10,000 churches that had been opened during and
                after the war were closed) were receiving true Holy Mysteries--that means
                that the Moscow Patriarchate's churches and clergy were considered by the
                bishops of the Church Abroad to be grace-filled.

                There can be no other conclusion.




                >Sergianism is presently the official position of the MP.


                The current Patriarch has publicly and officially stated that the
                Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius expressed "positions that were contrary
                to the teaching of the Church."

                The Sobor of Bishops of the MP in 2000 declared officially that it is
                unacceptable for the Church to compromise itself, to sacrifice its freedom,
                and to subect itself to control by the civil authorities.

                That is enough for me.


                >It has been
                >condemned by our Church as it has been by those "faithful who rarely
                >could attend services,

                These "faithful who rarely could attend services" who are mentioned in the
                1964 Sobor Epistles were not "dissidents"--but the faithful of the Moscow
                Patriarchate, attending churches whose clergy were ordained by bishops of
                the Moscow Patriarchate and who commemorated the Patriarch and the Ruling
                MP bishops.

                > by the martyrs and by the Solovki bishops.

                This should read--by some of the martyrs and some of the Solovki bishops.
                It is a historical fact that some forty bishops imprisoned in Solovki
                completely supported Metropolitan Sergius--as did the luminary and Martyr
                Archbishop Ilarion (Troitsky).

                It is also a historical fact that there were thousands of
                hieromartyrs--bishops and priests who were kiilled for their faith, who
                died while being in full communion with Metropolitan Sergius.



                >Those who teach that sergianism is right are without grace.


                First of all, there are many varied definitions of Sergianism--so declaring
                that those who teach that Sergianism is right makes no sense, because no
                "official" or "accepted" definition of Sergianism exists.

                I have my own, which has been published all over the place--but no one ever
                made it official.

                Besides, who has the right to declare that someone is without grace?

                You?

                As we say in America, "Who died and made you boss?"

                This is actually the province of the Holy Spirit, "Who breathes where He
                wills."

                The Holy Fathers of the Church said, repeatedly, "We can declare absolutely
                where grace abides--but we dare not attempt to determine where grace does not."

                But you do.



                > They
                >attacks the orthodox faith. Their present freedom aggravates their
                >sin by the same token as the past persecutions attenuated it.

                Here you are presuming to judge all of the Orthodox Christians of the
                former Soviet Union, who attempted to preserve their faith in the face of
                horrendous persecutions from the all-powerful atheistic civil authorities.

                First of all, who gives you the right to judge them?

                As far as I know, from the biographical information you have disclosed in
                previous posts, you grew up in the Russian diaspora and never lived in the
                Soviet Union.

                My own personal belief is that no one living abroad in relative comfort and
                freedom, where everyone can attend whatever Church he wishes (and even
                freely participate in interjurisdictional squabbles), without fear of
                losing one's job or being sent to the Gulag, has the right to judge anyone
                who lived under Soviet oppression.

                One, in fairness, also has to understand the mentality that developed over
                seventy years of Soviet oppression.

                According to most accounts, at least one third of the population of the
                Soviet Union was involved, in some way or another, in spying on their
                fellow countrymen--fellow workers, fellow students, etc. and reporting to
                the "organs" about their activities.

                With every third person in the country being a "stukach" (a "tattle-tale"),
                one can imagine the extraordinary pressures that everyone was under--both
                those who compromised their integrity by collaborating and those who didn't.

                Just about everyone in the Soviet Union had to compromise their
                principles--whether it meant putting on a Pioneer neckscarf, or joining the
                Komsomol, without the recommendation of which one could not enter a major
                University, or even joining the Party, which was required for those who
                wished to perform certain jobs--everyone was coerced into compromising in
                some way.

                So, the "Homo Sovieticus"-- the Soviet man-- is organically oriented to
                understand and forgive the compromises made by others.

                For the average person in Russia, who knows and cares about these issues,
                the compromises made by Metropolitan Sergius were an understandable and
                even commendable action to preserve the Church which was threatened by
                total extermination.

                They accept the premise that he did what he did in order to "save the Church."

                And they believe that he accomplished this. In the face of extreme
                persecution, the Church survived and is now undergoing incredible spiritual
                rebirth.

                This condescension by the Russian people who lived unter the Soviet regime
                to the actions of Metropolitan Sergius is not a "betrayal of Orthodoxy,"
                rather a practical assessment based on an understanding of the realities of
                the situation--and reflective of the mentality that these realities have
                evolved among those who lived through this terrible period and survived.

                You, on the other hand, sitting in your comfortable armchair in the comfort
                and freedom of the West, never having lived with these realities on a
                day-to-day basis, presume to judge those who did--and to attempt to take
                away from them one of the few things that has meaning to them--the Russian
                Orthodox Church, which, to them, stands as a symbol of what the godless
                atheists attempted to destroy, but were unable to.

                You would call their Church a pseudo-church, their bishops pseudo-bishops,
                their Holy Communion -- simply bread and wine, their weddings and baptisms
                graceless and invalid--and you would condemn them all to eternal perdition
                as heretics if they do not accept your own mindset and point of view.


                >Can we agree on this?


                No.

                With love in Christ,

                Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
              • rdrjohn2000
                Dear Father Alexander, Bless, It is not my wish to enter in debate with you, only to ask clarification for something you posted. I understand that you write a
                Message 7 of 20 , Sep 12, 2002
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                  Dear Father Alexander, Bless,

                  It is not my wish to enter in debate with you, only to ask
                  clarification for something you posted. I understand that you write
                  a great deal, so perhaps in your haste you did not make your position
                  clear. Please elaborate on your statement below so that those who
                  are thick headed like myself might better understand you.

                  I'm confused about your reply to Brother Vladimir where you wrote:

                  >The current Patriarch has publicly and officially stated that the
                  >Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius expressed "positions that were
                  >contrary to the teaching of the Church."

                  >The Sobor of Bishops of the MP in 2000 declared officially that it
                  >is unacceptable for the Church to compromise itself, to sacrifice
                  >its freedom, and to subect itself to control by the civil
                  >authorities.

                  >That is enough for me.

                  Am I to understand that you thus think that the MP is acceptable?
                  That there is nothing wrong with its governing synod and its bishop?
                  That the synod of the MP is legitimate? I am not trying to put words
                  into your mouth, just ask that you clarify your position. In my
                  view, if you, Fr. Alexander, view the MP synod as legitimate, as not
                  heretical, as canonical and without need for any kind of correction
                  (as you seem to imply above) from the Russian Orthodox Bishops
                  (Abroad) who kept the faith unchanged per Ukaz 362, then you have an
                  obligation to leave ROCOR and join the MP. For years the MP has
                  pronounced ROCOR as schismatic and called all its members to return
                  to the MP. Thus, if you view their bishops as canonical and without
                  need of correction, then it would seem to me you are obligated to
                  obey them and return to what they call themselves, the Mother church.


                  I do agree with Father Alexander when he writes the obvious, that the
                  MP is not monolithic... nor was the Russian church prior to the
                  revolution. I would never ever presume to question the validity of
                  the sacrements of the MP...those determinations are up to our
                  bishops. Furthermore, the Russian people have shed so much blood,
                  have endured so much suffering, that it would be pharisetical of me
                  (or anyone in the diasphora) to point fingers and question sacrements
                  performed in an imprisoned land as not salvific.

                  I believe it is the book of the new Russian Martyrs where I read that
                  in the GULAG a zek (prisoner) would lay upon the floor as an altar on
                  which to place the gifts...because he was going to die anyway, and as
                  we all know, Orthodox altars are built upon the bones of the saints.
                  In this case (I'm sure it happened frequently), the saint had not yet
                  reposed and so he became the altar, literally, upon whom the gifts
                  were consecrated. Now brothers and sisters, these were saints who
                  were martyred for the faith in our time. Personally, I can't think
                  of a more appropriate place to take communion. Now perhaps you can
                  see my logic, if we view these new martyrs as saints, how can we
                  justify or condone those MP hierarchs who colluded with anti
                  Christian soviet authorities and sent (literally in many cases) these
                  new martyrs to their death. One or the other is correct.

                  Dear Father Alexander correctly writes that we, in the west in the
                  comfort of our living rooms, have no moral standing to judge the
                  suffering Russian people of the 20th century. I would like to add
                  however, that each of us has an obligation, in these times of
                  increasing travail, to follow the Royal path and discern where this
                  path lies. In my humble view, there is absolutely no way that this
                  path lies with MP bishops who feasted while the flock suffered
                  terrible deprivation and suffering. In the end, giving the MP
                  hierarchs legitimacy without repentence or the liturgical correction
                  of our bishops is to acknowledge that the MP synod's path was
                  correct, that their public conduct and synodal decisions were
                  acceptable while the real faithful were slaughtered in the millions.

                  I am sure many of our pious priests on this list can attest to the
                  incredible extent Orthodoxy was removed from the conscience of the
                  Russian people. Ask anyone who has come over from Russia within the
                  last 20 years what was it like to be an Orthodox christian in Russia
                  under communism. Most will have no idea, some will say they were
                  secretly baptized by their grandmother. Very few have any
                  understanding of the sacrements or even the most rudimentery
                  knowledge of the bible or church history. I say this not to condemn
                  our much suffering Russian brothers, but to give testimony to the
                  degree which the church was persecuted. I believe that by their
                  suffering they have earned their crowns in heaven. I urge those who
                  have not done so to read Alexander Solzhinitsyn's Gulag Archipeligo
                  which gives great detail of the persecutions witnessed in the camps.
                  Think about it!! Between 50 to 100 million people were slaughtered
                  by the communist regime!

                  I know many on the list don't want to get involved in debate now
                  taking place on this forum. Personally, I too wish to avoid acrimony
                  and contention. However, as Fr. Alexander L wrote that the MP is not
                  monolithic, neither is our beloved church. In order to move forward,
                  together, I believe we have to confront these disagreements and not
                  hide our heads in the sand and pretend they do not exist.

                  Asking your prayers,
                  In Christ,
                  Rdr John




                  --- In orthodox-synod@y..., "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@w...>
                  wrote:
                  > Vladimir Kozyreff wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > >Please excuse me to contradict you. It seems to me that you are
                  > >making a wrong reasoning here.
                  >
                  >
                  > There is, in reality,progress here. For the first time you seem to
                  be
                  > gaining an understanding of what I have been trying to say.
                  >
                  >
                  > >As you often tend to do, you force into one single and illegitimate
                  > >category people that are very different, even totally opposed to
                  one
                  > >another.
                  >
                  >
                  > Actually, this completely applies to you and many others who force
                  into one
                  > single category--the Moscow Patriarchate--which they call
                  illegitimate--
                  > people who are very different, even totally opposed to one another.
                  >
                  > It should be understood by all that the Moscow Patriarchate is not
                  a
                  > monolithic organization that demands that all of its members hold
                  to a
                  > particular mindset or "ecclesiology," as do, for example, the
                  Matthewite
                  > Old Calendarists, who must all accept the 1935 Encyclical declaring
                  the New
                  > Calendarists to be graceless as their defining position.
                  >
                  > In the Moscow Patriarchate there is a wide diversity of positions.
                  There
                  > are some who are ecumenists, there are some who are violently
                  > anti-ecumenist, there are renovationists, there are strict
                  conservatives,
                  > there are supporters of Stalin and supporters of Hitler, there are
                  > Sergianists, there are anti-Sergianists--a broad spectrum.
                  >
                  > The overwhelming majority of both the clergy and the people are,
                  however,
                  > simply Orthodox Christians, who do not hold to any particular
                  ideology or
                  > orientation--but simply go to the Church to pray, to go to
                  Confession, to
                  > receive the Holy Mysteries, to have Pannikhidas for their departed
                  > relatives, to baptize their children, to be married and buried by
                  the Church.
                  >
                  >
                  > >In fact, as you will surely agree, we must distinguish:
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > >Category 1. This is the group who has been persecuted for Christ,
                  > >those "faithful who rarely could attend services", those who
                  attended
                  > >liturgy at the risk of being tagged by the active
                  Soviet "watchers".
                  > >They were in the grace of God and we pray the saints among them
                  every
                  > >day. They belong to our true grace-filled orthodox Church. They are
                  > >our brothers and sisters in Christ. They are examples for us.
                  > >
                  > >Category 2. In this one are the collaborating MP personnel and
                  > >hierarchs, the "watchers", etc. We do not judge them. We know that
                  > >many were coerced, and this attenuates certainly their sin. The
                  > >saints are probably not among them. They were not inspired by the
                  > >Holy Spirit. We do not pray them. In excommunicating the martyrs,
                  > >they excommunicated themselves out of the grace-filled Church.
                  > >
                  > >In the ROCA, we are against the actions of category 2 (not against
                  the
                  > >people who were coerced, God have mercy, but we know their actions
                  > >and their structures were wrong and without grace).
                  > >
                  > >We are also against those pseudo-bishops (the present sergianists,
                  > >category 2 b) who, in total freedom, without a gun in their back,
                  > >continue to claim that they were right to implement sergianism in
                  the
                  > >days of persecution. They cause the little ones (and the not so
                  > >little ones) to tumble. We must beware of them. We must not commune
                  > >with them. Those are the troops sent to take our churches and
                  > >infiltrate our parish councils.
                  >
                  >
                  > This whole argumentation fails immediately when one remembers that
                  both
                  > category one and category two attend the same churches where the
                  same
                  > hierarchy is commemorated.
                  >
                  > The are all members of the same Moscow Patriarchate--whether they
                  attended
                  > Church at the risk of losing their jobs, or not.
                  >
                  > How can category one be "members of the grace-filled Church" and
                  category
                  > two not be, when they attend Churches within the same hierarchical
                  > structure of the Moscow Patriarchate, when they receive the Holy
                  Mysteries
                  > from clergy who were all ordained by the same bishops of the Moscow
                  > Patriarchate (whom you label as "pseudo bishops")?
                  >
                  > Such a position is untenable.
                  >
                  > If Metropolitan Philaret and the Sobor of Bishops in 1964 declared
                  that the
                  > faithful attending the remaining open churches of the Moscow
                  Patriarchate
                  > (remember that this was just after the terrible Khrushchev
                  persecutions of
                  > the Church in 1961-62, when 10,000 churches that had been opened
                  during and
                  > after the war were closed) were receiving true Holy Mysteries--that
                  means
                  > that the Moscow Patriarchate's churches and clergy were considered
                  by the
                  > bishops of the Church Abroad to be grace-filled.
                  >
                  > There can be no other conclusion.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > >Sergianism is presently the official position of the MP.
                  >
                  >
                  > The current Patriarch has publicly and officially stated that the
                  > Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius expressed "positions that were
                  contrary
                  > to the teaching of the Church."
                  >
                  > The Sobor of Bishops of the MP in 2000 declared officially that it
                  is
                  > unacceptable for the Church to compromise itself, to sacrifice its
                  freedom,
                  > and to subect itself to control by the civil authorities.
                  >
                  > That is enough for me.
                  >
                  >
                  > >It has been
                  > >condemned by our Church as it has been by those "faithful who
                  rarely
                  > >could attend services,
                  >
                  > These "faithful who rarely could attend services" who are mentioned
                  in the
                  > 1964 Sobor Epistles were not "dissidents"--but the faithful of the
                  Moscow
                  > Patriarchate, attending churches whose clergy were ordained by
                  bishops of
                  > the Moscow Patriarchate and who commemorated the Patriarch and the
                  Ruling
                  > MP bishops.
                  >
                  > > by the martyrs and by the Solovki bishops.
                  >
                  > This should read--by some of the martyrs and some of the Solovki
                  bishops.
                  > It is a historical fact that some forty bishops imprisoned in
                  Solovki
                  > completely supported Metropolitan Sergius--as did the luminary and
                  Martyr
                  > Archbishop Ilarion (Troitsky).
                  >
                  > It is also a historical fact that there were thousands of
                  > hieromartyrs--bishops and priests who were kiilled for their faith,
                  who
                  > died while being in full communion with Metropolitan Sergius.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > >Those who teach that sergianism is right are without grace.
                  >
                  >
                  > First of all, there are many varied definitions of Sergianism--so
                  declaring
                  > that those who teach that Sergianism is right makes no sense,
                  because no
                  > "official" or "accepted" definition of Sergianism exists.
                  >
                  > I have my own, which has been published all over the place--but no
                  one ever
                  > made it official.
                  >
                  > Besides, who has the right to declare that someone is without grace?
                  >
                  > You?
                  >
                  > As we say in America, "Who died and made you boss?"
                  >
                  > This is actually the province of the Holy Spirit, "Who breathes
                  where He
                  > wills."
                  >
                  > The Holy Fathers of the Church said, repeatedly, "We can declare
                  absolutely
                  > where grace abides--but we dare not attempt to determine where
                  grace does not."
                  >
                  > But you do.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > > They
                  > >attacks the orthodox faith. Their present freedom aggravates their
                  > >sin by the same token as the past persecutions attenuated it.
                  >
                  > Here you are presuming to judge all of the Orthodox Christians of
                  the
                  > former Soviet Union, who attempted to preserve their faith in the
                  face of
                  > horrendous persecutions from the all-powerful atheistic civil
                  authorities.
                  >
                  > First of all, who gives you the right to judge them?
                  >
                  > As far as I know, from the biographical information you have
                  disclosed in
                  > previous posts, you grew up in the Russian diaspora and never lived
                  in the
                  > Soviet Union.
                  >
                  > My own personal belief is that no one living abroad in relative
                  comfort and
                  > freedom, where everyone can attend whatever Church he wishes (and
                  even
                  > freely participate in interjurisdictional squabbles), without fear
                  of
                  > losing one's job or being sent to the Gulag, has the right to judge
                  anyone
                  > who lived under Soviet oppression.
                  >
                  > One, in fairness, also has to understand the mentality that
                  developed over
                  > seventy years of Soviet oppression.
                  >
                  > According to most accounts, at least one third of the population of
                  the
                  > Soviet Union was involved, in some way or another, in spying on
                  their
                  > fellow countrymen--fellow workers, fellow students, etc. and
                  reporting to
                  > the "organs" about their activities.
                  >
                  > With every third person in the country being a "stukach" (a "tattle-
                  tale"),
                  > one can imagine the extraordinary pressures that everyone was under-
                  -both
                  > those who compromised their integrity by collaborating and those
                  who didn't.
                  >
                  > Just about everyone in the Soviet Union had to compromise their
                  > principles--whether it meant putting on a Pioneer neckscarf, or
                  joining the
                  > Komsomol, without the recommendation of which one could not enter a
                  major
                  > University, or even joining the Party, which was required for those
                  who
                  > wished to perform certain jobs--everyone was coerced into
                  compromising in
                  > some way.
                  >
                  > So, the "Homo Sovieticus"-- the Soviet man-- is organically
                  oriented to
                  > understand and forgive the compromises made by others.
                  >
                  > For the average person in Russia, who knows and cares about these
                  issues,
                  > the compromises made by Metropolitan Sergius were an understandable
                  and
                  > even commendable action to preserve the Church which was threatened
                  by
                  > total extermination.
                  >
                  > They accept the premise that he did what he did in order to "save
                  the Church."
                  >
                  > And they believe that he accomplished this. In the face of extreme
                  > persecution, the Church survived and is now undergoing incredible
                  spiritual
                  > rebirth.
                  >
                  > This condescension by the Russian people who lived unter the Soviet
                  regime
                  > to the actions of Metropolitan Sergius is not a "betrayal of
                  Orthodoxy,"
                  > rather a practical assessment based on an understanding of the
                  realities of
                  > the situation--and reflective of the mentality that these realities
                  have
                  > evolved among those who lived through this terrible period and
                  survived.
                  >
                  > You, on the other hand, sitting in your comfortable armchair in the
                  comfort
                  > and freedom of the West, never having lived with these realities on
                  a
                  > day-to-day basis, presume to judge those who did--and to attempt to
                  take
                  > away from them one of the few things that has meaning to them--the
                  Russian
                  > Orthodox Church, which, to them, stands as a symbol of what the
                  godless
                  > atheists attempted to destroy, but were unable to.
                  >
                  > You would call their Church a pseudo-church, their bishops pseudo-
                  bishops,
                  > their Holy Communion -- simply bread and wine, their weddings and
                  baptisms
                  > graceless and invalid--and you would condemn them all to eternal
                  perdition
                  > as heretics if they do not accept your own mindset and point of
                  view.
                  >
                  >
                  > >Can we agree on this?
                  >
                  >
                  > No.
                  >
                  > With love in Christ,
                  >
                  > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
                • vkozyreff
                  Dear Father Alexander, bless. You write: Here you are presuming to judge ... First of all, who gives you the right to judge them? You probably did not read
                  Message 8 of 20 , Sep 13, 2002
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Dear Father Alexander, bless.

                    You write:

                    "Here you are presuming to judge ... First of all, who gives you the
                    right to judge them?"

                    You probably did not read lme attentively. I wrote (check below):

                    Category 2. In this one are the collaborating MP personnel and
                    hierarchs, the "watchers", etc. We do not judge them.

                    In God,

                    Vladimir Kozyreff

                    [...]
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