Why the MP Apologetics?
- Ultimately, I go to church to worship God as the church instructs
me. I worry about my salvation because of my sins and my inability
to move to a higher spiritual plain. In the day to day world I do
not give much thought to higher level church issues. For me it is
better to focus on my own spiritual life of daily prayers, readings,
weekly confession and communion and raising my children in an
Orthodox fashion than worry about which synod is doing what with
whom. I come on these lists occasionally to find out news about the
church. Every time I come on I view many posts from Fr. Alexander
Lebedeff always discussing issues concerning the Moscow
Patriarchate. Now I honor the priesthood of this venerable father
and having sparred with him a few times, I am keenly aware of his
great intellect. No doubt he is a likable person and devoted
priest. After all, our priests are generally poorly compensated and
always subject to the whim of parish politics which can be very
frustrating to an intellectually gifted person. Therefore I am
convinced of his commitment to the faith. After viewing today's
posts though, I wonder where does Father Alexander get the time to do
all this research? And why post such biased, one sided material
without addressing the other side (traditional ROCOR, for want of a
better phrase) of the issue? Are such actions intellectually
dishonest? Although it is really his business, I can't help but
question why a ROCOR priest spends so much time on this one issue. I
am left wondering what do Father Alexander's prodigious posts
justifying, Sergianism, rapprochement with the MP and soft selling MP
episcopal misconduct really have to do with our church? We are not
the MP, we are ROCOR.
I noticed in one of his replies to me Fr. Alexander made reference to
his obedience to his bishops. This struck me as odd, why not to his
bishop only? Perhaps Fr. Alexander was referring to both his bishop
(Kirill) and his metropolitan (Lavr) or maybe even Archbishop Mark of
Berlin, who, though he has no authority in the diocese of the Western
United States is generally viewed as taking a soft line on the MP.
But why would he do this?
Are Father Alexander's apologetics for the MP in obedience to his
bishop(s)? If so, this would explain his seeming campaign to justify
said organization. And if they are not in obedience to his bishop
(s), why spend so much time writing about another jurisdiction?
After all, these are issues for the bishops to decide, in conjunction
with the faithful of course. On the other hand, if Fr. Alexander is
carrying on this campaign on his own volition, why has his bishop not
asked him to tone down the rhetoric? Is Father Alexander trying to
push our bishops to union with the MP, or to pull the faithful?
- --- In orthodox-synod@y..., Hristofor <hristofor@m...> wrote:
> I have said it before, but I will say it again: I have notheological
> background, so whatever I say or _beleive_ may be correct orincorrect.
> However, what you have just said sounds patently absurd.in the
> First of all, I think what you are saying applies to all baptisms
> Orthodox Church and not just those preformed by heretics and thosewithout
> Grace: the Sacrament of Baptism becomes "finalised or complete"(valid in
> your words) by confessing the True Faith (done by the godparent ifthe
> person is a baby), Chrismation and Communing. Can you pleaseprovide a
> quote from the Holy Fathers where they speak of receiving a baptismby
> heretics, which then becomes a valid Sacrament "when the personprofesses
> the true faith and becomes part of the true Church."?Dear Hristofor,
Metropolitan Anthony wrote an outstanding essay on the subject of the
reception of converts. I've taken the liberty of quoting from it
"Every mystery has two sides - the visible and the invisible. The
second is administered only within the true Church by faith and
sincere prayer, according to the words of the Apostle Peter: "The
like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the
putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good
conscience toward God) but the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1
Pet. 3:21). And the same thought is found also in the teaching of St.
John Damascene. For those who are baptized without faith "the water
remains water" only. Heretics and schismatics, having the visible
side of baptism, chrismation and holy orders, are entirely devoid of
those gifts of grace which are bound up with these mysteries for
believers within the true Church. Therefore, certain of them, for the
alleviation of the rupture in their spiritual life and for "the
edification of many," are permitted to enter the Church without
the visible side of the mysteries or holy orders (that is, by the
second or third rite), but through the operation of another
sacramental act in which they receive the grace of baptism,
chrismation and holy orders. (For example, for Roman Catholics,
Nestorians and Donatists.)"
You can read this essay in its entirety at:
I hope this selection helps clear things up a bit - if not, read the
whole essay - Metropolitan Anthony really goes into the patristic
theology of the issue and explains the Orthodox thinking behind the
usage of economia.
- Joshua Fraese