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Re: Let's Cut to the Essence of the Matter--the Orthodox Russian Faithful

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  • szmyte
    Fr. Alexander, bless. Your recent commentaries about discussions with the MP are well-known on this list, but I am curious about some of your not-so-recent –
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 7, 2002
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      Fr. Alexander, bless.

      Your recent commentaries about discussions with the MP are well-known
      on this list, but I am curious about some of your not-so-recent –
      but also not-so-archaic (i.e. post-Soviet communism) – writings on
      the subject. I have a copy of a letter cowritten by Fr. George Larin
      and , I assume (please correct if it's not the case), you, Fr.
      Alexander Lebedeff, to the Hierarchical Sobor of the Russian Orthodox
      Church Outside Russia, dated 1/14 November 1994. The letter is in
      Russian and it's my understanding it was sent to many parishes
      throughout ROCOR at one time. At any rate, views to which you
      apparently committed a signature then were clearly not in support of
      conversations with the MP. The letter is in Russian, and I
      haven't the time to translate it in its entirety here, but I will
      present an excerpt in English:

      ***

      "…[ellipsis mine] Unfortunately the Moscow Patriarchate has
      proved that it is not an honest keeper of its promises. A good
      example of this is the promise of the Moscow Patriarchate, while
      presenting the notorious `Autocephaly' to the American
      Metropolia in 1970, to give over to the newly formed `Orthodox
      Church of America' parishes in the USA and Canada which are
      directly subordinate to Moscow and to withdraw the patriarch's
      bishop.

      Almost 25 years have passed and all these parishes remain under the
      authority of the Moscow Patriarchate, whose bishops are still
      assigned in turns to the USA to direct these `patriarchal'
      parishes.

      How is it possible to enter into discussions with such violators of
      agreements, reached and authenticated with all their signatures and
      stamps?

      What doesn't reach the consciousness of the authors of `The
      Appeal' [a letter by 8 laymen apparently calling for
      discussions/unification with the MP] is another circumstance, of a
      purely practical character. The hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox
      Church Outside Russia are only 15, at the same time when the
      hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate are almost 10 times more.
      [italics in the original] How can one expect that by the
      desired `merger' of the authors, the interests of our Church
      to be true to Christ, the Holy Canons and the testaments of the Holy
      Patriarch Tikhon will be defended or even heard? Having submitted
      to `His Holiness' and such a numerous Sobor of heirarchs
      appointed by soviet authorities, the voice of the free Russian Church
      will be muffled forever. The Bishops outside Russia could then be
      quietly removed, sent into retirement, and replaced with soviet
      proteges.

      By whom is this desired?

      It's well-known by whom…" [ellipsis in the original]

      ***

      There are 4 pages in this general vein, with some condemning remarks
      of the MP for sergianism and ecumenism as well.

      What has changed in the last 8 years that has altered this scenario
      described above? Have these archpriests ordained by communism
      retired or repented over these few years? Also, communism had fallen
      a few years prior to this letter. If the church was not free at that
      time, at what point precisely had the Russian Orthodox Church
      attained freedom? And what has it done in that time while exercising
      its freedom to prove to you that it has become worthy (specifically,
      substantially in the infrastructure, not simply through baptisms,
      membership, marriages, reconstruction of churches, etc.) of reunion
      with ROCOR, which has preserved the ecclesiastic interests you
      mentioned above?

      Despite some of the later letters from group members on this subject,
      a) The task of guiding the MP back to the truth certainly seems a
      challenging one. If that is the case, I'm also afraid we're
      a small fish trying to teach a big nuclear submarine the nuances of
      swimming in the sea.

      b) I don't think that not being convinced of the prudence of
      discussions with the MP at this time is being stubborn, I think it is
      just being cautious. I'm sure the faithful feel they are
      entrusted with the truth and do not want to inadvertently betray it.


      With Love in Christ,

      Eric Szmyt
      Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral, Chicago
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