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  • Michael Worley
    Happy New Year, everyone. What a neat feast. __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Bid and sell for free at
    Message 1 of 11 , Sep 14, 1999
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      Happy New Year, everyone. What a neat feast.

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    • Deacon John Whiteford
      I learned just a bit ago that the defense rested today. I have not said what I am about to say until know because there was the possibility that I would be
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 26, 1999
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        I learned just a bit ago that the defense rested
        today. I have not said what I am about to say until
        know because there was the possibility that I would be
        called to testify.

        First of here's what I don't know with absolute

        I don't know that with absolute certainty what
        actually did or did not transpire between the boy in
        question and Fr. Jeremiah. Only God, and those two
        can speak with that level of certainty.

        Thus, I cannot say with absolute certainty that the
        charges are false, or that the boy is a liar, or
        anything like that. That I cannot know at this point,
        and probably never will.

        I *believe* Fr. Jeremiah's denials. I have not spoken
        with the boy in question about his accusations, nor
        his mother... and so I cannot say that I have had an
        upfront opportunity to evaluate their testimony. I do
        know them both. My recollections of both of them are
        fond. The boy's mother was present at the birth of my
        daughter Elizabeth, and I remember her as a nice
        person... and so none of what I am about to say is
        intended as a slam against either of them. I don't
        want to wrongly judge them any more than I would want
        to wrongly judge Fr. Jeremiah... and so in the absence
        of absolute proof, I make no absolute judgment on the
        matter one way or the other.

        So... you might ask, why do I believe Fr. Jeremiah's
        denials? For one, the accused is granted by our legal
        system and by both canon law and Scripture a certain
        benefit of the doubt. In the canons and in Scripture,
        we are told to not receive an accusation against a
        Presbyter, unless it comes from two or three
        witnesses. I don't believe that this threshold has
        been met in this case.

        Furthermore, I am inclined to believe Fr. Jeremiah's
        denials because of a few things that I know for sure.

        I received a call from a man (who I knew previously,
        and who is a lawyer) in 1998, some time around the end
        of the summer or in the early fall (I recall for
        certain that it was a Saturday afternoon, because I
        was getting ready for Vigil). He called me up and
        asked how to get in touch with the mother of the boy
        in question. During the course of that conversation,
        he stated that he was working for unnamed clients, who
        had unspecified grievances with the monastery. He
        also said that the reason he wanted to get in touch
        with this woman was that he wanted �to find out why
        she took her son out of that monastery.�

        This doesn�t prove that the charges are false, but it
        does raise the question of whether the charges were
        the result of a victim in search of justice, or simply
        a lawyer in search of a victim (because he was sure
        that the monastery was guilty of something, but just
        needed to find out what it was). I believe he is well
        intentioned, but this gives me reasons to doubt the
        charges� more so than if the alleged victim spoke up
        on his own accord. I would also be somewhat less
        inclined to doubt the charges were it not for the fact
        that they are associated with 60 million dollar
        lawsuit (which has named individuals with nothing to
        do with the alleged crimes, but who happen to have
        lots of money). Again, this does not prove the
        charges are false, but it certainly does raise the
        question of motivation.

        And getting back to a point that was brought up
        earlier on the Orthodox-Synod list � it sounds from
        what many have been saying as if this specific charge
        had been floating around for years, and that our
        bishops ignored it. This is not the case. Prior to
        the call I received in late 1998, no such charge had
        been made. This charge is quite serious, but take
        away this charge, and prior to that what we had
        amounted to little more than gossip, certainly nothing
        substantial enough to warrant a canonical trial. Our
        Bishops cannot be faulted for following the Scriptural
        and canonical guidelines regarding the handling of
        such things.

        [And if anyone wishes to argue that there was more
        substantial evidence prior to this, I will only say
        that whenever people mentioned such rumors to me, I
        always asked for evidence, but was never provided with
        anything to substantiate them.]

        Also, there have been charges of rampant drug use in
        the monastery. Specifically pot smoking. Again, one
        never knows for sure. No doubt with enough effort,
        all of these monks could have pulled the wool over my
        eyes on this� but in my younger days, I lived in some
        pretty bad neighborhoods, and had a brother who was a
        drug addict, and I know how pot smokers smell, I know
        how their fingers get stained, I know how the smell
        gets in their hair and stays on their hands despite
        washing, and I know how they act. I find it
        impossible to believe that these monks were smoking
        weed all of this time, and I never saw any of the

        I would not defend everything the monastery has done.
        I wish they had done some things differently... I
        suspect that they do to, but as convenient as it would
        be to keep my mouth shut and wish they would
        disappear, my conscience does not allow me to remain
        silent about these things. If doing things that were
        tacky were a crime, I would advise them to throw
        themselves on the mercy of the court... but I don't
        believe that they are guilty of these things.

        Tomorrow we will no doubt have a verdict. Given the
        fact that the judge did not allow a change of venue,
        and given that (so I have been told) the jury has on
        it the wife of the foreman of the grand jury that
        issued the original indictments (because in Blanco
        county, this was the closest they could come to an
        impartial jury), the verdict may well be �guilty.� I
        would advise you all to refrain from judging Fr.
        Jeremiah even then for the following reasons:

        1. None of us can be sure of what happened, and so do
        we really want to risk judging someone falsely?

        2. If the verdict is guilty, it will likely be
        successfully appealed for several reasons, but
        certainly the failure to allow a change of venue being
        the foremost among them.

        3. There are numerous examples of people being
        convicted of such things, and going to prison for
        years, only to be vindicated years later. There was a
        special on Dateline, or some other news show like it,
        in which a husband and wife were convicted of engaging
        in satanic ritual abuse of their own children � and
        their children testified against them, only for it to
        come out 15 years later that those children had been
        manipulated into testifying as they did. I would not
        want to have on my conscience that I added to the
        grief of such a person, by not being merciful to them,
        and praying for them rather than mocking them or
        enjoying their misery.

        No one calling themselves a Christian should be
        enjoying any of this. This is a tragedy for all

        -Deacon John Whiteford

        * Deacon John Whiteford IC -|- XC *
        * ----|---- *
        * St. Jonah of Manchuria Orthodox Mission | *
        * Serving the Spring, Woodlands, \| *
        * and Conroe, Texas area. |\ *
        * http://www.orthodox.org/stjonah NI | KA *
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      • William Redondo
        COuld you please remove me from the egroup listing. There are just too many messages to process! Thanks Bill
        Message 3 of 11 , Nov 5, 1999
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          COuld you please remove me from the egroup listing.
          There are just too many messages to process!
          Thanks Bill
        • Nikolaj
          Dear Friends in Christ I got this below request from a very pious serbian woman who does a tremendous piece of work translating articles for the KDN and other
          Message 4 of 11 , Jan 2, 2000
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            Dear Friends in Christ
            I got this below request from a very pious serbian woman who does a tremendous piece of work
            translating articles for the KDN and other online news services.
            She is not only working very hard and unselfish for the publishing of information about Kosovo, but also a good friend in Christ.
            Please let me know if you can help us with this one? I am not very clever translating serbian to english.
            I thank you humbly
            In Christ

            > i have been struggling with english equivalents for positions within the
            > hierarchy of the serbian orthodox church, i.e., terms such as
            > 'protojerej stavrofor' and 'protonamjesnik' (which i translated as
            > 'archpriest stavrophor' and 'head priest' respectively but i am not sure
            > at all that this is correct!)
            > do you know where i might find (on the web) or do you have any sort of
            > guide or dictionary which may be useful? i would greatly appreciate it.
            > i believe that the russian and serbian churches follow the same or very
            > similar hierarchies and the greek roots are certainly the same.
          • Nikolaj
            Letter to the World from Sisters Martha and Xenia Jan 19/Feb 1 2000 St. Macarius the Great Sr. Xenia and I are in our third week, our eighteenth day of
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 1, 2000
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              Letter to the World from Sisters Martha and Xenia
              Jan 19/Feb 1 2000
              St. Macarius the Great

              Sr. Xenia and I are in our third week, our eighteenth day of self-imposed captivity at our Jericho monastery. Here we remain in our abandoned cement-floor room, paint chips falling from the ceiling, water seeping in the sides. No sink or shower to use, a trip to the outdoor toilet means passing by the Palestinian soldiers assembled outside our doors day and night. They predict snow again this weekend in Jerusalem -- more cold rain and dampness for us here in Jericho.

              In a bitter irony our would-be evictors have become our protectors, our guardians from the Soviet men, bare-chested, chain smoking, housed in the apartment above the chapel only twenty feet from our quarters. The raucous laughter and menacing gestures of these Russian men (why are they here in a place of prayer?) make it uncomfortable for us to venture more than twenty yards from our room. With a soldier at our side from time to time we can make the 100 yard trip to the locked gate where our fellow monks and nuns stand vigil day and night, praying for us, passing food parcels and notes of encouragement from people all over the world - Germany, Argentina, Australia, England, Russia, the US on our behalf. Our deepest thanks to all of you. Your words and prayers mean more than you can imagine.

              Why are we here?

              The Palestinians have not yet perfected the art of "freedom" that characterizes a Communist system. Our prison door remains halfway open and with that ray of light I am under moral obligation to tell the world about the lack of religious freedom of the Moscow Patriarchate and it's ally in arms, the Russian government.

              I have to speak for Father Alexander Zharkov, a simple priest of the Moscow Patriarchate, a loving spiritual father to his flock. Tired of the arbitrariness, the lack of spirituality of his MP bishops in June, 1997 he petitioned the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad to be under them. From that moment on he was incessantly harassed by Russian security officials. On Sunday September 14th 1997, worried that he had not returned home by that evening his wife began to make calls. She found the body of Fr. Alexander in the local morgue, a bullet in the head and the chest. He had been run over by a car for good measure.

              I have to speak for the brave single souls, the pious women (babushkas) in Obayan and Tomsk and St. Petersburg and their bishops, Eutychius and Benjamin, followers of the ROCA who struggle to keep open their house churches though they know at any moment they could be arrested and their places of worship destroyed.

              I have to speak about the deceit of Yeltsin and of the Moscow Patriarch Alexis II who proudly tout their Freedom of Conscience law - freedom given only to those Orthodox believers who submit to the Moscow Patriarchate.

              I have to speak for the countless believers and priests in the MP who know full well the corruption of their bishops, the lack of separation of Church and State in Russia, but who are powerless, who do not have a voice to speak out.

              They are powerless before their bishops, their Patriarch Alexis II, better known in KGB files as Agent Drozdov, a revelation so bravely revealed by Fr. Gleb Yakunin in 1991.

              I have to speak out about the lies Patriarch Alexis II pronounces to this day - those both great and small.

              A small one: Last week Tass News Agency reported that Patriarch Alexis II charged that the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad does not open it's Holy Land sites to he peoples of Russia, Byelorussian and the Ukraine. Patriarch Alexis, must we send you the photographs from January 7th 2000 - Christmas Day, when 100 members of the Moscow seminary choir and their priests visited our Convent of St. Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane, toured the Church and were treated to an on-the-spot meal by our sisters? Would you like to meet one of our Palestinian nuns who runs the gift shop who has so diligently learned Russian in order to accommodate the numerous Russian pilgrims who pass through our gates?

              A big one: Patriarch Alexis, you say Church and State are separate and free in Russia today. Why then are there more Russian diplomats, consular officials and functionaries than MP monks in Jericho monastery, a house of prayer, today? Could the reports from high ranking Israeli officials that the Russian government plans to convert this Jericho monastery into a consulate be true? The MP protests that ROCA churches do not care for the Holy Land sites, do not care for the pilgrims. Will a consulate on the ruins of the sixth century church better serve the religious needs of Russian Orthodox believers than a monastery?

              And as I have a small crack to speak out I must ask the countries who say they stand for freedom, for the rule of law, where are your voices now?

              Ministers of Israel, Natan Sharenshy and Yuli Edelstein, you were prisoners of conscience, "refuseniks" - we too are refuseniks. We too know the stench of repression - the tapped phones, the knock on the door, the "friends" sent only to inform on and watch our every gesture, our every word.

              Freedom for only a few is freedom for none. Show your integrity now, your belief that all people have a right to religious freedom - Jews, Muslims or Christians.

              To the United States and members of the World Bank, do you understand how your experiment has failed. Strobe Talbott, you want Russia to follow democratic principles. World Bank President Wolfsohn, you may want Russia to adapt a free-market economy. Has it not become glaringly obvious that a country that has had its moral fiber snapped cannot bear the weight of following principles of freedom and democracy?

              The regeneration of a free Russia cannot possibly take place without a moral rebirth. A moral rebirth cannot take place without a cleansing and renewal of its largest religious body - the Orthodox Church. US, if you allow the continued silencing of the voice of the free part of the Russian Orthodox Church, the taking away of our churches in the Holy Land, you will most assuredly consign Russia to a continued state of decadence and corruption which no billions of dollars will be able to remedy.

              And finally I speak to you my beloved friends, the common people I live and work with in Palestine. I know your beautiful hospitality, your humble grace amid the oppression you have suffered for so many years. I know this crack in the door is open to me because in your basic goodness you simply do not know how, do not comprehend in your beautiful hearts how to close that door. It is my deepest prayer that your leaders - your Yassir Arafat, Abu Mazen, General Rajoub, Sarb Erekat - do not succumb to the principles of totalitarianism and corruption. Your people have suffered too long, are too good to be betrayed by their leaders in such a manner now.
            • Nikolaj
              Dukhovnye Kazaki Ego Imperatoskogo Velichestva Konvoja (D.K.E.I.V.K.)
              Message 6 of 11 , Apr 2, 2000
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                "Dukhovnye Kazaki
                Ego Imperatoskogo
                Velichestva Konvoja"
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