- On the question of grace in the Moscow Patriarchate.
I would like to hear an intelligent response to one simple question, but
first some background.
during the 1930's, 1940's, 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, 1980',s and 1990's, the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia issued a large number of official
Epistles, addressed to either its flock abroad, or to the faithful under
Soviet oppression, or both.
Many of these official Epistles express and explain the position of the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia toward the Moscow Patriarchate,
so that the position of the Church Abroad would be perfectly clear to all
of the faithful, both in the homeland and abroad.
Now the question.
Please explain why, in all of these official Epistles, the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside of Russia **never once** declares that the Moscow
Patriarchate is heretical or graceless, or that the Mysteries performed in
its churches are invalid?
Why, if the Anathema of Patriarch Tikhon of 1918 is binding and definitive,
do none of the Epistles of the Church Abroad, even the most lengthy one, of
1933, which goes on for 23 pages describing in detail the view of the
Church Abroad regarding Metropolitan Sergius's capitulation to the Soviet
authorities--even mention this Anathema?
Why were the bishops of the Church Abroad residing in the United States and
Canada, including Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko), who voted at the
Metropolitan Council in 1943 to commemorate Patriarch Sergius (and later,
in a separate resolution, to commemorate his Locum Tenens and successor,
Metropolitan, later Patriarch Alexei I), in all parishes of the Church
Abroad in North America never censured by the Sobor of the Church Abroad,
nor was St. John of Shanghai ever censured for himself commemorating and
requiring his clergy to commemorate the Moscow Patriarch in 1945?
Why was Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko) never censured for his Epistles and
Articles, in which he consistently and frequently explicitly calls the
Moscow Patriarchate "the Mother Church," and, in fact, his collected
writings were published in two editions by Jordanville?
Would not the Church Abroad, if it truly believed that the Moscow
Patriarchate were a heretical and graceless organization, which had fallen
under the Anathema of Patriarch Tikhon, be required protect the flock both
in the homeland and abroad from this false Church and unequivocally state
that no one should attend services in churches of the MP?
Instead, the Epistles of the Church Abroad constantly and continuously
**praise** the faithful under Soviet oppression who, notwithstanding danger
to themselves, continued to attend and receive the Mysteries in the temples
of the official Church that still remained open.
Why is this?
Why did the Church Abroad (under Metropolitan Philaret) issue a special
encyclical to the faithful flock decrying the edict of the Soviet
government forbidding minors to attend church or receive Communion
there--the Encyclical of the Church Abroad explicitly stating that this
would deny children communion with the Life-giving Mysteries.
Could the say that if they considered that the Mysteries given in MP
churches were graceless and invalid?
I await a rational explanation.
With love in Christ,
Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
- Dear Father Alexander, bless.
"4) Therefore, it is completely correct to call the clergy appointed
by either name -- a "Judicial Commission" or an "Ecclesiastical
Tribunal," since they were a **Judicial Commission, acting as an
Ecclesiastical Tribunal**. "
May I ask what the difference is between an "Ecclesial Tribunal" and
a "Judicial Commission"? When is one used, and when is the second
used? Why was a commission used in this case, and what precautions
were taken in this case to ensure that the judges had no personal
enmity towards the accused, or no political disagreement with them
that might bias their judgement? A judge is always biased, even when
he tries not to be.
"5) The clergy that comprised the Judicial Commission/Ecclesiastical
Tribunal all completed a full theological education, including
courses in Canon Law, and were well versed in both the Canons of the
Church and the Regulations of the Russian Orthodox Church. The three
clergymen had a combined one hundred years of service to the Church
These remarks surprise me. The knowledge of the law is not what makes
a judge fair. If the judge considers that it is fair to condemn a
bishop for typos, the fact that the judge in question has a good
knowledge of the law does not reassure me. How many "years of Church
service" did the condemned French clergy have?
The fact that the judges are versed in the canons and regulations
does not guarantee that their decision was not influenced by grief
and hostile personal or political feelings. When a judgement is
challenged in appeal, the fact that the judges of the questioned
judgement are knowledgeable is not an argument to convince about the
equity of the judgement.
How come the commission was appointed, the judgement was pronounced
and confirmed by the Sobor in two week-end days, without the accused
even being informed that they were being judged and without them
later being personally notified of their own condemnation?
Is this like any serene, compassionate and wise way of behaving for
a "tribunal". Does that not recall the expedite justice of
dictatorial regimes that condemn before they have judged? What is
incomprehensible, is that apparently no precautions were taken to
guarantee a likelihood of fairness of the judgement. A frequent
character of justice is that it is perverted. What precautions were
taken in this case to see to it that justice would not be perverted?
" 'Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or
favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. (Leviticus
Christian Justice, is the highest justice. It is the justice of the
Christian heart. The basic wise and at the same time clear and
understandable principle is expressed in the Gospel in these words:
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,
do ye even so to them: (Mathew 7:12).
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff"
> Serge Rust wrote:of
> >Fr Alexander,
> >- when you judged «fr Benjamin and other clergy», without
> >hearing them, did you make the above implied assumptions?
> Those are **your** assumptions.
> Don't presume to make them mine.
> >- how could your judgement defrock «fr Benjamin and other
> >clergy», since you claim that
> >«**no** commission and **no** tribunal can "defrock" any
> >(your post dated Tue, 27 May 2003 15:40:11)?
> >- was it a *tribunal* or a *commission*? (already repeatedly asked)
> >Not doubt that this List will find it symptomatic that the members
> >this *thing* cannot answer whether this *thing* was a *tribunal*or a
> Serge here again displays a remarkable lack of knowledge about
> procedures in the Orthodox Church, and, here, specifically, in theRussian
> Church Abroad.make things
> In order not to be misunderstood again, I will try to patiently
> clear.determines it to
> 1) In each Diocese, there exists a standing Ecclesiastical Tribunal
> that typically hears cases that come up in the Diocese.
> 2) In addition, the Synod of Bishops can and does, when it
> be necessary, appoint a special ad hoc Judicial Commission, whichacts as
> an Ecclesiastical Tribunal.appointed a
> 3) In the case of the "French Clergy," the Synod of Bishops
> special Judicial Commission, which acted as an EcclesiasticalTribunal.
> 4) Therefore, it is completely correct to call the clergy appointed
> either name -- a "Judicial Commission" or an "EcclesiasticalTribunal,"
> since they were a **Judicial Commission, acting as anEcclesiastical
> Tribunal**. (This is similar to the situation in many states thatallow
> appointed Commissioners to act as Judges--they are reallyCommissioners,
> but their powers are exactly the same as judges--and when aCommisioner or
> a Judge makes a ruling, it is equally binding, no matter what theperson on
> the bench is called).a "tribunal" is
> Therefore, the question of whether it was a "commission" or
> completely irrelevant, since it was. in reality, both.courses in
> 5) The clergy that comprised the Judicial Commission/Ecclesiastical
> Tribunal all completed a full theological education, including
> Canon Law, and were well versed in both the Canons of the Churchand the
> Regulations of the Russian Orthodox Church.the
> The three clergymen had a combined one hundred years of service to
> Church as clergymen, and all three had many years experience asSecretaries
> or Chancellors of their respective Dioceses. Each had theexperience of
> decades of service as members of Ecclesiastical Tribunals in theirJudicial
> respective Dioceses, as well.
> 6) It must be emphasized that an Ecclesiastical Tribunal (or a
> Commission acting as an Ecclesiastical Tribunal), does **not** havethe
> canonical authority to actually "defrock" or depose from office anyBishops.
> clergyman--that authority belongs solely to the Synod (or Sobor) of
> The Ecclesiastical Tribunal hears the case and determines whether,
> opinion, the accused clergyman should be subject to deposition fromoffice
> or not, and prepares a formal Resolution expressing its judicialopinion.
> If the decision of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal is that the
> be deposed, this does not happen automatically. The decision of theon the
> Ecclesiastical itself does not actually depose anyone, as I stated
> list before.modify,
> Such a decision is sent to up to the Council of Bishops, who can
> reject, send back for further deliberation, or confirm thatdecision of the
> Ecclesiastical Tribunal.Ecclesiastical
> Only if the Synod of Bishops confirms the decision of the
> Tribunal and passes its own Resolution stating that the individualorders
> clergyman is deposed from office does the actual removal from holy
> take place.depose a
> To reiterate, it is only the Synod or Sobor of Bishops that can
> clergyman from ecclesiastical orders. The Ecclesiastical Tribunalis an
> integral and required part of the process, but not the ultimatemisunderstood
> decision-making body.
> I hope that this will clarify the matter for all who may have
> my previous posts, or if I had not been sufficiently clear before.
> With love in Christ,
> Prot. Alexander Lebedeff