Re: Fundamental Question
- 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.
In the recent synodical letter to bishop Ambrose, we read:
"The grace of the Mysteries in the churches in Russia is not
questioned by the Russian Church Abroad, just as the Moscow
Patriarchate accepts the Mysteries performed by clergymen of the
Russian Church Abroad"
Now the question.
Please explain, if the Synod believes that the MP has the Divine
Grace, why did the Synod avoid stating clearly that «ROCOR accepts
the Mysteries performed by clergymen of the MP»?
After all, «not questioning» is not at all equivalent to
And even about that Grace which is presumably «not
questioned» (but neither «accepted»), why did the Synod refer
to «the churches in Russia» - an indefinite, collective, and
confusing designation - rather than to the MP,
which it was all about?
Should we understand that the Synod has some Mysterious hesitation
about its own «official opinion»?
I await a rational explanation.
(a benevolent observer)
- 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