Hmm… all too appropriate for the situation, no?
Look at this (bear in mind that it is less than it appears, I’ll explain after you look at it):
It appears that JP has gone to Moscow, all of a sudden, with no prior announcement on oca.org (as there was for his two earlier junkets this year). Besides that, he travelled light, with only a cell-attendant, no Garklavs, no Lyonyo, no priest, or no deacon accompanying him. This is highly unusual. A First Hierarch normally travels to the see city of another First Hierarch with at least a small entourage… it’s the expected thing, after all. Furthermore, a First Hierarch greets another First Hierarch in person; it’s what we Orthodox do at such events. There is a whole set of rigmarole and protocol and folderol that goes its accustomed and merry way. Why didn’t JP get the usual treatment? JP received the reception that one would give a run-of-the-mill bishop of another Local Church… nothing special. Who showed up to meet him? Hilarion Alfeyev, a high-level flunky (remember, he is not a ruling bishop and KMG trimmed his department), despite all the noise concerning him in pseudo-intellectual circles. As for Bishop Aleksandr Agrikov, he is a flunky under Metropolitan Yuvenaly Poyarkov. If Vladyki Yuvenaly had shown up… that would have impressed me. He’s KMG’s unsinkable satrap (he is the Vicar of the Moscow Diocese), just as he was for Patriarch Aleksei. Do remember that Metropolitan Yuvenaly outright and explicitly forbade OCA clergy to serve in any role at the funeral of Metropolitan Laurus in ’08. The pretext is lame… fifteenth anniversary? Who is JP trying to fool?
As I say, this is ODD. There is a regular session of the MP Holy Synod due this month with the topic of the diaspora on the agenda. Firstly, one must understand that the MP, like all organisations, has factions within it. Hilarion Alfeyev does lead one of the factions, but, one that is not as strong as Amerikantsy konvertsy believe. I note well that KMG did not deign to meet JP in person. I believe that the MP Holy Synod summoned JP to Moscow to answer questions. Let’s not equivocate… the OCA’s autocephaly does not exist in fact; it is only a mere shell of a formality. No other Local Church recognises it as an actual Local Church save for a few small bodies that everyone knows are dependent on Moscow. The EP does not… Serbia does not… Antioch does not… that is why all of the named Local Churches have branches in the USA and Canada.
It’s time to lay the cards face up for inspection. JP is not a First Hierarch… he is just a senior metropolitan of a metropolitan district. The so-called OCA is nothing more than the old Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Metropolia of North America with an altered title. He is not the “Metropolitan of all America and Canada”… tell that one to Demetrios Trakatellis! Hell, tell that to Philip Saliba… note well that Philip has never placed one iota of his archdiocese under OCA authority. The OCA is a failed experiment, a rusted relic of the Cold War, and the last remnant of the Soviet Union left in existence (remember how the OCA always denied that there was persecution in the USSR? I do). Do recall that the Reds vetted Lyonyo Kishkovsky and found him suitable to their ends. He’s still the head of the OCA DECR…
I had an interesting chat on the phone with Matushka Nina Stroyen tonight. It seems that JP and his HOOMie buddies are trying to shut down St Tikhon’s because they claim that it’s in the red! As she said, the place isn’t rolling in cash, but, it’s in the black. It’s causing one hell of a smell amongst the alumni. Add this to JP’s addled remarks at Antiochian Village before the OCL pirates and his jabs at the GOA; it could very well be that the MP Holy Synod called him to The Centre for a “come to Jesus” talk and a session in the woodshed.
As a priestly friend of mine in the MP put it, his words are well worth pondering:
The OCA will definitely fall apart… it always was a temporary Cold War creation, but, I do not know when or how it will fall apart. Moscow will pick up Alaska (what they really want, ask Metropolitan Kliment), Canada, the healthy element at St Tikhon’s and in Pennsylvania, and a few others who still have some sense of the Faith and the Tradition. The natural place for the Episcopalian/Ancient Faith Radio convert group etc is Antioch. However, of course, Antioch with a new Patriarch may yet send all these Protestants packing…
Moscow plays a long game, it can afford to. You are right; it takes its time to work out who is reliable and who is not, who gets birthday greetings and Russian passports from the Patriarch and who does not. If Metropolitan Jonas wants to cut his throat, as he seems to want to, Moscow will let him. However, if he finally proves he is not a convert, actually understands the Church, and has some Orthodox common sense, they will take him.
Wait for the December synod in Moscow.
That’s a good way to end this. JP is a pig in a poke. Send him no money… send him no cheques. Moscow is looking him over… quo vadis, Jonas Paffhausen?
Sunday 6 December 2009