Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury (1950- ). I wonder what responsible parties in Moscow think of this (and I don’t mean the Boy Wonder and his scurvy lot). This is a sad day for all Orthodox Christians… SVS spits on Christ and Paffhausen beams his approval… Gospodi pomilui!
I was hoping that I would not have to write this post, truly I had hoped against hope that sanity would prevail. It has not. Tomorrow, on Saturday 30 January, SVS is going to spit in the face of our Lord Christ and Jonas Paffhausen just stupidly grins a moronic smile in approval. There has been a great deal of scandal concerning the invitation of Mr Williams to SVS, as well there should have been. For decades, SVS has been out of step with the Church… anyone who remembers their nasty behaviour in the 70s and 80s can attest to that. Don’t listen to their blather about an “international award”… truthfully, it went unreported in the Russian media.
I have heard from friends about some of the Sturm und Drang that’s occurring now. Frankly, you should ignore it and go on to better things. NOTHING is going to happen. One reason that nothing is going to happen is that most of the protest being voiced is bootless. An example was an internet post by Patrick Henry Reardon. It disgusted me with its obsequious tone and its arrogant and condescending tone towards Orthodox from traditional backgrounds.
First, reread his grovelling little screed:
Did you notice the condescension that just oozed out of this piece? First, I speak for the simple faithful who worship in our Orthodox parishes, those friends of the St Vladimir’s who feel betrayed by the seminary’s decision with respect to Dr Williams. What arrogant rubbish! Firstly, Mr Reardon, you speak for no one other than yourself. I speak for no one other than myself. I do not speak for you, it would be presumptuous, sir; nor do you speak for me, or for anyone else, for that matter. I can speak for myself; I do NOT need a strutting and preening Angliochian to be my advocate.
Secondly, SVS is NOT popular amongst the faithful… it never has been so, Mr Reardon. Alexander Schmemann was a wicked man hated in many quarters for his lies (he started the fib that there were one million faithful in the OCA) and his nasty behaviour towards those who disagreed with him (do ask the people on Russian Hill and in Sea Cliff about him).
Thirdly, this action does not stand in isolation, and you distorted the whole issue by tearing it out of its context. This is a logical outgrowth of the abomination signed at Nashotah House, a seminary of the TEC. Where do you stand on that, Mr Reardon? If SVS signs a pact with a TEC seminary, why shouldn’t they invite Mr Williams… after all, Nashotah House is in good odour with SVS, and they are in communion with Mr Williams! This means that SVS approves of the Branch Theory, for Mr Williams and Nashotah House teach that as Gospel Truth. That is to say, SVS approves of a heresy that the Church of Moscow has condemned explicitly, and by all other Local Churches implicitly. You did not mention this… yet, it is the most important component of the unease that most Orthodox feel about this. Are you afraid of offending your Anglican friends, Mr Reardon?
What should you have written? I offer the following:
The upcoming visit of Rowan Williams to SVS in an official capacity not only has caused much upset amongst the Orthodox faithful, it has caused me great personal disquiet. It offers a de facto acceptance of the Anglican Branch Theory, which no Orthodox Christian can agree to, as the Mother Church of Moscow has condemned this. I feel that I must state the following, as unpleasant as it may be.
I condemn the visit of Rowan Williams without reservation. I condemn the signing of the Nashotah House agreement without reservation. I condemn your support of New Skete and its ‘feast of St Francis’ without reservation. I condemn your protection of clerics who destroy church records without reservation. I condemn your support of SVS inviting the Uniate Robert Taft to come and attack the Holy Mountain without reservation. This is a disturbing pattern of events, and it does not cover the entirety of what has transpired over the past year.
There is still a chance of retrieving the situation, albeit a slim one. Please, turn back! Punish SVS publicly for their cheek and arrogance in inviting Mr Williams. Do I expect you to do this? No, I do not. I believe that you have cast your lot in with Renovationism and indifferentism. Therefore, I must break personal contact with you based on your support for unchurchly attitudes and movements. If I were to retain personal contact with you, it would be a public admission that I agree with you. Most emphatically, I do not.
I wish that this situation had not come to such a juncture. It is a painful and sorrowful choice. Nevertheless, I must not allow anyone to attack the Body of Christ, His Visible Church. May God have mercy on you.
There! That is polite, firm, and without condescension. It is how a Russian writes such a letter, Mr Reardon. I believe that you are going to make a protest and not do anything to give that protest “teeth”, sir. You refuse to see that this is not an isolated instance, and it forces one to ask, “Does Patrick Henry Reardon condemn the full evil found at SVS or does he merely object to a manifestation of that evil?” That leads to another question, “Would Mr Reardon have converted if he was told point-blank that he would never be ordained to the Orthodox clergy?”
I fear that anyone familiar with Mr Reardon’s writings can tell that he received an Anglican and not an Orthodox formation as a cleric. Therefore, for Mr Reardon to claim that he is speaking for Orthodox taken together is not only arrogant, it is wrong. I don’t claim such, and my knowledge of Orthodox history and culture is greater than his is (and I learn something new every day… THAT keeps me humble).
Nevertheless, the final question is, “Does Mr Reardon bemoan an attack on Christ’s Church or does he bemoan an ill choice of tactics?” I fear that Mr Reardon must choose between SVS and Christ’s Church. God willing, he will join us… it will be hard for him to leave the konvertsy milieu. Mr Reardon, I hope that you take no offence at my tone… it was not meant to belittle you. We would have you as a comrade, but you are not our leader nor do you speak for us, that is clear.
Crazy world, ain’t it, Pat? Sit down by the fire and have a warm. I’ll fetch you a bowl of steaming shchi and Nicky will pour you a drink. It’s cold out there, isn’t it?
Friday 29 January 2010