Interior of the ROCOR parish in Albany NY… note well that this is the ENTIRE nave, and that when one takes “waste space” into account, it means that only about 100 parishioners can attend service… and because of the space taken up by the excess clergy… there are less than 100 faithful present at this affair… this is a typical Pravoslavny Potyomkin Village, I fear (the clergy are over 10 percent of those present).
I anticipate a great deal of heat and Sturm und Drang on this. However, it’s a classic example of internet “reality”… much too good to pass up, I dare say.
Firstly, look at these:
Pretty impressive, no? The reality is MUCH more modest than what this portends (as is so much in American Orthodoxy). Firstly, note the modest size of the building, this, at the epicentre of an MSA of approximately a million people. Secondly, it is set on a secondary road, out of sight of the major thoroughfares of the region; it would have been better sited on Wolf Road or Washington Avenue Extension, rather than Sand Creek Road (which was chosen as it was convenient for a clan that fancies itself the “leaders” of the parish (they’re within a five-minute motor of this site)).
This parish is, for all intents and purposes, a dependency of the monastery at Jordanville. It has always been allied with the rigourist faction there, indeed, one could gauge the “party-line” by the way that the clergy and (some of) the people easily adjusted their opinions to fit it. Don’t argue with such sorts… for they’ll tell you that they had always held their current opinion. They’ll be “sincere”, and they’ll take offence if you press the matter. For instance, in the nasty days of the Ustinovshchyna, they loudly upheld Vitaly’s inane notion of parishes in Russia. When the wind shifted… they changed their tune. All in all, not a bunch to trust; no, not in the least. After all, they threw out a priest for not following the Vitalyist party-line slavishly… his name disappeared… his photos disappeared… no one dared refer to him. I have seen what “unperson” means… it’s not pretty in the least. Don’t point fingers at Proddies for shunning… what we do is far worse and far more noxious.
In short, none of this concerned this rather minor parish and the gossipy coterie that runs it. Since this parish is so tightly intertwined with the “Jordanville Gang”, it was a sign that Hilarion Kapral felt that he had to mend fences with certain factions at Jordanville. Take, for instance, the rector. One would think that he was a zealous pastor. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He lives in Mohawk NY, right outside Jordanville, over 100 kilometres away from this parish. The assistant priest lives at over a half-hour’s motor from Albany… that is, there is no resident ROCOR priest in Albany (a deacon does live in one of the suburban towns).
One can see that this major shindig was nothing but an excuse for Hilarion Kapral to “rally the troops” and mollify the Jordanville hardheads. That’s why one has to take all internet Orthodox news from the USA with a great deal of scepticism and wariness. There’s a great deal of over-inflation (yet, the patriarchia.ru citation means that Hilarion wanted the world to know that he was mending fences with Jordanville… it has nothing to do with this tiny parish). However, that’s the way of it in Orthodoxy in America… a great deal of puffery and very little in the way of actuality. Sad, isn’t it?
Since no major “quotations” came out of this, one can’t say whether Hilarion Kapral is making a tactical move (mollifying Jordanville prior to a major decision) or a strategic change (capitulating to the hardhead faction at Jordanville). It bears watching, though. Do note that there were no OCA clergy in the photos nor was the OCA bishop (or his representative) present. Interesting, no? Things are NEVER boring in Orthodoxy!
By the way… don’t shoot me, I’m just a messenger. If you wish to refute me, PROVE that Wsewolod Drobot doesn’t and didn’t live in Mohawk NY… I’ll retract everything, if you can prove that… and you CAN’T.
Thursday 9 September 2010
A correspondent noted that a ROCOR deacon WAS present at the consecration of an OCA parish in the area in ’09, but there appeared to be no reciprocity here. It’s interesting… but I think that’s easily explained… this parish is run by a set of hard-headed (and hard-hearted) rigourists. Ergo, Hilarion Kapral chose not to upset them. ALWAYS seek out the explanation with the fewest complications… THAT’S usually the way of it!
Another correspondent tells me that they believe that Fr Peter Olsen of the OCA was present. That’s interesting… he was the priest thrown out by the hardheads in this parish for not following the party-line in the ’90s! I’ll be blunt… there was more than one “sincere insincere” smile smiled in his direction. Fr Peter’s a fool if he thinks that some of these slippery louts are truly sorry for hurting him (and he’s no fool).