…but we got burned, anyway!
Paffhausen’s bootless boasting in Salt Lake City was truly “too much of a muchness”. For instance, take the newspaper article on his bloviations. For those who haven’t read it, the URL is:
Here’s the biggest whopper of ‘em all:
Jonah spent time in Russia, where he became a tonsured monk…
This is an outright lie. Yes, he spent time in Russia, but it was as a “free agent”, not working for any recognised body of any legitimate Local Church, he went there to work on a rag called Russky Palomnik (Russian Pilgrim), put out by the defrocked hieromonk Gleb Podmoshensky and the completely uncanonical and cultish CSB/HOOM lot. He lived at Valaam Monastery, not as a novice, not as a professed monastic, but as a lay guest of the brotherhood. His tonsure into monasticism did NOT take place in Russia, but at St Tikhon’s Monastery in South Canaan PA! One should mention that this tonsure took place AFTER his ordination. This is important. It means that JP lied publicly on the manner of his monastic tonsure. It’s a major point… JP was tonsured in the USA, not Russia! He lied, with malice aforethought, to the trusting reporter (who, to be fair, probably didn’t know much about Orthodoxy and nothing about JP himself). It would be good if someone were to point this up to the investigating magistrate in Canada… it’s proof that JP is a lying SOB who can’t be expected to tell the truth (this article proves it).
Another thing that the poor reporter didn’t know was that OCL is a fringe group in the GOAA… it’s a group of rebel dissidents bent on introducing semi-Protestant features into the life of the Archdiocese. Trust me, none of my Greek friends trust them or have anything to do with them. In addition, the figures on the number of converts in the OCA are inflated. It is nowhere near 50 percent. Most of the faithful are of Russian, Carpatho-Russian, Galician, Romanian, and Bulgarian background. It’s true that the konvertsy monopolise most of the internet dialogue… most of us ethnics don’t seem to be involved with it, or, if we are, it’s in one of the original languages on websites and fora based in the homelands. That’s where the action is, after all… if you need proof; look at kuraev.ru… that’s the REAL DEAL.
I believe this was a misbegotten attempt to divert attention from l’Affaire Storheim… actually, it backfired badly. JP lied about his monastic tonsure… that’s not unimportant! I wish someone could pass that on to the coppers in Winnipeg… it would help them to see what sort of filth they’re dealing with. It also tells Orthodox Christians that JP holds us in such contempt that he lies brazenly to us. Here’s something concerning his brotherhood. Yes… the retired Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald wrote it (and I know how he savaged some people wrongly)… but it’s true. I’m the sort of person who accepts the truth, regardless of the messenger. Take a look:
Finally, there is the monastery of our Father among the Saints, John, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco, Wonderworker. I’m sorry to have to report to protopriest Athanasios that the monastics there are DREADFULLY prosperous, and if a Bishop were to provide MORE for them, he would be storing up a bad report for himself at the last day. They manufacture candles from time to time, and they are actively engaged in publishing, most prominently, the periodical Divine Ascent.
St John’s Monastery monks have cell phones, laptops, charge cards, and frequently travel about regaling “The Faithful” with talks on things like “The Essence of Monasticism” or “The Monastic Way of Life”. Most Orthodox monks who’ve ever lived on this planet would find it hard to imagine that the monks of St John’s monastery were living in monastic poverty. Don’t even ask about fasting. One monk who has been part of the monastery since the beginning even told me that when he lived, for a time in Valaam “as if” he were a monk there, he most certainly did NOT eat the same diet as the Valaam monks… he even thought it was ridiculous to imagine an American eating that sort of soup or vegetable gruel. Not only that, the American is taught that not only are bathrooms scrubbed and washed using 100 per cent pure drinking water, but that it is essential to get the proper amount of PROTEIN.
Let’s recapitulate… the alleged child abuse affair with Storheim took place thirty years ago (1980?) … we know that he was at that pseudo-monastery in Finland in ‘80 and ‘81. He became a bishop in ‘87, whilst Denisenko was still in charge of the DECR. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Storheim allegedly did the nasty in ‘80, was sent to Finland until the furore died down, and met Denisenko, who advanced him because the KRA had kompromat on him. That was SO common in Sov times… the konvertsy don’t know this. The Sovs LOVED bishops with a “past”… they could be controlled, no? That’s what people thought of Bloom in England, or l’Huillier and Gury in France. Most of all, one doesn’t have to build a fancy convoluted theory about it all… it’s simple, really. Storheim was acceptable to the KGB because of his alleged naughty doings… long and short of it… sad, isn’t it? The OCA had to accept what Moscow dished out; they had no other canonical lifeline. Just as ROCOR accepted money from the CIA (as attested to by Alexander Lebedeff), everyone “knew” that the OCA took money from the Sovs (and they had to be their organ-grinder monkey on everything, or they wouldn’t be paid).
Don’t misunderstand me… both parties in the OCA/ROCOR dispute are equally at fault… both parties allowed themselves to be hijacked by unrepresentative minorities (Grabbe’s bunch in the ROCOR, and Schmemann’s bunch in the OCA). In both cases, good bishops did their best to fight this spirit (Archbishop Antony Bartoshevich in the ROCOR and Archbishop Kyprian Borisevich in the OCA)… but it could not stop the corrosive war between the two loud principals and their flunky allies. You see, both the OCA and the ROCOR are “headless”. The OCA has been floundering ever since the death of Aleksandr Schmemann in 1983 and the ROCOR has been wandering in the wilderness ever since the fall of the Sovs in ’91. As a local in Richfield Springs (the town closest to the Jordanville monastery) put it to me once, “They lost their reason for being after the commies fell in ’91. They used to be self-sufficient, but not anymore”. That is, both groups are headless chickens dashing about the farmyard, spraying everyone with their blood and gore.
Recently, the MP had to deal with a child abuse scandal at a convent in Vladimir. Unlike the OCA, they acted… the shelter was closed… the Church is cooperating with the investigation of the RF Genprokuratura (General Prosecutor)… the Church is also running its own inspection in tandem with the state’s inquiry. It’s not because Russians are “better” than Americans are… the story was broken by Izvestiya and ITAR-TASS. That is, the media shone its spotlight on them, and the MP did well. Here, the media shone its light on the OCA, and it lied. God do bloody help us.
We need to do what the Mother Church is doing. A priest friend in the MP wrote to me, “The first-year seminarists in Riga didn’t go to classes in September. Instead, they went to the Skete of the Trinity St Sergius Convent (the skete is in Valgunda near Yelgava) and dug up potatoes. What a great idea! This is just what the SVS people need to bring them, literally, down to earth. My matushka thinks it’s a brilliant, educative idea, rather than studying all that airy-fairy Protestant guff in the Schmemann and Meyendorff books”. That’s what we need to do… not lie to the press as Paffhausen did. I’m sad that the reporter met JP… I wish that she had the chance to meet the late Metropolitan Laurus Škurla and chat with him as he washed the dishes… now, that’s Orthodoxy!
Shall you take my hand as we walk through the gloom? It won’t last forever… it’ll just feel that way.
Thursday 21 October 2010