Voices from Russia

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Paffso’s Old Monastery to Face Wrecking Ball

00 point reyes monastery. 20.09.14

______________________________

An anonymous developer wants to tear down the remnants of an old monastery in Inverness Park CA to build six new structures, totalling 8,300 square feet of building area. The 17-acre parcel near the start of Drakes Summit had been the home of St Eugene’s Hermitage, a Christian community that lived in cramped cottages, made candles, and whispered prayers in a small white chapel since 1951. The monks departed in 2006 after repeated attempts to expand provoked neighbours’ ire, leaving the property unoccupied and littered with fir needles for the past several years. The new owners, Hidden Dragon, LLC, submitted designs to county planners last month to demolish the four existing structures and build a 5,494-square-foot two-story home, a second 750-square-foot residence for the caretakers, a 1,316-square-foot detached studio for art or writing, two garages, a lap pool, and a “meditation hut”. They also plan to install two septic systems, two 5,000-gallon water tanks, a 1,000-gallon propane tank, and four parking spaces for guests. They want to remove four dozen Douglas-fir, California bay, coast live oak, and madrone trees, 31 of which have protected status due to their size; they’d replant 28 California live oak big leaf maple and buckeye trees.

The Inverness Association’s design review committee will look at the application over the coming weeks, said Bridger Mitchell, the group’s vice president. The Community Development Agency is accepting comments on the application’s completeness and the project’s merits until next Friday, 12 September. Designed by Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects, whose other residences the New York Times described as “ruggedly elegant” and “uncomplicated” in form, the primary residence is a steel and concrete structure with a painted metal roof. Its walls would feature an aged-wood siding to match the dense forest around the home, and its rooms look out onto the landscape through large windows. Architect Steve Grim said that his design intends to be a transition between the meadow and the forest on the parcel, a mediation “between those two experiences while being in and of both”. It utilises a pavilion structure to reduce bulk and keep a low visual profile from the street. Inspired by the J B Blunk house, Mr Grim said that the design means to be “sustainable, healthy, and visually unobtrusive”.

Chris Stanton, who represents the titleholders through his San Rafael CA-based firm, Inverness Construction Management, wouldn’t disclose the names behind the limited liability corporation. According to the California Secretary of State’s records, the agent behind the LLC is Whitney Rugg, who lives in a luxury Presidio Landmark apartment recently remodelled from a dilapidated graffiti-painted hospital in San Francisco. The home will be their secondary residence for now, but the owners plan to retire here, Mr Stanton said (a young couple with a child who previously lived in West Marin will be the property’s stewards and live fulltime in the second cottage). In that sense, the property is returning to its oldest use… Inverness began as a hideaway, or a hermitage, if you will, for those in “the Establishment”, as historian Jack Mason wrote in Earthquake Bay. During the summer, “bankers, doctors, and judges from San Francisco and the Valley cities, and academicians from the Berkeley scene” retreated to their Inverness houses, which “reflected taste and affluence that set the town apart from the jerry-built summer colonies elsewhere in the county”.

James Cobb, who worked in the insurance business and lived in Berkeley with his wife and five children, built the first house on the parcel, which appears to still be standing, in 1920. During the summer town’s heyday… between the building of a horse-and-wagon stageline to Point Reyes Station in 1905 and the downturn after the Great Depression that bankrupted the hotels… the house was a vacation home, presumably, or even a rental. A later owner, Maria Lurie of San Francisco, gifted the property to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1951. She named it St Eugene’s as a memorial to her son Eugene Lurie, an infantryman killed on the last day of World War II only hours before the declaration of peace.

The first inhabitant, Rev Dimitri Egoroff, built two small cottages… one with a chapel suitable for one person to occupy and another with a kitchen and reception area for guests. In a 1956 sermon, Fr Dmitri recounted, “In the California forest, on the small hill on which the monastery stands, an air of detachment from one’s surroundings, which were somewhere down below, wafted. The place reminded one of something Athonite (a holy mountain in Greece with twenty Orthodox monasteries) and breathed an untroubled peace”. Under vows of poverty, chastity, and solitude, Fr Dmitri lived alone, praying the morning matins and the nightly even-song until his health began to decline after 18 years. At each sunset, his chanting, “Thou makes darkness and it is night”, echoed through the forest accompanied by floating trails of incense.

After the founder left, several monks trickled in and out until a group of nuns moved from Calistoga in 1983. They resumed a years-long project to build a small chapel suitable for services. Completed in 1988, they built it around the cupola from the belltower of Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco, where the young Mr Lurie had been a member of the congregation before his death. A relic with a piece of a saint’s toe and painted icons of Jesus surrounded the walls, all lit by beeswax candles on silver bases. When the nuns could no longer care for the property and moved to Santa Rosa, the Monastery of St John took over operations in 1996. They continued to make candles in a rusting shipping container and pray in regular devotions, but the growing organisation of about a dozen monks needed to expand beyond the original dwellings, intended for one or two people, and had since fallen into disrepair due to crude construction and an infestation of black mould after years in fog. The monks’ plans faced continual rejection… “stymied by Marin County officialdom”… and eventually, fed up, they dismantled their small chapel, loaded it onto the back of a flatbed truck, and carried it off with them north to Manton, a remote town in Tehama County, in 2008.

Mr Stanton said the new owners, like the holy men before them, have “concerns” about how their plans will be received, saying, “I wouldn’t equate it with the chapel, a residence, and having 30 people at the site, but you know, it’s West Marin, and so we plan to see some objections raised”. One wonders how the men and women in black robes would react to seeing their cottages bulldozed, how the monks who renounced this world to instead plead daily for repentance would feel observing the new owners towel off from the pool and retreat into their own meditation hut. In his 1956 sermon, Fr Dmitri gave his own arguments justifying a “small, modest, secluded” life. He preached, “A person in the world becomes accustomed to the world and starts to live by its interests, but we know that everything in the world is temporary and swiftly passing. As for man, his days are as the grass… as a flower of the field, so shall he blossom forth. For when the wind is passed over it, then it shall be gone, and no longer will it know the place thereof”.

4 September 2014

Christopher Peak

Point Reyes (CA) Light

http://www.ptreyeslight.com/article/proposed-inverness-park-home-would-raze-historic-retreat

Thursday, 28 August 2014

28 August 2014. Some OCA Whispers in the Loggia

00 a whisper in the loggia. 08.12

_______________________________

Well, kids, there’s buzz that Maymon wants to sell the Diocese of E PA digs in South Canaan and move to Philly. He can’t stand living in rural PA. Poor baby! It was good enough for Bishop Kip! It was good enough for Herman… it shows good sense, it’s cheaper to live up there, and it’s in the midst of the people. Perhaps, that’s why the Anglo bastard wants to leave… it’s in the midst of people that he holds in contempt. He was nothing but trouble for the Antiochians and he’s turning out to be nothing but a pain in the ass for the OCA. A local told me:

Can you see those coal-crackers like Kowalski driving to Philly every week?!

NO WAY! NO HOW! Any road, NEPA is the cradle of our Church. It’s full of WONDERFUL folks. Maymon is an ungrateful and self-centred bastard… NEPA is a special place… full of special people. Hell, I wouldn’t mind retiring there myself. Where was the Metropolia’s first Sobor? Mayfield! This Anglo SOB doesn’t know that in his bones and he doesn’t care. He should stop this immediately and issue an apology to his people. Every time that I think that the Anglos have grown some sense, shit like this happens. It’s why they’re hated by many ethnic folks… they’re “oh so much more better” than we are, and they let us know it in so many ways. For Maymon to leave NEPA is spitting on our heritage. We came out of the mines and mills, not the country club! He deserves a Cossack horsewhipping for this.

On a lighter note, Dickie Wood surfaced on Facebook in civvies. That doesn’t mean anything of itself… many priests do that in their “off hours” (like the late Metropolitan Nicholas Smiško going off to the International to have a friendly brewsky or two). However, it’s set tongues wagging, and I’ve heard it from several… it doesn’t mean anything of itself… but do keep your eyes n’ ears peeled.

BMD

 

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Вечная ему память. Reader John Richard Daeunhauer: Orthodox Christian and Poet

00 Dauenhauers. 22.08.14

A note to my readers… anything that you see on this blogsite, you can post on yours… I don’t believe in suing people, puffing myself up, or trying to steal credit that’s not mine to steal. We’re all in this together…

******

00 John Richard Daeunhauer. 23.08.14

Dick and Nora earlier this year, in May…

______________________________

Reader John Richard Daeuenhauer wasn’t only a scholar and preserver of Tlingit language and literacy. He was a faithful Orthodox Christian and Church Reader who attended services, received sacraments, served on his parish council, and was on the St Herman Seminary Board. One of his many legacies is his poetry, which fuses Orthodox theology with creative expression and interactions with the Alaskan landscape and people. Daeunhauer’s writings and poetry are full of the themes of personal transfiguration, death, and resurrection in Christ. The Orthodox faith helped shape his worldview; his essay The Spiritual Epiphany of Aleut clearly expressed that. Reader John showed an abiding interest in the Orthodox teaching of theosis, the gradual process of human beings becoming “partakers of the divine nature” (1 Peter 1.4) and growing in the likeness of God. He wrote:

The potential for divinity is inseparable from the potential for humanity, because, as Jesus teaches in the Gospel according to St Luke (17.21) that the Kingdom of God is within us and doesn’t come visibly in the form of a geographic place. Likewise, St John the Theologian repeats a theme throughout the Fourth Gospel that we all have the potential of being born as children of God (1.12-13) and that unless we undergo a spiritual rebirth or enlightenment… a spiritual coming alive… we can’t see the Kingdom of God (3.3-8). Conversely, the act or experience of enlightenment reveals the Kingdom of God.

Orthodox Alaska

January 1979, p. 35   

This quest for spiritual rebirth and regeneration certainly was a major theme in Dauenhauer’s life and work. As a faithful Orthodox Christian, Reader John sought to be personally transformed and transfigured by Jesus Christ and the life of the Church. Through personal rebirth, not only do we see the Kingdom of God (even in this life), but we become truly human. It’s only in relationship to God that we can become human beings.  Reader John’s love, humour, and kindness show that he had truly become a new creature in Christ.

Reader John often meditated and wrote on death and mortality in the Light of Christ’s Holy Resurrection. Now, he’s personally made that passage from death to life that he prayed about for many years.  His unpublished poetry collection Doxologies has two beautiful poems on Pascha, which express his belief in life after death and the unique way in which Orthodox services link the Church on earth with the Church in heaven. In these poems, the liturgical worship of the Church mirrors and reflects cosmic worship and transformation of all of God’s Creation. As we pray for Reader John, Norah, and family, his poetry can help us experience the Empty Tomb and the Light of Christ’s Holy Resurrection. They form a lasting legacy to Reader John’s abiding faith and hope in Christ. We believe that Reader John is now experiencing the heavenly cosmic Liturgy of which he wrote so convincingly. May His memory be eternal!

Вечная ему память

undated (after 19 August 2014)

The Diocese of Alaska

http://www.doaoca.org/news_140821_1.html

Sunday, 3 August 2014

3 August 2014. One of the Cabinet Speaks Up… It’s a Read n’ Heed Kids…

signing-on-the-dotted-line

The OCA LOVES “confidential settlements”… “We admit no crime or wrongdoing”. It’s time that we held clerics to the same standard that we hold everyone else to (which includes public judgement of criminal matters). In any case, hasn’t Storheim injured the Church’s credibility enough? It’s time to ‘fess up and get down… but will we?

_______________________________

Editor:

I got this from a Cabinet member a while back… it still has relevance. We have a lot of labour ahead of us… I have a word or two after this.

BMD

******

I just can’t wrap my head around why the [OCA] Chancellor posts the Pastoral Changes with a three-month delay. Okay, so maybe the dioceses don’t send in their reports sharp at the end of the month, so it takes, say, a couple or three weeks to extort the data from overworked diocesan chancellors with families, parish assignments of their own, etc. Can’t they have the thing done and posted by the end of the following month, then? Does it really warrant a quarterly posting schedule? Also, note that they’re not posted in a single place on the OCA website; you literally have to search for the press releases and dig them out one by one. It’s maddening.

Speaking of the Pastoral Changes, it hit me that I’d missed the ones for August and September, so I went and looked them up. Guess what I found? Archimandrite Gerasim Eliel assigned to St Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas TX effective 1 September 2013!  I knew (and I think you reported earlier) that he’d gone to a parish in the Diocese of the South, but being assigned to the Cathedral there is whole ‘nother story! So, is this how they’re trying to foist him upon the South? Remember, Fr Gerasim didn’t drop out of GTU. No, he dropped out of college at UC Santa Cruz and ended up going off to Platina in 1981. Download a copy of his excruciatingly detailed episcopal search autobiography, which is good for these points here. By the way, Fr David Brum didn’t attend GTU either… he attended St Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park CA for his M.Div. and the Catholic University of America in DC for his JCL (a licentiate in Canon Law). Here’s his bio for the details.

Now, speaking of Canon Law, I should add a few words on the Storheim saga. Firstly, in canonical terms, a man is either a cleric or not. When we depose a cleric, we don’t demote him to a lower order, but remove him from the ranks of the clergy altogether. Therefore, we can’t “roll back” Storheim to be a simple priest… we’ve ordained him a Bishop, and he must either remain a Bishop or no longer be a clergyman at all. It’s correct that according to the canonical tradition, we can’t punish someone for one crime twice. What this means is that, if we deposed him for the abuse of minors, then, we couldn’t excommunicated him for that same crime. That would be the double punishment.

Now, presumably, Storheim received monastic tonsure before being ordained a Bishop, so, even if we depose him from the clergy, he’d still be a monk under obedience to whomever his Bishop is unless he asks for a release from that state of life as well. If we depose him, his Bishop (after consulting with the Synod) CAN and SHOULD send him off to a monastery somewhere far away to live out the rest of his days. He seems to like Finland; they should see if somewhere over there would take him.

As for the deposition, note that the canons require a court of twelve Bishops to depose another Bishop. Even with the newly filled vacancies in Alaska and Eastern PA, the OCA is up only to 10 (it’s still down three, with vacancies in the Midwest, the South, and for all practical purposes, Canada). Now, one thing the Synod can do (there’s historical precedent) is to ask another Local Church to provide the missing number of Bishops… which realistically means Moscow in this case. I don’t know if they’ve asked them, but even Moscow might have its reasons not to soil its hands with the OCA’s dirty work, at least not immediately. We’ll just have to see what transpires in the immediate future… I can’t imagine that session of the Holy Synod that considered SMPAC and ORSMA policies and “reviewed a variety of clergy matters, including disciplines” ended without discussing the Storheim débâcle. Anyway, it’s important that the canonical process of deposition is impeccable. This is the first time that the OCA would set out to depose a Bishop, and we should give no excuse to Storheim’s supporters to argue that the deposition wasn’t valid. You remember how JP’s supporters argued that his own resignation was invalid? Imagine some employing the same tactic here, and with a far more unnerving goal.

Regarding Metropolitan Philip Saliba, your correspondent was right. He released clergy to and received them from the ROCOR normally even when they weren’t in communion with anyone else but the Serbs, and he had a beautiful wall icon of St Xenia of Petersburg painted at the Ss Peter and Paul Chapel in Antiochian Village even before Moscow canonised her because the ROCOR had already done it. There’s certainly a debt of gratitude there!

******

As for tardy reports of pastoral changes, that’d be easy to fix. Each diocese would report weekly via a standardised computer form. If no changes, they’d simply check the “no changes” box. It’d take five minutes at best. Modern computer technology allows understaffed institutions to be just as efficient as the MP is… and we should use it! If a chancellor of a diocese refused to use it, well, it’d be time to replace the chancellor. “Use modern means or go home”… we don’t use quill pens anymore… ‘nuff said, end of story…

If Eliel is a dropout, we shouldn’t have him on any list for bishop… full stop. That’s the end of the story. David Brum is the author of the notorious (and anti-canonical and anti-Traditional) “Brum Doctrine”… that the Metropolitan of the OCA is a tin-pot dictator who can override the Holy Synod. Of course, that ain’t Orthodox, but what do you expect from someone who lacks a real Orthodox formation? He DOES have a full-bore papist formation. Of course, he doesn’t (and can’t) teach according to Orthodox formulations! Note well, the konvertsy drool over both paladins. The Centre wouldn’t consecrate either one of these champions as bishops… neither should we.

To put it simply, Storheim’s put the Church through enough grief. It’s time to depose him and pack him off to the Mountain, where he can’t bother any more kids. I’d bet even money that the Canadian courts would sign off on that one. It gets rid of a headache for all concerned, it acknowledges Storheim’s guilt, and it means that the Church accepts and respects Mr Justice Mainella’s assessment of Mr Storheim… that he lacks any shred of credibility. Besides, the Church should apologise publicly to Storheim’s victims… not only for the abuse, but also for the unfounded attacks on their credibility by Mr Gindin, Storheim’s legal mouthpiece. Yes, it means that the OCA will have to pony up for the damages caused… but that’s fair. In fact, it’s a licit use for the “widow’s mite”… whereas to use it to savage the victims in court was not.

My Cabinet not only keeps me informed, they keep me grounded. Note well that most of the konvertsy bloggers are “lone wolves”. In Orthodox terms, that’s really beyond the pale. Keep it centred and focused… the times ARE evil… many who look “good” are crook, and many who look “off” are good. Keep the jug at hand… it hasn’t got any less crank in the last 24…

BMD

Next Page »

Theme: Rubric. Get a free blog at WordPress.com

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 938 other followers