Voices from Russia

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bart Sez 50 Years of “Love” and “Harmony” Between Catholics and Orthodox… He was the ONLY Orthodox Leader to Show Up for Vatican Dixie Fry

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Editor’s Foreword:

This screed below is from Asia News, so, caveat lector. It’s a field full of fresh cow pats just waiting for the unwary… as though Orthodox give a rat’s ass about Vatican II… we don’t, it’s an internal papist council, that’s all that it is, it’s of no interest or applicability to us… HO HUM. Papal encyclicals are equally groaners and sleep-inducers. This is crapola from stem to stern… but read it… do read it, please. You must be informed on what’s out there.

BMD

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The sole representative of Orthodoxy at the ceremony for the start of the Year of Faith, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople retraced the stages of the search for unity between Catholics and Orthodox, and between the Orthodox themselves, favoured by the Second Vatican Council.

“Love”, “desire for harmony”, “dialogue,” and “mutual respect”, were values ​​witnessed by the presence of Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis at the ceremony that began the Year of the Faith, which marked 50 years since the Opening of the Second Vatican Council. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople was the sole representative of Orthodoxy invited to the ceremony. Moreover, as he himself recalled at the end of the Mass celebrated by Benedict XVI Ratzinger, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has always been committed to ecumenism, which was the mainspring of the Second Vatican Council.

In his speech, which we publish below in full, Bartholomew retraced the steps that led up to the opening of the theological dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox. At the same time, he pointed up that the Vatican Council also catalysed tensions in the search for unity even among the Orthodox Churches. Unity among Christians, that for which Christ prayed before the “Gethsemane experience”, is a function of the common witness of the “message of salvation and healing for our brethren… the poor, the oppressed, the marginalised in world created by God”. “In the current turmoil of violence, separation, and brokenness that is escalating between peoples and nations, may the love and desire for harmony we profess here, and the understanding we seek through dialogue and mutual respect, serve as a model for our world”. The full address by the Ecumenical Patriarch follows below.

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Beloved brother in the Lord, Your Holiness Pope Benedict;

Brothers and Sisters;

As Christ prepared for His Gethsemane experience, He prayed a prayer for unity, which is recorded in the Gospel according to St John Chapter 17 verse 11:

“Keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are”.

Through the centuries we have, indeed, been kept in the power and love of Christ, and in the proper moment in history the Holy Spirit moved upon us and we began the long journey towards the visible unity that Christ desires. This was confirmed in Unitatis Redintegratio §1:

Everywhere large numbers have felt the impulse of this grace, and among our separated brethren also there increases from day to day the movement, fostered by the grace of the Holy Spirit, for the restoration of unity among all Christians.

Fifty years ago in this very square, a powerful and pivotal celebration captured the heart and mind of the Roman Catholic Church, transporting it across the centuries into the contemporary world. This transforming milestone, the opening of the Second Vatican Council, was inspired by the fundamental reality that the Son and incarnate Logos of God is “…where two or three are gathered in his name” (Gospel according to St Matthew 18.20) and that the Spirit, who proceeds from the Father, “…will guide us into the whole truth.” (Gospel according to St John 16.13).

In the 50 years that intervened, we recall with vividness and tenderness, but also with elation and enthusiasm, our personal discussions with episcopal members and theological periti during our formative time… then, as a young student… at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, as well as our personal attendance at some special sessions of the Council. We witnessed firsthand how the bishops experienced a renewed awareness of the validity… and a reinforced sense of the continuity… of the tradition and faith “once for all delivered to the saints” (Epistle of St Jude 1.3). It was a period of promise and hope for your Church both internally and externally.

For the Orthodox Church, we’ve observed a time of exchange and expectation. For example, the convocation of the first Pan-Orthodox Conferences in Rhodes led to the Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conferences in preparation for the Great Council of the Orthodox Churches. These exchanges will demonstrate the unified witness of the Orthodox Church in the modern world. Moreover, it coincided with the “dialogue of love” and heralded the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Church, which was established by our venerable predecessors Pope John Paul II Wojtyła and Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios Papadopoulos.

Over the last five decades, the achievements of this assembly have been diverse as evidenced through the series of important and influential constitutions, declarations, and decrees. We’ve contemplated the renewal of the spirit and “return to the sources” through liturgical study, biblical research, and patristic scholarship. We’ve appreciated the struggle toward gradual liberation from the limitation of rigid scholasticism to the openness of ecumenical encounter, which has led to the mutual rescinding of the excommunications of the year 1054, the exchange of greetings, returning of relics, entering into important dialogues, and visiting each other in our respective Sees.

Our journey has not always been easy or without pain and challenge, for as we know “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way” (Gospel according to St Matthew 7.14). The essential theology and principal themes of the Second Vatican Council… the mystery of the Church, the sacredness of the liturgy, and the authority of the bishop… are difficult to apply in earnest practice, and constitute a life-long and church-wide labour to assimilate. The door, then, must remain open for deeper reception, pastoral engagement, and ecclesial interpretation of the Second Vatican Council.

As we move forward together, we offer thanks and glory to the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that the same assembly of bishops recognised the importance of reflection and sincere dialogue between our “sister churches”. We join in the “. . . hope that the barrier dividing the Eastern Church and the Western Church will be removed, and that, at last, there may be but the one dwelling, firmly established on Christ Jesus, the cornerstone, who will make both one” (Unitatis Redintegratio §18).

With Christ as our cornerstone and the tradition we share, we’ll be able, or, rather, we’ll be enabled by the gift and grace of God, to reach a better appreciation and fuller expression of the Body of Christ. With our continued efforts in accordance with the spirit of the tradition of the early Church, and in the light of the Church of the Councils of the first millennium, we’ll experience the visible unity that lies just beyond us today. The Church always excels in its uniquely prophetic and pastoral dimension, embraces its characteristic meekness and spirituality, and serves with humble sensitivity the “least of these My brethren” (Gospel according to St Matthew 25.40).

Beloved brother, our presence here signifies and seals our commitment to witness together to the Gospel message of salvation and healing for the least of our brethren… the poor, the oppressed, the forgotten in God’s world. Let’s begin with prayers for peace and healing for our Christian brothers and sisters living in the Middle East. In the current turmoil of violence, separation, and brokenness that is escalating between peoples and nations, may the love and desire for harmony we profess here, and the understanding we seek through dialogue and mutual respect, serve as a model for our world. Indeed, may all humanity reach out to “the other”, to work together to overcome the suffering of people everywhere, particularly in the face of famine, natural disasters, disease, and war that ultimately touches all of our lives.

In light of all that has yet to be accomplished by the Church on earth, and with great appreciation for all the progress we have shared, we’re, therefore, honoured to be invited to attend, and humbled to be called to address, this solemn and festive commemoration of the Second Vatican Council. It’s fitting that this occasion also marks for your Church the formal inauguration of the “Year of Faith”, as it’s faith that provides a visible sign of the journey we have travelled together along the path of reconciliation and visible unity.

In closing, Your Holiness, Beloved Brother, we wholeheartedly congratulate you, together with the blessed multitude assembled here today, and we fraternally embrace you on the joyous occasion of this anniversary celebration. May God bless you all.

11 October 2012

Asia News

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Bartholomew-I:-50-years-of-love-and-harmony-between-Catholics-and-Orthodox-26057.html

Editor’s Afterwod:

Look at the GOOD NEWS in this, kids. They only invited Bart… that means that he’s the only bum kisser amongst our First Hierarchs. Y’know, it gives one hope for the future of Christ’s Church. It means that the papists didn’t trust the rest of our First Hierarchs. Raise a glass and cheer… the good guys won again!

BMD 

Friday, 31 August 2012

Alfeyev Serves in SF on Assumption… Fathausen and Peterson Present… NO posting on this on oca.org. CAVEAT LECTOR: Dezinformatsiya from the Blunder’s Office… NOT the Official MP Communications Service

The original image in all of its low-res glory.

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On 28 August 2012, the feast of the Assumption of the Mother of God, the chairman of the MP Department for External Church RelationsMetropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, visiting the USA with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias, served the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” in San Francisco CA. The First Hierarch of the ROCOR, Metropolitan Hiarion Kapral of New York and Eastern America, the former First Hierarch of the OCA, Metropolitan Jonas Paffhausen, Archbishop Kirill Dmitrieff of San Francisco (ROCOR), the Administrator of the MP Parishes in the USA, Archbishop Yustinian Ovchinnikov of Naro-FominskArchbishop Benjamin Peterson of San Francisco and Western America (OCA), Vicar of the Diocese of San Francisco, Bishop Feodosy Sietliysky(ROCOR), and ROCOR and OCA clergymen served together with Metropolitan Hilarion at the Liturgy. The Russian Consul General in San Francisco V N Vinokourov attended the service. During the liturgy, Monk Tikhon Gayudinov was ordained a hierodeacon.

After the Prayer before the Ambo, Metropolitan Hilarion addressed the congregation:

We gather together today on the Great Feast of the Assumption of the Mother of God. Like the Apostles, who were transported to the tomb of the Mother of God on the clouds, we came on airplanes and cars, to gather here together to serve the Divine Liturgy and glorify the Most Pure Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, more honourable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim. We came from all over the world… from Russia and other European countries, from all over the Americas, from Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and other countries. The grace of the Holy Spirit led us here, we were led by a love of the Church of Christ, the love of our common Mother, the Mother of God, and the knowledge that we belong to the one Body, the Church, the cornerstone of which is Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Standing before the plashchanitsa of the Mother of God, firstly, we think about the meaning of our human life and our death. Nothing can bring greater comfort at the thought of the passing of our lives, and greater awareness of the meaning of death, than the plashchanitsa of the Mother of God. This isn’t a coffin, around which people gather to mourn for the dead and cry, on the temporal plane of this earth. In the plashchanitsa we contemplate the heavenly world and glorify the Most Holy Mother of God, whose death wasn’t the end, but an Assumption, and a transition to a better eternal life. We pray that our deaths won’t be a final end, but an Assumption and transition to eternal life, where each of us expect our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ.

When we look at the icon of the Assumption of the Mother of God, we see her prostrate on her deathbed, but we also see standing next to her Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lovingly takes her soul into His most pure hands, in the form of a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. So, death is a birth into a new life, a funeral shroud is swaddling clothes, and our last day of life on earth is our first day of life in eternity… a day that never ends, it’ll keep on forever. As we stand before the plashchanitsa, we’re aware that we weren’t created to live a short life and then die… we’re created for eternity, and our earthly existence is but a preparation for it. We’re aware that death is not a tragic and joyless event. Death is a transition to eternal life, and, when we die, we aren’t alone, but with Christ, but only if we lived with Christ in our everyday life, not on our own devices.

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Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev awarded Archbishop Kirill of San Francisco the Order of St Sergius (II degree) in consideration of his assiduous work for the good of the Church and the 200th anniversary of Fort Ross. He also gave Archbishop Kirill a Panagia as a gift. Archbishop Kirill thanked Metropolitan Hilarion for the gift and the award. In turn, he awarded the Consul General Vinokourov and his wife the Orders of St John of San Francisco (II and III degree). After the service, the participants were invited to a celebratory meal.

30 August 2012

Patriarchia.ru

Official MP Website

http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/2437163.html

NB:

At the bottom of the page, Служба коммуникации ОВЦС (Communications Service of the DECR)… this means that it isn’t from the main patriarchal press service, and must be treated with great caution.

Editor’s Note:

This happened THREE DAYS AGO… and Lyonyo and Jillions deigned not to inform you of it. It should tell you something about the honour and veracity of the Syossetites. In short, they and the SVS crowd have none.

Things are getting worse in the short term, and the bad news isn’t over…

BMD

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

29 August 2012. A Reliable Cabinet Member Weighs in on Moriak

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A Cabinet member whispered this to me about Moriak in the loggia:

It’s true; he’s done. The word is that he’s getting a leave of absence or suspension! There’ll be a misconduct investigation and the OCA will have a statement soon.

Now, this came from a trustworthy source. That doesn’t mean that its set in stone, but it’s MUCH more believable than anything out of Monomuckos. OK, kids, this means that I can say now that we should look for a confirmation from the OCA, as early as today. If this is true, the Holy Synod should smack down Ray Velencia… hard and publicly. You see, they have to defend a priest in good standing, Mike Regan. Velencia had the brass balls to call himself “Fr Raymond Velencia” in court papers, implying that he was a cleric in good standing. Besides giving Velencia the sack, they should protest Velencia’s usurpation of the title “Father” to the court involved. You see, otherwise, if they don’t, it leaves the OCA open to all kinds of lovely and sticky legal meadow-muffins. Crazy world, ain’t it? Do pass the jug.

If this isn’t proof that we need a united Russian Orthodox Church in the USA, Canada, and Alaska, nothing is. You see, only that is a real first step on the road on the road to a real “Church in America” (and Canada and Alaska). Interestingly enough, the only road “forward” starts going “back”. That’s the way it is, often enough, in real life. The OCA’s a sclerotic failure… and has to go. Then, it’s rebuilding time… not with any grandiose plans, but with the modesty and sobriety of the Metropolia of Leonty Turkevich and Basil Stroyen and the ROCOR of Anastassy Gribanovsky and Vitaly Maksimenko. Vladyyki Leonty and Vladyki Anatassy often conferred together, and acted like brothers. When they died in ’65, Schmemann and Grabbe mucked things up and started the Church War.

It’s time to go home… there’s no place for a notional “American” Church. If there’s going to be one in future, it’ll grow organically, it won’t be “planned”. To paraphrase Gil Scott-Heron, “The Holy Spirit is not televised, brothers; the Holy Spirit will be LIVE!” There’s no place for the Cold War ROCOR. The war is over, and it IS time to “beat our swords into plowshares”. Shall we do it, though?

We DO stand at a crossroads, and I’d say that live to the Parma Synod members, to their faces. It’s time to “quit you like men” and rip up the Tomos. It’s up to us…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Albany NY

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

17 April 2012. A Busted Clock is Right Twice a Day… Love BT Gets it “Right” on “Tithing”

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Recently, Love BT posted the following on Monomakhos (not the greatest venue, but that’s where it was:

Ten percent isn’t a Mystical, Holy, or Sacred rate, even though the Scriptures mention it, along with circumcision and other practises. Of course, Christ only had one standard for everything… perfection. His standard was the widow who gave everything, and the requirement that the rich young man (besides “not leaving the others undone”) should give EVERYTHING. He said, “Be ye perfect”; He didn’t say, “Be as perfect as much as you can be”. The goals the Church sets before us shouldn’t be “minimum requirements to be a respectable Christian”. In addition, charity shouldn’t be secondary to institutional well-being and functionality in priority.

Nevertheless, they are, are they not? Don’t we approve of that? For those who’re concerned with accountability and transparency, He seems to have encouraged us to be opaque about our fasting, no? We’re supposed to PRETEND we aren’t fasting. With the coming of Grace, it seems wrong to revert to the Old Dispensation and its oikonomia and limits. The tithe is neutral. Requiring it is approving a standard that‘s lesser than the one Christ proposed. As I previously mentioned, my copy of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (an old one… from the 60s) has a large article on tithing that concludes with the information that the Eastern Orthodox Churches have never practised tithing.

Also on the same blog:

Tithing was a 20th Century innovation in ANY Orthodox Church, or, at best, a re-formulation, and Orthodox who landed in Protestant America instinctively perceived it as such. I realise that many converts may have felt that tithing was an obviously virtuous practice that, astonishingly, “cradle” and “old world” Orthodox, found to be innovative and even radical, but that we, having all kinds of experience in the game called “stewardship” based on a Gospel account of a steward, would be able to improve this aspect of Orthodox life, thus, perhaps, at last, showing them all that an American Orthodoxy must be and truly is, an Improvement! Take the list of the ancient Patriarchates and the Local Churches whose hierarchs are in their dyptichs and tell me which one EVER practised tithing.

There are SINGULAR and MEMORABLE instances of the extraordinary practice, for example the “Church of the Dime (or Tithe)” in Russia, which was famously and so UNIQUELY funded by a tithe that this became the source of its fame. I know, some will say, “There goes crazy, deluded Tikhon (excuse me, it would be, of course “+Tikhon”) again, being the Arch-Conservative among us, not allowing a more liberal attitude toward Tradition. Why, he even defines something as Tradition only if it has been actually transmitted, passed on to us in the Church. He always claims that the ending of a practise in the history of the Church is as much an indicator of Tradition as its continuation!

However, of COURSE, we can revive dead customs and call them “the original tradition!” If we decide (in a conciliar way, of course) that circumcision of males (the “Original Tradition” before the Apostolic Council) is a good thing, we can restore it… its fully Orthodox. Moreover, since St Paul says a bishop must be the husband of one wife, that must mean that SOME had two or three or more, in other words, “polygamy” was… you’ve got it, an “Older Tradition!” Even if the Orthodox Churches never EVER required their members to tithe, we can have a Council, pass the measure, and thereby have the Holy Spirit inspire the practise!

There are holes in both of the above… but Tikhon Fitzgerald is right on this, the tithe isn’t part of our Orthodox heritage. The unknown commenter is also right in that we shouldn’t be mucking with Tradition, even in mundane matters. However, neither caught the main reason why the Church shies away from tithing. Of necessity, tithing sets up a “two-tier” membership. That is, those who do tithe, and those who don’t do so. Well, what do you do with those who can’t, won’t, or refuse to tithe? What’s the “stick” of the “carrot and stick?” Are you going to emulate the Mormons, deny such people Communion, and deny them the right to attend their children’s weddings? Are you going to keep records of who gives what, so that the Church meeting knows precisely who gave what? The latter was one of the banes of the Metropolia. It was one of the dark spots of that period. To require tithing would make things even worse than that was (and it was quite bad enough).

In short, prelest would walk in wearing Size 12s and proceed to stomp true religion to death in short order. There’s already a grave problem with hubristical konvertsy, who believe that their level of religiosity is higher than that of the Church Fathers. If I were to name the three besetting sins of this group, it’d be linking faith and politics, quoting the Fathers and Canons out of context… and tithing. These three are the sources of the juvenile rot we see spewed about us. Indeed, we need to put out the fires that they’ve caused. Whatever we do, any solution won’t be easy, brief, or congenial. We can put things right, but it’ll be a job of two generations to do properly. It’s easy to rip things down… it’s much harder to build them back up. We’re paying dearly for Schmemann, Grabbe, Bloom, Podmoshensky, Meyendorff, Metropoulos, and all the other paladins of the 1960s Church, both OCA/Metropolia and ROCOR. We need to go “home”… but shall we?

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Albany NY 

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