Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Court Reserves Decision in Ex-Archbishop’s Sex Assault Appeal

01 Canadian gavel


Manitoba’s Court of Appeal reserved its decision on an appeal by Seraphim Kenneth Storheim, a former archbishop convicted of sexually assaulting an altar boy in the 1980s. On Friday morning, Storheim’s lawyer, Jeff Gindin, appeared before the court with photographs that he claims call a key witness’s testimony into question. Gindin said that the photographs show that the witness was not with Storheim in 1985, but in 1986. However, the appeal court justices questioned the validity of the photos… whether they show the boy in question and whether they were, in fact, taken in 1986. They pointed up that the witness who presented the photos to Gindin hasn’t signed an affidavit. The justices also questioned why the witness didn’t come forward during the trial. The judges said that the new evidence isn’t particularly “material”. The Crown argued that the photos are unverified, and even if they were admissible, they wouldn’t be enough to overturn the conviction. Prosecutors told the court that the only affidavit signed regarding new information was by an administrative assistant who was unable to verify the identity of the boy depicted in the photographs. Gindin argued that there wasn’t a “fair analysis of evidence” during the trial. The hearing continued until about 13.30, with the justices reserving their decision on the matter.

In January, a Manitoba court found Storheim guilty of sexual assault involving one of two brothers, who claim that the then-priest assaulted them when they were pre-teens. The brothers, who are now in their 30s, testified during the trial that they lived with Storheim briefly, on separate occasions, when they worked as altar boys in 1985.

31 October 2014

Katie Nicholson




Gindin is a weaselly sack o’ shit who based his defence on shredding the cred of the victims. That’s why many victims don’t come forward… the lawyer for the defence clobbers ‘em in the court without mercy and all the goodthinkers trash them in all sorts of public venues, especially, the internet. It’s a wonder that anyone comes forward at all… I’d say that the loud claques around clergy are the worst… they show such unbridled mean and nasty behaviour that one does doubt the reality of Christianity at times. I don’t know who’s worse… the clergy claques or the pompous phonies such as Freddy M-G and Rod Dreher. Trust me… it does makes me think at times that religion is just a grand n’ glorious mind-fuck, then, we die, for good-and-all. It doesn’t last… but I’ll say that the best argument against Christianity… is so-called “Christians”. Do think on it…


Saturday, 8 November 2014

8 November 2014. Lyonyo to be Protopresbyter…

00 The First Families Recurring Nightmare 03.12


Here’s an announcement from Lyonyo Kishkovsky (one of the uncrowned “kings” of the Golden 400, or First Families):

Dear Friends:

Mimi and I would like to bring to your attention in a personal way two events this coming weekend. On Saturday, 8 November, at the Divine Liturgy celebrated in the Church of Our Lady of Kazan by Bishop Michael of New York, honors will be bestowed on the two priests of the parish… the jeweled cross for Fr John Bartholomew and the rank of protopresbyter for me. The greeting of the Bishop will be at 09.30 EST. The prayers for protopresbyter and jeweled cross will be read by the Bishop at the very beginning of the Liturgy. After the service, there’ll be a reception in the parish hall and church garden. On Sunday, 9 November, right after the Divine Liturgy (around 11.15 EST), we’ll celebrate a moleben for our daughter Sophia and her husband, Nicholas Sluchevsky, who were married in California on 26 October . Sonia and Kolya are with us this weekend. At the Sunday coffee hour, we’ll offer cake and champagne in honor of the newly-weds. No gifts, please. We’ll  be very happy if you can join us!

Fr Leonid

Note the smarmy “No gifts, please”… he wants everyone to know how “humble” he is. A truly humble man wouldn’t have written that… but he’s a typical First Family poseur. One wonders if Dickie Wood is going to tag along with Seraphim Gan, or whether he’s persona non grata. All the “people who matter” will be there. The rest of us peasants “can eat cake”. Ain’t that grand…


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Delighting in Difference: Why I Don’t Believe in Christian Unity

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo. Orthodox Unity. 2012



This is good shit and a good read. Nothing more need be said.



The headline was “Churches Agree on incarnation After 1,500 Years of Strife“. For a heavy theological piece, it was surprisingly popular. To recap… the Oriental Orthodox Churches with their wonderful titles redolent of the Mysterious East… the Coptic, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Syriac, Malankara Syrian, and Armenian Apostolic Churches… and the rather more mundane C of E had agreed on ways of talking about the incarnation of Christ with which they were all happy. 1,500 years was a bit of a stretch, as the C of E only existed since 1534, but it inherited the Western tradition, which was one-half of the original argument. Nowadays, a 1,500-year-old argument seems plain crazy. In the UK, there’s more denominational fluidity than ever before. Indeed, most of the life and growth is in congregations that don’t identify with the historic denominations at all. It’s becoming rarer and rarer to find someone who’ll say bluntly, “I’m a Methodist”, or “I’m an Anglican”… particularly, in the Protestant evangelical tradition. “I’m a Christian who goes to a fill-in-the-blank church” is as far as it goes.

However, here’s the thing… I’m one of them. I have the name of my denomination running through me like Blackpool through a stick of rock. I’m fiercely proud of my heritage, I think we’re right about stuff other people are wrong about, and I blow my nose at people who think we should all be one super-Church. Christian unity? Up to a point, and not very far at that. In other words, in today’s terms, I’m a delusional dinosaur, a point made wordlessly by the pitying expressions on the faces of fellow-ministers to whom I once tried to explain myself. I said, in the way of Lord Cardigan suggesting, “Let’s go that way, shall we?” “What we need isn’t less denominationalism, but more”. The view didn’t find favour. Now, I know… we wouldn’t start from here. No one can read the history of the Church without wishing that things had been different. However, here is where we are, and just maybe, identifying yourself proudly and passionately with one manifestation of the Church and not another just might have something going for it. Here’s why.

Firstly, truth matters. Those Anglicans and Orientals spent as much time as they did talking about theology because it was important. How God was incarnate in Christ is significant in a way that other things, like human sexuality, are just not. Get it wrong, and you end up with a Christ who’s untouchably divine, unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, or unremarkably human, unable to save us. Most divisions in the Church began in the same way… with a deep sense that something desperately important was at stake, and that someone needed to rescue a truth that was having the life choked out of it by an institution. For Methodists, it was the need for personal salvation and a relationship with God. For Baptists, it was even more fundamental…how do you become a Christian? Are you born into the faith, baptised into it as an infant, or do you choose freely, baptised into it as a response to God’s call? For new Church movements… think Vineyard or Christian City… it was frustration at the old wineskins, expected to contain the new wine. To be true to their own vision, their pioneers had to leave and start something new. The story has it that the Apostle John found the heretic Cerinthus so alarming that he once ran out of a bathhouse, crying, “Let’s flee, lest the building fall; for Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within!” Therefore, do we still value truth, or are we just interested in whether the chairs are comfy?

Secondly, we learn stuff from our spiritual ancestors. All those years, or centuries, of a particular tradition, leave their mark on our souls. Spirituality is subtly different in different places and among different people. The stories that we tell and the stories that our elders told us, the way that we learn to pray, the songs and hymns that we sing, the sermons that we hear… they help create a certain kind of Christian. Of course, we can learn from other traditions as well, and one of the exhilarating things about the last few years is the way that dyed-in-the-wool Protestants have learned to sing Taizé chants in Latin. Nevertheless, the beauty of cathedral worship, the intense biblicism of the Brethren, the richness of Methodist hymnody… they’re the soil from which the fruit grows, and it needs to be cultivated and enriched through a deep connection between believers and their heritage.

Thirdly, though, if proud denominationalism… or non-denominationalism… ever becomes a way of defining ourselves over against other Christians, it’s gone too far. The truths and traditions we’ve received from our spiritual ancestors are precious, but they’re to be shared, not jealously hoarded… and if there’s one thing to be said for today’s indifference to history and theology, it’s that these things no longer divide as they did. In that perfect world, the Orientals wouldn’t have split from the rest. The Great Schism of 1054 wouldn’t have happened. Martin Luther would’ve nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenburg church door and the bishops would all have said, “Do you know, you’re absolutely right?” And so on.

Christians have dis-fellowshipped each other, and worse, far too easily. Byron wrote in Don Juan that “Christians have burnt each other, quite persuaded/That all th’ Apostles would have done as they did”. There’s a fundamental unity between Christians that stems from us being “in Christ”, joined with an indissoluble spiritual bond. Put like that, small denominational details just look ridiculous. I would gladly, for the record, worship with any other Christian at all, collaborate on any worthwhile enterprise, honour and defer to my spiritual superiors of whatever brand. However, still… our ancestors didn’t teach us nothing. Give me an Anglican who’s a real Anglican, a Methodist who’s proud to be a Methodist. If you belong to a church that’s thrown off the shackles of the past and is trying to be something new and different and emerging and not emerged… be glad of that too, but remember that you didn’t come from nowhere… find your place within the whole Church, not off to one side of it. Difference is delightful. Let’s treasure it.

4 November 2014

Mark Woods

Christian Today



For the record, I AM ORTHODOX. Furthermore, I AM RUSSIAN ORTHODOX. I’d submit that there’s a very real difference between “Russian” and “Greek” Orthodox, one so profound that it’d probably scupper the notional “all-Orthodox Sobor” pushed by the EP for so many years. The MP would insist that the OCA and Czech/Slovak Church be voting members… the EP would refuse… that’d be the end of it. QED. I think that TWO “all-Orthodox Sobors” would ensue… a slave council at the Phanar (it’d be a real Latrocinium), under the dominance of the EP (and their Langley puppeteers and paymasters), and a free one at Novy Ierusalime, under the MP. It’d only deepen the already wide gulf between the “Greeks” and us. Both sides would accept defectors from the other side and might even break off communion with one another.

However, this’d be a GOOD thing. We’d see divisions now papered over openly for what they are. This’d be a GOOD thing, as it’d allow us to deal with it… it’d take a long time, more time than there is in several lifetimes, but it’d allow us to begin the long process of healing properly. Of course, there’s the possibility (not small) that the Phanar would go Uniate. In that case, there’d be no division, only a group of heretics leaving the body of the One Church, that’s all. We’d have to reintegrate the loyal Greeks into Traditional Orthodoxy (they’ve departed from it since the time of Metaxakis, I’m afraid). The OCA would split in two… its inherent divisions would crystallise. Some would go with the Mother Church; others would go off with the Phanar, whether as Orthodox or as Uniate would depend on where the Phanar ended.

Yet, this’d be for the best… our present situation is unstable in the extreme. One side or the other must give… I can guarantee that the Centre isn’t going to surrender. It bids fair to be interesting.


Friday, 31 October 2014

31 October 2014. OCA SOBs Shitcan Dickie Wood as Priest… NO MENTION OF IT ON OCA.ORG

01 Trash Can


A Cabineteer sent me the following:

00 dickie wood letter. 31.10.14


I find the way that the OCA handled this is reprehensible and beneath the salt. Dickie deserved to get such news at a formal hearing… he deserved to have this posted on the official website so that the world would know what the SOBs (again… whether it’s “Synod of Bishops” or “Sons of Bitches” is up to you, dear reader) did. This is what decent and normal people do. Lyonyo and Jillions (this smells of them, no doubt about it) went too far this time. You see, other priests are going to ask, “Who’s next?” Jillions was none-too-bright to begin with, and Lyonyo has forgotten that there’s a whole world outside Syosset and its ingrown clique. No matter that Dickie Wood was arrogant and a self-promoter… there are procedures and due process, not only in the secular legal sense, but in Church law, too (as a real expert like Alexander Lebedeff would tell you).

Them whom the gods would destroy, first, they make them mad… if there was ever an apt occasion for that, it’s now. This is too much of a muchness. The people who did this are worthy of no respect whatsoever. Our Church institution has fallen and REFUSES to get up… isn’t that a sign that we have to do something about it? Just sayin’…


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