Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

A New Hymn to Vladyki Laurus by Fr Andrew Phillips…

Blessed Laurus Škurla of Jordanville (1929-2008)


Holy Hierarch Laurus of Jordanville

Sviatitel Lavr Iordangradskiy

(3/16 March):

First Suggestions:

Troparion Tone V

Rejoice, O ye Carpathians,*

and dance all ye trees of the forests of New England!*

For the good and faithful servant,*

the humble monk and wise hierarch Laurus,*

who from childhood was pleasing to God,*

preaching the testament of Holy Russia*

and who on the feast of the Lord’s Ascension gathered into one *

those who in former times were divided,*

today sends up his soul into the heavens.*

This is indeed a triumph of Orthodoxy,*

as on the shores of the Pacific Ocean*

the angels ring bells of victory*

for him who on earth conversed with them;*

and we unworthy, scattered across the face of all the earth,*

pray to Thee, O Christ our God,*

that through his prayers our souls may be saved.


This should in outline resemble his official photograph with staff in hand, but as an icon resemble the San Francisco icon of St John of Shanghai in his mantle. However, he should be holding in his hands not a model of that temple, but a model of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.


The Election of a New First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia Shall Take Place on 12 May


The ROCOR Holy Synod of Bishops 2006

The election of the new primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia shall occur at the Cathedral of the Sign in New York on 12 May, a day after a meeting of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR at the same location, the ROCOR official website reported.

On Friday, Metropolitan Laurus, Archbishop of New York and Eastern America, was buried at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville NY (at a service led by Metropolitan Yuvenaly of Kolomna and Krutitsy). For the last seven years of his life, Metropolitan Laurus was Superior of Holy Trinity Monastery (editor’s note: Vladyki Laurus was Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery from 1976 onwards. The Interfax correspondent is in error). According to his wishes expressed in his will, he was buried in a crypt next to the grave of his spiritual father, Metropolitan Philaret Voznesensky (+1986). Metropolitan Laurus died at his residence at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville NY on 16 March. He was 80-years-old.

25 March 2008



Editor’s Note:

There are three names most mentioned as the successor to Vladyki Laurus. A word about each is in order.

Firstly, there is Vladyki Hilarion Kapral (born 1948), Archbishop of Sydney, who is the present locum tenens. Vladyki Hilarion is a spiritual son of Vladyki Laurus and was formed in monasticism at Jordanville. This Jordanville connection may be a factor in his not being chosen. In addition, Vladyki Hilarion is known to be attached to his present diocese deeply, and his flock returns that affection many-fold. If elected, I believe that he would turn it down (as is his right). He is of Ukrainian descent from rural western Canada.

Secondly, there is Vladyki Kyrill Dmitriev (born 1954), Archbishop of San Francisco. Vladyki Kyrill studied at St Vladimir’s in Crestwood NY (I stand under correction in this) and was formed in monasticism in the Holy Land. He is the youngest “serious possibility”, and that may be a hindrance to his gaining the primacy at this date. He is of Russian descent from California.

Thirdly, is Vladyki Mark Arndt (born 1941), Archbishop of Berlin, the candidate that I think shall “win the prize”. Vladyki Mark is a convert of German background. He studied at the theological faculty in Belgrade and was formed in monasticism on the Holy Mountain of Athos. Patriarch Aleksei delivered his condolences upon the death of Metropolitan Laurus to Vladyki Mark, and the patriarch and the German hierarch are known to be very close personally. Vladyki Mark is (as I stated) German, but speaks Russian fluently and well.

This is the first election for a ROCOR First Hierarch where the serious candidates were born and grew up in the diaspora. This is not unimportant. All previous First Hierarchs were born in pre-revolutionary Russia, except for Vladyki Laurus, who was born in interwar Carpatho-Russia in Slovakia (which is about the same thing). This election shall see the first primate who spent his entire life in the minority setting of the diaspora situation ascend to leadership. None of us knows which of these three shall come out the primate after the election. I am certain that these are the three most likely candidates. I have no idea of what shall follow, but, I think it is likely that whomever is elected, the ROCOR shall take on a new (if not startling) direction, and that it shall open a new chapter in its history.


Metropolitan Agafangel Believes That a Unia with the Catholics is the Next Logical Step after the Proclamation of an Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church


“His Master’s Voice”. Cardinal Ljubomir Husar with John Paul II, Pope of Rome. Pray that our Ukrainian brothers are spared this fate!

Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa and Ismail considers that a Unia of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church/MP (UOC/MP) with the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church is very probable if the UOC/MP becomes autocephalous (through political manoeuvring). “Such a Unia would be a logical outgrowth of any possible autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church/MP (at this time). That is why pro-Western political forces and their sponsors spare no effort in their attempts to destroy the Orthodox identity of the Ukrainian people”, Metropolitan Agafangel said in an interview published by the magazine Russky Dom (Russian Home) in its April issue. He stressed it was not by chance that certain websites claiming to be part of the UOC/MP and in favour of its autocephaly posted articles apparently sympathetic to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, and these articles state that “the UGCC is (the body) most compatible with contemporary Ukrainian realities and it sincerely seeks church unity”. “God save us from such a ‘unity’”, Metropolitan Agafangel said emphatically. He also reminded his audience that the Kiev Metropolia was separated from the Mother Church in the 15th to 17th centuries. “We should remember the outcome. It is a most severe lesson and a grave warning from history. The result was the shameful Brest Unia and the complete liquidation of the Orthodox episcopate (in the Polish-ruled area of the Ukraine)”, Vladyki Agafangel noted.

26 March 2008



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