Voices from Russia

Friday, 4 July 2008

4 July 2008. Cookie the Bookie… what the Figures tell Us

Filed under: internet,Orthodox life — 01varvara @ 00.00

The figures are from Quanticast. (see http://www.quanticast.com for details).

A great deal of what follows is raw statistical data. This is the raw material one needs to make a reasoned judgement on the state of the Church. There are four official (GOA, OCA, ROCOR, and AOCANA) and four personal sites in this study.

The personal websites in this study are Orthodox Christians for Accountability (“Stokoe”),  Frederica (“Greene”), Orthodox England (“Phillips”), and Voices from Russia (“Drezhlo”). The last two sites present an ordinary Orthodox point of view whilst the first two are decidedly modernist and dodgy. I could add Frederica again to the survey as Quanticast has resumed publishing figures for this site. One wonders… Of course, in this case, I cannot give an index for the previous month. Shall it be there next month? Stay tuned, kids… same bat-time, same bat-station!

We shall present the data, and let us see where it takes us! The truth shall set you free.

A)      Gross monthly uniques

Official Sites:

1. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA): 48,069 (100) [86]

2. Orthodox Church in America (OCA): 23,424 (49) (120)

3. Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese in North America (AOCANA): 18,725 (39) (150)

4. Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR): 11,335 (24) (227)

The first figure in brackets is this month’s index, whilst the second bracket contains an index as compared to last month. The above figures must be adjusted to account for “addicts” (daily visitors) and “regulars” (more than once a month, but, not daily). There appears to be a slippage in the GOA, the others are posting increases, but, it appears to be a wash.

Personal Sites:

1. Voices from Russia (Drezhlo): 8,514 (100) (123)

2. Orthodox Christians for Accountability (Stokoe): 7,927 (93) (150)

3. Frederica (Greene): 2,355 [28]

4. Orthodox England (Phillips): 2,026 (24) (23)

Stokoe’s site shows an increase, it may be a sign of volatility… not a good sign at all. Fr Andrew has slipped (probably a seasonal variation for this mature site); also, some of his readers may have gone on to the main ROCOR site, accounting for its healthy increase. I have posted a noticeable increase, again. All punters take notice…

B)      Adjusted monthly uniques

Official Sites:

1. GOA: 44,132 (100) (87)

2. OCA: 19,090 (43) (126)

3. AOCANA: 16,571 [38] [182]

4. ROCOR: 8,672 (20) (260)

No surprises here, for the ranking and proportions of the gross figures are virtually the same as the adjusted ones. The number of addicts is divided by three, and the number of regulars is divided by two, per the Quanticast site, to give a better view of actual individuals accessing the various addresses. All sites show increases, except for the Greeks. As I do not have enough figures available (one needs at least a year’s worth), no real conclusion can be drawn.

Personal Sites:

1. Drezhlo: 7,574 (100) (122)

2. Stokoe: 4,720 [62] [152]

3. Greene: 2,120 [28]

4. Phillips: 1,915 (25) (23)

As an aside, there is an internet group known as the Orthodox Forum run (essentially) by a single individual, Harry Coin. It claims to be the most authoritative non-official source on the web. Well, it only has 1,560 registered members this month (an increase of 2 members over last month, giving an index of 100, absolutely rock-steady in net terms), so, it is only a small group of theological radicals (they advocate such things as a married episcopate and support the Osbourne schismatics), and the core of the group is only about 50 true-believer liberal radicals. If it was to have an index number as per the above list, it would be 21, and it would rank dead last. That is, it has only 21 percent of the readership my site. Be wary of this group, they are not as important as they claim. Thankfully, their bark is FAR greater than their size. They are “all hat and no cattle” as they say in Texas.

C)      Gender ratios in percentages

a)     Male readership as a percentage of the total

Official Sites:

1. ROCOR: 43 percent (88, Internet average; 100, this study sample) (100)

2. OCA: 42 percent [85, 98] (100)

3. GOA: 41 percent (84, 95) (100)

4. AOCANA: 36 percent (73, 84) (100)

None of the official websites does a good job of attracting male readership, if we define “good” as being within 10 points of the average. If we define “fair” as being within 20 points of the average, the top three score that. The AOCANA needs to do major revamping. All sites are steady on from last month.

Personal Sites:

1. Drezhlo: 57 percent (114, 100) (104)

2. Phillips: 49 percent (100, 86) (100)

3. Stokoe: 46 percent [93, 81] (100)

4. Greene: 33 percent (67)

Note well that all personal sites are doing better at attracting a male readership than the “official” ones, except for Frederica, but, that comparison is unfair given the website focus. Interesting. I should note that I do not try to attract a masculine audience and some of my most vocal and loyal readers are women. Go figure! It’s gotta be those sport pages… I can blame it on the stories about Guus Hiddink! All listed sites are steady on from last month.

b)     Female readership as a percentage of the total

Official Sites:

1. AOCANA: 66 percent (126, 100) (100)

2. GOA: 59 percent (115, 89) [100]

3. OCA: 58 percent [114, 88] (100)

4. ROCOR: 57 percent (111, 86) (100)

All the official sites do an excellent job of attracting female readership. Now, they should concentrate on getting the fellows, as well. However, there appears to be a correlation between modernism and a larger female following. That is more marked in the personal site listings below. All sites are steady on from last month.

Personal Sites:

1. Greene: 67 percent (132, 100)

2. Stokoe: 54 percent (106, 81) (100)

3. Phillips: 51 percent (100, 76) (100)

4. Drezhlo: 43 percent (85, 64) (96)

All of us are doing a “good” job at attracting a female audience. All sites are steady on from last month.

D)      Educational Levels of the readership in percentages

a)     Non-college graduates

Official Sites:

1. ROCOR: 27 percent (59, 100) (100)

2. GOA: 24 percent (55, 89) (100)

3. OCA: 20 percent (45, 74) (100)

4. AOCANA: 16 percent (37, 59) (100)

45 percent of the general population falls into this category, so, one cannot conclude that Orthodox are better educated than the average, as corroborating evidence from objective sources is lacking. It is true that the official sites are doing a poor job of reaching this cohort, whilst one also notices that the gap widens with the increasing level of modernism. All sites are steady on from last month.

Personal Sites:

1. Drezhlo: 33 percent (73, 100) (89)

2. Greene: 28 percent (61, 85)

2. Phillips: 19 percent [43, 58] (127)

3. Stokoe: 5 percent (13, 15) (83)

This month, none of us are in the “fair” category, that is, an index of 80-89. We all miss the mark for this social category, with the Stokoe site being abysmal in this regard. Of course, the snotty and shirty tone of so many posters on the Stokoe site puts many people’s teeth on edge, and many see them as overeducated dweebs who wish to lead all others about by the nose. Some volatility here. Is it summertime holiday for this cohort?

b)     College graduates

Official Sites:

1. GOA: 46 percent (111, 74) (100)

2. AOCANA: 44 percent (107, 71) (100)

3. OCA: 38 percent (93, 61) (100)

4. ROCOR: 27 percent (59, 44) (100)

Slots 1 to 3 are doing a “good” job of reaching the college-educated. The lower figure for ROCOR may reflect the larger number of immigrants in its ranks, combined with a strong working-class distaste for the pseudo-intellectual antics of SVS and its minions. All sites are steady on from last month.

Personal Sites:

1. Phillips: 47 percent (118, 100) (96)

2. Drezhlo: 45 percent [104, 88] (105)

3. Greene : 42 percent (102, 89)

3. Stokoe: 33 percent (78, 65) (103)

Batiushka Andrew does a sparkling job at attracting the college crowd. I and Ms Greene do a “good” effort, whilst Mr Stokoe is poor, yet again. He can’t seem to connect with ordinary folk at all. The sites are fairly steady on from last month, no great loss or gain.

c)     Post-graduate degree holders

Official Sites:

1. ROCOR: 47 percent (322, 100) (104)

2. OCA: 41 percent (289, 87) [98]

3. AOCANA: 40 percent (274, 85) (100)

4. GOA: 30 percent (204, 64) (100)

caveat, if you please. These figures are skewed by the number of clergy accessing these sites, and these fellows all have a post-graduate education.

The big three are within 10 percent of each other, making their efforts equally effective at reaching the highly-educated. The ROCOR has always had the highest level of education in the American Orthodox diaspora, and the above figure confirms it. The GOA is still doing an excellent job, being at slightly over 200 percent of the Internet average. All sites are fairly steady on from last month.

Personal Sites:

1. Stokoe: 62 percent (428, 100) [100]

2. Phillips: 34 percent [235, 55] (94)

3. Greene : 31 percent (212, 50)

3. Drezhlo: 21 percent (152, 34) (105)

The note concerning clergy applies here as well.

All of us are above the internet average, but, there can be too much of a good thing. Mr Stokoe’s site is so disproportionately skewed to this social cohort (which is only some 14.1 percent of the internet population) that it brings into question its objectivity and balance. It appears to be a site favoured by the Orthodox equivalent of the “chattering classes” and the clerisy. That is why so much material in it is so disconnected with reality. Caveat auditor. Some movement, but only slight, so, basically steady Freddie here.

E)      Racial composition of the audience in percentages

a)     Caucasian

Official sites:

1. ROCOR: 93 percent [115, 100] (100)

2. OCA: 90 percent (110, 97) (100)

3. AOCANA: 85 percent (104, 91) (100)

4. GOA: 84 percent (103, 90) (100)

No surprises here. Everyone knows that the Orthodox demographic is disproportionately white. All sites are steady on from last month.

Personal Sites:

1. Stokoe: 99 percent (120, 100) (100)

2. Drezhlo: 86 percent (106, 87) (101)

3. Greene: 81 percent (100, 82)

4. Phillips: 66 percent (81, 67) [108]

Mr Stokoe is only reaching a lily-white audience, whereas I and Ms Greene are doing a “good job”, and Batiushka Andrew’s figure is interesting. Where are the other hits coming from? Well, we shall see. Fairly steady on, with slight changes.

b)     Black

Official Sites:

1. GOA: 9 percent (121, 100) (100)

2. OCA: 3 percent (45, 33) (100)

3. AOCANA: 3 percent (44, 33) (100)

4. ROCOR: * (7, 6) (100)

*: less than 1 percent

The GOA figure is interesting, is it Ethiopians? One wonders. All in all, the official sites do a poor job of reaching blacks, except for the Greeks. All sites steady on from last month.

Personal Sites:

1. Drezhlo: 5 percent (72, 100) (100)

2. Greene: 2 percent (28, 40)

3. Phillips: 1 percent [24, 20] (50)

4. Stokoe: 1 percent (15, 20) (100)

If you want to put some “soul” into your life, log onto my site. Please, pass the sweet potato pie (Grandma Goodbee’s is reputedly some of the best, according to my friend Arnold). The other sites are not attracting blacks, with the Stokoe site doing a typically abysmal job. Batiushka Andrew has slipped. Otherwise, steady on as you go.

c)     Asian

Official Sites:

1. AOCANA: 6 percent (144, 100) (100)

2. GOA: 1 percent (42, 20) (100)

3. OCA: 1 percent (42, 29) (100)

4. ROCOR: * (7, 5) (100)

The Antiochians are doing a very good job of reaching American Asians. Everyone else needs to go to summer school to relearn the basics. All sites steady on from last month.

Personal Sites:

1. Phillips: 3 percent (87, 100) (75)

2. Drezhlo: 3 percent (76, 87) (100)

3. Greene: 1 percent [28, 32]

3. Stokoe: * (8, 9) (100)

If you want to find the Lucky Red Dragon, log onto my site or Fr Andrew’s. He shows an slight drop compared to last month (still eating your dim sun for lunch?). Tail-end Charlie Stokoe needs help (stop eating that tinned Chung-King glop, Mark).

d)     Hispanic

Official Sites:

1. AOCANA: 3 percent (53, 100) (100)

2. GOA: 3 percent (51, 97) (100)

3. OCA: 3 percent (47, 87) (100)

4. ROCOR: 1 percent (21, 40) (100)

No one is doing a particularly good job of reaching the Spanish-speaking. All sites are steady on from last month.

Personal Sites:

1. Phillips: 10 percent (143, 100) (91)

2. Greene: 8 percent (123, 86)

2. Drezhlo: 3 percent [54, 38] (100)

3. Stokoe: * (8, 6) (100)

Head on over to Batiushka Andrew’s for the Cinco de Mayo bash (He’s the one handing out the cold Bohemia brewskies from Mexico). Ms Greene does a good job with this cohort. I am not doing a “fair” job, I slipped. I should get out those Carlos Gardel CDs and brush up on my tango technique. Mr Stokoe, no soup for you!

e)     Other (American Indian, Pacific Islander, Alaska Native)

Official Sites:

1. ROCOR: 6 percent (432, 100) (100)

2. AOCANA: 3 percent [252, 58] (100)

3. OCA: 3 percent [246, 57] (100)

4. GOA: 2 percent [207, 48] (100)

“Other” in our terms usually means an Alaska native. All of the sites apparently seem to be doing well. However, the fact that the ROCOR is the champ in this category puts the lie to all the Chicken Littles on the Stokoe website who claim that the Alaska natives are going Protestant. They are certainly looking about… but, I do daresay that they are looking further EAST than Canterbury or Wittenberg. All sites are steady on from last month.

Personal Sites:

1. Phillips: 21 percent (1377, 100) (95)

2. Greene: 7 percent (547, 40)

3. Drezhlo: 2 percent (186, 14) (100)

4. Stokoe: * (24, 2) (100)

Batiushka Andrew, you had best watch out for the Tlingit, Yupik, and Aleut elders tooling down the High Street in their 4X4 ATVs. They are going to kidnap you and make you the honoured guest of an impromptu potlatch (You’d best brush up on your native dances. Moses the Tlingit shall be glad to help you). Ms Greene has a strong showing in this caregory. Go figure! We are all doing a good job of reaching the natives except for Mr Stokoe. Mark, unfortunately, the natives have abandoned your site.

F)      Income Profile of the audience in percentages

a)     Under 30,000 USD per year

Official Sites:

1. ROCOR: 27 percent [173, 48] (97)

2. AOCANA: 21 percent [137, 79] (100)

3. GOA: 18 percent (119, 67) (100)

4. OCA:  17 percent (113, 65) (100)

The higher this figure is, the higher the number of old age pensioners and/or students in the sample. The OCA is less “grey” than some left-wing commentators have stated. Interesting. Steady as the Rock of Gibraltar here.

Personal Sites:

1. Greene: 19 percent (128, 100)

2. Drezhlo: 15 percent (110, 86) [88]

3. Stokoe: 13 percent (92, 72) (93)

4. Phillips: 11 percent (34, 27) (220)

Mr Stokoe and I are in the normal range, and Batiushka Andrew does not seem to connect with this group at all, but, he is doing better than last month. A spot of volatility here. Looks like this set is headed off for the lake.

b)     30,000-60,000 USD per year

Official Sites:

1. ROCOR: 52 percent (157, 100) (104)

2. OCA: 47 percent (145, 92) (100)

3. AOCANA: 38 percent (118, 75) (100)

4. GOA: 36 percent (109, 69) (103)

There is a healthy amount of the middle class in all the groups. Fairly steady on from last month.

Personal Sites:

1. Stokoe: 81 percent (245, 100) (101)

2. Phillips: 46 percent [142, 58] (96)

3. Greene : 46 percent [141, 58]

4. Drezhlo: 32 percent (103, 42) (94)

All of us are doing well in this cohort. I am spot-on average, whereas most of the others are over-represented in this category, especially Mr Stokoe. This is important as this group (and the lower rungs of the next) is the most conventional and hide-bound in its behaviour. It is also infected thoroughly with positivism (although the next cohort, the upper-middles, provides most of the “therapists” and other assorted voodoo-merchants of positivism and can be considered more infested with it). All sites are fairly steady on from last month.

c)     60,000-100,000 USD per year

Official Sites:

1. AOCANA: 33 percent (107, 100) (100)

2. GOA: 32 percent (103, 96) (100)

3. OCA: 27 percent (87, 81) (96)

4. ROCOR: 19 percent [59, 55] (100)

This group combined with preceding one makes up two-thirds of the faithful. Fairly steady on as she goes for this lot.

Personal Sites:

1. Phillips: 32 percent (103, 100) [89]

2. Drezhlo: 32 percent (103, 100) (107)

3. Greene: 30 percent (94, 91)

4. Stokoe: 4 percent (14, 14) (100)

The top three are doing a “good” job. Mark Stokoe gets the cardboard box. His performance is wretched.

d)     Over 100,000 USD per year

Official Sites:

1. GOA: 14 percent (65, 100) (100)

2. OCA: 8 percent (39, 60) (100)

3. AOCANA: 7 percent (32, 49) (100)

4. ROCOR: 3 percent [18, 28] (100)

None of the above groups has an average number of people in this cohort. The urban legends concerning “rich Greeks” are just that, and most of the wealth of the Greeks is not in liquid assets, but, rather in fixed assets (such as business fixtures and real estate) that are not easily convertible into ready cash. However, the GOA does have a larger percentage of such folks than any other Orthodox group. This lot is on steady cruise control.

Personal Sites:

1. Drezhlo: 23 percent (108, 100) (121)

2. Phillips: 10 percent (49, 45) (91)

3. Greene : 5 percent (24, 22)

4. Stokoe: 2 percent (10, 9) (100)

I do a “good” job of reaching this group, Fr Andrew is “fair”, and Mr Stokoe does a miserable job. The people in the lower and upper income brackets do not trust him… hmm… one wonders. I hasten to add to that Mr Stokoe is most probably quite a decent fellow. Unfortunately, he has hitched himself to a corpse, which is sad. A touch of volatility, and I have the only site to be above 100 in this cohort.

G)      Age Profile of the audience in percentages

a)     18 to 34 years-old

Official Sites:

1. OCA: 28 percent (92, 100) (100)

2. ROCOR: 24 percent (84, 91) (100)

3. GOA: 22 percent (77, 84) (96)

4. AOCANA: 21 percent [65, 71] (111)

This month we can index with last month, as the categories stayed stable. A touch of change in these figures.

Personal Sites:

1. Stokoe: 32 percent (111, 100) (100)

2. Drezhlo: 27 percent (92, 83) (104)

3. Phillips: 14 percent (65, 59) (129)

4. Greene: 11 percent (39, 35)

A touch of change, and Fr Andrew is getting better with this group.

b)     35 to 49 years-old

Official Sites:

1. OCA: 32 percent (117, 100) (103)

2. GOA: 30 percent (112, 96) (100)

3. AOCANA: 22 percent [80, 68] (100)

4. ROCOR: 21 percent [79, 68] (100)

Virtually no movement in this class.

Personal Sites:

1. Stokoe: 42 percent (155, 100) (100)

2. Phillips: 36 percent (134, 86) (95)

3. Drezhlo: 36 percent (134, 86) (103)

4. Greene : 20 percent (72, 50)

This set is as much a yawner as the last. Steady on, I’d say.

c)     50+ years-old

Official Sites:

1. GOA: 36 percent (155, 100) (102)

2. OCA: 30 percent (125, 83) (100)

3. ROCOR: 28 percent (117, 75) (100)

4. AOCANA: 25 percent [106, 68] (96)

Nothing perceptible happened here.

Personal Sites:

1. Drezhlo: 36 percent (147, 100) (97)

2. Greene: 27 percent (113, 77)

3. Phillips: 27 percent (111, 69) [108]

4. Stokoe: 25 percent (105, 69) (104)

We have movement here, but not enough to move the ratings.

H)     Percentage of the audience with children 6-17 years-old in the household

Official Sites:

1. AOCANA: 35 percent (108, 100) (100)

2. GOA: 30 percent (92, 85) (100)

3. OCA: 24 percent [73, 68] (100)

4. ROCOR: 23 percent (70, 65) (100)

The AOCANA is healthy; the other three have work to do. This lot is steady on from last month.

Personal Sites:

1. Phillips: 26 percent [82, 100] (100)

2. Drezhlo: 25 percent (76, 93) (93)

3. Greene: 20 percent (63, 77)

4. Stokoe: 1 percent (6, 7) (50)

OUCH! Mr Stokoe stumbles badly here. He cannot connect with parents at all. The rest of us are doing a “good” job. There is enough volatility in this category to jiggle about the rankings a bit.

I am not giving raw figures except for one instance. That is in the case of racial composition in the “Other” category. This can give a picture of who is reading what in the volatile Alaska Church crisis. That is a RATHER valuable piece of information,nicht wahr?

I)      Other (American Indian, Pacific Islander, Alaska Native) in raw figures

Official Sites:

1. GOA: 883 (100) (87)

2. OCA: 573 (65) (126)

3. ROCOR: 520 (59) (173)

4. AOCANA: 498 (56) (182)

Not all of the above are Alaska natives, but, it is a good guess that most of them are. It is noteworthy that the OCA, which has jurisdiction over virtually all parishes in that state, does not do better. The natives appear to be looking at all the options. Antioch, in the end, shall not be an option, because of its modernism, positivism, and its thorough infestation with Protestantism. The Greeks shall fail too, because of their well-known corruption, greater than that of the moribund OCA. Note well the ROCOR figures. The ROCOR has no parish in the state at present. It is also the only jurisdiction of the top four to be on the traditional church calendar. Also, its inner church life is the closest to that found in Alaska. Shall the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska go ROCOR? If I were to bet… however, with the volatility shown, it has the potential to be a horse race.

Personal Sites:

1. Phillips: 383 (100) (22)

2. Drezhlo: 152 (40) (122)

3. Greene: 148 (39)

4. Stokoe: 12 (3) (150)

Despite losses compared to last month, Batiushka Andrew still rolls over all of the personal sites. One reason for the loss of hits is that this time of year, the Alaska natives are out hunting and gathering, and if they do not do this, they starve. No time for the internet, I’ll warrant. Mark Stokoe is abysmal. The natives have abandoned his site. I must say that my native Alaskan readers are the ones I cherish the most. My heart goes out to you, and you are always in my prayers.

J)      Conclusions to be drawn from the raw data

Official Sites:

1.     Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

Firstly, the Greeks are not as affluent as most believe. They do have a higher proportion of such people than any other Orthodox group, but, it is lower than the national average. Also, as I pointed out earlier, much of this wealth is tied up in fixed assets, and the liquidity level is low. In fact, in all other income brackets, the GOA is somewhat above average, so, the urban legends of Greek wealth are false. It appears to have fairly normal age, education, and racial curves. This is a solid and substantial body, marred only by corruption in its highest reaches and the notional policies of the EP (which mainly do not affect local parish life).

2.     Orthodox Church in America

This body is so troubled that it may no longer be in existence next year. Its educational and racial curves appear to be in the normal range. In income, it can be typified as a middle-class body, for the largest cohort is in the 30-60K USD range. In terms of the highest income bracket, its proportion here is about 50 percent of the GOA figure.

This group is the Orthodox body most in thrall to positivism and all of its works because of its social composition. It has a touching faith in psychologists that is greater than its faith in Christ and Church tradition.

3.     Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

Some think this body to be “the Great White Hope” of Orthodoxy in America. Nothing could be further from the truth. Statistically, it is an average body. The racial and educational curves are normal, and 71 percent of the sample falls in the 30-100K income range.

This group has more “convert” parishes than most, which is troubling. Most of the convert priests were ordained without sufficient time in Orthodoxy (ten years would be best, and five years is a bare minimum), therefore, this body is infested with Protestantism, modernism, and positivism.

It is indistinguishable from a conservative Evangelical Protestant body except for its Orthodox ritual. This is the least “Orthodox” of the bodies studied, and it becomes less so with each year. It is a heterogeneous construct held together only by the political skills and ambitions of Philip Saliba. This combination may not survive his demise. It has the most effective propaganda machine in American Orthodoxy. Most converts are fooled regarding this body, but, most “ethnics” are not. Both the AOCANA and OCA only spend three years forming a priest, compared to the usual seven years in Europe. This may be a cause for the shaky clerical situation in these bodies.

4.     Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

This is a body that has rebuilt itself over the last 15 years, and the statistics reflect this. If it had not been for the influx of New Russians after the fall of the USSR, this group would have imploded in the 2000s. It reached its nadir in the years of the Ustinovshchyna, and was revitalised by the election of Laurus Škurla as its Primate.

The ROCOR has the highest percentage of post-graduate degree holders in its ranks, probably due to two factors. The émigré cohort was drawn from the middle classes and above, and the current group of New Russians tends to be professionals. In income, the ROCOR tends to be concentrated in the brackets up to 60K per year. This is a combination of old age pensioners amongst the DP cohort and New Russians being at relatively low rungs of their professions due to their short time in this country.

The ROCOR has the highest proportion of Alaskan natives amongst the readers of its website, which may indicate the future home of the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska.

With its reconciliation with Moscow last year, this is the healthiest church body in the US at present. It has overcome most of its internal problems and it may receive most of the healthy elements of the OCA after that body implodes. To my mind, there shall only be three major Orthodox bodies left after the demise of the OCA (of course, the smaller bodies shall still exist). The GOA shall represent “Greek Orthodoxy” and the ROCOR shall be the standard-bearer of “Russian Orthodoxy”, both legitimate traditions in the Church. Both shall get on well with one another. The AOCANA is on course for departure from the Church tradition. It is already thoroughly Protestantised, and the chances of it doing something dodgy such as ordaining a married bishop are high. It shall ensconce American phyletism as its driving ethos, and its resemblance to ordinary Orthodoxy shall be slight. Any body claiming to be Orthodox that has a layman as its Chancellor is well on its way out of the church.

Personal Sites:

1. Orthodox England, Fr Andrew Phillips

Here is the pick of the litter. It is interesting to note the depth of this audience. There are losses compared to last month, but, as this is a mature site that has been around for some time, it is probably a normal seasonal variation that Fr Andrew expects. The theology is solid and clear, and there is no trace of modernism. I would recommend this site to anyone. Read it now!

Fr Andrew has a diverse following, with an especially heavy cohort coming from Alaska natives. His readers tend to be college-educated or above. In income, his readers tend to 30-100K bracket, but, he does better in the 100K+ category than all official sites except for the GOA, and better than all personal sites except for mine.  Fr Andrew is reaching the people that the official sites and the Stokoe site wish to reach, but, often, do not. The premier Orthodox commentator on the web, I say.

2.      Voices from Russia, Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

I am loath to state much concerning my own site, except to say that my intent is to provide a well-rounded view of Russia: its culture, its religion, its sport, and its society. I appear to be succeeding. I guess you could call my site, “the one-stop Russia shoppe”.

In education level, I do a “good” job of reaching those with college, an excellent job of reaching those with grad school, and I hold my own with the non-college educated. In income, I appeal equally to all brackets, and score the highest of all personal sites in the study in reaching the 100K+ cohort.

3.      Frederica, Frederica Matthewes-Greene

This site has figures available again… Ms Greene considers herself an authoritative spokesman for Orthodoxy. Instead, she is a living example of all that is wrong with the AOCANA. She was fastened upon by Philip Saliba because she works for NPR (National Public Radio), and shares all of its reliably secularist liberal opinions. In one of her books, she states that one of her mentors in the faith was a Uniate. A UNIATE. That is, someone outside the Church and foreign to it. She is the typical ignorant Anglo-Saxon convert spouting off on Orthodoxy before learning the ABCs of the Faith.

If I were to call her anything, it is a barely-converted Anglican with only vestigial traces of Orthodoxy. I should note that Professor Vigen Guroian, the noted Armenian theologian and scholar, has issued a similar condemnation of Ms Greene. Her site and books are not recommended, as they are nothing but evangelical Anglicanism with a few Orthodox terms tossed into the pot.

4.      Orthodox Christians for Accountability, Mark Stokoe

Mr Stokoe is a former Syosset insider, which is the main Achilles heel of his site. He refuses to see anything other than a continuation of the present status quo, and many of his contributors are autocephalist true-believers. To give two examples, one could name Fr Vladimir Berzonsky and Fr Theodore Bobosh. They are contemptuous of any view other than one worshipful of Alexander Schmemann and his fancies, and both are dupes who refuse to see the fact that the “autocephaly” of the so-called OCA was a temporary dodge of the MP in its struggle to survive in communist times. This unreality has driven many away from this site.

A full 63 percent have graduate degrees. In short, it is a much skewed sample. In fact, his is the “whitest” of all the sites in the study, and his Alaska Native readership is only 12 individuals, not even 1 percent!

Why is Mr Stokoe doing such a poor job? Firstly, it is obvious to many that his website and the actions around it were a “palace coup” gone badly. I believe that he and Eric Wheeler saw the rot in the OCA, and wished to act before Herman Swaiko killed the organisation. In short, they were not doing so to line their own pockets, they were trying to stop the disease that was ripping the OCA apart. Instead, they ended up “riding the tiger”.

After some 35 months, the crisis has only deepened, and the recent 6-million USD suit against the OCA in Maryland may signal the beginning of the end. One of the things that came out is that an OCA priest talked openly of what he heard in confession and counselling to smear a laywoman, and he was not disciplined by Syosset when it became known. Mr Stokoe did not condemn this action when he posted about it. That, I think, is the main fault in his site, and it is the reason why many do not trust him. As Fr Vsevolod Chaplin said recently, “truth is truth, and sin is sin”. Indeed. Mr Stokoe should emblazon this on his heart.

Another thing I noticed is that this site is volatile in the extreme. Also, it is a one-horse operation covering only one topic.

CONCLUSION

Firstly, let us all let out a long sigh of relief! Studies such as this are useful and valuable, but… OOO-WEE! They take such time, don’t they?

This gives an accurate picture, to the best extent that the data available can, of a good part of Orthodoxy. Let’s stop lying to one another and let’s walk honestly in the light. God shall bless us for it.

That’s the tote-board for the month. Get your bets in before the flag is up.

Vara Drezhlo

Friday 4 July 2008

Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) Trumped Up False Charges against Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Organisation Headed by Fr Dmitri Sidor

Orthodox Cathedral in Užgorod, constructed under the leadership of Fr Dmitri Sidor, a true national hero and Orthodox confessor. Pray for Fr Dmitri, the members of the SPR, and for all Carpatho-Russians under Ukrainian persecution at present.

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) trumped up criminal charges of “separatist activity” against the organisation Soym Podkarpatskikh Rusinov (SPR) (Ark of Transcarpatho-Russians), which is headed by Archpriest Dmitri Sidor of the Moscow Patriarchate. This action was reported on 27 June by Valentin Nalivaichenko, the chairman of the SBU. Fr Dmitri commented on the website Zaxid.net that members of the SPR shall not answer any calls from the SBU. He also asserts that no formal criminal charges have been delivered to the leadership of the SPR.

Mr Nalivaichenko informed Novy Region (New Region) that a criminal case was filed against the organisers of the SPR by the SBU because it allegedly “speaks against [Ukrainian] independence and urges change of the political system”. “For us, it doesn’t matter from whom or from where rebellion originates. We are acting within the law. Before we filed criminal charges, we warned these people”, Mr Nalivaichenko said.

Fr Dmitri, in his comments on the statements of Mr Nalivaichenko, said that “thus far, the Ukrainian government does not recognise the results of the referendum of 1992, where some 92 percent of the region’s population voted to be part of the Ukraine, but, 78 percent also supported the formation of a special [Carpatho-Russian] autonomous region within the Ukraine, so, up to this time, the Ukrainian authority in the region is illegitimate”. He also reiterated that “the SPR has passed no resolutions relative to separatism”. In his view, “the discussion revolves around [Kiev] recognising the Transcarpathian region as an autonomous self-governing region within the Ukrainian state. The leadership of the SPR has never advocated separatism, but, it stands for the protection of the rights of Carpatho-Russians”.

4 July 2008

RISU

Quoted in Sedmitza.ru

http://www.sedmitza.ru/

Editor’s Note:

This action is reprehensible and brutal. If you needed proof that the Galician Uniate fanatics who have the ear of Yushchenko are evil, here it is. There are no people as innocuous and peace-loving as the people of Carpatho-Russia. They have given much good to the world. They simply wish to protect their national heritage from assaults by Galician Uniate thugs who desire to ram their religious and nationalist agenda down the throats of the entire population of the Ukraine.

Do not forget that the OUN/UPA bandits murdered Jews, Roma (Gypsys), Poles, Magyars, Slovaks, and Carpatho-Russians in the latter stages of World War II in an attempt to “cleanse” the Western Ukraine of all non-Uniate elements. Nice folks. They are up to their old tricks, apparently. Reflect on the fact that Washington supports such evil. How low have we fallen?

Heed the cry of the Carpatho-Russian confessors! Give no quarter to the Unia and to its deluded votaries!

BMD

Fr Dmitri Smirnov says the Intention of Bartholomew to Visit the Ukraine without an Invitation from Patriarch Aleksei is “Impudent”

The Battle of Navarino on 2 October 1827 (Ivan Aivazovsky, 1846). A combined Anglo-French-Russian fleet crushed the Ottomans, paving the way for Greek independence. The ordinary Greeks have never forgotten this, so, 97 percent of them support Russia. In the end, they shall not support Black Bart and his Uniatism. Opa!

The intent of Patriarch Bartholomew of the EP to visit the Ukraine without the permission of Patriarch Aleksei shows his utter disregard for the MP, Archpriest Dimitri Smirnov, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for Relations with the Armed Forces, said. “The attitude of the EP to the holy canons, our history, and to our country is impudent. It is perplexing to Orthodox believers in Russia. Maybe, they have some inner anger that drowns out the historical gratitude that they should feel”, Fr Dimitri said Friday to Interfax-Religion.

“He gives us the impression that he is completely ignoring us… for him, there are no canons, no Russian Patriarch, and no Russian Church”, Fr Dimitri emphasised in his comments upon the intent of Bartholomew to attend the celebration of 1,020th anniversary of Baptism of Russia in the Ukraine at the invitation of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, but, without an invitation from Patriarch Aleksei. In his opinion, the invitation of Bartholomew to visit the Ukraine and the attempts to establish a schismatical “Orthodox” Church in the Ukraine independent of Moscow were the “result of plots on the part of Mr Yushchenko’s allies, who helped him to seize power and retain it”.

“This is but one part of the global policy of a world power whose intent is to make troubles for Russia”, Fr Dimitri said. Commenting on prior statements and actions of some members of the EP aimed at supporting Ukrainian schismatics, Fr Dimitri said, “The fact that the American Ambassador in Ukraine was banned from entering all MP parishes [in the Ukraine], of course, proves that the present administration in the USA has direct relation to all the above. It is quite evident who they support”.

According to Fr Dimitri, “the EP and the Greek Church are obliged to the tens of thousands of Russians who gave their lives for the freedom and independence of Greece. Therefore, this dislike of Russians and Russia that we now feel from some Greeks (Greeks are a majority of believers and clergy of the EP: Interfax), of course, is very deplorable”. According to Fr Dimitri, for quite some time, the existence of the ancient Greek Patriarchates “depended on the Russian empire. For example, if you go to Mount Athos in Greece, we see Russian icons and Russian chandeliers. The restoration of Simonopetra Monastery was paid for by Russian money”, Fr Dimitri said.

4 July 2008

Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=25287

Editor’s Note:

“Impudent” is a strong word. The ante has been raised. Black Bart has been trying to fill inside straights, and everyone knows the futility of that.

This poses an interesting dilemma for OCA die-hard true-believer autocephalists. Unlike the other Local Churches, they cannot play off the EP against the MP. That is because the EP does not accept its autocephaly now, nor shall it in future. Moscow is going to demand full acceptance of its line on the EP as its “payment” for not lifting the Tomos. The OCA shall be nothing but the organ-grinder monkey of Moscow, and there is absolutely nothing that can be done of it.

As for the sorts who are dreaming of a “union” with the AOCANA, neither Moscow nor Antioch is going to recognise it, so, forget it. The only way the OCA can get aid from the EP is to forgo its autocephaly, and the only way it can keep its Moscow-granted “autocephaly” is to be the MP’s Step n’ Fetchit. Truly, a sad fate, and I am NOT laughing, merely shaking my head.

The tension is certainly increasing, and all I shall say is that when the storm breaks, it is going to affect us in America severely. The OCA shall not be able to stay neutral, and the coming breach shall throw back all efforts at “pan-Orthodox” unity back for centuries.

May God keep us. What “interesting” times we live in.

BMD

Historian says that the Intention of Patriarch Bartholomew to Visit the Ukraine without Consulting Patriarch Aleksei is a Sign of Hostility to Russia

Chapel in the Russian Mission in Jerusalem, this good work only exists with the blessing of Patriarch Feofily of Jerusalem, for that is proper.

A Russian historian believes that if Patriarch Bartholomew of the EP comes to the church-state festivities in the Ukraine without an invitation from Patriarch Aleksei, it will be another hostile act of the EP aimed at Russia. “Since 1917, the EP has always tried to work against Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church. It’s working in alliance with NATO to tear the Ukraine away from Russia”, Dr Nikolai Lisovoi, a senior researcher at the RAN Institute of Russian History and deputy chairman of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society, told Interfax-Religion on Friday.

Furthermore, he said that Patriarch Bartholomew’s visit is “not a church affair, it is a political stunt”. Mr Lisovoi reminded our correspondent that the canons of the Church state that a patriarch of one Local Orthodox Church could visit the canonical territory of another Local Church only when he is invited by the latter’s primate. According to Mr Lisovoi, the heads of the Local Orthodox churches came to Bethlehem in 2000, but, it was “at the invitation of the Patriarch of Jerusalem and all Palestine and not at the behest of the Israeli president or Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat”. He noted that Mr Arafat participated in the religious meeting in Bethlehem, “he sat together with the Orthodox prelates, he arranged a reception for them, but, he wasn’t the host, nor was he an organiser of the event”.

“I wonder how it came to this. That the patriarchs would come to the canonical territory of the MP at Viktor Yushchenko’s invitation! It would be the same if the head of the Turkish government invited our Patriarch to Nicea, to visit the site of the ancient Nicean Council. Our patriarch would go there without asking permission of the EP, who canonically rules over this territory”, Mr Lisovoi said. He stressed that such was “nonsensical in church relations” and urged us not to mix “apples and oranges” (in Russian, literally, “flies and cutlets”: editor’s note).

He is convinced that the decision of Bartholomew to visit the Ukraine at the invitation of Mr Yushchenko is “an obvious stratagem to undermine church unity. If Mr Yushchenko wanted to modify church relations, particularly with the EP, first of all, he should contact Patriarch Aleksei, as the Ukraine is his canonical territory. However, he didn’t do that”. Mr Lisovoi believes that if Bartholomew visits the Ukraine, Patriarch Aleksei “mustn’t go there”. “We must protest this action on both the church and political levels, as we would do if it turned out that, for example, the Georgian Patriarch decided to visit the Ukraine unbeknownst to Patriarch Aleksei”, Mr Lisovoi said. The EP Holy Synod recently announced that Bartholomew I shall accept the invitation of Mr Yushchenko to visit the Ukraine and to participate in the celebrations of the 1,020th anniversary of Russia’s Baptism to scheduled for July and August. The MP announced that it shall make proper consultations [before making a public statement].

4 July 2008

InterfaxReligion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=25286

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