Voices from Russia

Friday, 31 October 2008

There is a Movement in the OCA for the Election of Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev of the MP as its First Hierarch

Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Vienna and Austria (1966- ), Representative of the MP to the European International Institutions

Some clergy in the Orthodox Church of America (OCA) suggest that it elect Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Vienna and Austria of the MP as its First Hierarch. Archpriest Thomas Hopko, a well-known theologian and former rector of St Vladimir Theological Seminary, issued an open letter calling the Holy Synod of the OCA to contact the Holy Synod of the MP in regards to the possible election of Bishop Hilarion. “There can be nothing else that it expects of us at this given moment”, Fr Thomas stated in his letter, posted on Thursday on the website Bogoslov.ru.

The election of the First Hierarch of the OCA shall place at the All-American Council (a misnomer, it is more a Protestant-style convention than an Orthodox council: editor’s note) in Pittsburgh on 11 November. Previously, Archpriest Andrew Moore, the rector of St Thomas parish in Springfield MO, stated in an open letter to delegates to the All-American Council that they should “pray and reflect, and to vote on the first ballot without opposition to elect Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev as the Metropolitan of the OCA. We need a metropolitan who has proven that he is a good pastor, but, also a capable administrator, even when the cause of Christ is out of favour… We must pray and appeal to God that the MP would allow him (Bishop Hilarion: Interfax) to serve us. We must, through our prayers, make it known to him that he is needed here”.

The prospect of the election of Vladyki Hilarion’s election as Metropolitan of all America and Canada caused lively discussion on the website Orthodox Christians for Accountability. Fr John Scollard of the Albanian Diocese of the OCA thinks it best to consult with Bishop Basil Osborne (a schismatic EP bishop who caused church turmoil in England in 2006: editor’s note), who in 2006 passed from the authority of the MP to the EP. A laywoman from New York, Rebecca Matovic, assumes that a possible election of Bishop Hilarion as metropolitan “cannot be interpreted in any other way except as a step on the way to the reunification of the OCA with Moscow”. On this site, one also finds comments in support of Bishop Hilarion’s candidacy, signed by people such as Archimandrite Jonas Pfaffhausen, due to elevated to the episcopacy on 1 November, by Hieromonk Alexander Golitsyn, who is a professor at Marquette University, and by Archpriest Michael Dahulich, the rector of St Tikhon Spiritual Seminary. “Bishop Hilarion would be an excellent candidate… If Moscow allows him to come and lead us, nothing could be better for the strengthening of ties between the different Russian churches and even the different jurisdictions in America”, according to Fr John Peck.

30 October 2008



Editor’s Note:

This was NOT translated into English on the Interfax site. A GIANT “Big Green Weenie Award” for that one! In any case, there are other candidates in the woodwork… many staunch ethnic people are for a Hilarion… not Hilarion Alfeyev, but, Hilarion Kapral of the ROCOR. As Fr Andrew Phillips rightly points up, he is Canadian-born; therefore, he has a better grasp of the pastoral reality in North America.

In any case, the OCA as it has been known for the past 38 years is no more… es ist das ENDE. Finis. Da svidaniya, Syosset! There is a small rear-guard of apparatchiki and true-believers guarding the last positions… no one else has confidence in this organisation, not the clergy, not the laity, and I would say, not even the bishops.

The meeting on 11 November bids fair to be INTERESTING in the extreme. No matter what happens, the status quo ante bellum shall not be restored, for it cannot be. As for what shall happen, that is anyone’s good guess. I certainly have no insider info. Pray… like you have never done so before.



Fr Vsevolod Chaplin becomes the First Russian Orthodox Priest to Visit Saudi Arabia

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin (1968- ), Deputy Chairman of the MP Department of External Church Relations

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, became the first Russian Orthodox priest in history to visit Saudi Arabia. He attended the fourth forum of the Russia-Islamic World strategic vision group held in Jeddah, 27-29 October. “Russia and the Islamic world have much in common. We are intermingled. Russia is inseparable from the Islamic world, as many millions of Muslims live there, and the Islamic world is inseparable from the Russian and Orthodox world, as so many Orthodox live in so many Muslim countries”, Fr Vsevolod said in addressing the forum.

In his opinion, the most important thing is that “we have much in common in our views on the family and society, as well as the place of religion and morals in our lives”. Fr Vsevolod noted that the Russian model of inter-religious relations involved respect to the traditions of different religions, their intrinsic way of life, and social norms related to them. “Today, this model is in demand in the world which increasingly understands that it is necessary to respect different civilisations along with their religious or secular roots, their laws, rules, social models, and political systems”, he said.

Fr Vsevolod called for mutual support of inter-religious peacemaking initiatives, in particular, the Russian proposal to organise a consultative interreligious council under the auspices of UN, and the initiative of the King of Saudi Arabia to develop interreligious dialogue, as well as measures designed to prevent the trampling of the sensibilities of religious believers proposed by the Organization of the Islamic Conference. In Fr Vsevolod’s view, Russia and the Islamic world share common challenges. This is, in particular, the attempts of some to use religious feelings to unleash national and political extremism and radicalism, to justify terror, and to reach vile mundane goals.

The other strong challenge is an attempt to induce believers, including by means of some models of “interreligious dialogue”, to reject their identity and traditions, introduce liberal reforms into their beliefs, “privatise” religion, and recognise the monopoly of secular values in the social sphere, Fr Vsevolod said. “Recently, both Orthodox and Muslims are being lectured and condescended to. We are told to abandon our ‘superstitions’, recognise the supremacy of secular conceptions and secular values, and you will be an enlightened student fit for Western society”, Fr Vsevolod said.

Today, however, he said, “Convinced and firm believers understand more and more that their world outlook, way of life, laws, rules, and their model of society have no less right in the context of the world structure than the worldly Western social and ideological model. If together we are able to stand up for such a position, we will be much stronger”, Fr Vsevolod concluded.

29 October 2008



Renowned Missionary Hegumen Sergei Rybko Compared the Opponents of Pastoral Work amongst Counterculture Youth to Pharisees

Hegumen Sergei Rybko, renowned “Apostle to the Counter-culture”. Rock on, Fr Sergei!

Renowned missionary Hegumen Sergei Rybko compared those who oppose missionary activity among counter-culture youth to Pharisees and he urged such people to follow the lead of the hierarchs of the Church. In an interview with Interfax-Religion on Thursday, Fr Sergei made the point, “Those folks who wish to fight rock-music and pastoral work amongst rockers are nothing but Pharisees”. He made these comments at a roundtable discussion on Orthodox mission in the youth subculture.

Sergei Chapnin, the editor of the newspaper Tserkovny Vestnik (The Church Herald), said that the Church could work amongst rockers and nonconformists, but, it should give more emphasis to missionary programmes oriented to college and high school students, which are larger groups. Another participant in the roundtable, Zhanna Grigoryev, the head of the division for scientific-theological literature for the MP and editor of the missionary journal Foma (Thomas), said, “Only recently, I heard those who say, ‘Rock is elemental, it is the language of philosophers, poets, thinkers, and honest people’. The beginning of this attitude was traced to people like Hegumen Sergei Rybko and some other lesser-known clergy. But, why rock music, in particular? What about the students at the conservatoire?”

In reply, Fr Sergei said, “The Pharisees very often blamed Christ for directing his preaching not only to the élite, but, to everyone without distinction, to gentiles, publicans, and whores, leading them to repentance. The Pharisees were people who respected the letter of law, stressed their élitism, and believed that Christianity was only for them. The apostles and martyrs heard the same reproaches. There’s nothing new under the sun. St Vitaly, who is listed in the Orthodox Menaion, preached in brothels. So, brothels are all right, whilst young people are under the ban?” he asked.

Fr Sergei urged his opponents “to be more obedient to the hierarchy. It can turn out that if you disparage someone, if you call what is holy sinful, you can unwittingly interfere with the preaching of the Word of God by your insinuations”, he reminded his listeners. In any case, Fr Sergei pointed up that his mission has the blessing of Patriarch Aleksei II. “I am a soldier. Where they send me, I will preach there. If they order me to go to Africa tomorrow… or, to any other place, for that matter… I will go there. As Metropolitan Antony of Surouzh said, ‘If I am ordered to preach in hell, I will preach in hell'”, Fr Sergei said.

He noted that he was nothing but a simple monk that went to the monastery in order to pray to God, to live in solitude, with a love of the church, the prayers, and the divine services. “The work at rock concerts is very tiring to me; I think that I could do as well at the altar celebrating the Divine Liturgy. My pastoral work is a heavy labour that I accomplish as an act of obedience. If they were to give me a different obedience tomorrow, it would gladden me”, Fr Sergei acknowledged. He expressed his exasperation that his critics did not note his publishing activity. “We have now published a collection of works by St John Chrysostom, and works by St Tikhon of Zadonsk. Actually, we have issued them in a single volume. I have a parish in Bibirevo that serves some 200,000 people, I use my own money, and we don’t have any “New Russians” (a slang term for affluent Russians: editor’s note). Why don’t they note this side of my activity?” he asked.

In his opinion, his mission work amongst rockers is only one of his pastoral duties. “It’s probably the best-known, but, it is not the most important”. Speaking about rock-culture, Fr Sergei pointed out that rock “originally opposed many tendencies found in the world, evil, injustice… Rockers positioned themselves as fighters against the foundations of these things. However, the fact is that Christianity is also fighting against the evil in the world. We agree in it and I try to show rockers that their protest finds its answer in Orthodoxy. There’s a straight line way from nonconformity and protest to Christ”, Fr Sergei concluded.

Recently, the Moscow Patriarchate decorated Fr Sergei for his missionary work amongst counter-culture youth.

30 Щсещиук 2008



Editor’s Note:

Interfax gets a GIGANTIC “Big Green Weenie Award” for this one. Less than half of the Russian text was in their English translation, distorting it immensely. SHEESH! Call out Vince McMahon and the entire WWWF stable! Let’s get Hulk Hogan to get the Interfax translator into the sleeper hold… I don’t think it would do much good, though.

Carpatho-Russians Seek Divorce from the Ukraine, Like the Czechs and Slovaks

Filed under: Carpatho-Russian,politics,Russian,the Ukraine — 01varvara @ 00.00

The Orthodox cathedral in Užgorod, as seen from the ramparts of the Užgorod Castle-Museum

“We are not Transdnistria, we are not Georgia, we are a different people, and we hope the Ukrainians will give us a divorce in a peaceful way, like the Czechs and Slovaks did”, Fr Dmitri Sidor, the head of Carpathian-Russian parliament, told ZIK on 28 October.

Carpatho-Russians are seeking autonomy for the Zakarpatya oblast of the Ukraine. “The conflict in Transdnistria erupted because proud Moldova refused to divorce Transdnistria”, Rev Sidor argued. He considers the Ukraine to be a totalitarian state outside of the rule of law because the government refuses to engage in talks with the Carpatho-Russian leadership and rejects their demands. Carpatho-Russian activists wish the Zakarpatya Oblast Council session due on 1 December to endorse the results of the referendum of 1 December 1991 in which residents of Zakarpatya supported an autonomous status for the region. “The régime ignored our calls for autonomy for 17 years”, commented Yevgeni Zhupan, an Our Ukraine faction council member and an activist of the Carpatho-Russian movement.

Fr Dmitri warned that, if the Oblast Council does not support the Carpatho-Russian initiative on 1 December, they will wait for some time and then start to fight for their rights. “We shall demand our autonomy in a peaceful way. But, how we will fight for it is our national secret. If Lvov residents do not support us, we will have supporters coming from Rovno, Kiev, and Odessa”.

28 October 2008



Editor’s Note:

So much for American support of “democracy”! Well… perhaps, Fr Dmitri should convert to the “Assemblies of God”, and, then, the neocons would deign to “notice” his existence! Note well that “human rights” does not apply to Orthodox Christians. All Orthodox Christians in this country should take heed of this and act accordingly.


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