Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Grinch Who Came to Dinner…


Don’t forget… the Grinch came disguised as Santa Claus… the archetypical “good guy”… likewise; Jonas Paffhausen comes to us garbed as an ordinary Orthodox monastic… when he is truly a HOOMie in drag!

A friend of mine made a good suggestion… juxtapose some of the matters of public record concerning Jonas Paffhausen with his official bio. Well, it IS interesting, to say the least.

Firstly, it is claimed that he worked for Russki Palomnik (Russian Pilgrim) at the Publishing Department of the Patriarchate of Moscow and all Russia. That is not completely the truth. Russki Palomnik was a publication of the renegade deposed priest Gleb Podmoshensky. I am informed by friends in Russia that there were no official links between the MP and Mr Podmoshensky. What “links” there were only coincidental… Podmoshensky had contact with some in the MP, nothing more. That is to say, Mr Paffhausen either worked for Podmoshensky’s Russki Palomnik or for the MP, but, not both. The former is more probable than the latter. This makes one of the claims in his official bio very tenuous, indeed.

James Paffhausen (later, Jonas Paffhausen in monasticism) was never a member of the brotherhood at Valaam Monastery, per informed sources. He was only a long-term resident there. This is not unusual in Orthodox practise. Many pious laity reside in monasteries for a longer or shorter period without embracing the monastic life per se (a good example being Admiral St Fyodor Ushakov). There are those who live in monasteries who shall never be admitted to the actual brotherhood, under any circumstance (such as Lyova the Fool at Jordanville).

There is no mention of his connection with the deposed clergyman Gleb Podmoshensky in his official bio. As it is well-known that Paffhausen spoke in favour of admitting the CSB/HOOMie lot en masse, this omission is puzzling and disquieting. Gleb Podmoshensky was suspended from the priesthood by the ROCOR Holy Synod on well-founded morals charges. Furthermore, Podmoshensky was later deposed from the clergy for defying this order of the ROCOR Holy Synod. The entire St Herman Brotherhood left Platina CA after the morals charges were laid, except for Damascene Christiansen and Gerasim Eliel, both of whom are closely connected with Jonas Paffhausen.

Ergo, Jonas Paffhausen has an obligation to disown and repudiate his connection with Gleb Podmoshensky and ask forgiveness of the Church. As he concealed his intimate working relationship with someone who was publicly known to all as a deposed clergyman prior to being elevated to high episcopal office, he has the obligation to resign and retire to his monastery to work his repentance (as an ordinary monk, not as the abbot of the house, it should be added).

We have not even got into the connection of Jonas Paffhausen with the HOOMies. There is no need, for the charges concerning his connections with Podmoshensky are serious enough to merit his resignation, or, lacking that, his removal. As for his connection to CSB/HOOM, that is attested to by Matushka Nina Stroyen, the widow of Fr Basil Stroyen and a member of the board at St Tikhon Seminary in South Canaan PA (she said such more than once to me in a recent telephone chat). Her word is sufficient… she is one of the “elders” of the Church, and has been around longer than most of us. If she sees danger in Jonas Paffhausen, we would be wise to listen to what she has to say.

If this man is not removed, we shall have “hell to pay”… literally. God help us.

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Wednesday 30 September 2009

Albany NY


We Must All Stand Together

russian army female paratrooper 2

Don’t mess with the best! The HOOMies have a surprise or two awaiting them if they muck about with real Orthodox Christians and their friends…


I had a nice chat with a lawyer, yesterday. She was pointing some things up for me, and I think I learned a great deal. Unlike some others I could mention I know that there are many things in this world that I don’t know squat-doodly about. One of those things is the law. So, I was “all ears”, as they say. To keep it simple, I should state whether things are matters of public record or my conjecture based on the public record. If I do this, I would be immune from legal harassment. It wouldn’t stop them from making my life miserable or airing my dirty laundry, for, like it or not, that’s not illegal… it’s immoral… but the law doesn’t deal in morals, it deals in legalities. All of us should keep that in mind. We can stop the OCA legal eagles from harassing us, but we can’t stop OCA clergy and their allies from issuing gossip, innuendoes, and personal attacks unless it strays into libel or slander… and my lawyer friend was quick to point up that these fellows rarely do that… most are brighter than Raymond Velencia (you’re more likely to deal with a Karlgut, Garklavs, or Burdikoff, who’re more sharp than that… give the devil his due).


Bert and Harry Piels

Bert and Harry ask, “What’s the deal?”


So, what’s a “matter of public record”? Well, here’s a partial list:

  1. Russki Palomnik wasn’t an official publication approved by any bishop. It was an unofficial production of Gleb Podmoshensky, produced after the date of his deposition, a fact known by James Paffhausen.
  2. Gleb Podmoshensky had been deposed by the ROCOR Holy Synod prior to James Paffhausen’s trip to Russia and such deposition was a matter of public record and duly publicised by the Synod. Therefore, James Paffhausen knew that Mr Podmoshensky was in a state of rebellion against the Church.
  3. The members of the brotherhood of the St Herman Monastery in Platina CA left, due to the morals charges brought against Mr Podmoshensky, except for Damascene Christiansen and Gerasim Eliel (both of whom are close to Jonas Paffhausen).
  4. James Paffhausen was only a long-term guest of Valaam Monastery; he was never an official novice or monk there.
  5. David Brum was received into the OCA at the chapel of Jonas Paffhausen’s monastery in Point Reyes CA in 1997. Mr Brum subsequently became Secretary to Metropolitans Feodosy Lazor and Herman Swaiko.
  6. Earlier this year, Jonas Paffhausen stated in Moscow that no one was left from the former administration except for a house-cleaner and some secretaries. Who was with him in Moscow? Leonid Kishkovsky… the head of the OCA DECR under Metropolitans Feodosy and Herman… and continued in that post by Jonas Paffhausen. Interesting assertion, nicht wahr?
  7. The funds for the Koumentakos case legal bills and the trips to Moscow and Georgia weren’t in the budget submitted for public scrutiny on oca.org.
  8. The CFO of SVS was named the Treasurer of the OCA. Is she going to hold both offices concurrently? A “search” for a new treasurer had been announced on oca.org. How many other candidates were interviewed? How’re the conflicts of interest going to be avoided?
  9. Alexey Karlgut attempted to get Kristine Koumentakos to sign legal papers dropping her lawsuit against the OCA.
  10. Igor Burdikoff resigned as Treasurer of the Diocese of NY and Washington (or NY/NJ) after questions were raised concerning 125,000 USD supposedly spent on the bishop’s residence.
  11. Igor Burdikoff was named Administrator of Holy Cross Monastery in Niagara Falls NY. Said monastery bolted the OCA for HOCNA. Were these two facts interrelated?
  12. Mr and Mrs Robert Kondratick named the OCA as defendant in a lawsuit… then, they pulled it… but, this suit hasn’t been withdrawn definitively…
  13. Robert Kondratick was deposed as a clergyman, then, rehired in lay status, at a salary higher than that earned by many priests.
  14. Raymond Velencia was named to the Metropolitan Council whilst he was still involved in litigation.
  15. Raymond Velencia directly sent an e-mail to the Metropolitan Council based on material derived from confidential counselling sessions and confessions.


Iliff, Eric Xmas Tree

Eric Iliff (1981-2007). “They all had faces… they all had names…. nothing is forgottten… no one is forgotten”… Vechnaya yemu pamyat!


One could go on. However, all of the above is a matter of record… all is attested (I also have no wish to bore you with a long laundry-list). There is more, but, it is either not attested, conjecture, or hearsay. If one repeats the last, one runs the risk of legal action by the OCA (this warning is VERY serious… PAY IT HEED!). The Iliff affair is a case in point. I would advise everyone to click here to go to the Pokrov website. Once there, type in “Iliff” in the search box. You’ll find it enlightening… reflect on the fact that Mr Iliff committed suicide whilst his litigation was pending… read the material and come to your own conclusion. I wish to state publicly that I’m not perfect. There are many sins on my plate. You see, the first tactic they use is, “See, look at what this person has done, therefore, they aren’t telling you the truth”. I’ve received no money from the Church, I’m receiving no money from the Church, and I anticipate receiving no money from the Church in future. Is this true of those issuing attacks on the common faithful? Hmm… In any case, those accusing us of being sinners are sinners themselves! However… I fully expect that if I don’t cease posting on the current Church situation, there’ll be those who shall air my every peccadillo and “secret”. Nevertheless, I must step forward… someone has to speak out. As Chukcha would say, “Chukcha says we all go on whale hunt… however… only one throws the harpoon”. Perhaps, my effort will be a failure… I’ve every confidence that others would step forward, in that case.


Peter Monamy. The Sinking of HMS Victory on 4 October 1744. 1745

The Sinking of HMS Victory on 4 October 1744

Peter Monamy



The ship of the OCA is sinking, yet, the officers won’t let the crew go to the boats… reflect on that!

I fear that things are going to get worse as the Syossetites realise the pickle that they’re in. It’s a situation directly analogous to the one that broke out in 1918 and 1919, when Bishop Aleksandr Nemolovsky lost his head in the crisis surrounding the Russian Revolution. The funds dried up suddenly, so, properties were mortgaged and imprudent loans were made, resulting, in the end, of the loss of much real estate, leading to much confusion and bitterness  amongst the faithful and clergy in the Church. It took YEARS to repair the material damage (the spiritual and psychic damage was incalculable). The ship’s sinking. The Honesdale loan isn’t paid off, donations are down, and the economic downturn hasn’t helped matters. The “sinking” of the OCA is going to affect all of American Orthodoxy in one way or another. Yet, there’s nothing that our confrères can do to help matters. They can only help by picking up the survivors… for only those who wish to be helped can be helped. We must stand together in this… for the consequences of losing the OCA to the HOOMies shall set back Orthodoxy in this country for centuries, if not permanently.

God help us all.

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Wednesday 30 September 2009

Albany NY

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Cost of Discipleship


Get Behind Me, Satan! (Ilya Repin, 1895)

The Koumentakos case points up something for us… the fact that the OCA (in particular) shall go to any length to “win”. This brings certain consequences to all who question the veracity of the current OCA party-line. Before we begin a discussion of this, please, click on the following link to read the article on practise in the Paris group, for its behaviour is identical to that of the OCA.


Read it? Good… Any of us who speak out or otherwise discomfit the Syosset/SVS cabal (the unity of these bodies was shown by the recent naming of the SVS CFO to be OCA Treasurer) shall find that these people do not hesitate to use the sacraments as weapons. Indeed, it has been done for many years, usually by denying someone communion under shaky pretence coupled with subtle (or not-so-subtle) pressure to leave the parish. If you find this statement “extreme”, please, click the link again to reread the above article. It is revelatory and there is not an idle word in it.

One reason why there has been no open retaliation as of present against whistle-blowers is that Jonas Paffhausen, Benjamin Peterson, their HOOMie allies (including Gerasim Eliel, the putative Bishop of Alaska), and the SVS lot are Godless California Positivists, not Orthodox Christians, in philosophy. That is, the first tactic of such people upon encountering opposition is to ignore it. “It shall go away”. It is part and parcel of “positive thinking”. If the opposition persists, if that does not work, a whispering campaign is launched against the poster. All sorts of juicy and “interesting” tit-bits concerning the opposition are aired, usually through third-parties such as the moderators of Internet fora such as the Orthodox-Forum (that is why the Velencia case is so interesting… he has been stupid enough to air such himself, directly… which has, no doubt, earned him the ire of Bobby K and the Syosset inner circle). If that does not work, it goes to the third level, which is not uncommon. Then, communion is withheld. There is always a “reason”, and do not forget that the OCA is now run according to the so-called “Brum Doctrine”, which states that all matters are to decided by the Central Authority (a fact that the OCA lawyers conveniently left out of their briefs).

This was not the practise in the old Metropolia; it was not advocated or used by decent people of merit such as Metropolitans Leonty Turkevich and Iriney Bekish, Archbishops John Shahovskoy and Kyprian Borisevich, or Fr Basil Stroyen (“Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?”). As an older friend of mine said in relation to the Velencia case when I said, “What would the old Metropolia have done?” she relied, “They would’ve ripped his head off”. Who brought this cancer into the Church? The answer is contained in the article linked above… Aleksandr Dmitrievich Schmemann brooked no opposition to his heretical notions. ANYTHING was allowed… “The end justifies the means”. Don’t forget that he started out by stabbing his mentor, Georgi Vasilyevich Florovsky, in the back in a manoeuvre to gain influence at SVS (which, at that time (in 1955), was nothing but a set of hired-rooms at the Reed House in Union Theological in Manhattan). It went downhill from there…

As the situation deteriorates, no doubt, Syosset shall send some of its most-trusted minions about the various parishes to “rally the troops” and to “shoot dissenters”. Mind you, I am certain that no physical coercion shall be used. Anyone who thinks that it shall be used is fevered and melodramatic and deserves a long rest in a home for the feeble-minded. In any case, physical intimidation was tried in Mayfield in the 80s… it not only didn’t work, it backfired so badly that it scared off the Syosset gang. That being said, there is no doubt that the Syosset commandoes shall do their best to make your life miserable. They prefer to air dirty laundry (we all have it, bar none), launch accusatory gossip, and, in general, engage in character assassination. They never engage the merits of what is raised by their opponents, for they are usually in the wrong, egregiously so in most cases. No one is going to face physical threats… nevertheless, one should be careful in dealing with clergy from outside of the area.

Be careful in sharing personal details with anyone, but, be especially wary if clergy or Syosset apparatchiki become curious. Never speak to them without having a lawyer present. These people are not nice; do not act as though they are. NEVER trust an OCA priest… the briefs filed in the Koumentakos case confirm that the OCA Central Authority does not believe in the sanctity of confessions and counselling… most priests are weak human-beings. I fear that most would throw a parishioner to the wolves to relieve pressure on them… THAT is the end-result of two disparate, but, related, trends. The first is Godless California Positivism… you can sniff this out by the fact that its practitioners do not believe in confession, they believe in “therapy” (and therapists, I have found, do not believe in confidentiality, as a rule). Reflect on the fact that Timothy Blumentritt was a “therapist” (thanks to “you-know-who” for the correction on the name!)… say a prayer for the soul of poor Eric Iliff! The second is the nihilism taught by the example of Aleksandr Dmitrievich Schmemann. Taken together, what is a poor fellow to do? It requires courage to swim against the tide… and although many do so, there are many who do not.

There are some priests of whom you should be especially wary of. First, there is Alexey Karlgut… do not take my word for it, ask Kristine Koumentakos! She shall give you the “Full Monty” on this particular piece of work. He is known for being involved in pressuring people to sign settlements in legal cases. Never speak to this priest without having a lawyer at your side. If you choose to talk to him, at any time, on any topic… be forewarned, do so at your own risk. Another priest of this ilk is Alexander Garklavs, the present Chancellor of the OCA. He is of the same cloth as Karlgut… treat with him at your own risk. A third is Igor Burdikoff, who is, perhaps, the cleverest and most dangerous of the lot. He NEVER accuses people directly; he ALWAYS works through third-parties… this makes it particularly difficult to nail him down or to defend against him. A VERY smooth and unctuous sort, he has the widest insincere “sincere smile” in all of creation. Iggy was forced to resign as Treasurer of the Diocese of NY and Washington (or, was it NY and NJ… the legal name doesn’t matter… the facts DO matter)… there was a matter of some missing 125Gs… Oh, I can’t say that he pocketed it, but, there has been no real audit or investigation by independent and outside bodies, either. I would call these three the Unholy Trinity. Beware them all, but, beware Burdikoff most of all. He is the most lacking in scruples (ask the priest from Jersey that was attacked by him at the ’07 Diocesan Assembly!) of the lot and the most clever. He is singularly lacking in education and manners, but, don’t let that fool you. As a friend of mine said, “None of these fellows are nutters; they are too good at looking after Number One to be nutters”.

In short, we are in for “interesting times”, and the full import of that old Chinese curse is probably apparent to most of us by now. Reflect on the fact that the Unholy Trinity was in good odour under Herman Swaiko and that they are in good odour under Jonas Paffhausen… nothing has changed and we are fools, indeed, to think otherwise. Mix these opportunists together with the cultist Stepford Wife HOOMies and you have a heady combination… only don’t call it Orthodox, if you please!

Why did we deserve such? God help us all…

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Tuesday 29 September 2009

Albany NY

Monday, 28 September 2009

Shall You Do This For Kristi… “If Not Me and You, Then, Who?”


If not me and you, then, who? If we’re supine and silent… we deserve what we get! Get riled and get movin’. It’s how all the crises in the Church were solved… the good people amongst the faithful got up and were counted. We should do likewise! Kristine sent me the following in an e-mail. She’s not only angry (understandably), but she’s right to point up that the priest involved has never suffered even censure from the OCA hierarchy.



St Matthew Orthodox Church in the Kings Contrivance Village Center of Columbia MD is having a festival 3-4 October 2009. The proceeds benefit their church building fund. The presiding priest of the parish, Fr Raymond Velencia, has been sued by a former parishioner for abusing the seal of confession and discriminating against her in the workplace, among other things. Fr Velencia has yet to be disciplined by his superiors. DO NOT attend or support this event in any manner. DO NOT share personal information with this priest. Go to pokrov.org and put the priest’s name in the search box or Google “Fr Raymond Velencia” to read for yourself.


Personal e-mail communication from Kristine Koumentakos of Monday 28 September 2009


DO pass this information on to as many people as you, even if they live far away from this event. It tells us volumes about Jonas Paffhausen… who’s probably going to be attending this event. In confidence, and with full trust in the veracity of my assertion, I, now, can state with sad clearness that Jonas Paffhausen is definitely and obviously NOT in favour of the traditional confidentiality of confession and counselling, as he has never criticised or censured Raymond Velencia. No member of the OCA Synod of Bishops has ever criticised or censured Raymond Velencia. No member of the OCA Metropolitan Council has ever criticised or censured Raymond Velencia in a public manner. No priest or deacon of the OCA has refused to serve with Raymond Velencia.

This is reprehensible. It tells us much concerning Mr Paffhausen, none of it good. I had a recent telephone chat with Matushka Nina Stroyen, the widow of Fr Basil Stroyen, one of the most influential Metropolia priests of the 60s through the 80s. I agree completely with one of her statements, which was that Herman Swaiko might have been an embarrassment and self-centred, but that he was Orthodox to the core. In comparison, Mr Paffhausen isn’t Orthodox, rather, she stated that he’s a cult-like figure; she made it clear that he was nothing but a HOOMie (I’d say that he’s a “HOOMie in Orthodox drag”).



We must do it for the good of the Church and the good name of the Lord Christ. Otherwise, we’ve no right to call ourselves Russian Orthodox Christians.

Kristine, don’t lose heart… there are thousands with you. This is an egregious and flagrantly offensive transgression of what the Church stands for. God shall not be mocked, although there is a long and painful road ahead of us before we can slay this particular dragon. It shall be difficult, and we haven’t seen a tithe of the bitterness and strife that shall come of this. Christ drank the cup to the dregs… St Innokenty asked us, “Shall you swallow a kopeck’s worth?” Indeed… shall we?

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Monday 28 September 2009

Albany NY


Because of the nature of the current events in the Church, my attention has been focused solely on internal Church matters. I do NOT apologise for this, as it’s a matter of duty. All of us, together, have an obligation to find the truth, and, if need be, remove those who are obstructing it. To be blunt, Jonas Paffhausen is steering the Church away from good order and traditional governance. We must do everything that we can to remove this evil man before he does more damage. God have mercy on us all!


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