Voices from Russia

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Let’s Put the Toddlers Back into the Nursery Where They Belong!

baby in playpen

Babies are cute… but, they belong in the nursery whilst the adults are in the drawing-room!


There’s a great deal of content on the Internet concerning Orthodoxy. Unfortunately, all too much of it’s written by novices. Sadly, these newbies are led astray by clergy who are, in the most part, disgruntled former Evangelical Anglicans. The blind leading the deaf, dumb, and blind…

“Chukcha says you must know something before you teach it. However… if you don’t know it, don’t do it, Chukcha says”.

“They do think that they DO know it, Chuk”.

“Chukcha says a child is not an elder… however, child has place… but, not in charge of hunting party”.

In short, these people have been coddled, told that they’re the future of Orthodoxy, and promoted far faster than they should’ve been. This is particularly so in the OCA and AOCANA, where the konvertsy are unaware that they’re being used by the lot at SVS and the crowd about Philip Saliba. Most of the konvertsy (these aren’t all converts, but, a particular lot, mainly former Evangelical Anglicans and Evangelical Protestants) write on the Fathers, the canons, and Orthodox spirituality. They actually think that hot-air extravaganzas such as Chambésy have meaning… I can assure them that at least 99 percent of the laity hasn’t heard of this chatter-fest, and neither have most priests, bishops, or monastics… God save me from conferences, seminars, dialogues, and “workshops” (the last being the most satanic and dreary of the lot).

I’m here to say that, in the main, their output is meretricious and without merit. Basically, one can categorise it as “Orthodoxy as seen through a distorting heterodox lens”. There are two glaring instances that leap out at one. Firstly, the konvertsy have an overblown affection for the Staroobraztsy (Old Ritualists). They don’t understand that the Old Ritualists stand in judgement of the Church, that they’re nothing but Protestants with a funny liturgy. Secondly, the konvertsy are soft on Uniatism. They look down their long noses at ethnic Orthodox and castigate us for a “lack of love” (that IS what some snot-nosed konvert said to me). Listen up! The papal confession has tried to destroy the Orthodox Church… at many times, in many places. Uniatism is one of the weapons that they use against the Church. The konvertsy are unaware of great heroes of the faith such as Patriarch St Germogen of Moscow the New Martyr and Hieromartyr St Maksim Sandovich of Lemkovshchyna, who gave their lives in fighting popery and all its pomps and trumpery.

One of the most egregious examples of such is Orrologion, which is put out by one Christopher Orr. I have it on good information that he was only received into the Church in 2004, yet, he’s been posting since January 2006 on Church topics. That’s to say, he started to post before he had internalised an Orthodox weltanshauung and understanding. What’s worse, this smarkach (po-nashemu for “snot-nosed kid”) is unaware that his spiritual development started regressing when he started to air his immature and unfounded opinions in public. It’s never easy for any of us to be castigated (I’d say to Mr Orr that there were those who set me right, I’m only doing the same for you… God willing, you’ll see that), especially when one’s been stroked and cooed to by experts.

Mr Orr, you’ve been fed the party-line by the Schmemannites at SVS. I can assure you that most of what you think is true isn’t, and that, due to your lack of knowledge concerning the full situation, you don’t realise it. For instance, you’re unaware that the Schmemann family mostly rejected the lunacy taught by Aleksandr Dmitrievich. You’re unaware of his identical-twin brother Andrei Dmitrievich, you’re unaware of how Hilarion Alfeyev failed miserably in the Osborne crisis (Fr Mikhail Dudko was sent by Moscow to right things… which he did), and you’re obviously bereft of any knowledge of the Russian reporting in the Church (because you lack facility in Russian, the language used by most Orthodox Christians).


Hieromartyr St Maksim Sandovich of Lemkovshchyna (died 1914)… murdered by the papists for opposing Uniatism. Eternal be his witness and memory (Christopher… Pray for St Maksim’s intercession to bring you light… it’ll help… trust me in this).


Can you redeem yourself? Certainly… but, I doubt that you’re willing to pay the price. You should end your blog… you’ve nothing of substance to add to the discussion until you acquire an Orthodox heart. Obviously, you lack such. The prayers and services must live within you as second nature, and this can’t be attained in a short time. Indeed, it’s a work of some years, the consensus being that it takes at least five to seven years. Be quiet… pray… do good… live the life of the Church… live a good Christian life in the context of your personal and work life. If you read, if you must, read the lives of the saints, especially the New Martyrs. I’d suggest that you start with the lives of St Germogen and St Maksim, two saints murdered by the papists. Then, move to St Ilarion Troitsky the New Martyr (on his icon, it reads Bez Tserkva… Nest Spaseniya… indeed!) and the Royal Martyrs. Go to St Nick’s and light a candle at the kiot to St Seraphim and pray. Reflect on the fact that you have this lovely church to pray in because of the generosity of St Nikolai the Tsar-Martyr. Be grateful to him for the gift of Orthodoxy… for, if it weren’t for his munificence, we’d not have Orthodoxy in the lower-48 USA. Admit to yourself that you’ve been on a wrong path since you began your blog, and be sincerely repentant. We’ve all done likewise, Mr Orr. You’re not the first, by any means, nor, sadly, are you going to be the last.

You may think me harsh… however (as Chukcha the Wise would say)… these toddlers presume to lecture at the MDA whilst they’e still mewling and puking babes in soiled and nasty nappies. They need to be caught, given a bath, put in fresh nappies and jammies, given a bottle, and put in their playpen in the nursery. In the meantime, we grownups can repair to the bar, enjoy an adult beverage, and have some mature conversation. I LOVE children… however, they have their place, and their place isn’t butting into adult affairs until they’re grownups themselves.

Earth to Christopher and those like him:


You’ll find that there are many of us ready and willing to help you. God keep you.

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 27 September 2009

Albany NY

Friday, 25 September 2009

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words Department… 25 September 2009

kursk icon procession

Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral of New York of the ROCOR has taken the Kursk Root Icon to Russia. Look at the size of the crowd for the procession! There are THOUSANDS present! There are more people here than there are in most American Orthodox archdioceses… reflect on that and understand why all those who bloviate concerning “American Orthodoxy” are all wet.

This humbles one… these people had many options… watch TV, listen to the radio, visit friends, go to work, read, go to the shopping mall, or potter at the dacha… instead, they are HERE. Make no more sarcastic and condescending comments about the Church in Russia until you can muster a crowd of THIS size.


patriarch kirill gundyaev

Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev (1946- ) of Moscow and all the Russias, the de facto spiritual head of the Orthodox Church, at the procession. Russia is the centre of Orthodox civilisation, being the largest, strongest, and most influential Orthodox state. Therefore, it is no surprise that Vladyki Kirill is the leading hierarch of the Church throughout the world. Numbers do speak…

There are more people here present than there are on the entire legitimate canonical territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul… ponder that… it tells us something, no?

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Meet Chukcha… the Russian Jed Clampett


Could this be Chukcha? If not, it’s one of his relatives!


Some of you have asked me about Chukcha, one of my stock characters (every columnist comes up with several to illustrate points, such as the late Mike Royko’s Slats Grobnik). He’s a stock-figure in Russian humour, being a simple-wise man. His closest analogue in American pop culture is Jed Clampett of the old sitcom on the telly, The Beverly Hillbillies. Like Jed, Chukcha may be from the back-of-the-beyond (therefore, prone to “cement pond” and “fancy-eatin’ table” malapropisms), being from the Chukchi Republic in the extreme east of the country (above the Arctic, no less), but, he knows which end is up, and don’t try to prove otherwise, by God.

Here is a typical Chukcha story:

“Chukcha has gone to Moscow. There is socialism there. It is impressive. Everything is done for the betterment of man. However… Chukcha even saw this man”.

In short, Chukcha is no one’s fool. He knows the reality behind the showy rhetoric (sounds familiar, huh?). That is, Chukcha has character… he’s real. Another figure in the Chukcha stories is the Russian geologist. The geologist plays something of the same role played by Banker Drysdale in the Beverly Hillbillies. For all his education, he is often outwitted by Chukcha, or Chukcha shows his superiority. For instance:

Chukcha and the geologist were out hunting. The geologist sighted a polar bear. Chukcha shouted, “Run!” The geologist ignored Chukcha and shot the polar bear. Chukcha came up, shaking his head. “Russian hunter, bad hunter. Now, we have to drag bear 20 kilometres back to village. However… Russian can drag bear all by himself”. Chukcha stamped off…

Of course, Chukcha and his friends probably showed up after the Russian had been forced to drag the bear long enough to learn a lesson. One of the identifying “tags” of Chukcha is the word “odnako” (“however”). Chuk’s wisdom usually follows.

What would Chukcha think of the Syosset gang in the OCA? For that matter, what would Jed Clampett say? “Oo dawgie… I WOULDN’T do THAT if I were you”. Reflect on the fact that the SVS/Syosset mob is made up of the “educated and sophisticated”, whilst Chukcha and Jed are “ignorant and simple”.

My money is on Chukcha and Jed… what about you?

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Thursday 24 September 2009

Albany NY

Don’t Bet on Crosby’s Horse!


Crosby’s horse… where he always is… at the rear of the pack!

There has been some bleating and special pleading heard from certain quarters concerning the appointment of Raymond Velencia to the OCA Metropolitan Council. We can’t do anything about it, “our hands are tied”, all because of “procedure”. Hmm… Take a look at a typical example (the name has been changed to spare the author deserved embarrassment).

Does the OCA Statute allow for a diocesan bishop (or the Metropolitan) to overrule the Diocesan Assembly’s election of delegates to the Metropolitan Council? Does anyone, i.e., the Holy Synod, the Metropolitan Council itself? Who, if anyone, can remove a sitting member of the Metropolitan Council and for what cause(s)?

Depending on the answer(s), this could be a situation where hands are tied due to the actions of the DoWA’s Diocesan Assembly, i.e., a situation similar to Sudan’s membership on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR).

The Oarsman

22 September 2009

What vacuous and fatuous nonsense! It is obvious that the Oarsman has little experience of the real world and what happens there every day in plain sight. I reiterate, all that was necessary was for Jonas Paffhausen to have rung up the Washington Diocesan Assembly and have said, “That bastard is out. Choose someone else”. Trust me… Velencia would have withdrawn his name, with a fulsome speech thanking the assembly for its trust, and a candidate acceptable to Paffhausen would have been elected. As I said, it happens every day. It’s called “politics”, Mr Oarsman, and such piffle as “procedure” would not be allowed to stand in the way of Mr Big’s desires.

We see that in the current OCA Synod of Bishops meeting. Tassos has been an utter failure as Treasurer, his special pleadings have fallen on deaf ears amongst the faithful. Donations are down, not only to the Central Administration, but, to other church bodies, as well (SVS has been particularly hard-hit, and as all OCA bodies live from hand-to-mouth (there are no Episcopalian-style endowments, despite noise to the contrary), they are in a BAD way). They are making noises about how he was only a place-holder, etc, etc. Oh… who did they tap for Treasurer? The CFO of SVS, a consummate insider… hmm… the “new broom” is looking increasingly like the “old broom”… is another Honesdale National loan in the offing? It looks like the old gang doesn’t care for appearances, anymore. (I pity poor Fr Michael… if he is made a bishop, he is going to have to decide whether to stand with these boobs or to stand tall like Bishop Job did… THAT shall be a hard decision!)

One can feel some pity for Mr Tassos… he is the latest victim to be thrown from the train by the cabal. Who’s next? I’ll say this, it won’t be Kishkovsky, and it won’t be Garklavs. Of course, Bobby K sits in Venice, waiting out the expiration of the statute of limitations on his crimes in New York State… are the hands of the SOBs (Synod of Bishops, not “sons of bitches”… although the latter seems more accurate, nicht wahr?) tied there, as well?

In any case, Mr Oarsman, the so-called Metropolitan Council is not a canonical body. It is a creaky knockoff of Prodie organisations… (Chukcha says, “However… they do it better… they follow their rules”.) One can say that it is nothing more or less than a contemporary resurrection of the Holy Governing Synod (a body vilified by those of the Oarsman’s ilk, incidentally). How ironic! The body that they view as embodying “democracy” in the Church is nothing but a soulless revivification of the one historical Church institution that they hold up to obloquy!

“However… may I say something?”

“Sure, Chuk, what is it?”

“In Soviet days, we had wonderful constitution. It was full of very nice things… However… Chukcha says what is written is not important. What is done is what’s important. No one acted on those words… no one was free. Chukcha says character and deeds matter. Procedure and words do not. However… watch out for those who say otherwise”.

I agree with Chukcha! What about you? Hey, Oarsman! Get your nose out of the books and start living. One of the things that you could do is to stop reading that self-serving drivel from SVS and start emulating the saints… the real saints… like St Aleksandr Nevsky!

Friends and neighbours, let’s look at a real saint. What follows is an excerpt from the film Aleksandr Nevsky. It’s called, Arise, ye Russian People! Click on the link for nine minutes of good watching. By the way, Oarsman… I follow St Aleksandr Nevsky, not the pompous Aleksandr Schmemann! You’d do well to do likewise.

“What’s Crosby’s horse?” you ask.

Oh… that’s simple. The late entertainer Bing Crosby was an enthusiastic follower of the ponies. Unfortunately, he became known as a supporter of the slowest oaters on the course. “Crosby’s horse” was not only the last horse; he was a horse with no chance of winning. You can see the analogy, can’t you?

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Thursday 24 September 2009

Albany NY

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