Voices from Russia

Thursday, 8 October 2009

If Grand Prince St Aleksandr Nevsky had “Loved” the Teutonic Knights, We’d be Papists Toady…

Filed under: Christian,moral issues,Orthodox life,religious,Russian,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

aleksandr-nevsky-2007-rf

Russian soldiers with relics from and the icon of Grand Prince St Aleksandr Nevsky (1220-63)… a hero who saved Russia from papal dictatorship… may we act likewise in the face of danger and error!

I received an “interesting” comment yesterday. There are two reasons why I am replying to it in this fashion rather than treating it as an ordinary comment. Firstly, I wish to preserve the commenter’s anonymity. I have every right (and, indeed, responsibility) to destroy the point made, as it is manifestly foolish and dodgy, but, I have no right to hold this person personally up to obloquy in the process. I am certain that the person involved was using a pseudonym, but, it was similar to one used by one of the more rancid faculty members at SVS, so, I decided that even allowing this person’s internet identity to be known would be tantamount to publishing their name… We are, after all, practising Christians, and we have obligations and duties as a result of that profession. Yes, I know that that is no deterrent to the Syosset/SVS cabal… such personal ridicule is their stock-in-trade. But… we cannot refuse to “walk the walk” and justify it by saying, “They do it, too! LOOK AT THEM!”

Secondly, it is a sterling example of American Suburbanite Positivism… that is the regnant philosophy in the konvertsy elements of the OCA and AOCANA… something that thoughtful converts such as Patrick Henry Reardon are coming to understand. On the Orthodox Christians for Accountability website, he made the following comment:

“A complete split with overseas is ESSENTIAL”.

On the contrary, I would hate to think in what shape the Antiochian Archdiocese might find itself right now if we had not had the “overseas” to look out for us during this past year. If one thesis has become clear to my mind during 2009, it is proposition that we Americans are not sufficiently mature to lose our jurisdictional ties with the older churches. I have reached this inference, I confess, with great reluctance.

Fr Patrick Reardon

9 September 2009

Orthodox Christians for Accountability

http://www.ocanews.org

I quote the above for two reasons. Firstly, it indicates that I am aware that not all converts are konvertsy (Fr Patrick is not one of that lot of false internet startsy such as Stephen Freeman, Joseph Honeycutt, or Frederica Matthewes-Green). Secondly, it is proof positive that many (if not most!) converts are aware of the abyss that yawns before us, and, of course, they are as concerned as we ethnic Orthodox are concerning it. Before you go further, please read the following article, Ritual Correctness, by Fr Patrick. If you think that the Modernist Proddie rubbish being peddled at SVS is being accepted by most Orthodox Christians, this article explodes that notion. Here is the URL:

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=17-10-012-v

Note well that this article was published in December 2004, nearly five years ago! The situation that I decried yesterday in my post concerning “Liturgical Fundamentalism” is neither new nor thought unusual for the gang at SVS. Now, it is time to give you the meat of “Meek n’ ‘Umble’s” (nothing like the real name… don’t look for “clues” in this usage!) criticism. There was a LONG preamble that attempted to exculpate Mr Nassif and insulate him from criticism, but, the focal point of the complaint came at the very end.

No one is argued, belittled, or shamed into a fully Orthodox mindset. For that one must be loved, and loved well. . . . Just food for thought.

Firstly, what did I say regarding Bradley Nassif? Did I belittle him personally? Here are the three times in that post that Mr Nassif was mentioned by name:

  • Two faculty members, Paul Meyendorff and Bradley Nassif, hold an interesting theological opinion. Anyone who disagrees with their modernist notions on liturgical theology is labelled a “liturgical fundamentalist”.
  • We see fundamentalism misused at every possible juncture. There are Muslim “fundamentalists”, Protestant “fundamentalists”, and even (according to Messrs Meyendorff and Nassif, two great authorities, wot?) Orthodox “fundamentalists”.
  • Now, you see what the “Tweedledee and Tweedledum” of the title refer to! You thought that I was referring to Meyendorff and Nassif… silly rabbit… SVS and their Modernist Protestant (and Papist) buddies… which is which?

Is there a “lack of love” in any of the above? No! I made no derogatory statements regarding the person or private actions of Mr Nassif. Indeed, the only thing I have done is that I have held his theological opinions up to ridicule. After all, he made them in public and wishes people to attend to them! Therefore, he should not be surprised when grounded Orthodox Christians (there are many Orthodox who believe Mr Nassif’s theological opinions to be outré and bizarrely beyond the pale) do attend to them and expect them to be explicated or abandoned (if found wanting).

How is Mr Nassif “belittled” by the destruction of his notion regarding “liturgical fundamentalism?” Trust me, both he and Mr Meyendorff are quite proud of their little neologism, and have used it more than once. Ergo, if questions are raised concerning this concept (which was the meat of the post concerned, by the way), we should not only expect them, but, welcome them. After all, is “liturgical fundamentalism” an Orthodox term? THAT is the substantial question posed by yesterday’s post. Is it inherently “unloving” to have an intellectual argument? That is, do we show hatred of an individual by critical discussion of their ideas? I would say not! Such a thesis posits that the statements broadcast by public (not private) individuals for wide dissemination are immune from criticism. Of course, Meek n’ ‘Umble did not carry their thought through to completion.

Mr Nassif’s statements were not private utterances made in the intimate surroundings of home, meant only for family and friends… as is manifest by their very virulence. They were VERY public statements; indeed, he meant them to be exemplars of the Church’s position on the topic. Therefore, they are open to public criticism. Does Meek n’ ‘Umble DEFEND Mr Nassif’s contemptuous treatment of more traditional Orthodox? After all, the knife does cut both ways! Mr Nassif can be “unloving” towards his intellectual opponents, but, God help you if you respond (and not in like kind, either… just respond to these opinionated tenured professors!)!

Messrs Nassif and Meyendorff are part of a pseudo-intellectual clique that has seized control of SVS. The place has been wandering in this wilderness since the days of ADS. Indeed, SVS is now circulating falsehood concerning their hero… they claim that he was the main figure in the Mayfield affair, saying that he appeared in Pennsylvania court-rooms to “educate” the courts about the calendar dispute. Here is an example of such blatant OCA propaganda:

And besides his academic status, his obligations to his classes, and the  responsibilities on the desk of the seminary dean, he found time to appear in the courtrooms of villages in remote Pennsylvania regions, struggling to explain to confused and disinterested courts what the issue was over a Julian liturgical calendar that judges had never heard of.

What an utter lie!

ADS was ill with cancer when the dispute over the parish property at Mayfield PA broke out and a decision was not rendered until 1988, well after his death in 1983. In fact, the OCA version omits the fact that the verdict was in favour of the parish and against the OCA. In short, much of what exists on the OCA side is not only false, it is deliberately meant to confuse the issue.

So, the thesis advanced by Meek n’ ‘Umble is not only specious, it is downright deceitful and two-faced! If falsehood walks abroad in the Church, it is our DUTY to rise up and FIGHT it. When the Teutonic Knights attempted to impose Papism on Russia, Grand Prince St Aleksandr Nevsky rose up to meet them. Yes, a war was fought. As a result of the victory of the Orthodox host over the Teutonic Knights, we have an Orthodox faith to practise today. What would have happened if St Aleksandr had “loved” them? Why, they would have imposed their religion upon us by the points of their swords! In such a situation, it is the fighters who do God’s Will… not the cowards who call for “love”.

Do remember Minin and Pozharsky at the time of the Papist invasion in 1612… I know what example I’m going to follow! More than one of you is in agreement on this, I am sure!

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Thursday 8 October 2009

Albany NY

Editor’s Postscript Saturday 10 October 2009:

I received a comment today from my anonymous interlocutor named in this post. I did not post it as a comment to preserve their anonymity… I feel that the protection of privacy is vital, and that all of us should attend to it. The person was not who I thought it was (because the name used was similar to that of a well-known (and rancid) faculty-member at SVS)… even if someone is a bastard, there are times when practising Christians have an obligation to protect someone’s privacy and intimate space. Here is the comment:

Hi Vara! Thanks for not posting my earlier (off-topic) comment and keeping my identity anonymous in your subsequent post where you responded (and have now deleted? That is a grace, indeed, though the anonymity part not actually necessary!). Your concerns (if I read them correctly) in your introductory speculations in that deleted post as to my “real” identity were unjustified (you have perhaps by now realized) as far as I can tell. Forgive me if that led you to embarrass yourself with some unsuspecting presumed “culprit” in nosing around about it. It seems to me you were being a little paranoid (understandable, given what you are attempting to do). I have a bad habit of sometimes responding (sometimes definitely over-reacting), not to the content of what someone says, but to the spirit in which it is said (or the spirit that I perceive–certainly not always the same thing). Such is the case here. Peace.

Dear… don’t worry… I have a thick skin. You tend to grow such in the atmosphere of the Church. Be well, smile, and have joy in the life that God gave you.

Cheers,

Vara

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