Voices from Russia

Saturday, 10 October 2009

There is More to See in Woodstock than Just Yasgur’s Farm

Church of the Holy Transfiguration of Christ on the Mount in Woodstock NY



Yes, I’m well aware that the Woodstock Festival actually took place in Bethel, some 70 kilometres south of Woodstock… but, it’s a catchy title for a post, and Woodstock does crawl with superannuated hippies and other such sorts. Touché!



Today, Nicky and I took a refreshing motor south through the brilliant autumnal colours down Route 9 to Woodstock, which is some 70 kilometres from Albany, some one-third of the distance to New York City from here. We were seeking out a Buddhist Monastery on Meade’s Mount overlooking Woodstock. We drove down 9 to Saugerties, turned onto 212, and went to the main intersection in Woodstock, which is right in front of an old-school picture-postcard-pretty Reformed church. Oh… it’s SO special… the street signs in Woodstock are in cursive writing… not in ordinary print. That seems to shout out, “BE WARNED! Watch out for the Pompous and Affected ahead in large concentrations. BEWARE of exaggerated and ostentatious boobs and those out to get them! This is an official and legal counsel, caution, and notification”.

The town was crawling with people… ah… there was a “Peace March” today! There was nary a parking space or a seat at the yuppieterias to be found anywhere. We turned right at the sign for Tinker Street/Rock City Road and to motor along a twisty and windy road that wended its way up Meade’s Mount (in fact, its actual name is Meade’s Mount Road). There’s a parking area at Overlook Point, then, one goes further to reach the Buddhist Monastery, which is at the peak. Nicky noticed an Orthodox-appearing establishment on the left right before we reached the top of the road, and he drew it to my attention. We resolved to return after we had investigated the Buddhist temple.

Well… the Buddhist site was a BUST. They had the shrine locked up, even though it was a time that it was supposedly open. There were some pricey Buddhas for sale… oh, I lied… they weren’t for SALE… you made a DONATION, then, you could take them home. Needless to say, the donation wasn’t small! Signs informed one that food and lodging weren’t available, except for those who had made prepaid arrangements to go on one of their retreats (per local ordinance… hmm… Christian monasteries give hospitality to pilgrims, as do Buddhist monasteries in India… have these fellows imbibed capitalism too deeply? Perspiring minds want to know!). After some 15 minutes there and receiving a cool reception from the two people that we saw, we decided to check out the “Orthodox” location next door. When we arrived, the sign read, “Church of the Holy Transfiguration of Christ on the Mount”, giving the time for Sunday liturgy at 11.00 and Saturday Vespers at sunset.

Firstly, there was no proper car-park, save for a wider shoulder on the adjacent road. Nicky estimated that four or five vehicles, tops, could park there. There was a metal rope blocking the only easy access to the property and a ditch surrounded much of the area. The slope was fairly steep and many of the rocks that made up what passed for steps wobbled and were not solid footing. In short, the path to the church was execrable in the extreme and I almost fell twice. The church looks beaten-up; it may be a century old, give or take.


Interior of the church-building, click here for a video on this site


I worked the doorknob, expecting it to be locked. Interestingly enough, the door was open, so, we walked in. There was a sense of “wrongness” about the place… it wasn’t “right” at all. I should say that I don’t think that the fellow identified in a news item posted on the wall as the pastor is a bad fellow; I don’t believe that he’s a nasty sort, indeed, we never met him, and so, as Christians, we MUST give him the benefit of the doubt. I wondered which vagante bishop this place could be under. Ah… here was a calendar… “The Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of Western Europe and the Americas, Archdiocese of New York and New Jersey”… if one applies the rule of “the longer the name, the fewer the faithful”… you do get the inference, I’m sure. Certainly, this Archbishop John LoBue wasn’t in communion with any recognised Orthodox Local Church that I was aware of. We also found a baptistery with an Orthodox onion dome on the property, but it had a locked door. We looked in, and it was rather spare and bare. We found an easier path to walk down the hill, but, a metal rope blocked the exit, so, it was a little dicey in getting back to the car.

Such places make you wonder… what drives people to found such establishments? Just what makes them ignore the mainstream churches? Let’s be blunt… part of it is that we just brush too many people off as cranks. Yes, there are manifest cranks and crackbrained lunatics out there, and more of them than we’d like! Unfortunately, many of them are amongst us, and we can’t point the finger at others as long as we accepted the HOOMies (their history is NOT pretty) into our ranks. I fear that not many people wish to understand JP’s role in all of this. Apparently, he was gung-ho in favour of receiving the HOOMies and their clergy, a stance echoed by Benjamin Peterson. To speak frankly, I’d rather accept some of the so-called vagantes before I’d accept obvious cultists and those with a history of accusations of child abuse such as the HOOMies.

I’ve no idea who this Archbishop John LoBue is, but, I’m certain that he’s no worse than JP or Benjamin Peterson. Indeed, if those two have accepted HOOMie clergy, one wonders why they haven’t accepted all the other vagantes. Certainly, they’re no worse than the HOOMies are, and they may very well be better! Look at this in light of recent events. JP has allowed SVS to sign a “covenant agreement” with Nashotah House (a heterodox Anglican institution). If he’s done so, he’s spat on the Church. I’ve nothing against either vagantes or Anglicans… however, neither of these groups is “Church”, and we should NOT act as though they were. JP has gone further than any past “dialogue”… who controls events? Is it SVS or is it JP? Or, to speak of the worst case, are both in agreement and intend to ram this scandalous, foolish, and just-plain-potty agreement down the throats of all good Orthodox Christians? Does this make JP a vagante? Good question!

We drove back into town, and I looked at Nicky and said, “Let’s get out of here and get back to sanity. Let’s stop at the Greek greasy-spoon, eat dinner, and get on the Thruway home”. So, we drove down 212, past the Smokehouse of the Catskills (which is the border-line of sanity… when you pass it going to Woodstock, it marks the place where things start going ODD), and we reached our destination. Ah… sanity reigns! The Starway Café, a good example of what I call a 3GS… a Genuine Greek Greasy Spoon… there’s also another meaning for it, Good Food, Good Prices, Good People… there’s nothing quite like a Greek-American Diner, and there’s nowhere that I enjoy eating more. If you order a medium-rare burger, you get a medium-rare burger, with no lectures on how you should have the meat cooked to medium or you’ll get all sorts of awful diseases and conditions. Nicky ordered the meatloaf; I had a cheeseburger and fries… classical diner fare, wot? Trust me… if you’re on the road, you’re not looking for excitement… you’re looking for comfort and reassurance. All too many people judge diners by the standards of a fine-dining establishment, and that’s not fair… it’s another breed of cat altogether. Mind you, I’m amongst the first to try new restaurants and what-not… but, after a day like today, you CRAVE the nurturing that such a place gives (it’s located right off Exit 20 of the NYS Thruway… I recommend it HIGHLY if you’re in the area… remember, GREEK DINERS RULE! Nikos and Spiros run the kitchen in heaven… and DON’T YOU FORGET IT!)

After I arrived back home and thought about this day I reflected that I’ve had few days like this one. I felt compassion for the people who pray in this little chapel… they are trying so HARD. When I reflected on JP and those like him, my heart hardened. These people intend to steer the Church into alien and treacherous waters. THEY deserve no quarter… for they give none. God Almighty… why must we live in such INTERESTING times? What we do shall resonate for our children… I know what I must do… do you?



Here is Why the Konvertsy are NOT Orthodox and MUST be Opposed at All Costs

satan at the computer

I received two interesting comments. The gist of my complaint yesterday in Watch Out! Was that Romanos published a deleted comment AND ATTRIBUTED IT TO ME, MAKING SNIDE COMMENTS AGAINST ME PERSONALLY. I’ve never been against using anonymous comments in order to make a point. You see, no one’s singled out or put up to obloquy when you refuse to give the names of the posters. That’s something that my staritsa approves of. “You hate the sin and love the sinner that way”, she says. “Otherwise, you do nothing but tear others down to build yourself up”. Read these two little gems… the e-mail address given was delete@delete.com… So, it wasn’t a deleted comment per se. Rather, it was a juvenile and rather tasteless exercise in Amerikantsy konvert behaviour. Thank God… these folks are on their way out of the Church… I’m not wishing such; I’m merely making an observation.

“do not expect common decency, politeness, or civility from this lot. The only thing that matters to them is the victory of their party… the end justifies the means. If that sounds like godlessness… that is because it is such!”

that is exactly you, you say you peel spuds, stir shit up everywhere, cause groups to rumble, then play humble some sort of holier-than-matuska crapola, but youre a loudmouthed arrogant russky-beotch

ya know ya cant publish this, too many agree with us in konvertsy-amerika

o yeah, have a nice day sister

how many automobiles does his HOLINESS kirill own? how many townhouses through europe does his HOLINESS kirill own? that watch his HOLINESS kirill wears is worth how many 1000s of U$ DOLLAR$  sounds like the voices from russia’s kettle is callin the ameticansky pot black too much without looking in a mirror. how’s that capitalism working for the moscow patriarchate at the expense of how many millions of poor in the russias? you criticise the oca antiochians greeks any one but the all holy russian people who shit in christ during the ussr

I’ve changed nothing… this is a straight cut-and-paste; this is exactly what was sent. What I objected to yesterday is that Romanos posted my deleted comment with my name attached to it to hold me personally up to obloquy, which no decent or civil person would do. In this case, the poster made a “pseudo-delete”, for no comment can be posted on my site without a name or e-mail address. That is, it was a deliberate provocation, done with malice aforethought. As Bob Czech said to me one time, “You’re getting to them, for they’re hollering loud”. This is an example of such. This comment IS rather adolescent (indeed, it’s redolent of teenage rebellion… some sorts never do grow out of such, you know)… I’ve no doubt that Romanos is innocent in this… it’s simply not his gassy and pseudo-Christian-elder style… it’s NOT easy to assume another writing style, even to deceive others. Indeed, one can see a writer’s “hand” in their every work (much as Morse code operators can be identified via their “fist”) and one can identify a given author often by merely scanning the style used.

Nevertheless, it shows where a portion of the konvertsy element resides. There’s enough difference between konvertsy and real Orthodoxy (grounded ethnics and true converts such as Frank Schaeffer) that one can see that the konvertsy are on their way out of the Church of their own accord. That’s what happens in groups when discrete blocs form and refuse to become part of the whole. This has been going on for quite some time, indeed, I’d say that it has been in gestation ever since Schmemann favoured ignorant converts over grounded Orthodox, starting in the mid-60s. THIS is the gift that Schmemann gave to the Church… a “gift” that’s kept on “giving”. Thankfully, such people shall leave after the Surfer-Dude Metropolitan (as a perceptive friend of mine calls him… God, all the good ones are thought up by someone else… it’s not fair, Lord!) crashes and burns. After all, his hare-brained scheme to move to DC was shot down and the OCA and SVS were forced to merge Treasurer positions. It won’t be a long rule, but it portends to be a nasty and bitter one. Well… people wanted Herman out… that’s exactly what they got (this was a classic example of “be careful what you wish for, you might get it”! As Matushka Nina pointed up, “Herman was self-centred and arrogant, but, he was Orthodox to the core”. JP’s also self-centred and arrogant (in a California Positivist manner), but he’s a HOOMie, not “Orthodox to the core”. We’re in for interesting times. God help us. As for the poster of the non-deleted “deleted comment”… your little screed revealed much about yourself and the group that you spring from. GROW UP! Cheers to all of you on this long holiday weekend… enjoy, and smile awhile!

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Saturday 10 October 2009

Albany NY

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