Voices from Russia

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Is He Homesick?

Homesick

Whilst we were motoring on this lovely autumn afternoon, Nicky and I were discussing the lunacy surrounding Paffhausen’s little visit to Nashotah House. He said, “It sounds like he’s homesick for his childhood… it sounds like he wants to return to the Episcopal Church”. Bravo! That’s what it appears to be to any person of good-sense. Of course, the pseudo-intellectuals at SVS don’t see it, nor do the immature recent konvertsy (especially those who came in from the Episcopalians). However… I would wager that most ordinary Orthodox can see that, it’s rather plain to see, actually.

Firstly, I have nothing against the folks at Nashotah House as human-beings. I don’t know them, so, of course, as I’m a Christian (that is, I do my best to practise what I profess), I give others the benefit of the doubt. Trust me, if I were to meet any of them, I’d be civil and polite, for that’s how my parents brought me up. There’s no question in my mind that a pleasant time could be had by all. However… I would NEVER bring up the topics of ecumenism or Anglican-Orthodox relations. If they were broached, I’d politely (but firmly) steer the conversation away from such subjects. I’d not wish there to be any disagreeable moments, nor would I desire to see a “scene”. After all, aren’t kindness and understanding good things? Yet, this does NOT mean that I favour having a pointless and fruitless “dialogue”.

Anglicans are outside the Church. Full stop. That is, we Orthodox believe that they are outside of the Visible Body of Christ. Their theology and practise are deficient on countless points. THEY AREN’T ORTHODOX, NOR CAN THEY BE UNTIL THEY ABANDON THEIR HERESY. Until that time, no Orthodox institution can be “yoked unequally” with any Anglican institution in any way, shape, or form, for all that does is to encourage Anglicans in their heterodoxy. Do you wish to be in union with us? Fine… abandon your heresy. Does this bald statement distress you? Whether it does or not, such IS our position. It’s much better that we be frank and honest in our dealings with one another. There shall be MUCH less misunderstanding and disappointment in our future relations if we do so, I believe.

To speak bluntly, the agreement with Nashotah House penned by Messrs Hatfield and Paffhausen was disingenuous and mischievous in the extreme, and we must abrogate it directly and utterly. Otherwise, it’s an open profession of unity with heterodox… whether one finds them pleasant and agreeable on a human level is irrelevant… one can’t be in union with those who aren’t fully in concord in the Faith with us.

If this agreement isn’t declared null and void in the shortest possible order, one can only come to one conclusion. Messrs Paffhausen and Hatfield (and most probably others as well) place the achievement of a false union with Anglicanism above faithfulness to the Church. What’s amazing about this situation is that the “Orthodox” protagonists are two men who supposedly “converted” from Anglicanism years ago. I know of no other case where people sucked up to their former confession so openly, blatantly, and shamelessly. Usually, one can’t get converts to sit in the same room as those as those of their former confession. As Alice said, “Things are getting curiouser and curiouser”. Indeed… is the Jabberwocky lurking around the corner? I now know what Mr Scrooge meant when he said, “If that’s so, I’ll check myself into Bedlam”.

I have a question for all former Anglicans in Orthodoxy… “Do you believe the Orthodox conception of the Church or do you still believe in the Anglican spirit of compromise and comprehensiveness?” Don’t answer this immediately… give it some thought over some weeks… the answer shall tell you whether you are truly Orthodox or truly Anglican. If it should prove the latter… I, for one, wouldn’t condemn you. Go to where your heart truly is. In the end, to remain in a place where you are being untrue to yourself is to be untrue to God.

It’s better to be still on the road and to be honest about it than to declare the journey over when you’ve hardly started. It’s hard, isn’t it? Know that I, for one, understand this dilemma. It’s not easy being green…

QUO VADIS?

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 11 October 2009

Albany NY

Jonas Deepens Ties with Anglicans despite Moscow’s Retreat from a Dialogue with Episcopalians

Nashotah House ecumenism 2009

The Ecumenical Love-Feast at Nashotah House in Wisconsin… a very sad day for the Church! God have mercy upon us!

Disturbing news has hit over this holiday weekend. Firstly, let’s give the news item from the official Nashotah House website.

******

“In the Footsteps of Tikhon and Grafton”: Nashotah House to Host Anglican-Orthodox Ecumenical Conference with St Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary

Partnership between two schools marks new step in ecumenical relations

Nashotah WI, 1 September 2009

An ecumenical conference between scholars of the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox traditions will be held at Nashotah House Theological Seminary on 8-10 October 2009. Entitled “In the Footsteps of Tikhon and Grafton: Anglican and Orthodox Identity, Ministry and Mission in the 21st Century”, the Anglican-Orthodox Conference will feature discussions and addresses by representatives of Nashotah House and St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers NY, together with several worship services representing the spiritual riches of both traditions. The conference will conclude with the signing of a “Covenant Partnership”, pledging continued prayer, fellowship, and ecumenical cooperation between the two schools.

Speakers will include the His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, Orthodox Metropolitan of All America and Canada, who is President of the St Vladimir’s Board of Trustees, and the Very Rev Chad Hatfield, an alumnus of Nashotah House who is now Chancellor of St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. The Conference is free and open to the public but advance registration is required. For more information, telephone Fr Steve Schlossberg, Director of Communications, at (262) 646-6506.

“St Vladimir’s Seminary is committed to working out a new relationship with Nashotah House that honours our common legacy and heritage”, says Fr Hatfield. “Together we can take the work and witness or our forefathers and reclaim the voice of Christian orthodoxy that this world is starving to hear once again. Not to do so would be to fail to build upon the foundations of both seminaries and the two traditions that they represent. Now is the time to act boldly, and together we will in common witness to the truth of the Gospel of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ. May it be blessed”.

The Very Rev Dr Robert S. Munday, Dean and President of Nashotah House expressed his conviction that this new relationship between the two seminaries “is an important step in furthering a renewal of Anglican—Orthodox ecumenical dialogue, which is the oldest ecumenical dialogue between Christian traditions”. Dean Munday added, “It is particularly appropriate that Nashotah House should resume the ecumenical efforts begun over 100 years ago by Bishop Charles Grafton (2nd Bishop of Fond du Lac and Chairman of the Nashotah House Board of Trustees) and St Tikhon of Moscow (who was archbishop of the Orthodox Church in America, and who was made an honorary Doctor of Divinity by Nashotah House in 1905, later becoming Patriarch of Moscow and head of the Russian Orthodox Church)”.

Founded in 1842 as a mission to the American frontier, and chartered by the state of Wisconsin in 1847 as a “college of learning and piety”, Nashotah House is Wisconsin’s oldest institution of higher learning. “The Mission”, as the seminary is locally known, provides degree programs for men and women called to pastoral and leadership ministries throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion of Churches.

Nashotah House News

http://www.nashotah.edu/news.htm#item1

******

Here is the introduction to the Wikipedia article on Nashotah House:

Nashotah House is an Anglo-Catholic seminary of the Episcopal Church (TEC) located in Nashotah WI, approximately 30 miles (50 kilometres) from Milwaukee, in the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee. The seminary opened its doors in 1842 and received its official charter in 1847. The institution is generally regarded as one of the more theologically-conservative seminaries within the Episcopal Church.

Currently, there are fifty students who live on campus. The average age of students is 37.5, which means that the school has the youngest student body among Episcopal seminaries. Forty-four of these students are male and six female.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nashotah_House

******

This is a very sad day for Orthodoxy. Two former Episcopalians, Jonas and Hatfield, spat on the Church by forging a relationship with a seminary that is part of a body that Moscow has suspended dialogue with for good and sufficient reason. One is reminded of the scriptural warning about dogs returning to their vomit. Messrs Hatfield and Paffhausen knew better. They both knew that Nashotah House is still a part of the Episcopal Church, still a part of a body that has abandoned many tenets of classical Christianity. Why did they do such a heinous thing? Why did they encourage these people in their heterodoxy (for that is what has happened and shall continue to happen, alas…)?

It points up a disturbing fact concerning former Episcopalians who have converted formally to Orthodoxy. Sociologically, many (if not most) of such people never convert except in the most superficial sense, they remain Anglicans in most respects, one could even say that they never leave the Episcopalian social category. You see, “Episcopalian” is one of the higher social groupings in American religion, whereas the status of “Orthodox” is not so high (with the exception of some in the ROCOR… especially those whose roots are in the First Wave). This, of course, leads to a form of social schizophrenia, where some self-identify as Orthodox religiously, but, continue to view themselves as Episcopalians in all other respects. Trust me… there are no two identities more at antipodes with each other than these two. Orthodoxy is known for its profession of (and zealous preservation) of the Truth, with a willingness to “go it alone”, if need be. Episcopalianism is noted for its “comprehensiveness”, not only its willingness to compromise on matters of the Faith, but, it is known for its ability to overlook major differences in doctrine and theology in its ranks. I would note that this temporising is not an addition; rather, it is an integral and substantial facet of Anglicanism. Indeed, this spirit of compromise is what sees throughout the Nashotah House press release… there is no sign of an Orthodox care for the Truth.

I am not criticising Nashotah House or anyone connected with it. They are what they are. The fact that Anglicans are infested with a spirit of compromise is known to all, it is no secret. Truly, one expects nothing else from them; therefore, this present release on their part is nothing culpable. It is the sort of thing that one finds amongst Anglicans. I have no doubt that the Anglican parties to this agreement are not nasty folks… I have no doubt that they are sincere and wish to find a “middle path” with Orthodox. Nevertheless, this “middle path” is not compatible with Orthodoxy and the Orthodox parties had a responsibility to make such manifest and clear. They did not.

Nashotah House is an institution of a church body that has, for all intents and purposes, left classical Christianity. It refuses to leave this body. Indeed, Nashotah House is still a heterodox school… it is not affiliated with any recognised Orthodox Local Church. Therefore, the shared worship services were an abomination before Almighty God. I do NOT blame the Anglicans, for they were only acting in accordance with their innermost nature. I DO blame the Orthodox parties, for they know what the Church stands for (or, should know) and what She is… although the present agreement places that very much in doubt.

To reiterate, two former Episcopalians who claim to have converted to Orthodoxy have cooked up this present concoction with a seminary of their former confession. If this is not dogs returning to their vomit, an action warned against in Holy Scripture, I do not know what it is.

God help us. I pity the poor Anglicans… some of them are going to think that Orthodoxy approves of them, when it does not. They are the true victims in all of this. As for the Orthodox parties… you have bowed the knee to Ba’al… may God have mercy on you.

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 11 October 2009

Albany NY

Blog at WordPress.com.