Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Papa Bear’s Bed was Too Hard… Mama Bear’s Bed was Too Soft…

Filed under: Christian,internet,Orthodox life,religious,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00



I found out an interesting fact about “John”… apparently, he’s a former sedevacantist Papist. No, I’m not going to speak of him personally, that would be beyond the pale… however, it DOES give me the opportunity to speak of sedevacantists and Episkies, and how they come to the Church, in general. These two seem to be antipodes apart… the Episkie is known for over-tolerance and “comprehensiveness” (as was illustrated by JP and Hatfield signing an agreement with the heretical Nashotah House), whilst the sedevacantist is noted for exclusivity and restrictive judgementalism (after all, they are papists, but, the present popes are not to their taste… so they don’t recognise them!). Rather, different, wot? Then, why do we find similar reactions from those of these camps who’ve converted to Orthodoxy?

It is simple, truly. Mostly, they were introduced to Orthodoxy not by its lived expressions, but, they received their first impression of us via books. Often enough, they start with unguided reading in the Fathers. This is extremely dangerous… it is one of the riskiest spiritual exercises there is, according to my staritsa, and I concur, based on my own sad experience. The only worse thing is dabbling in the Prayer of the Heart, mislabelled the “Jesus Prayer” by the heterodox, without direction by a grounded elder (all too rare… and none of the married priests posing as pseudo-startsi fill the bill, I’m afraid). For myself, I don’t read the Fathers unless my staritsa advises it… that’s how grounded Orthodox proceed, after all. The Fathers are contradictory… their writings are specific reactions to particular situations. Unfortunately, these folks get the impression that these writings are “gospel”… see how they always pepper their posts with quotes from the Fathers. That’s SO heterodox… Proddies quoting scripture… Papists quoting papal encyclicals… what’s the difference? I see none! The Fathers are a wonderful resource… but, have a care! They’re like electricity… they can light up the room with brilliance, or, they can kill you in a blinding flash… it all depends on how you use them. Without advice from grounded sources, the risk of the latter is all too real… as most konvertsy postings on the web reveal all too abundantly.

Dear God! I see the BAD pun in all of this (“grounded sources” and “electricity”)… but, I’ll let it stand. 😀 I promise not to do it again! REALLY!

Those outside the Church aren’t aware that it’s very ad hoc in its life, except for its dogma, of course. Oikonomia is a living principle, bishops can dispense from the letter of the canons whenever it is a question of the salvation of an individual. Aside from misusing the Fathers, these sorts are forever spouting the canons. As for the Fathers, the canons were definite answers to precise problems. That is, in most cases, they were not meant as general definitions… they aren’t the equivalent of Papist “canon law”. In this case, there isn’t any difference between the sedevacantist and the Episkie, for both are the illegitimate children of the Papal confession, born on the wrong side of the blanket. Ergo, they see the canons, which are guides, not laws, as absolutely-binding statutory decrees… an ecclesiastical equivalent of secular jurisprudence. Any Orthodox Christian could tell them of countless “exceptions to the rule”… yet, if we try to tell them, they stop up their ears, for they do not wish to hear that. If you hear adverse criticism of oikonomia, I find that, 999 times out of 1,000, such censure and disapproval issues forth from konvertsy lips. I’ve broached this observation more than once with other grounded people and I must say that it meets with universal approval (often with a sad shake of the head and a wry expression on the face… you’ve seen it, haven’t you?).


Kung Fu Bears

Which one is the sedevacantist? Which one is the Episkie? Looks like there’s NO difference to me!


Interestingly, both are rebellious to the core. Episkies are Protestants to the bone… do read the 39 Articles! Yet, they are open Protestants… that’s honest, in its humble way. Sedevacantists are much more interesting. They’re forever quoting papal encyclicals (“John’s” post on Ad Orientam was a textbook-example, actually), yet, they quote such in support of their schism from their pope! Hmm… that is another similarity between “John’s” post and general sedevacantism… he quotes JP ad nauseam, without realising that we Orthodox do not put our bishops in the same category as the papists do their popes (“Brum Doctrine” notwithstanding… THAT is an utter farce and against everything we believe as Orthodox)! This leads us to an interesting conclusion based on actual observation… despite the superficial differences, there is little to choose between Episkies and sedevacantists, as far as Orthodoxy is concerned. Both are rank heresy, after all. Both movements are openly mutinous to their Papist roots and they’re in open rebellion against their pope. Both are clear illustrations of Khomiakov’s dictum, “the Papists were the first Protestants”. Why did they rebel? It’s a result of the first rebellion, that of the Pope of Rome against the Church. EVERYTHING flows from that.

“Are you saying that Papists and Proddies are the same under the skin?” Yes… from the Orthodox perspective, of course. Both rebelled against the Church, the Papists directly, and the Proddies at a remove. So, is there truly a substantial difference between Episkies and sedevacantists? I would say that there’s NONE. Oh… there are countless differences in style and external appearance… but, when one goes beyond a superficial observation, the Orthodox Christian finds an identical heart… one in opposition to the Lived and Actual Church. THAT’S why it’s so difficult for heterodox to fully take on the mind of the Church (it’s even harder for heterodox clergy to do so, as a result of their heterodox seminary formation). It is easier for a non-believer to come to Christ and His Church! I meant it very seriously when I compared the Episkies to the Rich Young Man in Our Lord’s parable. By and large, and sadly, they refuse to sell all you have and give it to the poor. “John’s” post shows that not only Episkies refuse to sell all that they have… can it be said that there is little difference in heterodox, despite seeming (and deep) differences? THAT’S a MEATY question… it’s quite a bone to chew on, wot? I won’t have an answer for some time… it’s something to think on, no?

So, was there actually any difference between Papa Bear’s Bed and Mama Bear’s Bed? I’m afraid not… it was all an optical illusion, in the end!

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Albany NY


Put Your Name on the Dotted Line, “John”… or, KEEP IT ZIPPED!


There is a loud sort who only identifies himself as “John”. He is very upset that I do not bow down before his favourite idol, Jonas Paffhausen. Let us take a second look at the statement issued by JP’s flunky, Chad Hatfield (and not repudiated by JP):

St Vladimir’s Seminary is committed to working out a new relationship with Nashotah House that honours our common legacy and heritage. 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.

Note the phrase, “common legacy and heritage”. Huh? How can we as Orthodox have ANYTHING in common with an institution that has always been a school of a heretical and schismatical body? Mr Hatfield owes an apology to all Orthodox for this alone. He speaks of working together to “reclaim the voice of Christian orthodoxy”… Mr Hatfield, how can heretics speak for Orthodoxy (or small “o” orthodoxy, for that matter)? Also do mark down that Mr Hatfield refuses to use the word, “Church” (or even “church”), using the weasel-word “tradition”, instead. SVS “is committed to working out a new relationship with Nashotah House” according to Mr Hatfield, whereas I (and many others) would ask him, “Why? These people are heretics who obstinately refuse to abjure their innovations. What do we have in common with those who spit on the ancient Witness of the Church?” Why should SVS have anything to do with those steeped in Protestant rebellion? What can such sorts teach us? Reflect well on the fact that JP stood behind his man… and it matters little what JP said in Wisconsin… for there is going to be cooperation between SVS and this heretical conventicle… do not look at JP’s words… look at his actions (as we should do in the cases of Raymond Velencia and the missing financial records… a pattern emerges, does it not?).

Look again at the blurb that announced this festival of reduction to the lowest-common-denominator. 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.

Note well that “the conference will conclude with the signing of a ‘Covenant Partnership’, pledging continued prayer, fellowship, and ecumenical cooperation between the two schools”. There has been no denial of a signing of an agreement between an Orthodox institution and a heretical institution. This, in itself, is sufficient grounds for all Orthodox to cry “foul”. SVS and Nashotah House were placed on an even-footing. Mr Hatfield, why did you not protest at the wording in the press release? Is it because this is what you believe? Be honest and say so… How can we have “continued prayer, fellowship, and ecumenical cooperation” with manifest heretics? I also note that John Behr was not at this conference, nor did he speak in favour of it on the Ancient Faith podcast… interesting, isn’t it (Mr Behr told a priest-friend of mine, “There is no future in the OCA”… is that why he was not invited to this love-feast?)?

I have noted that many former Episkies in Orthodoxy become livid if anyone criticises Nashotah House. The depth of emotional fervour shown by these sorts in the defence of this dodgy school is amazing! Hmm… whether you like it or not, Nashotah House is a heretical school, it is a piece of excess and weighty baggage that you have to abandon to become fully Orthodox. This school has nothing to offer us… nor did it contribute the smallest bit to the conversion of anyone to Orthodoxy. Again, why do you deny the witness of Scripture, What concord hath Christ with Belial? Orthodoxy does not hate those outside of the Visible Church, but, the limits are there and those who transgress against these boundaries, such as Hatfield and JP, deserve our censure and reprobation.

This was an expensive and pointless trip… at a time when the OCA cannot pay most of its priests a living salary it wastes the money of the faithful on self-serving junkets to Moscow, Kazakhstan, Wisconsin, and Georgia. How many thousands of dollars went down the drain on these trips? What was achieved for the average parish or parishioner? THIS is why donations to both SVS and the national church are down (and why the CFO/Treasurer slots for SVS and the national church were merged… there was no longer money to afford salaries for two officials), a decline compounded by a nasty national economy.

“John” believes that I am “snarky”… well, “John”, I say that you should sign your posts… your use of a pseudonym is a cowardly and infantile attempt to dodge responsibility for your words. One sees all too much of this on the internet… you readers out there DO have a choice. You may believe someone who signs their posts and takes responsibility for them, or, you may believe someone who refuses to sign their posts, using an assumed pseudonym to hide from recognition and accountability.

The choice is yours.

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Albany NY

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