Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Which Side Are You On?

St Francis statue at New Skete

A statue of Francis of Assisi on the grounds of New Skete, Cambridge NY. These people left the Unia in 1979? The mute evidence of this statue says otherwise! For shame, JP! “I profoundly respect them”… that is what he said!

Over the last few days, some konvertsy have attacked my “take” on JP and current events. Indeed, there has been much bloviating amongst konvertsy regarding the depth of the Orthodox formation of Jonas Paffhausen. One should take a moment and listen to the voice of Mr Paffhausen himself… we wouldn’t wish it to come through the distorting lens of a second-hand account, would we? There is one statement of his that is particularly illuminating. Let me quote it in its entirety, so that you can read it for yourself and make up your own mind. Then, I shall quote some internet sources that are NOT from “conservative” or “traditional” sources. Most of the following is the quoted material… you truly have to see it for yourself.


New Skete is a unique place. They live according to their own life and it is not becoming to interfere in it. I profoundly respect them as a community – a mature community. The relationships among the monastics are excellent. They introduced certain particularities in the Divine Services, but, carried this out with great love and devotion – even though these do not always resemble the Russian or the Greek Typikon. In my opinion, they are criticised very hastily.

6 May 2009

Orthodox Christians for Accountability



Here are some items from the web from pro-New Skete sources:

The Feast of St Francis: A Blessing of Animals

New Skete Communities celebrated the Feast of St Francis of Assisi with a blessing of animals on October 4th. Here are some images from the blessing:

11 October 2007

The Communities of New Skete


Blessing of Animals

New Skete Monastic Communities of held their third annual Blessing of Animals last Saturday, the feast of St Francis of Assisi, in the meditation garden between their two churches. Over forty dogs and their human companions participated. Perry’s Orchard Cider and apples, along with the nuns’ cheesecake, were served after the ceremony.

12 October 2008

The Communities of New Skete


The following is taken from the article on New Skete in Wikipedia. As this is an open-edited source, anything on it must be read with extreme caution… those with an agenda can (and do) “doctor” the text to suit their ideological notions. Caveat lector (extremely so, please!).

Among Orthodox Christians, they are unique in that they have instituted wide-ranging reforms to the divine office and eucharistic liturgies of the Eastern Orthodox Church, aimed at rendering the services more comprehensible. They maintain an open stance regarding ecumenical contacts with other Christian groups; the nave of their newer temple features iconographic portraits of prominent non-Orthodox such as Pope John XXIII, Archbishop Michael Ramsey, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and the communities celebrate the feast of the Roman Catholic saint Francis of Assisi. This openness has brought them criticism from Orthodox conservatives and traditionalists; but the Monks and Nuns strongly defend their renewal of liturgy and monastic life as a necessity if Orthodox monasticism is to be more than “museum-keeping” in the modern world.

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopaedia

Downloaded on 14 October 2009


In addition Volume Nine (1986) of the series Liturgical Music issued by this monastic community is devoted exclusively to the “Orthodox celebration of the Feast of St (sic) Francis of Assisi”.


Here one has it. These are the words of Mr Paffhausen and pro-New Skete press releases. They are damning in the extreme. NO grounded Orthodox Christian accepts Francis of Assisi as a “saint”… none. I was just reading an article by Professor Aleksei Osipov of the MDA in Russkaya Nedelya (Russian Week) where he was making it clear that the late Sophrony Sakharov of Tolleshunt Knights was completely in prelest as he was emulating such emotional Latin frauds as Francis of Assisi and Teresa of Avila. Every other legitimate Orthodox theologian from reputable faculties such as the MDA, SPDA, St Tikhon Orthodox Humanities University, and those in Thessaloniki, Belgrade, Bucharest, and Warsaw echo this. In short, when JP approves New Skete without reserve, as he made clear by saying, “I profoundly respect them as a community – a mature community… In my opinion, they are criticised very hastily”; he is acting outside of the mind of the Church. He has no right to approve the veneration of a Latin pseudo-saint and, indeed, praise the community that is doing so. We have no need to tendentiously catalogue the whole list of their transgressions… this is derogatory enough on its own.

Let’s see, JP approves of New Skete and he approves of its semi-Uniate typikon and veneration of papist “saints”. Do take this unalloyed approval of a renegade community (“I PROFOUNDLY respect them”…) and place it next to his approval of an agreement between an Orthodox seminary with an openly-heretical institution (under the TEC of Ms Jefferts-Schori no less!). Thus, he is making no secret of his contempt for grounded and lived Orthodoxy. He intends to spread this throughout the Church, no doubt.

It comes down to a simple question in the end… why is fraud and deceit being used to defend this man? I know that many said, last year, that “anyone” was preferable to Herman. Truly? We have rediscovered a bitter truth, “Sometimes, you get EXACTLY what you ask for”. I have seen many off-the-wall and squiffy things over the years… but, THIS… I can’t believe that people are DEFENDING this man! Even ADS didn’t go so far! These are abnormal times that we live in… it is much like the situation that swirled around iconoclasm or the imposition of the Unia, albeit on a smaller scale. Shall our children have an Orthodox Faith to practise? It’s up to us…


img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Albany NY

Editor’s Postscript:

Someone asked me why I don’t write JP’s name as +Jonas, as the konvertsy do. Simple… in stories about bishops in the press in Orthodox countries, it is NEVER used by non-ecclesiastical writers (it is NEVER used outside official documents, in fact). Look at a RIA-Novosti or Interfax posting in the original Russian, and you will see that. Friends tell me that it is similar in the Greek press. In short, the konvertsy are being “special” yet again. It is not necessary, nor is it usual. It is another konvert affectation, I am afraid, like using “Theotokos” (badly-pronounced) for “God-bearer” or “Mother of God” (just as we say Bogoroditsa in Russian).


They Finally Own Up to It!

Nashotah House

The sign to Nashotah House… whatever you say, however flowery, this place is not Orthodox… the TEC runs it… an agreement signed with Nashotah House is an agreement signed with the TEC… JP and Jefferts-Schori… what a set of “strange bedfellows”… you can’t say that life is boring!

Editor’s Foreword:

A note to the coward that signed themselves, “noneofyourbusiness”… as of the time of posting Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me, no post had been made on the OCA official website. It has now been put up, and I saw your comment just prior to posting this (indeed, I wrote this before reading your immature screed). To all my dear readers: I sign my name to all my posts, the pro-Jonas people do not, as a rule. I ask you to draw the proper conclusion!


Mr Jarmus has finally bestirred himself… it has been five days since the event ended and he has finally put up a post on the OCA official website (it was done after I put up Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me, so my previous statement concerning the lack of a posting was true at the time) concerning the Nashotah House Abomination. With modern technology, such could have been done the very same day that it transpired… obviously, Mr Jarmus is a layabout dogsbody and lazy! I would have had it up that very day… it is what conscientious and decent people do. Mr Jarmus is taking a salary under false pretence, and he should be removed immediately. But, then again, he is typical of the Syosset apparatchiki. They ARE good at spending the money of the faithful and delivering NOTHING in return… at a time when unemployment is 10 percent and rising and many parishes cannot pay a living salary to their priests… for shame, Mr Jarmus… if you were a decent man, you would resign… JP, if you had an ounce of brains or good-sense, you’d give such sorts le sabot (one wonders why he does not, nicht wahr?)! The excuse for the abomination follows:

A two-day conference hosted by Nashotah House Seminary here, marking the 20th anniversary of the glorification of Saint Tikhon of Moscow, was held 9 and 10 October 2009.

This event, like the one hosted at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary in June 2007, was affiliated with the witness of the Fellowship of Saints Alban and Sergius. The General Secretary of the Fellowship, the Very Rev Stephen Platt, was one of the presenters at the Wisconsin event.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, spoke of the great witness of Saint Tikhon as a model of how Orthodox Christians continue to reach out to traditionalist Anglicans with an open hand rather than a closed fist. He has encouraged the study of the history of the formal Anglican/Orthodox Dialogue and the possible reconstitution of the good work accomplished through the new traditionalist Anglican Province (ACNA) and the OCA directly.

Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Chancellor, the Very Rev Chad Hatfield, addressed the historic relationship between Nashotah House and Saint Tikhon, as well as issues regarding the direction in which Orthodox theological education is moving in the 21st Century.

Both theological seminaries have signed an agreement to work together for the preservation of the history of the dialogue and to nurture the spirit and witness of the Fellowship of Saints Alban and Sergius in North America.

14 October 2009

Nashotah WI (OCA Communications)

The Orthodox Church in America

(Official website)



There one has it! Jonas and Co have spat on the Church for all to see! To quote their own words, “Both theological seminaries have signed an agreement to work together”. That is WRONG… Nashotah House is an institution of the Episcopal Church (TEC). Full stop. TEC is a heretical body. Full stop. SVS has signed an agreement with this unrepentant and incorrigible heterodox institution. Full stop. SVS has signed an agreement with an institution under the authority of the Jefferts-Schori-ites under the eyes of JP. Full stop.

Nothing can explain these glaring facts away. This action speaks volumes concerning JP, Mr Hatfield, and SVS in general. St Paul warned us not to yoke ourselves unequally with unbelievers. Nashotah House is a cesspit of unbelievers… they are rank heretics completely outside of the Church. Reflect well on the fact that JP and Hatfield are former Episcopalians themselves… this is not only abominable, it is ODD. I have never seen converts go back to their former confession and suck up to them so shamelessly, except for the case of former Episcopalians who have formally-converted to Orthodoxy. Not all have done so… I would hope that people such as Fr Pat Reardon would be as incredulous and scandalised as I was (and many others were, as well).

The following words of JP are odd in the extreme, and he did not explain them. “Orthodox Christians continue to reach out to traditionalist Anglicans with an open hand rather than a closed fist”. What DOES this mean? It is vague in the extreme and, frankly, is nothing but weasel-words. Is JP accusing grounded Orthodox of attacking “traditionalist Anglicans?” Well… it is no attack to point up that they are outside the Church. It is simply telling the truth… “Traditionalist Anglicans”, especially those in a body such as the TEC are rank heretics. They accept the 39 Articles and they are Proddies to the core, JP! What sort of “open hand” is JP offering? Certainly, he feeds the prelest at Nashotah House by signing an agreement with them. He knows that this shall not lead a single soul to Orthodoxy… and one wouldn’t want those enticed under such a set of circumstances. “Traditionalist Anglicans” are what they are… Orthodox are what they are. Trust me, they are utterly poles apart, and ordinary folk have no trouble discerning the difference (apparently, if one has a “higher theological education”, one can no longer discern this… caveat auditor, folks!). Why should we sidle up to and be cosy with such a lot? Why are JP and Mr Hatfield returning like dogs to their vomit? Strong words… yes… strong words to describe a glaring scandal.

To reiterate, JP APPROVES the agreement inked at this conventicle. Sometimes, the most important items are passed over with only a few words… in this case, it is meant to confuse you. Let’s look at the quote again, “Both theological seminaries have signed an agreement to work together”. There it is… in very simple, plain, and bald English. No one can misunderstand this. It is CLEAR (for once). SVS wishes to work together with a known and obvious centre of heresy and JP beams at the whole undertaking. Nashotah House is NOT Orthodox… they are not only Anglican to the bone, the theology they teach is hardly “Catholic”, it is Calvinistic and reeks of the “Reformation”. If “birds of a feather flock together”… it speaks much to us concerning SVS. Well, the faithful have not been donating as much, as was illustrated by the recent “reorganisation” at Syosset/SVS (anytime that a salaried slot is eliminated at a place like that, it is in trouble). God willing, this shall lead them to donate less… or, have JP and Mr Hatfield sold out to the TEC for money? THAT is not inconceivable.

A (sardonic) hat-tip to Mr Jarmus for (finally) doing his job! I note well that he did NOT include the infamous snap of JP beaming alongside the TEC bishops. Why, sir? Are you ASHAMED of it (as well you should be!)? Put THAT up on the OCA website, Mr Jarmus, and give it pride of place! It would only be honest… or, is that too much to ask of you? It took five days for Mr Jarmus to give you the news in an age when it is possible to post on the ‘net within minutes of an event… that tells you what they think of you, doesn’t it?


Somehow, I doubt that few, beyond HOOMies, konvertsy, Syosset opportunists, and the self-appointed clerisy at SVS remain behind JP and Co. Well… some did say, “Anyone other than Herman”… sometimes, you get what you ask for. “Interesting times”, indeed…

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Albany NY

Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me…

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

Editor’s Foreword:

Many of my friends have informed me on what some of the konvertsy are saying about me and my writing in obscure corners of the ‘net… thanks for your concern, guys! Well… firstly, I had a healthy and cleansing laugh! Then, my creative juices started to flow! Thanks, “John”… you may be a “misery-guts with a face three-feet-long”, but, you got my brain in gear! Watch out for the Law of Unintended Consequence, sir! Cheers!


Gore ot uma.

Sorrow comes from the mind.

Old Russian Proverb


The proverb at the head of this post could also be rendered as, “Thinking too much can get you into BIG trouble”. It’s interesting to note some of the criticisms that konvertsy level at grounded Orthodox. One is that we aren’t as “educated” as they are. This is a clear sign that the individual involved hasn’t imbibed any of the true ethos of the Church; it shows that they are still deeply heterodox in their innermost being. Orthodox would say that life in the Church is illuminating… that a Thracian shepherd who is Orthodox has more knowledge concerning God than a Papist professor in a Vatican seminary. This is at the core of our understanding of Christ and His Church; it’s something beyond intellect; it’s certainly beyond such piffle as “education”.

Why do konvertsy put such a premium on such a relatively unimportant item as “education?” Some seem to write as though seminaries were the centres of Orthodox life! What utter stuff n’ nonsense! The centres of Orthodox life are to be found in our monasteries, not in mere trade-schools for priests (for that is what establishments such as SVS are). A grounded Orthodox would tell you that holiness, not erudition, is the primary criterion of sanctity.

Why is education so important to the konvertsy, and why do they continually bring attention to the fact that so many of them are “better-educated” than the rest of us? Firstly, many converts to Orthodoxy ARE “better-educated” than the norm. That is to say, many of these people not only have college degrees, many have advanced degrees, and there is a higher-than-average number of clergy amongst them. But… their introduction to the Church was not through Pete and Helen, or Sasha and Nina… it was through the bloodless and lifeless medium of books. The picture that they formed in their minds wasn’t one founded in the reality of Orthodox parish life… it’s a blowsy and notional idea, truly… it comes straight out of their reading, it has no relation to what is actually on offer in any grounded parish.

Orthodox people are nothing out of the ordinary. We’re nothing special. We don’t wear distinctive clothing or speak in a lingo known only to the illuminati and cognoscenti; we don’t act any different from the common run of humanity, and we don’t cut ourselves off from the surrounding society. In fact, we’re as sinful-ginful as any other group that you can think of. We’re no more intelligent than the rest (although we’re no more ignorant, either), and we certainly don’t go about with the Fathers and the canons on our lips continually.

But… there is something that we DO have. We have a living link to the Tradition… we have access to a continuing and fruitful life in the Church. Like it or not, the konvertsy didn’t have this in their former confessions. Whether one likes it or not, Papism, Protestantism, and Pentecostalism are not Churchly. They’re human substitutes for Christ’s Body, the Church. The konvert fails to understand this. It’s why so many converts leave the Church within three to five years of reception (that figure comes from talks with grounded clergy and laity). They think that they can bring habits from their old confessions into the Church… such is impossible… it is why it’s easier for unbelievers (and “uneducated” heterodox laity) to accept the Church than it is for “educated” heterodox (especially clergy!).

So, one can see that criticisms based upon one’s “education” or lack of same are simply non sequiturs. Perhaps, that’s why so many konvertsy aspire to be clergy. The heterodox confessions place the clergy in an exalted position above the faithful based on their “education”… in Orthodoxy, the clergy aren’t considered as being higher than the people, “A priest is a priest only when he is vested”, as the old Russian saying has it. In Orthodoxy, the priest isn’t a leader, he is a chinovnik (“channel of grace”)… he’s the man who has had hands laid upon him; he’s the one who can call the Holy Spirit upon the Gifts. Otherwise, he’s a man like all the others (in tsarist Russian society, a priest held a position equivalent to the higher peasantry or the lower merchantry… only some of the hieromonks came from the nobility (and, then, only if the man was an aristocrat before entering the monastery)).

One final thing should be noted… all too many konvertsy always tell grounded Orthodox about how things were in the fourth or fourteenth century, and that our present practise just doesn’t reflect the pristine forms of earlier times. There’s a simple answer for that, truly. Our ancestors knew what they were doing. If they changed some detail or other… it was for good and sufficient reason, and you have no right to try and muck it up with your pseudo-scholarly reconstructions. If, for instance, married bishops were abolished, it was because it was found that it didn’t work… celibate bishops have their drawbacks, too, but, our ancestors found that married bishops were more trouble than they were worth… and that is that… no matter what some konvert has written on the internet! It doesn’t matter what degrees you possess… you either honour the Tradition of the Church or you’re not really Orthodox… it’s quite that simple, truly.

But… is “education” the “strange god” that the konvert brings his pinch of incense to? After all, it is something outside of oneself… one could call it a form of humility. No… I believe that those who maunder about “education” are samobogi… “self-gods”… that is, those who worship themselves! “I’m educated… I have a degree… I’m CERTIFIED… Therefore, bow down before me, ignoramus!” For example, I pity the Protestant… they bow before a book… I pity the Papist… they bow before a human-being… I pity the Pentecostalist… they bow before an experience… yet, in all of these, the devotee pays homage to something beyond themselves. All too many of the Orthodox konvertsy (especially in the OCA) have placed themselves in a position that belongs to God alone… this has led to them winking at rampant perversity amongst certain hierarchs, the reception of cultish elements such as the CSB/HOOMies (ask the Pokrov people about them…), the publishing of personal secrets obtained in confession and counselling, and financial finagling of the worst sort. They make huge noises about purity… and THIS is what they tolerate.

I find this posturing hypocritical, disgusting, repulsive, and foul. I’m by no means perfect, but I also make no noise about being a standard for anyone to emulate (trust me; I know my sins… they’re NOT few). The next time that I hear some konvert praise JP, I’m going to remember what Pokrov has posted on the Koumentakos case… JP has never censured Raymond Velencia for his breach of pastoral confidentiality. In this case, silence betokens approval…

If you wish to tell me how holy JP is, show me where he apologised to the Iliff family and gave them compensation for their loss, show me where he apologised publicly to Kristi Koumentakos and punished Raymond Velencia for his crime, and show me where he fired Bobby K and retired Iggy Burdikoff for “mislaying” four years worth of financial records. Public figures have an obligation to “walk the walk”… or, shut up and move aside for those who’ll “stand up and be counted”. In the light of all the Sturm und Drang surrounding JP, let’s keep it simple. Is JP going to act in these three cases and right the manifest wrong, or, is he going to protect the guilty, as he has done up to the present?

The ball is in JP’s court. It’s his move… oh, I am NOT going to hold my breath waiting for him to act… it’s not healthy, you know.

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Albany NY

Editor’s Postscript:

As of Wednesday, 14 October, there is still no news on either the official OCA official website or the OCAnews.org website on the Nashotah House agreement or any of the photos taken there on Saturday 10 October (if this doesn’t indicate to you that Jarmus (the supposed OCA “Director of Communications”) is lazy and a bone-idle incompetent, I don’t know what will convince you). I believe that this is firm evidence, even for the slow learners, that JP and Co have nothing but the utmost contempt for the faithful. “Transparency”… “openness”… I have other words for this  obvious and manifest charade, but I’m afraid that they are rude and profane (but, expressive and full of meaning)… yes, konvertsy, how do you explain THIS?

Don’t hold your breath waiting for them to answer…

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