Voices from Russia

Friday, 16 October 2009

“It’s Like This, Y’Know…”

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

Satan Before the Lord (Corrado Giaquinto, circa 1750). Evil… what IS it? A dispassionate inquiry leads to interesting conclusions, no?

In an e-mail yesterday, a friend of mine asked me why I put up with internet trolls publicising every detail of my life in certain corners of the web. “Well… no one can police everywhere all the time. If you can’t stop gossips and character-assassins in the real world… why would you think that you can stop them in the cyberworld?” The internet is neutral… like books, magazines, telephones, letters, recordings, cinema, and ordinary speech, for that matter. The medium is NOT to blame. There is nothing inherently evil about the internet or modern technology. As an aside, haven’t you seen those who bloviate on the evil of modern technology… in an internet posting?? Madam… your slip is showing…

One of the things that I believe is that human nature is fallen… that’s what the Scripture tells us and that’s what experience teaches us. Why should it be surprising that those who cannot defend their ideology through objective argument turn to personal vilification and exposure? At one time, such attacks bothered me greatly and I thought that I had to refute them. What I found was that the attackers were not listening… they were only concerned with the destruction of a fellow human-being. Another observation became clear with time… people who were otherwise completely decent and civilised cooperated with evil on the grounds, “We must do so to protect the Church”. Priests are particularly prone to this, especially those of a modernist/Renovationist bent. For instance, my friend Matushka Nina Stroyen was attacked unmercifully by some modernist priests for passing me some information… word does get around, guys… is this what would have happened in the days of Leonty Turkevich or Cyprian Borisevich?

I was saying such to a friend in an e-mail just the other day and her answer floored me (it was one of those sage, yet obvious, observations that one should have made oneself! Kudos, hon!). “Barb… these guys never knew Metropolitan Leonty or Bishop Cyprian. The only person they had any contact with was Schmemann! They don’t know or care about our past”. In my latest telephone chat with Matushka Nina, she brought up something that she noticed in her talks with JP. Matushka Nina observed that JP has contempt for the history and experience of the Church, especially for anything that happened “Before Schmemann” (he was received in 1978, at the apogee of the power and influence of ADS). She was upset that JP has no regard for the historical properties of St Tikhon’s (where she is one of the board members) and that the board was just as concerned as she was.

These people are not Orthodox at heart… they are Marxists of the worst sort (ADS, like so many Western European pseudo-intellectuals of his generation, was influenced greatly by Marx). Don’t tell me how ADS was anti-communist… his émigré family would have disowned him had he said otherwise (as it was, they rejected his lunatic “theology”, especially his identical-twin brother Andrei). For them, the end DOES justify the means. They have a vision of “a new heaven and a new earth”… they shall lead us poor and benighted unenlightened souls “to the new shore”… whatever it takes to implement this is licit… no matter if it is indecent, incivil, nasty, or cruel. They do not believe in doing good; they believe in doing “what is good for you”. These are not the same… the first is an intrinsic and objective virtue, the second is a subjective and fancied notion… the first is giving a poor man a fin, the second is some “scholar” changing the liturgy to fit his imagined reconstruction of some long-forgotten (and irrelevant) fourth-century text. Those who wish to “do good for you” are forever bloviating about the “truth”. Have you ever noticed that such sorts become very agitated and upset if someone “tells the truth” concerning them or their associates? “Disrespectful! Slanderous! Insolent! Malicious! Cheeky!”

The recent Velencia affair points up some things for us. It is not “disrespectful” or “slanderous” to note that this priest defends his actions, in open court, no less (the fact that intimate details from confession and/or counselling were aired is not contested, interestingly enough… what is contested is who is responsible). What can this lead reasonable people to conclude? It could lead to mistrust of all OCA priests. You see, even otherwise-good priests can be pressured by bad superiors and hierarchs into divulging things… never underestimate human weakness… not all evil is done maliciously. In fact, many priests in the OCA have two weaknesses, to wit:

  1. “The ‘Good’ of the Church”
  2. “Schmemann’s Vision”

I have noticed an interesting phenomenon. The belief in “Schmemann’s Vision” is strongest amongst those who never met the fellow. ADS was a rather ordinary hag-ridden pseudo-intellectual with an “idea”. He was quite charming and affable… until you disagreed with him! Then, he would darken in a trice, and his devoted and besotted acolytes would descend on one. “How dare you…” blah, blah, blah. These people are those in the upper reaches of the OCA today. Nevertheless… the most dedicated devotees of ADS are those who converted after his death. They take the overblown and extravagant hagiography of his partisans at face value and they hate all of us who show any “disrespect” to their idol.

What is their reaction to those who show “disrespect” or those who are adjudged “slanderous?” Why, “We must refute them”… lacking that, “We must throw them out of the Church”… and, if that can’t be done, “We’ll trash their reputations!” When one looks at such cases as those of Eric Iliff, Kristi Koumentakos, and Melanie Sakoda… one cannot stand silent. So, I must speak out, no matter what the cost. If it means that some shall try to trash me by either calumny or “exposure” of my private affairs… SO BE IT. I must accept it… I may not care for it at all (no sane person does), but, I must resign myself to it.


If you take a stand for anything, you must accept the consequences. I know that there are many in the Church who are not “nice people”. Over the years, I have seen numerous instances where good folk have had their reputations trashed and their private lives aired in order to destroy them, so that lazy and corrupt apparatchiki (both lay and clerical) could continue to rape the Church, the Bride of Christ. This means that I cannot expect otherwise. Indeed, I would be foolish to think myself immune to it. Is the sacrifice of my reputation and privacy worth it, after all?


Christ is worth it! I must be faithful to Him, so, I cannot be silent whilst His Church is violated. I may be unimportant and a woman lacking in influence and power… that is true, emphatically. However… I believe that I shall account for my every action before God… I MUST stand for what is right and true. If the martyrs faced the lions and the Red firing squads, I can certainly face mere words. As St Innokenty of Alaska asked us, “Shall you swallow a kopeck’s worth?” Many of us refuse to do that… that’s a sad commentary on us.

Luther was mistaken in many ways, yet, he was correct in this:

Hier stehe Ich, Ich kann nicht anders, Gott helfe mir! (I’ll take my stand… I can’t do anything else, by God!)

I have no illusions… however… shall we walk this path together? It’s the only way that we’ll get through the wood to the other side…

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Friday 16 October 2009

Albany NY


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