Voices from Russia

Friday, 30 October 2009

There Oughta be a Law!

Laura Dekker

Laura Dekker (1995- ), the brave Dutch girl who wants to sail around-the-world single-handedly… bully for her! Fie on the judges, shrinkie-dinkies, and “child protection authorities”… let them go to their master (and it sure ain’t the Good Lord, that’s for sure)… and right smartly, too!


Update 20 December 2009:

Laura Dekker’s missing from her father’s home. No foul play’s suspected in the least. Here’s a link to the latest:



I thought that I’d seen it all… Well, live and learn, they say! First, read the news item below…


Dutch Court Nixes Teenager’s Round-The-World Sail

A Dutch court ruled Friday that 14-year-old Laura Dekker was still too inexperienced to be allowed to set off on her quest to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. Judges at Utrecht District Court placed Laura under the guardianship of child protection authorities until next July to ensure that she can’t set off on her dream voyage. The ruling means Laura can continue living with her father, but, her parents must consult child protection authorities about all major decisions in her life. Laura and her parents weren’t in court Friday, but, family spokesman Mariska Woertman said the teenager was “disappointed that the court doesn’t have faith in her to leave now”. However, Woertman said Laura was confident she can be ready to sail soon after next July and still set the record as the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe.

The Utrecht court first blocked her departure in August out of concern for her safety. The decision sparked a worldwide debate on how much authorities and parents should limit children’s freedom to undertake risky adventures. Laura’s parents, both veteran sailors, are separated. Laura’s father supported the attempt, but her mother said in a newspaper interview in September she thought Laura was too young. Presiding judge M. Oostendorp said Laura’s mother has given her blessing “so long as she has assurances about the safety measures. At the moment, as far as she is concerned, they’re insufficient”. Child protection authorities welcomed the decision.

Judges said they were confident that Laura was emotionally ready for the trip, but questioned the safety precautions and her ability to continue her schooling while at sea. They said, however, her sailing skills weren’t in question. A psychological analysis submitted to the court said Laura’s planned trip wouldn’t impair her social or emotional development. “The good news today is that we have established Laura is capable of making this voyage”, said her lawyer, Peter de Lange. Laura told the three-judge panel at a closed hearing Monday that she was equipping her 26-foot (8-metre) yacht Guppy with extra security and communications equipment and learning to use it. “(The plans are still) too unclear, not concrete enough and too uncertain” to guarantee her safety, said Oostendorp.

Laura also told the court that she planned to wait at least until next May, after school ends, to embark on the voyage and will be guided by an experienced sailor in a separate boat. She also promised to take a sailor’s first-aid course and practice sleep management techniques. De Lange criticised the judges for questioning Laura’s single-handed sailing experience… which is limited to trips on Dutch rivers, close to the coast, and a single solo voyage to England and back. “They say she hasn’t got much experience of solo round-the-world sailing. That’s a bit weak”, he told reporters. “How do you get experience? By doing it”.

In August, 17-year-old British sailor Mike Perham became the youngest person to sail solo around the world. Earlier this month, 16-year-old Australian Jessica Watson also set off on a single-handed, round-the-world trip. De Lange said Laura can still break the record if she sets off next year. “But the record isn’t her primary goal”, he added. “Laura just wants to sail”.

Mike Corder

30 October 2009

Associated Press

As quoted by Yahoo! News



This is utter stuff n’ nonsense. A judge (of all people!) issues an opinion on nautical matters… not maritime law… one expects that… but issues a ruling on the fitness of an individual to undertake a voyage. This is the sort of rubbish one sees routinely in American suburbia amongst the affluent effluent. Sadly, it means that the Americanist contagion has spread to parts of Western Europe. Legalism, not good-sense, underpins this madness. It leads to such things as the OCA claiming that it has no legal responsibility for the actions of its priests, as these fellows are, in essence, independent contractors and actors. What’s the difference? In the Dutch case, a court prevents a young sailor from departing on a risky journey by using questionable logic… all sorts of supposedly grown-up adults are wasting a good deal of time, effort, energy, and money on this. Let the young girl sail, I say… she knows the risks… it’s her life, after all. The “child protective authorities”, head-shrinkers, and judges should butt out (I believe that this is actually an episode in a dispute between the separated parents)… the court would do better to spend its time pursuing real child abusers and paedophiles (isn’t that the case… the legal system chases ridiculous will o’ the wisps such as this… and real abusers hop away, scot-free, because the court wastes its time and energy on such frivolities).

I bring the story of this court case up for a reason. One of my correspondents wrote, “The OCA should be taken to court for what its hierarchs have done”. I quite agree… but there’s a traffic-jam in the courts… caused by cases such as the one about Laura Dekker. Real child-abuse advocates will tell you straight-up that it’s hard to get the system to punish actual abusers because of the logjam of such frivolous cases. Another reason is that the OCA’s no major actor either in American religion or on the American scene in general. For God’s sake, its central budget is less than 5 mill, and most of that’s spent on salaries for a small set of dronish apparatchiki on the Island, where the cost-of-living is so above the national average that the cost of maintaining a HQ there is a criminal and egregious drain upon the donations of the faithful. That is, money that should go for charities and missions goes into the gaping and ever-voracious maws of Kishkovsky and Garklavs). In short, it isn’t worth the government’s while… at least, not yet (after all, the RCs are 20 to 25 percent of the US population… a major proportion by any measure… all Orthodox in total are about 0.3 percent (the OCA in toto is 0.03 percent… if we were disappear, America would not notice it). Even in Orthodoxy, it’s a miniscule voice… out of some 986,000 Orthodox in recognised Local Church bodies in the US (per Aleksei Krindatch), only 115,000 are in the OCA (and 27,000 of those are in its virtually independent Romanian branch and 20-30,000 are Alaska natives in the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska, leaving only some 58,000-68,000 under Syosset’s direct rule in the “lower-48”).

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the courts to act (I do think that Kristi Koumentakos is going to get justice against Ray Velencia… but that isn’t striking at the root of the contagion). Certainly, I’d be pleased to see it happen… but let’s be frank. We’re just too unimportant as a group… except for a few isolated areas (such as north-eastern and western Pennsylvania, the industrial Midwest, and some cities in the Mid-Atlantic region), we’re so small that we’re invisible. Remember, the loudest noises issue forth from miniscule sets in Lilliputian mission parishes (something that Fr Alexander Lebedeff noticed in a post on the dissidents who protested against the MP/ROCOR reconciliation… the sociological imperatives in the OCA and ROCOR are almost identical as they are both “Russian Orthodox” bodies).

Is it, “Abandon hope, all ye that enter here?” NO… emphatically not. However, we must resolve this ourselves, not the courts. That is, a solution requires that we act to put it right.

Shall we?

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

30 October 2009

Albany NY


An Item from the Old Curiosity Shoppe

Jonas Paffhausen

Metropolitan Jonas Paffhausen (1959- ) of the OCA in a meeting with a low-level MP functionary in Syosset NY. Note well that one of the people in the picture is Leonid Kishkovsky… When he was in Moscow earlier this year, JP stated that all the major players under Herman were gone (his exact words were that only a house-cleaner and two secretaries were left)… it seems that he lied… draw the proper conclusion.

Here is something that just crossed my path that is far less than it seems. Trust me… it appears of great importance… then, when one looks closer, it fades into nothingness. Let’s look at the news item, first.


Primate of the Orthodox Church in America gives audience to president of the International Foundation of the Unity of Orthodox Nations

His Beatitude Jonah, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, received in audience on 26 October 2009, the president of the International Foundation of the Unity of Orthodox Nations, V. Alexeyev, and the representative of the Orthodox Church in America Archimandrite Zacchaeus (Wood).

Mr Alexeyev informed Metropolitan Jonah about his recent visit to St Vladimir’s Seminary in Crestwood NY, to convey to it an official letter from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, informing the Seminary that it won the Foundation’s Prize in recognition of its efforts for strengthening unity between Orthodox nations in the field of education. They also discussed in detail various projects of the Foundation, the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church Representation in America has reported.

DECR Communications Service



Firstly, do NOT be fooled by the URL. This is NOT from the main official website of the MP… it is the official website of the MP DECR… if you go to the homepage, you do NOT go to the homepage of the main site. This is vitally important.

My first task was to see if this news had appeared on the RIA-Novosti, ITAR-TASS, and Interfax-Religion feeds. It had not. In short, this is not considered important by the main secular news agencies that cover religious news. I only bring this canard of an article up because the OCA fanatics are going to beat the drums about this.

Note well that Hilarion Alfeyev did not put his name to this release… the only body named is a nebulous International Foundation of the Unity of Orthodox Nations… I have never heard of it and I follow the Russian religious press fairly closely. It smells contrived and hurriedly cobbled together… there has been no major press release on any of the relevant Russian news-services about this putative organisation to my knowledge prior to this event (there have been one or two articles mentioning this “award”… that is the only sign of life that this “foundation” has shown).

On a minor note, SVS’s address is given incorrectly… it is in Yonkers NY, but, the OCA invariably says it is in Crestwood… Crestwood is not a city, town, village, hamlet, or census designated area… it is only a neighbourhood of the City of Yonkers with no real or legal existence (the OCA does not like using the real address because it lacks the cachet of the rest of Westchester County… Yonkers is in Westchester, but, it has a grittier and more plebeian image). His buddies in Syosset misled HA…

As for the letter from KMG… the poor fellow signs hundreds of documents daily. He has a busy schedule of personal meetings and audiences (I pity the poor fellow… he must spend two hours a day in minor audiences (that is, those quickie 5-minute affairs) alone). Do note well that His Holiness gave no one in the OCA an audience to receive this letter. Zacchaeus Wood did not even get one of those minor five-minute jobs where one receives a smile and a letter from the hand of KMG, and a PR snapshot with the Patriarch. HA did not give him an audience… he did not even get a meeting with anyone important such as Bishop Mark Golovkov, or Frs Vsevolod Chaplin, Mikhail Dudko, or Nikolai Balashov. All that happened is that a “V Alexeyev” (a complete and utter unknown, let me assure you… he has figured in no other major news items from any major Russian or international agency of my knowledge), a very minor flunky and lackey, has brought a letter from a vague (and previously unknown) “foundation” just when JP needed something to distract people from the Nashotah House débâcle and the controversy swirling about the rumours of an “Anglican Rite” in the OCA (God willing, saner heads shall prevail… but, I shan’t hold my breath… it’s unhealthy, you know).

In short, this is total GIGO. It is not worth the paper it is printed on. Does Syosset truly believe that the faithful are that stupid? Have they truly lost contact with reality?

I fear that we know the answer all too well…

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Friday 30 October 2009

Albany NY

Is There a “Third Way?”

a fork in the road

Are there only two positions on ecumenism? Must we choose between “giving away the farm” or “speaking the truth in love”… or, is there a “third way?”


To me, the only really interesting part of all this is that I try personally to make a clear distinction between the kinds of ecumenical activity that seek some sort of forced-fit or dumbing-down of theology, and those that simply promote our knowing one another better and more deeply.  The former is something in which I have no inclination to engage; the latter, it seems to me, is a part of loving one’s neighbour, as Christ exemplified when he broke bread with Romans, tax collectors and other sordid characters… never giving an inch in terms of the significant differences they had between them.

In sum, if you were objecting to LK’s participation in the kind of ecumenical processes that “give away the farm”, then, I’m right with you.  I don’t know him well enough to make the same kind of judgement.

An honest and humble observer…


In this instance, I wish to totally protect my correspondent’s identity… I don’t wish any repercussions from the Syosset mafia to fall upon this estimable person. Such is my duty to my friends… it’s how I can best express my respect for them, isn’t it? This submission raises such good questions that I had to share it with you (and protect my interlocutor at the same time, no?).

What’s “giving away the farm?” A good example is the recent concordat signed between SVS and a heretical Episkie seminary, Nashotah House. The Anglicans compromised on none of their theology or on any practical matter… and received legitimation by their agreement with SVS. Nashotah House didn’t abjure the 39 Articles nor did they agree to condemn such things as female ordination or Calvinist theology. In short, SVS and an unrepentant Proddie body signed an agreement… with a bunch of Calvinists who’ve no intention of curbing any of their objectionable Protestant practises. In short, it was a classic illustration of an Orthodox body compromising its basic principles in its concessions to the party outside the Church, and the heterodox party emerged with its assumptions intact and whole, without making any attempt to fit them to the Church’s dogma and tradition. JP’s signature to all of that was an open and brazen slap in the face to the MP… which has broken off “dialogue” with the TEC and has condemned the “branch theory” explicitly, a heresy that the OCA implicitly accepted by its acceptance of a pact with a TEC institution. Don’t forget who wrote the MP’s condemnation… His Nibs did, when he was still a metropolitan and head of the MP DECR..

“Speaking the truth in love” appears more truthful… at first glance, only. Part of the problem with it is that unscrupulous sorts use it to continue the fruitless “ecumenical” dialogue. If there’s nothing of use in such talks, if it leads to nothing but the pointless issuing of papers on topics that the parties either never disagreed upon or will never agree upon (due to the basic dogma of the groups involved), “speaking the truth with love” is just as bootless as “giving away the farm”. Indeed, it’s WORSE… for the Orthodox party thinks that they’re “witnessing” to the heterodox. Trust me, the papists, Proddies, Pentecostalists, and the American Cultists (Mormons, JWs, et al) aren’t listening… they are NOT going to change one whit even if we were to talk until we’re quite blue in the face. Any discussion on doctrine is sterile as no party’s going to give in to the other. Ergo, this is worse than “giving away the farm”… it’s far more mischievous and we should stop it immediately.

But… isn’t there anything that we can do with those outside the Visible Church of Christ? Of course, there is! There’s a great deal that we can do together once we drive a stake through the heart of the ecumenical monster. People of good will can unite to support common goals in the community. We can work to help unwed mothers… we can help to feed the hungry… we can lobby politicians at all levels of government. That’s only a partial list. However… we can’t hold common prayer together or pretend that we’re one in Christ… we aren’t. To love one’s neighbour as a fellow human-being and to love what our Lord Christ taught us are two ENTIRELY different things. The first requires that we treat all of our neighbours with fairness and equity, at the least. The second requires us to understand that some are outside of the Body of Christ… and that this fact makes for a difference.

Yes, I agree that many disagreements and disputes between people arise out of ignorance, and that anything that “lights a candle in the darkness” is very good, indeed. No one’s more polite and civil to those outside the Church in personal situations than I am. They are what they are (and they’re emphatically NOT Orthodox). I’ve no right whatsoever to proselytise them (even if they try to proselytise me)… that’s the most inherently disrespectful thing that I can think of. I’d keep the discussion focused on things of common interest and approval, and would politely (but firmly) steer the conversation away from any doctrinal matters… that never leads to any good, I’ve found. It’s sad that there are neophytes in the Church who think that they should “witness” to others in the same way that they did in their former confessions. If any of you have met such, I apologise to you most sincerely and profoundly, and can assure you that grounded Orthodox do NOT act in such an inconsiderate and impertinent way.

So, is there a “third way?” Yes… happily, there is. In fact, the Church has followed it for many centuries… it’s NOT new. Let’s remember what a wise Ecumenical Patriarch once said…

Send us no more letters on doctrine. Send us letters of friendship, only.

Now, THAT’S what I agree with. I believe that I’m not alone…

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Friday 30 October 2009

Albany NY

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