Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Dezinformatsiya in the Raw… “The Youth Want Unity”

antiochian village ligonier pa

A map of Antiochian Village, Ligonier PA… I believe that this was the site of JP’s speech to the OCL dissidents… I wonder what Metropolitan Demetrios Trakatellis thinks of all that?

Here is something that you must read to believe it. Trust me, I made none of this up, and it proves, even to the slow learners, that JP is out of touch with reality.


Orthodox Christians Celebrate Independence in America

Orthodox bishops in America are now free to use the A-word. That’s autocephaly — meaning a self-governing church that doesn’t answer to an authority overseas. America is now divided into overlapping ethnic jurisdictions, most of which answer to a church in Eastern Europe or the Middle East. Many of those overseas churches had squelched talk of autocephaly for their mission dioceses in places such as the Americas and Australia. But, in June, they unanimously called for all bishops in each of those regions to assemble and make decisions about their own territories. “It is a transition that will lead us, as quickly as possible, to our goal of a united, autocephalous American Church”, said Metropolitan Jonah, national leader of the Russian-rooted Orthodox Church in America. The Russian Orthodox Church declared his church autocephalous in 1970, but, that wasn’t recognised by other patriarchs, leaving Metropolitan Jonah’s status in the new body uncertain.

He encouraged the national conference of Orthodox Christian Laity, which met in Ligonier this week, to embrace the new unity process. It will have far greater impact on bishops and priests than on laity, he said, but, the laity will be crucial to the changes that count. “Part of the challenge is simply to be together: to work together, to pray together, and for our children to grow up together, our seminarians to study and pray together, and our people to marry one another. There is a gradual process of integration that will take generations and will eventually result in a completely unique American Orthodoxy”, he said in a Thursday night speech.

When the Russian Orthodox Church declared the Orthodox Church in America autocephalous in 1970, it hoped that would be the basis of a single American church. Instead, Metropolitan Jonah said, all jurisdictions, including his own, must give up their own structures to form a new church. “When the time comes for that autocephaly, then, the vision that we were given in 1970 will be fulfilled in something much greater than we are ourselves”, he said. Creation of such a church will require a Great Council of the global church, which has been in the planning stages for decades. Many speakers addressed what American Orthodoxy might look like, urging that it focus on outreach to all Americans. Christopher Shadid, 22, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, said that campus Orthodox fellowships are already models of unity where students worship without ethnic distinction. “The youth want unity”, he said.

While a new American church mustn’t be limited by ethnicity, it must honour all of its heritages, Metropolitan Jonah said. He suggested using his own church’s model of having both territorial dioceses and non-geographical dioceses for parishes that need ethnic ministries. “We need to … figure out a way in which not only our history, but, all of the other histories — the Romanian experience, the Albanian experience, the Greek experience — all of that is seen not as just their experience, but, our common experience”, he said. A united American Orthodoxy will be more effective than the current ethnic groups in lobbying for the rights of persecuted Christians in Turkey, Sudan, and elsewhere, he said.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the first among equals of the Orthodox patriarchs, is visiting the US this week and next. Metropolitan Jonah met with him, and felt encouraged by the patriarch’s public words and their private conversation.

31 October 2009

Ann Rodgers

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

As quoted in Orthodox Christians for Accountability



To begin with, I have no doubt that Ms Rodgers is a person of good-will… however,  JP’s honeyed words fooled her due to her abject ignorance of the subject (that is clear throughout the piece, as she didn’t ask the proper questions of JP when he left obvious openings for such).

As for the putative proclamation, “they unanimously called for all bishops in each of those regions to assemble and make decisions about their own territories”… that is pure moonshine and fakery. The assembled body of Orthodox bishops took no such decision… if that was a fact, we’d all be talking about it. There was no major meeting of all the First Hierarchs of the Local Churches last June… THAT would have been a major news item in the Orthodox world (and we would have had commentary from people such as Metropolitans Hilarion Kapral and Demetrios Trakatellis, more believable and reputable sources than JP). What JP is referring to is probably nothing more than sparkles in the eyes of Hilarion Alfeyev (whom the MP has had to bring to heel several times, due to his overenthusiastic fawning over Benedict Ratzinger) after some minor meeting. Do look at how the OCA broke out in paroxysms of jubilation after SVS received a minor gramota (probably at HA’s instigation, no doubt)… a minor flunky carried it to Syosset; Zacchaeus Wood didn’t rate a minor audience with KMG to receive it or even a minor reception in the office of HA. That is, it was pure stuff n’ nonsense (originating in the Boy Wonder’s office, no doubt).

Note well that JP boasts that he attended a meeting of a group that calls itself Orthodox Christian Laity. That is a group within the GOA of anti-clerical affluent effluent… they wish to govern the Church and short-circuit the bishops. I have read this group’s material and found them modernist to the bone in theological/liturgical matters and believers in “democracy” in administrative affairs. “Democracy”, in this context, usually means that a clique runs a parish, diocese, or archdiocese. If you thought the Afghan election was in the good ol’ Chicago tradition of stuffed ballot-boxes and bought votes… just look at “democracy” in the Orthodox Church in the US and Canada. Year after year, parishioners choose the same set of familiar faces… and unscrupulous clerics use such sorts to advance their agendas.

Ms Rodgers does not mention (for she, probably, does not know it) that the EP still does not consider the OCA a canonical body. JP was silent on that. I’ll tell you what… hey, Post-Gazette! I’ll interview JP for you! I’ll ask the RIGHT questions… “Can you tell me why four years of diocesan financial records are missing? Your Secretary said, ‘they simply don’t exist’. Why didn’t you dismiss the responsible parties? At best, it was a ‘workplace violation’; at worst, it was ‘honest services fraud’”. “Why are you meeting with Orthodox Christian Laity, which is a group of people under the GOA? Did you receive permission from Metropolitan Demetrios Trakatellis to do so? Do you have written proof of that permission?” “Is the talk of a so-called Anglican Rite only internet chatter, an idle rumour, as it were; or, is it being actively considered?” “Why do you approve of “the Orthodox Feast of ‘St’ Francis?” There! JP and his entourage would run out of the room before I even warmed up… they would pull out their mobiles to complain to the editor that I was badgering and humiliating them.

This is just another unashamed piece of utter and out-and-out GIGO from the autocephalist crowd… mark down well that it comes from Mark Stokoe… he comes off as a stooge for JP. Mr Stokoe is a fanatic OCA apologist; extreme even amongst autocephalists… one has to bear that in mind when using his website. As for the statement, “The youth want unity”… consider the venue in which Mr Shadid said it. It was a conference held by a rebellious organisation of GOA laity, a group that favours a reductionist approach to all Church issues. If JP is saying that he supports such sorts… that tells us a great deal about the man and his plan. The above interview does not give me confidence about the persistent rumours about the so-called Anglican Rite. I fear that JP is going to set it up and stick out his tongue at the rest of Orthodoxy (it would lead to the MP disowning the OCA… he would burn the only canonical bridge that he has).

The Pittsburgh article DOES raise an interesting question though. When the OCA falls apart (it has reached the point where one must say “when”, not “if”), are dissident elements of the GOA and AOCANA going to join the modernist residue that shall be the only remnant of it (my Nicky believes that JP and BP are going to hold court in New Skete… by God, he’s probably right!)? Note well that the OCL meeting took place in Ligonier PA, the site of Antiochian Village, a camp facility of the AOCANA. Was the OCL meeting held there? I know of no other major Orthodox facility in the area capable of hosting such a meeting. Did Philip Saliba tell Metropolitan Demetrios Trakatellis of this meeting? Did Philip tell Metropolitan Demetrios that JP was going to speak to the gathering? THAT raises interesting queries, does it not?

As a priest-friend of mine said to me, “There is much information and dezinformatsiya out there”. This is some of the latter, I am afraid. Caveat lector… as always.

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Albany NY


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