Voices from Russia

Thursday, 12 November 2009

MP May Sever Relations with the Evangelical Church in Germany

margot kassman

Bishop Margot Kässmann (1958- ). Her election as the chairman of the EKD shall provoke a cessation of relations with the MP.

The MP may sever relations with the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), a major Protestant church of Western Europe, because it elected a woman as chairman of the EKD Council. Orthodox clergy say this runs counter to evangelical principles. Analysts fear this could provoke a significant inter-faith conflict. On 28 October, a meeting of the EKD Council elected Bishop Margot Kässmann as its chairman. She became the first woman to lead the Evangelical Church in Germany. The EKD unites some 24 million Protestants in more than 20 Lutheran and Reformed churches. The 51-year-old bishop of Hanover is divorced and has four daughters. “We plan to celebrate 50 years of dialogue with the German Lutheran Church in late November and early December”, Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk and head of the MP Department of External Church Relations, said on Wednesday. “The celebrations will also mark the end of that dialogue”.

The Orthodox Church does not recognise female clergy. “A female bishop is a contradiction of evangelical principles”, said Georgy Zavershinsky, the Press Secretary of the MP DECR. “Therefore, there can be no church relations between us. We will most likely have to deal with their church as we would with a public organisation”. Russian Lutherans endorse the MP’s line of reasoning. Alexander Prilutsky, chief secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria (Russia), said female bishops were evidence of “a crisis in Western society”. “Our relations with Western Protestants have recently become more complicated because of their liberal theological practises”, said Bishop Konstantin Bendas, director for secular affairs at the Russian Associated Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith. “Unfortunately, the West is departing from evangelical principles. For example, [the Lutherans in] Sweden deviated the most by electing a lesbian bishop”. If inter-faith dialogue stops, “this could lead to severance of diplomatic relations between German Christians and the MP”, said Roman Lunkin, director of the Institute of Religion and Law and a senior researcher at the Russian Academy of Science’s Institute of Europe. “This could provoke the largest inter-Christian conflict in recent years”.

12 November 2009


As quoted in RIA-Novosti


Editor’s Note:

This has relevance for the OCA’s recent “covenant” with Nashotah House. Nashotah House belongs to the TEC. A female bishop heads the TEC. In the words of the MP spokesman,A female bishop is a contradiction of evangelical principles. Therefore, there can be no church relations between us. We will most likely have to deal with their church as we would with a public organisation”. The OCA has to rip up its “covenant” with Nashotah House and apologise to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, to all the other heads of the Local Churches, and to all Orthodox faithful, wherever they are.

I do not think that the OCA shall ever issue such an apology nor is the OCA going to abrogate its concordat with the TEC (for Nashotah House is part of that body, like it or not). This is dangerous brinkmanship by JP, BP, and Hatfield… for the only canonical lifeline for the OCA is its link with the MP. If that goes… the OCA becomes a dead letter and ROCOR shall pick up many of the parishes. Unfortunately, there are parishes (and even two dioceses (the West and the South)) that could join the revolt of JP and Co. We may very well see a “new OCA” composed of rebellious OCA parishes, some AOCANA “convert” parishes, and individuals from the GOA-based Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL).

We had a nasty internecine conflict in the church between the OCA and ROCOR from the mid-sixties until very recently. ADS fomented it, and it caused grievous wounds to the Church. We are still in the process of healing from this pointless internal feud (for such it was… the OCA and ROCOR are both part of the Russian Orthodox Church in the US (a sociological body, not a formal institution)). This new conflict would pit the “new OCA” against all other recognised Orthodox bodies in the US… it bids fair to be nastier and far more spiteful and malicious than the earlier affair. God willing, the OCA shall put aside the scrap of paper signed with the TEC… please, God, let them do it. Otherwise, there shall be hell to pay… literally.



King Leonardo and Itchy Brother… A Fable for Our Time

King Leonardo of Bongo Congo

King Leonardo of Bongo Congo… good-hearted and straight… the way a leader should be!


Those of us who grew up in the sixties remember The King and Odie, a cartoon series featuring King Leonardo of Bongo Congo (a lion), Odie Cologne, his adviser (a skunk), and Biggie Rat, a nefarious sort who was the mastermind behind Itchy Brother, King Leonardo’s scatterbrained beatnik brother. Biggie and Itchy were always scheming to take over the throne. King Leonardo was kind and good-hearted… and, apparently, not very bright (note WELL that I said “apparently”). Odie was deceptively mild-mannered (his mellifluous voice was reminiscent of the old 30s actor, Ronald Colman)… he was actually quite intelligent and resourceful, having a good mixture of just enough (but, not too much) education with a good admixture of “street smarts”. Odie’s native intelligence allied with King Leonardo’s good judgement invariably foiled the plans of Biggie and Itchy.

This is a telling fable for Orthodox of today in America. We have those who are running about and telling us how their “education” fits them to run the church, they are “knowledgeable”, and they have the proper intention to “purify” the Church. BOSH! What utter rot! What is needful is CHARACTER… what is necessary is WISDOM… what is obligatory is JUDGEMENT. You can learn none of these things in a school… professors don’t have a clue on how to inculcate them. Indeed, people know that the professoriate lacks such things (and hasn’t the foggiest notion on how to get them, either). The “absentminded professor” has been a figure of fun for centuries… for good reason. What people respect and revere is CHARACTER… they love King Leonardo and Odie… they hate Biggie and Itchy. Hmm… do we have figures today that are like these? Indubitably! Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral is like King Leonardo… a man who is deceptively simple, a man who disarms you with his placid visage and peasant manners… then, he fixes you with his eyes, and you know that you sit before a LEADER. No. Vladyki Hilarion is not as “well-educated” as some one could name… THAT is of no moment. He knows when to speak and when to keep still… now, THAT’S a talent. He doesn’t care for his reputation (as Hilarion Alfeyev does, for instance), truly, “what you see is what you get”.


Odie Cologne

Who is Hilarion Kapral’s Odie Cologne? 


I have no illusions… Hilarion Kapral is not a “reluctant conscript” to the ranks of the episcopate. He angled for it, as all of them did… what happens after a man becomes a bishop is what’s important. Many bishops find out that, yes, they’re the top dog in the yard, but, it comes with a steamer-trunk full of problems demanding immediate attention, questions awaiting answers now, and people wanting to use him for their own purposes. It’s a wonder that more bishops aren’t made completely world-weary by all of that… just look at the sorts that flock around them! They’re either looking for favours, in search of an audience for a crack-brained notion, or cynically seeking places… a bishop has a next-to-nil chance of hearing the truth, I say (which is why the good ones develop a workable “intelligence network” as quickly as they can). However, if you throw it all upon the scales, Hilarion Kapral comes up with a good balance. I wonder… who is his Odie Cologne? He certainly needs someone to confide in, and someone who can undertake what he cannot. Interesting, no? (No doubt, we would all be surprised at their identity… guesses on such things are usually wrong, in my experience.)


Itchy Brother

Itchy Brother… a typical 60s poseur, wot?


I think that Itchy Brother is obvious. Jonas Paffhausen is Itchy to a tee. His recent disaster at the OCL meeting at Antiochian Village was typical of him. OCL, as a group, is personae non gratae to the GOA. JP knew this, beforehand. He knew that this would cause bad blood with the GOAA… yet, he went ahead and did it (JP did not have to put this on top of his juvenile remarks about “foreign despots”… how stupid is he?). Need we mention the abomination at Nashotah House? JP and a heretical institution signed a covenant… he KNEW that the MP had suspended dialogue with the TEC (Nashotah House is under the TEC… there is no way around that one). He screams, “Everything has changed!” Hmm… are we supposed to overlook Iggie Burdikoff, Lyonyo Kishkovsky, and Alexei Karlgut standing by his side? He’s thrown Raymond Velencia from the train… he threw out Tassos (the OCA Treasurer) for unknown reasons and replaced him with the SVS CFO. She now holds two slots concurrently… is she going to get the salary of both posts or is the money saved going into the pockets of the lawyers and for Lyonyo’s junketeering? The public reason given for Tasso’s dismissal is THIN… they either are running out of money or JP and Tassos had a fight… or it’s a combination of the two (that’s most likely, I say). He opens mouth… inserts foot! He had a very public telephone conference to announce the move of the OCA Chancery to Washington DC… then, he had to retract it. Need we go any further? This guy is a walking disaster area.


Biggy Rat

Biggie Rat… his nefarious schemes were always countered by King Leonardo’s goodness and Odie’s wisdom…


It’s clear that Benjamin Peterson takes the role of Biggie Rat. Let’s be clear… BP didn’t have a chance for the Metropolitan’s slot because of his known alcoholism and moral questions. Therefore, he rode JP into Syosset. JP is as green as grass… he’s totally lost at sea and without a clue… so, BP and the archpriestly cabal in Syosset move him about at their will. Yet, BP and JP share a vision… a twisted vision, sure, but, a vision it is. They wish to “purify” the Church, and if that means running out the current clergy and membership, so be it. The OCL speech was part of that castle in the air. “Unity in our time”… I’ll retire to Bedlam along with Mr Scrooge… that is the most hallucinatory and addled statement I have ever heard from an Orthodox bishop (and there have been some WHOPPERS in the past, friends and neighbours). Nevertheless, they BELIEVE it. They truly do. It does not matter if it lacks grounding… they are going to make an “affirmation” and wish it into being by their “positive mental attitude”. There are all too many on the “left coast” who think like that. It’s their true religion… they left grounded Orthodoxy behind long ago… if they ever were part of it (I feel sorry for many of those in “convert” parishes who never had exposure to real Orthodoxy and real Orthodox… they are the true victims in all of this). King Leonardo (Hilarion) or Itchy (JP)? That’s not a hard one, is it? Give me a King Leonardo, straight-up, no mixer, please! Character over verbiage any road, I say! What about you?

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Thursday 12 November 2009

Albany NY

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