Voices from Russia

Saturday, 22 May 2010

A Short Note on Pravoslavie.ru…

Filed under: internet — 01varvara @ 00.00

I received a private e-mail that prompted me to write this little note. A person was concerned that there was HOOMie infiltration into the MP. That is not so, but there is a situation that makes it look so. Some of the HOOMie gang in Platina are doing some of the English translations on Pravoslavie.ru. The Russian side is solid… on the English side, I have noticed that material is often changed subtly or that Russian criticisms of the papists are either edited out completely or muted. What caught my eye was “CSB Publishing”… that is, “Christ the Saviour Brotherhood Publishing” (Kudos to my internet friend from CA who was able to confirm for me that the address for this outfit and for Moses Beery where one and the same).

I shall repeat my warning. If you use this website, go to the Russian side and run a machine translation… it’s better than using an iffy English translation. Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov runs a tight ship on the Russian side. In fact, I’d commend anything by Professor Natalia Narochnitskaya… she’s good (in fact, here’s her website: http://www.narochnitskaia.ru/ it’s in Russian, but you English-speakers can run a machine translation). The HOOMies are taking advantage of the fact that there are many Russians without English-language skills. Don’t use the English side, people who are setting up an alternative structure within the Church are there, and you shouldn’t be listening to those who still defiantly belong to “Christ the Saviour Brotherhood”. CSB Publishing, indeed…

I am sorry that this makes it look like HOOMies have infiltrated the MP. It’s just another Internet House of Cards, this time, from Platina House.

Be good all.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Saturday 22 May 2010

Albany NY


K Plus One…

Go to liturgy tomorrow… light a candle… say a prayer… then, and only then, make up your mind

I was rereading the OCA handout of yesterday concerning Kondratick… for those who haven’t seen it yet, here’s the URL:


Within less than two months, the OCA has had two publicised out-of-court settlements. Firstly, there was the settlement in the Koumentakos case, and, now, there is this settlement for 250,000 dollars in the Kondratick case. Mr Kondratick was defrocked. He was defrocked for cause. He was defrocked for abusing his fiduciary obligations. Credit card fraud, for instance, is a federal offence. “The records simply don’t exist”… that is despicable.

In November of 2008, many people thought that the election of Jonas Paffhausen would usher in an era that wouldn’t be perfect, but certainly better than the administration of Herman Swaiko. Those hopes were dashed. At present, a man that defends the “Orthodox Feast of St Francis”, a man who defends the mass reception of cultists from Christ the Saviour Brotherhood in 2000, and a man who has a former cult guru, Matthew Tate, as one of his main advisors, heads the OCA. However, the thing that struck me hard upon rereading the OCA press release is that the entire Metropolitan Council knew of this payoff for three weeks and told the faithful NOTHING. Let that sink in… They told us nothing for three weeks. If Herman Swaiko had done this, Mark Stokoe would have been livid… all of his lapdogs in the comboxes at ocanews.org would have been shouting and gesticulating, calling for Herman’s head. As this situation progresses, I’ll admit to something… I feel sorry for Herman… he was a victim of the ambition of people like Mark Stokoe, Robert Kondratick, Benjamin Peterson, Joseph Fester, and Jonas Paffhausen. He did wrong, but Matushka Nina Stroyen is right, “Herman did wrong, but he was one of us… he had an Orthodox heart”. She didn’t say anything about JP… but the comparison is clear.

That I think is the most galling part of this episode. When all was said and done, when the sums were toted up, we found out that we kept in the dark, yet again. What is worse, we were kept in the dark by those who promised us openness and honesty. I shall NOT tell anyone what to do… there are landmines and cowpies all over this field for the unwary. I shall say this to you… go to liturgy tomorrow… light a candle and say a prayer. Reflect on what has been done to you. Then, and only then, make up your mind. That is something that I cannot do for you.

However… there is no easy way out of this. Every path is difficult and painful. I can’t lie to you. What is my opinion? For me (and I speak ONLY for myself here), there is only one way out… “There’s no place like home”. We Russian Orthodox in the USA and Canada should put aside our differences and unite in a Russian Orthodox Church in the USA, a Russian Orthodox Church in Canada, and a Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska, all of which would be under the MP. That’s what I believe.

Don’t make up your mind until you go to liturgy tomorrow… then, cross yourself, and commit yourself. God will bless you for it.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Saturday 22 May 2010

Albany NY

The Visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to Russia is Intended to Strengthen Intra-Orthodox Ties

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis of Constantinople (1940- ), deplaning at Vnukovo Airport near Moscow on 22 May 2010.

The official visit to the Patriarchate of Moscow and all the Russias by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis of Constantinople, traditionally, the first in honour amongst the Orthodox episcopate, will strengthen intra-Orthodox cooperation and, perhaps, advance the cause of a long-awaited Pan-Orthodox Synod, according to our source in the Moscow Patriarchate. On Saturday, the head of the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate will arrive in Moscow at the invitation of Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias, and will spend more than a week in Russia. He will visit the Holy Trinity-St Sergius Lavra, which is considered the spiritual centre of Russian Orthodoxy, Transfiguration Monastery in Valaam monastery, which is often called a “Northern Athos”, and religious sites in St Petersburg.

Honour Guard drawn up to welcome the Ecumenical Patriarch

Cooperation and Prayer

“This is not the first visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to our Church in Russia. His first official visit as Ecumenical Patriarch occurred in 1993, it was lengthy and involved visits to Moscow, the Holy Trinity-St Sergius Lavra, and St Petersburg. However, much has changed in the life of our Church and country over the past 17 years”, said Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, the deputy chairman of the Division of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, an expert in the field of intra-Orthodox relations, on the eve of Bartholomew’s visit. In his view, it will be interesting for the EP delegation to become familiar with the monastic life in the MP today, especially the restored monastery on Valaam. It will provide our distinguished guests with a “to have a special opportunity during his stay in Russia, to engage not only in formal meetings and negotiations, but also in quiet and focused prayer”. Fr Nikolai went on to say that Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Kirill “have a long-standing friendship”. While still young bishops, they often cooperated in solving problems that confronted former First Hierarchs of Constantinople and Moscow such as Patriarchs  Dimitrios Papadopoulos, Pimen Izvekov, and Aleksei Rediger. In July 2009, the newly-elected Patriarch Kirill, following established Orthodox custom, paid first official visit to Patriarch Bartholomew. This meeting, according to the parties involved, opened a new page in relations between the two Local Churches. Fr Nikolai said, “Patriarch Kirill would like to recreate and deepen the atmosphere of fraternal cooperation and mutual understanding that prevailed during his first official visit to Constantinople (Istanbul) in 2009.

The traditional bread and salt of welcome

Pan-Orthodox Council

Fr Nikolai continued, “The Patriarch of Constantinople is the first of honour in the Orthodox world, whilst the Patriarch of Moscow heads the world’s largest Orthodox Church. The level of mutual understanding, confidence, and cooperation between these two men largely determines the larger issue of pan-Orthodox cooperation, and, in particular, the process of preparing any Pan-Orthodox Council”. He said that many had spoken of the need to undertake such a council “since the first decades of the 20th century”. Preparations for such a conclave began in the 1960s. At that time, Metropolitan Nikodim Rotov, who was then the head of the DECR, led the MP delegation to the Pan-Orthodox meetings convened to prepare for the council. Fr Nikolai said, “In the 1990s, the process of preparation for such a council, which was difficult enough previously (given the differences in the views of the Local Churches on various issues), stalled over the problem caused by the EP’s establishment of a parallel diocesan structure in Estonia, alongside that of the MP”. He said that it was only possible to clear this problem in the last year of Patriarch Aleksei’s life, with the active participation of the current Patriarch Kirill, who then headed the DECR. During the visit of Patriarch Aleksei to Istanbul in 2008 for a summit meeting of all the First Hierarchs and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches, it was decided that, henceforth, Pan-Orthodox Pre-Conciliar Consultations would involve only autocephalous (fully independent and self-governing) Local Churches. Fr Nikolai said, “Thus, the problem with the status of the Orthodox Church in Estonia was withdrawn from the context of the Pre-Conciliar Consultations, so that we could continue a dialogue on the important issues of our time that require a collective response from the Orthodox Church as a whole”.

Patriarch Bartholomew with Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias (1946- ) inspects the honour guard

From the Programme of the Visit

On the Trinity feastday, which this year falls on Sunday 23 May, Patriarch Bartholomew shall serve liturgy at the Holy Trinity-St Sergius Lavra, the most renowned monastery in Russia, which was founded by St Sergius of Radonezh in Sergiev Posad near Moscow. Patriarchs Bartholomew and Kirill will concelebrate in the Cathedral of the Assumption at the Lavra. The next day, on 24 May, the two patriarchs will concelebrate liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. There are several festivities marked on this date, the Day the Holy Spirit, which is the day after Pentecost, the commemoration of the Enlighteners of the Slavs, the brothers Ss Kirill and Mefody, which is traditionally combined with the celebration of the Days of Slavic Written Language and Culture, and the name day of Patriarch Kirill. After completing a festal Divine Liturgy, the patriarchs will attend the opening ceremony of the Days of Slavonic Literature and Culture. In the evening, the EP delegation is scheduled to attend a concert at the State Kremlin Palace. On 25 May, Patriarch Bartholomew will venerate the relics held at the Assumption Cathedral in the Kremlin. In the afternoon, Patriarch Kirill and the EP delegation shall leave for the patriarch’s residence outside Moscow in Peredelkino. The next day, 26 May, Patriarch Bartholomew will meet with Mayor Yuri Luzhkov of Moscow, and with professors and graduate students from throughout the Church, speaking on Ss Kirill and Mefody. Later on in the day, the visitors will venerate relics in Moscow churches and monasteries, and they shall visit the St Dmitri Nursing School. In the evening, the EP delegation, which mainly comprises clerics of Greek origin, will visit the Greek Ambassador to Russia, Michalis Spinellis.

Patriarch Kirill greets Patriarch Bartholomew

On the morning of 27 May, the EP delegation will meet with the Ambassador of Turkey in Russia, Halil Akıncı. Then, Patriarch Bartholomew’s entourage will depart for Transfiguration Monastery in Valaam, where he will stay until the morning of 29 May. At Valaam, the delegation will be the guests of the abbot of the monastery, Bishop Pankraty Zherdev. Patriarch Bartholomew shall arrive in Kronshtadt on 29 May, where he shall inspect the restoration work being done on the Naval Cathedral. Then, the EP delegation will visit the Hermitage, along with churches and monasteries in St Petersburg. That evening, the Metropolia of St Petersburg will hold a reception in honour of the guests from Istanbul. On the feastday of All Saints, 30 May, Patriarchs Kirill and Bartholomew will serve Divine Liturgy together at St Isaac Cathedral, and the members of the MP Holy Synod will concelebrate with them. Following this, Patriarch Bartholomew will examine the restored Holy Synod building. That evening, a reception in the honour of the EP delegation shall be held at the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo. Patriarch Bartholomew and his delegation will leave Russia and return to Istanbul on 31 May. Accompanying Patriarch Bartholomew on this trip to Russia are Metropolitans Michael Staikos of Vienna and Austria/Hungary, Irinaios Ioannidis of Myriophyton and Peristasis, Emmanuel Adamakis of Paris and all France, Secretary General of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and Archimandrite Elpidofor, amongst others.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis (1940-)

A Brief Biography of the Ecumenical Patriarch

The glory of Constantinople, which has existed since the first centuries of Christianity, is connected with the names of Ss Gregory the Theologian, John Chrysostom, and other great teachers of the Church. After the separation (отделения) of the Western church in 1054, the Patriarch of Constantinople was considered “the first in honour” in the Orthodox Church. His actual jurisdiction extends over the Orthodox population in Turkey, northern Greece, and some Aegean islands, as well as the Greek diaspora in various countries.

According to the press service of the MP, His Holiness Bartholomew Archontonis, Archbishop of Constantinople New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, was born in 1940 on the island of Imvros in Turkey. He became the First Hierarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1991. Earlier visits of Patriarch Bartholomew to the canonical territory of the MP were in 1993, when he went to Moscow and St Petersburg, in 1997, when he visited Odessa, in 2003, when he travelled to Baku, and he came twice in 2008, first, he went to Kiev, and then, he came to Moscow for the funeral of Patriarch Aleksei Rediger. Shortly before his death in 2008, Patriarch Aleksei went to Istanbul, where he participated in a meeting bringing together delegates from the autocephalous Local Orthodox Churches around the world. The official visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate by the newly-elected Patriarch Kirill in July 2009, according to expert analysts, strengthened the fraternal relations between the two Local Churches. The upcoming visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to Russia, obviously, will serve to develop the unity of world Orthodoxy, experts think.

Olga Lipich

21 May 2010



Patriarchal Residence in Lukino in the dacha complex of Peredelkino, southwest of the city of Moscow

Editor’s Note:

Like all official visits, a good deal of this trip is “pressing the flesh” and “kissing babies”, ecclesiastical style. As for my opinion, I believe that the centrepiece of Bart’s and KMG’s palaver shall be in Valaam. It’s quite simple, actually. The patriarch’s summer residence in Lukino, near Peredelkino, which is part of an exclusive dacha area southwest of Moscow, is probably infested with government bugs and paid agents. After all, it IS in close proximity to Moscow, it’s 21 kilometres (@12.5 miles) by elektrichka (30 minutes), and 40 minutes from central Moscow by auto. Therefore, to ensure the maximum security for their most private conversations, they will probably save all the sensitive stuff for the Valaam stopover. It is quite easy to control access to the site, it’s probably been “swept” several times for bugs, and it would be easy to spot any newcomers or eavesdroppers. Trust me, though… the FSB boys probably have some form of listening device somewhere and they have trusted stukachi within the monastery. However, that being said, it is still the most secure site for a private conversation between Bart and KMG.

Bear this in mind… the OCA’s autocephaly is not recognised by the EP… the MP is being bothered by the EP Russians in Paris… the OCA is (stupidly) supporting the EP Parisians. One of the quid pro quos that could emerge is that the MP would trade their rescinding the Tomos of Autocephaly to the OCA in return for the EP dropping the Paris gang. It COULD happen… I’m not saying that it SHALL happen. The EP has dropped the Parisians in the past, you know, and the OCA is nothing but an expendable pawn in the Great Game…

As for the notional “Pan-Orthodox Council”… don’t hold your breath waiting for it. The “preparations” have been going on for nearly 50 years! In any case, who is going to convene it? THAT hasn’t been worked out yet… nor, to speak bluntly, shall it ever. The Chambésy talks are nothing but a chess tourney between the MP and the EP… they are used as a venue for sparring and negotiation. NO ONE TAKES THEM SERIOUSLY… NO ONE. The only people who get worked up about this windfest are pseudo-academics and their hangers-on. Most Orthodox faithful and priests don’t even know that this gabathon is taking place… they’re the wise ones, I think!


Armenian Catholicos Karekin Met the Governor of Orenburg Oblast

Supreme Patriarch Karekin Narsessian (1951- ), Catholicos of all Armenians, Bishop of the Mother-See of Holy Etchmiadzin, head of the Armenian Apostolic Church (Oriental Orthodox)

At a meeting held on Friday, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos of all Armenians Karekin Narsessian, thanked Governor Aleksei Chernyshyov of Orenburg Oblast, for his accommodating attitude to the Armenian diaspora, the press office of Holy Echmiadzin reported. “We are aware that you are accommodating and responsive to our compatriots who live in your region, and that you provide them all the necessary facilities so that they can organise their national life, in connection with which, I express my gratitude to you and bless you, and in your person, all the Russian authorities”, the Catholicos said. Karekin noted with satisfaction that cordial relations between Armenia and Russia have developed, not only with the central authorities, but also with regional officials, which is an impetus to progress in the good relations between the two fraternal peoples. In turn, Governor Chernyshyov expressed his gratitude for the warm reception and informed the Catholicos on the aims of his visit, noting the importance of relations between the two countries and peoples. He gave his assurances that he would create favourable conditions in his region, so that every nationality and people living in Orenburg Oblast could maintain their national identity. Governor Chernyshyov’s delegation was on a visit to Armenia from 20-21 May. They had already met with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Speaker of the Parliament Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan, and Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan.

21 May 2010

Hamlet Matevosyan



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