Voices from Russia

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Are There Contrition and a Firm Resolve for Amendment?

As a dog returneth to his vomit…


But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Ezekiel 18.21


As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

Proverbs 26.11


Editor’s Foreword:

I apologise for the fact that I must rehash some “old news” at the beginning. If I don’t, it’ll be easier for autocephalist apologists such as Harry Coin, Nina Dimas, “Hank Leaf”, “KAren Jermyn”, and “John” from Ad Oriente to distort my point. As it stands, the Orthodox Forum crowd will kick it about like a football… remember, despite all their pretensions, they’re a group of less than a thousand members… however, that being said, don’t forget 25 October 1917… small minorities CAN seize power and the consequences are always disastrous.



Firstly, read this, isn’t long:


What triggered this was oca.org’s recent announcement of the commencement at SVS. Thirty graduates! For a group of only about 100,000 all told, that’s rather excessive. Indeed, Holy Cross in Brookline, which serves an archdiocese over three times the size, had only about the same number (or a few less, according to photographic evidence). We’ll return to this later… it’s important… but for the moment, it’s only à propos to notice that this was the precipitating incident for my thoughts that follow. The question that many of us have had since November of ’08 is whether the OCA would, indeed, turn from its sins and live, or, instead, return to its old ways. No one was expecting Nirvana… in fact, I am NOT arguing from the standpoint that since the solution taken in 11/08 wasn’t perfect, we must reject it. THAT’S juvenile and immature, only fit for sophomoric minds or for konvertsy. However, it’s been eighteen months since that date, so, no one can accuse me (or anyone else, for that matter) of being unduly hasty and/or not taking all proper arguments into account. Our first question is, “Has Jonas Paffhausen made the clean sweep that he claimed at PSTGU in 2009?”

No. John Behr remains at the head of SVS. No major personnel shake-ups took place at SVS, actually. It remains the same dodgy and second-rate trade school for priests that it was prior to JP (with the same pseudo-intellectual pretensions and conceits)… with the same emphasis on Renovationism… “If Aleksandr Dmitrievich Schmemann’s God, John Nikolaevich Behr’s his prophet…” So, we see that there were no changes for the good at SVS. Yes, Virginia, there were “changes”… but not for the better. SVS has become openly and rabidly ecumenistic. Such trends were muted somewhat during Herman’s time, because Herman insisted (rightly) that the institution focus on pastorality and leave airy-fairy speculation alone. As of today, it has penned a concordat of cooperation with an openly heretical Anglican institution, Nashotah House. One should note that not only did Behr praise this, so did the dean of SVS, one Chad Hatfield, and JP also praised it. Not only does Behr remain, so do Paul Meyendorff, Bradley Nassif, Chad Hatfield, and all the rest of the pre-JP crew. SVS invited Rowan Williams to come to speak on the Philokalia… that, I think, illustrates, even for the slow learners, their contempt for grounded Orthodoxy. They also invited a Jesuit, Robert Taft, to come to their campus… he mocked the Mountain, and the SVS lot tittered along with him! THIS is what Vassa Larina and Andrei Psaryov wish to ally themselves (and all of the ROCOR with them)… birds of a feather flock together.

Lyonyo Kishkovsky remains the head of the OCA DECR-equivalent. If one remembers the 2005 OCA Sobor in Toronto, one remembers how a motion was raised from the floor to take the OCA out of the National Council of Churches. It was ruled out of order… on the objection of Lyonyo. There’s only one problem with that… Lyonyo was (and probably still is) receiving a salary from the NCC. That is, if the OCA left the NCC, Lyonyo would lose money! Oh, the humanity! Lyonyo wouldn’t have the cash to live on the Island in the style that he had become accustomed to… that means that he had a “material interest” in the question, no? Usually, if one follows the rules of parliamentary order, that disqualifies anyone from raising an objection to a motion (one should note that the SVS Solons not only didn’t oppose this, they supported Lyonyo). In short, we have a thoroughly murky figure. Don’t forget his chequered history in Sea Cliff; do remember that he was very nasty during the property dispute there. JP not only kept him on, one often sees Lyonyo in photos near to JP. By the way, am I being catty if I were to point up that Lyonyo was with JP in Moscow when JP claimed that he had made a clean sweep? I do daresay that more than one person in Moscow also noticed that (Lyonyo is a well-known figure in higher Church circles, after all)…

Therefore, this proposition is false… JP didn’t make a clean sweep of higher Church officials.

JP claimed, “Everything’s changed, it’s all over”. Indeed, he sent one of his minions to our parish in Lent 2009 to say, “Everything’s changed in Syosset. You can send your money now”. I kid you not! However, that was a telling episode. The rector’s one of the inner circle, Igor Stepanovich Burdikov (Burdikoff). In addition, Iggy’s the Dean of Upstate New York State and was the Treasurer of the Diocese of NY and Washington (past tense because four years of diocesan financial records are “missing”). If JP had to send someone to a “safe” parish to shore up the situation… that means that people were (and are) sitting on their hands. One of the ways to see if “everything had changed” is to see if JP cleaned out corruption with an iron broom or if he cooperated with it. I believe that any objective observer would conclude the latter. One of JP’s first actions was to go down to Florida to see Robert Kondratick. The OCA Holy Synod defrocked Bobby for malfeasance. It was a matter of destroyed records, missing funds, and suspected credit card fraud (all of which are secular felonies, by the way). Let’s see… was Bobby in a Florida prison cell for his misdeeds? No! He was a paid employee of a parish of the OCA Diocese of the South. Way to go, guys! Did JP remove Bobby from his sinecure? Did JP apologise to the faithful for this travesty? No… Bobby K remains a paid staff member of an OCA parish… and JP says nothing (and “John” of Ad Oriente PRAISED JP for this monstrous action… it does make one wonder about the konvertsy, does it not?).

“That’s a good boy! We know what’s good for you! Now, just be quiet and let Uncle Bobby get past you…” (four years of “missing records”… is that it, Bobby?… you WERE defrocked… so this ISN’T defamation) (this is my take on the Orthodox Forum and all those who defend the autocephalist cabal)


We could go on… but this proves that JP didn’t change anything for the better. Those who were part of the corruption under the old régime remain at large. NOTHING has changed beyond a slightly different cast of characters. Now, we come to the question of thirty graduates at SVS. If the GOA has three times the number of faithful that the OCA has, yet, it graduated the same number of students (or a few less) at its seminary, it tells one that standards at SVS are abysmally low. That is, someone whom Holy Cross would reject is accepted by SVS. On top of this, I believe that most of these students are recent konvertsy, and that all too many of them are former heterodox clergy. There’s only a certain percentage of such people that a group can accept before distortion sets in. I believe, in the case of the OCA and AOCANA, that number’s been exceeded. The Catholics are going to absorb the Anglican malcontents who go to them easily as the number involved shall be under one percent of the accepting body. In terms of faithful, the number involved in the OCA and AOCANA of Anglican disgrunts is less than a tenth… that’s not bad. However, the percentage of Anglican clerical disgrunts is higher, and the OCA and AOCANA made a cardinal error in ordaining them. There are two major reasons for this assertion.

Firstly, such people have a heterodox formation that one cannot efface. To put it bluntly, a Proddie or Papist formation doesn’t fit one to be an Orthodox priest. Our urgrund is that different… the ontological postulates of Orthodoxy are that distinct from those of the Proddies and Papists. We don’t believe in the “development of doctrine” as do the Papists and Proddies. It’s here where we see that Khomiakov was right… “The Papists were the first Protestants”. There’s an intellectual and spiritual weltanschauung that one picks up in the course of heterodox clerical formation that I’d say is hard to discard. This is especially true for Anglicans, as one can see with their so-called “Branch Theory”… a heresy that was refuted recently by Patriarch Kirill when he was still a metropolitan… it’s a bracing read with no BS in it. If one looks at the Nashotah House concordat with unbiased eyes, one can see that it signalled the adaptation by SVS of the Branch Theory as its guiding principle. One of the reasons for this development, besides ADS’ obvious Proddie sympathies (which set the tone of the institution), is that too many Anglican disgrunts have been ordained by the OCA and AOCANA, many after cursory “re-education” at SVS. Is it any wonder that Anglican notions have entered the OCA and AOCANA? This isn’t to mention the cult gurus from the EOC and HOOM/CSB… they were ordained without any preliminary studies or screening at all!

Secondly, it means that many, if not most, convert clergy don’t have “institutional memory”. This is important, for it’s hard to lie to someone who has lived through a given situation; it’s relatively easy to lie to someone who’s only read about it. For instance, all the konvertsy seem to have overblown opinions of ADS and his teachings. I have to bear in mind that if I talk to a recent konvert who is of the same age that I am, that they never saw Schmemann with their own eyes, or heard him speak, or asked him a question only to be angrily rebuffed and insulted. They don’t know that the current crop of apparatchiki in the OCA were mainly the sycophantic disciples of ADS. Therefore, they attack all of us who don’t bow down in front of their idols. When you add to this the fact that they lack facility in Russian or Greek, they’re people who start out not only with one hand tied behind their backs, but with their legs shackled as well (most have never even heard of Fr Daniil Sysoev’s brilliant exposé of Schmemann’s Proddie Eucharistic theology, let alone read it). In short, most of them know nothing about the past and care even less about it… it’s a telling indictment of the Anglo-Saxon American character, is it not?

Let’s put it all together. Firstly, JP has refused to clean out the nest of vipers in the upper reaches of the OCA. Secondly, nothing has changed save the labels. Thirdly, the konvertsy are in a hurry to take over the Church. Many of them are former Anglicans who lost the fight for PECUSA… these sorts are the worst… they intend to take over the OCA and AOCANA, and since the ascent of JP, they haven’t been silent about that intent. I wonder where Patrick Reardon truly stands in all of this… is he really as Renovationist as he makes himself out to be? Anyone who venerates “’St’ Pavel Florensky” (Moscow hasn’t and won’t canonise this bald-faced heretic) is indeed questionable… one also notes that he didn’t do anything after his complaint to JP about Rowan Williams. Well, Mr Reardon, where do you stand? I’d say that JP lacks contrition for the actions of the cabal and has no intent of reforming or amending them… save to introduce HOOMie elements into the heart of the Church. Where do you stand, now, sir? If there is no contrition or intent of amendment, doesn’t that mean that it’s not only “business as usual” but “let them eat cake” as well? It’s why I hold the konvertsy in contempt, sir. You refuse not only to see what is obviously in front of you, you refuse to listen to those who tell you the truth about your idols (do remember the First and Second Commandments, Mr Reardon).

I believe that this overly large graduation class at SVS is a warning for us… the konvertsy intend to run us out of the Church… we’re not “perfect” enough for them. Thankfully, I think that it won’t come to that in the end… but it shall be a painful and nasty road before we’re through. Look… they ignore the fact that “contrition” and “amendment” are not in the vocabulary of their guru, JP. THIS is the fruit of Anglo-Saxon American Phyletism in the Church… they’ll excuse everything, just so long as their notion of an “American Church free of foreign domination” is realised. I still think that contrition and amendment are called for. Bobby K belongs in gaol (I can’t fathom why people fear him so)… Iggy has to retire… the Iliff family is owed a public apology and restitution from SVS… Tosi has to produce the “missing” financial records or he belongs in the slam too. Most of all, the OCA has to be disestablished and the Tomos ripped up. If we don’t… the end of the OCA will be neither pretty or edifying… and don’t blame me for saying so… I’m only a messenger.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Saturday 29 May 2010

Albany NY


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