Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Some Thoughts on the Factional Infighting in the MP Brought Out by St Andrei Bogolyubsky Convent Scandal

It’s time for vigilance and patience… the endgame may be nearer than we think…


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There are three groups within the MP contending for control. One is the “liberals”, who gather about such questionable figures as Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev (who, despite his grandiloquent title, is nothing but a vicar bishop). These are mostly pseudo-intellectuals with very shallow roots in the Church; they’re very similar to American konvertsy in their ignorance and love of argumentation. They have no hope of ever gaining power… they’re too small in numbers and too “exclusive” in attitude (again, you see this in their American konvertsy counterparts, especially the posturing SVS slimers)… they have no appeal to ordinary believers, as their “faith” is airy-fairy speculation and bloodless “paper-and-ink” declarations.

There is a war for the Church’s soul taking place, and it’s going on between “traditionalists” and “modernists”. These categories are NOT the same as their Western analogues. A “modernist” is a believer who supports interaction with the modern world, the use of modern technologies, methods, and media in Church work, and a large “inclusive” definition of the Church. They believe that the Church should interact with modernity, and that this interaction would be gainful for both the Church and for modern society. Prominent modernists are Archbishop Vikenty Morar, Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, Igumen Sergei Rybko, Deacon Andrei Kuraev, and Professor Kirill Frolov. This faction has the wholehearted support of Patriarch Kirill, as it mixes both an open attitude to modern methods and the contemporary world with a traditional approach to the faith.

The “traditionalists” reject the world… they reject modern technology and methods, yet they use the Internet to spread their teachings. They hate rock music, and they believe that the Church should stand in opposition to secular society, which they see as an evil and corrupt instrument of Satan, and they think that we are living in the “last days”. They’re much like the American Sectarians who read such mind-numbing rot as the Left Behind series and the Late Great Planet Earth. When the last MP Archpastoral Council defrocked Diomid Dzyuban as bishop of Chukotka and Anadyr, it was for holding this position. They’re full of conspiracy theories, crack-brained anti-Semitism, and positive fear of other Christian confessions. They believe that sending observers to see what the outside world and the other confessions are doing is disallowable communio in sacris. Such people have an “exclusive” definition of the Church, they are “the little flock that has remained faithful”… all others are damned. Like American konvertsy, they are fond of (mis)quoting the Fathers, the Canons, and theologumenae… making such out to be immutable Church dogma and doctrine.

If one sees this from an “insider” viewpoint, it’s clear why Vladyki Kirill isn’t raising any more of a rumpus than is necessary to keep things sweet. This way, there isn’t as much hurt feelings and bruised egos… and these things can prolong a schism far more than actual disagreement can. Most of the followers of the “liberals” and “traditionalists” are redeemable. There’s no doubt in my mind of that. His Nibs is being very wise… he’s letting things work themselves out naturally, but when there actual danger of harm to children, as happened not only at in St Andrei Bogolyubsky Convent case, but in the case of the Penza Cave incident some years back, the MP acted with expeditiousness to protect the innocent.

His Holiness is showing wisdom… as is Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral, by the way. Both are letting things “go naturally”. This way is longer, it seems more convoluted, and it seems that nothing is being done at times. I, for one, believe that this course is the only one possible at this time without breaking our unity. In the end, the faction around His Nibs will win… just as the OCA is fated to collapse in utter ruin and irrelevancy, and Metropolitan Hilarion is fated to lead a united Russian Orthodox Church in the diaspora. We must show patience… we must show perseverance. We shouldn’t act like the disgraceful juvenile American konvertsy in Stokoe’s comboxes who shout that they’re going to leave a particular archdiocese because the ruling bishop did something not to their liking. That’s Protestantism, pure and simple; it’s not Orthodoxy!

There’s Sturm und Drang now… it won’t last forever. As a sweet lady in New Jersey put it, “We’re waiting for the Frenchman to die”. That’s what REAL Orthodox do… they don’t throw tantrums and threaten to go elsewhere. For example, I asked my staritsa, “Iggy’s a supreme pain in the arse; he’s a lying POS. What do I do?” Her reply was simple… “If he’s not teaching open heresy, you must stay where you are. We’re promised salvation in the Church; we’re not promised that it’s going to be pleasant and to our liking”. That’s the REAL teaching of the Church… it’s why you must ignore people like Patrick Reardon, Freddie Matthews-Green, Vassa Larina, John Behr, and Jonas Paffhausen. They’re pushing a therapeutic “feel-good” Orthodoxy that’s too close to that peddled by the so-called “traditionalists” in Russia (their differences are merely superficial).

There’s a new dispensation coming… it’s time for patience now. Drizzle, drazzle, druzzle, drone… time for this one to come home.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Albany NY


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