Voices from Russia

Saturday, 18 June 2011

18 June 2011. BREAKING NEWS. Insider Interview by Parishioner of OCA Syosset Chapel with Interim OCA Chancellor Bishop Melchisedek Pleska of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania… DO NOTE HOW THE RUSSIAN TEXT DIFFERS FROM THE OCA.ORG PROPAGANDA

Bishop Melchisedek Pleska of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania (OCA) (1942- )… is he a “white horse with black stripes?” … Or, is he a “black horse with white stripes?” Read for yourself, and make up your own mind! God expects that of you, y’know…

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Editor’s Foreword:

As the only published source for this is in Russian, I checked the OCA document against the Russian original, and changed it where necessary. After all, we only have Syosset’s unreliable assertion that the oca.org English rendering was the original. As a responsible journalist, I MUST follow the original published text. For instance, the Portal-Credo original had “In principle, the actions of the OCA Holy Synod and Metropolitan Jonah aren’t in agreement” (Теоретически действия Митрополита Ионы и Синода удалось* согласовать) in its heading as a quote from Bishop Mel. Do note that the oca.org translation left it out. It looks like oca.org earned a Big Green Weenie Award, kids… they just can’t stop lying and omitting important details, can they?

* What’s missing in the translation of Bishop Mel’s quote is that the word удалось implies a movement away from something or a removal of something there at present. That is, JP and the Holy Synod aren’t in agreement, and they’re NOT coming closer, they’re moving away from each other. It’s a nuance of the Russian that I thought you’d need to fully appreciate the quote.

BMD

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Svetlana Vais

Your Grace, do you have any particular concerns about the current state of affairs in the OCA?

Bishop Melchisedek Pleska

At present, my main concern is to promote fruitful dialogue at every level. In the OCA, for a variety of reasons, there’s been misunderstanding on some basic questions, and I hope that we can satisfactorily resolve these misunderstandings.

Svetlana Vais

After your appointment as OCA interim Chancellor, what do you see as problems in the OCA Chancery?

Bishop Melchisedek Pleska

My primary task in administration is that Central OCA offices function smoothly during this time of transition, and, at the same time, to maintain our commitment to the principles outlined in the document on Best Practises. We have to see that we implement them in full. We should also note that Church life, particularly as pertains to its ministry, is much more complicated now than ever before. For example, in 1985, only 26 years ago, I was a delegate at a conference at Princeton Seminary devoted to a WCC document on baptism, the Eucharist, and ministry. It had many participants from various Protestant denominations, as well as Orthodox and Roman Catholic attendees. Someone raised a question about clerical sexual misconduct; in reply, we said that, according to traditional canonical standards, we should depose any clergyman guilty of such a crime from the clerical state. The reaction of some of the participants to this reiteration of the canons of the ancient Church was a huge explosion… “How unchristian, how unloving, what a lack of pastoral sensitivity, etc”. The vast majority of those present were of the opinion that any clergy guilty of such a crime should simply be moved to another parish, in order to work out his repentance, and to continue his ministry. Indeed, that’s exactly what happened in most cases. Today, we’d consider such an attitude to this question criminally negligent. In the USA, clergy are in the same position as those in other professions, and they must comply with the same legal, moral, and ethical standards. Thus, we see cases of clerical misconduct as abuse of authority, and it’s no longer sufficient merely to simply remove or replace an offending priest, the Church is liable for the treatment and well-being of the victims, as well. If we don’t implement our rules and policies properly, it subjects the Church to the possibility of serious legal claims against it. This is only one example of a variety of areas in which the clergy, and, through them, the entire Church, are held responsible for the well-being of its flock.

Svetlana Vais

At present, to what extent are the actions of the OCA Holy Synod and Metropolitan Jonah in accord?

Bishop Melchisedek Pleska

At base, in theory, apparent accord exists between us. According to the OCA Statute, the Holy Synod is the highest canonical authority of the Local Church. The First Hierarch, as the chairman of the Holy Synod, has the task of perceiving and building universal consensus amongst the episcopate. That is, there’s mutual accountability and mutual obedience… the First Hierarch and the other members of the Holy Synod to each other, and to the decisions of the Holy Synod as a whole. One of the major concerns of the Holy Synod is that the Holy Synod as a whole, without exception, should carry out decisions that reflect the unanimous consensus of the entire Synod, with the ratification of the entire Holy Synod, following our Best Practises.

Svetlana Vais

What is your assessment of the significance of the concelebration of Metropolitan Hilarion of the ROCOR with Metropolitan Jonah on 24 May?

Bishop Melchisedek Pleska

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133.1) Unity, especially when we embody it in a joint offering of the Eucharist, is always a source of joy. For now, we still can’t fully appreciate the significance of this particular concelebration. To be sure, this is the first concelebration between that the First Hierarchs of the OCA and the ROCOR. However, this isn’t the first concelebration between ROCOR and the OCA hierarchs and priests. For example, there was a ROCOR bishop among those concelebrating the Divine Liturgy at the enthronement of Metropolitan Jonah, and there was a ROCOR priest representing his bishop (who had another commitment) at my own consecration.

Svetlana Vais

In your opinion, was this meeting largely the result of the joint work of the ad hoc commissions of the OCA and ROCOR, or, was it a simple hospitable invitation from Archbishop Yustinian Ovchinnikov, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes of the MP in the USA?

Bishop Melchisedek Pleska

We should note that there was another, earlier, date set for all the bishops of both Holy Synods to meet and concelebrate. Unfortunately, we couldn’t meet that date. In these circumstances, much credit is due to Archbishop Yustinian for arranging and providing the site and hospitality for this particular concelebration.

Svetlana Vais

Your Grace, can you speak about any upcoming joint events or liturgical concelebrations among the three Russian Orthodox jurisdictions (MP, OCA, and ROCOR) in North America?

Bishop Melchisedek Pleska

As of today, no such events are planned for the near future involving the hierarchs of the OCA, ROCOR, and MP. However, the Episcopal Assembly for North America, which includes all canonical Orthodox Bishops in North America (comprising Greek, Arab, Bulgarian, Serbian, and other hierarchs from sixteen nationalities) and in which the hierarchs of these three jurisdictions are full participants, is proceeding to meet in its various committees and commissions. On this larger level, all three [Russian Orthodox] bodies have an important role to play in furthering the unity of all Orthodox Christians in North America.

NB:

Svetlana Vais, a Russian-American journalist who has lived in the US for 18 years and attends Saint Sergius of Radonezh Chapel at the OCA Chancery, conducted the interview.

17 June 2011

Portal Credo-Ru

http://www.portal-credo.ru/site/?act=authority&id=1651

Editor’s Afterword:

The oca.org post is another attempt to pump up the failing OCA. Firstly, those of us who follow the Russian beat know Portal-Credo.ru is an unreliable and tainted source. I NEVER use it. It supports Valentin Rusantsov and Agafangel Pashkovsky, for God’s sake! For religious news, I suggest that you use the Russian-language material on Interfax-Religion, RIA-Novosti, ANN, Russkie Linie, Voice of Russia World Service, Sedmitza, Pravoslavnie Entsiklopedia, ZhMP, and patriarchia.ru. Portal-Credo.ru is a crook source that gives an open and untrammelled forum and soapbox to schismatics and heretics. Trust me, KP and MK have better religion coverage, and they’re tabs!

Secondly, did you note, “a Russian-American journalist who has lived in the US for 18 years and attends Saint Sergius of Radonezh Chapel at the OCA Chancery?” In short, someone wants to paint her out as an “interested party”. The oca.org post was an “insider” job… it looks to me that someone wants to tarnish Mel Pleska… was that the object of the OCA mistranslation (for one always follows the PUBLISHED text, kids)? This has Lyonyo’s fingerprints all over it. Recall that oca.org didn’t post the quote from Bishop Mel that was at the head of the original Russian post, “In concept, the actions of the OCA Holy Synod and Metropolitan Jonah aren’t in agreement” (Теоретически действия Митрополита Ионы и Синода удалось согласовать). As for Ms Vais, she has all the appearance of an OCA shill… she’s a parishioner at the Syosset Chapel (that’s why I believe that someone like Lyonyo ginned this up… he’s on the Island, y’know)! These jerks should’ve left the information about her off the interview post… it wasn’t necessary to the point, it wasn’t part of the interview proper, and it bloody well sank their interviewer and destroyed her credibility as an independent journalist. That’s STUPIDITY… it means that the only “journalist” they could find to do this was a parishioner of the OCA Chancery Chapel! Now, if Bishop Mel had talked to Milena Faustova or Vladimir Romanovich…

Thirdly, the physical presentation of the post on oca.org was amateurish and crude. The graphic layout STANK. You’ll note that I gave this my usual standard layout, and it didn’t take me long at all. Whoever put this up did it hastily and without editing. Did JP put it up himself or did one of his power-hungry eunuchs do the nasty? I’ll say this… Potapov wouldn’t have put up such a crude post. He’s worked in media at VOA/RL, he’d put up a slick polished post, that’s for sure. The guy may be ambitious and an apparatchik, but he’s competent in his profession, he’s not a gibbering poseur such as John Whiteford, Mark Stokoe, Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald, or Al Green.

Here’s a link to the oca.org post, so you can see their pathetic effort for yourself:

http://www.oca.org/news/2571

Smoke and mirrors… much sound and fury signifying nothing… did you see where oca.org “delayed” its revamp? This is yet another symptom of the malaise dogging both the OCA and the ROCOR. It’s another sign of the decomposition setting in the OCA. It’s not boring, is it? God DO help us.

BMD

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