Voices from Russia

Friday, 25 May 2012

25 May 2012. A Thought From the Late Metropolitan Constantine Buggan…


I remember hearing this in a sermon preached by Vladyki Constantine in the ’80s. It’s always stuck with me, not only because of its overt challenge to his listeners, but also because of the man’s obvious and evident sincerity and character (quite unlike some clerical “charmers” and hucksters that I could name). THIS is why Vladyki Constantine was a stand-up guy. I have my quibbles with his stance on nationalism and on Church unity, but one can say this… he was NOT a deceiver, and there was no guile in him. He’ll be missed…



Ukrainian Orthodox Bishop Loved His Church and His City

Metropolitan Constantine Buggan (1936-2012)… Вечная ему памятъ!


After a long battle against heart failure, Metropolitan Constantine Buggan, the first American-born Ukrainian Orthodox bishop, who led his church quietly and humbly from his home on Pittsburgh‘s South Side, died Monday at the age of 75. A champion of Orthodox unity, he brought his church into the jurisdictional fold of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and oversaw unification with another Ukrainian Orthodox jurisdiction. Metropolitan Nicholas Pissare of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Detroit knew Metropolitan Constantine when he served the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Pittsburgh 20 years ago, saying, “He was a kind and gentle man, not pompous, not a self-promoter, but he was a defender of the church”. Metropolitan Constantine was born Theodore Buggan, and grew up across the street from his family’s parish on the South Side.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Ukraine underwent brutal persecution (sic) in the Stalin era {give Ms Rogers a break… she’s obviously clueless and doesn’t know the ins and outs of the samosvyatsy… it wasn’t called “the church of the dead hand” for nothing: editor}. All of its bishops there were executed, leaving its American outpost without a patriarch and splintered into two bodies. There were sharp tensions between the economic emigrants who came prior to the communist takeover of the 1920s and the DPs who fled for religious and political freedom after World War II. However, the future metropolitan’s mother received all new immigrants into her home with kindness, said his niece and god-daughter, Larissa Kocelko of Castle Shannon PA.

His Pastor Was His Mentor

Bishop Antony Scharba, who runs the administrative offices of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in South Bound Brook NJ, said, “He’d tell you that no one chooses to become a priest, that God chooses you. And he felt from the earliest days of childhood that that was his call”. In 1955, Metropolitan Constantine left for the only Ukrainian Orthodox seminary available. Located in Winnipeg MN (Canada), it held all classes in Ukrainian, which he had to learn. He did further studies at St Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers NY and at Duquesne University. He was ordained a priest in 1967, serving first as an assistant at St Vladimir Cathedral in Chicago IL and then as a pastor in Troy NY. In 1971, he took monastic vows, taking the name Constantine. He was consecrated as bishop of Chicago in 1972.

Bishop Antony said that because of distrust rooted in the overseas problems, some questioned whether a bishop who wasn’t from the Ukraine could serve the church, observing, “He won the hearts of everyone. It was a real turning point in the life of the church. The church became more united in a common understanding of what our purpose is, which is of course, the salvation of souls”. Metropolitan Constantine made ministry to youth and young adults a priority, establishing a seminary in New Jersey and All Saints Camp in Emlenton PA in Venango County. He was devoted to that camp. Larissa Kocelko said, “He just loved the children. He’d judge diving contests and food contests… and he loved his food”.

After the Soviet Union collapsed, and the Ukraine received independence in 1990, he joined then-Metropolitan Mstyslav Skrypnyk in rebuilding the church there. Metropolitan Mstyslav became primate of the church in Ukraine and then-Archbishop Constantine became the metropolitan here. Upon his predecessor’s death in 1993, Metropolitan Constantine was elected primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. Rather than ruling from New Jersey, he returned to his home in Pittsburgh PA. His cathedral was in Parma OH, but he was never tempted to leave Sidney Street. Bishop Antony said, “He was the best ambassador Pittsburgh ever had. Everywhere he went, it was ‘my Pittsburgh, my Pittsburgh’. He’d talk about the beauty of the hills, the beauty of the three rivers, the beauty of the city. He could go on and on”.

But His Reach Was Global

After meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1994, he brought his church under the jurisdiction of the EP. In 1996, he presided over the reunification of the two Ukrainian Orthodox bodies in the US. Today, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA claims nearly 100,000 members, and it’s planted many new missions. Larissa Kocelko said that he was generous with spiritual guidance, who added that it was more important that he was her godfather than that he was her uncle, saying, “His main role was to pray for me and to guide me spiritually, and he did that every day of my life. He did it through example”. When she was upset with people who had disappointed her, he counselled love and forgiveness, urging her to think of what was happening in the souls of those who had offended her, she said, noting, “He never judged. He only saw the good in everyone, and pointed it out”. He was also a prankster. He had a realistic-looking mechanical mouse that he would sometimes send across the sidewalk to surprise pedestrians, while he chuckled from his front porch. Larissa said, “He was a child at heart, and innocent in so many ways”.

Bishop Antony said that with priests and parishioners, “He was very outgoing and very approachable. If there was a banquet, he didn’t want someone waiting on him, he wanted to serve himself and join everyone else”. Last week, as a 40th anniversary celebration of his episcopacy approached, he was in hospital. His sister and niece prayed for God’s guidance about whether to cancel the event. When his spirits rose and he talked nonstop about the celebration, they took it as a sign and took him home. Larissa Kocelko said that about 300 people attended the Liturgy and dinner, where he spoke of “the touch of the finger of God throughout his life. As I grieve him, and miss him, everyone keeps saying what a gift it was that he came. Everybody he loved was in that room and he got to say his final goodbyes. So the finger of God was there the whole time”.

A sister, Daria Mazur of Baldwin PA, also survives him. All services will be at St Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Church, South Side. He will lie in state Friday, starting at 13.00 EDT, with a priestly funeral service at 19.00 EDT. The Divine Liturgy and memorial service is at 09.00 EDT. Saturday.

24 May 2012

Anne Rogers

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


25 May 2012. The Pot Still Boils at St T’s…


The Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots at St T’s are still at it. The grapevine’s reporting that Fr Nicodemus told Atty he’s going to set up Liturgy in the pavilion, whether he likes it or not. As for my personal view, I believe that the Memorial Day Pilgrimage should go on as it always has done, and if heads have to be bonked in the process, so be it. The situation’s spiralled out of control because Tikhon Mollard’s too nice a guy to be a stand-up bishop. Besides that, rumour’s flying that Tikhon wants to move to Philly… some swear by it, others say that it’s pure bullshit. In any case, Mollard may very well be as good as “not present” because he hasn’t solved this conundrum. Trust me, Archbishop Kyprian Borisevich would’ve solved it in a trice. He’d boot his Size 12 into the arses of all the contending parties, and he’d lay down his solution… and woe to anyone who dared defy him or “gave him sauce”. Now, that’s the way to “bish”, and if Mollard wants to be even a reasonable facsimile of a bishop, he’d best get with the programme and do likewise. After all, it’s what people expect and respect in a leader.

On the Dmitri Royster front, a Kitchen Cabinet member reported:

I find it curious that “Bring Vladyka Home” correctly reports:

In 1954, as a subdeacon with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Constantinople, he worked with the Mexican Orthodox Community of Our Lady of San Juan de Los Lagos, at which time he began translating Orthodox liturgical services into Spanish. In April 1954, Subdeacon Dmitri, his sister Dimitra, and their priest, Fr Rangel sought a blessing from His Grace, Bishop Bogdan, to establish an English-language Orthodox mission in Dallas… the future St Seraphim Cathedral. He was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood later that year and assigned rector of Saint Seraphim’s. In 1958, permission was sought and given to bring both Fr Dmitri and the parish into the Metropolia, as the Orthodox Church in America was known at that time.

However, here, this link includes another link that says:

In 1954, he was ordained to the priesthood within the Metropolia. After his ordination, Fr Dmitri founded St Seraphim Church in Dallas.


If you’re going to rewrite history, shouldn’t you purge the correct article?

If nothing else, what my colleague correctly discerned is that the HOOMie konvertsy trash have a creative attitude towards the truth. They make Dickie Wood and Bobby K look like paragons of honesty. Let’s keep it simple… Dickie never earned a kandidatura (contrary to his claims), and Royster served under an “interesting” Ukrainian bishop before he entered the Metropolia (I wonder… was that the same bishop that the infamous Hilary Madison served under?)

In a usual show of incompetence, oca.org showed its usual casual disregard for the facts in its post on a “search” for a replacement for Dickie Wood (the only people doing any “searching” are the RF Genprokuratura… is that why the OCA posted this fluff? As a diversion for their pal Alikov?). Click here for the OCA post. Note well that they did NOT mention Hubiak’s successor in Moscow, Nicholas Yuhos. For them not in the know, he went to Niagara Falls NY, where Holy Cross parish was converted into Holy Cross Monastery. Yuhos decided to jump to one of the GOC oddbodd non-canonicals, and he took the property with him. As an aside, Iggy Burdikoff was named “administrator” of the parish by Syosset, but Iggy was nearly 300 miles (and five hours by road) away, which means that Syosset didn’t trust any of the local clergy (who were mostly pro-Job Osacky). Yuhos has since become a “bishop” in his sect and reports indicate that he’s formed a “monastery” near Pittsburgh PA. Now, here’s the cherry on the sundae… there’s no mention of Dickie Wood at all. NONE. He’s gone down the memory hole. Syosset’s trying to act as though he didn’t exist, but Dickie’s alive and well in the Midwest, amongst Bishop Job’s old lot. Mind you, I don’t think that Dickie and the Job crowd have identical priorities, but they do share a common foe. That’s all one needs in our fallen world… you needn’t agree, you need only share an enemy.

Lastly, one of my MP friends told me this:

The Blunder is the most disliked bishop in Russia (more than most Westerners understand). He has no power base at all. INSIDE Russia, he’s a nonentity.

The Blunder is one of SVS’s main supporters… or, rather, SVS is one of the Blunder’s main supporters. I’d say that the Crestwood Commandoes have screwed up, yet again. There’s a small group of, maybe, a thousand people who think that they run the OCA… if their support at the Centre is merely “smoke and mirrors”, then, it’s only a matter of time, isn’t it? The same source told me that the Centre’s not going to prop up the OCA… if it implodes, so be it… if not, so be it. It’s going to put its main backing behind a rejuvenated ROCOR.

Cross yourself and pour yourself a double… it’s not over yet.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

25 May 2012

Albany NY

Does Europe Have Any Alternative?


Tomislav Nikolić defied the odds and expert forecasts to win the presidential election in Serbia. Quite recently, many considered him a radical nationalist with markedly anti-Western views. However, he’s managed to shed this extremist image. He is not against joining the EU, nor does he seek to recapture Kosovo. In general, he has positioned himself as a respectable politician. No abrupt turns are expected, but the European zeal of the former head of state Boris Tadić is surely now a thing of the past.

In another country in southeast Europe, Greece, the parties willing to meet the EU’s demands lost badly and leftwing radicals won. They are likely to do even better in the elections in June. However, by refusing to comply with the tough terms of the EU and IMF bailout, they will not just exit the EU but the Eurozone as well. For the time being, these incompatible positions don’t seem to concern the voters. At the very least, the possibility that Greece will quit the Eurozone is growing increasingly realistic. The growing European crisis is not limited to economic issues. Europe has exhausted its integration model and needs a new approach. Does it have any conceptual alternative to the current course?

Economically, Europe is absolutely hopeless. The typical political framework, built on a left-right divide, is disappearing. There are now two major camps in European politics. The first is the large “Party of Recovery” (Neoliberal “Conservatives”, Christian Democrats, Liberals, and Social Democrats) that favours a moderate course to reduce deficits and improve macroeconomic performance at all costs. A growing “Party of Discontent”, who’re deeply dissatisfied with the current situation, and who vote for the Far Right or the Far Left, represents the other camp. New rhetoric calling on the government to defend the public against the social ills of globalisation have brought both ideological extremes together.

After the elections in France and Greece, most commentators concluded that the party of recovery had suffered a defeat… voters in the two countries that are crucial for continuing this course rejected it. François Hollande emphasised the need to stimulate growth instead of making endless cuts. Nevertheless, there’s still no alternative. The difference between the Party of Recovery versus the Party of Discontent lies in their ability to run the state. The former has a clear idea of what should be done and how, but finds it increasingly difficult to garner public support, whilst its opponent can channel public sentiment, but lacks a strategy of its own. The discontents are chanting slogans without assuming any responsibility. Although Hollande’s victory may alter the hitherto immutable German stance on budget stability, it will be a mere adjustment.

Ideological developments are more complicated. One EU country, Hungary, is already essentially turning its back on European values. It’s increasingly leaning towards a more conservative nationalist policy. Viktor Orbán’s government isn’t coping too well with its own financial and economic problems. Being obliged to meet its European creditors halfway, Hungary’s staunchly defending its right to conduct its own domestic policy, even if it’s at odds with the EU. True, Budapest is under heavy pressure from Brussels and its partners, but if the EU continues to have problems, some governments may start thinking about assuming more independence in policymaking.

There’s no geopolitical alternative. In the past, nationalist politicians in Belgrade, including those from Nikolic’s party, called for an alliance with Russia against NATO. Now, such ideas have all but vanished. Moscow isn’t going to challenge NATO for the sake of some geopolitical chimera in the Balkans. Moreover, Serbian society was so chaotic in the 1990s under the restless Slobodan Milošević that now all it wants is the kind of peaceful progress traditionally associated with the EU (and also with NATO, although Serbia has its own experience in this regard). The question is whether the promise of the EU has survived.

Judging by everything, Europe’s bound to split into a centre and periphery. Western Europe will unite around Germany, whilst the fate of the periphery remains unclear… this is especially true of the countries ridden with political and economic problems in Southeast Europe and the Balkans (Greece, for one). In the worst-case scenario, the centre may simply give up responsibility for the problematic countries and walk away. Nobody else wants to be their patron. Turkey may have interests in the Balkans, but it has enough concerns with the Middle East. As for Russia’s rhetorical stance as a great power, it is careful to match its ambitions with its capabilities. The temptation to take part in a big Balkan and even Orthodox game (with respect to Greece and Serbia, for instance) is rooted in historic tradition and could, in theory, cause Russia to relapse. Yet, modern Russia is still very far removed from such a self-identification.

It would be premature to predict disaster for Europe, but the past decade shows that pessimistic scenarios that observers considered marginal turned out to be right more often than not. At any rate, the idea that Europe’s political design (the EU) is irreversible and can only improve is by no means axiomatic. Europe’s lack of alternatives, which many once considered an advantage, may become a very dangerous drawback if its “unique” political model fails.

23 May 2012

Fyodor Lukyanov



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