The entire bogus “interview” is here. It’s all softball fluff. Here’s the first relevant snippet for us:
The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) right now isn’t experiencing its best times, and we pray for our brothers with our whole hearts and hope that they can quickly get through this crisis. The word “crisis” here is no exaggeration. That’s how they themselves recognise their current situation.
Note well how he refuses to commit himself to anything overly-positive about the OCA. This statement came after Shevkunov’s hush-hush pow-wow with Potapov and Fathausen in the District. It’s clear that Shevkunov tried to fast-track Fathausen’s reception into the ROCOR at the Centre (for the Centre signs off on all major ROCOR decisions), and hit a brick wall. The word on the street at the Centre is that “Moscow is considering the application of Paffhausen to be admitted to the ROCOR”, and it’s by no means a done deal. To compound matters, nothing of substance will be done at the Centre until the end of the New Year holiday on 10 January. Since Shevkunov failed in his first attempt to place his buddy Fathausen in the ROCOR, he’s distancing himself from the whole situation. Remember, his English language skills aren’t the best and he’s reliant on crank intel from Jordanville and SVS. What’s worse, he’s part of that crook oligarch/zapadnik crowd at the Vanil Restoran that includes Marat Gelman and Ksenia Sobchak (the good word has it that Shevkunov introduced Dickie Wood to this misbegotten set).
The second part concerns his new book, Несвятые святые, which was mistranslated into English as Everyday Saints. The first thing that any translator notices is that the title contains a paradox; the translation should preserve that paradox and preserve the seeming contradiction. The second thing that one notices is that “everyday” is by no means implied in the first word in Russian, which is the blunt “unholy”. The only way to express the original paradoxical title in English is Unholy Holiness. In Russian, “holy” and “saint” use the same word (I’m well aware that “holiness” per se is святость), so, Unholy Holiness is the only way to preserve the tension of the original title. Everyday Saints is an incompetent, botched, and illiterate rendering of the Russian, ergo, I must come to the sad conclusion that it’s a botched translation throughout and that you should only read the book in the original Russian.
Shevkunov crowed that he baptised the translator of the book ONE DAY after he asked for baptism. That’s abominable… here’s a book about Orthodox holiness, and Shevkunov entrusted it to a heterodox translator… no wonder the title was fucked up. It was done by an arrogant convert with no inner knowledge of Orthodoxy. Therefore, one must conclude that the book is riddled with errors of emphasis and distorts Orthodox piety and religiosity (as the translator had no inside knowledge… he’s nothing but the most perfunctory shake n’ bake convert).
Lastly, Shevkunov hands out crank information about religion in the USA. To begin with, he doesn’t know the topic, except for what interested parties like Potapov and Fathausen tell him. Certainly, he’s not spent much time here, and his facility in the American dialect of English (or any form of English) is rather poor. It’s crank from top to bottom… five million Orthodox in the USA… in your dreams (the actual amount is about one million all told)! 43 percent of Americans aren’t in church on a given Sunday. 25 percent of the American population is Catholic, and most figures indicate that 16 percent (at best) are at mass on a given Sunday. That’s 4 percent of the American population… so, to make 43 percent, one would have to get over half of the remaining population in church (39/75)… that simply isn’t so. The NCC estimates that about 50 percent of the American population belongs to a religious community… and, to speak bluntly, the participation rate isn’t 86 percent on a given Sunday. Shevkunov spouts pure bullshit here… and it shows him to be shallow, easily manipulated, and vapid. One doesn’t know why he said what he said. It shows him in the worst of all possible lights. Perhaps, a friend of mine at the Centre is correct, “You Americans were dazzled by The Byzantine Lesson. We saw him hanging out with Ksenia Sobchak and Prokhorov”.
Note this… Tikhon Shevkunov is 55, and he hasn’t been considered for the episcopate, even though men in their thirties are being elevated. I think that the Centre’s telling us something by that. It’s sad… some of his stuff in Russian is real nifty and to the point. Well, it’s not the first time that I’ve found out that someone wasn’t what they appeared to be. Everyday Holiness… what a maroon!
Saturday 5 January 2013