Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

12 June 2013. What Shall We Caption This? “The Last Days of the OCA?”

00 2013 Memorial Day Pilgrimage. St Tikhon's. S Canaan PA. 12.06


The above is a snap taken at St T‘s during the Pilgrimage. Note well that Yustinian Ovchinnikov isn’t there… neither is George Schaeffer, Jerome Shaw, or Peter Lukianov. Nathaniel Popp (and his vicar bishop) is MIA, as is Liolin and Golitzine. None of the AOCANA bishops are there. The only non-OCA bishop present is Hilarion Kapral… and that’s because he’s a “nice guy who doesn’t know how to say ‘no'” (as an exasperated ROCOR clergyman told me). I talked with several sources at the Pilgrimage, and they all told me the same thing:

Mel Pleska‘s too sick to wear the white hat. Don’t say precisely what the problem is, he doesn’t want it known publicly yet. He was out of the running, so, we chose the least-objectionable candidate.

What I can say is that the konvertsy stories about Mel being an alkie are lies. He’s not a Peterson, a Soraich, or a Brittain. Suffice it to say, Mel’s plenty sick, and the Sobor participants were put “in the know” as to the exact story, and that’s where it’s gonna be for the time being. That’s to say, Mollard was the choice of the Sobor, as he wasn’t Dahulich or Peterson, nor was he considered overly-much in Fatso’s camp.

The same situation faced the MP after the death of Aleksei Simansky. Of all the candidates for the funny white hat, Pimen Izvekov was the least-bad of those acceptable to the Party. As one bishop said at the time, “Pimen’s our choice… no, he wasn’t the best choice… but he was the best choice on hand”. Pimen managed to steer the Church in a workmanlike fashion until the election of Aleksei Ridiger (who was one of the greats, as his handling of the situation surrounding the breakup of the USSR proved). In like fashion, Anastassy Gribanovsky pushed forward Philaret Voznesensky in 1964, to avoid a succession fight between Vitaly Ustinov and John Maximovich. Philaret wasn’t the best choice… but he was the only choice available who could be seated without an acrimonious fight.

That’s the result of the Parma Sobor. They did NOT “kick the can down the road”. They had to choose SOMEONE as First Hierarch, so, they chose the least-nasty candidate. Peterson has a “past” and he’s known to be even more solicitous of the HOOMie cultists than JP was. Dahulich didn’t come up in the OCA (that is, he came up outside of the OCA/Metropolia institutional culture), and, even more serious, he carried more than a hint of being Bart‘s man (he’s also the most quasi-papist of the bishops). WHO ELSE WAS THERE? That was the point that my sources emphasised the most strongly. As one priest said, “The OCA’s going down, but it hasn’t sunk yet, so, we had to choose someone to lead it for the time being”.

Tikhon Mollard will stumble and bumble… as the job is beyond his abilities. As one of the Cabinet told me:

I don’t think that he wanted the job. He knows his limitations.

However, what’s needful at the present moment is something different. The OCA needs someone at the helm who isn’t going to go off on this-or-that idiosyncratic tangent, as Paffhausen did. There will be rough patches due to Mollard’s passivity… but there won’t be the rollicking and roiling antics of a James Paffhausen. The OCA neither needs nor wants a visionary… it wants someone who’ll leave the parishes alone to figure out their future. The OCA is a “dead man walking”… all except the konvertsy delusionaries can see that. It’s in the hands of the people, now… and they haven’t made up their minds yet. SVS… Syosset… Lyonyo… Jillions… they’re all superfluous now. The rest of us… it’s wait n’ see…



12 June 2013. Sergei Yolkin’s World. An Appetite for Excellence

00 Sergei Yolkin. An Appetite for Excellence. 2013

An Appetite for Excellence

Sergei Yolkin



The ЕГЭ (EGE: Единый государственный экзамен, Unified State Exam) is the Russian analogue to the American SAT test; one can’t go on to university/VUZ without passing it. Overall, it’s a nerve-racking affair.


Nutritionists and paediatricians wrote an article on how and what to feed secondary school students to help them cope with the tasks of the EGE. Sergei Yolkin saw other facets to such a diet.

27 May 2013

Sergei Yolkin




Storheim Kiddie Abuse Trial: Priest Tells Court He Kept Silent about Accusations against Storheim

Unknown Artist. The Last Judgement. Church of the Mother of God 'of Kazan'. Togliatti RF. 2001

The Last Judgement

Unknown Artist

Church of the Mother of God ‘of Kazan’


Tolyatti (Samara Oblast. Volga Federal District) RF


A priest of the Orthodox Church in America told a Winnipeg court this morning that he kept quiet about allegations that another priest abused two young boys for more than 20 years. Fr Steven Kostoff said that the mother of the alleged victims of sexual assault by Seraphim Storheim told him in 1987 that Storheim had wronged her boys two years earlier, but he did nothing about her concerns. He noted, “I was quite stunned, quite dumbfounded” by the allegations, but added that he decided to stay quiet about the matter. Storheim faces two counts of sexual assault involving two 11-year-old brothers in his home in Winnipeg during the summer of 1985. He pleaded not guilty to the charges when the trial began Monday. Storheim was the parish priest at Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral on Manitoba Avenue at the time. Storheim befriended the boys’ family whilst he served at another parish in another community and the boys visited him separately that summer. Today, Storheim is an OCA archbishop, which has historical ties to the Russian Orthodox Church. He was the most senior cleric of his church in Canada when the charges were laid in the fall of 2011, holding the title of Archbishop of Ottawa and Canada, but was subsequently suspended from that post pending the outcome of the criminal charges and an internal church investigation.

Kostoff said the boys’ mother showed her a handwritten letter allegedly written by Storheim, who didn’t admit to any sexual impropriety with her sons. Kostoff said that he read the letter, adding it had an apologetic defensive tone. At the conclusion of the letter, Kostoff said that Storheim wrote that he overstepped some boundaries with the boys by teaching them about adult things. Kostoff said that when the boys’ mother contacted him in 1987, sexual abuse was still a taboo subject and his church didn’t have a policy on it, saying, “I didn’t know quite what to do”, adding that he decided to keep quiet, “much to my deep regret”. Kostoff said that he began to feel guilty about his silence as news reports surfaced in the late 1990s about sexual abuse by priests. In October 2008, Kostoff said that he felt compelled to reach out to that family to apologise for his inactions, telling us, “Over the years, I felt very conflicted about (my silence). I realised I owed this family. I had to call the family. I had to apologise to them”. Kostoff said he reached out to the mother’s sons, now grown men, in 2008 and 2009, calling them by phone several times to talk about the incident with Storheim.

Crown Counsel Breta Passler wrapped up her case this morning. Before the trial proceeds further, Justice Chris Mainella must decide whether the court can use the evidence given by each brother during the trial this week in support of both charges against Storheim. There’s also a possibility that defence counsel Jeff Gindin will make a motion that the court should hear the two charges in separate trials. The trial resumes Friday morning.

12 June 2013

Aldo Santin

Winnipeg Free Press


Editor’s Note:

This is why the OCA had to have pressured Storheim to cop a plea. No good is going to come of this trial… it smells like a cheesy replay of the Rembert Weakland saga in Milwaukee. Tikhon Mollard had an obligation to have held the lumber over Storheim for the good of the Church. He didn’t… and the Church will pay a very dear price because of his inaction. The OCA is very weak after the tumultuous and juvenile misrule of James Paffhausen. This case has the possibility of weakening its already-shaky cred;  it can shred it into nothingness.

This isn’t pleasant… this isn’t “nice”. However, it’s reality, and if we don’t deal with it on the up-and-square, it’ll deal with us in short order. Yet… it could’ve been WORSE (could you imagine it being mishandled by Peterson or Dahulich? That chills the blood). What will happen, will happen… Mollard’s supine inactivity is an effectual confession of Kismet. God do help us…


12 June 2013. Sergei Yolkin’s World. The News of the Week in Cartoons: 20 – 24 May 2013

00 Sergei Yolkin. The News of the Week in Cartoons

The News of the Week in Cartoons: 20 – 24 May 2013

Sergei Yolkin



Sergei Yolkin noted both the unexpected and the welcome guests of the week: Steven Seagal visited Ramzan Kadyrov , wasps and mosquitoes tormented Moscovites, and Georgian wine returned to Russian store-shelves.

24 May 2013

Sergei Yolkin




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