Voices from Russia

Friday, 10 November 2017

10 November 2017. Whither Thou Goest, ROCOR?

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I wrote the following to a clergyman I consider a friend:

However, [the ROCOR Synod] dances to Potapov’s tune because he has money. Apparently, Langley wants to revive the old CIA-ROCOR alliance. This time, the people won’t have it. There’ll be those who’ll remain loyal to Ilarion and his Synod (I don’t see him losing Australia), but that won’t be due to Langley money, most will simply be Brother Junipers. However, most of our people are post-Sov emigres, not anti-Red DPs or ex-White elements (most of those are gone outside the Golden 400). Indeed, both the KPRF and CPUSA not only allow believers, they DEFEND them (one of the critics of Matilda was from the Moscow KPRF Gorkom… she said that no one has the right to offend believers).

We live in a new world where the verities of the 60s, 70s, and 80s are gone forever. We live on the “new shore”… where Reds and believers not only coexist but are one and the same… the old shibboleths are gone… for good. Remember… Nikodim Rotov was once a demonic figure to most of us, but most of us now know that he did his best to preserve the Church under harsh conditions. We have a seemingly-new Church that’s really the old Church. We find that all our Russian legacies… Old Russia, Moskovy, Imperial Russia, and the USSR… must live together or we have no legacy at all. If we try to cut anything off, we’d do what Stolypin warned us against (“If you cut off one of our Russian eagle’s heads, it’ll only make him bleed to death”). It may sound odd, but Marxism, tsarism, and Christianity are converging. I know that you may not agree with me totally, but I know that you are a fellow traveller of good heart, and that suffices for me. Have patience and keep good cheer. You do have a friend, here…

I removed all tell-tales that might hint at the identity of my interlocutor. The ROCOR is in serious straits indeed. The episcopate is isolated from the people and doesn’t seem to realise that times have changed and that the old ways and old expressions no longer work. The people are post-Soviet, so they ignore all diatribes against I V Stalin. The ROCOR is now mostly former-Sov émigrés, so the former anti-communist shibboleths no longer have traction. If the ROCOR Holy Synod continues on its present course, it’ll lose many parishes to the direct jurisdiction of Moscow. In fact, in Geneva, elements in the ROCOR Synod threatened to boot out clergy unless they signed a questionable document expelling a pious couple. Some feel that Metropolitan Ilarion Kapral is too lenient and not up to it. If things continue as they are, much of the present ROCOR may go under Moscow because of sheer incompetence. By the way, Paffhausen now weighs about 400 pounds (@180 kilos)… he’s ballooned since the OCA got rid of him. It’s ultra-obesity… a real tragedy.

No one knows how this play will end. However, it’ll be “interesting”, and we all know what that Chinese idiom really means…

BMD

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