Voices from Russia

Friday, 13 July 2012

13 July 2012. Rumour Mill Working Overtime… HH NOT Coming to the USA This Autumn


Of course, JP’s fall has unleashed the rumour mill. Here’s something from Monomakhos:

I believe that Patriarch Kirill’s scheduled to be in the USA in the fall {not so: editor}, and I’ve heard that unity is on his mind… the Moscow patriarchal parishes, ROCOR, and the OCA joining together… they may even pick up a few ACROD parishes along the way. The first step is a leadership change at the top… Jonah out, Hilarion in. Justinian as the rector of the 97th St cathedral as the representation church in the USA, the Baker Mansion goes, and the historic 2nd St cathedral is the NYC cathedral… ROCOR loses a cathedral and the OCA loses a metropolitan. Now, why did the OCA, all of a sudden, create a plethora of archbishops? Posturing, all posturing. the question becomes, “What’s next?” There have already been a slew of concelebrations and invitations… almost as though it’s, “Get your acts together before I get there or I’ll ensure that you do”. Bottom-line… stop focusing on Jonah… he made some mistakes and got caught. The question to focus on is what’s next… perhaps, autonomous Russian jurisdictions for the USA, of Canada, and South/Central America…  three autonomous church groups of similar national character, with consistent policies, consistent liturgies… each parish gets to choose their calendar, for the time being, at least. The milk is spilled, stop crying over it… the question is what the future will bring, and we must consider all three groups in this.



Firstly, “rjklancko” has the “feel” of initials, rather than a phoney username. “R J Klancko” has a “Pittsburghpo-nashemu quality to it, doesn’t it? That in itself means that this poster is more serious than the usual Monomakhos bloviator. Its pure speculation, but it’s pretty good, to speak frankly. For instance, the Synod HQ on Park Avenue is going to remain MP property as a spiritual and cultural centre… the present “cathedral” there will keep on, downgraded to chapel status (which is what it truly is, in any case). There’s no rumour of any move by HH towards a North American visit in the autumn. Such would require visas and preparations, and such aren’t in evidence. It’s not even in the rumour mill pipeline at the Centre. However, our present interlocutor may not have Centre contacts; so, give them a break. It’s logical… and it’s a much more grounded submission than the usual konvertsy blather that you hear on the internet. There’s no mention of the London Conference in October… perhaps, that’s what our interlocutor confused it with.

Now, if we speak of the London Conference, it’s going to be a meeting of Russian bishops from all over the world (outside of the CIS countries). London’s the venue as it’s a central location with good airline connections all over. Many (if not most) of the bishops are coming from Western Europe, and London allows them to use high-speed trains to get there (Western Europe is far ahead of the USA in rail technology). There are contradictory reports out there on whether HH is going to be present, but I’d say that it’s a good bet. The good word “out there” is that the ROCOR and MP dioceses abroad will merge under the ROCOR’s legal framework (legal incorporation’s a much more important thing than most realise). Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral will retain First Hierarch status of the ROCOR-at-large (all reports that I’ve heard indicate that he’s going to retain Australian residence). A new man will become Metropolitan of the North American District. St Nick’s on East 97th on the Upper East Side (it’s three loud farts from the Guggenheim, and a leisurely 15-minute stroll from the Met) is going to remain a podvorie of the Patriarch, Park Avenue’s becoming a spiritual/cultural centre (and residence of the Metropolitan), and the Cathedral in the Lower East Side on 2nd Street will be the cathedra of the Diocese of New York (if the OCA falls apart, as it very well might). There’s no news on Jordanville; although one of my contacts said scornfully, “It’s become nothing but a minor Ukrainian skete”. Do note that no bishop for Jordanville was named after Laurus Škurla‘s death… a first since 1948.

JP’s removal had nothing directly to do with this. It’s becoming clearer that the coup (for such it was) was an attempt on the part of the First Families to remove someone that they felt was a danger to their notions of “autocephaly”. Publicly, so far, we’ve seen that Lyonyo, Tosi, Jillions, and the Synod are involved. No one else has stepped forward. It may well be that this was a bad attempt at a Bennigsen moment. I’d say, “If you wish to strangle the tsar, you’d best do it right, or, it’ll come back to haunt you”. The hutsky-klutsky way in which events unfolded… there’s still no “narrative” from the putschists a week after the event… points to something ginned up on the fly and on the sly. We don’t even know the details of the meeting between Jillions and Fathausen. No one will say whether someone else was present or not. My guess (for guess it is) is that Jillions had Potapov at his side. Kish took Gan through the OCA Chancery at the same time… so, it’s not inconceivable. That’s probably what disarmed JP… JP considered Potapov a friend, but Potapov was nothing of the sort (do recall Potapov’s recent vituperative attack on one of his relatives on the main ROCOR website… that’s the evidence for his nasty personality). Don’t forget, Potapov’s related to the Rodzianko clan through marriage, and he’s ALWAYS been the “fixer” and facilitator in OCA/ROCOR relations, even during the Church War.

The present brouhaha is the Last Hurrah of the First Families apparat. With the most desperate tenacity, they’re trying to hold on to their Grand Fenwickian titles and fiefs. For instance, Lebedeff’s been silent… this is the same way that he acted after the August Events in ’91. He was silent for two weeks, and only opened his yap when he was sure of the Jordanville line… just like he made a 180 in his attitude after Laurus changed policy at the turn of the millennium. It’s NOT going to work. HH has a candidate for the white hat here, and it’s nobody “local”. Indeed, the plotters may have made HH’s work easier, paradoxically enough, as nobody but First Family members, HOOMie cultists, and clueless konvertsy believe in the OCA anymore, because of the events of the past ten years. Do recall that Herman was at St Nick’s in Wilkes-Barre PA when Yustinian was there, and Yustinian was seen berating Hermie in public. The Centre’s going to “clean house”, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the HOOMies and some of the konvertsy clomp off and form a vagante “rump OCA” (shades of Alex Riggle)… with Peterson or JP as “Metropolitan?” It’s a possibility…

Watch the London Conference closely… that’s the real deal. Of course, the coup could collapse before then. There’s no groundswell of support for the putschists… and the Centre’s ignoring the coup. There’s no news of the “resignation” on patriarchia.ru or Interfax-religion.ru… pravoslavie.ru (both sides of the site) has no new information… that’s not good news for the putschists. It’s as if it “didn’t happen”. That’s not what the putschists or JP need. There are no news items, but there is this on patriarchia.ru in its section on the OCA (click here to access it in Russian):

On 9 July 2012, a decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops appointed the most-senior member of the Holy Synod, His Eminence Nathaniel Popp, Archbishop of Detroit, the ruling bishop of the OCA Romanian Archdiocese, as Locum Tenens of the OCA. It named Bishop Michael Dahulich of New York and New Jersey as the Administrator {that’s in the Russian original: editor} of the OCA.

Note well that there’s no mention of “resignation”. However, to repeat what a contact told me, “If he survives, so be it; if he doesn’t, so be it. We’re not getting involved. You know the old saying, ‘If you don’t touch it, it won’t stink’”. There IS change afoot. That’s why the First Families moved. I don’t think that the Centre orchestrated it, but trust me, HH is going take full advantage of the opening that he’s been given. The OCA is dead… the only question is, “When will the coroner write up the death certificate?” I wonder what that’ll do to Sir Ray’s lawsuit against Fr Mike? That would be a pretty titbit to present to a judge and jury, wouldn’t it? Perspirin’ minds wanna know…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Friday 13 July 2012

Albany NY

Friday, 18 May 2012

The Russian Church… Five Years of Unity


Today, the MP marks one of the most significant days in its history. Five years ago, the MP and the ROCOR overcame a Church schism by signing an Act of Canonical Communion at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The signing of this historic document not only put an end to an almost century-long rift between these Churches, it also reunited Russian people scattered by fate throughout the world. Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, Deputy Chairman of the MP Department of External Church Relations, said, “Yes, it was difficult to overcome our ideological estrangement, but it was necessary for both Churches and for all believers around the world. Ten years ago, it was difficult to imagine that we’d pray and take Communion together, and that nothing would separate us. Today, it’s hard to believe that only five years ago we couldn’t serve the Divine Liturgy together and receive Communion from one Chalice because so many things separated us. This is a great and happy day not only in the history of the Church in Russia, but in the history of Russia too, because the Church reunion meant that the Civil War’s effects were finally over”.

After the 1917 Revolution, some clergy fled because the Soviet government opposed religion, it didn’t recognise the Church. In their places of exile, Russian clergy set up their own Church, which became the ROCOR. In 1927, the ROCOR broke all links with the MP because the Church in Russia maintained relations with the atheist authorities. Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger of Moscow and all the Russias and Metropolitan Laurus Škurla of New York and Eastern America began the process of overcoming this rift, ending in the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion in 2007. Archpriest Seraphim Gan, the Private Secretary of the First Hierarch of the ROCOR, believed, “Still, several more years passed before the rift was overcome not only on paper but in people’s souls. At first, many people doubted the need for us to be in communion, but later, their attitude changed. They see what benefits came with the reconciliation. They began to travel to the homeland, visit the holy places, and talk to priests and believers in Russia. Now, this process has led many of them to review their attitude towards the MP”.

Today, the leaders of the united Russian Orthodox Church are facing a difficult and important responsibility. Russian theologian Yuri Tabak said, “The survival of the Russian Orthodox Church all over the world depends on how we address this task. We can’t overcome the schism (раскол) definitively until before both Churches resolve certain historical facts associated with the schism (расколом). This is hard to achieve, as it implies providing answers to several questions. To what degree must the Church remain independent of society and to what extent should it show flexibility to survive under a persecutorial régime? Was Metropolitan Sergei Stragorodsky’s recognition of the Soviet government an unavoidable necessity? Was that step justified by the need to preserve the Church or was it evidence of weakness? Until we answer these questions, we can’t achieve full unity in the Church”.

A ROCOR delegation headed by its First Hierarch, Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral of New York and Eastern America, will take part in the celebrations marking the fifth anniversary of signing the Act of Canonical Communion in Moscow. The delegation will visit the Butovo Poligon in Moscow where tens of thousands of people were shot by the organy in the first decades of the Soviet rule, and will serve a Pannikhida for Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger. After visiting Moscow, plans call for the delegation to proceed to the Diveyevo Convent and St Petersburg.

17 May 2012

Milena Faustova

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

The most important part of this, for us as diaspora Russian Orthodox Christians, is the submission by Professor Tabak. Take for instance, the heart of his proposition:

We can’t overcome the schism (раскол) definitively until before both Churches resolve certain historical facts associated with the schism (расколом). This is hard to achieve, as it implies providing answers to several questions. To what degree must the Church remain independent of society and to what extent should it show flexibility to survive under a persecutorial régime? Was Metropolitan Sergei Stragorodsky’s recognition of the Soviet government an unavoidable necessity? Was that step justified by the need to preserve the Church or was it evidence of weakness? Until we answer these questions, we can’t achieve full unity in the Church.

Firstly, note that Professor Tabak uses the strong word раскол, which always takes the meaning “schism” in Church contexts. This means that the ROCOR has a responsibility to abjure, publicly and without guile, its Cold War schism, which was the result of Hard Rightwingers hijacking it, not having a basis in matters of faith at all. In terms of “classical” heresy, it was closest to Donatism, with VERY STRONG elements of actual Sergianism (in its abject dog-like devotion to the woollier elements of the Mammon-worshipping US Republican Party). That is, “Sergianism” didn’t exist in the USSR, but it did in the USA (interesting titbit that, no?)!

The degree of pollution from rightwing politics depended on where one “came from”, in Australia and on the US West Coast, the people came from the interwar China ROCOR, which meant that they were less contaminated with the contagion brought by the Vlasovtsy and KONR collaborationist pigs than people in the Eastern US and South America (the worst pesthole of neo-fascism) were. Jordanville was the centre of this soulless rot in many ways (and the centre of great holiness at the same time… go figure… the flowers of Holiness and of Evil grew up together). Jordanville in its Classical Period (1948-2007) had all too many Fruit Loops rightwingers… they accepted Langley’s money freely; they lied about the existence of a crackbrained Fairy Tale “catacomb Church” (something that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn debunked in the ‘60s).

Yet, what the ROCOR has most to bow in repentance for is its filthy theomachistic actions after the Fall of the Soviet Union (it advanced the cause of the foes of the Motherland and the Church, in exchange for filthy lucre). I remember the fanatics at Jordanville saying, “The communists are still in charge”… and they savaged anyone who advocated reunion mercilessly, in the most unchristian and nasty manner. I know… I advocated reunion, then… I expect never to hear, “I’m sorry” on this side of the veil. NEVER… it’s why it shall take another generation or two for the break to heal properly. The ROCOR refuses to repent for its consecration of schismatic filth such as Valentin Rusantsov and Agafangel Pashkovsky, it refuses to repent for its uncanonical formation of an anti-Church on the canonical territory of the Mother Church, and it refuses to repent for its collaboration with godless forces such as the Nazis and the CIA. It does NOT undo the holiness that’s obviously there… but it DOES delay proper healing by adherence to manifest lies (such as the refusal to admit that Vitaly Ustinov was booted out… he did NOT resign).

We must stand for the truth… but that’s HARD, so, we’ll probably take the “easy route”. That’s why the healing is going to take so long… because we will it so by our actions. God have mercy on us all.


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Moscow Celebrations Planned to Mark the Fifth Anniversary of the Reunion of the ROCOR with the MP

Metropolitan Laurus Škurla with Patriarch Aleksei Rediger at the 2007 reconciliation service (both 1929-2008)… both would be dead before the end of the next year…


In May, the Church will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the MP and the ROCOR. A ROCOR delegation under the leadership of Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral of New York and Eastern America will participate in the festivities in Russia, and they will visit Diveyevo and St Petersburg as part of their visit. On 19 May 2012, there’ll be a traditional open-air Patriarchal Divine Liturgy at the Butovo Polygon at the church dedicated to the New Martyrs killed there. On 20 May, at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias will serve Divine Liturgy. After that, His Holiness will meet with Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral and the hierarchs and clergy of the ROCOR delegation accompanying him, as well as with members of the working group formed to discuss the strengthening of the unity of the Church on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion.

On the same day, in the Hall of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour at 17.00 MSK (14.00 UTC 09.00 EDT 06.00 PDT), Patriarch Kirill will host a formal affair to mark the fifth anniversary of the restoration of canonical unity of the Local Church of Moscow and all the Russias. Members of the ROCOR official delegation, MP hierarchs, members of the MP/ROCOR working group, clergy, government leaders, politicians, and public figures will be attend the event. On 21 May, in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Epiphany in Yelokhovo, His Holiness and members of the ROCOR delegation will serve a Pannikhida for Patriarch Aleksei Rediger of Happy Memory.

15 May 2012



Sunday, 29 April 2012

29 April 2012. A Short Chat with My Readers… Why I Report Some of the Things Posted Here

We CAN do it… all that we have to do is come together… and “go home”… we are wanted, after all…


One of the reasons that I report what’s “out there” vis-à-vis the Church is that a smothering secrecy oozes forth from the official websites. As far as oca.org’s concerning, Ginny Nieuwsma is a loyal running-dog follower of Fathausen… the site has no real news on it at all, only fluff. For instance, I was able to confirm from multiple sources that OCA did, indeed, engage armed security men (at no small cost) for the recent trial of Dickie Wood, but as far as oca.org was concerned, it didn’t happen. I can assure you that Metropolitan Leonty Turkevich didn’t need armed guards… Archbishop Kyprian Borisevich didn’t need armed guards… neither did Metropolitan Laurus Škurla nor Archbishop Antony Bartoshevich. That’s a sign of sclerotic dysfunction and systemic failure. Another sign of terminal disease amongst us was the unhinged “open letter” by Fr Victor Potapov on the official ROCOR website. At best, it was ill-conceived; at worst, it was an unwarranted public attack by a clergyman without responsibility for a given parish on a layman (it doesn’t matter what the layman did… BISHOPS are the public leaders, guardians, and spokesmen of the Church, NOT self-appointed archpriests).

So, what does one do? One thing that you do is to report the “buzz”. You see, if the “buzz” gets “air time”, then, quite often, replies come in from the kitchen cabinet. For instance, on the “buzz” concerning Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral, one of my contacts, an MP priest, crossly remarked that the main Reconciliation ceremony at the Centre was still on-track… that’s true, but there was no report on the ROCOR official website stating, “His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion has undergone surgery. The Holy Synod sends its best wishes and prayers, and requests that all parishes and faithful keep His Eminence in their prayers and remembrance”. That’s what a pro would’ve done. That’s what Vladimir Romanovich would’ve done.

Peter Perekrestov had an obligation to do likewise. However, his failure isn’t incompetence and running-dog loyalty, as in the case of Ginny Nieuwsma. In his case, it’s more a combination of weakness and overburden (after all, he’s the rector of the cathedral parish in SF… that DOES take up his time). I’ll warrant that he didn’t want to waste his time arguing with Potapov… and gave in for “a peaceful life”. Another thing that they should’ve reported was, “His Eminence is having visa problems with the US State Department. Pray that this situation be rectified quickly and without rancour”. If I were in charge of the website, I’d send it to all other “official” Orthodox websites with the request to publicise the situation, and I’d send the State Department, the US Representative from Manhattan, and both US Senators from New York a copy of the URL so that they could “read all about it”. How much do you wanna bet that the pols involved would solve the situation, and rather quickly at that? Cookie the Bookie would call it a “sure thing”.

The situation in the OCA and the ROCOR resembles that of the USSR in late Perestroika. No one trusts the apparat, but no one fears it, either. The USSR fell apart, not because of the Cold War, not because of Slobberin’ Ronnie, not because of the supposed “superiority” of unbridled capitalism… it fell because the system failed to tell people what was going on, the apparat lost all credibility, and the people lost all faith in what the powers-that-be told them. Rumour replaced fact… and a weak man stood at the helm. Like Potapov and Paffhausen, Gorbachyov blustered and postured; like Potapov and Paffhausen, it came from weakness and insecurity, not grounded strength.

That’s why I report the “buzz”… and I try my best to label it as such, it’s how we can make sense out of what’s “out there”. A friend once told me, “You dare to say openly what most of us only whisper”. I seem to notice that more of you are starting to speak up… it’ not just me; I’m only an ordinary spear-dragger with the rest of y’all. I’m noticing that people of all stripes are finding their courage… good on all of you. That’s how we’ll win… one person at a time… which’ll lead to one parish at a time… which’ll end with all of us in the three “Russian Orthodox” bodies here in the diaspora joing hands as one under the Mother Church. It won’t be me… it won’t be you… it’ll be all of us TOGETHER. Then, we’ll have the hard job of rebuilding it all. THAT will be our children’s and grandchildren’s task, too. Yet, one DOES have to start off… shall you take my hand?

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 29 April 2012

Albany NY   

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