Voices from Russia

Sunday, 23 April 2017

23 April 2017. A Colloquy with an Acquaintance on the Toll Houses and the Serafim Rose Nutters Who Defend Them

THIS is the centre of our faith… not the goofy Toll House fable spouted by the ungrounded. Need I say more?

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I’m in plain type… my interlocutor is in italics.

BMD

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Your conclusion that they are simply Seraphim Rose cultists who must fanatically defend EVERY word of The Master is sadly the only explanation that makes any sense.

They’re Anglos… that means that they have a superiority complex. They need an Anglo “Elder”… there’s never been such, so they had to make one up. The Rose that they venerate is leagues away from the reality. He was into theosophy, Oriental religions, and thought that UFOs were demonic manifestations. He wasn’t evil… but he was far from holy either. He had no monastic or clerical formation… that is, he simply swanned out into the woods with Podmo.

LOL at “They’re Anglos”… that’s a phrase I use all the time!” I read Not of This World and some of his other things in the 90s, so I know about his preoccupation with things occult. I’ve worked closely with Evangelicals for almost twenty years now and can spot one a block away, even when they’re in Orthodox guise. Unfortunately, when they “convert”, not much changes for many of them. They cling to the Evangelical political and cultural agenda stubbornly:

  • American Exceptionalism
  • Christian Zionism
  • Racism
  • Islamophobia
  • Anti-unionism
  • Homophobia
  • Pro-life-ism
  • Creationism
  • Millennialism
  • Tithing
  • Homeschooling fanaticism

And on and on. Moreover, they’re all hell-bent on improving Orthodoxy, aren’t they? Their attempts at liturgical tinkering often distress me most of all.

I prefer Living Orthodoxy… it’s why I advocate defrocking all former Prod clergy amongst us and sending our young bucks to the homelands for advanced study. They’d find out that it’s just as modern there, and that it’s far from perfect. Besides, they might get to stand in the South Stands with the guys holding the Kenny banner…

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Yes, we have those amongst us who’ve strayed from the common path in pursuit of strange doctrines pushed by phoney pseudo-elders and puffed-up pseudo-experts. Remember what HH said:

If we hear fervent appeals to struggle, for separation, to save Orthodoxy even at the cost of one’s death, when we hear them exclaim and shout, “Orthodoxy or death”… you need to be wary of these preachers. Never did the Lord say, “My teaching or death”. None of the Apostles said, “Orthodoxy or Death”. Because Orthodoxy is life eternal, it’s joy in the Holy Spirit, it’s the joy of life, but death is decay that came because of the Fall and the devil’s action. Now, we see, from time to time, false teachers who seduce people by calling to save Christianity, to save its purity, who repeat this dangerous, sinful, and self-contradictory slogan, “Orthodoxy or death”. In the eyes of these people, you won’t find love; there burns a fire of demonic pride, a desire for power, which destroys the Church’s unity. Of course, they put on a good show, they hide behind pious visages, and they enjoy adulation from a certain set of people.

That’s the Toll House Set. Be wary of them. They’re contemporary Imyaslavtsy and are just as dangerous and false. Have a care… the times aren’t good.

BMD

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Patriarch Kirill: If Love is There, Christ is There! If There’s No Love, There’s No Christ!

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There’s unity where there’s love; where there’s love, God is there. If someone comes up with an idea to say something about our doctrine that diverges from the tradition of the Holy Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils, then, thinking people should ask, “For what, in the name of what purpose, do they offer a particular innovation?” If from the mouth of a man we hear invective, sometimes, we even hear dirt that afflicts the Church and its ministers, if we hear fervent appeals to struggle, for separation, to save Orthodoxy even at the cost of one’s death, when we hear them exclaim and shout, “Orthodoxy or death”… you need to be wary of these preachers.

Never did the Lord say, “My teaching or death”. None of the Apostles said, “Orthodoxy or Death”. Because Orthodoxy is life eternal, it’s joy in the Holy Spirit, it’s the joy of life, but death is decay that came because of the Fall and the devil’s action. Now, we see, from time to time, false teachers who seduce people by calling to save Christianity, to save its purity, who repeat this dangerous, sinful, and self-contradictory slogan “Orthodoxy or death”. In the eyes of these people, you won’t find love; there burns a fire of demonic pride, a desire for power, which destroys the Church’s unity. Of course, they put on a good show, they hide behind pious visages, and they enjoy adulation from a certain set of people.

What we say against heresies, is true of any other division. Sometimes, in our parishes, there are divisions amongst the clergy and believers. Often, these divisions are associated with a struggle for superiority, for a certain power in the parish. We know how sometimes congregations divide, clustering around one or another priest. The veneration of a shepherd and adulation for him… so-called division in the name of love… is sinful, because there can’t be separation where love exists.

We must keep the unity of Universal Orthodoxy not only free from any heresies and schisms, we must keep the unity of our Local Church as our foremost care, as the suffering of the Martyrs of the Church gave us the gift of being one and indivisible. We must maintain the unity of our parishes and monasteries, bearing in mind that the most important criterion for evaluation of any Christian… from the Patriarch to the simplest believer… is love. If Love is there, Christ is there! If there’s no love, there’s no Christ!

Yes, may the Lord help all of us to keep the unity of our Church, to keep it as our foremost care, taking heed of chilling and dangerous examples from the past, but at the same time being inspired by the podvigs* of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, who protected and maintained the unity of the Church of Christ, asserting that Church life is based only on the tangible Law of God… only the law of love saves.

  • Podvig: Should NEVER be “Englished”… one of the most powerful words in the Russian language. There are literally no English equivalents strong enough. Podvig has overtones of “epic”, “heroic”, “bravery”, “self-sacrifice”, “victory”, “effort”, and “triumph”. It’s best to leave it as is, and admit that English lacks the necessary material to give meaning to this word.

Sunday of Orthodoxy 2009

His Holiness Kirill Gundyaev

Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias

8 March 2009

Patriarchia.ru

MP official website

http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/print/577278.html

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Patriarch Kirill on Betrayal

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Betrayal is a terrible sin, as traitors abuse natural feelings and relationships. Betrayal facilitates the victory of evil, hypocrisy triumphs, arrogance prevails, and slyness wins. The actions of a traitor intensify all of these terrible vices. A traitor is always a negative person, not only in the eyes of honest people but also in the eyes of other betrayers. Traitors never get respect; often, no one deems them worthy witnesses. This is why the suicide of Judas seemed a lucky stroke… as if there was no betrayal if there wasn’t any Judas. He left life, solving a knotty problem for the priests and scribes. They could boldly accuse the Saviour… no one would know that his closest disciple betrayed an innocent man.

Kirill Gundyaev

Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias

Holy Wednesday 2017

Editor:

The ROCOR has to disassociate itself from those who honour the Vlasovtsy and Krasnov’s traitors. “A traitor is always a negative person, not only in the eyes of honest people but also in the eyes of other betrayers”. Note well how so many of them ended as CIA hacks and rightwing fringe nutters… one treason wasn’t enough, I guess. It’s ironic… the greatest examples of Sergianism and “Chekists in riassas” are found here, in the USA, not in the Rodina. They sold out the homeland in the Cold War and they continue to do so. “A traitor is always a negative person, not only in the eyes of honest people but also in the eyes of other betrayers”. What an epitaph for them…

BMD                                             

Thursday, 30 March 2017

30 March 2017. Death Came on Silent Cat’s Paws for Our Tulip

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Late Tuesday night, a little before midnight, we lost another of our little cat family (now, our tomcat Squeaker is alone… he’s been moping and off his food). Tulip was about thirteen-years-old. Nicky rescued her (she was a former feral) when she was a little kitten and nursed her back to health. She was always a “runt”, never getting larger than a large kitten. Tulip was always a loving animal, especially, to Nicky. Late Tuesday night, she came up to Nicky, snuggled up to him, and died quietly. Just like that…

I once asked a real theologian about animals and souls… he said, “We don’t know. God hasn’t revealed that to us. The Church has no binding teaching on that”. Now, I’m not talking about mawkish anthropomorphism here or trivial emotionalism. Our Church has the courage to say, “We don’t know. That’s not in the Revelation”. No… we don’t have an answer for everything (loudmouth konvertsy notwithstanding). As for me, I believe in the Universal Hymn of Creation… all of God’s Creation participates, how, we don’t know. All of God’s creatures and creations take part in this, again, how, I don’t know. However, the psalmist tells us:

Let every thing that has breath, praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord!

In other words, not only do we pray for Creation, Creation prays for us. Christ came to Transfigure ALL of His creatures and creation… I believe this as one of my bedrock beliefs. God loves all of His Creation and all of His creatures… that we know. That mitigates my sadness. Nevertheless, I wept as I laid Tulip to rest in the wild countryside (that’s not far away from us here… only a fairly short motor away). John Donne’s words came to mind:

Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

We all shall pass through that gate…

BMD

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