Voices from Russia

Monday, 30 April 2012

30 April 2012. Konvertsy “Experts” at OrthoWiki Delete St Serafim Vyritsky From Their Site… How Dare They… He’s One of the Greatest Saints of the Soviet Period

St Serafim Vyritsky (1866- 1949)… He prayed on a rock for the victory of the USSR in the VOV… no lie… is that why the konvertsy snub him?


I was looking for quotes from St Serafim Vyritsky today, so, I Googled his name, using several different formats (those familiar with Russian transliteration know what I mean). Well, guess what the konvertsy “experts and scholars” at OrthoWiki did? They deleted the article on him! Fancy that! One of the greatest saints of the Soviet period, and they shitcanned him… they have tons on squiffy Renovationist creepozoids like Aleksandr Schmemann, John Meyendorff, and Aleksandr Men… but a true saint of the Church? Down the slop chute with him! This was on the page: This article has been marked for deletion. This could be for a number of reasons, including OrthodoxWiki policy. See further information on its talk page (click here for the page in question).

Here are their criteria for deletion:

An article may be deleted from OrthodoxWiki by a sysop for any of the following reasons (non-exclusive):

  • Its sole purpose is vandalism (obscenity, nonsense, etc.).
  • It has no content (may include only headers or external links).
  • It is not encyclopaedic (may be an essay, personal opinion, polemic, directory, etc.)
  • It is not directly relevant to the Orthodox Church.
  • It is non-notable (i.e., not important enough to history to be included in an encyclopaedia).
  • It duplicates an existing article.
  • It is in a user’s personal userspace who has requested deletion.
  • There is a consensus of editors and sysops that the article is inappropriate or unnecessary.


Well, firstly, St Serafim Vyritsky IS an acknowledged saint of the Church. Therefore, he IS directly relevant to the Orthodox Church and he IS notable, and if there IS a “consensus of editors and sysops that the article is inappropriate or unnecessary”, it only proves the belief held by many that OrthoWiki’s somewhat “soft” as a source… as a priest-friend of mine said, “Most of it’s convert rubbish”. For instance, they don’t have an article on Antony Bartoshevich, one of the most notable ROCOR bishops of the 60s and 70s.

It DOES take all kinds. To give St Serafim, who prayed on a rock during the entire Great Patriotic War for the victory of the Red Army and the deliverance of the Russian people from the Fascist aggressors, short shrift whilst trumpeting the Renovationist lies of the SVS crowd is just unconscionable. However, you know the sort… they lurk behind usernames on Monomakhos and OCATruth (they don’t have the guts to sign their names to their screeds). There’s no need to go “off”… this is just another proof that the konvertsy not only aren’t of us… they never were, and are utterly incapable of being such. Sad, ain’t it?

As for me, I DO honour St Serafim Vyritsky… and, no doubt, so do you. Light a candle and pray to God… that’s all that we can do until these loopy sorts leave us…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Monday 30 April 2012

Albany NY 

Just Got This Department: 

One of the Kitchen Cabinet sent this: 

The OrthodoxWiki article on St Serafim of Vyritsa is here. The deletion page is for the URL with the spelling “Viritsa”, which doesn’t comply with their transliteration standards. That said, OrthodoxWiki entries must be taken with a grain of salt. I personally know clueless young housewives and ignorant basement-dwellers who create articles like it’s their job. Also, people like Whiteford spend an inordinate amount of time editing articles there for the sake of propaganda. So, caveat emptor.

I knew that if I threw this into the pond, something would come up. This was the only entry on the search results page from OrthoWiki, Google’s caught with its nicks around its ankles yet again.



Saturday, 24 March 2012

24 March 2012. One Jewish Convert’s Voice…


Being a Jew myself, I see no other way for me to be reconciled with God than to be an Orthodox Christian… I don’t know if any Christian body in the world can boast of so great a number of Jews becoming Christians than the Russian Orthodox Church does. I don’t like counting, but I may testify that I personally know a lot of Jews who became, and are becoming, Christians in this Church. Fr Aleksandr Men is, perhaps, the most famous convert. There are many Jews amongst the priests and monks, as well as amongst the best theologians. Today, life in Russia is quite hard, and Jews can easily emigrate to Israel or to America and lead a much easier life. However, those Christian Jews who stay in Russia often have spiritual reasons for remaining here. The strongest one is their Christianity, along with their love for the Russian spiritual and cultural tradition, which is inseparable from Russian Orthodoxy.

Grigori Benevich

Sunday, 21 August 2011

21 August 2011. A Thought on the Shame of American Orthodox Leaders… They Knifed the Mother Church When She was Down in the Nasty ‘90s

To our great shame, some American Orthodox joined the crowd of American jackals that descended on Russia after the fall of the USSR. Renovationist fanatics such as Seraphim Sigrist and Dmitri Pospielovsky (along with the equally-deluded Nikita Struve) paired off with such heretics as Georgi Kochetkov and the later-to-be disgraced Archimandrite Zinon Teodor (who later fled to Western Europe) in the so-called St Philaret Orthodox Christian Institute (Sigrist still supports the so-called “Hosanna Community”, one of Aleksandr Men’s more crackbrained legacies)… James Paffhausen was part of Gleb Podmoshensky’s barmy Russky Palomnik project (he did NOT work for the MP Publications Department, they canned him as soon as his links with the sodomite Podmoshensky became clear)… Potapov and Lebedeff supported Vitaly Ustinov’s loony project of ROCOR parishes in Russia itself on the canonical space of the MP. Not one of these paladins has offered any repentance, public or private, for their backstabbing of the Mother Church when She was down. As an aside, it should interest you to know that the Blunder employed the unrepentant Zinon in restoration work on the Orthodox cathedral in Vienna (when HA was the bishop there, in 2006-08)… don’t forget, his bishop suspended Zinon for taking communion from a papist priest (rightly so)… that’s a big no-no.

Another thing that I remember is that I was in St Nick’s on East 97th during the late ‘90s, and I overheard an OCA deacon boasting to his MP counterpart. To his credit, the Russian deacon was quite ill at ease as the American blew his own trumpet. Dontcha know, he had served with this bishop and that bishop; he had served at the Troitsa Lavra, yadda, yadda, yadda. Later, I asked one of my friends about it, and they told me, simply, “We need money to pay the bills sometimes”. Yes… Bobby fronted them the cash, but he ground it into their faces as he did so (it’s one of the reasons that he’s so hated). Back then, one heard the SVS crowd crowing about how they were going to “reform” Russia, and other such bilious rot. Well, things didn’t turn out quite that way, did they?

One of the most dangerous things to do is to assume that trend-lines are going to continue unchanged and untrammelled into the future. The Russia of 2011 is not what we assumed in 1992, just as Russia in 2030 isn’t going to fit our current conceits based on contemporary trends. This is true of the OCA as well. So far, the OCA has managed to dodge all the “bullets”. Mainly, it’s done so because it’s a very small, insignificant, and minor body of no interest to the government or media. For instance, some years ago, an RC priest in an outer boroughs NYC parish got nicked for embezzling a couple of mill from parish funds… we’re nowhere near that size even on the national level. Nevertheless… do note who knifed the Mother Church in the back… these same sorts are asking you to trust them in the contemporary Church crisis. I’d say that you should hold back… after all, we don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring us, do we?

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 21 August 2011

Albany NY  

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Merger or Association?

Editor’s Foreword:

Be forewarned… the site posting this article is an often-crank, crudely bum-kissing zapadnik portal that gives a forum to schismatic nutters such as Rusantsov, Kochetkov, and Denisenko (generally, it’s a mouthpiece for the pseudo-intellectual Aleksandr Men crowd). The author of the article below is a long-time parishioner of the chapel at the OCA HQ in Syosset, which means that she’s “in deep” with Lyonyo and his faction (and probably to Gan’s set in the ROCOR, as well), at least. With that in mind, do read this, but I don’t rate its veracity as highly as I would an article by Milena Faustova at VOR or most of the Russian-language material on pravoslvie.ru. Caveat lector, kids… that’s the watchword!


Svetlana Vais is a squirrelly Renovationist in Church terms and an America-worshipping Neoliberal in political terms… her writing bears this out. There be dragons, kids…



The “effective manager” of the MP in the USA hasn’t lived up to expectations, and the First Hierarch of the OCA reels off mumbo-jumbo like a witch reciting an incomprehensible spell. This is Russian Orthodoxy in America?

Never, ever, believe that the USA isn’t within the gambit of any given religious organisation, ranging from multi-million dollar Protestant establishments to a small, but proud, set of Tierra del Fuego shamans, who opened a Citibank account as a “non- profit organisation”. The American state doesn’t promote Secularism as an ideology, its tax and immigration laws allows clergy to live, work, and preach, living on financial aid from other continents. “All flags (banners and drums) are welcome!”

The Orthodox presence in North America is based not so much on numbers as it’s based on skilful presentation… it’s most cohesive and influential segment is the Greek diaspora, which has many of the characteristics of a political lobby. If you meet a Greek American… not only is he Orthodox, but, no doubt, his entire family are Orthodox Christians, even his grandchildren don’t even think of leaving the ancestral religion (indeed, no one’s trying to change). Looking at this, some even have a vague assumption that there’s an “Orthodox” gene in Greek blood. Albanians, Bulgarians, Romanians, and Serbs, in particular, find it hard to explain to Americans the fact that there are Orthodox Christians of nationalities other than Greeks… what’s this all about? Then, there are Russians. Take Russian-speaking Brooklyn… its lax observance of the Jewish Kosher laws; its celebration of the Sabbath on Saturdays. The problem of differentiating between “Russian” and “Russian-speaking” was a glitch in last year’s US Census.

Only the cognoscenti know about the distinctions between the three main Russian Orthodox groups in America. Rather, they’re the only ones who care about the divisions. The bulk of American Russian-speaking Orthodox Christians don’t care, they partake of the Mysteries at the nearest “onion dome”. In a nutshell, this is the embodiment of the pure and good intentions of Patriarch Tikhon (formerly Archbishop of the Aleutians and North American) concerning Orthodoxy in America, but the realities are more complex… variance in canonical interpretation, ecclesiological differences, internecine personal rivalries amongst the clergy, and language barriers have split Russian Orthodox in America into three groups. Much was written about it… first, with a quill pen by candlelight on Kodiak Island, and, today, by computer keyboard in centrally air-conditioned homes. There are collected archives and stored films. Yet, coming together into a united body and joyful prayer as one seems very far off, to be frank.

Traditionally, for Orthodox clergy in America, the pastoral care of the flock isn’t the main thrust of their service. All of them, willy-nilly, get involved in political conflicts and interfaith games. If one serves in America, it provides a unique opportunity to see the evolving process of church politics… both at the top and internally. That’s how things are… because that’s how it is. This turn of affairs suggests that clergy must show absolute obedience, have good political instincts, and a mastery of several languages.

The OCA Chancellery is on a wooded plot, set off from other houses. Haughty and independent, “setting the rules”, it embodies the mistaken strategy towards dialogue that’s embedded in the higher clergy of all three groups. “I don’t like reporters who start a conversation with me with the question, ‘Tell me about Orthodoxy in America’”, Bishop Merkury Ivanov of Zaraisk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes of the MP in the USA, said in 2008 to the website Pravoslavie.Ru, who then went on to bigger and better things in Moscow. The logic of things presupposes that the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church in America is a local thing. The experience of over a hundred years has borne this out, and the steps in the direction of a fuller unity led to a dead end every time… apparently, the legacy of Ivan Susanin still lives in many of us {Ivan Susanin, in Russian legend, in the 17th century, led a group of Polish raiders so deeply into the forest that neither he nor they were ever heard from again: Editor}. Only by uniting in some semblance of a Metropolitan District, with a well-defined chain-of-command, will it be possible, and, then, only gingerly, to begin talks with the Greek Church in America on… well, at least about something. One-off events involving top Russian Orthodox clergy as co-chairmen of some assembly committee for talks with American Greeks seem pathetic and unpersuasive. Yet, for some unknown and contradictory reason, those who’ve abandoned the Motherland feel a sense of pride, not embarrassment.

A year ago, the situation between the Russian Orthodox jurisdictions in America gave hope for inner rapprochement and consensus. However, events have shown that the goal isn’t the same for all the parties concerned. Then, the MP/USA parishes received a new administrator, Archbishop Yustinian Ovchinnikov of Naro-Fominsk. The view in Orthodox circles was that he was an “effective manager”. Everything was with him; although some were curious about how he received the Moldavian order Gloria Muncii (Glory of Labour), the bishop chose to remain silent on the matter. Yustinian’s task as the new leader was to unite all the parishes in his sprawling diocese all over the USA under the MP’s banner and set them on a proper and canonical course, under the wide omofor of the Mother Church. Yes, in general, everything was ready… but it didn’t work out. In addition to a confluence of unhappy circumstances, the human factor played not a small part in the drama. Vladyki Yustinian was a straightforward man who knew how to build up parishes and dioceses physically, but he was unable to negotiate the local church politics. He couldn’t carry out the plans of the Centre, he couldn’t begin to increase the number of the MP parishes in the US, and, subsequently, merge them with the OCA parishes into one body.

The OCA quickly learned a lesson from the MP, canonical communion {by this, the author apparently means “union”: editor} with the MP scared its people, they feared that the MP parishes could, at any time, become a charge upon the church finances. The OCA Chancellery in Syosset fell silent, making it clear that, after consulting their interests, they didn’t see any common ground, but only points of difference. The bishops of the OCA and the Chancellery were one thing! Metropolitan Jonas Paffhausen of all America and Canada (sic) was quite another. The worst thing that could have happened… happened… the complex and confusing disagreements between the metropolitan and the higher clergy of the OCA went public. With all of his misunderstood love for Russia, Paffhausen didn’t realise that he became part of a suspicious Russian programme, Русский мир (Russian World) {this statement proves that Ms Vais is a pro-American bum-kissing zapadnik pig. The Russian state and the MP at the highest levels, approve the Russian World Foundation. She’s an unpatriotic Neoliberal oligarch-loving bitch: Editor}. Our expatriate people, who recognised the slogans, immediately disowned him. Metropolitan Jonas, with a censer in his hand, succumbed to the charm of the old Russian tale of the cloth on the ground.

Twice during interviews, I reminded him, “I won’t ignore what’s recorded on the tape”, but he insisted. I saw with horror that he was absolutely sincere in his “Kremlin dreaming”, and that he truly likes Alfeyev’s Christmas Oratorio, a failed piece if there ever was one {here, I agree with Ms Vais… the Blunder isn’t a legit composer… as I say, the good word is that a ringer at the Gniessen did all the scut-work on his pieces: Editor}. Practically speaking, his dreams come down to the fact that the OCA is ready to immediately take the MP’s fraternal assistance in the form of priests, since the OCA doesn’t have enough men to deal with the growing number of Orthodox parishes in America. He had other dreams to pass on to me, but this was our last session before his “unfair holiday”. He promised the OCA Synod of Bishops that he’d be silent for sixty days, along with requiring the resignation of the OCA Chancellor, but, in the end, he didn’t keep his word. Shuttling between Washington DC and New York, he was caught giving a frank tell-all to a Washington journalist.


The URL for that interview:


I warn you… it’s an utter POS from stem to stern… only konvertsy could swallow it whole without gagging…


Well, actually, he didn’t say anything that was suspicious, either in Orthodox or Christian terms, but few in the OCA enjoyed seeing the metropolitan openly defy the will of the Synod of Bishops during Lent. The Orthodox blogosphere in America exploded in indignation, by the way, opinions were divided, but the official OCA was forced to come up with explanations for the actions of the Metropolitan. The MP/USA took a position sympathetic to Paffhausen. They reached out personally to him. Why? Here’s an unpleasant observation… it was due to inertia. In the absence of a new strategic plan, they, apparently, decided to stick with the old one, to let outside forces resolve the situation. Everything will suddenly work out, with God’s help!

All Russian Orthodox groups waited for Easter this year with impatience, although, as far as I know, there wasn’t that much monastic austerity or “foolishness” (заморочен). Somehow, soon after the holiday, church events would happen that would highlight the vector of the coming course. All sorts of Orthodox groups planned meetings, by the way, not only Russians. Everybody was set to meet to consider current affairs, financial reports, clergy meetings, parish life, and a million other domestic details of church life. Well, is this how the Creator envisaged His earthly kingdom? Maybe not, but as they say, that’s how it is. Bishop Yustinian’s sincere attempt to combine straightforward communal prayer and further co-operation was touching, “On 24 May, the feastday of Ss Kirill and Mefody, the Angel Day of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all the Russias,  at St Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York, Metropolitan Jonas, the First Hierarch of the Orthodox Church in America, and Metropolitan Hilarion, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia celebrated the Divine Liturgy together. This was the first joint service of the Russian Orthodox bishops in America after a nearly seventy-year break in liturgical communion”. Such a “happening” appeared to be in the contemporary spirit of postmodernism, do forgive me Lord!

By the way, that very evening, Archbishop Yustinian left for Chicago to attend the Annual Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Central and North America. Apparently, not all our high hopes for a united triune Russian Orthodoxy in America collapsed, and the Assembly, although somewhat illusory, does point to the future. The bustle of parish events in Russian Orthodox America during the winter and spring collected into a stream, which almost completely dried up in the long hot summer. “The mountain gave birth to a mouse” {it’s a Russian saying about great hopes leading to small results… it’s used by Trediakovsky in one of his poems: Editor}. To be honest, in the absence of events, all breathed a sigh of relief. Everyone is preoccupied with their own internal problems… the OCA needs to find a new chancellor and choose a bishop for the Bulgarian Diocese, the negotiations are going on in private; the MP/USA is looking at its domestic financial health; the ROCOR needs external financing. All are patiently waiting for autumn… the traditional start of activity in all spheres of public life. However, never, ever believe that the USA will remain outside the sphere of interests of either Moscow or Constantinople, whether … just look at the year past.

25 July 2011

Svetlana Vais

Portal Credo.ru


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