Voices from Russia

Sunday, 3 August 2014

3 August 2014. One of the Cabinet Speaks Up… It’s a Read n’ Heed Kids…

signing-on-the-dotted-line

The OCA LOVES “confidential settlements”… “We admit no crime or wrongdoing”. It’s time that we held clerics to the same standard that we hold everyone else to (which includes public judgement of criminal matters). In any case, hasn’t Storheim injured the Church’s credibility enough? It’s time to ‘fess up and get down… but will we?

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Editor:

I got this from a Cabinet member a while back… it still has relevance. We have a lot of labour ahead of us… I have a word or two after this.

BMD

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I just can’t wrap my head around why the [OCA] Chancellor posts the Pastoral Changes with a three-month delay. Okay, so maybe the dioceses don’t send in their reports sharp at the end of the month, so it takes, say, a couple or three weeks to extort the data from overworked diocesan chancellors with families, parish assignments of their own, etc. Can’t they have the thing done and posted by the end of the following month, then? Does it really warrant a quarterly posting schedule? Also, note that they’re not posted in a single place on the OCA website; you literally have to search for the press releases and dig them out one by one. It’s maddening.

Speaking of the Pastoral Changes, it hit me that I’d missed the ones for August and September, so I went and looked them up. Guess what I found? Archimandrite Gerasim Eliel assigned to St Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas TX effective 1 September 2013!  I knew (and I think you reported earlier) that he’d gone to a parish in the Diocese of the South, but being assigned to the Cathedral there is whole ‘nother story! So, is this how they’re trying to foist him upon the South? Remember, Fr Gerasim didn’t drop out of GTU. No, he dropped out of college at UC Santa Cruz and ended up going off to Platina in 1981. Download a copy of his excruciatingly detailed episcopal search autobiography, which is good for these points here. By the way, Fr David Brum didn’t attend GTU either… he attended St Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park CA for his M.Div. and the Catholic University of America in DC for his JCL (a licentiate in Canon Law). Here’s his bio for the details.

Now, speaking of Canon Law, I should add a few words on the Storheim saga. Firstly, in canonical terms, a man is either a cleric or not. When we depose a cleric, we don’t demote him to a lower order, but remove him from the ranks of the clergy altogether. Therefore, we can’t “roll back” Storheim to be a simple priest… we’ve ordained him a Bishop, and he must either remain a Bishop or no longer be a clergyman at all. It’s correct that according to the canonical tradition, we can’t punish someone for one crime twice. What this means is that, if we deposed him for the abuse of minors, then, we couldn’t excommunicated him for that same crime. That would be the double punishment.

Now, presumably, Storheim received monastic tonsure before being ordained a Bishop, so, even if we depose him from the clergy, he’d still be a monk under obedience to whomever his Bishop is unless he asks for a release from that state of life as well. If we depose him, his Bishop (after consulting with the Synod) CAN and SHOULD send him off to a monastery somewhere far away to live out the rest of his days. He seems to like Finland; they should see if somewhere over there would take him.

As for the deposition, note that the canons require a court of twelve Bishops to depose another Bishop. Even with the newly filled vacancies in Alaska and Eastern PA, the OCA is up only to 10 (it’s still down three, with vacancies in the Midwest, the South, and for all practical purposes, Canada). Now, one thing the Synod can do (there’s historical precedent) is to ask another Local Church to provide the missing number of Bishops… which realistically means Moscow in this case. I don’t know if they’ve asked them, but even Moscow might have its reasons not to soil its hands with the OCA’s dirty work, at least not immediately. We’ll just have to see what transpires in the immediate future… I can’t imagine that session of the Holy Synod that considered SMPAC and ORSMA policies and “reviewed a variety of clergy matters, including disciplines” ended without discussing the Storheim débâcle. Anyway, it’s important that the canonical process of deposition is impeccable. This is the first time that the OCA would set out to depose a Bishop, and we should give no excuse to Storheim’s supporters to argue that the deposition wasn’t valid. You remember how JP’s supporters argued that his own resignation was invalid? Imagine some employing the same tactic here, and with a far more unnerving goal.

Regarding Metropolitan Philip Saliba, your correspondent was right. He released clergy to and received them from the ROCOR normally even when they weren’t in communion with anyone else but the Serbs, and he had a beautiful wall icon of St Xenia of Petersburg painted at the Ss Peter and Paul Chapel in Antiochian Village even before Moscow canonised her because the ROCOR had already done it. There’s certainly a debt of gratitude there!

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As for tardy reports of pastoral changes, that’d be easy to fix. Each diocese would report weekly via a standardised computer form. If no changes, they’d simply check the “no changes” box. It’d take five minutes at best. Modern computer technology allows understaffed institutions to be just as efficient as the MP is… and we should use it! If a chancellor of a diocese refused to use it, well, it’d be time to replace the chancellor. “Use modern means or go home”… we don’t use quill pens anymore… ‘nuff said, end of story…

If Eliel is a dropout, we shouldn’t have him on any list for bishop… full stop. That’s the end of the story. David Brum is the author of the notorious (and anti-canonical and anti-Traditional) “Brum Doctrine”… that the Metropolitan of the OCA is a tin-pot dictator who can override the Holy Synod. Of course, that ain’t Orthodox, but what do you expect from someone who lacks a real Orthodox formation? He DOES have a full-bore papist formation. Of course, he doesn’t (and can’t) teach according to Orthodox formulations! Note well, the konvertsy drool over both paladins. The Centre wouldn’t consecrate either one of these champions as bishops… neither should we.

To put it simply, Storheim’s put the Church through enough grief. It’s time to depose him and pack him off to the Mountain, where he can’t bother any more kids. I’d bet even money that the Canadian courts would sign off on that one. It gets rid of a headache for all concerned, it acknowledges Storheim’s guilt, and it means that the Church accepts and respects Mr Justice Mainella’s assessment of Mr Storheim… that he lacks any shred of credibility. Besides, the Church should apologise publicly to Storheim’s victims… not only for the abuse, but also for the unfounded attacks on their credibility by Mr Gindin, Storheim’s legal mouthpiece. Yes, it means that the OCA will have to pony up for the damages caused… but that’s fair. In fact, it’s a licit use for the “widow’s mite”… whereas to use it to savage the victims in court was not.

My Cabinet not only keeps me informed, they keep me grounded. Note well that most of the konvertsy bloggers are “lone wolves”. In Orthodox terms, that’s really beyond the pale. Keep it centred and focused… the times ARE evil… many who look “good” are crook, and many who look “off” are good. Keep the jug at hand… it hasn’t got any less crank in the last 24…

BMD

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Yustinian Ovchinnov to Leave the Apple for Kalmykiya… Hieromonk Ioann Roshchin to Replace Him in the City

00 Fr John Roschin. NYC. 25.07.14

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JOURNAL Number 66 of the MP Holy Synod, 25 July 2014

RESOLVED:

  1. Archbishop Yustinian Ovchinnikov of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, transferred to be Archbishop of Elista and all Kalmykiya.
  2. We express gratitude to Archbishop Yustinian for all of his archpastoral labours.
  3. Hieromonk Ioann Roshchin, cleric of St Nicholas Cathedral in New York NY USA will be the new Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, and shall be consecrated Bishop of Naro-Fominsk (vicar of the Diocese of Moscow).
  4. Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev will choose the place and time of consecrating Hieromonk Ioann Roshchin to the episcopate, elevating him to the rank of Archimandrite for the time being.

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Biographical Details for Hieromonk Ioann Roshchin

A graduate of the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary, in 1996-97, worked as an employee of the MP Publishing Council. In 1997, he joined the staff of the MP Synodal Department for External Church Relations (OVTsS). In December 1998, he was a member of the MP delegation at the Eighth Assembly of the WCC (Harare ZIMBABWE) and he became a member of the WCC Central Committee. In 2000-02, he studied at the Faculty of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America (Washington DC USA). From 2003 to 2009, as a member of the OVTsS Secretariat on Church and Society, was in charge of inter-religious communication, including interaction with the Interreligious Council of Russia and the SNG Interreligious Council, and international interfaith organizations, was a member of the Commission of the Conference of European Churches “Islam in Europe”, participated in the preparation and conduct of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Meetings of the joint Russian-Iranian commission “Islam-Christianity”.

On 27 July 2009, the MP Holy Synod appointed him Deputy Chairman of the MP Synodal Department for the Coordination of Church and Society (OVTsO). In 2009, with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias, he was a member of the Council for the Study of Religious Materials to identify extremist materials in the RF Ministry of Justice. He was the official MP representative in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia, a member of the Commission on organising state support and the development of original Cossack culture, a member of the Public Council under the Federal Drug Control Service, and a member of the Public Council under Rosreestr. From 2010 to 2013, he was the Executive Secretary of the SNG Interreligious Council. In October 2012, the Holy Synod appointed him representative of the World Russian People’s Council (VRNS) at the UN and assigned him to St Nicholas Cathedral in New York NY USA. On 11 March 2014, with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias, the Superior of the Trinity-St Sergei Lavra, Archbishop Feognost Guzikov of Sergiev Posad, tonsured him a monk with the name “Ioann” in honour of St John Maksimovich of Shanghai and San Francisco. A MP Holy Synod decision on 25 July 2014 (Journal Number 66) selected him as Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, and Vicar of the Diocese of Moscow with the title “Naro-Fominsk”.

25 July 2014

Russian Orthodox Church in the USA

http://ruschurchusa.org/ru/news/951

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev Makes a Trip to the USA

Here’s the image for the post in its original resolution…

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At 00.00 5 February 2011, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, the Chairman of the MP DECR, with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias, arrived in New York City at the invitation of Metropolitan Jonas Paffhausen of All America and Canada. At the airport, he was met by Archbishop Yustinian Ovchinnikov of Naro-Fominsk, the Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Archpriest Igor Vyzhanov, the Representative of the World Russian People’s Council (VRNS) at the UN, Archpriest Andrei Sommer, the Deputy Chairman of the Synodal Department for Youth of the ROCR, Fr John Behr, Rector of St Vladimir Theological Seminary,  Archpriest Chad Hatfield,  Vice-rector  of SVS (both from the OCA), and A K Yushmanov Consul General of the Russian Federation in New York. The itinerary of Metropolitan Hilarion includes visits to New York, Washington DC, and Dallas. During his trip, Metropolitan Hilarion will deliver the annual Schmemann lecture at St Vladimir Seminary (OCA), serve at St Nicholas Cathedral in New York, meet with religious and political leaders, representing American political and intellectual circles, will deliver a keynote address at Catholic University of America (Washington DC) and Dallas Theological Seminary. Fr Igor Yakimchuk, assistant chairman of the DECR Hierodeacon Ivan Kopeikin, and lay people were also part of the delegation. The trip will last until 13 February 2011.

5 February 2011

Patriarchia.ru

Official MP Website

http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/1402978.html

Editor’s Note:

Firstly, the above post didn’t come from the official patriarchal information service under Vlad Legoida; it came out of the Wonder’s propaganda mill. Here’s the only information available from Slacker Matusiak; it dates from 18 January:

http://www.oca.org/news/2383

If the lecture was at 15.30 on 5 February, and the Wonder arrived at 00.00, after a 10-hour flight… YOWZA! Did you get a load of the image? You couldn’t get more low res if you tried. Did you also see how Slowpoke Rodríguez John Matusiak didn’t give you the full context of the trip? What else do you expect from a lying apparatchik who didn’t tell you about the 50G prize that Behr won last year in conjunction with his medal from His Nibs… that was SLIGHTLY important. One wonders where the money went… where was Mark Stokoe when that happened? He was cleaning up after El Gordo… the same as he cleaned up after Feodosy Lazor, that’s why (just as he approved of the payoff to Bobby through his silence). One wonders about the Three Caballeros (Paffhausen, Brum, and Eliel… all BTU classmates)… why is Stokoe so LENIENT towards them?

Well… one wonders if oca.org will have a snap of JP and the Blunder kissing the collective bums of the CUA crowd? Will El Gordo go down to Texas with the Blunder to schmooze with his Sectarian teabag buddies (he can introduce the Wonder to all of his rightwing Episkie pals (don’t forget… the MP has broken off dialogue with them))? As I say, friends in Moscow tell me that most of his stuff (both written and musical) is ghostwritten. Reflect on how badly he failed in the UK during the Osborne Affair. He managed to royally brown off both sides in the dispute and he proved an utter disaster (the Centre had to pull him out to prevent him from doing even more damage). He’s been MIA since 1 February; the last published recognisable image of him was at the reception for His Nibs’ second anniversary. He wasn’t in any of the images from the Archpastoral Council at all, indeed, the three most visible figures (after His Nibs) were Metropolitans Varsonofy Sudakov, Vladimir Sabodan, and Yuvenaly Poyarkov (all of whom are ignored by the loudmouth konvertsy).

Expect the usual non-coverage from Matusiak… and the usual postings on patriarchia.ru with miserable images. JP is definitely in KMG’s doghouse… is the Blunder in there with him? Remember, the Blunder isn’t part of Kirill’s inner sanctum… he’s only the leader of the rather small Renovationist faction at the Centre (thankfully, it’s outflanked by people like Vsevolod Chaplin and Dmitri Smirnov). Yet… he seems to serve a purpose… for the time being. Don’t forget, His Nibs took most of the DECR away from him… the SVS people didn’t tell you that, did they?

Caveat lector, as always…

BMD

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