Voices from Russia

Monday, 15 April 2013

15 April 2013. One of the Cabinet Weighs In on the Midwest Situation



One of the Cabinet (a priest) wrote me:

The OCA Diocese of the Midwest needs healing, as soon as possible. We don’t have the luxury of time for weighing the pros and cons. The flock needs a pastor. Your friend who wrote in regarding Alexander Golitizin was completely in the right. Yes… he’s somewhat soft in theology and he was too close to Kallistos Ware, but he has no public moral turpitude on his plate and he knows many of the local clergy personally… that’s no small beer. The flock needs to heal after having a radical firebreather at its head. At least, Alexander won’t start pointless wrangles over piffles. He isn’t perfect, but he’s good enough… and that’s what we need. I hope that the diocese makes up its mind quickly… it can’t afford a long interregnum. In any case, who’s the alternative? There isn’t anyone else…

I think that my interlocutor is correct. The Diocese of the Midwest needs a pastor, and the locum is the best man available at the time in the location… there are times when “oft we mar what’s good enough by aiming for perfection”… I think that this time is one of those. God willing, let’s NOT have another long “search”… we can’t afford such.



Saturday, 21 July 2012

21 July 2012. A Colloquy on “Reliable Sources” on Orthodoxy…

Despite all the talk of books and scholars below… THIS is where it’s at… it’s the PEOPLE’S CHURCH, it’s not dead and lifeless paper n’ ink spilled by overweening and hubristical scholars. One of these ordinary believers counts more in the balance than ALL of the scholars mentioned below. That’s the way it is…


I sent this to a friend… she asked me what books to read on Church History. God love me, the best stuff’s in Russian, but she’s got no facility in it. Therefore, I racked my brain and came up with this:

OUCH! Most of the works that I rely on for Church History are in Russian. Ostrogorsky’s The History of the Byzantine State is available in English… you need to have a handle on the story of the Christian Roman (“Byzantine“) Empire to have a handle on “Church History” per se. Vasiliev’s History of the Byzantine Empire is a must, along with Fyodor Uspensky’s History of the Byzantine Empire (both available in English). Another good work is The Eastern Orthodox Church: Its Thought and Life by BenzWhy Angels Fall: a Journey through Orthodox Europe from Byzantium to Kosovo by Victoria Clark is a good read… not always spot-on, but a rollicking read, and not purely Western pabulum. That’s not to mention the crackpot History: Fiction or Science? by Anatoly Fomenko… it’s a complete utterly nutters theory. It’s something that one has to read to have a good sense of what’s completely crackbrained… it’s sheer flapdoodle and nonsense from stem to stern (like all overeducated intellectual phonies, Fomenko’s utterly humourless… he’s a credentialised mathematician dabbling in history… he performs the miracle of making SVS look PROFESSORIAL by comparison).

As for online sources, go to pravoslavie.ru, stick to the Russian side and run a “machine translation” (the English side is contaminated by HOOMies)… too much of the English translation online in “Orthodox” websites is done by HOOMies such as Nectaria Rees… and they leave things out! A warning to the wise.

My question to you… “What do you consider an indispensable read for the non-specialist in English on the topic?” I’m an internet journalist, NOT a scholar… so, as Toad said to Frog, “Will you still be my friend?” I need some help with this one… I wanted to refer her to the Tolkaya Bibliya (the fully-annotated version of the Synodal translation), but that’s only in Russian. We’re paying dearly for sucking up to godless “Evangelicals” (a Russian bishop called them “Christian atheists”… and he was RIGHT) and their arrant nonsense. Be good… “Yes, I have no bananas”… that’s why I’m asking you…


Here’s one reply:

Definitely, the Ostrogorsky, I would’ve mentioned that, too. A neighbour who’s also a Byzantinist recommended it highly as well. I’d also recommend W H C FrendThe Rise of Christianity. That’s good for up to the Arab invasions, which is the formative period for all the major doctrines, so she’d learn a lot from that. It covers all the personalities and controversies in sufficient depth to get a clear picture of the topic. It’s written in a direct and clear, not too high, not too low style and it’s occasionally humorous. Frend was an excellent scholar, both a historian and archaeologist. He’s that old style of Anglican scholar, from a lost world of integrity in scholarship. Of course, there’s always Eusebius, the Ecclesiastical History. Eusebius is still a great read. Penguin has a nice paperback edition, and there’s a nice illustrated edition edited by Paul Maier, for those who would prefer more maps, etc. Those are for the very early stuff, of course, just up to the fourth century. However, Eusebius really is indispensible. His is the first church history, after all!

I’d also recommend the Louth (Greek East and Latin West) and Papadakis (The Christian East and the Rise of the Papcy) volumes in that SVS Press (I know, I know, but these two are good) The Church in History series. The other two volumes are awful (Kesich and Meyendorff) and one should avoid them. Nevertheless, the Louth and Papadakis are very helpful and are excellent in correcting the self-serving lies published in Catholic and Protestant (church and other) histories. People seem not to be writing single volume Church History books anymore, unfortunately. On the other hand, you get things like the Ware or McGuckin books, which are transparently presentations of pet theories and whatnot, and quite light on the actual history. Another in the same vein as Virginia Clark is William DalrympleFrom the Holy Mountain. He goes to the places that St John Moschos visited way back when, and describes the generally grim state of Christianity in the various Middle Eastern hellholes that those places have become. He’s a lively writer, though, so it’s a good read. That’s about all I can think of!


I also got this:

The first (history) part of Ware’s Orthodox Church is OK (NOT the second part on the teachings). Strangely enough, two weeks ago, a person who wanted a short brochure, not a book, on the history of the Russian Orthodox Church, asked me the same thing. There’s just nothing, except Cold War propaganda (from both sides). The Wikipedia entry on the history of the Russian Church is, as usual, SVS crap (they seem to control Wikipedia). However, ALL of Bishop Alexander Mileant’s stuff on the internet is brilliant… he has a very good one on the teachings of the Orthodox Church.


This is a good example of the level of correspondence that passes between my Cabinet and me. That’s quite unlike Rod Dreher, who’s an idiosyncratic American Rightwing loner, who writes from his own selfish and cramped perspective. One has to feel sorry for those contaminated by Sectarian thought as he is; they simply don’t have a feeling for the fullness of life because they don’t exercise the full communitarianism of Real Christianity (they believe in the crackbrained individualism and individual salvation of the Sectarians).

There IS a REAL Church… and Rod Dreher, Freddie M-G, Terrence Mattingly, and the HOOMies do NOT represent it.    


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

JP was at a Meeting of the Oxford British Charitable and Educational Society “Friends of Mount Athos” in Oxford


Metropolitan Kallistos Ware chaired a meeting of the British charitable educational trust “Friends of Mount Athos” in Oxford, which supports the well-being of the monasteries of Mount Athos and gives assistance to those making pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain. Metropolitan Jonas Paffhausen, First Hierarch of the OCA, attended the meeting, as he’s a member of the society. Metropolitan Jonas participated in a session with a talk on Monasticism in the American Context. Other papers presented during the annual meeting were The Monk and the Lady: Theophanes the Cretan’s Iconography of the Annunciation and Athos, by Fr Maximos, a monk of Simonopetra Monastery, and Georgia on My Mind: An Illustrated Presentation on the Monasteries of Georgia by Peter Lea. After the event, Metropolitan Jonas, with the blessing of the Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis of Constantinople visited the Patriarchal Stavropegial Monastery of St John the Baptist in Tolleshunt Knights (Maldon District. EssexEngland) UK, founded in 1959 by Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov, a follower of Fr Silouan Antonov of Mount Athos. Metropolitan Jonas spent several days in prayerful solitude in the monastery, the according to the OCA official website.

19 June 2012



Editor’s Note:

An MP priest friend of mine simply commented, “Birds of a feather”. We all know how dotty and doddering Kallistos Ware has become. For an Orthodox “theologian”, his views on female ordination are… well, singular. Note well that Fathausen didn’t meet with Archbishop Yelisei Ganaba, the MP hierarch in the UK, or with Archbishop Gregorios Theocharous, the Greek ruling bishop. He just spent some time at Fr Sophoney’s (that’s his name amongst waggish elements at the Centre) “monastery”… the place has a reputation for coldness and inhospitality. Indeed, a person known to me went there, and they didn’t even offer them a glass of tea. That’s NOT in the good ol’ time Russian monastic tradition, to be sure.

If JP were a “friend” of Mount Athos, he’d clean house at SVS, as SVS hates monasticism and laughed at the Holy Mountain at the instigation of the Jesuit Uniate poseur Bob Taft (no lie… it was on an “Ancient Faith Radio” podcast… and AFR didn’t condemn the laughter… fancy that). However, he hasn’t and he won’t. Interestingly enough, Kallistos Ware is one of SVS’ fave “theologians”… they agree with his “interesting” views on female ordination, amongst other things.

In any case, this was nothing but a set of pompous pseudo-intellectuals presenting “papers”… the older I get, the less patience I have with such time-wasting pretence. I read about it on the OCA website, and decided to say nothing until I read about it in the Russian press… it took five days. Note well that JP got no official reception amongst the Archdiocese of Thyateira or the Diocese of Sourozh. As for sitting around listening to “papers”, I’d rather feed the cats or bake a loaf of bread… that’s doing something useful, at least…


Sunday, 22 January 2012

22 January 2012. A Tale of Three Images… It’s a Lenin’s Tomb Moment, Kids!


This shows the two main awardees with His Holiness at the Hall of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow (Novak Đoković was in Australia, unable to attend, so he sent a video message). His Holiness had private audiences with Mahmoud Abbas and Patriarch Theodoros Horeftakis of Alexandria and all Africa earlier… the Blunder wasn’t present for the one with Theodoros (although Metropolitans Kliment Kapalin and Yuvenaly Poyarkov WERE there… and Vladyki Yuvenaly was in most of the shots). The Blunder was only visible in one of the shots with Abbas (the group picture, in another, he was hidden). That’s interesting, as the Blunder’s supposedly in charge of EXTERNAL Church relations (sources tell me that Mark Golovkov’s His Nibs’ true advisor on “diplomacy”). The photographer, as is professional usage, probably shot at least 30 to 40 shots… that means that Vlad Legoida CHOSE to de-emphasise the Blunder’s role (or, he had orders to do so, which amounts to the same thing).



This image proves that the Blunder WAS at the awards event, he’s seen with a flunkey of Vladyki Theodoros… that means that he was nowhere near the Pooh-Bahs. This is the only image with the Blunder clearly identifiable… someone wants you to know that he’s not as important as he lets on to be, and that His Nibs thinks that he’s too big for his britches (has the uncontrolled conflagration in the OCA as shown by the implosion of his pal Fathausen and the messy Storheim trial soured things for Alfeyev at the Centre? Perspirin’ minds wanna know).



This shows the presentation at the awards event. As one can see readily, the Blunder is NOT in the main section (although sources tell me that Balashov was in the main area). The Blunder’s way out in Siberia, barely visible on the extreme right of the image. In fact, he’s further out in Siberia than he was last year at the same event; does that mean that he’s even more in His Nib’s doghouse?

In fact, if you want to find out the superficial people in the Church here in the diaspora, just look for the Blunder’s fans. They’re all bowled over by his “Gee, Shucks” telegenic good looks and his phoney Oxbridge accent (his tutor at Oxford was Kallistos Ware, which means that he was cut more slack than the usual student was). He LOOKS impressive, he SOUNDS impressive; therefore, he must BE impressive. Nothing could be further from the truth! Ask the people in England how he screwed up royally in the Osborne affair… Fr Mikhail Dudko had to clear away his rubbishy mess. The Blunder’s always predicting an imminent meeting of His Holiness with the Pope of Rome, and he’s always pumping up a notional “Eighth all-Orthodox Council”. The first ain’t happening (the papists won’t restrain their Galician Uniate attack dogs) and the second’s mere poppycock (there’s no agenda… there’s no money… there’s no venue… there’s no truth in it at all).

So… the pictures tell a story. His Holiness supports the national aspirations of the Palestinians, he sends a message of support to the Christians of Egypt, and he supports Patriarch Irinej Gavrilović of Serbia in telling the Kosovo Serbs to hang tough. As for the Blunder… he’s a pretty ornament, isn’t he (don’t forget, he’s the first head of the MP DECR not to be a ruling bishop… he’s only a high-powered vicar)? Don’t forget… there are factions at the Centre. The presence of Kliment Kapalin at the Theodoros audience suggests that His Nibs is mending fences with his faction (rumour at the Centre has it that His Holiness would prefer Kapalin as Bishop of Alaska when the OCA crashes and burns)… if so, the Blunder may be toast (although one has to admit that the Blunder may survive this round, he’s a nasty and merciless ambitious little weasel, after all).

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 22 January 2012

Albany NY 

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