Voices from Russia

Thursday, 12 November 2009

King Leonardo and Itchy Brother… A Fable for Our Time

King Leonardo of Bongo Congo

King Leonardo of Bongo Congo… good-hearted and straight… the way a leader should be!


Those of us who grew up in the sixties remember The King and Odie, a cartoon series featuring King Leonardo of Bongo Congo (a lion), Odie Cologne, his adviser (a skunk), and Biggie Rat, a nefarious sort who was the mastermind behind Itchy Brother, King Leonardo’s scatterbrained beatnik brother. Biggie and Itchy were always scheming to take over the throne. King Leonardo was kind and good-hearted… and, apparently, not very bright (note WELL that I said “apparently”). Odie was deceptively mild-mannered (his mellifluous voice was reminiscent of the old 30s actor, Ronald Colman)… he was actually quite intelligent and resourceful, having a good mixture of just enough (but, not too much) education with a good admixture of “street smarts”. Odie’s native intelligence allied with King Leonardo’s good judgement invariably foiled the plans of Biggie and Itchy.

This is a telling fable for Orthodox of today in America. We have those who are running about and telling us how their “education” fits them to run the church, they are “knowledgeable”, and they have the proper intention to “purify” the Church. BOSH! What utter rot! What is needful is CHARACTER… what is necessary is WISDOM… what is obligatory is JUDGEMENT. You can learn none of these things in a school… professors don’t have a clue on how to inculcate them. Indeed, people know that the professoriate lacks such things (and hasn’t the foggiest notion on how to get them, either). The “absentminded professor” has been a figure of fun for centuries… for good reason. What people respect and revere is CHARACTER… they love King Leonardo and Odie… they hate Biggie and Itchy. Hmm… do we have figures today that are like these? Indubitably! Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral is like King Leonardo… a man who is deceptively simple, a man who disarms you with his placid visage and peasant manners… then, he fixes you with his eyes, and you know that you sit before a LEADER. No. Vladyki Hilarion is not as “well-educated” as some one could name… THAT is of no moment. He knows when to speak and when to keep still… now, THAT’S a talent. He doesn’t care for his reputation (as Hilarion Alfeyev does, for instance), truly, “what you see is what you get”.


Odie Cologne

Who is Hilarion Kapral’s Odie Cologne? 


I have no illusions… Hilarion Kapral is not a “reluctant conscript” to the ranks of the episcopate. He angled for it, as all of them did… what happens after a man becomes a bishop is what’s important. Many bishops find out that, yes, they’re the top dog in the yard, but, it comes with a steamer-trunk full of problems demanding immediate attention, questions awaiting answers now, and people wanting to use him for their own purposes. It’s a wonder that more bishops aren’t made completely world-weary by all of that… just look at the sorts that flock around them! They’re either looking for favours, in search of an audience for a crack-brained notion, or cynically seeking places… a bishop has a next-to-nil chance of hearing the truth, I say (which is why the good ones develop a workable “intelligence network” as quickly as they can). However, if you throw it all upon the scales, Hilarion Kapral comes up with a good balance. I wonder… who is his Odie Cologne? He certainly needs someone to confide in, and someone who can undertake what he cannot. Interesting, no? (No doubt, we would all be surprised at their identity… guesses on such things are usually wrong, in my experience.)


Itchy Brother

Itchy Brother… a typical 60s poseur, wot?


I think that Itchy Brother is obvious. Jonas Paffhausen is Itchy to a tee. His recent disaster at the OCL meeting at Antiochian Village was typical of him. OCL, as a group, is personae non gratae to the GOA. JP knew this, beforehand. He knew that this would cause bad blood with the GOAA… yet, he went ahead and did it (JP did not have to put this on top of his juvenile remarks about “foreign despots”… how stupid is he?). Need we mention the abomination at Nashotah House? JP and a heretical institution signed a covenant… he KNEW that the MP had suspended dialogue with the TEC (Nashotah House is under the TEC… there is no way around that one). He screams, “Everything has changed!” Hmm… are we supposed to overlook Iggie Burdikoff, Lyonyo Kishkovsky, and Alexei Karlgut standing by his side? He’s thrown Raymond Velencia from the train… he threw out Tassos (the OCA Treasurer) for unknown reasons and replaced him with the SVS CFO. She now holds two slots concurrently… is she going to get the salary of both posts or is the money saved going into the pockets of the lawyers and for Lyonyo’s junketeering? The public reason given for Tasso’s dismissal is THIN… they either are running out of money or JP and Tassos had a fight… or it’s a combination of the two (that’s most likely, I say). He opens mouth… inserts foot! He had a very public telephone conference to announce the move of the OCA Chancery to Washington DC… then, he had to retract it. Need we go any further? This guy is a walking disaster area.


Biggy Rat

Biggie Rat… his nefarious schemes were always countered by King Leonardo’s goodness and Odie’s wisdom…


It’s clear that Benjamin Peterson takes the role of Biggie Rat. Let’s be clear… BP didn’t have a chance for the Metropolitan’s slot because of his known alcoholism and moral questions. Therefore, he rode JP into Syosset. JP is as green as grass… he’s totally lost at sea and without a clue… so, BP and the archpriestly cabal in Syosset move him about at their will. Yet, BP and JP share a vision… a twisted vision, sure, but, a vision it is. They wish to “purify” the Church, and if that means running out the current clergy and membership, so be it. The OCL speech was part of that castle in the air. “Unity in our time”… I’ll retire to Bedlam along with Mr Scrooge… that is the most hallucinatory and addled statement I have ever heard from an Orthodox bishop (and there have been some WHOPPERS in the past, friends and neighbours). Nevertheless, they BELIEVE it. They truly do. It does not matter if it lacks grounding… they are going to make an “affirmation” and wish it into being by their “positive mental attitude”. There are all too many on the “left coast” who think like that. It’s their true religion… they left grounded Orthodoxy behind long ago… if they ever were part of it (I feel sorry for many of those in “convert” parishes who never had exposure to real Orthodoxy and real Orthodox… they are the true victims in all of this). King Leonardo (Hilarion) or Itchy (JP)? That’s not a hard one, is it? Give me a King Leonardo, straight-up, no mixer, please! Character over verbiage any road, I say! What about you?

img_0001Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Thursday 12 November 2009

Albany NY

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