Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

23 October 2012. Trouble in Manton. The Official Take on the Matter. Paraphrased from Official Documents


Fr Meletios Webber resigned as Abbot of the Monastery of St John. The stress and internet publicity over the recent turmoil involving monks leaving the monastery led Fr Meletios to conclude that he can no longer serve in the capacity of Abbot at this monastery. Fr Meletios will return to Europe. The monks who left without a blessing won’t be allowed to return without a face-to-face meeting with the bishop.

The recent developments at St John of San Francisco Monastery, Manton CA, include Fr Meletios Webber resigning as abbot of the monastery; he’ll receive a release from the OCA and will return to Europe in the near future. After the departure of six monks from the monastery, six monks now remain. There’s an outstanding balance of approximately 70,000 USD (2.2 million Roubles. 54,000 Euros. 44,000 UK Pounds) in outstanding credit card debt. Additionally, the monastery pays a monthly mortgage in the amount of 5,000 USD (1.57 million Roubles. 38,500 Euros. 31,400 UK Pounds). Due to the departure of the younger monks and the unavailability of the mailing list of benefactors, due to its unauthorised removal from the monastery, the monastic brotherhood is facing significant difficulties in meeting its financial responsibilities. There was a consensus that the OCA Diocese of the West should provide the monastery with financial assistance at this time, in the form of a loan. This loan would pay off the credit card debt and provide for payment of six months of the monastery’s mortgage.





Thursday, 12 July 2012

12 July 2012. Some Vox Pop on the Manton Six… The Cabinet Agrees that They’re Nutters

Here’s what reasonable folks think of the Manton Six…


Here’s what a friend sent me on the Manton Poseurs:

Excellent! It tells it like it really is, not like the konvertsy want to make it to be. The Serbs are fools if they take these clowns in permanently.

Another friend was more prolix, but agreed with us, too:

I always had a sense of what the Church calls oikonomia. It’s a first-cousin to common sense. It’s reasonableness, armed with practicality, and infused with compassion. It’s justice tempered with mercy. It is a person at the office in a soulless bureaucracy who says, “Well, I’m not supposed to do this, but go ahead… sounds like you could use a break”. So, Abbot Mel followed oikonomia, rather than the “letter of the law” and incensed some tight-ass monks. What, I should let my dinner get cold over this??

What more is there to say? It’s time we told these jabronies, “Get with the programme, or get gone”. That’s the only language that they understand, I fear.


The Hegira of the Manton Six: Zealotry Without Knowledge


Our starting point is always wrong. Instead of beginning with ourselves, we always want to change others first and ourselves last. If everyone would begin first with themselves, then, there would be peace all around!

Elder Tadej Štrbulović of Vitovnica

Our Thoughts Determine our Lives


Save your own soul, and thousands will be saved about you.

St Serafim Sarovsky


By now, most of you have heard of the six monks who up and left St John of San Francisco Monastery in Manton CA because they disliked the pastoral dispensation that Meletios Webber gave an individual (note well who took them in… the rather questionable bunch at PlatinaPodmoshensky‘s old haunt). Here’s what passed between a friend and me (I’m in italics):

That’s what I was alluding to in my latest post. Transgendered, ungendered, supergendered… it’s no one’s business. If the Church extends oikonomia, they should shut up or go to the bishop. It’s that simple.

I’d agree. Those monks who left are the bad guys in this latest.

The main actor in this little Kabuki play is one Martin Gardner. It’s another konvertsy melodrama (just like the Toll Houses and an obsession with homosexuals)… it’s turning out to be the same ol’, same ol’, kids. The only thing to say is, “Gad, sir, that ain’t Orthodox!” Virtually all Anglo-Saxon converts are addicted to akrivia of one sort or another, especially former Episkies. If a bishop or priest shows pastoral oikonomia towards anyone, they all crawl out of their dustbins and caterwaul about how the Church’s going to hell in a handbasket, and they “know” what they’re talking about, ‘cause they saw what happened to PECUSA. If they were to ask a real canonist like Alexander Lebedeff, he’d tell them, “Read the canons! It says, ‘or as the bishop shall prescribe’… that’s the Orthodox way!” Indeed, we drive the papists absolutely nutso at times…

But X agrees with us!

Yes, they do… it’s their opinion.

You mean that you don’t agree with it?!?

No… the Church doesn’t define it… it’s not central to salvation.

That’s the Orthodox way. Orthodoxy is fond of giving people the “second chance”… hell, it loves giving people “third” and “fourth chances” too. We’re willing to bend the rules, if it’s going to save a soul. Mind you, oikonomia does carry a “price tag”. Second marriages are “allowed”, not “blessed”. Someone married twice may not become a priest (as the Church recognises civil marriage, unlike the RCs, Matthew Tate has to be defrocked immediately, as he’s a divorced man). Homosexuals are not driven out of the Church (click here for the bio of Nikon Mironov, a gay bishop (who got into trouble for personality problems unrelated to his sexual orientation… however, do note that the Church doesn’t make an issue of his orientation as Mironov supports the public teaching of the Church))… all the former Episkies bloviating on “gays” are full of it and should shut up. The Church opposes homosexual propaganda and the notion that homosexuality and heterosexuality are equal.

That being said, HH said, “We respect all human choices, including those involving sexual orientation. However, we reserve the right to label sin as ‘sin’”. This isn’t what the extremist konvertsy want to hear. For instance, the late Patriarch Aleksei Rediger of Happy Memory gave Nikon Mironov a high Church decoration and HH gave him a panagia in 2010… for Nikon is a defender of traditional Church order and Tradition. He burned Schmemann’s books on a public bonfire; he can’t be all bad! Note well how the Church dealt with Nikon… they sent him to the Pskovo-Pechersky Lavra to do penance for his abuse of the laity in Yekaterinburg (at the Lavra, the late Elder Ioann Krestiankin (a real saint) dealt lovingly with him). Then, the Church authorities allowed Nikon to settle near Moscow; the Church made him the honorary rector of a parish (he was NOT deposed from the episcopate; my understanding is that he agreed not to serve publicly). Therefore, one can see that the Church just doesn’t kick homosexuals in the arse and abuse them, as the former Episkies do (that’s why I contend that very few of them are converted-in-fact).

In short, Martin Gardner and his five confrères are not only chock full of beans, they’re prime candidates for punishment, as they made public a private pastoral matter. I only deal with “public figures”, “public occurrences”, and “public matters”. Private pastoral matters are not for us to publicise. If you have a “problem” with the pastoral oikonomia extended by a priest or bishop, go to the ruling bishop. I know what an Old School ROCOR priest said many moons ago about giving communion to a gay person (it was LOUD, trust me)… (heavy Russian accent) “If you have problem with this, go talk to bishop!!” Need I say that the person making the complaint didn’t go to the bishop? Fancy that…

That’s the way it is in the real Church. It’s the salvation station for every nation… and it’s more compassionate than the zealots wish to admit.


The fact that Nikon Mironov is a “retired bishop” indicates that such a status is fully-canonical, and that those who question such a status aren’t in the mainstream of the Church. For instance, Nikolai Soraich is a “bishop”, so is Jerome Shaw, but neither are “ruling bishops” or “vicar bishops”, they’re “retired bishops”… kapish? They CAN serve as clergy, but they have NO authority (they CAN wear a mitre, but one doesn’t serve hierarchical liturgy when they’re present). To make a “grey” situation even “greyer”, in 2013, Nikon was made a vicar bishop of the Diocese of Perm, thus “unretiring” him (the MP HS said that he might become a ruling bishop again if he was a good boy)… confusing, but that’s Orthodoxy for ya! If you want consistency, join the papists

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Thursday 12 July 2012

Albany NY

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

10 July 2012. Is There Trouble in “Paradise?”

Some of the usual suspects on the Internet forums are spouting their usual stuff. It’s almost as bad as the interminable Toll House argument… oh, yes, I do think that such sorts belong in the playpen whilst we adults have a pleasant drink and chat.


There’s much Sturm und Drang over supposed events at Manton and over Meletios Webber. Let’s keep this simple. If Meletios Webber is, indeed, going against Church order in the case of this or that private individual, then, the proper way to handle it is to make a formal complaint against him to the bishop. If there are irregularities at Manton, that’s the logical first step. No… it isn’t the only step… but it’s the first logical one. Yes, Benjamin Peterson could decide to stonewall it or sweep it under the rug, but that would put him in the spotlight, so to speak. All those having problems with Webber should make a formal complaint, the sooner the better. Then, if Peterson defends him… go to the Holy Synod. If they fail in their duty, then, make an appeal to the Centre… to ask them to pull the Tomos from the OCA. It CAN be done… but only in the proper order, and one thing at a time.

At present, there’s confusion over what actually happened. Well, I’d say that since JP was a follower of the Imyaslavie heresy, by all accounts that I heard, the fact that there’s screwy things afoot shouldn’t surprise anyone. However… if you think so strongly about Webber and personal pastoral matters, do make a formal complaint. I wonder if they’d do such a thing… I think not. In fact, the “news” that’s coming out made me think of an old saying of Fr Alexander Lebedeff’s, “They don’t know an ecclesiastical court from a tennis court”. Lebedeff may be a First Family apparatchik, but he’s also a competent historian and canonist… which none of the loudmouths on the internet forums are. It’s one thing to talk of public figures… when one starts flinging about private pastoral matters… you really should take such things up with the bishop (I always PhotoShop out non-public figures if I can… there’s something known as privacy). I’m going to hold all priests and hierarchs up to scrutiny… they’re public figures. However, if you have something against a private individual or the pastoral consideration shown them, not a public figure (priest, bishop, elected lay official), don’t drag it into the internet fora… do something of it in such a way that the person involved has some privacy. If I can observe limits… so can these people (you don’t know the stuff that I reject because it either involves private people or its the private doings of public people (an image of Jillions at a private party isn’t mine to publish)).

Put up or shut up.


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