Voices from Russia

Monday, 30 December 2013

30 December 2013. The Cabinet Weighs In On Fr Igor Soroka

01 good shepherd


One of the Cabinet sent me this. It’s read n’ heed calibre and needs nothing from me:

Fr Igor Soroka has been at the same parish for 54 years. Can you imagine? So many of these guys who go to SVS and even STS don’t want to go to old established parishes because they’re not interested in learning to navigate the complex social and relational webs that come with parishes like that. They want to mould parishes into their image and likeness, according to their messianic reform plan, and old parishes don’t lend themselves to that. Therefore, they prefer to go off to mission parishes and live off a mission grant and/or welfare! These sorry types can’t hold a candle to the likes of Fr Igor. Not only did he walk into an established parish as a rookie priest, he managed to succeed, and he stuck with it for more than half a century. Now, THAT’S a model to emulate, not the aimless roving of a JP.

Hear, hear… truly, there’s nothing for me to add. God is good… I don’t have any money, but I have true friends. I’m a VERY rich woman, indeed (richer than a Rush Limbaugh or Wet Willy Romney, that’s for certain)…




Saturday, 28 September 2013

Multiculturalism Rich in Parish’s 100-Year History

00 Holy Trinity Orthodox Church. Moose Jaw SK. baptism. 28.09.13

They’re lookin’ to the future in Moose Jaw… another 100 years is yet to come. Raise a glass and cheer!


Many Cultures Played a Role in the Congregation of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Moose Jaw SK

Anna Bingham, a parishioner at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, said, “There’s a huge number of people in Moose Jaw that have ties to the church just because they’ve been here so long and because it’s a multicultural church. It wasn’t just one culture such as Ukrainian Orthodox or Russian Orthodox or Greek Orthodox, but there were people from different cultures that took part in building the parish and we still have a great cross-section of cultures there”. From refugees from African nations with Orthodox faith to Eastern Europeans, she said there’s a “mix of people that wind up having ties to the church in some way”.

The parish began in 1913. On Sunday, there are celebrations planned for the 100th anniversary of the church on South Hill. There will be a liturgy at 10.00 CDT, a display of memorabilia and sharing from 12.00 to 14.00 CDT at the Cosmo Senior Citizens Centre, and a banquet and programme beginning at 15.00 CDT. Bingham said, “We want to honour and recognise the people that contributed in so many different ways through the years and just have available some pictorial displays. We have newspaper articles that we’ve photocopied and laid out through the years, mainly through the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, but we also do have other pieces of information from the earlier times that are quite interesting to look at and read”. She said that their bishop would be present for the service, saying, “We’re hoping that there’ll be a lot of visitors come that have ties to the church through the years. In the afternoon at the Cosmo Centre, we’ll have more space to kind of stretch out and have our displays and … just allow time for people to talk about their memories about church and about the parish”.

Over the past 100 years, the church saw many changes. In 1913, a small group of immigrants built the church on the land in South Hill. The parishioners were from places such as Bukovina, Galicia, Bessarabia, Romania, the Ukraine, Russia, the Baltic States, and regions of Greece. Over the years the church has seen its up and downs. Bingham said, “The original building, as far as I know, burned down completely in the 1930s, but it was rebuilt again fairly quickly, I think, and, then, it was renovated and put onto a new foundation in the ’50s or the ’60s”. Through the 1950s to the 1980s the church had an active ladies’ group to fundraise for the church and the Moose Jaw community. Bingham said, “They did fundraising for the United Church when it had a bad fire and for the hospital and they were involved in care homes. Just like any other active church, we were involved in the community in many different ways through the years”. She said that the key to the future of the church is flexibility, noting, “Nowadays, Moose Jaw is becoming a home to refugee and immigrant people. That’s always been the case, but they’re coming from different countries now. I think we want to see what the Lord gives us to set our hands to for this period of Moose Jaw’s history.”

24 September 2013

Lisa Goudy

Moose Jaw Times Herald



Saturday, 15 September 2012

15 September 2012. Video. The Local Parish: It’s the Real Thing, Baby…




The parishes are where the rubber hits the road in diaspora Orthodoxy. The so-called “national churches” are piffles… farts in the wind, if you will. The parishes are where people encounter the Church, and, in Orthodox terms, that means that’s where they encounter Christ. The parishes survived the meltdown after the Russian Revolution, the parishes survived the Church War of 1965-2003… they’re going to survive the present imbroglio, too. I’ll tell you a little secret… to most of our parishioners, the “national church” has no reality… it’s just a bunch of layabout jabronies looking for a handout. It’s why things have gone on as long as they have… you see, the local parishes are healthy, and that’s all that matters for most believers.

Some of our parishes are marble wonders… others are converted from other uses (and it shows)… but they all have the same thing on offer… the REAL thing. If I have to tell you what that is, you don’t know Orthodoxy.

The parishes… that’s Orthodoxy for me…


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

20 June 2012. A Thought From Martin Niemöller to Think On as You Observe Events Over the Next Few Months


There are going to be many puzzling events in the near future in Church affairs. Keep calm; keep centred in your parish. No matter what happens to this-or-that national structure, your parish is going to be what it’s always been. If we keep our parishes on the up-and-square, trust me, that’s what’s going to pull us through the coming days.

In any case, our existing parishes are what the future new Church is going have its foundation upon. We survived the chaos of the Russian Revolution, we survived the lunacy of Schmemann and Grabbe, we survived the nasty doings of Gleb Podmoshensky and Sam Greene, and we shall survive Storheim and Paffhausen. The heart of Russian Orthodoxy in America is strong. At present, we have the wheat and tares mixed together… the saintly are cheek-to-jowl with parasites; the phonies drown out the spiritual. It looks like “business as usual”, for the indefinite future. Yet, the coming ferment will be useful. We’ll find out who’s naughty and who’s nice… we might even get to the bottom of the Iliff and Ephraim (here and here) affairs.

Our parishes have lived through chaos before. What’s coming up is child’s play… the end of the OCA and the ROCOR as they’re presently constituted will only affect a small number of First Family poseurs. As for the rest of us, Home is a very good place to be… HH and the Mother Church are calling us to be One, after all.


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