Voices from Russia

Saturday, 2 August 2014

2 August 2014. Perhaps, A Reason Why Seraphim Rose Won’t be a Saint Any Time Soon

00 Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Joy of all Who Sorrow. San Francisco CA. USA. 02.08.14


A Cabinet member wrote this to me:

I asked [X] about what they thought about Seraphim Rose and the talk about him becoming a saint. [X] said that far that too many people are “saint crazy”, meaning that they keep wanting to make new saints all the time… [X] also talked about [Death to the World] and how they changed bishops’ names like Bishop Antony of San Francisco. [X] said that the book made Vladyki Antony look bad… but [X] knew that he was a very good man.

I removed the name of the person involved, as it’d give hints about my interlocutor. You see, the reason Seraphim Rose’s cause isn’t moving forward quickly is that many of his “partisans” are a rather questionable lot, especially, the Platina gang. One source told me that Rose wouldn’t become a saint until Platina rejoined ROCOR. We have copious and well-documented sources for Rose’s life up until he left for Platina… after that, all that we have are interested questionable sources offered by Platina (those connected with Podmo are particularly suspect). I’m not being nasty; I’m taking a Bollandist approach, as one must. Sanctity is important, ergo, we don’t decide it on the grounds of hagiography. For instance, we had a plethora of attested (and objective non-Orthodox) sources for St John Maximovich… but we don’t in the case of Rose after Platina. A friend of mine cautioned (and they WERE wise, I’d say):

I’d be very careful in criticising Fr Seraphim. I know that the MP, Serbs, and ROCOR will open a case for glorification. Many miracles are attributed to his intercessions. Icons of him have wept. The Church verified the authenticity of the streaming (via examination, exorcism, prayers, etc). He’s reputedly appeared in visions to bishops.

Nonetheless, friends of mine at the Centre tell me that no formal case exists at present… although there’s a clamour for one to be open, it hasn’t happened yet. One of the reasons for it, as I mentioned above, is that some of his partisans are… well, insistent on a glorification without the usual and normal process. That simply will not be… it’s not in the cards. As a friend at the Centre said:

It’s only been about thirty years since his death. St Serafim Sarovsky died in the 1830s and the Church didn’t glorify him until the turn of the twentieth century (mostly at the urging of Tsar St Nikolai). If such a glorification takes place, it’d be at least twenty to thirty years ahead in future. The Church does take the long view of things.

I think that this is a fair and just view. The Church takes its time with such matters, as it should. I’ll be so bold as to say that if the Church glorifies Rose, it won’t be in my lifetime (I’m 60, after all). Let things develop naturally… that’s best, I’d say. Let the Church have the final word in this… isn’t that what Orthodox Christianity is all about, kids?



Wednesday, 16 July 2014

St Herman Monastery LIES and PUFFS UP Podmo’s Funeral

podmo funeral 02. 15.07.14

Podmo’s funeral at Holy Dormition parish in Santa Rosa CA… do note the lack of a proper iconostas


A Cabinet member sent me this (hold on to your cookies… it’s off kilter and divorced from all reality)… no URL available, just copies of two e-mails:

E-mail One:

Fr Herman was buried in Sebastopol CA in the new Orthodox section of one of the cemeteries in the area. It was the decision of our Bishop Maxim to not allow his burial at the monastery. The below is a report sent out by one of the parishioners at the Holy Dormition Church. If you like, I’ll ask her permission to send you a link to the photos that were taken during the funeral and burial.

Yours in Christ,

The unworthy Hieromonk Paisius, secretary


E-mail Two:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As most of you know, Fr Herman reposed in the Lord on the morning of 30 June 2014 in Minneapolis MN. The funeral for Monk Herman Podmoshensky, the former Abbot of St Herman of Alaska Monastery, was served at Holy Dormition Orthodox Church in Santa Rosa CA (USA) on Thursday, 3 July 2014. His Grace Daniil, Vicar Bishop of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada, and Australia of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Bulgarian Patriarchate), officiated. He was assisted by the clergy of Holy Dormition and Hieromonk Paisii of the St Herman of Alaska Monastery, and by nearly 20 priests, hieromonks, and other clergy of many canonical Orthodox jurisdictions, and by monastics and laypeople from all over America and from as far away as Mt Athos and Moscow.

The graveside burial service took place in the Orthodox section of the Pleasant Hills Memorial Park in Sebastopol CA. The address of this cemetery is 1700 Pleasant Hill Road, Sebastopol CA  95472; it’s only a 15-20 minute drive west of Santa Rosa CA, deep in the countryside. After the graveside service, those who didn’t have to leave immediately to the airport gathered under the redwoods next to the Holy Dormition Church for a memorial meal. Bishop Daniil, who became a monk in Bulgaria when converted as a young man by the writings of Fr Seraphim Rose, never met Fr Herman, so many of those present shared dozens of stories about their encounters with Fr Herman.


An interlocutor commented on the situation:

It happened at the OCA (sic) church in Santa Rosa CA, a bit north of San Francisco. If that’s their iconostas, how strange! … Did they do his funeral in their church hall, not in their church proper, for some reason? This church in Santa Rosa belongs to the Bulgarians; it’s a bunch of HOOMies.


Another Cabineteer opined on California Fats, and why he’d avoid going to his guru’s funeral:

He won’t go… that type forgets the past and expects us not to bring it up… he also doesn’t honour his friendships.


Firstly, here are images of the church and of its parishioners:

00 Holy Dormition 'Orthodox' parish. Santa Rosa CA. 15.07.14


00 Holy Dormition 'Orthodox' parish 02. Santa Rosa CA. 15.07.14


A careful headcount gives fifty people (including clergy) in this “parish”. For his miniscule conventicle, there are THREE PRIESTS and TWO DEACONS. I shit you not (click here for the proof). There’s no real iconostas in this “church”… NONE. One can tell that the funeral was in the church proper by the presence of the bema. The “About” section of the website doesn’t give the foundation date for the parish (odd… that’s one of the most important titbits on a normal parish’s site), but it does refer to the patronal feastday in 2007, so, this odd lot is at least seven years old, if not older.


Here’s an image of the “crowd” at the funeral and of the trapeza after the burial:

podmo funeral 03. 15.07.14


podmo funeral 01. 15.07.14


podmo funeral 04. 15.07.14


There are ten seats at each table; it looks like there are six or nine tables in all, not counting the clergy table (do note the empty seats at the tables… there may be another row of three tables out of sight). That is, at most, there could be 60 or 90 people at the funeral (but there wasn’t… the empty seats are mute testimony to that)… this tiny conventicle couldn’t fit that many, to be frank. My guess is that about 40 to 60 people, all told, attended this affair. I only counted six clergy in the images, and the largest number of laypeople in any one image was 33. There wasn’t 20 clergy present… that figure is fiction at best, a self-serving lie at worst. In short, a small bunch of groupies gathered for Podmo’s funeral. The OCA, ROCOR, MP, GOAA, Serbian, or Antiochian bishops and clergy were no-shows. None of ‘em showed up. NONE. Fatso didn’t show up, even though Podmo was his guru for years (including after his 1988 deposition… James Paffhausen went to Russia under Podmo’s auspices in that Russky Palomnik boondoggle, remember?). Note well that the Serbian bishop refused to allow the burial of Podmo at Platina. That means that he doesn’t trust the Seraphim Rose groupies. Maxim refused to come to the funeral… yet, the Platina brotherhood (and the nuns nearby) came to the affair. This means that they’re unrepentant and haven’t truly turned away from Podmo’s oddbod teachings. Actions DO speak louder than words do. Never forget, we live in a crank world where first impressions can be misleading. Have a care… there be dragons…


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

17 July 2012. Dreher Denies Knowing Podmoshensky… The Konvertsy Clique is Abandoning Its Squiffy Guru

Let’s see… Roddie… Freddie M-G… the HOOMies… the Monomakhos scummers… they’re all “more equal” than we benighted “ethnic Orthodox”… and they never tire of telling us that, do they?


At present, Rod Dreher denies that he even knew Podmoshensky or was in Platina… that’s OK. I wonder what he’s going to claim next. As JP is now a liability, is he going to deny that he knows Fathausen, Eliel, Brum, and Christiansen, too? Probably… Roddie has a habit of attacking his old confrères viciously. Look at how he attacked the RC bishops… that wasn’t necessary, nor was it seemly (I apologise to all of my Catholic readers for his uncalled-for outbursts). Well, he attacked the RC bishops, now, he’s attacking Podmoshensky, next, he’ll attack JP, as JP’s no longer an asset to Sir Roddie. Rather nasty sort, isn’t he? It does take all kinds in our sinful-ginful world, and some are utterly crank opportunists like Roddie. Live and learn, I say… and don’t turn your back on Dreher… now, that’s something that you’d live to regret…


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