Voices from Russia

Friday, 9 December 2016

9 December 2016. A Point for Priests to Ponder from Bishop Panteleimon Shatov

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To teach people to love, they need an example. First of all, love is caring and being concerned about your spiritual children. Let them know that you’re always there for them… give them your phone number, let them know when you’re at the church building, let them know that you’re ready to talk to them. Without this, it’s impossible to teach them to love. If you’re going to love them and care for them, you must do this… for they won’t learn love if you don’t. … You can also involve the active laity… for example, teach them how to greet people on the Great Feasts, teach them how to talk to others about the church and about prayer, and have them publicise parish activities. It’s imperative that priests interact with unchurched people. Many such people have good hearts; they want to engage do good works… engage them in volunteer activities. For many people, volunteering can lead to becoming more churched.

Bishop Panteleimon Shatov of Orekhovo-Zuevo

Head, MP Synodal Department for Church Charity and Social Service (OTsBSS)


Bishop Panteleimon is the Mother Church’s “tsar” of social service and social justice. He’s a former parish priest (he’s a widower with grown children), so he knows from hard experience what works and what doesn’t “out there”. He’s one of my fave bishops… he’s always out there doing what he should; he’s always out there serving the people. If anyone “gives an example” and is an exemplar, he does and he is. People like Vladyki Panteleimon keep me in the Church after the latest antics of Farley, Whiteford, Trenham, et al. Bishop Panteleimon is the REAL Church… those named (and those like them) aren’t. Keep it focused and you’ll keep it together.



Tuesday, 26 July 2016

26 July 2016. Well Done, Thou Good and Faithful Servant

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His Eminence André Cardinal Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, Chairman of the Bishops’ Conference of France

Your Eminence!

With a sense of deep sorrow, we received the news of the terrible crime in a Catholic church in Rouen… a terakt* during liturgy, which led to a hostage situation and to the killing of Priest Jacques Hamel. This heinous crime occurred in the Holy Place. It was striking in its inhuman cruelty; it violated every moral norm. It doesn’t and can’t have any justification. I express my sincere condolences to you, to the clergy and faithful of the Roman Catholic Church in France, and to the relatives, friends, and spiritual children of the murdered pastor. May God, who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life (Gospel according to St John 3.16), give rest to the soul of His servant in the mansions of heaven, give comfort and support to the victims, and give peace and blessing to the French people.

  • Terakt: Russian acronym for “terrorist action”

With love in the Lord,

00 03.11.12. Patriarch Kirill+KIRILL

Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias

26 July 2016


MP Official Website



When a Christian or group of Christians dies because they trust that Christ is the faithful revelation of God and of a new humanity, their death is not like Obi-Wan Kenobi’s last words to Darth Vader, “Strike me down and I’ll become more powerful than you could imagine”. Resurrection isn’t about returning to fight worldly means of power with the powers known to this world. No… as the Body of Christ, our death is like the death of Jesus, a great humility accepted voluntarily for the life of the world… with all kinds of conflicting human emotions. “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”… even friends that at the moment look a lot like enemies. Our hope (and our vindication) isn’t in a resurrection that makes us more powerful than our temporal enemies, but a resurrection to eternal life… a great victory for ALL persons over the enemies of all whom God has made in His image, all whom God cherishes… every last human-being. Those enemies are sin, famine, disease, pestilence, sword, decay, calamities, death, and the Accuser. If we’re in Christ, our enemies are no longer our human brothers and sisters.

26 July 2016

Kenneth Tanner



A witness of Christ, Fr Jacques Hamel, martyr. Pray for his soul, his witness, for Christians throughout the world suffering persecution.

26 July 2016

Seán Cardinal O’Malley, OFM Cap

Archbishop of Boston (Roman Catholic)



You can say what you will about Cardinal Seán… he walks the walk when it comes to aiding the poor and needy (a good Orthodox analogue would be Bishop Panteleimon Shatov). This Sunday, light a candle when you go to liturgy and say a private prayer for the repose of Fr Jacques… priests can say a private prayer as they do the Proskomidi. The canons allow this. We’re Christians… that’s what we do.

Look at HH… he shows us the way. ‘Nuff said…


Wednesday, 1 June 2016

1 June 2016. In Defence of Our Senior Archpriests

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Fr Dan Ressetar of Harrisburg PA, a good example of our senior archpriests


In my communications with several young clergy, I’ve noticed a judgemental tone towards senior members of the clergy… not necessarily apparatchiki, just senior clergy in general. What I’d like to remind these zealous young bucks is that without these men and their steadfast attitude during the Crazy Years (of Schmemann and Vitaly, for instance), we’d have no real Church today. The konvertsy, in particular, have no idea how superheated the atmosphere was from 1965 to the early 2000s (it was starting to cool down in the 90s, but it wasn’t over until the ouster of Vitaly Ustinov in 2001). Somehow or other, most priests had to keep it all together, keep their parishes going, and stay out-of-the-way of interfering apparatchiki… all at the same time!

There are still traces of the Madness amongst us (the Seraphim Rose claque… the tollhouse fantasy… stale SVS daydreams… Paffhausen and his cracked semi-mad schemes), but the worst is over. However, those of the current younger generation who sit in judgement on their elders who served in more turbulent times are chock fulla shit and deserve a trip to the woodshed for ten of the best! Really, would they have done as well? I seem to think that they’d turn out quite similar… some cowards, some heroes, and most of them just doing their best to serve God and their parishes without running afoul of the apparat and its nosy commissars (whether “right” or “left”, it makes no difference… the apparats were similarly invasive, cruel, and uncaring).

I know some of the senior archpriests personally… my friends know even more. We shall testify that they’re neither angels nor devils… merely good men who had to serve in a rather nasty era. Many had the grit to overlook ukazi that forbade them to give communion to Orthodox believers of this-or-that archdiocese… the young ‘uns don’t understand what guts that took. These guys kept the flame burning in a time of general darkness. For that, they deserve praise and honour. As for the young naysayers… grow up and get a life. Sometimes, people got to do what they must to survive. That’s what they did, and it isn’t blameworthy in the least.

I bow in respect to these guys. After all, they had the guts to get rid of Paffhausen when it got too bad (it wasn’t SVS… they wanted Dahulich and his fancies… they didn’t want peace). They did so to save the Church… just as they saved the Church in the Mad Years. They weren’t perfect, but they were there when we needed them… that’s all you need to be “good” in my book. I’m not alone in thinking that way…


Sunday, 3 April 2016

3 April 2016. For All the GOOD Priests Out There…

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Most of our priests aren’t “internet wonders”… most of our priests don’t molest kids… most of our priests go to seminary and become clergy in the usual way… most of our priests teach what the Church teaches, not their own fancies (or spout Antichristian “Evangelical” Republican rubbish). In short, most of our priests aren’t like the Facebook Specials… they’re too busy for stuff like that. If you have questions, do ask your priest, not some jumped-up fraud on the internet. If you’re stuck with a bad priest (such as one ordained without proper formation (or even just a heterodox formation)), then, ask your bishop or a trusted monastic that you know personally and visit (not some internet will o’ the wisp). The faith is an ENCOUNTER… not a set of rules. Never forget that.


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