Voices from Russia

Monday, 4 June 2018

Pope Francisco Spoke Against Encroachments on Integrity of Russian Church

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On Thursday, Pope Francisco Bergoglio said at a meeting with a group of Russian clergy that the Roman Catholic Church is in favour of the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church in the wake of Ukrainian President P A Poroshenko’s plan to institute an independent local [national] Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Ilarion Alfeyev, the chief of the MP OVTsS, led the group visiting the Vatican. The Pope of Rome said:

I want to confirm most of all in front of you, dear brother, and before you, that the Catholic Church will never allow an attitude of division to be born on its own. We’ll never allow it; we don’t want it. In Russia, there is only one Patriarch, yours. We won’t have another. Unification as a method isn’t acceptable in relations between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians at the current stage and only a sisterly dialogue between these two denominations of Christianity is possible. The Catholic Church, the Catholic Churches, shouldn’t interfere in the internal affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, not even in political matters. This is my position and the position of the Holy See today. Those who meddle don’t obey the Holy See.

At the end of April, the Verkhovnaya Rada supported President Poroshenko’s appeal to Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis of Constantinople, who has the titular status of “first amongst equals” in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. He asked Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to grant autocephaly to a “united” Orthodox Church in the Ukraine. The global Orthodox Christian community recognises only one canonical Orthodox community in the Ukraine… the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of to Moscow Patriarchate. Operating simultaneously are another two bodies, unrecognised by global Orthodoxy… the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of to the so-called Kiev Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

In the meantime, experts and analysts say that Poroshenko’s aspirations received substantial backing from the so-called Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (Eastern Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite), which is under the Vatican. Earlier this month, Metropolitan Ilarion told NTV that Archbishop (sic) Svyatoslav Shevchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Uniates “repeatedly stated his support of the project for a unified Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church, while saying that the unity of this Church should be built on the successor of St Peter, that is, the Pope of Rome”.

31 May 2018

TASS

http://tass.com/society/1007457

Editor:

Francisco is telling the Uniates to cool it. However, they’re refusing to obey him. They’ve taken the CIA’s shilling for years; they more listen to Washington than to Rome. The Uniates don’t care what Francisco wants… their leadership are fanatics, as is the leadership of the so-called “Ukrainian Orthodox”. Ukrainian nationalists are evil… they push an agenda mired in falsehood and lies. The Habsburgs sicced these nutters on the world… the Austro-Hungarians have the blame for starting this kerfuffle (they wanted to weaken Russia… it led to their death camp at Thalerhof). Don’t forget, the Uniates blessed the SS, as did the so-called “Ukrainian Orthodox”. They’re unrepentant of that… hell, they’re proud of it! Ponder that… ponder it well…

BMD

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Friday, 1 June 2018

On Injustices in Church Life

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The Church, the Incarnate Body of Christ, has always been the central battlefield between God and the world, whose prince is Satan. For this reason, the world constantly tries to destroy and corrupt the Church, infiltrating it with those who foolishly and blindly do Satan’s will. History is full of notorious examples of internal enemies and traitors in Church life. Indeed, this was the foundation of monastic life in the fourth century. All this is because the presence of Christ is abhorrent to Satan, who wants the world for himself, as we see in the temptations of Christ, related in the Gospel of Matthew 4. Satan has always tried to make the Church into the world, to make Faith into a mere State or institutional “religion”. He makes bishops and priests into anti-pastors, into scribes (vain and pompous intellectuals like Arius and so many pompous academics who, puffed up with futile knowledge as the Apostle Paul describes (2 Timothy 3.4), think that they know everything) and Pharisees (ritualists), not to mention persecutors and bureaucrats. Thus, in Church history, every heresy and every schism was an attempt, usually unconscious because of the spiritual delusion of those who led heresy and schism, to compromise the Church with the world.

Thus, in the seventh century in these Isles, organised but cold Roman religion bewildered disorganised but holy Irish monks; during the later first millennium, iconoclast emperors and empresses with their pro-Islamic political projects cruelly persecuted zealous monks of New Rome (Constantinople); in the eleventh century, Old Rome fell into the temptation of making its bishop into a universal emperor who commanded armies and torturers, replaced God and from whom, they said, proceeded the Holy Spirit and so all truth and authority; a few centuries ago in Russia, a great debate arose between non-possessing hermits and those who ran monasteries as economic units with farmlands and peasants; a little over a century ago, the Russian Church, though with great institutions, was compromised as part of State machinery and the people flocked not to wealthy bishop-bureaucrats, city career priests, and professional Italianate opera choirs in stone city churches, but to poor spirit-bearing elders in wooden chapels in provincial monasteries; and in our own times the greatest saint of the Diaspora, St John of Shanghai, was put on trial by bishops who backed secular-minded people who had money and power, and not the faithful and the true.

What are we to do in the face of injustices in Church life?

Firstly, we may be wrong… we can only know that we are right if we face persecution. Christ tells us so (Luke 21 and John 16). So, let us accept persecution if it doesn’t force us into breaking the commandments. If it does mean compromising the commandments, we must leave for another canonical, and not uncanonical, diocese. Persecution is no self-justifying excuse for falling away into schism. The Church is everywhere littered with little groups, or rather sects of extremists, for instance of New Calendarists and Old Calendarists, who were often initially victims of episcopal injustices, but who now have no canonical status and so discredited themselves. Conversely, the Church calendar is also everywhere littered with those who bore injustices, only recently St Nektarios of Aegina and St John of Shanghai, and so became saints. They didn’t take off their crowns.

Secondly, while you stay in the Church with those who cause injustice, don’t participate in that injustice, side with the victims of the injustice. They’re anti-pastors, but you must remain pastors, your conscience clean. The bullies, narcissists, and manipulators of the naive, with their “gaslighting” lies, hypocrisy, and attempts to discredit, won’t win. They don’t think of the Last Judgement and tremble at it, but you do think of it and tremble at it.

Thirdly, we must know that, as they say, what goes round comes round. Our persecutors should tremble… in any case, they soon will be. I’ve seen so many who have persecuted Church people, terrible things happened to them all sooner or later, without exception. Over the last forty years and more, I’ve seen them, bishops and priests dying suddenly after acting outrageously. They thought they could get away with it…they couldn’t. Be patient… the Truth will out. God is always on the side of the good and the faithful. Be patient, justice is always done, for man proposes, but God disposes. Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6.7).

28 May 2018

Fr Andrew Phillips

Orthodox England

http://www.events.orthodoxengland.org.uk/on-injustices-in-church-life/

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

22 May 2018. A Good Word on “Converts”

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I recently visited a “convert church”’ which had a notice by the entrance with the words: “Warning: This Church May Contain Nuts”.

We’re talking now about a small minority, an eccentric fringe, so we shouldn’t get things out of proportion. I think that those who consider that they’re “converts” aren’t Orthodox; those for whom Orthodoxy is a way of life, who’ve forgotten a time when they weren’t in the Church, are simply Orthodox. Orthodoxy is second nature to us. However, “converts” (that is, a minority of converts) seem to cultivate exotic eccentricity, especially strange dress and hairstyles. Yet, the Mother of God was a “convert”, as were all the apostles. Nevertheless, they never spoke of themselves as “converts” and we never think of them as “converts”. Of course not… because they were converted… i.e. finished products.

Here we come to the essence of the matter… there are “converts” and there are the converted. The difference is that “converts” are people who want to remain in a stew for beginners, forever and ever, and there are people who’ve been converted and are trying to improve themselves. In other words, quite simply, there are neophytes and there are Christians.

Those who are neophytes want to remain at the Church doors, forever ranting against their former beliefs (there is nothing so anti-Anglican as an ex-Anglican) and there are those who have entered the Church and really can’t be bothered by what goes on at the Church doors. Those who remain at the doors forever read books for converts (Bloom, Ware, Schmemann, The Way of a Pilgrim, Kalomiros, etc) and cultivate eccentricity and exoticism in dress, hairstyle, or speech, sometimes for some pathological reason (to look different from others); they are “converts”. It’s time for them to move on and become normal Christians, which is what the word Orthodox actually means.

The word “eccentric” is another word for vanity, the desire to be different, to be attention-seeking. Such “converts” need to move on from the first course to the main course with its meat, which has the promise of the sweet dessert to come. Those who remain converts need to be converted. However, they must first want to be converted and not remain “converts”.

Personally, I’m against religion, that is, the artificial invention by States of religious establishments to repress people. However, I’m for faith, that is, for spiritual experience, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which is the foundation of the Orthodox Church.

17 May 2018

Archpriest Andrew Phillips

Editor:

I’ve seen that many converts, especially, convert clergy, adopt a “hyperdox” attitude. That’s something that I’ve noticed in a young convert priest. Everything has to be “correct”, to hell with what the parish customs are… can you believe, he’s even invented “traditions!” Before communion, at every liturgy, he makes a bombastic announcement that communion is only for Orthodox Christians who’ve prepared themselves, but then communes all and sundry! I’ve never seen the like… never. I’ve been at liturgies served by famous hierarchs, esteemed elders, and seasoned archpriests… none of them ever made such an announcement, ever. God willing, he’ll grow out of such fanciful juvenile notions and come to realise that the Church’s tradition is best… we don’t make such announcements, for we assume that Christian people know that… that one doesn’t come forward unless one has prepared (it doesn’t mean that one must attend the evening service beforehand, that’s a monastic practice, best kept in the monastic milieu, where it belongs, and where it’s salutary).

Such immaturity is irritating, but it isn’t a deal-breaker. It simply means that someone got ordained before they were truly ready for ordination. You pray for them and hope that they’ll grow up… God willing, they will.

BMD

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov Became Head of the Pskov Metropolia

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The Holy Synod of Patriarchate of Moscow and all the Russias appointed the Head of the Patriarchal Council on Culture, Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov, Ruling Bishop of the Pskov Metropolia. After a meeting of the Synod on Monday, the Press-Secretary of the Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias, Fr Aleksandr Volkov, informed journalists of the appointment. He said:

Bishop Tikhon of Yegoryevsk became head of the Pskov Metropolia, whilst remaining Head of the Patriarchal Council on Culture.

Bishop Tikhon shall receive the rank of Metropolitan. V R Legoida, the Chairman of the MP Synodal Department for Relations with Society and Media, wrote on his official webpage:

New Pskov Metropolitan is Tikhon Shevkunov.

The Pskov Metropolia has two dioceses, the Diocese of Pskov and Porkhov and the Diocese of Velikie Luki and Nevel. The head of the Pskov Metropolia was previously Metropolitan Yevsevy Savvin of Pskov and Porkhov. This metropolia includes a major pilgrimage destination, the Assumption Pskov-Pechersk Lavra, where Bishop Tikhon started his monastic career.

14 May 2018

TASS

http://tass.ru/obschestvo/5198557

Editor:

This is a sad day for the Church. Shevkunov is a fraud. He doesn’t have a theological education and he played a murky role in the Dickie Wood affair. Furthermore, he believes that Tsar Nikolai Aleksandrovich was the victim of a “Jewish ritual murder”. I shit you not! That’s blasphemous and false. Shevkunov is the perfect embodiment of a Black-Hundred bishop. He sucks up to the oligarchs and protects American alt-right creeps like Gleason and Jesse Dominick. The first is a renegade priest who swanned off to Russia without letters dimissory and the latter is a clueless rightwing asshat who spent all of his time at STS on online “traditionalist” rightwing forums.

My friends in the Rodina assure me that Shevkunov, who has delusions of becoming Patriarch, doesn’t really have a “party” in the episcopate. The real odds-on favourite to follow Patriarch Kirill is Metropolitan Mark Golovkov. Shevkunov is the confessor to members of the Putin family (not to VVP… his starets is at Valaam) and he’s used that to further his ambitions. Well, he’s only one of many “white hats”… it shows that HH still has to keep lines open to the oligarchs. Expect much loud BS from the konvertsy on this.

As I said, a sad day. He believes that Jews killed the last tsar in a ritual murder. Need I add more? No real Christian can accept that. We’ve fallen… shall we get up?

BMD

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