Voices from Russia

Monday, 11 May 2015

Archimandrite Illya Barna Dies at Age 96 (Most Senior MP Cleric in the USA)

00 Archimandrite Illya Barna. 11.05.15


Early Friday morning, 8 May, the most-senior cleric of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA and pastor emeritus of St Michael the Archangel parish in Redford MI, Archimandrite Illya Barna died at the age of 96. Fr Illya was born Michael Barna on 2 July 1918 to a family dedicated to service in the Church. In World War II, he served in the US Navy in the Pacific on the battleship USS Colorado. He received three battle stars for engagements in the battles of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam.

He became a candidate for Holy Orders beginning in 1946, when he returned from military service, being tonsured a reader and ordained Sub-deacon in St Nicholas parish, Reading PA by Archbishop Adam Phillipovsky.  He continued his ecclesiastical studies at St Nicholas Cathedral in New York NY for four years.  On 1 July 1950, Archbishop Adam ordained him to the Diaconate at St Nicholas Cathedral in New York; the next day, 2 July, Archbishop Adam ordained him to the Holy Priesthood, and assigned as assistant priest to his father, Archimandrite Ignatius Barna, at St Nicholas parish, Reading PA.

On 17 December 1966, Metropolitan John Wendland appointed Fr Michael as rector of St Nicholas parish in Reading upon his father’s retirement.  The following month, 6 January 1967, Metropolitan John assigned him as rector of St Michael the Archangel parish, Philadelphia PA.  On 29 January 1969, Fr Michael and his family took up permanent residence in Philadelphia and continued to serve St Michael parish for another 5½ years until his appointment to St Michael parish, Redford MI on 31 August1975, by then-Bishop Job Tyvoniuk. Fr Michael received almost every distinction bestowed to a clergyman.  On Bright Friday, 2012, after his wife’s death, Fr Michael took monastic vows and received tonsure with the name Illya in honour of Prophet St Elias by His Eminence Archbishop Yustinian Ovchinnikov. The next day, during Divine Liturgy, with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias, Archbishop Justinian elevated Hieromonk Illya to the rank of Archimandrite.

Divine Services for the Departed:

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Visitation: 16.00-21.00

Pannikhida: 19.30

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Visitation: 16.00-21.00

Burial Service: 19.00

Friday, 15 May 2015

Divine Liturgy: 09.00

Followed by memorial meal in St Michael Parish Hall

All times are Central Daylight Time



26355 West Chicago Road

Redford MI 48239

Link to contact rector by e-mail here

Telephone: (313) 937 2120

8 May 2015

Patriarchal Parishes in the USA/Moscow Patriarchate



Wednesday, 30 July 2014

30 July 2014. Why Did Yustinian Get Exiled (Again) to Kalmykiya?

00 a whisper in the loggia. 08.12


Got this whisper from one  of the usuals:

Financially, the 97th Street cathedral is a mess, expensive repairs done just a few years ago need to be done again, cash flow isn’t well monitored. I heard that Justinian “approached” one too many guys, some of whom seem willing to talk about it.

That’s what’s “out there”… I won’t say yea or nay, but I will say that I’ve heard much the same from others, too. In other words, that’s the buzz; it sure does explain why the Centre moved (and moved rather quickly). Merkury Ivanov got a promotion when he left New York… he got a white hat, and he got to be at the Centre. Yustinian fucked up so badly that he only got a consolation prize (it smells like a “last chance” assignment to me)… if he doesn’t watch out, he’ll get sent to the Far North or to Central Asia. Kalmykiya is a Buddhist region… so, the bishop there is the leader of a minority. Oh… Yustinian and Fatso were great pals… if shitbirds of a feather flock together (and don’t forget that Podmo was Fatso’s guru)… I think that you know where I’m going.

However, the takeaway for us is that the Centre didn’t fart around in cutting off a potential problem… and they posted their decision on the official website on the very day that they made it. The OCA and the ROCOR could learn from that, couldn’t they?


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Fire at St Nick’s in the City… No Damage to Upstairs Church… All Damage in Basement Areas

img_0007. st nicholas new york ny. orthodox. russian.


Editor’s Note:

I checked this out with sources in town and they told me that there wasn’t any damage to the upper floors. However, there’s going to be some kafuffle because of the repairs and cleanup. So far, there’s no change in services. Keep tuned…



A fire erupted at a century-old Russian Orthodox church early Friday morning. Flames broke out in the basement of St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral, 15 E 97th Street {three loud farts from Fifth Ave near the Guggenheim in the posh Upper East Side nabe: editor}, about 00.15 EDT, the FDNY said. The blaze roared for two hours before approximately 100 firefighters brought it under control about 02.00 EDT. Two firefighters were treated for minor injuries, including one for smoke inhalation. The cathedral was built in 1901 to accommodate an influx of Orthodox Christians from Eastern Europe.

4 October 2013

DNAinfo New York


Monday, 21 April 2008

A Joint Service by Clerics of the Russian Church Outside of Russia and the Patriarchal Parishes of the MP in the USA Will Be Held on Bright Saturday at St Nicholas Cathedral

On Bright Saturday, 3 May 2008, a ceremonial Divine Liturgy will be celebrated jointly by clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA at St Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral at 15 East 97th Street, New York NY. His Grace Bishop Gabriel Chemodakov of Manhattan, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and His Grace Bishop Merkury Ivanov, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, will officiate at the service, which will also include the participation of a host of clergymen of the Russian Church Outside of Russia and of the Patriarchal Parishes in the United States. Before the service, the Miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God will be ceremoniously brought to the Cathedral. After the Liturgy, a joint procession of the cross will be held with archpastors, clergymen, and laity. A greeting from the Russian Ambassador to the United States will be read by S V Garmonin, Consul General of the Russian Federation in New York. Representatives of the City of Moscow and officials from the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations will pray at the services. This service will be the first of its kind following the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in May 2007. Never before has St Nicholas Cathedral, the main church of the Moscow Patriarchate in the US, been the site of a joint Paschal service, and organisers expect that over 60 clergymen and hundreds of laity will participate. This service is scheduled to begin at 10.00 EDT (18.00 MSK 15.00 UTC 07.00 PDT).

17 April 2008

Official Website of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia


St Nicholas Cathedral of New York website


Editor’s Note:

This unity service does NOT include any official representation or participation of the so-called OCA. This is prima facie evidence that the MP does not consider it the canonical territorial church in the Americas. As all are well aware, the OCA has been reeling from a self-inflicted crisis since October 2005. This may be a sign that Moscow is finally preparing to issue the coup de grace to this moribund organisation. If Moscow lifts the Tomos issued in 1970, the OCA automatically becomes an uncanonical and schismatical body. There’s canonical precedence for such a move, and if such were done, it would be the “last straw” for the ailing central administration in Syosset.

This isn’t an isolated action on the part of the MP. The OCA was kept out of the negotiations between the MP and the ROCOR that led to the historic reconciliation between them in May 2007, and no OCA cleric was allowed to participate in the ceremony in Moscow at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The lack of OCA participation in these events was not for lack of trying to intervene in the situation. Although it has never been officially confirmed, it is common knowledge that Fr Leonid Kishkovsky, one of the most vocal Renovationists in the OCA, attempted to interfere in the negotiations between the MP and the ROCOR in January 2007. They aren’t fools in Moscow or Jordanville. He was told that if he wished to participate in the talks, his group would have to give up its “autocephaly” and submit itself to the MP. This, Syosset refused to do, so, Kishkovsky left Moscow empty-handed.

None of the above is unimportant or peripheral. If the OCA is the canonical territorial church in the Americas, Herman Swaiko MUST be invited, for he’d be the jurisdictional bishop of the venue of the service. Since this hasn’t happened, it’s clear that Moscow no longer considers him the canonical archpastor of New York, if it ever considered him such in the first place. This event to happen on Bright Saturday highlights the fact that Moscow never considered the OCA anything other than a Cold War expedient, a convenient tool for temporary use. The integration of the ROCOR and the MP has been surprisingly smooth and relatively without incident. There’s been no major schism. This says to me that the rhetoric of the Soviet era was never heartfelt on the part of the MP, and that it always wanted reunion with its separated brethren abroad. We have two towering figures to thank for this miracle. There’ll be a secure place in church history for both Aleksei Mikhailovich Rediger and Lavr Mikhailovich Škurla. I can hear the voices from Syosset and Crestwood now. “What about us?” Unfortunately, the place in church history taken by Aleksandr Schmemann, the troubled mentor of the OCA, shall be alongside Arius, the archpriest Avvakum Petrov, and Kirill Terlecky.

A friend sent me a video of his parents’ 50th anniversary. As I was looking at the images from 50 years ago, I realise what we must do. We’ve taken a wrong road, we must retrace our steps, and we must rejoin the main road yet again. Our parents were on the right road, so, we can, in all humility, do likewise. I believe that there’ll be great rejoicing in Russia and America when we do so.


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