Voices from Russia

Sunday, 12 November 2017

12 November 2017. How to End Arguments With Toll-House Nutters

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If some half-salted idiot starts nattering crackbrained nonsense like the toll-houses or dribbling about the latest “guru” elder, don’t get suckered into a pointless argument. Be wise like a serpent, as the Apostle bade us. If someone spouts such rubbish, simply say:

The toddlers do say such INTERESTING things, don’t they?

AFTER THAT, SMILE WICKEDLY. Only then, come out and say:

There are many mansions in Our Lord’s House. That’s only one. I choose not to live in it.

That’ll normally lead to a pause. They truly don’t know how to respond. Then, say with great emphasis:

Orthodoxy is the freest of all the Churches. We’re not a gulag or prison-house. Do think on that… and not just for five minutes.

Then, break off all further discussion, bidding them to think about it for at least a month or so, considering the ENTIRE debate, not just the konvertsy pabulum. It just may work… for some, at least. After all, I AM an “elder” (63-years-old) and that does mean something.

BMD

Monday, 24 April 2017

The Particular Judgement and the Toll Houses are NOT the Same Thing

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A Russian priest told me this:

The level of interest in the Toll Houses is proportional to one’s education in the faith. The ignorant love them. The educated are much more circumspect, and many reject the more popular manifestations.

There is a difference between the Particular Judgement, which is an important part of Sacred Tradition and IS doctrine, and the Toll Houses, which are (at best) only a theological opinion, and are mostly folk belief found amongst the ignorant. That is, one MUST believe that there’s a Particular Judgement. That’s doctrine. However, the Church is silent as to the details of it. Ergo, talk of the Toll Houses is sheer mummery, at best. No Council of the Church has EVER affirmed the Toll Houses in the form that one sees amongst ignorant konvertsy (the Serafim Rose crowd, in particular).

The Toll Houses weren’t a factor in Church Life prior to Rose’s untutored and rambling writings in the late 70s. Never forget that Rose lacked even a basic seminary formation, let alone any advanced study at a recognised Orthodox institution. That is, he lacked the credibility and education to have even posited his notion in the first place! The konvertsy swoon at a notion floated by a man who lacked the basic grounding that seminary and monastic formation give one. Too many of these toddlers take Platina’s hagiographic propaganda at face value. Rose was a simple hieromonk without the slightest hint of clerical formation, he wasn’t an archimandrite, and he certainly wasn’t a trained academic theologian. Furthermore, the St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood was a minor parvenu skete in the backwoods of Northern California, not a major influence in world Orthodoxy at all.

A priest told me that one must believe in the Particular Judgement, but that it wasn’t healthy to be speculating on the details:

You will face judgement, mark my words… but it does us no good to try to trick out the details.

I find this sage advice. Unfortunately, the Toll House nutters won’t stop squalling about their “Doctrine”… as for me, I’m tired of refuting their nonsense. Just because I’m stopping to reply to the Toll House trolls doesn’t mean that they’re right. I have things that are more important on my plate… like being a Christian and having a real life.

One last thing… no Church is considering Rose for canonisation. You can’t call him “Blessed”, as that’s the Orthodox title for a canonised Fool-in-Christ. Interesting that the konvertsy use a papist concept here (just as the Toll Houses are a corrupt form of the papist Purgatory, as St Mark of Ephesus pointed up)…

Keep it focused. There are demented toddlers afoot, screaming out this-or-that Patristic quotation. Pray for these idiots… we’re Christians; that’s what we do. Don’t feed the trolls…

BMD

Sunday, 23 April 2017

23 April 2017. A Colloquy with an Acquaintance on the Toll Houses and the Serafim Rose Nutters Who Defend Them

THIS is the centre of our faith… not the goofy Toll House fable spouted by the ungrounded. Need I say more?

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I’m in plain type… my interlocutor is in italics.

BMD

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Your conclusion that they are simply Seraphim Rose cultists who must fanatically defend EVERY word of The Master is sadly the only explanation that makes any sense.

They’re Anglos… that means that they have a superiority complex. They need an Anglo “Elder”… there’s never been such, so they had to make one up. The Rose that they venerate is leagues away from the reality. He was into theosophy, Oriental religions, and thought that UFOs were demonic manifestations. He wasn’t evil… but he was far from holy either. He had no monastic or clerical formation… that is, he simply swanned out into the woods with Podmo.

LOL at “They’re Anglos”… that’s a phrase I use all the time!” I read Not of This World and some of his other things in the 90s, so I know about his preoccupation with things occult. I’ve worked closely with Evangelicals for almost twenty years now and can spot one a block away, even when they’re in Orthodox guise. Unfortunately, when they “convert”, not much changes for many of them. They cling to the Evangelical political and cultural agenda stubbornly:

  • American Exceptionalism
  • Christian Zionism
  • Racism
  • Islamophobia
  • Anti-unionism
  • Homophobia
  • Pro-life-ism
  • Creationism
  • Millennialism
  • Tithing
  • Homeschooling fanaticism

And on and on. Moreover, they’re all hell-bent on improving Orthodoxy, aren’t they? Their attempts at liturgical tinkering often distress me most of all.

I prefer Living Orthodoxy… it’s why I advocate defrocking all former Prod clergy amongst us and sending our young bucks to the homelands for advanced study. They’d find out that it’s just as modern there, and that it’s far from perfect. Besides, they might get to stand in the South Stands with the guys holding the Kenny banner…

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Yes, we have those amongst us who’ve strayed from the common path in pursuit of strange doctrines pushed by phoney pseudo-elders and puffed-up pseudo-experts. Remember what HH said:

If we hear fervent appeals to struggle, for separation, to save Orthodoxy even at the cost of one’s death, when we hear them exclaim and shout, “Orthodoxy or death”… you need to be wary of these preachers. Never did the Lord say, “My teaching or death”. None of the Apostles said, “Orthodoxy or Death”. Because Orthodoxy is life eternal, it’s joy in the Holy Spirit, it’s the joy of life, but death is decay that came because of the Fall and the devil’s action. Now, we see, from time to time, false teachers who seduce people by calling to save Christianity, to save its purity, who repeat this dangerous, sinful, and self-contradictory slogan, “Orthodoxy or death”. In the eyes of these people, you won’t find love; there burns a fire of demonic pride, a desire for power, which destroys the Church’s unity. Of course, they put on a good show, they hide behind pious visages, and they enjoy adulation from a certain set of people.

That’s the Toll House Set. Be wary of them. They’re contemporary Imyaslavtsy and are just as dangerous and false. Have a care… the times aren’t good.

BMD

Friday, 8 July 2016

8 July 2016. Whom Do YOU Believe on the Tollhouse Nuttery?

00 Converts “Reading Their Way Into the Kingdom” Steve Robinson

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I wrote this to a friend:

The services aren’t doctrine. If it’s a choice between Rose on the one hand and Archbishop Antony Bartoshevich, Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitsky, and Metropolitan Anastassy Gribanovsky on the other… there’s no choice. Didn’t they use the same sluzhebnik? Didn’t they know it better than we do? Checkmate, dear… the tollhouses are rubbish… top Church thinkers have said so… they used the same sluzhebnik as we do today…

There’s no doubt in my mind that the people I named were better and more-grounded theologians than Serafim Rose and St Ioann Maksimovich (the first had NO academic training in theology and the latter was a holy man, but no scholar). Just because someone’s a saint doesn’t mean that all that they said and did is correct. Far from it. St Ioann Maksimovich was a “Blessed”… a Fool-in-Christ, not a theologian or even a competent bishop. Archbishop Antony Medvedev had to clean up the mess that he left as a bishop… but that doesn’t decrease St Ioann’s sanctity… it means that he wasn’t an administrator. As for the tollhouse myth… both Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitsky and Archbishop Antony Bartoshevich condemned it. Metropolitan Antony was one of St Ioann’s teachers and Archbishop Antony was a contemporary (a confrère called him “the ROCOR’s conscience”). Orthodox doctrine rests upon the bedrock of consensus amongst the Local Churches, upon consensus amongst recognised and competent theological experts and authorities (not jumped-up unschooled frauds like Rose), and upon a common and universal consensus amongst the body of believers, clergy, and hierarchy. Such a consensus doesn’t exist in re the tollhouses… I’d say that you can believe in them if you will, but that you can’t force them on anyone else as doctrine and dogma (of course, the converse is true as well).

Be careful with konvertsy groups that use the names of saints to cover their lies and fabrications. Have a care with much of the postings on Orthodoxy on the net… a great deal isn’t true, sad to say…

BMD

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