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Moderated Forums => Free-For-All => Religious Topics => Topic started by: ialmisry on March 09, 2012, 12:37:01 AM

Title: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: ialmisry on March 09, 2012, 12:37:01 AM
Quote
The Russian Orthodox church
Not spreading the faith
Russia’s Orthodox church has far to go before it wins young people in number into its ranks

“WHAT are we supposed to believe in?” asks Natasha, a student teacher in Tver, a run-down provincial town between Moscow and St Petersburg. “In the past our young people had the party, and its youth movements—the Pioneers, the Komsomol. It was all rubbish, maybe, but at least it was there.” Natasha and her friends at a student café are all training to teach young people. Like 94% of Russians aged 18-29, she does not go to church. She has been once or twice out of curiosity, “but didn’t understand it much”. Her own parents are not religious.

Russian young people live in a moral and spiritual vacuum. A decade after the collapse of communism, there is little to fill it. Schools are mostly tatty, depressing and too short of cash to do more than try to preserve basic educational standards. The youth clubs, summer camps and other activities of the Soviet era have collapsed for lack of money. Sports facilities are expensive. Sergei, a muscular 22-year-old in Irkutsk, in Siberia, spends every morning in the summer months playing football with his friends on a patch of waste ground. The rest of the time he looks for passengers to ferry around town in his decrepit Toyota; the slender profits pay for occasional trips to a sports centre during the winter. He has never been to church.

Young Russians can meet the boredom and poverty of their lives with drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex and crime, and all too often do so. But this also presents an opportunity for anyone offering something more wholesome. The scout movement, for example, has blossomed since the collapse of communism: there are tens of thousands of members of scout and guide troops, with a wide range of affiliations. Western and other charities that work with young people are usually overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and gratitude of the response. But there is one notable absentee: the Orthodox church.
http://www.economist.com/node/457135
Over a decade after this, how much has changed?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: mathetes on March 09, 2012, 10:13:54 AM
Quote
The Russian Orthodox church
Not spreading the faith
Russia’s Orthodox church has far to go before it wins young people in number into its ranks

“WHAT are we supposed to believe in?” asks Natasha, a student teacher in Tver, a run-down provincial town between Moscow and St Petersburg. “In the past our young people had the party, and its youth movements—the Pioneers, the Komsomol. It was all rubbish, maybe, but at least it was there.” Natasha and her friends at a student café are all training to teach young people. Like 94% of Russians aged 18-29, she does not go to church. She has been once or twice out of curiosity, “but didn’t understand it much”. Her own parents are not religious.

Russian young people live in a moral and spiritual vacuum. A decade after the collapse of communism, there is little to fill it. Schools are mostly tatty, depressing and too short of cash to do more than try to preserve basic educational standards. The youth clubs, summer camps and other activities of the Soviet era have collapsed for lack of money. Sports facilities are expensive. Sergei, a muscular 22-year-old in Irkutsk, in Siberia, spends every morning in the summer months playing football with his friends on a patch of waste ground. The rest of the time he looks for passengers to ferry around town in his decrepit Toyota; the slender profits pay for occasional trips to a sports centre during the winter. He has never been to church.

Young Russians can meet the boredom and poverty of their lives with drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex and crime, and all too often do so. But this also presents an opportunity for anyone offering something more wholesome. The scout movement, for example, has blossomed since the collapse of communism: there are tens of thousands of members of scout and guide troops, with a wide range of affiliations. Western and other charities that work with young people are usually overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and gratitude of the response. But there is one notable absentee: the Orthodox church.
http://www.economist.com/node/457135
Over a decade after this, how much has changed?

What does Eastern Orthodoxy do to evangelize people with no church background? I've seen material aimed at promoting Eastern Orthodoxy to members of non-EO churches, but I don't recall ever seeing material that presents the Gospel to teenagers or adults who were raised in a secular family or culture where they were told that the Bible is just a collection of myths.

After years of atheism and communism, Russia must have many secular and humanistic teens and young adults who won't seriously consider any "Bible story" until their belief in evolution has been challenged. Maybe they would benefit from an aggresssive Creationistic form of evangelism such as Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis promotes. I've heard him talk about this, and his approach is based largely on that of the apostle Paul's sermon given on Mars' Hill (Acts 17:22-34). Getting people to believe in a Creator who will one day judge the world in righteousness is a necessary step for persuading them to abandon their relativistic, purposeless lifestyles.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: biro on March 09, 2012, 10:17:22 AM
It's kind of funny you would quote something from over ten years ago.

How about something from 2012?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Manalive on March 09, 2012, 10:29:03 AM
It's kind of funny you would quote something from over ten years ago.

How about something from 2012?

That's his point, biro. After a decade has past, what has changed from 2000 to 2012 with the Russian Orthodox Church reaching out to young Russians.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: ialmisry on March 09, 2012, 10:31:32 AM
It's kind of funny you would quote something from over ten years ago.

How about something from 2012?
LOL.  I would have to quote something from ten years ago if I'm going to ask the question "how much has changed?"
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Andrew21091 on March 09, 2012, 10:36:21 AM
It's kind of funny you would quote something from over ten years ago.

How about something from 2012?

That's his point, biro. After a decade has past, what has changed from 2000 to 2012 with the Russian Orthodox Church reaching out to young Russians.

Indeed. Has much changed at all in Russia? Or does the Russian Church still remain a meaningless cultural relic of Russia's past with no meaning for today?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Schultz on March 09, 2012, 10:40:08 AM
While not the same (much to Vladik's chagrin), perhaps Nektarios can speak to how different things are in Ukraine as opposed to ten years ago?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: biro on March 09, 2012, 10:50:45 AM
It's kind of funny you would quote something from over ten years ago.

How about something from 2012?

That's his point, biro. After a decade has past, what has changed from 2000 to 2012 with the Russian Orthodox Church reaching out to young Russians.

I get the sarcasm. I just don't think he should throw out a blank charge like that, and not have posted what he thinks will back it up.

I could post again the article about 200 new churches being built in Moscow, but then again, we're not allowed to prove him wrong, now, are we?

It would all just mess up his idea that there are people who are not as good Orthodox as he is. And we wouldn't want that.  ::)
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Schultz on March 09, 2012, 10:58:26 AM
It's kind of funny you would quote something from over ten years ago.

How about something from 2012?

That's his point, biro. After a decade has past, what has changed from 2000 to 2012 with the Russian Orthodox Church reaching out to young Russians.

I get the sarcasm. I just don't think he should throw out a blank charge like that, and not have posted what he thinks will back it up.

I could post again the article about 200 new churches being built in Moscow, but then again, we're not allowed to prove him wrong, now, are we?

It would all just mess up his idea that there are people who are not as good Orthodox as he is. And we wouldn't want that.  ::)

Why project such motives onto Isa?  I don't think he's being sarcastic.  He asked a question.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: biro on March 09, 2012, 11:04:16 AM
It's kind of funny you would quote something from over ten years ago.

How about something from 2012?

That's his point, biro. After a decade has past, what has changed from 2000 to 2012 with the Russian Orthodox Church reaching out to young Russians.

I get the sarcasm. I just don't think he should throw out a blank charge like that, and not have posted what he thinks will back it up.

I could post again the article about 200 new churches being built in Moscow, but then again, we're not allowed to prove him wrong, now, are we?

It would all just mess up his idea that there are people who are not as good Orthodox as he is. And we wouldn't want that.  ::)

Why project such motives onto Isa?  I don't think he's being sarcastic.  He asked a question.

Well, I think so. I'm not projecting a thing: he never seems to approve of anything other jurisdictions are doing, other than the holy Antiochians (because he's one of them). It's funny that you don't see him express sympathy for the fact that the Russians have to fight against problems such as very rich American televangelist ministries sending over their missionaries. No, that might mitigate against his desire to make the ROC look bad.

Again, here's this:

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Foundations-laid-for-first-of-200-new-Orthodox-churches-in-Moscow-21434.html

Building 200 new churches- doesn't seem like they're lying down and letting the faith fizzle away, now does it?

So, there goes his theory. You're welcome.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 09, 2012, 11:15:28 AM
While not the same (much to Vladik's chagrin), perhaps Nektarios can speak to how different things are in Ukraine as opposed to ten years ago?

The answer is too complicated for me to write right now, but I'll get to it after my classes tonight.  Things have changed a lot in the big cities in some ways. 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Schultz on March 09, 2012, 11:18:19 AM
It's kind of funny you would quote something from over ten years ago.

How about something from 2012?

That's his point, biro. After a decade has past, what has changed from 2000 to 2012 with the Russian Orthodox Church reaching out to young Russians.

I get the sarcasm. I just don't think he should throw out a blank charge like that, and not have posted what he thinks will back it up.

I could post again the article about 200 new churches being built in Moscow, but then again, we're not allowed to prove him wrong, now, are we?

It would all just mess up his idea that there are people who are not as good Orthodox as he is. And we wouldn't want that.  ::)

Why project such motives onto Isa?  I don't think he's being sarcastic.  He asked a question.

Well, I think so. I'm not projecting a thing: he never seems to approve of anything other jurisdictions are doing, other than the holy Antiochians (because he's one of them). It's funny that you don't see him express sympathy for the fact that the Russians have to fight against problems such as very rich American televangelist ministries sending over their missionaries. No, that might mitigate against his desire to make the ROC look bad.

Again, here's this:

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Foundations-laid-for-first-of-200-new-Orthodox-churches-in-Moscow-21434.html

Building 200 new churches- doesn't seem like they're lying down and letting the faith fizzle away, now does it?

So, there goes his theory. You're welcome.

See, was posting that article so hard?  Of course, I expect Isa to counter, because that's what discussion is all about.  But all he asked for, initially, was what has changed.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: biro on March 09, 2012, 11:29:53 AM
All he did was imply that they'd done nothing. He should have looked into it first.

If he had, he never would have had to post this thread, and I wouldn't have to do his work for him.

I don't expect he'll apologize to the Russian Orthodox Church, however.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Schultz on March 09, 2012, 11:35:55 AM
All he did was imply that they'd done nothing. He should have looked into it first.

If he had, he never would have had to post this thread, and I wouldn't have to do his work for him.

I don't expect he'll apologize to the Russian Orthodox Church, however.

This is a discussion forum.  To discuss things, ones must come up with a question or position to discuss. 

But if you'd rather just cast aspersions onto Isa, be my guest.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: biro on March 09, 2012, 11:38:49 AM
I understand, there are people whom it isn't permitted to question. I shouldn't be surprised that you have no problem with his implied negative claim about the ROC, but instead with my easy proof that he was on the wrong track. (Which I posted several times last year.) I shouldn't be surprised by very much anymore.



Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on March 09, 2012, 11:42:36 AM
The ROC had so many challenges that allowances should be made for some of the dismal indicators of church health. On the negative side, you have the continuing low numbers of regular church attendance and involvement in parish life. On the positive side, the work on infrastructure of the church is paying off dividends. As for evangelization, they are doing something about it, albeit rather timidly. For example, they imported Father Maximus Regis Urbanowicz from the US but did not use him in the main population centers. It seems to me that the ROC is trying the "tried and true" Orthodox way of getting things done through collaboration with the state. As long as the ROC tries to prosper as the de facto state church, I am afraid that she will fail in in her primary mission of making disciples of the people of Russia.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Schultz on March 09, 2012, 11:44:57 AM
I understand, there are people whom it isn't permitted to question. I shouldn't be surprised that you have no problem with his implied negative claim about the ROC, but instead with my easy proof that he was on the wrong track. (Which I posted several times last year.) I shouldn't be surprised by very much anymore.

There you again casting aspersions, now on my motives.  If you've been watching, I've challenged Isa more than once on things.

Hope you're having as wonderful a Lent as I am...
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: primuspilus on March 09, 2012, 11:46:22 AM
Isa was jsut asking a question. Lets not turn this into another attack thread. We see what happened last time someone percieved an attack thread on them.

PP
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: biro on March 09, 2012, 11:52:51 AM
Over a decade after the events under question in the OP, a lot has changed.

Gee, do you think something new may have happened since the early 2000s?

But let's just throw the implication out there that it hasn't, which is what he did. And still I am the one who questions this, and we see what happens. Sigh...

 :P

Figures. Again, I should have known what to expect.


All right, I get it. We have always been at war with Eastasia. There is no man behind the curtain.

Happy Pascha. I'll get out of your way.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 09, 2012, 02:40:29 PM
Building churches alone doesn't prove much, if the churches are empty. How about statistics about church attendance, baptisms etc?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Nigula Qian Zishi on March 09, 2012, 03:25:06 PM
Building churches alone doesn't prove much, if the churches are empty. How about statistics about church attendance, baptisms etc?

Ok, here you go Jonathan:

Percentage of Russians who attend church reaches 71% - poll

Moscow, February 27, Interfax (http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=9101) - The number of Russians who go to temples increased considerably over the past two decades. Sociologists have found that the most frequently observed ritual is the placement of candles in. Over the past 16 years, the number of Russians who go to church, mosque, or synagogue increased ... 83% of Orthodox respondents reported going to church. 11% of the respondents said they go into churches rarely or from time to time... The poll, which was conducted in 138 populated areas in 46 regions, territories, and republics of Russia in mid-February, shows that a considerable number of people who go to temples (38%) just speak to God, 31% read prayers, 27% kiss holy relics, 33% give alms, 29% donate money to temples, and 9% go to temples to sanctify things.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 09, 2012, 04:10:01 PM
Over a decade after the events under question in the OP, a lot has changed.

Gee, do you think something new may have happened since the early 2000s?

But let's just throw the implication out there that it hasn't, which is what he did. And still I am the one who questions this, and we see what happens. Sigh...
I read no such implication in Isa's posts on this thread.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 09, 2012, 04:59:16 PM
Building churches alone doesn't prove much, if the churches are empty. How about statistics about church attendance, baptisms etc?

Ok, here you go Jonathan:

Percentage of Russians who attend church reaches 71% - poll

Moscow, February 27, Interfax (http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=9101) - The number of Russians who go to temples increased considerably over the past two decades. Sociologists have found that the most frequently observed ritual is the placement of candles in. Over the past 16 years, the number of Russians who go to church, mosque, or synagogue increased ... 83% of Orthodox respondents reported going to church. 11% of the respondents said they go into churches rarely or from time to time... The poll, which was conducted in 138 populated areas in 46 regions, territories, and republics of Russia in mid-February, shows that a considerable number of people who go to temples (38%) just speak to God, 31% read prayers, 27% kiss holy relics, 33% give alms, 29% donate money to temples, and 9% go to temples to sanctify things.


Thanks, Nicholas. So, when it says "83% of Orthodox respondents", does that mean 83% of those who identified themselves as Orthodox (as opposed to atheists or agnostics)? Such recipients would be predisposed to be more active in their faith, and wouldn't necessarily indicate any overall increase in Orthodox religiosity among Russians as a whole.

Oh and the headline is misleading. The statistic is actually the percentage of all Russians (or a presumably representative sample of Russians), regardless of religion, who attend either church or synagogue or mosque. I'm not sure if "church" is exclusively Orthodox, but later the article suggests that the survey covered every possible religious building. So 71% of Russian citizens we can say visit a religious building at least "rarely" (whatever that means; I suppose a reasonable interpretation is about once a year). 7% of the respondents report attending at least once a month, and I would say that, from an Orthodox perspective, once a month is the normal threshold for being considered serious about one's faith. Less than that and I think you can reasonably question the individual's commitment to Orthodoxy (barring some unusual circumstances).

7% of citizens as committed believers (of any religious persuasion, mind) is not much better than the statistics we get from secularized northern European countries, like Denmark. And of course of these we don't know how many are committed Orthodox, as opposed to committed Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists or whatever. Jews are a small minority in Russia, so I wouldn't expect them to make much statistical impact, even if they all attended synagogue every week. There are quite a few more Muslims, however, and we know that in general they are more religiously active than Christians of any persuasion, so I expect a significant proportion of that 7% is due to increased Muslim activity.

So, in conclusion, the report (assuming that its methodology is sound) does provide evidence from some increased religiosity in Russia in recent years, but doesn't really tell us how much of that is due to the increased influence of the official Orthodox Church.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: KBN1 on March 09, 2012, 05:08:12 PM
Over a decade after the events under question in the OP, a lot has changed.

Gee, do you think something new may have happened since the early 2000s?

But let's just throw the implication out there that it hasn't, which is what he did. And still I am the one who questions this, and we see what happens. Sigh...

 :P

Figures. Again, I should have known what to expect.


All right, I get it. We have always been at war with Eastasia. There is no man behind the curtain.

Happy Pascha. I'll get out of your way.

I didn't think Isa was implying anything.  I understood the quoted article as foundation for the question he asked.  Just saying...
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Nigula Qian Zishi on March 09, 2012, 05:09:58 PM
Building churches alone doesn't prove much, if the churches are empty. How about statistics about church attendance, baptisms etc?

Ok, here you go Jonathan:

Percentage of Russians who attend church reaches 71% - poll

Moscow, February 27, Interfax (http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=9101) - The number of Russians who go to temples increased considerably over the past two decades. Sociologists have found that the most frequently observed ritual is the placement of candles in. Over the past 16 years, the number of Russians who go to church, mosque, or synagogue increased ... 83% of Orthodox respondents reported going to church. 11% of the respondents said they go into churches rarely or from time to time... The poll, which was conducted in 138 populated areas in 46 regions, territories, and republics of Russia in mid-February, shows that a considerable number of people who go to temples (38%) just speak to God, 31% read prayers, 27% kiss holy relics, 33% give alms, 29% donate money to temples, and 9% go to temples to sanctify things.


Thanks, Nicholas. So, when it says "83% of Orthodox respondents", does that mean 83% of those who identified themselves as Orthodox (as opposed to atheists or agnostics)?

Yes, I believe that you are reading that correctly.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on March 09, 2012, 06:04:39 PM
Building churches alone doesn't prove much, if the churches are empty. How about statistics about church attendance, baptisms etc?

Ok, here you go Jonathan:

Percentage of Russians who attend church reaches 71% - poll

Moscow, February 27, Interfax (http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=9101) - The number of Russians who go to temples increased considerably over the past two decades. Sociologists have found that the most frequently observed ritual is the placement of candles in. Over the past 16 years, the number of Russians who go to church, mosque, or synagogue increased ... 83% of Orthodox respondents reported going to church. 11% of the respondents said they go into churches rarely or from time to time... The poll, which was conducted in 138 populated areas in 46 regions, territories, and republics of Russia in mid-February, shows that a considerable number of people who go to temples (38%) just speak to God, 31% read prayers, 27% kiss holy relics, 33% give alms, 29% donate money to temples, and 9% go to temples to sanctify things.


You omitted the most important facts (from the article that you cited):

Over the past 16 years, the number of Russians who go to church, mosque, or synagogue increased from 57% to 71%.
7% of the respondents go to religious buildings at least once a month,
30% go to religious buildings from time to time, and
34% go to religious buildings rarely.

Now, tell me why we should be impressed by these figures.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Nigula Qian Zishi on March 09, 2012, 06:29:22 PM
Building churches alone doesn't prove much, if the churches are empty. How about statistics about church attendance, baptisms etc?

Ok, here you go Jonathan:

Percentage of Russians who attend church reaches 71% - poll

Moscow, February 27, Interfax (http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=9101) - The number of Russians who go to temples increased considerably over the past two decades. Sociologists have found that the most frequently observed ritual is the placement of candles in. Over the past 16 years, the number of Russians who go to church, mosque, or synagogue increased ... 83% of Orthodox respondents reported going to church. 11% of the respondents said they go into churches rarely or from time to time... The poll, which was conducted in 138 populated areas in 46 regions, territories, and republics of Russia in mid-February, shows that a considerable number of people who go to temples (38%) just speak to God, 31% read prayers, 27% kiss holy relics, 33% give alms, 29% donate money to temples, and 9% go to temples to sanctify things.


You omitted the most important facts (from the article that you cited):

Over the past 16 years, the number of Russians who go to church, mosque, or synagogue increased from 57% to 71%.

That is why. It is a start for a previously Atheist country. There are lots of Christeasters (Come only for for Pascha and the Nativity) in every country. Haven't you seen the number of people at your parish at least triple for these great Feasts too?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 09, 2012, 07:47:01 PM
While not the same (much to Vladik's chagrin), perhaps Nektarios can speak to how different things are in Ukraine as opposed to ten years ago?

This sort of post really has to be contextualized.  The late Soviet Union offered a lot of good things, and nearly everyone who grew up in the USSR (i.e 60s, 70s, 80s) had a great childhood.  People weren't rich, but there were a lot of social services that made life interesting.  This odd critter called a palace of culture was all over the place.  These served the gambit from entertainment for children, to gyms, to cultural centers for performing and fine arts as well as continuing education centers for adults.  Schools were generally high quality.  In short there were plenty of wholesome, good things to do for people for little or no cost whatsoever.  Then the 90s rolled around, which across the board people will tell you were the worst times of their lives.  All of those good, wholesome things were gone.  Unemployment instantly became out of control.  Enter the lost generation. 

The Church was in a curious state at this point in the late Soviet period.  I'd say it was something like Stockholm syndrome, but even beyond that.  The Church was privileged but in a very odd sort of way.  All of the hierarchy were true Soviet people, not like their ethnic counterparts in diaspora churches.  The idea of having to keep your Church alive (and more practically yourself fed) by filling the pews (metaphorically) simply didn't exist among Soviet clergy and doesn't really seem to exist in the modern MP either.  This really does breed a certain arrogance.  I'm Herr Priest - kiss my....

So where do these two stories connect?  The lost generation here really is searching for something.  Unfortunately making vodka at home is nearly free.  Beer is still considered a foodstuff in Ukraine (was recently considered alcoholic in Russia).  Alcoholism was one out.  It doesn't take long to realize an unfortunately high number of people have chosen this route.  Drugs, sex, entertainment along those lines is another popular route.  Google "krokodil drug" to see something absolutely horrific.  I've seen this in real life.  It is simply indescribable.  Alcohol has ravaged the lower and lower-middle classes.  The Orthodox Church, for the most part, isn't going near these lepers.  The braver Protestant and Muslim missionaries do but not with great success. 

The upper-middle and parts of the middle class have got one with life since the fall of USSR.  These are the sorts of people who can afford to do the things I mentioned in the late Soviet period (i.e visit a sports hall).  The ideology of communism gone and nothing to fill the void, there is a great intellectual curiosity.  Some go down the road of substance abuse, mindless entertainment etc.  Others do choose the spiritual path.  New Age sorts of things are popular and Yoga centers are sprouting up like mushrooms here.  These are more Yoga as life-style: they promote abstinence from alcohol and usually have attached vegetarian cafes.  Protestant communities are also sprouting up all over.  I've mentioned in other threads why I think people are attracted to them; there's no need to repeat that here.  Like has been mentioned, Orthodox churches are also slowly increasing.  A general awareness of Orthodoxy is definitely on the rise, even if observance isn't.  The demographics of the parishes that I've attended are fairly typically: mostly old women (60-80%) and (get ready...) yuppies.  I don't mean this disparagingly as I'd put myself in this group. 

What is the Church doing to draw people in?  Pretty much nothing.  The attitude still prevails that Russians should automatically be Orthodox therefore the Church need not evangelize.  To many in power it makes more sense to simply persecute Protestants and find Catholic boogy-men rather than draw people in.  Of course there are exceptions and my gut feeling is that things will get better as the new generation starts to take over.  One of the biggest problems is the inherent clericalism and conservationism (by this I mean ossification) of the Church here.  As the article Isa quoted mentioned, "she does not go to church. She has been once or twice out of curiosity, “but didn’t understand it much”."  I can't emphasize enough that unless you already know the text of the Divine Liturgy really well, you will not actually understand anything if you walk into an MP parish.  People aren't friendly in churches.  If you make some accidental faux paux you will be yelled out.  If you buy a prayerbook it will be very difficult to understand.  Generally speaking the emphasis is on external forms and observances.  It is a somewhat of a caricature, but I see it a lot: eat, drink and be merry - fast during Holy Week, go to confession, go to communion on Easter and that's the extent of Orthodox life.  This isn't everywhere, but it is pretty common.  There are decent priests and parishes out there, but IME mediocrity predominates.  If Ukraine had been my first exposure to Orthodoxy, there is absolutely no way I would have decided to become Orthodox.     

To answer the question - yes things are different than ten years ago and getting better, but there is still a long, long way to go.                 
   
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Cognomen on March 09, 2012, 07:58:58 PM
^ In other words, just like it was in Way of the Pilgrim.

Thanks very much for your observations, Nektarios.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: ialmisry on March 09, 2012, 08:20:38 PM
It's kind of funny you would quote something from over ten years ago.

How about something from 2012?

That's his point, biro. After a decade has past, what has changed from 2000 to 2012 with the Russian Orthodox Church reaching out to young Russians.

I get the sarcasm. I just don't think he should throw out a blank charge like that, and not have posted what he thinks will back it up.

I could post again the article about 200 new churches being built in Moscow, but then again, we're not allowed to prove him wrong, now, are we?

It would all just mess up his idea that there are people who are not as good Orthodox as he is. And we wouldn't want that.  ::)

Why project such motives onto Isa?  I don't think he's being sarcastic.  He asked a question.

Well, I think so. I'm not projecting a thing: he never seems to approve of anything other jurisdictions are doing, other than the holy Antiochians (because he's one of them).
LOL. You seen this thread?
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19965.990.html
It's funny that you don't see him express sympathy for the fact that the Russians have to fight against problems such as very rich American televangelist ministries sending over their missionaries. No, that might mitigate against his desire to make the ROC look bad.
I think my Russophile tendencies are well documented.  Take a look here at any conversation I had with Heorhij.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: ialmisry on March 09, 2012, 08:20:38 PM
It's kind of funny you would quote something from over ten years ago.

How about something from 2012?

That's his point, biro. After a decade has past, what has changed from 2000 to 2012 with the Russian Orthodox Church reaching out to young Russians.

I get the sarcasm. I just don't think he should throw out a blank charge like that, and not have posted what he thinks will back it up.

I could post again the article about 200 new churches being built in Moscow, but then again, we're not allowed to prove him wrong, now, are we?

It would all just mess up his idea that there are people who are not as good Orthodox as he is. And we wouldn't want that.  ::)
I could list all sorts of better Orthodox than me, but I already have 24,000 posts and I don't need to make it 50,000
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: ialmisry on March 09, 2012, 11:06:59 PM
^ In other words, just like it was in Way of the Pilgrim.

Thanks very much for your observations, Nektarios.
Exactly.

There was a reason why Holy Mother Russia collapsed and the Bolsheviks took over.

If every single person in Russia were Orthodox, there would still be a reason for outreach by the Church and conversion.  Like any country.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: KShaft on March 12, 2012, 12:42:22 AM
Over a decade after the events under question in the OP, a lot has changed.

Gee, do you think something new may have happened since the early 2000s?

But let's just throw the implication out there that it hasn't, which is what he did. And still I am the one who questions this, and we see what happens. Sigh...

 :P

Figures. Again, I should have known what to expect.


All right, I get it. We have always been at war with Eastasia. There is no man behind the curtain.

Happy Pascha. I'll get out of your way.

 Wow what is with this dude?  Legit question. Its not going to be easy to undo the damage of the communist wretches and their mindF$!@ing of the Russian population. I can see the same stuff beginning here how kids dont even know about Genesis and Christ, when I grew up it was taken for granted.

 I think copies of Alexander Schmemmans "For the Life of the World" would do wonders. If that book doesnt seriously contribute to a conversion I dont know what will. Such an organic picture of salvation history and the sacraments it makes the more legalized western take seem almost perverse.  But one thing they will need above all else is a heart. If you have a heart, you can be converted.  Most of these people are at the state in what CS Lewis describes in 'Abolition of Man'. Basically you're nothing but a robot. You're not human because you have no heart which affects your worldview, etc... etc...
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 12, 2012, 02:47:23 AM
Its not going to be easy to undo the damage of the communist wretches and their mindF$!@ing of the Russian population.

This, in my view, is part of the problem.  All ills of Russian society are blamed on "communism" by outsiders.  Lately that is becoming more and more of fashionable excuse domestically.   This is branded about as if "communism" were some tiny element of society that wreaked havoc on the rest.  The reality is that a very large percentage of society supported the early Bolsheviks because of their political agenda.  Thousands upon thousands gleefully destroyed their churches.   To this day the Orthodox Church has no real comprehension of its own culpability in this. 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: KShaft on March 12, 2012, 03:23:23 AM
Its not going to be easy to undo the damage of the communist wretches and their mindF$!@ing of the Russian population.

This, in my view, is part of the problem.  All ills of Russian society are blamed on "communism" by outsiders.  Lately that is becoming more and more of fashionable excuse domestically.   This is branded about as if "communism" were some tiny element of society that wreaked havoc on the rest.  The reality is that a very large percentage of society supported the early Bolsheviks because of their political agenda.  Thousands upon thousands gleefully destroyed their churches.   To this day the Orthodox Church has no real comprehension of its own culpability in this. 

 Well for every one compliant 100 were martyred, probably more, and its a bit easier to be compliant with a gun to your head. Even Sergius needed to be tortured for a few years or so. The fact of the matter is, the powers that be put in all sorts of programs to de-Christianize Russia. This anti-theist mentality permeated only well after the revolution and it was more the rulers or officers in the military. Now at the time of the revolution, there might have been some anger towards conceived corruption in the church(so said the Bolsheviks to be sure), and surely against the aristocrats, but in general it was not against Orthodoxy per se.  That was an outright campaign from the commies to blot it out.  Thier mission was to erase that from the hearts and minds so they could forge in their own sick godless image as you being an instrument of the state. Whatever the Russian soldiers problems were with the ruling class it was most likely exaggerated and inflamed by communist elements in the first place to gain power, but to say the mind set of the Russian people towards the church en masse was anything like how it was after being raped by an atheist state for 80 years is ludicrous. 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: orthonorm on March 12, 2012, 03:25:56 AM
While not the same (much to Vladik's chagrin), perhaps Nektarios can speak to how different things are in Ukraine as opposed to ten years ago?

This sort of post really has to be contextualized.  The late Soviet Union offered a lot of good things, and nearly everyone who grew up in the USSR (i.e 60s, 70s, 80s) had a great childhood.  People weren't rich, but there were a lot of social services that made life interesting.  This odd critter called a palace of culture was all over the place.  These served the gambit from entertainment for children, to gyms, to cultural centers for performing and fine arts as well as continuing education centers for adults.  Schools were generally high quality.  In short there were plenty of wholesome, good things to do for people for little or no cost whatsoever.  Then the 90s rolled around, which across the board people will tell you were the worst times of their lives.  All of those good, wholesome things were gone.  Unemployment instantly became out of control.  Enter the lost generation. 

The Church was in a curious state at this point in the late Soviet period.  I'd say it was something like Stockholm syndrome, but even beyond that.  The Church was privileged but in a very odd sort of way.  All of the hierarchy were true Soviet people, not like their ethnic counterparts in diaspora churches.  The idea of having to keep your Church alive (and more practically yourself fed) by filling the pews (metaphorically) simply didn't exist among Soviet clergy and doesn't really seem to exist in the modern MP either.  This really does breed a certain arrogance.  I'm Herr Priest - kiss my....

So where do these two stories connect?  The lost generation here really is searching for something.  Unfortunately making vodka at home is nearly free.  Beer is still considered a foodstuff in Ukraine (was recently considered alcoholic in Russia).  Alcoholism was one out.  It doesn't take long to realize an unfortunately high number of people have chosen this route.  Drugs, sex, entertainment along those lines is another popular route.  Google "krokodil drug" to see something absolutely horrific.  I've seen this in real life.  It is simply indescribable.  Alcohol has ravaged the lower and lower-middle classes.  The Orthodox Church, for the most part, isn't going near these lepers.  The braver Protestant and Muslim missionaries do but not with great success. 

The upper-middle and parts of the middle class have got one with life since the fall of USSR.  These are the sorts of people who can afford to do the things I mentioned in the late Soviet period (i.e visit a sports hall).  The ideology of communism gone and nothing to fill the void, there is a great intellectual curiosity.  Some go down the road of substance abuse, mindless entertainment etc.  Others do choose the spiritual path.  New Age sorts of things are popular and Yoga centers are sprouting up like mushrooms here.  These are more Yoga as life-style: they promote abstinence from alcohol and usually have attached vegetarian cafes.  Protestant communities are also sprouting up all over.  I've mentioned in other threads why I think people are attracted to them; there's no need to repeat that here.  Like has been mentioned, Orthodox churches are also slowly increasing.  A general awareness of Orthodoxy is definitely on the rise, even if observance isn't.  The demographics of the parishes that I've attended are fairly typically: mostly old women (60-80%) and (get ready...) yuppies.  I don't mean this disparagingly as I'd put myself in this group. 

What is the Church doing to draw people in?  Pretty much nothing.  The attitude still prevails that Russians should automatically be Orthodox therefore the Church need not evangelize.  To many in power it makes more sense to simply persecute Protestants and find Catholic boogy-men rather than draw people in.  Of course there are exceptions and my gut feeling is that things will get better as the new generation starts to take over.  One of the biggest problems is the inherent clericalism and conservationism (by this I mean ossification) of the Church here.  As the article Isa quoted mentioned, "she does not go to church. She has been once or twice out of curiosity, “but didn’t understand it much”."  I can't emphasize enough that unless you already know the text of the Divine Liturgy really well, you will not actually understand anything if you walk into an MP parish.  People aren't friendly in churches.  If you make some accidental faux paux you will be yelled out.  If you buy a prayerbook it will be very difficult to understand.  Generally speaking the emphasis is on external forms and observances.  It is a somewhat of a caricature, but I see it a lot: eat, drink and be merry - fast during Holy Week, go to confession, go to communion on Easter and that's the extent of Orthodox life.  This isn't everywhere, but it is pretty common.  There are decent priests and parishes out there, but IME mediocrity predominates.  If Ukraine had been my first exposure to Orthodoxy, there is absolutely no way I would have decided to become Orthodox.     

To answer the question - yes things are different than ten years ago and getting better, but there is still a long, long way to go.                 
   

Good grief, a thoughtful post.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: NicholasMyra on March 12, 2012, 04:00:21 AM
Well for every one compliant 100 were martyred
No.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: orthonorm on March 12, 2012, 04:03:46 AM
Well for every one compliant 100 were martyred
No.

Link?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 12, 2012, 05:16:42 AM
Its not going to be easy to undo the damage of the communist wretches and their mindF$!@ing of the Russian population.

This, in my view, is part of the problem.  All ills of Russian society are blamed on "communism" by outsiders.  Lately that is becoming more and more of fashionable excuse domestically.   This is branded about as if "communism" were some tiny element of society that wreaked havoc on the rest.  The reality is that a very large percentage of society supported the early Bolsheviks because of their political agenda.  Thousands upon thousands gleefully destroyed their churches.   To this day the Orthodox Church has no real comprehension of its own culpability in this. 

 Well for every one compliant 100 were martyred, probably more, and its a bit easier to be compliant with a gun to your head. Even Sergius needed to be tortured for a few years or so. The fact of the matter is, the powers that be put in all sorts of programs to de-Christianize Russia. This anti-theist mentality permeated only well after the revolution and it was more the rulers or officers in the military. Now at the time of the revolution, there might have been some anger towards conceived corruption in the church(so said the Bolsheviks to be sure), and surely against the aristocrats, but in general it was not against Orthodoxy per se.  That was an outright campaign from the commies to blot it out.  Thier mission was to erase that from the hearts and minds so they could forge in their own sick godless image as you being an instrument of the state. Whatever the Russian soldiers problems were with the ruling class it was most likely exaggerated and inflamed by communist elements in the first place to gain power, but to say the mind set of the Russian people towards the church en masse was anything like how it was after being raped by an atheist state for 80 years is ludicrous. 

Do you have any sort of academic sources to back up your claims?  I'm particularly interested in your quantitative claims.  Off the top of my head the numbers I remember from my university courses on the topic were about 20% active supports of the regime (i.e party members, members of the police, actual material supporters).  That's a far cry from 1%.  The fact remains that people were willing to abandon the Church fairly quickly (not all of course, but in large enough numbers to make it feasible to persecute the Church).  Have you read much by Ivan Bunin?  The more I read, the more accurate I think his depiction of rural life in the Russian Empire was.  Christianization was very superficial in many aspects, hence quickly abandoning it when it became politically expedient to do so. 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Gorazd on March 12, 2012, 05:41:28 AM
The topic is quite complex, and like Nektarios, I am much more familiar with Ukraine than with Russia. But there is one point I do want to mention: My impression in Ukraine is that most parishes nowadays depend on wealthy sponsors much more than on the actual parishoners, both for financing the construction of buildings and for the salaries of the clergy. And if normal people pay larger amounts of money, than that is not in the form of monthly tithing, but reather for special occasions such as baptisms, weddings and funerals.

That means that there is no direct relationship between the number of people regularly attending and the money in the priest's pocket. And in many cases, that indeed leads to mediocre results. But there are quite some examples to the contrary: If clergy with a vision and a supportive sponsor come together, quite a lot can be done. A good example for this would be the monks of St. Jonah's monastery in Kyiv's Botanical Garden, who are running a great youth ministry, and who have renovated the monastery to a wonderful state, after it was used as a waste disposal during communist times. All this happened with the support of Petro Poroshenko, the chocolate oligarch.

As for being welcomed in parishes, I did notice that hardly anyone actually welcomes newcomers in most parishes of the MP in Ukraine. People are usually just being ignored. That is a big problem, especially since the Greek Catholics (and Protestants) are doing much better at this. In fact, it is a pity that the UGCC is Catholic, because apart from being in communion with Rome, it is just as good Orthodox Church should be: Welcoming, a strong faith but without fanatism, beautiful liturgies in the language of the people, putting a strong emphasis on education...
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: NicholasMyra on March 12, 2012, 05:46:21 AM
Well for every one compliant 100 were martyred
No.

Link?
If you're asking me, common sense.  ;)
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on March 12, 2012, 08:57:30 AM
Its not going to be easy to undo the damage of the communist wretches and their mindF$!@ing of the Russian population.

This, in my view, is part of the problem.  All ills of Russian society are blamed on "communism" by outsiders.  Lately that is becoming more and more of fashionable excuse domestically.   This is branded about as if "communism" were some tiny element of society that wreaked havoc on the rest.  The reality is that a very large percentage of society supported the early Bolsheviks because of their political agenda.  Thousands upon thousands gleefully destroyed their churches.   To this day the Orthodox Church has no real comprehension of its own culpability in this. 

 Well for every one compliant 100 were martyred, probably more, and its a bit easier to be compliant with a gun to your head. Even Sergius needed to be tortured for a few years or so. The fact of the matter is, the powers that be put in all sorts of programs to de-Christianize Russia. This anti-theist mentality permeated only well after the revolution and it was more the rulers or officers in the military. Now at the time of the revolution, there might have been some anger towards conceived corruption in the church(so said the Bolsheviks to be sure), and surely against the aristocrats, but in general it was not against Orthodoxy per se.  That was an outright campaign from the commies to blot it out.  Thier mission was to erase that from the hearts and minds so they could forge in their own sick godless image as you being an instrument of the state. Whatever the Russian soldiers problems were with the ruling class it was most likely exaggerated and inflamed by communist elements in the first place to gain power, but to say the mind set of the Russian people towards the church en masse was anything like how it was after being raped by an atheist state for 80 years is ludicrous. 

Do you have any sort of academic sources to back up your claims?  I'm particularly interested in your quantitative claims.  Off the top of my head the numbers I remember from my university courses on the topic were about 20% active supports of the regime (i.e party members, members of the police, actual material supporters).  That's a far cry from 1%.  The fact remains that people were willing to abandon the Church fairly quickly (not all of course, but in large enough numbers to make it feasible to persecute the Church).  Have you read much by Ivan Bunin?  The more I read, the more accurate I think his depiction of rural life in the Russian Empire was.  Christianization was very superficial in many aspects, hence quickly abandoning it when it became politically expedient to do so. 

I would not be surprised if a bell curve existed: 20% Bolsheviks, 60% passives, and 20% opposed/martyred.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: filipinopilgrim on March 12, 2012, 12:51:27 PM
Permit a non-Orthodox outsider to give his point of view.

The Russian Orthodox Church went through 74 years of Communist rule, followed by a decade of immense national stagnation, confusion and impoverishment (which few seem to want to factor in). In that decade (and the decade that followed it) it has had to confront everything from nationalist schisms (Ukraine, Estonia and, to a much lesser extent, Belarus), the foundation of innumerable "Catacomb" and "True Orthodox" groups, sects from East and West, numerous theological disputes within the Church itself, the arising of long-suppressed ultranationalist pathologies combined with the rapid invasion of Western-style consumerist and liberal ideologies, and relentlessly negative media portrayals within and outside Russia. While trying to deal with these problems, the Russian Orthodox Church also had to improve its seminary system, restore its traditions, build its own media and communications system, and basically find its bearings in a rapidly-changing world -- all the while being led by a relatively small group of bishops, few of whom had the education or background to effectively deal with these things.

It received thousands of churches and buildings back from the Russian State in the past two decades, but these tended to be dilapidated if not completely ruined inside, and many of the great churches that have been restored tend to be in places where people no longer live; hence the drive to construct new churches in the suburbs where people actually live.

To this outside observer, it is a miracle that not only is the Russian Orthodox Church alive, it is also growing in terms of the number of churches and the number of adherents, even if there are debates regarding the extent of that growth.

In contrast, my own Church, the Catholic Church, has had relative peace and prosperity for the past many decades, and even to this day; the media attacks on it, while on a terrible scale, hardly compare to a bloody persecution, and the great majority of Catholics are free to exercise their faith. For 26 years it was led by a Pope who commanded unprecedented international respect and prestige. It has spent untold sums, invested unimaginable resources on every program of evangelization that one can think of, from all sorts of youth programs to massive social works. And yet, we close thousands of churches all over the world every year, and thousands more await closure in the next 2 decades as the last priests ordained prior to Vatican II enter retirement. There is much hype about the explosive growth of the Catholic Church in newly-evangelized areas Asia and Africa, but it remains to be seen how deeply the faith has actually been planted in these areas. (If the recent history of African countries with large Catholic populations such as Uganda, the two Congos, Central Africa, Rwanda, and Burundi are any indication, the answer is -- not very deeply.)

Meanwhile, in the "old countries" of Catholicism the only story is one of rapid secularization and loss of faith.

I've read, from time to time, of Orthodox who urge their co-religionists to adopt Protestant methods. Oh, no, you don't know what you are talking about. We Catholics have adopted almost every Protestant / Evangelical / Pentecostal trick on the book, from charismatic worship to a style of apologetics and preaching that is de facto 'sola scriptura'. Has this helped the Catholic Church in the long run? I think these have only contributed to the Protestantization of Catholicism and the loss of millions to Protestantism. Why imitate Protestantism when you can be a real Protestant? Be careful what you wish for.

Perhaps this is the best path of evangelization: the tried and true path of keeping to the traditions of the Church. I think this is what the Russians are doing. It may not necessarily bring in the crowds, but it surely keeps the faith, in the hope of a better tomorrow. This is the same path used by Traditional Catholics and Traditional Anglicans.

I do not know what scandalizes me more: the fact that most Russians are "unchurched", or the fact that other Orthodox are more than happy to put down and denigrate their fellow Russian Orthodox for not being a perfect Church.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: vamrat on March 12, 2012, 01:11:11 PM
Its not going to be easy to undo the damage of the communist wretches and their mindF$!@ing of the Russian population.

This, in my view, is part of the problem.  All ills of Russian society are blamed on "communism" by outsiders.  Lately that is becoming more and more of fashionable excuse domestically.   This is branded about as if "communism" were some tiny element of society that wreaked havoc on the rest.  The reality is that a very large percentage of society supported the early Bolsheviks because of their political agenda.  Thousands upon thousands gleefully destroyed their churches.   To this day the Orthodox Church has no real comprehension of its own culpability in this. 

 Well for every one compliant 100 were martyred, probably more, and its a bit easier to be compliant with a gun to your head. Even Sergius needed to be tortured for a few years or so. The fact of the matter is, the powers that be put in all sorts of programs to de-Christianize Russia. This anti-theist mentality permeated only well after the revolution and it was more the rulers or officers in the military. Now at the time of the revolution, there might have been some anger towards conceived corruption in the church(so said the Bolsheviks to be sure), and surely against the aristocrats, but in general it was not against Orthodoxy per se.  That was an outright campaign from the commies to blot it out.  Thier mission was to erase that from the hearts and minds so they could forge in their own sick godless image as you being an instrument of the state. Whatever the Russian soldiers problems were with the ruling class it was most likely exaggerated and inflamed by communist elements in the first place to gain power, but to say the mind set of the Russian people towards the church en masse was anything like how it was after being raped by an atheist state for 80 years is ludicrous. 

Do you have any sort of academic sources to back up your claims?  I'm particularly interested in your quantitative claims.  Off the top of my head the numbers I remember from my university courses on the topic were about 20% active supports of the regime (i.e party members, members of the police, actual material supporters).  That's a far cry from 1%.  The fact remains that people were willing to abandon the Church fairly quickly (not all of course, but in large enough numbers to make it feasible to persecute the Church).  Have you read much by Ivan Bunin?  The more I read, the more accurate I think his depiction of rural life in the Russian Empire was.  Christianization was very superficial in many aspects, hence quickly abandoning it when it became politically expedient to do so. 

I would not be surprised if a bell curve existed: 20% Bolsheviks, 60% passives, and 20% opposed/martyred.

You're probably right about there being a bell curve, though I'd probably put the percentages closer to 10/80/10.   ;)
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: vamrat on March 12, 2012, 01:11:48 PM
Permit a non-Orthodox outsider to give his point of view.

The Russian Orthodox Church went through 74 years of Communist rule, followed by a decade of immense national stagnation, confusion and impoverishment (which few seem to want to factor in). In that decade it also confronted everything from nationalist schisms (Ukraine, Estonia and, to a much lesser extent, Belarus), the foundation of innumerable "Catacomb" and "True Orthodox" groups, sects from East and West, numerous theological disputes within the Church itself, the arising of long-suppressed ultranationalist pathologies combined with the rapid invasion of Western-style consumerist and liberal ideologies, and relentlessly negative media portrayals within and outside Russia. It received thousands of churches and buildings back from the Russian State in the past two decades, but these tended to be dilapidated if not completely ruined inside, and many of the great churches that have been restored tend to be in places where people no longer live; hence the drive to construct new churches in the suburbs where people actually live.

To this outside observer, it is a miracle that not only is the Russian Orthodox Church alive, it is also growing in terms of the number of churches and the number of adherents, even if there are debates regarding the extent of that growth.

In contrast, my own Church, the Catholic Church, has had relative peace and prosperity for the past many decades, and even to this day; the media attacks on it, while on a terrible scale, hardly compare to a bloody persecution, and the great majority of Catholics are free to exercise their faith. For 26 years it was led by a Pope who commanded unprecedented international respect and prestige. It has spent untold sums, invested unimaginable resources on every program of evangelization that one can think of, from all sorts of youth programs to massive social works. And yet, we close thousands of churches all over the world every year, and thousands more await closure in the next 2 decades as the last priests ordained prior to Vatican II enter retirement. There is much hype about the explosive growth of the Catholic Church in newly-evangelized areas Asia and Africa, but it remains to be seen how deeply the faith has actually been planted in these areas. (If the recent history of African countries with large Catholic populations such as Uganda, the two Congos, Central Africa, Rwanda, and Burundi are any indication, the answer is -- not very deeply.)

Meanwhile, in the "old countries" of Catholicism the only story is one of rapid secularization and loss of faith.

I've read, from time to time, of Orthodox who urge their co-religionists to adopt Protestant methods. Oh, no, you don't know what you are talking about. We Catholics have adopted almost every Protestant / Evangelical / Pentecostal trick on the book, from charismatic worship to a style of apologetics and preaching that is de facto 'sola scriptura'. Has this helped the Catholic Church in the long run? I think these have only contributed to the Protestantization of Catholicism and the loss of millions to Protestantism. Why imitate Protestantism when you can be a real Protestant? Be careful what you wish for.

Perhaps this is the best path of evangelization: the tried and true path of keeping to the traditions of the Church. I think this is what the Russians are doing. It may not necessarily bring in the crowds, but it surely keeps the faith, in the hope of a better tomorrow. This is the same path used by Traditional Catholics and Traditional Anglicans.

I do not know what scandalizes me more: the fact that most Russians are "unchurched", or the fact that other Orthodox are more than happy to put down and denigrate their fellow Russian Orthodox for not being a perfect Church.

I have to agree with you on every point.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 02:24:23 PM
Permit a non-Orthodox outsider to give his point of view.

The Russian Orthodox Church went through 74 years of Communist rule, followed by a decade of immense national stagnation, confusion and impoverishment (which few seem to want to factor in). In that decade (and the decade that followed it) it has had to confront everything from nationalist schisms (Ukraine, Estonia and, to a much lesser extent, Belarus), the foundation of innumerable "Catacomb" and "True Orthodox" groups, sects from East and West, numerous theological disputes within the Church itself, the arising of long-suppressed ultranationalist pathologies combined with the rapid invasion of Western-style consumerist and liberal ideologies, and relentlessly negative media portrayals within and outside Russia. While trying to deal with these problems, the Russian Orthodox Church also had to improve its seminary system, restore its traditions, build its own media and communications system, and basically find its bearings in a rapidly-changing world -- all the while being led by a relatively small group of bishops, few of whom had the education or background to effectively deal with these things.

It received thousands of churches and buildings back from the Russian State in the past two decades, but these tended to be dilapidated if not completely ruined inside, and many of the great churches that have been restored tend to be in places where people no longer live; hence the drive to construct new churches in the suburbs where people actually live.

To this outside observer, it is a miracle that not only is the Russian Orthodox Church alive, it is also growing in terms of the number of churches and the number of adherents, even if there are debates regarding the extent of that growth.

In contrast, my own Church, the Catholic Church, has had relative peace and prosperity for the past many decades, and even to this day; the media attacks on it, while on a terrible scale, hardly compare to a bloody persecution, and the great majority of Catholics are free to exercise their faith. For 26 years it was led by a Pope who commanded unprecedented international respect and prestige. It has spent untold sums, invested unimaginable resources on every program of evangelization that one can think of, from all sorts of youth programs to massive social works. And yet, we close thousands of churches all over the world every year, and thousands more await closure in the next 2 decades as the last priests ordained prior to Vatican II enter retirement. There is much hype about the explosive growth of the Catholic Church in newly-evangelized areas Asia and Africa, but it remains to be seen how deeply the faith has actually been planted in these areas. (If the recent history of African countries with large Catholic populations such as Uganda, the two Congos, Central Africa, Rwanda, and Burundi are any indication, the answer is -- not very deeply.)

Meanwhile, in the "old countries" of Catholicism the only story is one of rapid secularization and loss of faith.

I've read, from time to time, of Orthodox who urge their co-religionists to adopt Protestant methods. Oh, no, you don't know what you are talking about. We Catholics have adopted almost every Protestant / Evangelical / Pentecostal trick on the book, from charismatic worship to a style of apologetics and preaching that is de facto 'sola scriptura'. Has this helped the Catholic Church in the long run? I think these have only contributed to the Protestantization of Catholicism and the loss of millions to Protestantism. Why imitate Protestantism when you can be a real Protestant? Be careful what you wish for.

Perhaps this is the best path of evangelization: the tried and true path of keeping to the traditions of the Church. I think this is what the Russians are doing. It may not necessarily bring in the crowds, but it surely keeps the faith, in the hope of a better tomorrow. This is the same path used by Traditional Catholics and Traditional Anglicans.

I do not know what scandalizes me more: the fact that most Russians are "unchurched", or the fact that other Orthodox are more than happy to put down and denigrate their fellow Russian Orthodox for not being a perfect Church.

Well speaking from my point of view as a True Orthodox Christian, the point is not that the members of the Moscow Patriarchate are not perfect. We're certainly not perfect, either. The point is that the MP stands for something besides merely "keeping the traditions"; it stands for compromise with worldly, even Satanic power. How come the MP got to keep the few church buildings it did, while the Catacomb Church had to make do with serving liturgy in apartments and hidden places? Because the MP hierarchs chose to subordinate Christ to the atheist State. Even though the aims of the Communist State were diametrically opposed to those of Christ's Church, the MP agreed to proclaim that the aims of international socialism were the same as those of the Church. This is, of course, a lie, and we can't find the Truth among lies.

You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP. But take the examples of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. Certainly we could feel sorry for the one who gave in before the end, but even if we can sympathize with him, the Church does not identify with or honor the one who gave in under terrible torture, but those who never gave in at all, because of their unshakeable faith in Christ. I can feel sorry for many in the MP, given their circumstances, but ultimately I can't consider them, rather than the steadfast Catacomb Church, to be the "rock" upon which Christ builds His Church.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: ialmisry on March 12, 2012, 03:35:17 PM
Its not going to be easy to undo the damage of the communist wretches and their mindF$!@ing of the Russian population.

This, in my view, is part of the problem.  All ills of Russian society are blamed on "communism" by outsiders.  Lately that is becoming more and more of fashionable excuse domestically.   This is branded about as if "communism" were some tiny element of society that wreaked havoc on the rest.  The reality is that a very large percentage of society supported the early Bolsheviks because of their political agenda.  Thousands upon thousands gleefully destroyed their churches.   To this day the Orthodox Church has no real comprehension of its own culpability in this. 

 Well for every one compliant 100 were martyred, probably more, and its a bit easier to be compliant with a gun to your head. Even Sergius needed to be tortured for a few years or so. The fact of the matter is, the powers that be put in all sorts of programs to de-Christianize Russia. This anti-theist mentality permeated only well after the revolution and it was more the rulers or officers in the military. Now at the time of the revolution, there might have been some anger towards conceived corruption in the church(so said the Bolsheviks to be sure), and surely against the aristocrats, but in general it was not against Orthodoxy per se.  That was an outright campaign from the commies to blot it out.  Thier mission was to erase that from the hearts and minds so they could forge in their own sick godless image as you being an instrument of the state. Whatever the Russian soldiers problems were with the ruling class it was most likely exaggerated and inflamed by communist elements in the first place to gain power, but to say the mind set of the Russian people towards the church en masse was anything like how it was after being raped by an atheist state for 80 years is ludicrous. 

Do you have any sort of academic sources to back up your claims?  I'm particularly interested in your quantitative claims.  Off the top of my head the numbers I remember from my university courses on the topic were about 20% active supports of the regime (i.e party members, members of the police, actual material supporters).  That's a far cry from 1%.  The fact remains that people were willing to abandon the Church fairly quickly (not all of course, but in large enough numbers to make it feasible to persecute the Church).  Have you read much by Ivan Bunin?  The more I read, the more accurate I think his depiction of rural life in the Russian Empire was.  Christianization was very superficial in many aspects, hence quickly abandoning it when it became politically expedient to do so. 

I would not be surprised if a bell curve existed: 20% Bolsheviks, 60% passives, and 20% opposed/martyred.
Stalin insisted on including a question about religion, asked of everyone over 16, in the All Soviet Census of 1937, expecting that the results would show a self-identified atheist majority.  He scheduled it on Christmas Eve Dec 24/Jan 6.

56.7% of those replied stated a religion, 43.2% self-identified as atheist, the rest refusing to answer. This after nearly two decades of the war on the Church. Suspicions are that many of the self-identified atheists were just dissimulating believers.
Quote
Historian V. B. Zhiromskaya stated that people expected to be persecuted if they declared themselves as belonging to a religion but considered the answer to be important: If many people would say they are religious, the authorities would have to open the churches, was a common attitude.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Census_(1937)

Stalin destroyed the results and sent the census takers to the gulag.  The Soviets never asked a religion question again.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: ialmisry on March 12, 2012, 03:35:17 PM
Over a decade after the events under question in the OP, a lot has changed.

Gee, do you think something new may have happened since the early 2000s?

But let's just throw the implication out there that it hasn't, which is what he did. And still I am the one who questions this, and we see what happens. Sigh...

 :P

Figures. Again, I should have known what to expect.


All right, I get it. We have always been at war with Eastasia. There is no man behind the curtain.

Happy Pascha. I'll get out of your way.

 Wow what is with this dude?  Legit question. Its not going to be easy to undo the damage of the communist wretches and their mindF$!@ing of the Russian population. I can see the same stuff beginning here how kids dont even know about Genesis and Christ, when I grew up it was taken for granted.

 I think copies of Alexander Schmemmans "For the Life of the World" would do wonders. If that book doesnt seriously contribute to a conversion I dont know what will. Such an organic picture of salvation history and the sacraments it makes the more legalized western take seem almost perverse.  But one thing they will need above all else is a heart. If you have a heart, you can be converted.  Most of these people are at the state in what CS Lewis describes in 'Abolition of Man'. Basically you're nothing but a robot. You're not human because you have no heart which affects your worldview, etc... etc...
Fr. Schmemann said the highest honor he ever received was finding out that his "For the Life of the World" was being distributed by samizdat' in the Soviet Union.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: ialmisry on March 12, 2012, 03:35:17 PM
In fact, it is a pity that the UGCC is Catholic, because apart from being in communion with Rome, it is just as good Orthodox Church should be: Welcoming, a strong faith but without fanatism, beautiful liturgies in the language of the people, putting a strong emphasis on education...
The problem of the allure of the Vatican....

When the curtain fell and the wolves rushed in, I stated that it should be a good thing, as pure gold fears no fire, and if there were competition maybe the shepherds would not take the flock for granted.

I don't recall your impressions about Romania.  I haven't been in nearly twenty years, but then the Churches in Bucharest were full (even on weekdays) of the young, the Church had just put out a new updated translation of the Bible and Divine Liturgy, and priests teaching on TV and in school had just started.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: filipinopilgrim on March 12, 2012, 04:04:39 PM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 04:31:37 PM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 12, 2012, 05:19:14 PM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.

Do you realize how tiny such anti-MP groups are?  They are also pretty far out there on pretty much every issue. 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 05:36:08 PM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.

Do you realize how tiny such anti-MP groups are?  They are also pretty far out there on pretty much every issue. 

Firstly, what's the relevance of being tiny? Secondly, far out in what way? On every issue? Including shaken or stirred?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 12, 2012, 05:44:59 PM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.

Do you realize how tiny such anti-MP groups are?  They are also pretty far out there on pretty much every issue. 

Firstly, what's the relevance of being tiny? Secondly, far out in what way? On every issue? Including shaken or stirred?

When we are talking about dozens of people, it is an issue.   The funny thing is they'd reject you since in order to go visit them you'd need a biometric passport.   :D
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 06:34:39 PM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.

Do you realize how tiny such anti-MP groups are?  They are also pretty far out there on pretty much every issue. 

Firstly, what's the relevance of being tiny? Secondly, far out in what way? On every issue? Including shaken or stirred?

When we are talking about dozens of people, it is an issue.   The funny thing is they'd reject you since in order to go visit them you'd need a biometric passport.   :D

What on earth are you talking about? Do you ever make sense?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: augustin717 on March 12, 2012, 06:38:36 PM
Nektarios is trying to say that Jonathan Gress, as truly Orthodox as he is, isn't orthodox enough for some truly true and genuine Orthodox conventicles ou there. i hope that helps.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 12, 2012, 06:42:21 PM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.

Do you realize how tiny such anti-MP groups are?  They are also pretty far out there on pretty much every issue. 

Firstly, what's the relevance of being tiny? Secondly, far out in what way? On every issue? Including shaken or stirred?

When we are talking about dozens of people, it is an issue.   The funny thing is they'd reject you since in order to go visit them you'd need a biometric passport.   :D

What on earth are you talking about? Do you ever make sense?

Must you resort to an ad-hominem?  What I was pointing out is that the real version of "true Orthodoxy" in Russia is over the top and not really similar to the American variant thereof.  Find every possible conspiracy theory on the planet and then some.  What I meant, is that to visit Russia you would presumably need a biometric passport (unless you have a CIS internal passport); biometric passports are the 666 to them. 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 06:47:57 PM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.

Do you realize how tiny such anti-MP groups are?  They are also pretty far out there on pretty much every issue. 

Firstly, what's the relevance of being tiny? Secondly, far out in what way? On every issue? Including shaken or stirred?

When we are talking about dozens of people, it is an issue.   The funny thing is they'd reject you since in order to go visit them you'd need a biometric passport.   :D

What on earth are you talking about? Do you ever make sense?

Must you resort to an ad-hominem?  What I was pointing out is that the real version of "true Orthodoxy" in Russia is over the top and not really similar to the American variant thereof.  Find every possible conspiracy theory on the planet and then some.  What I meant, is that to visit Russia you would presumably need a biometric passport (unless you have a CIS internal passport); biometric passports are the 666 to them. 

Do you have any evidence for your ridiculous assertions? Because if you don't, my statement that you're talking nonsense stands.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on March 12, 2012, 06:49:45 PM
Building churches alone doesn't prove much, if the churches are empty. How about statistics about church attendance, baptisms etc?

Ok, here you go Jonathan:

Percentage of Russians who attend church reaches 71% - poll

Moscow, February 27, Interfax (http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=9101) - The number of Russians who go to temples increased considerably over the past two decades. Sociologists have found that the most frequently observed ritual is the placement of candles in. Over the past 16 years, the number of Russians who go to church, mosque, or synagogue increased ... 83% of Orthodox respondents reported going to church. 11% of the respondents said they go into churches rarely or from time to time... The poll, which was conducted in 138 populated areas in 46 regions, territories, and republics of Russia in mid-February, shows that a considerable number of people who go to temples (38%) just speak to God, 31% read prayers, 27% kiss holy relics, 33% give alms, 29% donate money to temples, and 9% go to temples to sanctify things.


You omitted the most important facts (from the article that you cited):

Over the past 16 years, the number of Russians who go to church, mosque, or synagogue increased from 57% to 71%.

That is why. It is a start for a previously Atheist country. There are lots of Christeasters (Come only for for Pascha and the Nativity) in every country. Haven't you seen the number of people at your parish at least triple for these great Feasts too?

We have 90 communicants and we average about 75 on regular Sundays. At Pascha, we have lots more people but we rarely exceed 125--may be because our space is limited.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: mike on March 12, 2012, 06:51:28 PM
Do you have any evidence for your ridiculous assertions?

Check them:
http://3rm.info/22214-dlya-rossiyan-gotovyat-plastikovye-pasporta.html
http://www.3rm.info/21410-fms-plastikovaya-karta-zamenit-rossiyanam-pasport.html
http://www.3rm.info/21624-polovina-rossiyan-za-zamenu-pasporta-plastikovoj.html


Quote
Because if you don't, my statement that you're talking nonsense stands.

It's them who talk nonsense.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on March 12, 2012, 06:51:39 PM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.

Do you realize how tiny such anti-MP groups are?  They are also pretty far out there on pretty much every issue. 

Firstly, what's the relevance of being tiny? Secondly, far out in what way? On every issue? Including shaken or stirred?

When we are talking about dozens of people, it is an issue.   The funny thing is they'd reject you since in order to go visit them you'd need a biometric passport.   :D

What on earth are you talking about? Do you ever make sense?

Must you resort to an ad-hominem?  What I was pointing out is that the real version of "true Orthodoxy" in Russia is over the top and not really similar to the American variant thereof.  Find every possible conspiracy theory on the planet and then some.  What I meant, is that to visit Russia you would presumably need a biometric passport (unless you have a CIS internal passport); biometric passports are the 666 to them. 

Do you have any evidence for your ridiculous assertions? Because if you don't, my statement that you're talking nonsense stands.

Jonathan--I have never observed Nektarios make an statement that he cannot back up. You may want to reconsider.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 12, 2012, 06:59:02 PM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.

Do you realize how tiny such anti-MP groups are?  They are also pretty far out there on pretty much every issue. 

Firstly, what's the relevance of being tiny? Secondly, far out in what way? On every issue? Including shaken or stirred?

When we are talking about dozens of people, it is an issue.   The funny thing is they'd reject you since in order to go visit them you'd need a biometric passport.   :D

What on earth are you talking about? Do you ever make sense?

Must you resort to an ad-hominem?  What I was pointing out is that the real version of "true Orthodoxy" in Russia is over the top and not really similar to the American variant thereof.  Find every possible conspiracy theory on the planet and then some.  What I meant, is that to visit Russia you would presumably need a biometric passport (unless you have a CIS internal passport); biometric passports are the 666 to them. 

Do you have any evidence for your ridiculous assertions? Because if you don't, my statement that you're talking nonsense stands.

Pan Michał was kind enough to provide links already.  And actually one quick google search would have yielded the same links. 

BTW, you said "do you ever make sense" which is an ad hominem at my character -  "ever" means in general, not in this specific incidence. 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 07:34:21 PM
Do you have any evidence for your ridiculous assertions?

Check them:
http://3rm.info/22214-dlya-rossiyan-gotovyat-plastikovye-pasporta.html
http://www.3rm.info/21410-fms-plastikovaya-karta-zamenit-rossiyanam-pasport.html
http://www.3rm.info/21624-polovina-rossiyan-za-zamenu-pasporta-plastikovoj.html


Quote
Because if you don't, my statement that you're talking nonsense stands.

It's them who talk nonsense.

Um after running these through Google Translate all I've got is a neutral news report about the introduction of biometric identity cards. No mention of conspiracies, except an unclear reference to the concern of some Orthodox Christians about them. No indication at all that the official position of all True Orthodox groups is that these ID cards are unacceptable. Maybe that's what these guys think, but how do you know they speak for all the True Orthodox?

Is this the best you can do?

Oh yeah, and my own Synod has considered this issue with respect to the introduction of similar cards in Greece, and guess what? We don't consider it a matter of faith.

I guess "Pan Michal" isn't quite the bulldog you thought he was.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 07:36:36 PM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.

Do you realize how tiny such anti-MP groups are?  They are also pretty far out there on pretty much every issue. 

Firstly, what's the relevance of being tiny? Secondly, far out in what way? On every issue? Including shaken or stirred?

When we are talking about dozens of people, it is an issue.   The funny thing is they'd reject you since in order to go visit them you'd need a biometric passport.   :D

What on earth are you talking about? Do you ever make sense?

Must you resort to an ad-hominem?  What I was pointing out is that the real version of "true Orthodoxy" in Russia is over the top and not really similar to the American variant thereof.  Find every possible conspiracy theory on the planet and then some.  What I meant, is that to visit Russia you would presumably need a biometric passport (unless you have a CIS internal passport); biometric passports are the 666 to them. 

Do you have any evidence for your ridiculous assertions? Because if you don't, my statement that you're talking nonsense stands.

Jonathan--I have never observed Nektarios make an statement that he cannot back up. You may want to reconsider.

There's a first time for everything.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 12, 2012, 07:37:19 PM
This one from the website Michał linked is a real gem:
http://3rm.info/22060-8-marta-2012-goda-purim-maksim-leskov.html (http://3rm.info/22060-8-marta-2012-goda-purim-maksim-leskov.html)

Now do you see what I mean that these "true" Russian churches are a bit out there?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 07:39:40 PM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.

Do you realize how tiny such anti-MP groups are?  They are also pretty far out there on pretty much every issue. 

Firstly, what's the relevance of being tiny? Secondly, far out in what way? On every issue? Including shaken or stirred?

When we are talking about dozens of people, it is an issue.   The funny thing is they'd reject you since in order to go visit them you'd need a biometric passport.   :D

What on earth are you talking about? Do you ever make sense?

Must you resort to an ad-hominem?  What I was pointing out is that the real version of "true Orthodoxy" in Russia is over the top and not really similar to the American variant thereof.  Find every possible conspiracy theory on the planet and then some.  What I meant, is that to visit Russia you would presumably need a biometric passport (unless you have a CIS internal passport); biometric passports are the 666 to them. 

Do you have any evidence for your ridiculous assertions? Because if you don't, my statement that you're talking nonsense stands.

Pan Michał was kind enough to provide links already.  And actually one quick google search would have yielded the same links. 

BTW, you said "do you ever make sense" which is an ad hominem at my character -  "ever" means in general, not in this specific incidence. 

Yeah, links which prove absolutely zilch. And I'll admit, I have a poor impression of your character so far, given that you are making these nonsensical assertions with zero evidence.

What exactly am I supposed to Google? Biometric passports? Hm, here's something interesting

http://www.edri.org/book/export/html/1851

But look at that! These are New Calendar Romanian Orthodox protesting! Looks like your theory gets weaker and weaker.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 07:44:23 PM
This one from the website Michał linked is a real gem:
http://3rm.info/22060-8-marta-2012-goda-purim-maksim-leskov.html (http://3rm.info/22060-8-marta-2012-goda-purim-maksim-leskov.html)

Now do you see what I mean that these "true" Russian churches are a bit out there?

Yeah, looks weird. So? Are these guys representative? Who are they anyway? What's their jurisdiction?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 12, 2012, 07:47:39 PM
If you read through the 3rm website already linked, you'll get a decent enough picture.  This is typical of every opinion piece I've seen from "true" Russian churches.  anti-raskol.ru is a more comprehensive source, although the bias is obvious in the name.  
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 08:03:29 PM
If you read through the 3rm website already linked, you'll get a decent enough picture.  This is typical of every opinion piece I've seen from "true" Russian churches.  anti-raskol.ru is a more comprehensive source, although the bias is obvious in the name.  

Well I for one don't know where they give their affiliation. Could you point it out? And I'm afraid generalizing from just one example is not legitimate reasoning. Give me something from the RTOC or ROAC that's scandalous and maybe you'll have something worth discussing.

And yes, pardon me if I don't take a source called "anti-sectarian" as an unbiased source of news about True Orthodoxy.

This is far more representative of True Orthodoxy.

http://www.rocor-trenton.com/index_EN.htm
www.hotca.org
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 12, 2012, 08:04:08 PM
Yeah, links which prove absolutely zilch. And I'll admit, I have a poor impression of your character so far, given that you are making these nonsensical assertions with zero evidence.

What exactly am I supposed to Google? Biometric passports? Hm, here's something interesting

http://www.edri.org/book/export/html/1851

But look at that! These are New Calendar Romanian Orthodox protesting! Looks like your theory gets weaker and weaker.

My statement was that these groups are far out there on issues across the board.   Take a look at forums in Russian.  Read Russian ecclesiastical news.  What I said isn't controversial.   Unfortunately some of this "zeal not according to knowledge" has spilled over and infected the MP and other Orthodox Churches.  The difference is that a subset within the MP believe such things, and they are not presented as matters of faith.  If you read the justification for schism by a lot of these groups (just google their websites, it isn't very hard), a vast Jewish conspiracy that has undermined the MP plays heavily.   If this is the justification for a groups schism, then I'd say conspiracy theories have been elevated to the level of dogma.  
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 12, 2012, 08:07:00 PM
If you read through the 3rm website already linked, you'll get a decent enough picture.  This is typical of every opinion piece I've seen from "true" Russian churches.  anti-raskol.ru is a more comprehensive source, although the bias is obvious in the name.  

Well I for one don't know where they give their affiliation. Could you point it out? And I'm afraid generalizing from just one example is not legitimate reasoning. Give me something from the RTOC or ROAC that's scandalous and maybe you'll have something worth discussing.

And yes, pardon me if I don't take a source called "anti-sectarian" as an unbiased source of news about True Orthodoxy.

This is far more representative of True Orthodoxy.

http://www.rocor-trenton.com/index_EN.htm
www.hotca.org

And any such source coming from someone in schism from the MP is also going to be biased.  Nonetheless you are missing my point - you sent my two links to groups in the United States.  I'm talking about Russia and former USSR.  What I'm getting at (and what a few others have as well) is that the sanitized version of these groups that is marketed in English is nothing like the on the ground reality in the old country. 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 08:07:23 PM
Yeah, links which prove absolutely zilch. And I'll admit, I have a poor impression of your character so far, given that you are making these nonsensical assertions with zero evidence.

What exactly am I supposed to Google? Biometric passports? Hm, here's something interesting

http://www.edri.org/book/export/html/1851

But look at that! These are New Calendar Romanian Orthodox protesting! Looks like your theory gets weaker and weaker.

My statement was that these groups are far out there on issues across the board.   Take a look at forums in Russian.  Read Russian ecclesiastical news.  What I said isn't controversial.   Unfortunately some of this "zeal not according to knowledge" has spilled over and infected the MP and other Orthodox Churches.  The difference is that a subset within the MP believe such things, and they are not presented as matters of faith.  If you read the justification for schism by a lot of these groups (just google their websites, it isn't very hard), a vast Jewish conspiracy that has undermined the MP plays heavily.   If this is the justification for a groups schism, then I'd say conspiracy theories have been elevated to the level of dogma.  

You didn't answer my question. What is the jurisdictional affiliation of this website, 3rm.info?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 08:11:02 PM
If you read through the 3rm website already linked, you'll get a decent enough picture.  This is typical of every opinion piece I've seen from "true" Russian churches.  anti-raskol.ru is a more comprehensive source, although the bias is obvious in the name.  

Well I for one don't know where they give their affiliation. Could you point it out? And I'm afraid generalizing from just one example is not legitimate reasoning. Give me something from the RTOC or ROAC that's scandalous and maybe you'll have something worth discussing.

And yes, pardon me if I don't take a source called "anti-sectarian" as an unbiased source of news about True Orthodoxy.

This is far more representative of True Orthodoxy.

http://www.rocor-trenton.com/index_EN.htm
www.hotca.org

And any such source coming from someone in schism from the MP is also going to be biased.  Nonetheless you are missing my point - you sent my two links to groups in the United States.  I'm talking about Russia and former USSR.  What I'm getting at (and what a few others have as well) is that the sanitized version of these groups that is marketed in English is nothing like the on the ground reality in the old country. 

But you just admitted the same applies to the "official" Churches. Paranoia seems to be a general feature of people in the "old country"; it's not unique to the True Orthodox.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 08:15:53 PM
Weird. Does this mean your "True Orthodox" website is actually affiliated with the MP?

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&tl=en&u=3rm.info

And this is the official website of the RTOC in Russia, which is in communion with the church in America under Bishop Stefan of Trenton. Please read through it and let me know what scandalizes you.

http://catacomb.org.ua/
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 12, 2012, 08:17:08 PM
If you read through the 3rm website already linked, you'll get a decent enough picture.  This is typical of every opinion piece I've seen from "true" Russian churches.  anti-raskol.ru is a more comprehensive source, although the bias is obvious in the name.  

Well I for one don't know where they give their affiliation. Could you point it out? And I'm afraid generalizing from just one example is not legitimate reasoning. Give me something from the RTOC or ROAC that's scandalous and maybe you'll have something worth discussing.

And yes, pardon me if I don't take a source called "anti-sectarian" as an unbiased source of news about True Orthodoxy.

This is far more representative of True Orthodoxy.

http://www.rocor-trenton.com/index_EN.htm
www.hotca.org

And any such source coming from someone in schism from the MP is also going to be biased.  Nonetheless you are missing my point - you sent my two links to groups in the United States.  I'm talking about Russia and former USSR.  What I'm getting at (and what a few others have as well) is that the sanitized version of these groups that is marketed in English is nothing like the on the ground reality in the old country. 

But you just admitted the same applies to the "official" Churches. Paranoia seems to be a general feature of people in the "old country"; it's not unique to the True Orthodox.

The difference is that IME, it approaches levels of 100% and is very much tied to the raison d'etre of the various true Orthodox groups.  Official Orthodoxy is more representative of society in this regard.  It's just a fact of life that you can't really pick up from your computer in America, sorry.  
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 08:18:41 PM
If you read through the 3rm website already linked, you'll get a decent enough picture.  This is typical of every opinion piece I've seen from "true" Russian churches.  anti-raskol.ru is a more comprehensive source, although the bias is obvious in the name.  

Well I for one don't know where they give their affiliation. Could you point it out? And I'm afraid generalizing from just one example is not legitimate reasoning. Give me something from the RTOC or ROAC that's scandalous and maybe you'll have something worth discussing.

And yes, pardon me if I don't take a source called "anti-sectarian" as an unbiased source of news about True Orthodoxy.

This is far more representative of True Orthodoxy.

http://www.rocor-trenton.com/index_EN.htm
www.hotca.org

And any such source coming from someone in schism from the MP is also going to be biased.  Nonetheless you are missing my point - you sent my two links to groups in the United States.  I'm talking about Russia and former USSR.  What I'm getting at (and what a few others have as well) is that the sanitized version of these groups that is marketed in English is nothing like the on the ground reality in the old country. 

But you just admitted the same applies to the "official" Churches. Paranoia seems to be a general feature of people in the "old country"; it's not unique to the True Orthodox.

The difference is that IME, it approaches levels of 100% and is very much tied to the raison d'etre of the various true Orthodox groups.  Official Orthodoxy is more representative of society in this regard.  It's just a fact of life that you can't really pick up from your computer in America, sorry.  

Wow. Well, I guess your "estimation" is all the evidence we need. Thanks for not wasting my time.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 12, 2012, 08:23:01 PM
If you read through the 3rm website already linked, you'll get a decent enough picture.  This is typical of every opinion piece I've seen from "true" Russian churches.  anti-raskol.ru is a more comprehensive source, although the bias is obvious in the name. 

Well I for one don't know where they give their affiliation. Could you point it out? And I'm afraid generalizing from just one example is not legitimate reasoning. Give me something from the RTOC or ROAC that's scandalous and maybe you'll have something worth discussing.

And yes, pardon me if I don't take a source called "anti-sectarian" as an unbiased source of news about True Orthodoxy.

This is far more representative of True Orthodoxy.

http://www.rocor-trenton.com/index_EN.htm
www.hotca.org

And any such source coming from someone in schism from the MP is also going to be biased.  Nonetheless you are missing my point - you sent my two links to groups in the United States.  I'm talking about Russia and former USSR.  What I'm getting at (and what a few others have as well) is that the sanitized version of these groups that is marketed in English is nothing like the on the ground reality in the old country. 

But you just admitted the same applies to the "official" Churches. Paranoia seems to be a general feature of people in the "old country"; it's not unique to the True Orthodox.

The difference is that IME, it approaches levels of 100% and is very much tied to the raison d'etre of the various true Orthodox groups.  Official Orthodoxy is more representative of society in this regard.  It's just a fact of life that you can't really pick up from your computer in America, sorry. 

Wow. Well, I guess your "estimation" is all the evidence we need. Thanks for not wasting my time.

I've offered my opinion and never claimed it was anything more than that.  On the other hand, I'm going to wager a guess that you've been to neither Russia nor Ukraine.  You've already stated that you don't speak Russian.  So you really have no ability to use primary sources or contextualize what you read (btw, google translate's Russian to English is terrible). 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 12, 2012, 09:02:58 PM
If you read through the 3rm website already linked, you'll get a decent enough picture.  This is typical of every opinion piece I've seen from "true" Russian churches.  anti-raskol.ru is a more comprehensive source, although the bias is obvious in the name. 

Well I for one don't know where they give their affiliation. Could you point it out? And I'm afraid generalizing from just one example is not legitimate reasoning. Give me something from the RTOC or ROAC that's scandalous and maybe you'll have something worth discussing.

And yes, pardon me if I don't take a source called "anti-sectarian" as an unbiased source of news about True Orthodoxy.

This is far more representative of True Orthodoxy.

http://www.rocor-trenton.com/index_EN.htm
www.hotca.org

And any such source coming from someone in schism from the MP is also going to be biased.  Nonetheless you are missing my point - you sent my two links to groups in the United States.  I'm talking about Russia and former USSR.  What I'm getting at (and what a few others have as well) is that the sanitized version of these groups that is marketed in English is nothing like the on the ground reality in the old country. 

But you just admitted the same applies to the "official" Churches. Paranoia seems to be a general feature of people in the "old country"; it's not unique to the True Orthodox.

The difference is that IME, it approaches levels of 100% and is very much tied to the raison d'etre of the various true Orthodox groups.  Official Orthodoxy is more representative of society in this regard.  It's just a fact of life that you can't really pick up from your computer in America, sorry. 

Wow. Well, I guess your "estimation" is all the evidence we need. Thanks for not wasting my time.

I've offered my opinion and never claimed it was anything more than that.  On the other hand, I'm going to wager a guess that you've been to neither Russia nor Ukraine.  You've already stated that you don't speak Russian.  So you really have no ability to use primary sources or contextualize what you read (btw, google translate's Russian to English is terrible). 

You are libeling the True Orthodox Church. You offer your worthless "opinions" based on no substantial evidence, and then you expect to be treated with respect. All I can say is that I would not extrapolate from your behavior anything about the "World Orthodox" in general.

Of course, the faithful should always expect to be slandered, so what you say is not surprising.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on March 12, 2012, 09:08:46 PM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.

Do you realize how tiny such anti-MP groups are?  They are also pretty far out there on pretty much every issue. 

Firstly, what's the relevance of being tiny? Secondly, far out in what way? On every issue? Including shaken or stirred?

When we are talking about dozens of people, it is an issue.   The funny thing is they'd reject you since in order to go visit them you'd need a biometric passport.   :D

What on earth are you talking about? Do you ever make sense?

Must you resort to an ad-hominem?  What I was pointing out is that the real version of "true Orthodoxy" in Russia is over the top and not really similar to the American variant thereof.  Find every possible conspiracy theory on the planet and then some.  What I meant, is that to visit Russia you would presumably need a biometric passport (unless you have a CIS internal passport); biometric passports are the 666 to them. 

Do you have any evidence for your ridiculous assertions? Because if you don't, my statement that you're talking nonsense stands.

Pan Michał was kind enough to provide links already.  And actually one quick google search would have yielded the same links. 

BTW, you said "do you ever make sense" which is an ad hominem at my character -  "ever" means in general, not in this specific incidence. 

Yeah, links which prove absolutely zilch. And I'll admit, I have a poor impression of your character so far, given that you are making these nonsensical assertions with zero evidence.

What exactly am I supposed to Google? Biometric passports? Hm, here's something interesting

http://www.edri.org/book/export/html/1851

But look at that! These are New Calendar Romanian Orthodox protesting! Looks like your theory gets weaker and weaker.

Jonathan--May I give an informal warning here, as I am not this section's moderator and I have also engaged in the discussion with you. It is simply this: you are getting mighty close to crossing the line into ad hominem territory, which is prohibited by the rules. Second Chance
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: KShaft on March 12, 2012, 09:32:54 PM
Over a decade after the events under question in the OP, a lot has changed.

Gee, do you think something new may have happened since the early 2000s?

But let's just throw the implication out there that it hasn't, which is what he did. And still I am the one who questions this, and we see what happens. Sigh...

 :P

Figures. Again, I should have known what to expect.


All right, I get it. We have always been at war with Eastasia. There is no man behind the curtain.

Happy Pascha. I'll get out of your way.

 Wow what is with this dude?  Legit question. Its not going to be easy to undo the damage of the communist wretches and their mindF$!@ing of the Russian population. I can see the same stuff beginning here how kids dont even know about Genesis and Christ, when I grew up it was taken for granted.

 I think copies of Alexander Schmemmans "For the Life of the World" would do wonders. If that book doesnt seriously contribute to a conversion I dont know what will. Such an organic picture of salvation history and the sacraments it makes the more legalized western take seem almost perverse.  But one thing they will need above all else is a heart. If you have a heart, you can be converted.  Most of these people are at the state in what CS Lewis describes in 'Abolition of Man'. Basically you're nothing but a robot. You're not human because you have no heart which affects your worldview, etc... etc...
Fr. Schmemann said the highest honor he ever received was finding out that his "For the Life of the World" was being distributed by samizdat' in the Soviet Union.

Ha! Thats good stuff! Its so simple and so awesome. I can thank this forum for leading me to that book.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: mike on March 13, 2012, 03:39:22 AM
Yeah, looks weird.


If you knew anything about them you wouldn't be surprised.

Quote
Are these guys representative?


It's one of the most popular such Russian website.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 13, 2012, 10:08:17 AM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.

Do you realize how tiny such anti-MP groups are?  They are also pretty far out there on pretty much every issue. 

Firstly, what's the relevance of being tiny? Secondly, far out in what way? On every issue? Including shaken or stirred?

When we are talking about dozens of people, it is an issue.   The funny thing is they'd reject you since in order to go visit them you'd need a biometric passport.   :D

What on earth are you talking about? Do you ever make sense?

Must you resort to an ad-hominem?  What I was pointing out is that the real version of "true Orthodoxy" in Russia is over the top and not really similar to the American variant thereof.  Find every possible conspiracy theory on the planet and then some.  What I meant, is that to visit Russia you would presumably need a biometric passport (unless you have a CIS internal passport); biometric passports are the 666 to them. 

Do you have any evidence for your ridiculous assertions? Because if you don't, my statement that you're talking nonsense stands.

Pan Michał was kind enough to provide links already.  And actually one quick google search would have yielded the same links. 

BTW, you said "do you ever make sense" which is an ad hominem at my character -  "ever" means in general, not in this specific incidence. 

Yeah, links which prove absolutely zilch. And I'll admit, I have a poor impression of your character so far, given that you are making these nonsensical assertions with zero evidence.

What exactly am I supposed to Google? Biometric passports? Hm, here's something interesting

http://www.edri.org/book/export/html/1851

But look at that! These are New Calendar Romanian Orthodox protesting! Looks like your theory gets weaker and weaker.

Jonathan--May I give an informal warning here, as I am not this section's moderator and I have also engaged in the discussion with you. It is simply this: you are getting mighty close to crossing the line into ad hominem territory, which is prohibited by the rules. Second Chance

Thank you and duly noted.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 13, 2012, 10:25:36 AM
Yeah, looks weird.


If you knew anything about them you wouldn't be surprised.

Quote
Are these guys representative?


It's one of the most popular such Russian website.

I admit I don't know anything about them. I have no idea who they represent. As I pointed out above, they seem to be affiliated with the Moscow Patriarchate, since they have a section concerning "official church positions" which consist of statements and publications by the Moscow Patriarchate. But if you can show evidence that they are in fact affiliated with a True Orthodox jurisdiction then I'll accept that.

Let's say that they are True Orthodox. Would they be representative of the whole of True Orthodoxy? Not necessarily. So far I've heard assertions about the True Orthodox that they are all crazy, but when pressed for evidence all I get are pages from this dubious website, and then claims that these impressions are founded upon certain generalistic impressions which can't be justified by evidence available online. But what are these impressions based on? Has Nectarios met with True Orthodox or catacomb Christians? Or has he just read second-hand reports on sites like anti-raskol, or from talking with people in the official Church?

I'm quite happy to disclose that I don't have first-hand acquaintance with True Orthodox people in Russia, and only slight acquaintance with those from Greece. My experience is mostly based on what I know from them in America, although many of them are first-generation immigrants from the old country. Have I encountered paranoid or conspiratorial thinking? Definitely. But these are not "official" positions. It's not a matter of faith to believe that the earth is the center of the universe or that the world is controlled by a hidden Judeo-Masonic conspiracy.

FWIW, I find that the Orthodoxy you find on the internet is more extreme and laden with paranoid thinking than what you would encounter in real life. The people I know from church, both in the Greek and Russian True Orthodox churches, are mainly characterized by normality (to the extent that any fallen being can be considered normal). Sure, those are my subjective impressions, and Nectarios is entitled to his subjective impressions, but I think that if you're going to say bad things about other people, as he is doing about the True Orthodox in Russia, you should at least have something better to support your case than what he has offered so far.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Nigula Qian Zishi on March 13, 2012, 10:58:44 AM
Another article:

Over 90% of citizens of central and southeastern Ukraine believe in God, 84% are Orthodox Christians (http://www.interfax.com.ua/eng/press-conference/97563/)

Kyiv, March 13 (Interfax-Ukraine) – An overwhelming majority of citizens in the central and southeastern parts of Ukraine describe themselves as Christians, according to the results of the poll held by Research&BrandingGroup and announced by its founder Yevhen Kopatko.

Kopatko said at a press conference at Interfax on Monday that 84% of those polled consider themselves to be Orthodox believers, while 3% said they are Christians but do not belong to a definite denomination, 2% are Protestants (Lutheranism, Calvinism, Pentecostalism, Adventism and Baptism), 3% named other religions, 3% were undecided, 4% said they are atheists and 1% found it difficult to answer....

(The bad news comes after what I quoted)
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: vasily on March 13, 2012, 11:39:04 AM

[/quote]

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.


 I think you have misread certain statements. It is not a matter of being sympathetic to the MP, but an understanding of what the Russian Church had to face after the fall of communism. After 40 years of atheistic rule ,the people have to be re-educated. This is not a simple task. The very fact that churches, monasteries, seminaries and church schools have either been returned to the Russian Church or have been built is a major step. My major issue is the fact that schismatic groups have arisen, refuse to repent, have caused confusion with the people, and are blatantly judgemental. The MP is facing many issues, striving to cope with certain religious groups outside of Russia and evangelizing the Russians, and also the growing Muslim population. Disunity in the Orthodox Church is counterproductive. All one has to do is look at the chaos in the Ukraine. One must never forget the past, but it is important to face the future as brothers and sisters in Christ.
[/quote]
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on March 13, 2012, 11:42:31 AM
Another article:

Over 90% of citizens of central and southeastern Ukraine believe in God, 84% are Orthodox Christians (http://www.interfax.com.ua/eng/press-conference/97563/)

Kyiv, March 13 (Interfax-Ukraine) – An overwhelming majority of citizens in the central and southeastern parts of Ukraine describe themselves as Christians, according to the results of the poll held by Research&BrandingGroup and announced by its founder Yevhen Kopatko.

Kopatko said at a press conference at Interfax on Monday that 84% of those polled consider themselves to be Orthodox believers, while 3% said they are Christians but do not belong to a definite denomination, 2% are Protestants (Lutheranism, Calvinism, Pentecostalism, Adventism and Baptism), 3% named other religions, 3% were undecided, 4% said they are atheists and 1% found it difficult to answer....

(The bad news comes after what I quoted)


But, even in the "bad news" there are nuggets of good news. Let me go ahead and quote those "bad news" first:

'Among the respondents only 12% regularly go to church, and observe their religion's ceremonies and rituals. Fifty-one percent of those polled believe in God, but go to church only on holidays and do not observe all of their religion's ceremonies and rituals; 27% think God exists, but are little interested in church life; 4% say they are staunch atheists; 8% did not think about it and 1% found it difficult to answer.

For 42% of the respondents religion is a national tradition, 32% said it represents the observance of moral rules, 24% said it was personal salvation, 17% said it was a part of world culture, 13% said it meant keeping to religious rituals and 4% found it difficult to answer.

At the same time in general 67% of citizens of central and southeast Ukraine trust the church, 21% do not and 12% found it difficult to answer."

Here are the good news that I am gleaning from the above:
- 12% regular church attendance is 2-3 times what he polls have shown in Russia.
- Only 4% are staunch atheists.
- There seems to be a cultural shift in favor of religion as indicated by penultimate paragraph.
- 67% trust the Church.

The bad indicator is that only 24% indicated a specific Christian reason for religion but this could be a reaction to the wording of the question (personal salvation) that may have Protestant connotations.

All in all, I am encouraged by this poll. Nothing to crow about but a solid turn-around from the Communist era.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 13, 2012, 12:20:26 PM
Quote

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.


 I think you have misread certain statements. It is not a matter of being sympathetic to the MP, but an understanding of what the Russian Church had to face after the fall of communism. After 40 years of atheistic rule ,the people have to be re-educated. This is not a simple task. The very fact that churches, monasteries, seminaries and church schools have either been returned to the Russian Church or have been built is a major step. My major issue is the fact that schismatic groups have arisen, refuse to repent, have caused confusion with the people, and are blatantly judgemental. The MP is facing many issues, striving to cope with certain religious groups outside of Russia and evangelizing the Russians, and also the growing Muslim population. Disunity in the Orthodox Church is counterproductive. All one has to do is look at the chaos in the Ukraine. One must never forget the past, but it is important to face the future as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Perhaps I misread it, in which case I apologize. I'm not sure I really agree with the analysis, however. It is true, on the one hand, that the State actively discouraged church membership and attendance during the communist years for the majority of the population, but those few who did seek careers in the church were able to live comfortable lives, provided that they were completely compliant with respect to communist ideology. It's this last feature which is the problem that the Catacomb Church, and the Russian Church Abroad, had with respect to communion with the MP. Yes, I know there were dissidents in the official Church, and I respect their bravery, although they were still working from within an essentially corrupted and false institution (Met St Philaret of New York has a valuable commentary on the late Fr Dimitri Dudko that I can try to find for you).

Even leaving that aside, what is the point that the Economist article was making? From their purely secular point of view, they nevertheless reasonably noted that, given the vast amount of resources the MP had from the State, they should have been able to expand membership much faster by that point (2000) than they actually did. Now, what exactly is the situation now? That is disputed, but the statistics we've seen so far are not that impressive, and certainly don't support some of the fevered pronouncements made by some MP apologists that the whole of Russia is returning en masse to Orthodox piety. Again, given the enormous resources the state church in Russia has, the less than impressive performance seems strong evidence of a leftover Soviet mentality pervading the upper hierarchy of the MP. These are bishops who were trained in Soviet times, when the purpose of the church was not seen as active evangelization of souls, but as serving certain ritualistic needs for a small number of people, and otherwise as acting as a mouthpiece for Soviet foreign policy in the World Council of Churches.

I think you also need to consider the actual facts of how these "schismatic" groups arose. The True Orthodox or Catacomb Church simply consist of those who refused to accept Met Sergius' Declaration of 1927, in which he identified the joys and sufferings of the Church with that of the communist state, which was and is a theological falsehood. Can you blame the faithful for refusing to accept this? The consequence of refusing to accept the declaration was, of course, that the "official" Church of Met Sergius declared them to be schismatic. But given that the grounds for this excommunication was the refusal to confess a lie, who do you really think is the guilty party here?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: jah777 on March 13, 2012, 12:24:52 PM
There is no doubt that the Russian Orthodox Church is doing a great deal to spread the faith.  Of course, that does not mean that Russia has now been transformed into a society of saints, but such a society has never existed.  While certain polls exist regarding church attendance, the success of such missionary labors is found in the salvation of souls, and this is not something that can be captured by polls and quantifiable metrics. 

While it is true that the building of churches alone is not a sufficient indicator of the Church’s efforts to spread the faith, neither can the building of churches be dismissed as irrelevant.  While spreading the faith must certainly go beyond the building of churches, the building of such churches is nevertheless essential to the spreading of the faith. 

Along with the building of churches, we have also witnessed the repopulation of numerous monasteries, we have heard of the labors of Orthodox missionaries in Russia, of those missionary priests who attach small chapels to boats and trailors and travel far and wide to minister to those in remote places, of the thousands of people who travel across the country to venerate miracle working icons and other relics, of Patriarch Kirill giving talks on the faith to stadiums full of youth answer diligently answering their questions, of the Patriarch’s sermons given at concerts and other unconventional venues, of his calls for the clergy to go out of their churches to meet and minister to people where they are, of his homilies and talks on the Orthodox faith that are broadcasted on public television, of the Church’s efforts to have courses on the Orthodox faith incorporated into the public school curricula, etc. 

Again, one could always argue that more should be done, and one can always claim that people are not responding to these efforts as one would hope, but nevertheless it is clear that the Russian Orthodox Church is doing a lot to spread the faith.  Before one criticizes such efforts, they should look to themselves and ask how much they are doing to spread the faith by comparison.

Below are a few quotes from various articles regarding this subject:

Patriarch Kirill on the mission of the church, and that building churches isn’t enough
Quote
The Orthodox Church has come around to the importance of missionary work in Russia in recent years. Zolotov says it is a trend that has been especially evident under the new patriarch, Kirill, who has led the church for less than a year.

“In the last several years, missionary work has been increasingly recognized as a top priority, or one of the top priorities," Zolotov says. "Basically, the election of Patriarch Kirill to a large extent was the manifestation of this recognition that we need to carry out a mission. It is not enough to just be reconstructing the church or sit there saying how important we are for Russian history.”

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2009/12/murder-of-priest-highlights-missionary.html

The missionary labors of the martyred priest Fr. Daniel Sysoev are described in detail here:

http://www.pravmir.com/article_793.html

On the second anniversary of Patriarch Kirill’s enthronement, Fr. Vsevolod Chaplin stated:
Quote
"the Church life becomes really animated under the current Patriarch and all barriers which prevented proactive people from being involved in it are removed," he noted.

Patriarch Kirill calls for a “second Christianization” of Russia:
Quote
Moscow, November 16, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia urged believers to establish a consistent and efficient Church mission which will produce a revolution in the mind of Russian people.

"What is happening in the Church now may be called the "second Christianization." This country with a thousand years of Christian tradition, which gave birth to many saints and deserved the name of Holy Rus, has denied its historic heritage and ruined the tradition," the Patriarch said Tuesday at an opening ceremony of the Fourth All-Church Congress of Diocesan Missionaries in Moscow.

According to him, "a new generation has grown on the spiritual ruins of the Orthodoxy" and it's impossible today "to preach Christ just by appealing to the tradition and inherited memory, we need to make specific missionary efforts."

He emphasized that the Church's goal is to make an impact on people; this goal is comparable to the one pursued by the revolutionaries (with the opposite sign); the goal is to "restructure the Orthodox tradition."

"What huge resources were spent, what kind of organization was established! Today, we need even more powerful organization with a greater potential, challenge, courage and sacrifice," the Patriarch said. 

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=7912


Patriarch Kirril has organized mass gatherings in stadiums specifically to address the youth and respond to their questions:
Quote
MOSCOW, May 19 (RIA Novosti) - Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, will break new ground this month by attending mass gatherings with young people at sports arenas in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Church spokesman archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin told journalists on Tuesday that the patriarch would for the first time address thousands of young people and answer their questions, with events in Moscow on Saturday and in St. Petersburg on May 29.

-SNIP-

Patriarch Kirill has also urged priests to reach out to society, especially to young people.

Speaking earlier this year during a visit to the Tula Region, south of Moscow, Patriarch Kirill said that if a priest merely "rings the bells, sits and waits for believers to arrive" then the Church will not meet people's demands, which he said included improving the moral climate in society, as well as reducing the number of divorces, abortions and crimes.

"The Lord said: 'Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.' He did not say: 'Sit there and wait until people arrive,'" he said. "I think today the main object of our efforts should be schools, education and youth."

The patriarch also said then that it was necessary to learn how to talk to young people correctly.
http://www.directionstoorthodoxy.org/n/patriarch_kirill_to_hold_mass_meetings_with_young_russians_in_ma.html

The Patriarch gave a sermon at a rock concert, which was followed by these words from Met Hilarion of Volokalamsk:
Quote
Today Church and society is in fact one and the same thing. Our church believers go to discos and rock-concerts, and if there’s a chance to give some church tinge to such youth meetings and punches, if young people are glad to hear a few words from a priest, why doesn’t he go there and say these few words?” Bishop Hilarion said on Friday at Interfax press conference.

-SNIP-

“Model of such Patriarch will surely inspire bishops, priests and laymen. This missionary dimension of our church activity will be intensified thanks to His Holiness Kirill’s personality,” the bishop promised.

According to him, “every responsible church worker and priest should have inner feeling that will prompt him where he can go where better not.”

“When we speak about very notion of mission, we mean that we will go and preach, not that people will come to us. We mean that priests should come out from their churches, officials of church departments should step out of their organizations. We should go and meet people, even at the so-called youth hangouts even if it’s not usual to see a man in cassock there,” the Russian Church official said.

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=5912


These are just a few examples, but they demonstrate Patriarch Kirill’s commitment to the strengthening of the faith of the Orthodox in Russia, and his labors in this direction. 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 13, 2012, 12:40:17 PM
I hope the above is genuinely indicative of a rebirth of piety. Of course, even if true, there would still be the problem of the dubious dogmatic positions of the official Russian Church vis-a-vis their continued membership of the WCC, or their refusal to completely and explicitly repudiate the declaration of Met Sergius and its spiritual legacy of obedience to atheist communism. After all, one can find evidence of increase in piety and evangelization among heterodox groups: look at the spread of the Catholic and various Protestant churches in Africa. Does that mean those groups possess the truth, because we can see them winning over souls? I interpret all these phenomena as laying the foundations for a potential return to true Orthodoxy on the part of all these people, whether in Russia, Africa or elsewhere. We can't mistake the foundations for the actual return to the truth, but we can hope it will lead there.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: mike on March 13, 2012, 12:57:07 PM
I admit I don't know anything about them. I have no idea who they represent. As I pointed out above, they seem to be affiliated with the Moscow Patriarchate, since they have a section concerning "official church positions" which consist of statements and publications by the Moscow Patriarchate. But if you can show evidence that they are in fact affiliated with a True Orthodox jurisdiction then I'll accept that.

They declare themselves as "MP parishioners" who stopped commemorating heretical bishops like Patriarch Cyrill". I have no idea what that means and I doubt they know. Such groups ususally do not clearly state their affiliation because they spread info from many, sometimes inconsistent, sources.

Quote
Let's say that they are True Orthodox. Would they be representative of the whole of True Orthodoxy? Not necessarily. So far I've heard assertions about the True Orthodox that they are all crazy, but when pressed for evidence all I get are pages from this dubious website, and then claims that these impressions are founded upon certain generalistic impressions which can't be justified by evidence available online. But what are these impressions based on? Has Nectarios met with True Orthodox or catacomb Christians? Or has he just read second-hand reports on sites like anti-raskol, or from talking with people in the official Church?

Each and every "true Orthodox" (isn't that a tautology?) websites tend to write things about passports, Jews, masons, false greenhouse effect, world government etc.

Quote
Have I encountered paranoid or conspiratorial thinking? Definitely. But these are not "official" positions. It's not a matter of faith to believe that the earth is the center of the universe or that the world is controlled by a hidden Judeo-Masonic conspiracy.

Don't you find it suspicious?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: ialmisry on March 13, 2012, 01:02:59 PM
I hope the above is genuinely indicative of a rebirth of piety. Of course, even if true, there would still be the problem of the dubious dogmatic positions of the official Russian Church vis-a-vis their continued membership of the WCC, or their refusal to completely and explicitly repudiate the declaration of Met Sergius and its spiritual legacy of obedience to atheist communism.
Your problem, not the PoM/ROC's.

IIRC, we've gone over this. Atheist communism was sponsored by  the spiritual legacy of obedience to Czar Peter's "Spiritual Regulation."  Have you repudiated that?

After all, one can find evidence of increase in piety and evangelization among heterodox groups: look at the spread of the Catholic and various Protestant churches in Africa. Does that mean those groups possess the truth, because we can see them winning over souls? I interpret all these phenomena as laying the foundations for a potential return to true Orthodoxy on the part of all these people, whether in Russia, Africa or elsewhere. We can't mistake the foundations for the actual return to the truth, but we can hope it will lead there.
and what are we to make that while World Orthodoxy continues to unify, "True Orthodoxy" continues to splinter?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Maria on March 13, 2012, 01:48:54 PM
I hope the above is genuinely indicative of a rebirth of piety. Of course, even if true, there would still be the problem of the dubious dogmatic positions of the official Russian Church vis-a-vis their continued membership of the WCC, or their refusal to completely and explicitly repudiate the declaration of Met Sergius and its spiritual legacy of obedience to atheist communism.
Your problem, not the PoM/ROC's.

IIRC, we've gone over this. Atheist communism was sponsored by  the spiritual legacy of obedience to Czar Peter's "Spiritual Regulation."  Have you repudiated that?

After all, one can find evidence of increase in piety and evangelization among heterodox groups: look at the spread of the Catholic and various Protestant churches in Africa. Does that mean those groups possess the truth, because we can see them winning over souls? I interpret all these phenomena as laying the foundations for a potential return to true Orthodoxy on the part of all these people, whether in Russia, Africa or elsewhere. We can't mistake the foundations for the actual return to the truth, but we can hope it will lead there.
and what are we to make that while World Orthodoxy continues to unify, "True Orthodoxy" continues to splinter?

Is the MP still a part of the WCC?

Could the formation of a world-wide New Order Church be part of the WCC/MP agenda?
Does the MP still consider itself to be the Third Rome (replacing the EP)?

What about that recently published novel [2011]: Russian Sunrise by Bruce W. Walters, M.D., which urges the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? This novel is a blueprint for Russia to lead the way toward unity with Rome, and just after that publication, the MP apparently re-established rapport with the Vatican.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: jah777 on March 13, 2012, 02:06:25 PM
I hope the above is genuinely indicative of a rebirth of piety. Of course, even if true, there would still be the problem of the dubious dogmatic positions of the official Russian Church vis-a-vis their continued membership of the WCC,

Please explain what is dubious about the position of the Russian Orthodox Church on the Non-Orthodox:

http://www.mospat.ru/en/documents/attitude-to-the-non-orthodox/

What is unclear here about this official rejection of the “Branch Theory” by the Russian Orthodox Church?:
Quote
2.3. Nevertheless, while recognizing the need to restore our broken Christian unity, the Orthodox Church asserts that genuine unity is possible only in the bosom of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. All other “models” of unity seem to us to be unacceptable.

2.4. The Orthodox Church cannot accept the assumption that despite the historical divisions, the fundamental and profound unity of Christians has not been broken and that the Church should be understood as coextensive with the entire “Christian world”, that Christian unity exists across denominational barriers and that the disunity of the churches belongs exclusively to the imperfect level of human relations. According to this conception, the Church remains one, but this oneness is not, as it were, sufficiently manifest in visible form. In this model of unity, the task of Christians is understood not as the restoration of a lost unity but as the manifestation of an existing unity. This model repeats the teaching on “the invisible Church” which appeared during the Reformation.

2.5. The so-called “branch theory”, which is connected with the conception referred to above and asserts the normal and even providential nature of Christianity existing in the form of particular “branches”, is also totally unacceptable.

2.6. Orthodoxy cannot accept that Christian divisions are caused by the inevitable imperfections of Christian history and that they exist only on the historical surface and can be healed or overcome by compromises between denominations.

2.7. The Orthodox Church cannot recognize “the equality of the denominations”. Those who have fallen away from the Church cannot re-unite with her in their present state. The existing dogmatic differences should be overcome, not simply bypassed, and this means that the way to unity lies through repentance, conversion and renewal.

http://www.mospat.ru/en/documents/attitude-to-the-non-orthodox/ii/

Above is just a brief excerpt, but please read beyond this and tell us what is dogmatically incorrect about this statement. 

Then tell us what you find objectionable about the ROC’s rejection of joint prayer with the non-Orthodox:
Quote
Moscow, May 12, Interfax - The Russian Church has once again reassured that it thinks impossible for the Orthodox believers to conduct services together with members of other Christian confessions.

"We would like once again to confirm our intention to refrain from participating in communal prayers with unorthodox believers," said a member of the secretary for interchristian relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Priest Alexander Vasyutin to Interfax-Religion.
http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=4661

In 2006, before being elected Patriarch, Met Kirill clearly explained why the ROC believed it necessary to continue as members of the WCC.  Among other things, Met Kirill stated that if Christendom does not hear the voice of the Russian Church ‘it will hear other voices’, and I’m sure you will agree that it is best if Constantinople is not left as the sole voice of Orthodoxy at such a venue.  It is not membership in the WCC that is inherently problematic, but what one does in this capacity.  If there are no joint prayers, and no compromises in matters of faith, then there are no “dubious dogmatic positions”. 

See Met Kirill’s comments here:
http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=1914

See also the comments from Fr. Alexander Lebedeff (ROCOR) acknowledging the ROC’s reasons for continuing their involvement in the WCC:

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=2971

or their refusal to completely and explicitly repudiate the declaration of Met Sergius and its spiritual legacy of obedience to atheist communism.

Even as early as 1990, the Synod of the Moscow Patriarch stated:
Quote
“We do not at all feel bound by the Declaration of 1927, which remains
for us a marker of that tragic epoch in the history of our Fatherland.
We do not at all idealize this document, recognizing also its coerced
nature. “

Patriarch Alexis II then stated in 1991:
Quote
"The Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius, of course, cannot be
considered voluntary, for, while sustaining terrible pressure, he was
to state things that were far from the truth in order to save people's
lives. Today we can say that there are lies mixed into his
Declaration. The Declaration does not place the Church into a correct
relationship with the state, in fact, the opposite, it destroys the
distance that in a democratic society, must exist between Church and
state."

So, we see that even in 1990, the Moscow Patriarchate spoke of the
1927 Declaration and the period under Communism as “that tragic epoch
in the history of our Fatherland”.  They did not praise Met Sergius
for his Declaration, but recognized it as the result of coercion and
in no way expressing the free and authentic voice of the Russian
Orthodox Church.

Also in 1991, Patriach Alexis II said the following regarding this
“tragic epoch” in an interview published in "Izvestia" (No 137, June
10):
Quote
"Being a person of the Church, I must take on myself responsibility
for all that occurred in the life of my Church: not only for the good,
but also for the difficult, the sorrowful, the erroneous."

"Today we can say that falsehood is interspersed in [Met Sergius']
Declaration, which stated as its goal 'placing the Church into proper
relations with the Soviet government.' But these relations--and in the
Declaration they are clearly defined as the submission of the Church
to the interests of governmental politics--are exactly those which are
incorrect from the point of view of the Church."

In the same interview, regarding the statements and activities of the
Moscow Patriarchate duringthe time of subjection to the atheist regime,
Patriarch Alexis II confessed:
Quote
"Of people, then, to whom these compromises, silence, forced passivity
or expressions of loyalty that were permitted by the Church leadership
in those days, have caused pain -- of these people, not only before
God, but also before them, I ask forgiveness, understanding, and
prayers."


After the enthronement of Patriarch Alexis II, he got down on his
knees at the first Forgiveness Vespers after his enthronement at the
beginning of Great Lent and asked forgiveness for sins committed
during the Soviet period.

In 1995 (as recorded in the periodical “Alive in Christ”) Patriarch
Alexis II announced at the laying of the cornerstone for Christ the
Savior Cathedral, which was built to atone for the sins of the Russian
people in turning away from God:
Quote
"Having rebelled against God, condemned the sacred memory of our
ancestors, and without the least scruples of conscience destroyed the
labors of the best sons and daughters of our people, we have covered
Russian history with the stain of terrible iniquity.  This stain
weighs on our conscience, and casts a pall on the spiritual life of
our society."

At the laying of the cornerstone of the same Cathedral, Moscow's mayor
Yuri Luzhkov added:
Quote
"Let the reconstruction of the main cathedral stand as symbolic proof
of hundreds of destroyed churches and millions of lost lives".

In 2004, Met Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad (now Patriarch
Kirill), who at that time was the chairman of the Dept for External
Relations, stated the following in a formal report to the Holy Synod
of the MP concerning dialogue with ROCOR and the 2000 document “The
Basic Social Concept”:
Quote
“[Our] Church freely and without any coercion has described the norms
of church-state relations, founded upon the word of God and the
witness of many centuries of Church Tradition, including, in part, the
experience of the New Martyrs garnered by the Church in the era of
persecution at the hands of the totalitarian godless regime. Many
spoke of the historical significance of the 'Basic Social Concept of
the Russian Orthodox Church' when this document was first adopted by
the 2000 Millennial Hierarchal Synod. Later it became clear: the
significance of the 'Basic Social Concept' is also in that this
expression of the Church's teachings opened new opportunities for
rapprochement with the Church Abroad. "The Church", states the third
chapter of the document, "preserves loyalty to the state, but above
that requirement of loyalty is the law of God. If the state forces
Orthodox believers to apostasize from Christ and His Church and also
towards sinful acts detrimental to the soul, the Church must refuse
obedience to the state."

“The free voice of the Church, heard especially clearly in this
Conciliar document, gives us the opportunity to see the 'Declaration'
in a new light. While completely understanding that the path of
relations with the state chosen in 1927 was based on the desire to
preserve the possibility of the legal existence of the Church, the
Hierarchal Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decreed that this
course did not accord with the true norms of church-state relations.
The epoch of the imprisonment of the Church has come to an end. In
this way, the problem in our relations with the Church Abroad—which
lasted for many years— as for all intents and purposes removed. This
was essentially recognized by the Hierarchal Synod of the Russian
Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in 2000. During the recent talks, it
became very clear that the chapter 'Church and State' in the 'Basic
Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church' is seen by both sides
as a faithful reflection of church teachings. Declarations
contradicting these norms, made by the church authorities on both
sides made in the past, under external conditions that were extremely
inhospitable to the Church, cannot in any way be seen by us as actions
having any validity for the Church.

Does the above not repudiate “Sergianism”?  Does the glorification of the New Martyrs and Confessors, the 2000 document on Church and State relations, the declaration of the Soviet period as a “tragic epoch” in the life of the Church, and the dismissal of the 1927 Declaration of Met Sergius not constitute a “repudiation” of Sergianism?


In 2006, prior to the reunification, Fr. Andrew Phillips of ROCOR had
this to say regarding the repentance of the MP:
Quote
"Thirdly, we shall always rejoice when members of the Moscow
Patriarchate venerate icons of the New Martyrs, when they celebrate
our services to the New Martyrs, when they dedicate churches to them.
Our hearts rejoice when we see tears of repentance, running down our
own faces, faces in the Moscow Patriarchate, everywhere. In his last
sermon, like a Testament to the whole of the Russian Diaspora, the
great Metropolitan Antony expressed the thought that: `Only tears of
repentance can return our crucified homeland to us' (Letters of
Metropolitan Antony, Jordanville 1988, p.124). How can we not rejoice,
when Saul becomes Paul, when former persecutors become zealous for the
Faith?"

http://www.orthodoxengland.btinternet.co.uk/atcouncil.htm

Also prior to the reunification of ROCOR and the MP, Fr. Andrew said
the following regarding the work of the joint commissions that were
established to discuss obstacles to reunification:
Quote
"Yesterday's publication of documents detailing the agreements on
former points of discord between the Moscow Patriarchate and the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) is a historic event. It
reflects the repentance of those who only ten years ago still rejected
and even scorned the central positions of the Church Outside Russia on
the New Martyrs and Confessors, Sergianism and Ecumenism.  It reflects
the will of the Patriarchate to reunite with the historic path of
Truth of the whole Russian Church, faithfully adhered to by ROCOR, and
the will of ROCOR to recognize this. It now remains for all concerned
to agree on the Act on Canonical Communion in 2006."

http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/triumph.htm

The above quote is taken from Fr. Andrew’s article entitled “The
Triumph of Repentance and the
Vindication of Church Truth".  In an article entitled "THERE IS NO
VICTORY WITHOUT REPENTANCE", Fr. Andrew writes concerning the
reunification:
Quote
"The recent events in Moscow mark the triumph of Orthodoxy. However,
we should not think that they mark the triumph of Orthodox, rather
they mark the triumph of the repentance of Orthodox. For there is no
triumph of Orthodoxy without the repentance of Orthodox, no victory
without repentance. Only the mystery of repentance brings victory over
sin.

"We cannot but help remember the situation of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and the Russian Orthodox Church inside
Russia (MP), even only two or three years ago. Then, as ever, the
Church Outside Russia was a persecuted and despised minority, living
in poverty and isolation.  Further back, when the New Martyrs and
Confessors were canonized in 1981, we recall how we were vilified in
the world media, whether Orthodox or secular.

"All those self-created enemies of ROCOR, if not now passed on, have
now repented or are repenting for their past attitudes towards us.
Even those modernists who, flown in from the West, only last January
were lobbying in Moscow against our common unity, are having to
rethink their positions, as their houses, founded on sand, are washed
away from beneath them by the floodwaters of repentance. Our ROCOR
positions on dying Ecumenism, on dying Renovationism and on dead
Sergianism, have now been adopted all through the Patriarchal Church
and are listened to widely in other Local Churches. Only those who are
prisoners of the past even think about such death-bringing matters."

http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/wrepent.htm

The last sentence above is of particular significance for those who
have rejected the reunification. Fr. Andrew fully accepted the
reunification and sees it for what it is, the fruit of the repentance
of the MP for the compromises of the Soviet era, the most important
expression of which was the glorification of the New Martyrs and
Confessors.

For those who rejected this reunification and continue to speak against the MP,
Fr. Andrew offered the following words in the same article:
Quote
"To those few individuals who could not repent for their
quasi-Protestant, sectarian attitudes, who did not want to see the
unity of the Russian Church and in 2006 left the Patriarchate of
Moscow for the Patriarchate of Constantinople, or in 2007 left ROCOR
for some sect or other, we say, you are welcome to return.  We all
make mistakes. The doors are not shut to you to return. Indeed, we
shall rejoice together with you, if you do so.

"Once past the initial euphoria of your decision to leave, the
euphoria that is always created in little groups when you break away,
you may wish to return.  After the self-congratulatory excitement of
defensive self-justification, you will feel depressed, isolated and
abandoned in your sects. This is the normal psychological process,
created by the evil one, who casts us from one emotional extreme to
another, from euphoria to despondency. When that time comes, remember
these words, and remember that you are welcome to return. Your return
is your act of repentance and, automatically, our act of mutual
forgiveness for anything that was done or said in the past."

The fact is, the Russian Orthodox Church has officially repudiated syncretistic and heretical Ecumenism, has repudiated Sergianism; has glorified the New Martyrs and Confessors; and has dedicated much blood, sweat, money, and tears to the strengthening of the faith in Russia.  It is unfortunate that there are still some who have never experienced church life in Russia under Soviet times, who have never experienced persecution, who have no understanding of what the hierarchs and clergy endured to spread the faith under these circumstances or to what extent there was any “compromise” – it is unfortunate to see such people reject hundreds of bishops in Russia and all who are under their care even while the entire Orthodox world recognizes them as Orthodox and true hierarchs of the Church.       
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 13, 2012, 02:26:06 PM

They declare themselves as "MP parishioners" who stopped commemorating heretical bishops like Patriarch Cyrill". I have no idea what that means and I doubt they know. Such groups ususally do not clearly state their affiliation because they spread info from many, sometimes inconsistent, sources.

OK, well if they are self-avowed MP parishioners, they do not identify with the True Orthodox, so they aren't representative. It sounds like they may be involved with the Diomid schism. Contrast them with the website of the RTOC that I linked to earlier. They are not afraid to be forthcoming about their history and origins.

Quote

Each and every "true Orthodox" (isn't that a tautology?) websites tend to write things about passports, Jews, masons, false greenhouse effect, world government etc.


No more tautologous than "Orthodox Christian". If you are a true Christian, you by definition have the true faith, and therefore the label "Orthodox" is superfluous. Of course, in practicality it's not superfluous, because the existence of heretics who call themselves "Christian" necessitates the label Orthodox to distinguish the right-believing Christians. Likewise, the existence of those who call themselves Orthodox, even if they espouse ecumenism or sergianism, necessitates the label "True" to distinguish those Orthodox who reject ecumenism and sergianism.

And (again) I challenge your assertion that "every" website writes these things. Not that I'm expecting you ever to back up your libels with evidence.

Quote

Don't you find it suspicious?

No. Do you reject the New Calendar Church because Elder Paisios made false prophesies?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 13, 2012, 02:31:25 PM
I hope the above is genuinely indicative of a rebirth of piety. Of course, even if true, there would still be the problem of the dubious dogmatic positions of the official Russian Church vis-a-vis their continued membership of the WCC, or their refusal to completely and explicitly repudiate the declaration of Met Sergius and its spiritual legacy of obedience to atheist communism.
Your problem, not the PoM/ROC's.

IIRC, we've gone over this. Atheist communism was sponsored by  the spiritual legacy of obedience to Czar Peter's "Spiritual Regulation."  Have you repudiated that?

After all, one can find evidence of increase in piety and evangelization among heterodox groups: look at the spread of the Catholic and various Protestant churches in Africa. Does that mean those groups possess the truth, because we can see them winning over souls? I interpret all these phenomena as laying the foundations for a potential return to true Orthodoxy on the part of all these people, whether in Russia, Africa or elsewhere. We can't mistake the foundations for the actual return to the truth, but we can hope it will lead there.
and what are we to make that while World Orthodoxy continues to unify, "True Orthodoxy" continues to splinter?

Maybe we did go over it. Tsar Peter's spiritual regulation was canonically egregious; it did not touch on matters of faith. The declaration of Sergius did. And yes, the spiritual regulation was abrogated by the restoration of the Patriarchate in 1917.

True Orthodoxy continues to splinter? Hm, well a year ago HOTCA was confined to the eastern US, but now we have bishops across the whole country, owing the unification with Met Moses of Portland. But sure, you can call that splintering.

World Orthodox continues to unify? Last time I checked, the MP and the EP were still bickering over Estonia, and the Serbs still don't recognize Macedonian autocephaly.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: mike on March 13, 2012, 02:38:58 PM
and the Serbs still don't recognize Macedonian autocephaly.

No on e recognises them. Maybe your Church should consider it?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: ialmisry on March 13, 2012, 02:39:53 PM
I hope the above is genuinely indicative of a rebirth of piety. Of course, even if true, there would still be the problem of the dubious dogmatic positions of the official Russian Church vis-a-vis their continued membership of the WCC, or their refusal to completely and explicitly repudiate the declaration of Met Sergius and its spiritual legacy of obedience to atheist communism.
Your problem, not the PoM/ROC's.

IIRC, we've gone over this. Atheist communism was sponsored by  the spiritual legacy of obedience to Czar Peter's "Spiritual Regulation."  Have you repudiated that?

After all, one can find evidence of increase in piety and evangelization among heterodox groups: look at the spread of the Catholic and various Protestant churches in Africa. Does that mean those groups possess the truth, because we can see them winning over souls? I interpret all these phenomena as laying the foundations for a potential return to true Orthodoxy on the part of all these people, whether in Russia, Africa or elsewhere. We can't mistake the foundations for the actual return to the truth, but we can hope it will lead there.
and what are we to make that while World Orthodoxy continues to unify, "True Orthodoxy" continues to splinter?

Is the MP still a part of the WCC?
That is relevant to Jonathan Gress's questions, not mine.

Could the formation of a world-wide New Order Church be part of the WCC/MP agenda?
Since the MP does not share an agenda with the WCC, no.
Does the MP still consider itself to be the Third Rome (replacing the EP)?
Probably, but then the EP keeps on calling itself the EP.  What was your point?

What about that recently published novel [2011]: Russian Sunrise by Bruce W. Walters, M.D., which urges the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? This novel is a blueprint for Russia to lead the way toward unity with Rome, and just after that publication, the MP apparently re-established rapport with the Vatican.
Bruce W. Walters.  Hmmmm.  doesn't sound Russian.

The EP is WAY ahead of the MP in any "re-established rapport."
(http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,753066,00.jpg)(http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/bartholomew-benedict-in-rome.png)
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 13, 2012, 02:41:29 PM
I hope the above is genuinely indicative of a rebirth of piety. Of course, even if true, there would still be the problem of the dubious dogmatic positions of the official Russian Church vis-a-vis their continued membership of the WCC,

Please explain what is dubious about the position of the Russian Orthodox Church on the Non-Orthodox:

http://www.mospat.ru/en/documents/attitude-to-the-non-orthodox/

What is unclear here about this official rejection of the “Branch Theory” by the Russian Orthodox Church?:
Quote
2.3. Nevertheless, while recognizing the need to restore our broken Christian unity, the Orthodox Church asserts that genuine unity is possible only in the bosom of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. All other “models” of unity seem to us to be unacceptable.

2.4. The Orthodox Church cannot accept the assumption that despite the historical divisions, the fundamental and profound unity of Christians has not been broken and that the Church should be understood as coextensive with the entire “Christian world”, that Christian unity exists across denominational barriers and that the disunity of the churches belongs exclusively to the imperfect level of human relations. According to this conception, the Church remains one, but this oneness is not, as it were, sufficiently manifest in visible form. In this model of unity, the task of Christians is understood not as the restoration of a lost unity but as the manifestation of an existing unity. This model repeats the teaching on “the invisible Church” which appeared during the Reformation.

2.5. The so-called “branch theory”, which is connected with the conception referred to above and asserts the normal and even providential nature of Christianity existing in the form of particular “branches”, is also totally unacceptable.

2.6. Orthodoxy cannot accept that Christian divisions are caused by the inevitable imperfections of Christian history and that they exist only on the historical surface and can be healed or overcome by compromises between denominations.

2.7. The Orthodox Church cannot recognize “the equality of the denominations”. Those who have fallen away from the Church cannot re-unite with her in their present state. The existing dogmatic differences should be overcome, not simply bypassed, and this means that the way to unity lies through repentance, conversion and renewal.

http://www.mospat.ru/en/documents/attitude-to-the-non-orthodox/ii/

Above is just a brief excerpt, but please read beyond this and tell us what is dogmatically incorrect about this statement. 

Then tell us what you find objectionable about the ROC’s rejection of joint prayer with the non-Orthodox:
Quote
Moscow, May 12, Interfax - The Russian Church has once again reassured that it thinks impossible for the Orthodox believers to conduct services together with members of other Christian confessions.

"We would like once again to confirm our intention to refrain from participating in communal prayers with unorthodox believers," said a member of the secretary for interchristian relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Priest Alexander Vasyutin to Interfax-Religion.
http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=4661

In 2006, before being elected Patriarch, Met Kirill clearly explained why the ROC believed it necessary to continue as members of the WCC.  Among other things, Met Kirill stated that if Christendom does not hear the voice of the Russian Church ‘it will hear other voices’, and I’m sure you will agree that it is best if Constantinople is not left as the sole voice of Orthodoxy at such a venue.  It is not membership in the WCC that is inherently problematic, but what one does in this capacity.  If there are no joint prayers, and no compromises in matters of faith, then there are no “dubious dogmatic positions”. 

See Met Kirill’s comments here:
http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=1914

See also the comments from Fr. Alexander Lebedeff (ROCOR) acknowledging the ROC’s reasons for continuing their involvement in the WCC:

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=2971

or their refusal to completely and explicitly repudiate the declaration of Met Sergius and its spiritual legacy of obedience to atheist communism.

Even as early as 1990, the Synod of the Moscow Patriarch stated:
Quote
“We do not at all feel bound by the Declaration of 1927, which remains
for us a marker of that tragic epoch in the history of our Fatherland.
We do not at all idealize this document, recognizing also its coerced
nature. “

Patriarch Alexis II then stated in 1991:
Quote
"The Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius, of course, cannot be
considered voluntary, for, while sustaining terrible pressure, he was
to state things that were far from the truth in order to save people's
lives. Today we can say that there are lies mixed into his
Declaration. The Declaration does not place the Church into a correct
relationship with the state, in fact, the opposite, it destroys the
distance that in a democratic society, must exist between Church and
state."

So, we see that even in 1990, the Moscow Patriarchate spoke of the
1927 Declaration and the period under Communism as “that tragic epoch
in the history of our Fatherland”.  They did not praise Met Sergius
for his Declaration, but recognized it as the result of coercion and
in no way expressing the free and authentic voice of the Russian
Orthodox Church.

Also in 1991, Patriach Alexis II said the following regarding this
“tragic epoch” in an interview published in "Izvestia" (No 137, June
10):
Quote
"Being a person of the Church, I must take on myself responsibility
for all that occurred in the life of my Church: not only for the good,
but also for the difficult, the sorrowful, the erroneous."

"Today we can say that falsehood is interspersed in [Met Sergius']
Declaration, which stated as its goal 'placing the Church into proper
relations with the Soviet government.' But these relations--and in the
Declaration they are clearly defined as the submission of the Church
to the interests of governmental politics--are exactly those which are
incorrect from the point of view of the Church."

In the same interview, regarding the statements and activities of the
Moscow Patriarchate duringthe time of subjection to the atheist regime,
Patriarch Alexis II confessed:
Quote
"Of people, then, to whom these compromises, silence, forced passivity
or expressions of loyalty that were permitted by the Church leadership
in those days, have caused pain -- of these people, not only before
God, but also before them, I ask forgiveness, understanding, and
prayers."


After the enthronement of Patriarch Alexis II, he got down on his
knees at the first Forgiveness Vespers after his enthronement at the
beginning of Great Lent and asked forgiveness for sins committed
during the Soviet period.

In 1995 (as recorded in the periodical “Alive in Christ”) Patriarch
Alexis II announced at the laying of the cornerstone for Christ the
Savior Cathedral, which was built to atone for the sins of the Russian
people in turning away from God:
Quote
"Having rebelled against God, condemned the sacred memory of our
ancestors, and without the least scruples of conscience destroyed the
labors of the best sons and daughters of our people, we have covered
Russian history with the stain of terrible iniquity.  This stain
weighs on our conscience, and casts a pall on the spiritual life of
our society."

At the laying of the cornerstone of the same Cathedral, Moscow's mayor
Yuri Luzhkov added:
Quote
"Let the reconstruction of the main cathedral stand as symbolic proof
of hundreds of destroyed churches and millions of lost lives".

In 2004, Met Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad (now Patriarch
Kirill), who at that time was the chairman of the Dept for External
Relations, stated the following in a formal report to the Holy Synod
of the MP concerning dialogue with ROCOR and the 2000 document “The
Basic Social Concept”:
Quote
“[Our] Church freely and without any coercion has described the norms
of church-state relations, founded upon the word of God and the
witness of many centuries of Church Tradition, including, in part, the
experience of the New Martyrs garnered by the Church in the era of
persecution at the hands of the totalitarian godless regime. Many
spoke of the historical significance of the 'Basic Social Concept of
the Russian Orthodox Church' when this document was first adopted by
the 2000 Millennial Hierarchal Synod. Later it became clear: the
significance of the 'Basic Social Concept' is also in that this
expression of the Church's teachings opened new opportunities for
rapprochement with the Church Abroad. "The Church", states the third
chapter of the document, "preserves loyalty to the state, but above
that requirement of loyalty is the law of God. If the state forces
Orthodox believers to apostasize from Christ and His Church and also
towards sinful acts detrimental to the soul, the Church must refuse
obedience to the state."

“The free voice of the Church, heard especially clearly in this
Conciliar document, gives us the opportunity to see the 'Declaration'
in a new light. While completely understanding that the path of
relations with the state chosen in 1927 was based on the desire to
preserve the possibility of the legal existence of the Church, the
Hierarchal Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decreed that this
course did not accord with the true norms of church-state relations.
The epoch of the imprisonment of the Church has come to an end. In
this way, the problem in our relations with the Church Abroad—which
lasted for many years— as for all intents and purposes removed. This
was essentially recognized by the Hierarchal Synod of the Russian
Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in 2000. During the recent talks, it
became very clear that the chapter 'Church and State' in the 'Basic
Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church' is seen by both sides
as a faithful reflection of church teachings. Declarations
contradicting these norms, made by the church authorities on both
sides made in the past, under external conditions that were extremely
inhospitable to the Church, cannot in any way be seen by us as actions
having any validity for the Church.

Does the above not repudiate “Sergianism”?  Does the glorification of the New Martyrs and Confessors, the 2000 document on Church and State relations, the declaration of the Soviet period as a “tragic epoch” in the life of the Church, and the dismissal of the 1927 Declaration of Met Sergius not constitute a “repudiation” of Sergianism?


In 2006, prior to the reunification, Fr. Andrew Phillips of ROCOR had
this to say regarding the repentance of the MP:
Quote
"Thirdly, we shall always rejoice when members of the Moscow
Patriarchate venerate icons of the New Martyrs, when they celebrate
our services to the New Martyrs, when they dedicate churches to them.
Our hearts rejoice when we see tears of repentance, running down our
own faces, faces in the Moscow Patriarchate, everywhere. In his last
sermon, like a Testament to the whole of the Russian Diaspora, the
great Metropolitan Antony expressed the thought that: `Only tears of
repentance can return our crucified homeland to us' (Letters of
Metropolitan Antony, Jordanville 1988, p.124). How can we not rejoice,
when Saul becomes Paul, when former persecutors become zealous for the
Faith?"

http://www.orthodoxengland.btinternet.co.uk/atcouncil.htm

Also prior to the reunification of ROCOR and the MP, Fr. Andrew said
the following regarding the work of the joint commissions that were
established to discuss obstacles to reunification:
Quote
"Yesterday's publication of documents detailing the agreements on
former points of discord between the Moscow Patriarchate and the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) is a historic event. It
reflects the repentance of those who only ten years ago still rejected
and even scorned the central positions of the Church Outside Russia on
the New Martyrs and Confessors, Sergianism and Ecumenism.  It reflects
the will of the Patriarchate to reunite with the historic path of
Truth of the whole Russian Church, faithfully adhered to by ROCOR, and
the will of ROCOR to recognize this. It now remains for all concerned
to agree on the Act on Canonical Communion in 2006."

http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/triumph.htm

The above quote is taken from Fr. Andrew’s article entitled “The
Triumph of Repentance and the
Vindication of Church Truth".  In an article entitled "THERE IS NO
VICTORY WITHOUT REPENTANCE", Fr. Andrew writes concerning the
reunification:
Quote
"The recent events in Moscow mark the triumph of Orthodoxy. However,
we should not think that they mark the triumph of Orthodox, rather
they mark the triumph of the repentance of Orthodox. For there is no
triumph of Orthodoxy without the repentance of Orthodox, no victory
without repentance. Only the mystery of repentance brings victory over
sin.

"We cannot but help remember the situation of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and the Russian Orthodox Church inside
Russia (MP), even only two or three years ago. Then, as ever, the
Church Outside Russia was a persecuted and despised minority, living
in poverty and isolation.  Further back, when the New Martyrs and
Confessors were canonized in 1981, we recall how we were vilified in
the world media, whether Orthodox or secular.

"All those self-created enemies of ROCOR, if not now passed on, have
now repented or are repenting for their past attitudes towards us.
Even those modernists who, flown in from the West, only last January
were lobbying in Moscow against our common unity, are having to
rethink their positions, as their houses, founded on sand, are washed
away from beneath them by the floodwaters of repentance. Our ROCOR
positions on dying Ecumenism, on dying Renovationism and on dead
Sergianism, have now been adopted all through the Patriarchal Church
and are listened to widely in other Local Churches. Only those who are
prisoners of the past even think about such death-bringing matters."

http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/wrepent.htm

The last sentence above is of particular significance for those who
have rejected the reunification. Fr. Andrew fully accepted the
reunification and sees it for what it is, the fruit of the repentance
of the MP for the compromises of the Soviet era, the most important
expression of which was the glorification of the New Martyrs and
Confessors.

For those who rejected this reunification and continue to speak against the MP,
Fr. Andrew offered the following words in the same article:
Quote
"To those few individuals who could not repent for their
quasi-Protestant, sectarian attitudes, who did not want to see the
unity of the Russian Church and in 2006 left the Patriarchate of
Moscow for the Patriarchate of Constantinople, or in 2007 left ROCOR
for some sect or other, we say, you are welcome to return.  We all
make mistakes. The doors are not shut to you to return. Indeed, we
shall rejoice together with you, if you do so.

"Once past the initial euphoria of your decision to leave, the
euphoria that is always created in little groups when you break away,
you may wish to return.  After the self-congratulatory excitement of
defensive self-justification, you will feel depressed, isolated and
abandoned in your sects. This is the normal psychological process,
created by the evil one, who casts us from one emotional extreme to
another, from euphoria to despondency. When that time comes, remember
these words, and remember that you are welcome to return. Your return
is your act of repentance and, automatically, our act of mutual
forgiveness for anything that was done or said in the past."

The fact is, the Russian Orthodox Church has officially repudiated syncretistic and heretical Ecumenism, has repudiated Sergianism; has glorified the New Martyrs and Confessors; and has dedicated much blood, sweat, money, and tears to the strengthening of the faith in Russia.  It is unfortunate that there are still some who have never experienced church life in Russia under Soviet times, who have never experienced persecution, who have no understanding of what the hierarchs and clergy endured to spread the faith under these circumstances or to what extent there was any “compromise” – it is unfortunate to see such people reject hundreds of bishops in Russia and all who are under their care even while the entire Orthodox world recognizes them as Orthodox and true hierarchs of the Church.       

Where to begin? Firstly, the force of their "rejection" of ecumenism is blunted by their continued membership of the WCC. If they were serious about rejecting ecumenism, they would leave the WCC (like the Georgians did), it's as simple as that.

As for the lame argument that the MP "needs" to remain in the WCC to provide an "authentic" Christian voice, that's the same argument the EP and other founding members put forward when they first entered the WCC. But the Church for centuries has proclaimed the true faith without the WCC. And what evidence do you have that membership of the WCC has been in any way successful at bringing the heterodox over to Orthodoxy?

And they didn't reject ecumenism completely. They only rejected the "branch theory", which still leaves wiggle room if you want to accept other "theories" of ecumenism (there are a lot of them out there). But the fact is all "theories" of ecumenism are against Orthodoxy.

It's not enough to say half-heartedly that there are "lies" mixed in, or that the MP does not "idealize" the Declaration. Why can't they just say "the Declaration was false, we reject it without equivocation, we recognize the confession of those who rejected the Declaration as Orthodox"? Because that would invalidate their entire raison d'etre. The MP still honors Met Sergius' memory and still considers his actions to have been correct and to have "saved" the Church. That is just not true.

And many experienced persecution in Russia without accepting sergianism. They are called the Catacomb Church.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 13, 2012, 03:10:33 PM
Just to clarify and support what I stated above about sergianism in the MP, here's a relevant quotation that Pat Kirill made, back when he was still Metropolitan of Kaliningrad, back in January 2005:

“We recognize that the model of Church-State
relations [in the Soviet period] did not correspond to tradition. But we are not
condemning those who realized this model, because there was no other way
of preserving the Church. The Church behaved in the only way she could at
that time. There was another path into the catacombs, but there could be no
catacombs in the Soviet space…”

http://vertograd-eng.blogspot.com/2005_02_01_archive.html

Or here:

“The aim of normalising the relationship with the authorities cannot
be interpreted as a betrayal of Church interests. It was adopted by the holy
Patriarch Tikhon, and was also expressed in the so-called ‘Epistle of the
Solovki Bishops’ in 1926, that is, one year before the publication of ‘The
Epistle of the deputy patriarchal locum tenens and temporary patriarchal
Synod’. The essence of the changes in the position of the hierarchy consisted
in the fact that the Church, having refused to recognise the legitimacy of the
new power established after the October revolution in 1917, as the power
became stronger later, had to recognise it as a state power and establish
bilateral relations with it. This position is not blameworthy; historically, the
Church has more than once found herself in a situation in which it has had to
cooperate with non-orthodox rulers (for instance, in the period of the Golden
Horde or the Muslim Ottoman Empire).”

That last is from Moscow Church Herald, nos 14-15, pp 243-4.

Maybe the MP rejects Sergianism one moment, and justifies it the next. But can such equivocation be mistaken for an unwavering and constant confession of the truth? Not for me at any rate, not if I'm trying to find where Christ's Church actually lies.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 13, 2012, 03:16:52 PM
And the MP did not glorify all the saints that ROCOR glorified. In particular, Met Joseph of Petrograd was left out of the MP's canonization of the New Martyrs.

“Through the host of
martyrs the Church of Russia bore witness to her faith and sowed the seed of
her future rebirth. Among the confessors of Christ we can in full measure
name… his Holiness Patriarch Sergius."

This is what Pat Alexis said in 1997, according to Fr Peter Perekrestov in Canadian Orthodox Herald, 1999, no. 4. This doesn't really sound like rejection of sergianism to me.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 13, 2012, 03:18:36 PM
and the Serbs still don't recognize Macedonian autocephaly.

No on e recognises them. Maybe your Church should consider it?

OK, so Macedonia is a red herring. I don't suppose you care to answer my other points, though.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on March 13, 2012, 04:21:09 PM
And the MP did not glorify all the saints that ROCOR glorified. In particular, Met Joseph of Petrograd was left out of the MP's canonization of the New Martyrs.

“Through the host of
martyrs the Church of Russia bore witness to her faith and sowed the seed of
her future rebirth. Among the confessors of Christ we can in full measure
name… his Holiness Patriarch Sergius."

This is what Pat Alexis said in 1997, according to Fr Peter Perekrestov in Canadian Orthodox Herald, 1999, no. 4. This doesn't really sound like rejection of sergianism to me.

This reminds of the dispute when the military code of conduct was changed (The code of conduct is the legal guide for the behavior of military members who are captured by hostile forces). The initial position was that nothing could excuse any US serviceman who broke and divulged information to the enemy. Therefore, the code of conduct insisted that a prisoner of war could not give anything more than rank, serial number and date of birth (the minimum information required by the International Red Cross). Then the decision was made to change the code in recognition of the fact that everybody has a breaking point and that it is senseless to make a promise that cannot be kept. You can read about the six articles of the code at http://usmilitary.about.com/od/justicelawlegislation/a/codeofconduct1.htm (http://usmilitary.about.com/od/justicelawlegislation/a/codeofconduct1.htm) The hard-core old timers vehemently opposed the change. To give a fraction of an inch was considered by them to constitute treason. As it turned out most folks recognized the folly of this position and supported the new code of conduct.

Same with Mr Gress and his little band of hard-core super Orthodox. In a nut shell, Donatists of the 20th Century.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 13, 2012, 05:17:15 PM
Each and every "true Orthodox" (isn't that a tautology?) websites tend to write things about passports, Jews, masons, false greenhouse effect, world government etc.

This is exactly what I have been trying to say.  I'm not sure why it led to such an outburst of anger.  I don't understand how someone who lives in the US and speaks no Russian can claim to really know anything about obscure and splintering groups in Russia.  There are limits to the ability of the internet when it comes to conducting research. 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 13, 2012, 05:32:38 PM
And the MP did not glorify all the saints that ROCOR glorified. In particular, Met Joseph of Petrograd was left out of the MP's canonization of the New Martyrs.

“Through the host of
martyrs the Church of Russia bore witness to her faith and sowed the seed of
her future rebirth. Among the confessors of Christ we can in full measure
name… his Holiness Patriarch Sergius."

This is what Pat Alexis said in 1997, according to Fr Peter Perekrestov in Canadian Orthodox Herald, 1999, no. 4. This doesn't really sound like rejection of sergianism to me.

This reminds of the dispute when the military code of conduct was changed (The code of conduct is the legal guide for the behavior of military members who are captured by hostile forces). The initial position was that nothing could excuse any US serviceman who broke and divulged information to the enemy. Therefore, the code of conduct insisted that a prisoner of war could not give anything more than rank, serial number and date of birth (the minimum information required by the International Red Cross). Then the decision was made to change the code in recognition of the fact that everybody has a breaking point and that it is senseless to make a promise that cannot be kept. You can read about the six articles of the code at http://usmilitary.about.com/od/justicelawlegislation/a/codeofconduct1.htm (http://usmilitary.about.com/od/justicelawlegislation/a/codeofconduct1.htm) The hard-core old timers vehemently opposed the change. To give a fraction of an inch was considered by them to constitute treason. As it turned out most folks recognized the folly of this position and supported the new code of conduct.

Same with Mr Gress and his little band of hard-core super Orthodox. In a nut shell, Donatists of the 20th Century.

Donatists taught that those who apostasized could never be forgiven, even if they sincerely repent. Where do I or any True Orthodox teach that? I'm saying that the MP is inconsistent: sometimes, yes, they appear to repudiate what Met Sergius did, but then they'll turn around and justify it. And it's not justifiable. Therefore the MP needs to unambiguously declare Met Sergius' declaration as un-Orthodox, which also involves recognizing that those who resisted the declaration, at the cost of their lives and freedom, were in the right.

Not that you'll actually listen to or consider what I'm saying. It obviously suits your narrow mind to keep repeating "Donatism" and not engage with the actual substance of what's being said.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 13, 2012, 05:34:10 PM
Each and every "true Orthodox" (isn't that a tautology?) websites tend to write things about passports, Jews, masons, false greenhouse effect, world government etc.

This is exactly what I have been trying to say.  I'm not sure why it led to such an outburst of anger.  I don't understand how someone who lives in the US and speaks no Russian can claim to really know anything about obscure and splintering groups in Russia.  There are limits to the ability of the internet when it comes to conducting research.  

Because "each and every" is a completely baseless assertion. And, Nectarios, if we're talking about websites, doesn't that kind of entail that we're limiting our research to the internet alone?

Not that I'm expecting you to engage my arguments either. Didn't they teach you how to construct a coherent argument in school?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 13, 2012, 05:45:54 PM
Each and every "true Orthodox" (isn't that a tautology?) websites tend to write things about passports, Jews, masons, false greenhouse effect, world government etc.

This is exactly what I have been trying to say.  I'm not sure why it led to such an outburst of anger.  I don't understand how someone who lives in the US and speaks no Russian can claim to really know anything about obscure and splintering groups in Russia.  There are limits to the ability of the internet when it comes to conducting research.  

Because "each and every" is a completely baseless assertion. And, Nectarios, if we're talking about websites, doesn't that kind of entail that we're limiting our research to the internet alone?

Not that I'm expecting you to engage my arguments either. Didn't they teach you how to construct a coherent argument in school?

Why do you continue to personally insult me?   

As I've mentioned previously, it is simply my experience of actually living here in addition to the internet.  I have said from the beginning that a high percentage of true Orthodox groups are on the extreme fringe across the board.  It is ultimately a qualitative assessment.  Also this thread has been about larger, societal issues.  Sorry to be blunt, but the true Orthodox aren't even on the radar and have no real impact on society at large - since we are talking about the role of the Church in society size does matter.   So I'm not really sure how to prove or disprove what is a personal observation, that conspiracy theories are common among "true believer" types.  And the second assertion that I've made is not controversial, that these groups are tiny.  So other than insulting my ability to reason or my intelligence, what do you actually want from me?   
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: ialmisry on March 13, 2012, 06:00:15 PM
and the Serbs still don't recognize Macedonian autocephaly.

No on e recognises them. Maybe your Church should consider it?

OK, so Macedonia is a red herring. I don't suppose you care to answer my other points, though.
You are not a communion, if you are in communion with nobody.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Nigula Qian Zishi on March 14, 2012, 12:02:32 AM
So apparently, only 26% of Orthodox in America attend services regularly too, and the bigger a parish it is, the bigger percentage of people who do not attend regularly. Good information to review before we judge Russia too harshly.

http://assemblyofbishops.org/files/news/FiveFacts.pdf

It looks like Oklahoma is shining in almost every aspect of this survey of Orthodoxy in America!
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Ortho_cat on March 14, 2012, 01:11:59 AM
So apparently, only 26% of Orthodox in America attend services regularly too, and the bigger a parish it is, the bigger percentage of people who do not attend regularly. Good information to review before we judge Russia too harshly.

http://assemblyofbishops.org/files/news/FiveFacts.pdf

It looks like Oklahoma is shining in almost every aspect of this survey of Orthodoxy in America!

Boomer Sooners!  8)
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: ThePilgrim on March 14, 2012, 01:20:35 AM
Not that I'm expecting you to engage my arguments either. Didn't they teach you how to construct a coherent argument in school?

Jonathan, this disrespectful manner of speaking discredits what you are trying to proclaim as the truth.  The truth of Orthodoxy does not exist in a vacuum, apart from the virtues of humility, respect, kindness, charity, and self control, among others.

Since the moment that you've joined this thread, you have not ceased being sarcastic, rude, and condescending.  Where is Christ in that?  Where in that is the Lord who was silent even while He was being condemned to death?

I'm not saying that you should not stand up for and defend what you believe in.  Of course you should.  But thinking yourself to be "right" in an academic sense will not excuse bad behavior and it will not save anyone's soul, yours, or those of us in this thread that you consider to be heretics.

If you came to Orthodoxy to be "right," then you are no better in Orthodoxy than in whatever group you grew up in -- perhaps worse.  The only proper reason to come to the Church is learn to repent of and weep for your own sins.

Forgive me if I offend you.  May God guide you and protect you.

-Fr. John
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Vladik on March 14, 2012, 01:38:03 AM
Young Russians can meet the boredom and poverty of their lives with drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex and crime, and all too often do so.

Here we go again. What a paranoid rubbish this Economist is?
Apparently the "Democratic" West has no both free speech and opinion, since the pathetic cliches are everywhere. :D
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: filipinopilgrim on March 14, 2012, 03:03:47 AM
Quote
Even leaving that aside, what is the point that the Economist article was making? From their purely secular point of view, they nevertheless reasonably noted that, given the vast amount of resources the MP had from the State, they should have been able to expand membership much faster by that point (2000) than they actually did.

Those "vast resources" hardly match the vast amounts of tax money that the German, Austrian and Swiss governments collect from their citizens (the "Church Tax") to distribute to the Protestant and Catholic Churches, not to speak of the numerous tax breaks given to the Catholic Church in Italy. Has the Catholic Church in these areas been successful in re-evangelizing their people? No.... and the established Protestant communities are in even worse shape.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: filipinopilgrim on March 14, 2012, 03:13:39 AM

What about that recently published novel [2011]: Russian Sunrise by Bruce W. Walters, M.D., which urges the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? This novel is a blueprint for Russia to lead the way toward unity with Rome, and just after that publication, the MP apparently re-established rapport with the Vatican.


Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

Consider the following as well:

1) The official position of the Vatican is that the Consecration of Russia was already accomplished by John Paul II in 1984. This position was officially reiterated in 2000 by a certain Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now the Pope.

2) The novel "Russian Sunrise" is being promoted under the auspices of 'Fatima Crusader', the publications of which regularly attack the Vatican for being too liberal and for "disobeying Fatima" and whose leader, Fr. Nicolas Gruner, has been suspended by the Vatican from the priesthood for many years now.

3) The current "rapport" that now exists between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church began about 2005, upon the election of Joseph Card. Ratzinger to the papacy, and is still a pale shadow of the level of such rapport that existed in the 1970's, in the time of Met. Nikodim.

If anything, the Roman Catholic media and blogosphere (especially in the USA and Italy) are relentlessly negative towards the Russian Orthodox Church (unless Russian liturgy and iconography are the topics of discussion).
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Cavaradossi on March 14, 2012, 03:44:57 AM
Each and every "true Orthodox" (isn't that a tautology?) websites tend to write things about passports, Jews, masons, false greenhouse effect, world government etc.

This is exactly what I have been trying to say.  I'm not sure why it led to such an outburst of anger.  I don't understand how someone who lives in the US and speaks no Russian can claim to really know anything about obscure and splintering groups in Russia.  There are limits to the ability of the internet when it comes to conducting research. 

Because "each and every" is a completely baseless assertion. And, Nectarios, if we're talking about websites, doesn't that kind of entail that we're limiting our research to the internet alone?

Not that I'm expecting you to engage my arguments either. Didn't they teach you how to construct a coherent argument in school?

Hello, allow me to pontificate in the most insulting manner possible so that I can justify for myself the existence of my small sect. ::)
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: katherine 2001 on March 14, 2012, 06:46:30 AM
It's kind of funny you would quote something from over ten years ago.

How about something from 2012?

That's his point, biro. After a decade has past, what has changed from 2000 to 2012 with the Russian Orthodox Church reaching out to young Russians.

Indeed. Has much changed at all in Russia? Or does the Russian Church still remain a meaningless cultural relic of Russia's past with no meaning for today?

Couldn't the same be asked in the Middle Eastern countries?  They are mainly Muslim. 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: katherine 2001 on March 14, 2012, 06:57:24 AM
Young Russians can meet the boredom and poverty of their lives with drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex and crime, and all too often do so.

Here we go again. What a paranoid rubbish this Economist is?
Apparently the "Democratic" West has no both free speech and opinion, since the pathetic cliches are everywhere. :D

Not to mention that the same thing said about the Russian youth happens in just about every country in the West as well, and in most of the countries in the Middle East, the Christians are clearly in the minority--so why are we singling out the Russian Church while not talking about the others? 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: searn77 on March 14, 2012, 07:30:46 AM
Not that I'm expecting you to engage my arguments either. Didn't they teach you how to construct a coherent argument in school?

I'm not saying that you should not stand up for and defend what you believe in.  Of course you should.  But thinking yourself to be "right" in an academic sense will not excuse bad behavior and it will not save anyone's soul, yours, or those of us in this thread that you consider to be heretics.

-Fr. John

While what you say here is true Father, this thread is loaded with insults from numerous people, not just Jonathan. I think Jonathan got angry as a certain posters have stated false facts regarding our Church and tried to use the internet to back up their claims, and when Jonathan showed that their sources were faulty, they either ignored what he said or tried to say they don't need the internet to back up their claims.

Again, I'm not trying to justify any sort of bad behavior; I just think all people should read and consider what you have stated in your post in regards to themselves before posting again on this thread, especially since we are in the Great Fast and more of our attention should be focused on love, charity, and humility.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: jah777 on March 14, 2012, 08:34:51 AM
I realize that we have departed significantly from the subject of this thread, but I will leave it to the mods if they want to move the discussion on Ecumenism and Sergianism to a new thread.

Where to begin? Firstly, the force of their "rejection" of ecumenism is blunted by their continued membership of the WCC. If they were serious about rejecting ecumenism, they would leave the WCC (like the Georgians did), it's as simple as that.

As for the lame argument that the MP "needs" to remain in the WCC to provide an "authentic" Christian voice, that's the same argument the EP and other founding members put forward when they first entered the WCC. But the Church for centuries has proclaimed the true faith without the WCC. And what evidence do you have that membership of the WCC has been in any way successful at bringing the heterodox over to Orthodoxy?

I too would prefer for the MP to withdraw completely from the WCC, as would ROCOR and many others in the Church.  If the Patriarchate of Constantinople would be willing to withdraw from the WCC, I’m sure the MP would consider doing likewise.  Unfortunately, the Patriarchate of Constantinople is committed to remaining in the WCC, and within the Ecumenical Movement the words and actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople have often misrepresented the Orthodox faith and been a cause of scandal for Orthodox Christians.  While the MP could simply withdraw from the WCC and condemn such involvement, they have instead chosen to be involved in such dialogues to at least ensure that the Orthodox Church is properly represented.  As we have seen, Orthodox ecclesiology has been more clearly expressed and defended in these dialogues and venues since the MP became more involved than was the case when the Patriarchate of Constantinople was left to represent the Orthodox Church on its own.  This is particularly evident when one looks at the Ravenna document on Primacy that was crafted without the MP, the subsequent rejection of this document by the MP, and the inability of the discussions with the Roman Catholics on Primacy to “progress” since the MP has resumed their involvement.  The MP may not have high hopes for the conversion of entire Christian bodies to Orthodoxy through such ecumenical involvement, but I do agree that their involvement has been effective in that true Orthodox ecclesiology has been more accurately expressed and more faithfully defended in such venues through their participation.  I also see that since the MP has stood up to the Patriarch of Constantinople regarding the latter’s questionable role in Ecumenism, the Church of Greece and other local churches have raised their voices in protest against EP compromises and have vowed to defend traditional Orthodox faith and ecclesiology in such venues. 

And they didn't reject ecumenism completely. They only rejected the "branch theory", which still leaves wiggle room if you want to accept other "theories" of ecumenism (there are a lot of them out there). But the fact is all "theories" of ecumenism are against Orthodoxy.

You must not have read the official document from the Holy Synod on the Non-Orthodox which I quoted from and provided a link to.  The MP did not simply reject the branch theory.  The MP clearly stated that only the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and that unity with the Non-Orthodox cannot occur without agreement in matters of faith.  The MP also rejected many erroneous ideas about Christian disunity and Ecumenism such as the belief that historical divisions occurred from misunderstandings or human failings, and the belief that the Church unity can exist despite actual divisions.  These last two heretical beliefs are confessed by your own “TOC” with respect to other self-proclaimed “TOC” groups that you are not in communion with but which you consider to be part of the one Church nevertheless.

What is important is that in 2000 the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church officially rejected false and heretical beliefs regarding ecclesiology and clearly expressed the Church’s historical and traditional ecclesiology which they have continued to defend since.  While it would be better for all of the Orthodox churches to withdraw from the WCC, membership in such a body is not heretical but only the denial that the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. 

It's not enough to say half-heartedly that there are "lies" mixed in, or that the MP does not "idealize" the Declaration. Why can't they just say "the Declaration was false, we reject it without equivocation, we recognize the confession of those who rejected the Declaration as Orthodox"? Because that would invalidate their entire raison d'etre. The MP still honors Met Sergius' memory and still considers his actions to have been correct and to have "saved" the Church. That is just not true.

The 1927 Declaration was unacceptable because it placed the entire Russian Orthodox Church in subjection to an atheist regime that was intent on destroying the Church.  I agree that the MP could have more clearly and unequivocally renounced the 1927 Declaration.  However, ROCOR’s historic position was that it could not reunite with the MP until the MP was free and no longer under Soviet control.  The MP is no longer under Soviet control, and the Holy Synod in 2000 published their official position on Church-State relations which unequivocally rejected the false understanding expressed in the 1927 Declaration and defended the traditional Orthodox understanding of Church-State relations.   If you have quotes from individual hierarchs since 2000 which claim that Patriarch Sergius “saved the Church”, while such private opinions are a cause of concern, such opinions are not more authoritative than the officially expressed position of the Holy Synod in 2000, and neither do such private opinions regarding Patriarch Sergius constitute some kind of heresy. 

And many experienced persecution in Russia without accepting sergianism. They are called the Catacomb Church.

-SNIP-

And the MP did not glorify all the saints that ROCOR glorified. In particular, Met Joseph of Petrograd was left out of the MP's canonization of the New Martyrs.

“Through the host of
martyrs the Church of Russia bore witness to her faith and sowed the seed of
her future rebirth. Among the confessors of Christ we can in full measure
name… his Holiness Patriarch Sergius."

This is what Pat Alexis said in 1997, according to Fr Peter Perekrestov in Canadian Orthodox Herald, 1999, no. 4. This doesn't really sound like rejection of sergianism to me.

In 2000, the Russian Orthodox Church glorified a multitude of New Martyrs and Confessors, among whom were listed those who remained with Metropolitan Sergius after the 1927 Declaration, and those such as Met Cyril of Kazan who rejected the path of Metropolitan Sergius.  At this time, the MP was not able to provide a final and definitive list of New Martyrs and Confessors because at that time they had not had the opportunity to study the archives to understand exactly who each person was and how their lives ended.  When ROCOR glorified the New Martyrs and Confessors years before, this was also done without having access to the archival materials and without extensive knowledge of individual New Martyrs and Confessors.  As it turned out, some of those whose names were initially listed among the New Martyrs and Confessors were not even Orthodox Christians.  As for Met Joseph of Petrograd, I do not have any information regarding what the MP decided about him, whether or not he is now on their list of New Martyrs, or why he is not on the calendar if he in fact still is not on the calendar.  If you claim that he is still not on their list of New Martyrs, do you have any documentation or statements from the MP regarding their decision not to include him? 

In any case, it is important to see that the list of New Martyrs and Confessors contains Met Cyril of Kazan and many others who did not follow Met Sergius.  It is also important to note that the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has not finalized the list and has still not had the opportunity to study all of the relevant archival material regarding those who suffered under the Soviets.  Just last year the bishops of the ROC made the following statement regarding the need for further study of the archival materials to properly honor and glorify those who suffered:

Quote
http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=8162

03 February 2011, 16:48
Russian Orthodox Church wants easier access to archives to identify
persecution victims

Moscow, February 3, Interfax - The Bishops Council of the Moscow
Patriarchate has asked for easier access to state archives for
identifying all people oppressed by the Bolsheviks for their beliefs.

"The Church calls on statesmen and public figures to support its
study and commemoration of repression victims. In particular, the
Church appeals to the heads of institutions controlling archive
documents for assisting the soonest identification of everyone who
suffered in the years of persecution," the Council said.

"It is necessary to continue the dialog with the state on possible
legislative and administrative measures in the provision of access of
Church representatives to the archives with respect for the lawful
demand for secrecy of private life," the Council said.

Regarding Patriarch Alexis’ remarks about Patriarch Sergius in 1997, since I can only find your quote in the incomplete form in which you have presented it, I do not know if the quote is provided accurately, nor can I determine the context of the quote.  Nevertheless, regardless of what Patriarch Alexis stated, Patriarch Sergius is not listed on the MP’s calendar of saints.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: mike on March 14, 2012, 08:44:31 AM
I think Jonathan got angry as a certain posters have stated false facts regarding our Church and tried to use the internet to back up their claims, and when Jonathan showed that their sources were faulty, they either ignored what he said or tried to say they don't need the internet to back up their claims.

Your and Jonathan's Church? Aren't you members of separate groups? Aren't there any excommunications, anathemas and jurisdictional jumping among your Churches?

The problem is that Jonathan, who has no clue about the "true Orthodox" in Russia (he wrote that) and no knowledge about Russia at all tries to convince me or Νεκτάριος (who read Russian, have been to Russia and have contact with such groups) that his American "true Orthodox" experience has something in common with the "true Orthodox" in Russia.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: searn77 on March 14, 2012, 09:25:37 AM
I think Jonathan got angry as a certain posters have stated false facts regarding our Church and tried to use the internet to back up their claims, and when Jonathan showed that their sources were faulty, they either ignored what he said or tried to say they don't need the internet to back up their claims.

Your and Jonathan's Church? Aren't you members of separate groups? Aren't there any excommunications, anathemas and jurisdictional jumping among your Churches?
Which of the two Church's in Antioch were Orthodox during the fourth century? Was it St. Meletius' Church or the Church that was responsible for ordaining St. Jerome? Who is part of the Orthodox Church, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem or the Church of Romania? What is the status of OCA Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo) who is a deposed deacon of ROCOR?

The problem is that Jonathan, who has no clue about the "true Orthodox" in Russia (he wrote that) and no knowledge about Russia at all tries to convince me or Νεκτάριος (who read Russian, have been to Russia and have contact with such groups) that his American "true Orthodox" experience has something in common with the "true Orthodox" in Russia.

You have claimed that:
"Each and every 'true Orthodox' (isn't that a tautology?) websites tend to write things about passports, Jews, masons, false greenhouse effect, world government etc."

But when Jonathan questioned you on this, you have yet to show an example of any TOC websites writing such things.

And while I have not been to Russia and don't speak Russian, I have met with people who have had contact with the TOC Church in Russia, one of whom is Russian and was ordained to a clerical rank in Russia. So why should I take Nektarios' word over theirs? Now if Nektarios had some proof of what he was saying coming from a reliable source (ex. quotes from TOC clergymen, statements from a TOC website, etc.), then I would look at and consider what he wrote.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: mike on March 14, 2012, 10:29:29 AM
But when Jonathan questioned you on this, you have yet to show an example of any TOC websites writing such things.

You are being stubborn.

Here you are. Pity, you wouldn't be allowed to read it. You would become smarter.

http://rpczmoskva.org.ru/stati/svyashhennik-andrej-atlantida-ili-dopotopnaya-civilizaciya-o-dopotopnom-sataninskom-proekte-i-ego-sataninskom-remejke.html
http://rpczmoskva.org.ru/stati/igor-druz-pederasty-i-novyj-mirovoj-poryadok.html
http://rpczmoskva.org.ru/stati/igor-kols-pejsax-na-krovi.html
http://rpczmoskva.org.ru/stati/falshivoe-zoloto.html
http://rpczmoskva.org.ru/sejchas-v-rossii/oni-budut-zhit-u-vas.html
http://rpczmoskva.org.ru/stati/v-kogo-strelyal-brejvik.html
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: ialmisry on March 14, 2012, 10:30:51 AM
It's kind of funny you would quote something from over ten years ago.

How about something from 2012?

That's his point, biro. After a decade has past, what has changed from 2000 to 2012 with the Russian Orthodox Church reaching out to young Russians.

Indeed. Has much changed at all in Russia? Or does the Russian Church still remain a meaningless cultural relic of Russia's past with no meaning for today?

Couldn't the same be asked in the Middle Eastern countries?  They are mainly Muslim. 
They have also mainly undergone for 14 centuries what Russia only went through for less than 85 years, and have no facade to erect.  Just to be Christian in the Middle East is to go against the flow of society.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Gorazd on March 14, 2012, 11:51:12 AM
Can we get back to the MP's evangelization efforts please? The discussion Canonical Orthodox vs. "True Orthodox" (sic) should get its on thread.

Apart from that, anyone who complains about the lack of missionary efforts in Muslim countries, has never lived there! You should do it, even for a few weeks, before judging the Christians living there. I have just spent a few months in Egypt, and you can't imagine how extreme it is. The Christians are spending their lives in fear, and their churches can be burnt any time or their daughters kidnapped and forced to be married to a Muslim man...
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Maria on March 14, 2012, 01:34:46 PM
Re: Father Nicholas Gruner:

Please quote the definitive document concerning Father Nicholas Gruner's final degree of suspension and/or defrocking.

Father Nicholas Gruner has admitted that he is under a Catholic Bishop and is not suspended despite the Vatican Bureaucracy's attempt to do so. As long as he is under a recognized Catholic Bishop, there is really nothing that those bureaucrats can do. However, those Vatican bureaucrats have attempted to force other Catholic Bishops not to incardinate Father Gruner, but when this happens, Father has found another bishop who is willing to accommodate him. Politics in church affairs is always ugly.

Back on topic:  Dr. Walters, who supports the ministry of Father Nicholas Gruner, has been in contact with the MP as he makes frequent trips to Russia. A lot goes on which is not published in the controlled media.

The Father Gruner's Fatima Crusader ministry and the SSPX are making inroads into Russia where they claim to have converted thousands of Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholics to their position.  Make no doubt about this: the Fatima Crusader ministry in Russia is putting heavy pressure on the MP and other Russians for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary since Father Gruner's ministry and the SSPX do not recognize the fraudulent way in which the so-called 1984 consecration was done since Russia was not mentioned by name.

Have you even bothered to read Russian Sunrise? I have, and it does raise concerns.

These two groups (Fatima Crusader and SSPX) are evangelizing the Russian People with no apparent opposition from the MP.
If the MP is actively spreading the Holy Orthodox Faith, why the silence? Why are they giving approval to these two "Catholic" groups by their silence.


What about that recently published novel [2011]: Russian Sunrise by Bruce W. Walters, M.D., which urges the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? This novel is a blueprint for Russia to lead the way toward unity with Rome, and just after that publication, the MP apparently re-established rapport with the Vatican.


Consider the following as well:

1) The official position of the Vatican is that the Consecration of Russia was already accomplished by John Paul II in 1984. This position was officially reiterated in 2000 by a certain Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now the Pope.

2) The novel "Russian Sunrise" is being promoted under the auspices of 'Fatima Crusader', the publications of which regularly attack the Vatican for being too liberal and for "disobeying Fatima" and whose leader, Fr. Nicolas Gruner, has been suspended by the Vatican from the priesthood for many years now.

3) The current "rapport" that now exists between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church began about 2005, upon the election of Joseph Card. Ratzinger to the papacy, and is still a pale shadow of the level of such rapport that existed in the 1970's, in the time of Met. Nikodim.

If anything, the Roman Catholic media and blogosphere (especially in the USA and Italy) are relentlessly negative towards the Russian Orthodox Church (unless Russian liturgy and iconography are the topics of discussion).
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: searn77 on March 14, 2012, 02:25:57 PM
But when Jonathan questioned you on this, you have yet to show an example of any TOC websites writing such things.

You are being stubborn.

Here you are. Pity, you wouldn't be allowed to read it. You would become smarter.

http://rpczmoskva.org.ru/stati/svyashhennik-andrej-atlantida-ili-dopotopnaya-civilizaciya-o-dopotopnom-sataninskom-proekte-i-ego-sataninskom-remejke.html
http://rpczmoskva.org.ru/stati/igor-druz-pederasty-i-novyj-mirovoj-poryadok.html
http://rpczmoskva.org.ru/stati/igor-kols-pejsax-na-krovi.html
http://rpczmoskva.org.ru/stati/falshivoe-zoloto.html
http://rpczmoskva.org.ru/sejchas-v-rossii/oni-budut-zhit-u-vas.html
http://rpczmoskva.org.ru/stati/v-kogo-strelyal-brejvik.html


Okay, you have shown two websites so far, one which I couldn't find if they were even affiliated with a TOC synod, and the other is from the Moscow parishes of the ROCOR under Met. Agafangal. I have yet to see where:
Each and every ''true Orthodox'' (isn't that a tautology?) websites tend to write things about passports, Jews, masons, false greenhouse effect, world government etc.

You have cited one, possibly two websites associated with the TOC. I personally know of one more that could be used in regards to passports and world governments. Other than that, I don't believe that "each and every TOC website tends to write things about passports, Jews, masons, false greenhouse effect, world government etc."  You can call me stubborn if you wish too as well, but I am not in the TOC because of certain members of the faithful's opinions in regards to passports, masons, etc; I joined the TOC because I believe it to be the Church that our Lord established.

I hope I have said everything in a non-snarky kind of way, but as it's sometimes hard to hear someone's tone of voice when they post on here, I apologize in advance in case I am coming across as that way.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Maria on March 14, 2012, 02:47:25 PM
I had looked into the MP and the ROCOR jurisdiction affiliated with the MP, but I was losing my faith there.

Because I tired of the ecumenism present in Worldwide Orthodoxy and in the statements of the MP (gestures toward Rome), I too joined the TOC (the GOC/HOTCA Synod) during the Nativity Fast in 2011.

Not only that, I have heard about the MP making money promoting the smoking and selling of cigarettes.
When priests in the ROCOR compare smoking with slow suicide, I cannot see why the MP has not divested itself of the tobacco industry.  

Honestly, the MP would give a much better representation of Orthodox Christianity if they would stop promoting ecumenism and start spreading genuine Orthodox Christianity.



Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Gorazd on March 14, 2012, 03:31:13 PM
Honestly, the MP would give a much better representation of Orthodox Christianity if they would stop promoting ecumenism and start spreading genuine Orthodox Christianity.

I couldn't disagree more with your statement. If we want to give a good representation of Orthodoxy, we must show the LOVE of Christ, not concentrate on putting down others.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Maria on March 14, 2012, 03:52:24 PM
Honestly, the MP would give a much better representation of Orthodox Christianity if they would stop promoting ecumenism and start spreading genuine Orthodox Christianity.

I couldn't disagree more with your statement. If we want to give a good representation of Orthodoxy, we must show the LOVE of Christ, not concentrate on putting down others.

Thomas Aquinas (a saint in the Roman Catholic Church) had a saying :

Lord, in preaching the love of Truth, let us not forget the truth of Love.

It is possible to preach the Truth in love without offending God.

That is what the GOC/HOTCA tries to do.
Would that the MP do likewise! Ojala (Spanish from the Arabic: would that God would allow this to happen).

Read the declaration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
If the Russian Orthodox Church were to preach the Truth at all times, then it would be a powerful spiritual force, and Orthodoxy would be what it was meant to be. Then the faith would be spread to all the world.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: ialmisry on March 14, 2012, 05:25:13 PM
Re: Father Nicholas Gruner:

Please quote the definitive document concerning Father Nicholas Gruner's final degree of suspension and/or defrocking.

Father Nicholas Gruner has admitted that he is under a Catholic Bishop and is not suspended despite the Vatican Bureaucracy's attempt to do so. As long as he is under a recognized Catholic Bishop, there is really nothing that those bureaucrats can do. However, those Vatican bureaucrats have attempted to force other Catholic Bishops not to incardinate Father Gruner, but when this happens, Father has found another bishop who is willing to accommodate him. Politics in church affairs is always ugly.

Back on topic:  Dr. Walters, who supports the ministry of Father Nicholas Gruner, has been in contact with the MP as he makes frequent trips to Russia. A lot goes on which is not published in the controlled media.

The Father Gruner's Fatima Crusader ministry and the SSPX are making inroads into Russia where they claim to have converted thousands of Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholics to their position.  Make no doubt about this: the Fatima Crusader ministry in Russia is putting heavy pressure on the MP and other Russians for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary since Father Gruner's ministry and the SSPX do not recognize the fraudulent way in which the so-called 1984 consecration was done since Russia was not mentioned by name.

Have you even bothered to read Russian Sunrise? I have, and it does raise concerns.

These two groups (Fatima Crusader and SSPX) are evangelizing the Russian People with no apparent opposition from the MP.
If the MP is actively spreading the Holy Orthodox Faith, why the silence? Why are they giving approval to these two "Catholic" groups by their silence.
Why should the elephant obsess on gnats?

Given the well known opposition of the MP to the Vatican and its UGCC, the blocking of the Vatican and its minions' ability to operate in Russia, etc., you have just lost all credibility in my book.

As for Russian Sunrise, why would I waste time reading every obscure kook's book when there are more good books (not to mention, the Good Book) than I can ever read?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Ansgar on March 14, 2012, 05:33:18 PM
Honestly, the MP would give a much better representation of Orthodox Christianity if they would stop promoting ecumenism and start spreading genuine Orthodox Christianity.

I couldn't disagree more with your statement. If we want to give a good representation of Orthodoxy, we must show the LOVE of Christ, not concentrate on putting down others.

Thomas Aquinas (a saint in the Roman Catholic Church) had a saying :

Lord, in preaching the love of Truth, let us not forget the truth of Love.

It is possible to preach the Truth in love without offending God.

That is what the GOC/HOTCA tries to do.
Would that the MP do likewise! Ojala (Spanish from the Arabic: would that God would allow this to happen).

Read the declaration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
If the Russian Orthodox Church were to preach the Truth at all times, then it would be a powerful spiritual force, and Orthodoxy would be what it was meant to be. Then the faith would be spread to all the world.
I would like to give my humble opinion and say that, by looking at the recent activities of the russian church, I would say they are doing a pretty good job, especially in Asia. So far I have heard of russian missions in Pakistan, Indoensia, Vietnam, Cambodja, Thailand(a monastery was consecrated a few weeks ago) and the russian church is currently talking with the chinese government about sending missionaries and priests into China. Of course, there is always room for improvement but I wouldn't dismiss the russian church totally.

Concerning the thing about the cigarettes, I think that was meant as a joke, which the russian church criticized (I hope we are talking about the same incident)
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Shanghaiski on March 14, 2012, 05:51:24 PM
Its not going to be easy to undo the damage of the communist wretches and their mindF$!@ing of the Russian population.

This, in my view, is part of the problem.  All ills of Russian society are blamed on "communism" by outsiders.  Lately that is becoming more and more of fashionable excuse domestically.   This is branded about as if "communism" were some tiny element of society that wreaked havoc on the rest.  The reality is that a very large percentage of society supported the early Bolsheviks because of their political agenda.  Thousands upon thousands gleefully destroyed their churches.   To this day the Orthodox Church has no real comprehension of its own culpability in this. 

This is true. It was a collective sin. (Collectivism, FTW!)
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Shanghaiski on March 14, 2012, 05:55:27 PM
You are asking people to feel sorry for the MP.

The MP doesn't need anyone to feel sorry for it, and I'm not asking anyone to do so either. What I AM trying to do is to understand why it is where it is nowadays. And I can see you're from HOTCA: no need to lecture me on what you think of "World Orthodoxy", or of Latin "papists" such as myself.

I think you're being disingenuous. You ended your post by an appeal to others not to "judge" the MP, which you preceded by a list of the ways in which the MP suffered, which were obviously intended to elicit sympathy from the reader. I'm saying that's all very fine, but I'm still not sympathetic to the MP, since MP hierarchs themselves did just fine, earning their salaries and dachas by kowtowing to atheism in public. And I don't see anything miraculous in the MP having built lots of churches, given that they're all paid for by the state. What's more miraculous is e.g. True Orthodox groups like those under the late Met Valentine of Suzdal repairing dilapidated church buildings out of their own pockets, only to see the refurbished churches seized by the MP later on.

Given how much state support the MP has gotten since the end of communism (if it really ended), I think the slow, if not stagnant, growth of church attendance speaks of the indifference of the MP hierarchs towards their evangelical mission.

Do you realize how tiny such anti-MP groups are?  They are also pretty far out there on pretty much every issue. 

And that many of their leaders have questionable pasts.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Shanghaiski on March 14, 2012, 06:06:35 PM
Elder Paisios made false prophesies

You will back this up.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 14, 2012, 07:46:36 PM
Elder Paisios made false prophesies

You will back this up.

Is that in the indicative or imperative mood?

http://hotca.org/orthodoxy/orthodox-awareness/331-the-reading-is-from-the-false-prophecy-of-paisios
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: JamesRottnek on March 15, 2012, 01:22:04 AM
Elder Paisios made false prophesies

You will back this up.

Is that in the indicative or imperative mood?

http://hotca.org/orthodoxy/orthodox-awareness/331-the-reading-is-from-the-false-prophecy-of-paisios

Can you back it up with anything reliable.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: filipinopilgrim on March 15, 2012, 01:24:30 AM
Quote
Please quote the definitive document concerning Father Nicholas Gruner's final degree of suspension and/or defrocking.

See this: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4086

While Catholic Culture is not an official website, it is one of the most widely-read and authoritative in the English-speaking Catholic Internet world. It's old "PetersNet" ratings were practically the standard for orthodoxy in that world.  

The suspension of Fr. Gruner was upheld by the Catholic Church''s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura, which acts in the name of the Holy See. Any bishop who claims to "incardinate" Fr. Gruner is doing so invalidly and illicitly. They also tend to be bishops in remote dioceses in Asia, who most likely don't have any idea what's really going on in Rome. The "imprimatur" that Fr. Gruner brandishes on his works come from bishops in India and Papua New Guinea; since he does his publishing in Canada and the USA, those bishops don't have the competence to give him the imprimatur in the first place. (If you want a proper imprimatur you should get it from your local bishop.)

Quote
Father Nicholas Gruner has admitted that he is under a Catholic Bishop and is not suspended despite the Vatican Bureaucracy's attempt to do so. As long as he is under a recognized Catholic Bishop, there is really nothing that those bureaucrats can do. However, those Vatican bureaucrats have attempted to force other Catholic Bishops not to incardinate Father Gruner, but when this happens, Father has found another bishop who is willing to accommodate him. Politics in church affairs is always ugly.

What awful reasoning. Fr. Gruner is not suspended merely because he says isn't?

Quote
Back on topic:  Dr. Walters, who supports the ministry of Father Nicholas Gruner, has been in contact with the MP as he makes frequent trips to Russia. A lot goes on which is not published in the controlled media.

The Father Gruner's Fatima Crusader ministry and the SSPX are making inroads into Russia where they claim to have converted thousands of Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholics to their position.  Make no doubt about this: the Fatima Crusader ministry in Russia is putting heavy pressure on the MP and other Russians for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary since Father Gruner's ministry and the SSPX do not recognize the fraudulent way in which the so-called 1984 consecration was done since Russia was not mentioned by name.

The Fatima Crusader is hardly a heavyweight even in the small Traditional Catholic world, where it is usually ignored. The SSPX also thinks the Consecration hasn't been done, but it has studiously avoided being identified with Gruner, knowing his reputation.

As for the 'claims' of thousands of Russian Orthodox conversions to the SSPX, I haven't seen any such claims, and I assure you that I read a lot of SSPX material every week. The SSPX has exactly one chapel in the Russian Federation, with a monthly Mass:

http://honneurs.free.fr/Wikini/wakka.php?wiki=FederationDeRussie

Chapelle privée
Ulica Kutusovo 1 - MOSCOU
3° dim.: 11.00 h
tél. : 375/172 135 037 en Biélorussie ou 370/37 422 492 en Lituanie
FSSPX


I don't think that this is because they're "hiding" their other chapels: after all, the Greek Catholics in Russia -- who have more reason to fear persecution than Russian Catholics of the Latin Rite -- have no problem with publicly listing who their priests and where their chapels are.

http://www.rkcvo.ru/node/53

And if the SSPX is hiding in Russia then why is the above chapel's existence public knowledge?

Quote
Have you even bothered to read Russian Sunrise? I have, and it does raise concerns.

Yes, I have, and it is absolute rubbish. The way it portrays the Patriarch and much of the Russian hierarchy converting almost instantaneously to Catholicism is pure comedy. One scene there, were the bishops admit that the only reason they don't want to become Catholic is that they're afraid that the Russian Orthodox liturgy would also be reformed in the manner of the Novus Ordo, could have only been whipped up by a complete ignoramus. (If that reasoning is true, then why did Russia not turn Catholic when the Roman liturgy was still reverent and in Latin? It's not as if Russia had no Roman Catholic presence before 1917. Indeed it was much larger then than now!)
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Maria on March 15, 2012, 02:11:21 AM
Quote
Please quote the definitive document concerning Father Nicholas Gruner's final degree of suspension and/or defrocking.

See this: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4086

While Catholic Culture is not an official website, it is one of the most widely-read and authoritative in the English-speaking Catholic Internet world. It's old "PetersNet" ratings were practically the standard for orthodoxy in that world.  

The suspension of Fr. Gruner was upheld by the Catholic Church''s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura, which acts in the name of the Holy See. Any bishop who claims to "incardinate" Fr. Gruner is doing so invalidly and illicitly. They also tend to be bishops in remote dioceses in Asia, who most likely don't have any idea what's really going on in Rome. The "imprimatur" that Fr. Gruner brandishes on his works come from bishops in India and Papua New Guinea; since he does his publishing in Canada and the USA, those bishops don't have the competence to give him the imprimatur in the first place. (If you want a proper imprimatur you should get it from your local bishop.)

Quote
Father Nicholas Gruner has admitted that he is under a Catholic Bishop and is not suspended despite the Vatican Bureaucracy's attempt to do so. As long as he is under a recognized Catholic Bishop, there is really nothing that those bureaucrats can do. However, those Vatican bureaucrats have attempted to force other Catholic Bishops not to incardinate Father Gruner, but when this happens, Father has found another bishop who is willing to accommodate him. Politics in church affairs is always ugly.

What awful reasoning. Fr. Gruner is not suspended merely because he says isn't?

Quote
Back on topic:  Dr. Walters, who supports the ministry of Father Nicholas Gruner, has been in contact with the MP as he makes frequent trips to Russia. A lot goes on which is not published in the controlled media.

The Father Gruner's Fatima Crusader ministry and the SSPX are making inroads into Russia where they claim to have converted thousands of Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholics to their position.  Make no doubt about this: the Fatima Crusader ministry in Russia is putting heavy pressure on the MP and other Russians for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary since Father Gruner's ministry and the SSPX do not recognize the fraudulent way in which the so-called 1984 consecration was done since Russia was not mentioned by name.

The Fatima Crusader is hardly a heavyweight even in the small Traditional Catholic world, where it is usually ignored. The SSPX also thinks the Consecration hasn't been done, but it has studiously avoided being identified with Gruner, knowing his reputation.

As for the 'claims' of thousands of Russian Orthodox conversions to the SSPX, I haven't seen any such claims, and I assure you that I read a lot of SSPX material every week. The SSPX has exactly one chapel in the Russian Federation, with a monthly Mass:

http://honneurs.free.fr/Wikini/wakka.php?wiki=FederationDeRussie

Chapelle privée
Ulica Kutusovo 1 - MOSCOU
3° dim.: 11.00 h
tél. : 375/172 135 037 en Biélorussie ou 370/37 422 492 en Lituanie
FSSPX


I don't think that this is because they're "hiding" their other chapels: after all, the Greek Catholics in Russia -- who have more reason to fear persecution than Russian Catholics of the Latin Rite -- have no problem with publicly listing who their priests and where their chapels are.

http://www.rkcvo.ru/node/53

And if the SSPX is hiding in Russia then why is the above chapel's existence public knowledge?

Quote
Have you even bothered to read Russian Sunrise? I have, and it does raise concerns.

Yes, I have, and it is absolute rubbish. The way it portrays the Patriarch and much of the Russian hierarchy converting almost instantaneously to Catholicism is pure comedy. One scene there, were the bishops admit that the only reason they don't want to become Catholic is that they're afraid that the Russian Orthodox liturgy would also be reformed in the manner of the Novus Ordo, could have only been whipped up by a complete ignoramus. (If that reasoning is true, then why did Russia not turn Catholic when the Roman liturgy was still reverent and in Latin? It's not as if Russia had no Roman Catholic presence before 1917. Indeed it was much larger then than now!)

Russian Sunrise is a novel, not fact, or did you miss that point?
What galled me the most in that novel was when the Russian Orthodox Hierarchy accepted the FILIOQUE addition to the Nicene Creed without raising an eyebrow.  ::)

Is there any more proof that Father Gruner was suspended than that link you provided. After all, as you mentioned, Father Gruner does have his detractors, and I am not so naive as to accept any old website as the Gospel truth, especially in this age of deceit.

Back to the topic on hand:

When the MP continues to make concessions to the Vatican like sending an official representative of the Russian Hierarchy to Assisi 2011, then yes, they are ecumenists of the worst kind.

Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Νεκτάριος on March 15, 2012, 02:56:35 AM
Elder Paisios made false prophesies

You will back this up.

Is that in the indicative or imperative mood?

http://hotca.org/orthodoxy/orthodox-awareness/331-the-reading-is-from-the-false-prophecy-of-paisios

Can you back it up with anything reliable.

Quoting a polemic source...
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: filipinopilgrim on March 15, 2012, 06:42:56 AM
Quote

Yes, I have, and it is absolute rubbish. The way it portrays the Patriarch and much of the Russian hierarchy converting almost instantaneously to Catholicism is pure comedy. One scene there, were the bishops admit that the only reason they don't want to become Catholic is that they're afraid that the Russian Orthodox liturgy would also be reformed in the manner of the Novus Ordo, could have only been whipped up by a complete ignoramus. (If that reasoning is true, then why did Russia not turn Catholic when the Roman liturgy was still reverent and in Latin? It's not as if Russia had no Roman Catholic presence before 1917. Indeed it was much larger then than now!)

Russian Sunrise is a novel, not fact, or did you miss that point?


Yes, it's a novel, and I clearly refer to it as being non-factual in nature. Did you miss something as obvious as that?

Anyway, this is the last time I'll respond to you.

Quote
Is there any more proof that Father Gruner was suspended than that link you provided. After all, as you mentioned, Father Gruner does have his detractors, and I am not so naive as to accept any old website as the Gospel truth, especially in this age of deceit.

And yet you're willing to accept what Gruner -- a fringe character in Catholicism if ever there was one -- says without question, while the webpage I've shown to you comes from a highly credible Catholic website and you dismiss it out of hand.

Sorry, you've just completely lost all credibility.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 15, 2012, 08:14:53 AM
Elder Paisios made false prophesies

You will back this up.

Is that in the indicative or imperative mood?

http://hotca.org/orthodoxy/orthodox-awareness/331-the-reading-is-from-the-false-prophecy-of-paisios

Can you back it up with anything reliable.

Quoting a polemic source...

It gives the original source of the "prophecy", which is not a True Orthodox source. That is, if you care to look it up.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: jah777 on March 15, 2012, 10:50:40 AM
Do you reject the New Calendar Church because Elder Paisios made false prophesies?

Above is the original form of the question, which is quite loaded.  First of all, there is no such thing as “the New Calendar Church”, there is only the Orthodox Church in which you have some local churches who worship on the New Calendar and some who worship on the Old Calendar.  Elder Paisios followed the Old Calendar on Mt. Athos and never spoke of a “New Calendar Church”.   When the New Calendar was introduced, it was adopted by some local churches while others continued to follow the Old Calendar, and communion was not broken between local churches which used different calendars because the calendar issue was understood by all not to be a dogmatic issue.  It was only claimed to be a dogmatic issue by those who have wished to create and justify various schisms.

Now, *IF* Elder Paisios made “false prophecies”, why would that cause someone to reject the Church and join an Old Calendar schism?  In recent times there have been many saints and elders who were part of the Orthodox Church and who spoke out against those who wished to create schisms over the calendar change.  Among them, some followed the Old Calendar but spoke against creating schisms over the calendar issue, and some followed the New Calendar out of obedience to their hierarchs.  Such elders and saints include Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Elder Ephraim of Katounakia, Elder Haralampos of Dionysiou, Elder Gervasios Paraskevopoulos, Elder Cleopa of Sihastria, St. Nicholas Planas, Elder Dimitri Gagastathis, Elder Anthimos of St. Anne’s Skete, Elder Porphyrios, and many others.  Many of these saints received direct revelations from God regarding the error and pernicious path taken by the Old Calendar schismatics, and these revelations are recorded in books about them.  Elder Paisios had nothing to do with the calendar change as he was born the very year the New Calendar was introduced in Greece.  Nobody who has remained in the Church after the introduction of the New Calendar has been referred to as a “Paisiosite” or by any such names, while the various Old Calendar schisms have been referred to by such names as “Florinites”, “Matthewites”, etc.

Now, regarding the “false prophecies” of Elder Paisios, since you put “prophecies” in the plural, perhaps you can start a separate thread where these supposed “prophecies” can be listed.  Regarding Elder Paisios and General Grapsas, the story translated and posted on the website you have referenced does raise a number of questions.  First of all, since General Grapsas is still living, are his exact words regarding the matter quoted anywhere?  Does he agree with the story as portrayed on the link you have provided?  Since the story indicates that there were witnesses to Elder Paisios’ words, do the witnesses agree with the story as the website portrays?  Are there any witnesses that contest this story?  What have Elder Paisios’ closest disciples and spiritual children said regarding this story?  Is it possible that Met Grapsas and/or other misinterpreted the words of Elder Paisios?   

Now, if Elder Paisios did in fact say the words attributed to him, if these words were to be interpreted as presented on the website, and events did not turn out as Elder Paisios said, a whole other series of issues would need to be explored regarding the charism of clairvoyance, how this charism “works”, whether clairvoyance or “prophecy” is inherently conditional, what should we conclude when saints are wrong (Sts. Barsanuphius and John have several comments on this subject), etc. 

Of course, since your group is focused on promoting the cause of your schism and denouncing the Patriarchate of Constantinople and those in communion with him, it is certainly in your interest to try to demonstrate that Elder Paisios, and others who are considered to be saints but who spoke against your schisms, are somehow “false elders” or “false prophets”.  To make such a claim regarding Elder Paisios, or anyone else for that matter, one has to look at their faith, their entire way of life, the fruits of their lives, and testimonies of others.  While we have only your one story regarding a supposed “false prophecy” of Elder Paisios, there are literally thousands of pages of his own written words and counsels; as well as testimonies from others regarding his humility, his meekness, his love of others, the power of his prayers, and the healings and miracles which resulted from his prayers.  From the published testimonies of others, as well as from his words, Elder Paisios seems to be the exact opposite of a charlatan who put on a show or who sought attention and recognition from others.  When he perceived that people came to him looking for a show or a miracle, he often would turn them away, pretend not to be there, or act like a fool in order to humiliate himself and deflect inappropriate attention.  Regarding his clairvoyance, while there is this one story that you have so far provided, many others have been provided testifying to the accuracy of his clairvoyance and his many other gifts.

That being said, saints and elders are not completely infallible and without fault, and mistakes can be made, as Sts. Barsanuphius and John discussed.  In fact, Elder Porphyrios once read something that Elder Paisios wrote concerning the Last Days and the Antichrist, and wrote a letter to him forbidding him to speak of such things.  Elder Porphyrios said that God will enlighten holy bishops to speak of such matters when it becomes necessary, and it was not the place of Elder Paisios to speak of such things. In obedience to Elder Porphyrios, Elder Paisios agreed to refrain from writing about the End Times and the Antichrist.  From this it seems that Elder Porphyrios did not believe that Elder Paisios was enlightened by God concerning these matters, yet Elder Porphyrios nevertheless continued to have great reverence for Elder Paisios and still considered him to be a great saint. 

This letter of Elder Porphyrios to Elder Paisios is preserved in one of the monasteries on Mt. Athos, and the subject is related in an interview of Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphu who personally knew Elder Porphyrios.  For an English translation of this interview, go to:

http://www.pantokrator.info/en/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=viewdownload&cid=9

The subject of the letter of Elder Porphyrios to Elder Paisios can be found on the third talk entitled "03 Greek Elders-Evmenios" starting at 22:04. Met Neophytos begins speaking about the subject of the end times around 15:58.

Instead of trying to find small faults with individual saints and elders who spoke against creating schisms over the calendar issue, it would be much more profitable and edifying to start a new thread containing the lives and words of those who belonged to your particular “TOC” group, who are considered to be “saints” by your particular “TOC” group, and who expressed agreement with your official “no grace on the New Calendar” ecclesiology which Met Chrysostom of Florina referred to as “cacadox” and Met Petros of Astoria referred to as “spiritually ill”.  I have searched for such examples, and so far I have not found any.  But, perhaps you will enlighten me in a separate thread devoted to this theme.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 15, 2012, 02:13:50 PM
Do you reject the New Calendar Church because Elder Paisios made false prophesies?

Above is the original form of the question, which is quite loaded.  First of all, there is no such thing as “the New Calendar Church”, there is only the Orthodox Church in which you have some local churches who worship on the New Calendar and some who worship on the Old Calendar.  Elder Paisios followed the Old Calendar on Mt. Athos and never spoke of a “New Calendar Church”.   When the New Calendar was introduced, it was adopted by some local churches while others continued to follow the Old Calendar, and communion was not broken between local churches which used different calendars because the calendar issue was understood by all not to be a dogmatic issue.  It was only claimed to be a dogmatic issue by those who have wished to create and justify various schisms.

Now, *IF* Elder Paisios made “false prophecies”, why would that cause someone to reject the Church and join an Old Calendar schism?  In recent times there have been many saints and elders who were part of the Orthodox Church and who spoke out against those who wished to create schisms over the calendar change.  Among them, some followed the Old Calendar but spoke against creating schisms over the calendar issue, and some followed the New Calendar out of obedience to their hierarchs.  Such elders and saints include Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Elder Ephraim of Katounakia, Elder Haralampos of Dionysiou, Elder Gervasios Paraskevopoulos, Elder Cleopa of Sihastria, St. Nicholas Planas, Elder Dimitri Gagastathis, Elder Anthimos of St. Anne’s Skete, Elder Porphyrios, and many others.  Many of these saints received direct revelations from God regarding the error and pernicious path taken by the Old Calendar schismatics, and these revelations are recorded in books about them.  Elder Paisios had nothing to do with the calendar change as he was born the very year the New Calendar was introduced in Greece.  Nobody who has remained in the Church after the introduction of the New Calendar has been referred to as a “Paisiosite” or by any such names, while the various Old Calendar schisms have been referred to by such names as “Florinites”, “Matthewites”, etc.

Now, regarding the “false prophecies” of Elder Paisios, since you put “prophecies” in the plural, perhaps you can start a separate thread where these supposed “prophecies” can be listed.  Regarding Elder Paisios and General Grapsas, the story translated and posted on the website you have referenced does raise a number of questions.  First of all, since General Grapsas is still living, are his exact words regarding the matter quoted anywhere?  Does he agree with the story as portrayed on the link you have provided?  Since the story indicates that there were witnesses to Elder Paisios’ words, do the witnesses agree with the story as the website portrays?  Are there any witnesses that contest this story?  What have Elder Paisios’ closest disciples and spiritual children said regarding this story?  Is it possible that Met Grapsas and/or other misinterpreted the words of Elder Paisios?   

Now, if Elder Paisios did in fact say the words attributed to him, if these words were to be interpreted as presented on the website, and events did not turn out as Elder Paisios said, a whole other series of issues would need to be explored regarding the charism of clairvoyance, how this charism “works”, whether clairvoyance or “prophecy” is inherently conditional, what should we conclude when saints are wrong (Sts. Barsanuphius and John have several comments on this subject), etc. 

Of course, since your group is focused on promoting the cause of your schism and denouncing the Patriarchate of Constantinople and those in communion with him, it is certainly in your interest to try to demonstrate that Elder Paisios, and others who are considered to be saints but who spoke against your schisms, are somehow “false elders” or “false prophets”.  To make such a claim regarding Elder Paisios, or anyone else for that matter, one has to look at their faith, their entire way of life, the fruits of their lives, and testimonies of others.  While we have only your one story regarding a supposed “false prophecy” of Elder Paisios, there are literally thousands of pages of his own written words and counsels; as well as testimonies from others regarding his humility, his meekness, his love of others, the power of his prayers, and the healings and miracles which resulted from his prayers.  From the published testimonies of others, as well as from his words, Elder Paisios seems to be the exact opposite of a charlatan who put on a show or who sought attention and recognition from others.  When he perceived that people came to him looking for a show or a miracle, he often would turn them away, pretend not to be there, or act like a fool in order to humiliate himself and deflect inappropriate attention.  Regarding his clairvoyance, while there is this one story that you have so far provided, many others have been provided testifying to the accuracy of his clairvoyance and his many other gifts.

That being said, saints and elders are not completely infallible and without fault, and mistakes can be made, as Sts. Barsanuphius and John discussed.  In fact, Elder Porphyrios once read something that Elder Paisios wrote concerning the Last Days and the Antichrist, and wrote a letter to him forbidding him to speak of such things.  Elder Porphyrios said that God will enlighten holy bishops to speak of such matters when it becomes necessary, and it was not the place of Elder Paisios to speak of such things. In obedience to Elder Porphyrios, Elder Paisios agreed to refrain from writing about the End Times and the Antichrist.  From this it seems that Elder Porphyrios did not believe that Elder Paisios was enlightened by God concerning these matters, yet Elder Porphyrios nevertheless continued to have great reverence for Elder Paisios and still considered him to be a great saint. 

This letter of Elder Porphyrios to Elder Paisios is preserved in one of the monasteries on Mt. Athos, and the subject is related in an interview of Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphu who personally knew Elder Porphyrios.  For an English translation of this interview, go to:

http://www.pantokrator.info/en/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=viewdownload&cid=9

The subject of the letter of Elder Porphyrios to Elder Paisios can be found on the third talk entitled "03 Greek Elders-Evmenios" starting at 22:04. Met Neophytos begins speaking about the subject of the end times around 15:58.

Instead of trying to find small faults with individual saints and elders who spoke against creating schisms over the calendar issue, it would be much more profitable and edifying to start a new thread containing the lives and words of those who belonged to your particular “TOC” group, who are considered to be “saints” by your particular “TOC” group, and who expressed agreement with your official “no grace on the New Calendar” ecclesiology which Met Chrysostom of Florina referred to as “cacadox” and Met Petros of Astoria referred to as “spiritually ill”.  I have searched for such examples, and so far I have not found any.  But, perhaps you will enlighten me in a separate thread devoted to this theme.


Uh-huh. So I suppose you accept without question that all those "saints" received "direct revelations from God" about us "schismatics"?

Read the life of Elder Ieronymos of Aegina.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Maria on March 15, 2012, 02:26:48 PM
Quote

Yes, I have, and it is absolute rubbish. The way it portrays the Patriarch and much of the Russian hierarchy converting almost instantaneously to Catholicism is pure comedy. One scene there, were the bishops admit that the only reason they don't want to become Catholic is that they're afraid that the Russian Orthodox liturgy would also be reformed in the manner of the Novus Ordo, could have only been whipped up by a complete ignoramus. (If that reasoning is true, then why did Russia not turn Catholic when the Roman liturgy was still reverent and in Latin? It's not as if Russia had no Roman Catholic presence before 1917. Indeed it was much larger then than now!)

Russian Sunrise is a novel, not fact, or did you miss that point?


Yes, it's a novel, and I clearly refer to it as being non-factual in nature. Did you miss something as obvious as that?

Anyway, this is the last time I'll respond to you.

Quote
Is there any more proof that Father Gruner was suspended than that link you provided. After all, as you mentioned, Father Gruner does have his detractors, and I am not so naive as to accept any old website as the Gospel truth, especially in this age of deceit.

And yet you're willing to accept what Gruner -- a fringe character in Catholicism if ever there was one -- says without question, while the webpage I've shown to you comes from a highly credible Catholic website and you dismiss it out of hand.

Sorry, you've just completely lost all credibility.

Sorry, since most Catholic websites are tainted with their heretical beliefs in the filioque, papal supremacy and papal infallibility, they have lost all credibility in my eyes too. However, I do pray for Catholics. In fact, we all need prayers for we all have sinned.

Likewise, I pray for the MP and the EP, that they may repent of their errors of ecumenism, which is preventing the spread of the Gospel as ecumenism runs contrary to the teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church. Furthermore, ecumenism and syncretism promote confusion in the faithful and in those who are inquiring into the church. This should not be so.

p.s. I could list a lot of defrocked Catholic priests who were beyond the fringes; priests who committed pedophilia, murder, gun running, and engaged in drugs, and who are now serving prison sentences if they have not committed suicide first. Which of those sins did Father Gruner commit? Why are you so intent on slandering him? Lord have mercy.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Schultz on March 15, 2012, 02:46:07 PM
Quote
Please quote the definitive document concerning Father Nicholas Gruner's final degree of suspension and/or defrocking.

See this: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4086

While Catholic Culture is not an official website, it is one of the most widely-read and authoritative in the English-speaking Catholic Internet world. It's old "PetersNet" ratings were practically the standard for orthodoxy in that world.  

The suspension of Fr. Gruner was upheld by the Catholic Church''s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura, which acts in the name of the Holy See. Any bishop who claims to "incardinate" Fr. Gruner is doing so invalidly and illicitly. They also tend to be bishops in remote dioceses in Asia, who most likely don't have any idea what's really going on in Rome. The "imprimatur" that Fr. Gruner brandishes on his works come from bishops in India and Papua New Guinea; since he does his publishing in Canada and the USA, those bishops don't have the competence to give him the imprimatur in the first place. (If you want a proper imprimatur you should get it from your local bishop.)

Quote
Father Nicholas Gruner has admitted that he is under a Catholic Bishop and is not suspended despite the Vatican Bureaucracy's attempt to do so. As long as he is under a recognized Catholic Bishop, there is really nothing that those bureaucrats can do. However, those Vatican bureaucrats have attempted to force other Catholic Bishops not to incardinate Father Gruner, but when this happens, Father has found another bishop who is willing to accommodate him. Politics in church affairs is always ugly.

What awful reasoning. Fr. Gruner is not suspended merely because he says isn't?

Quote
Back on topic:  Dr. Walters, who supports the ministry of Father Nicholas Gruner, has been in contact with the MP as he makes frequent trips to Russia. A lot goes on which is not published in the controlled media.

The Father Gruner's Fatima Crusader ministry and the SSPX are making inroads into Russia where they claim to have converted thousands of Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholics to their position.  Make no doubt about this: the Fatima Crusader ministry in Russia is putting heavy pressure on the MP and other Russians for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary since Father Gruner's ministry and the SSPX do not recognize the fraudulent way in which the so-called 1984 consecration was done since Russia was not mentioned by name.

The Fatima Crusader is hardly a heavyweight even in the small Traditional Catholic world, where it is usually ignored. The SSPX also thinks the Consecration hasn't been done, but it has studiously avoided being identified with Gruner, knowing his reputation.

As for the 'claims' of thousands of Russian Orthodox conversions to the SSPX, I haven't seen any such claims, and I assure you that I read a lot of SSPX material every week. The SSPX has exactly one chapel in the Russian Federation, with a monthly Mass:

http://honneurs.free.fr/Wikini/wakka.php?wiki=FederationDeRussie

Chapelle privée
Ulica Kutusovo 1 - MOSCOU
3° dim.: 11.00 h
tél. : 375/172 135 037 en Biélorussie ou 370/37 422 492 en Lituanie
FSSPX


I don't think that this is because they're "hiding" their other chapels: after all, the Greek Catholics in Russia -- who have more reason to fear persecution than Russian Catholics of the Latin Rite -- have no problem with publicly listing who their priests and where their chapels are.

http://www.rkcvo.ru/node/53

And if the SSPX is hiding in Russia then why is the above chapel's existence public knowledge?

Quote
Have you even bothered to read Russian Sunrise? I have, and it does raise concerns.

Yes, I have, and it is absolute rubbish. The way it portrays the Patriarch and much of the Russian hierarchy converting almost instantaneously to Catholicism is pure comedy. One scene there, were the bishops admit that the only reason they don't want to become Catholic is that they're afraid that the Russian Orthodox liturgy would also be reformed in the manner of the Novus Ordo, could have only been whipped up by a complete ignoramus. (If that reasoning is true, then why did Russia not turn Catholic when the Roman liturgy was still reverent and in Latin? It's not as if Russia had no Roman Catholic presence before 1917. Indeed it was much larger then than now!)

Russian Sunrise is a novel, not fact, or did you miss that point?
What galled me the most in that novel was when the Russian Orthodox Hierarchy accepted the FILIOQUE addition to the Nicene Creed without raising an eyebrow.  ::)

Is there any more proof that Father Gruner was suspended than that link you provided. After all, as you mentioned, Father Gruner does have his detractors, and I am not so naive as to accept any old website as the Gospel truth, especially in this age of deceit.



9/13/2001 edition of L'Osservatore Romano.  I'm sure you can obtain it via interlibrary loan or email lormail@catholicreview.org (which publishes the English edition in the US) for a copy of the communique from Cardinal Hoyos.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Maria on March 15, 2012, 03:10:42 PM
Quote
Please quote the definitive document concerning Father Nicholas Gruner's final degree of suspension and/or defrocking.

See this: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4086

While Catholic Culture is not an official website, it is one of the most widely-read and authoritative in the English-speaking Catholic Internet world. It's old "PetersNet" ratings were practically the standard for orthodoxy in that world.  

The suspension of Fr. Gruner was upheld by the Catholic Church''s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura, which acts in the name of the Holy See. Any bishop who claims to "incardinate" Fr. Gruner is doing so invalidly and illicitly. They also tend to be bishops in remote dioceses in Asia, who most likely don't have any idea what's really going on in Rome. The "imprimatur" that Fr. Gruner brandishes on his works come from bishops in India and Papua New Guinea; since he does his publishing in Canada and the USA, those bishops don't have the competence to give him the imprimatur in the first place. (If you want a proper imprimatur you should get it from your local bishop.)

Quote
Father Nicholas Gruner has admitted that he is under a Catholic Bishop and is not suspended despite the Vatican Bureaucracy's attempt to do so. As long as he is under a recognized Catholic Bishop, there is really nothing that those bureaucrats can do. However, those Vatican bureaucrats have attempted to force other Catholic Bishops not to incardinate Father Gruner, but when this happens, Father has found another bishop who is willing to accommodate him. Politics in church affairs is always ugly.

What awful reasoning. Fr. Gruner is not suspended merely because he says isn't?

Quote
Back on topic:  Dr. Walters, who supports the ministry of Father Nicholas Gruner, has been in contact with the MP as he makes frequent trips to Russia. A lot goes on which is not published in the controlled media.

The Father Gruner's Fatima Crusader ministry and the SSPX are making inroads into Russia where they claim to have converted thousands of Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholics to their position.  Make no doubt about this: the Fatima Crusader ministry in Russia is putting heavy pressure on the MP and other Russians for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary since Father Gruner's ministry and the SSPX do not recognize the fraudulent way in which the so-called 1984 consecration was done since Russia was not mentioned by name.

The Fatima Crusader is hardly a heavyweight even in the small Traditional Catholic world, where it is usually ignored. The SSPX also thinks the Consecration hasn't been done, but it has studiously avoided being identified with Gruner, knowing his reputation.

As for the 'claims' of thousands of Russian Orthodox conversions to the SSPX, I haven't seen any such claims, and I assure you that I read a lot of SSPX material every week. The SSPX has exactly one chapel in the Russian Federation, with a monthly Mass:

http://honneurs.free.fr/Wikini/wakka.php?wiki=FederationDeRussie

Chapelle privée
Ulica Kutusovo 1 - MOSCOU
3° dim.: 11.00 h
tél. : 375/172 135 037 en Biélorussie ou 370/37 422 492 en Lituanie
FSSPX


I don't think that this is because they're "hiding" their other chapels: after all, the Greek Catholics in Russia -- who have more reason to fear persecution than Russian Catholics of the Latin Rite -- have no problem with publicly listing who their priests and where their chapels are.

http://www.rkcvo.ru/node/53

And if the SSPX is hiding in Russia then why is the above chapel's existence public knowledge?

Quote
Have you even bothered to read Russian Sunrise? I have, and it does raise concerns.

Yes, I have, and it is absolute rubbish. The way it portrays the Patriarch and much of the Russian hierarchy converting almost instantaneously to Catholicism is pure comedy. One scene there, were the bishops admit that the only reason they don't want to become Catholic is that they're afraid that the Russian Orthodox liturgy would also be reformed in the manner of the Novus Ordo, could have only been whipped up by a complete ignoramus. (If that reasoning is true, then why did Russia not turn Catholic when the Roman liturgy was still reverent and in Latin? It's not as if Russia had no Roman Catholic presence before 1917. Indeed it was much larger then than now!)

Russian Sunrise is a novel, not fact, or did you miss that point?
What galled me the most in that novel was when the Russian Orthodox Hierarchy accepted the FILIOQUE addition to the Nicene Creed without raising an eyebrow.  ::)

Is there any more proof that Father Gruner was suspended than that link you provided. After all, as you mentioned, Father Gruner does have his detractors, and I am not so naive as to accept any old website as the Gospel truth, especially in this age of deceit.



9/13/2001 edition of L'Osservatore Romano.  I'm sure you can obtain it via interlibrary loan or email lormail@catholicreview.org (which publishes the English edition in the US) for a copy of the communique from Cardinal Hoyos.

I read a copy of the suspension which Father Gruner and his detractors published, and it dealt with Father Gruner's not being incardinated under his former bishop. However, Father Gruner is currently incardinated under another Catholic bishop from India, so wouldn't this suspension now be lifted? And if not, why not?

Again, what crime has Father Gruner committed that would warrant his suspension?

Is it the same threatened suspension that faces the Catholic Priest, Father Pavone and has forced him to be grounded? Sheesh.

~~~~~

Honestly, from what I have read, it appears that the real reason behind Father Gruner's suspension is the fact that he is disrupting and interfering with the Vatican-Russian rapport due to his repeated requests for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and his claim that said consecration has not been properly executed. Thus both the Catholic and the Russian Orthodox Church supposedly feel harassed by Father Gruner, and his questionable suspension is one sure way to silence him, or so the Vatican bureaucrats thought.

Am I a supporter of Father Gruner? No.
However, this whole scenario smells fishy.

Back on topic:

Father Gruner's Fatima Crusade and the SSPX have both gone on record as opposing the Ecumenical Assisi gatherings sponsored by the Vatican, yet the MP has continued to send official Russian Orthodox Hierarchs to said events.

This scandalous ecumenical prayer meeting has scandalized many Orthodox and non-Orthodox.

Again, if the MP were to cease participating in these heretical prayer meetings sponsored by the Vatican and the WCC, and repent of their sins of ecumenism, then Orthodoxy would spread.

Once again, I pray for the MP and the EP, that they may repent of their errors of ecumenism, which is preventing the spread of the Gospel as ecumenism runs contrary to the teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church. Furthermore, ecumenism and syncretism promote confusion in the faithful and in those who are inquiring into the church. This should not be so.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Schultz on March 15, 2012, 03:28:32 PM
Quote
Please quote the definitive document concerning Father Nicholas Gruner's final degree of suspension and/or defrocking.

See this: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4086

While Catholic Culture is not an official website, it is one of the most widely-read and authoritative in the English-speaking Catholic Internet world. It's old "PetersNet" ratings were practically the standard for orthodoxy in that world.  

The suspension of Fr. Gruner was upheld by the Catholic Church''s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura, which acts in the name of the Holy See. Any bishop who claims to "incardinate" Fr. Gruner is doing so invalidly and illicitly. They also tend to be bishops in remote dioceses in Asia, who most likely don't have any idea what's really going on in Rome. The "imprimatur" that Fr. Gruner brandishes on his works come from bishops in India and Papua New Guinea; since he does his publishing in Canada and the USA, those bishops don't have the competence to give him the imprimatur in the first place. (If you want a proper imprimatur you should get it from your local bishop.)

Quote
Father Nicholas Gruner has admitted that he is under a Catholic Bishop and is not suspended despite the Vatican Bureaucracy's attempt to do so. As long as he is under a recognized Catholic Bishop, there is really nothing that those bureaucrats can do. However, those Vatican bureaucrats have attempted to force other Catholic Bishops not to incardinate Father Gruner, but when this happens, Father has found another bishop who is willing to accommodate him. Politics in church affairs is always ugly.

What awful reasoning. Fr. Gruner is not suspended merely because he says isn't?

Quote
Back on topic:  Dr. Walters, who supports the ministry of Father Nicholas Gruner, has been in contact with the MP as he makes frequent trips to Russia. A lot goes on which is not published in the controlled media.

The Father Gruner's Fatima Crusader ministry and the SSPX are making inroads into Russia where they claim to have converted thousands of Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholics to their position.  Make no doubt about this: the Fatima Crusader ministry in Russia is putting heavy pressure on the MP and other Russians for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary since Father Gruner's ministry and the SSPX do not recognize the fraudulent way in which the so-called 1984 consecration was done since Russia was not mentioned by name.

The Fatima Crusader is hardly a heavyweight even in the small Traditional Catholic world, where it is usually ignored. The SSPX also thinks the Consecration hasn't been done, but it has studiously avoided being identified with Gruner, knowing his reputation.

As for the 'claims' of thousands of Russian Orthodox conversions to the SSPX, I haven't seen any such claims, and I assure you that I read a lot of SSPX material every week. The SSPX has exactly one chapel in the Russian Federation, with a monthly Mass:

http://honneurs.free.fr/Wikini/wakka.php?wiki=FederationDeRussie

Chapelle privée
Ulica Kutusovo 1 - MOSCOU
3° dim.: 11.00 h
tél. : 375/172 135 037 en Biélorussie ou 370/37 422 492 en Lituanie
FSSPX


I don't think that this is because they're "hiding" their other chapels: after all, the Greek Catholics in Russia -- who have more reason to fear persecution than Russian Catholics of the Latin Rite -- have no problem with publicly listing who their priests and where their chapels are.

http://www.rkcvo.ru/node/53

And if the SSPX is hiding in Russia then why is the above chapel's existence public knowledge?

Quote
Have you even bothered to read Russian Sunrise? I have, and it does raise concerns.

Yes, I have, and it is absolute rubbish. The way it portrays the Patriarch and much of the Russian hierarchy converting almost instantaneously to Catholicism is pure comedy. One scene there, were the bishops admit that the only reason they don't want to become Catholic is that they're afraid that the Russian Orthodox liturgy would also be reformed in the manner of the Novus Ordo, could have only been whipped up by a complete ignoramus. (If that reasoning is true, then why did Russia not turn Catholic when the Roman liturgy was still reverent and in Latin? It's not as if Russia had no Roman Catholic presence before 1917. Indeed it was much larger then than now!)

Russian Sunrise is a novel, not fact, or did you miss that point?
What galled me the most in that novel was when the Russian Orthodox Hierarchy accepted the FILIOQUE addition to the Nicene Creed without raising an eyebrow.  ::)

Is there any more proof that Father Gruner was suspended than that link you provided. After all, as you mentioned, Father Gruner does have his detractors, and I am not so naive as to accept any old website as the Gospel truth, especially in this age of deceit.



9/13/2001 edition of L'Osservatore Romano.  I'm sure you can obtain it via interlibrary loan or email lormail@catholicreview.org (which publishes the English edition in the US) for a copy of the communique from Cardinal Hoyos.

I read a copy of the suspension which Father Gruner and his detractors published, and it dealt with Father Gruner's not being incardinated under his former bishop. However, Father Gruner is currently incardinated under another Catholic bishop from India, so wouldn't this suspension now be lifted? And if not, why not?

Again, what crime has Father Gruner committed that would warrant his suspension?

Is it the same threatened suspension that faces the Catholic Priest, Father Pavone and has forced him to be grounded? Sheesh.

~~~~~

Honestly, from what I have read, it appears that the real reason behind Father Gruner's suspension is the fact that he is disrupting and interfering with the Vatican-Russian rapport due to his repeated requests for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and his claim that said consecration has not been properly executed. Thus both the Catholic and the Russian Orthodox Church supposedly feel harassed by Father Gruner, and his questionable suspension is one sure way to silence him, or so the Vatican bureaucrats thought.

Am I a supporter of Father Gruner? No.
However, this whole scenario smells fishy.

Back on topic:

Father Gruner's Fatima Crusade and the SSPX have both gone on record as opposing the Ecumenical Assisi gatherings sponsored by the Vatican, yet the MP has continued to send official Russian Orthodox Hierarchs to said events.

This scandalous ecumenical prayer meeting has scandalized many Orthodox and non-Orthodox.

Again, if the MP were to cease participating in these heretical prayer meetings sponsored by the Vatican and the WCC, and repent of their sins of ecumenism, then Orthodoxy would spread.

Once again, I pray for the MP and the EP, that they may repent of their errors of ecumenism, which is preventing the spread of the Gospel as ecumenism runs contrary to the teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church. Furthermore, ecumenism and syncretism promote confusion in the faithful and in those who are inquiring into the church. This should not be so.

I cannot answer all those questions.  I can only tell you where notice of his suspension was published by an official organ of the Roman Catholic Church.

Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Ortho_cat on March 15, 2012, 03:37:30 PM
official organ?

(http://www.reynoldsorgans.com/Jobs/St%20Lawrence%20Muncie/stlawrencemunciemed.jpg)
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Schultz on March 15, 2012, 03:41:07 PM
The picture is missing the Phantom... ;)
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Shanghaiski on March 15, 2012, 04:51:03 PM
Do you reject the New Calendar Church because Elder Paisios made false prophesies?

Above is the original form of the question, which is quite loaded.  First of all, there is no such thing as “the New Calendar Church”, there is only the Orthodox Church in which you have some local churches who worship on the New Calendar and some who worship on the Old Calendar.  Elder Paisios followed the Old Calendar on Mt. Athos and never spoke of a “New Calendar Church”.   When the New Calendar was introduced, it was adopted by some local churches while others continued to follow the Old Calendar, and communion was not broken between local churches which used different calendars because the calendar issue was understood by all not to be a dogmatic issue.  It was only claimed to be a dogmatic issue by those who have wished to create and justify various schisms.

Now, *IF* Elder Paisios made “false prophecies”, why would that cause someone to reject the Church and join an Old Calendar schism?  In recent times there have been many saints and elders who were part of the Orthodox Church and who spoke out against those who wished to create schisms over the calendar change.  Among them, some followed the Old Calendar but spoke against creating schisms over the calendar issue, and some followed the New Calendar out of obedience to their hierarchs.  Such elders and saints include Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Elder Ephraim of Katounakia, Elder Haralampos of Dionysiou, Elder Gervasios Paraskevopoulos, Elder Cleopa of Sihastria, St. Nicholas Planas, Elder Dimitri Gagastathis, Elder Anthimos of St. Anne’s Skete, Elder Porphyrios, and many others.  Many of these saints received direct revelations from God regarding the error and pernicious path taken by the Old Calendar schismatics, and these revelations are recorded in books about them.  Elder Paisios had nothing to do with the calendar change as he was born the very year the New Calendar was introduced in Greece.  Nobody who has remained in the Church after the introduction of the New Calendar has been referred to as a “Paisiosite” or by any such names, while the various Old Calendar schisms have been referred to by such names as “Florinites”, “Matthewites”, etc.

Now, regarding the “false prophecies” of Elder Paisios, since you put “prophecies” in the plural, perhaps you can start a separate thread where these supposed “prophecies” can be listed.  Regarding Elder Paisios and General Grapsas, the story translated and posted on the website you have referenced does raise a number of questions.  First of all, since General Grapsas is still living, are his exact words regarding the matter quoted anywhere?  Does he agree with the story as portrayed on the link you have provided?  Since the story indicates that there were witnesses to Elder Paisios’ words, do the witnesses agree with the story as the website portrays?  Are there any witnesses that contest this story?  What have Elder Paisios’ closest disciples and spiritual children said regarding this story?  Is it possible that Met Grapsas and/or other misinterpreted the words of Elder Paisios?   

Now, if Elder Paisios did in fact say the words attributed to him, if these words were to be interpreted as presented on the website, and events did not turn out as Elder Paisios said, a whole other series of issues would need to be explored regarding the charism of clairvoyance, how this charism “works”, whether clairvoyance or “prophecy” is inherently conditional, what should we conclude when saints are wrong (Sts. Barsanuphius and John have several comments on this subject), etc. 

Of course, since your group is focused on promoting the cause of your schism and denouncing the Patriarchate of Constantinople and those in communion with him, it is certainly in your interest to try to demonstrate that Elder Paisios, and others who are considered to be saints but who spoke against your schisms, are somehow “false elders” or “false prophets”.  To make such a claim regarding Elder Paisios, or anyone else for that matter, one has to look at their faith, their entire way of life, the fruits of their lives, and testimonies of others.  While we have only your one story regarding a supposed “false prophecy” of Elder Paisios, there are literally thousands of pages of his own written words and counsels; as well as testimonies from others regarding his humility, his meekness, his love of others, the power of his prayers, and the healings and miracles which resulted from his prayers.  From the published testimonies of others, as well as from his words, Elder Paisios seems to be the exact opposite of a charlatan who put on a show or who sought attention and recognition from others.  When he perceived that people came to him looking for a show or a miracle, he often would turn them away, pretend not to be there, or act like a fool in order to humiliate himself and deflect inappropriate attention.  Regarding his clairvoyance, while there is this one story that you have so far provided, many others have been provided testifying to the accuracy of his clairvoyance and his many other gifts.

That being said, saints and elders are not completely infallible and without fault, and mistakes can be made, as Sts. Barsanuphius and John discussed.  In fact, Elder Porphyrios once read something that Elder Paisios wrote concerning the Last Days and the Antichrist, and wrote a letter to him forbidding him to speak of such things.  Elder Porphyrios said that God will enlighten holy bishops to speak of such matters when it becomes necessary, and it was not the place of Elder Paisios to speak of such things. In obedience to Elder Porphyrios, Elder Paisios agreed to refrain from writing about the End Times and the Antichrist.  From this it seems that Elder Porphyrios did not believe that Elder Paisios was enlightened by God concerning these matters, yet Elder Porphyrios nevertheless continued to have great reverence for Elder Paisios and still considered him to be a great saint. 

This letter of Elder Porphyrios to Elder Paisios is preserved in one of the monasteries on Mt. Athos, and the subject is related in an interview of Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphu who personally knew Elder Porphyrios.  For an English translation of this interview, go to:

http://www.pantokrator.info/en/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=viewdownload&cid=9

The subject of the letter of Elder Porphyrios to Elder Paisios can be found on the third talk entitled "03 Greek Elders-Evmenios" starting at 22:04. Met Neophytos begins speaking about the subject of the end times around 15:58.

Instead of trying to find small faults with individual saints and elders who spoke against creating schisms over the calendar issue, it would be much more profitable and edifying to start a new thread containing the lives and words of those who belonged to your particular “TOC” group, who are considered to be “saints” by your particular “TOC” group, and who expressed agreement with your official “no grace on the New Calendar” ecclesiology which Met Chrysostom of Florina referred to as “cacadox” and Met Petros of Astoria referred to as “spiritually ill”.  I have searched for such examples, and so far I have not found any.  But, perhaps you will enlighten me in a separate thread devoted to this theme.


Uh-huh. So I suppose you accept without question that all those "saints" received "direct revelations from God" about us "schismatics"?

Read the life of Elder Ieronymos of Aegina.

St. Ieronymos did not counsel people to go into schism.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 15, 2012, 05:10:25 PM
He counseled his spiritual children to remain faithful to tradition. For him, that meant ultimately leaving the State Church. He died in communion with Abp Auxentios of Athens, who served his funeral. His spiritual children were given over to the care of Fr Niphon Astyfides, the brother of Met Petros of Astoria. You should ask Fr Anastasios for more details about that.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Shanghaiski on March 15, 2012, 05:19:19 PM
He counseled his spiritual children to remain faithful to tradition. For him, that meant ultimately leaving the State Church. He died in communion with Abp Auxentios of Athens, who served his funeral. His spiritual children were given over to the care of Fr Niphon Astyfides, the brother of Met Petros of Astoria. You should ask Fr Anastasios for more details about that.

As I understand it, he, like Elder Pilotheos Zervakos, had spiritual children following both calendars, in the state church and not.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Maria on March 15, 2012, 05:22:34 PM

I cannot answer all those questions.  I can only tell you where notice of his suspension was published by an official organ of the Roman Catholic Church.


Frankly, why should we be concerned with the schismatic and heretical pontifications of the Roman Catholic Church ?

Catholic converts to Orthodoxy are ipso facto excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
Does that affect our salvation, No.

However, we should be concerned with the MP's ecumenical overtures to the Vatican by sending representatives to the Assisi Ecumenical prayer meetings. This rapport with the Vatican greatly disturbs the Orthodox Faith and confuses the Orthodox faithful.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 15, 2012, 05:28:33 PM
He counseled his spiritual children to remain faithful to tradition. For him, that meant ultimately leaving the State Church. He died in communion with Abp Auxentios of Athens, who served his funeral. His spiritual children were given over to the care of Fr Niphon Astyfides, the brother of Met Petros of Astoria. You should ask Fr Anastasios for more details about that.

As I understand it, he, like Elder Pilotheos Zervakos, had spiritual children following both calendars, in the state church and not.

Perhaps. If that is true, that would at least suggest that he and Elder Philotheos did not consider the old calendarists schismatics. I know that it's a little unclear in which jurisdiction Elder Philotheos reposed, but I am certain Elder Ieronymos reposed in the Old Calendar Church.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Shanghaiski on March 15, 2012, 06:27:42 PM
He counseled his spiritual children to remain faithful to tradition. For him, that meant ultimately leaving the State Church. He died in communion with Abp Auxentios of Athens, who served his funeral. His spiritual children were given over to the care of Fr Niphon Astyfides, the brother of Met Petros of Astoria. You should ask Fr Anastasios for more details about that.

As I understand it, he, like Elder Pilotheos Zervakos, had spiritual children following both calendars, in the state church and not.

Perhaps. If that is true, that would at least suggest that he and Elder Philotheos did not consider the old calendarists schismatics. I know that it's a little unclear in which jurisdiction Elder Philotheos reposed, but I am certain Elder Ieronymos reposed in the Old Calendar Church.

Which one? The one with grace or the others without?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: JamesRottnek on March 15, 2012, 07:39:57 PM

I cannot answer all those questions.  I can only tell you where notice of his suspension was published by an official organ of the Roman Catholic Church.


Frankly, why should we be concerned with the schismatic and heretical pontifications of the Roman Catholic Church ?

What a hilarious statement to read from a schismatic.  Schism is schism is schism.  You are as much outside the Church as any Catholic, just ask St. Cyril.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: jah777 on March 15, 2012, 10:42:31 PM
Uh-huh. So I suppose you accept without question that all those "saints" received "direct revelations from God" about us "schismatics"?

Read the life of Elder Ieronymos of Aegina.

Yes, I do accept the stories regarding the visions and revelations from God which these saints received when they were in great anguish concerning the calendar issue and passed much time in fasting, in tears, and in prayer, humbly seeking from God the resolution to the calendar issue.  Elder Joseph the Hesychast was a "Matthewite" Old Calendarist, and later joined the "Florinites", but he could not find peace with this arrangement and was in constant anguish until it was revealed to him that the “the Church is found in the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople".  After this was revealed to him, he experience a great deal of peace from above.  He then left the Old Calendarists, returned to the Church, and experienced much grace there. 

Elder Ephraim of Katounakia was himself a "Matthewite" Old Calendarist for many years and lived with a "Matthewite" elder on Mt. Athos for decades, but he was also in anguish regarding this schismatic position until it was revealed to him by God that the Church is with the Patriarch and not to be found in schism.  His Life relates that when he returned to the Church he always saw the Divine Grace consecrating the gifts into the Body and Blood of Christ, whereas when he was with the Old Calendarist it was as if there was a veil over his eyes and he could not clearly see Divine Grace during the consecration of the gifts. 

Elder Haralampos of Dionysiou was with the “Florinites” but also became convinced that this was a false path, and so he too returned to the Church and achieved great sanctity.

Elder Ephraim of Philotheou and Arizona was born in Volos and raised in an Old Calendarist church.  I believe Elder Joseph was still with the Old Calendarists when Elder Ephraim joined him on the Holy Mountain, but of course he too returned to the Church along with Elder Joseph. 

Why did these holy men all renounce their affiliation with the Old Calendarists and return to the Church and to communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople?  They were all holy men, men of prayer, who reached great sanctity after their departure from schism.  I have no reason to think that such stories are made up or in any way false regarding the visions and revelations from God which led to their return to the Church.

Regarding Elder Ieronymos, while serving as a priest in the Church of Greece in 1923 (before the calendar change), the consecrated Body and Blood of Christ appeared to him in the form of actual flesh and blood.  This frightened him greatly, and he never served the Divine Liturgy again after this.  It is true that he continued to follow the Old Calendar after the introduction of the New Calendar in Greece, but his Life clearly says that he never spoke out about the calendar change or encouraged people to leave the Church or join schisms over the calendar issue.  He served those who came to him regardless of whether they followed the New or Old Calendars.  His Life does not describe any revelations or visions that he had regarding the calendar issue, and indicates that he simply followed the Old out of preference but without condemning those on those on the New Calendar or promoting fanaticism.

Elder Philotheos (Zervakos) spoke out against the New Calendar and also against the fanatical Old Calendarists.  He struggled, prayed, and labored for the return of the Church of Greece to the Old Calendar and was very grieved that such a return was not accomplished during his life.  Wishing to repose on the Old Calendar, but not in schism from the Church, he invited Archimandrite Dionysios of Simonopetra on Mt. Athos to hear his confession and conduct his funeral on the Old Calendar.  Archimandrite Dionysios (spiritual son of both Elder Philotheos and Elder Aemilianos, and spiritual father of the nuns of the Entry of the Theotokos Monastery in Maryland under ROCOR) was and is in communion with the Orthodox Church. 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Maria on March 15, 2012, 11:34:01 PM

I cannot answer all those questions.  I can only tell you where notice of his suspension was published by an official organ of the Roman Catholic Church.


Frankly, why should we be concerned with the schismatic and heretical pontifications of the Roman Catholic Church ?

What a hilarious statement to read from a schismatic.  Schism is schism is schism.  You are as much outside the Church as any Catholic, just ask St. Cyril.

How do you not know that you are in schism and we of the Old Calendar are not in schism?

The insidious thing about Ecumenism and Syncretism is that it silently creeps upon one in the guise of doing good and of being charitable to those who are in heresy and in error.

I know because I used to attend those ecumenical prayer services with my Greek Orthodox Priest as I sang in the choir.
I slowly began to realize, however, that it was wrong to be listening to an Episcopalian or Methodist female priest who refused to say any politically incorrect terms like Father, Son, King, and Lord in the prayers that were given to her. And here she was praying on the Solea next to the Orthodox Priest. Her words caused a turbulent storm within my soul. And I realized that I had left Catholicism for what? Here I was praying with Catholics and Protestants. Why did I go through that painful catechumenate where I had to renounce the errors of Catholicism and then I found myself praying with them as if they had no errors? How ridiculous. How insane.

And this is what the MP is also doing when he sent his representatives to Assisi 2011. He is causing much turmoil in the minds and hearts of the Orthodox Faithful who are told that Catholics are in error, but that it is okay to attend services with then. Again, how ridiculous. How insane.

And this is why we are not growing. If only the faith of Worldwide Orthodoxy were more consistent with that of the ancient Orthodox faith.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: PeterTheAleut on March 16, 2012, 01:33:00 AM

I cannot answer all those questions.  I can only tell you where notice of his suspension was published by an official organ of the Roman Catholic Church.


Frankly, why should we be concerned with the schismatic and heretical pontifications of the Roman Catholic Church ?
So when a Roman Catholic tells you that the sky is blue, would you still conclude that he must be lying?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: GabrieltheCelt on March 16, 2012, 01:54:31 AM
Friends, brothers and sisters,

 There seems to be some animosity on this thread.  Don't mean to sound preachy, but let's please just focus on our journey through Great Lent and continue to pray for one another.   
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: JamesRottnek on March 16, 2012, 05:49:17 AM

I cannot answer all those questions.  I can only tell you where notice of his suspension was published by an official organ of the Roman Catholic Church.


Frankly, why should we be concerned with the schismatic and heretical pontifications of the Roman Catholic Church ?

What a hilarious statement to read from a schismatic.  Schism is schism is schism.  You are as much outside the Church as any Catholic, just ask St. Cyril.

How do you not know that you are in schism and we of the Old Calendar are not in schism?

The insidious thing about Ecumenism and Syncretism is that it silently creeps upon one in the guise of doing good and of being charitable to those who are in heresy and in error.

I know because I used to attend those ecumenical prayer services with my Greek Orthodox Priest as I sang in the choir.
I slowly began to realize, however, that it was wrong to be listening to an Episcopalian or Methodist female priest who refused to say any politically incorrect terms like Father, Son, King, and Lord in the prayers that were given to her. And here she was praying on the Solea next to the Orthodox Priest. Her words caused a turbulent storm within my soul. And I realized that I had left Catholicism for what? Here I was praying with Catholics and Protestants. Why did I go through that painful catechumenate where I had to renounce the errors of Catholicism and then I found myself praying with them as if they had no errors? How ridiculous. How insane.

And this is what the MP is also doing when he sent his representatives to Assisi 2011. He is causing much turmoil in the minds and hearts of the Orthodox Faithful who are told that Catholics are in error, but that it is okay to attend services with then. Again, how ridiculous. How insane.

And this is why we are not growing. If only the faith of Worldwide Orthodoxy were more consistent with that of the ancient Orthodox faith.

"World Orthodoxy" is causing turbulence?  Have you seen the number of schism amongst you old calendarists?  Have you seen how almost no old calendarist body is in communion with any other?  Do you think that the existence of priests, and even bishops, who are acting out of line is enough to warrant schism?  Is this Orthodoxy?  Certainly not!  In True Orthodoxy - not Old Calendarism - the Bishops are accountable to Synods, to their brother bishops.  You Old Calendarists instead prefer to just declare everyone anathema who does not meet your leaders personal preferences.  It is YOUR "church" that causes turbulence and tumult.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: searn77 on March 16, 2012, 09:16:24 AM

I cannot answer all those questions.  I can only tell you where notice of his suspension was published by an official organ of the Roman Catholic Church.


Frankly, why should we be concerned with the schismatic and heretical pontifications of the Roman Catholic Church ?

What a hilarious statement to read from a schismatic.  Schism is schism is schism.  You are as much outside the Church as any Catholic, just ask St. Cyril.

How do you not know that you are in schism and we of the Old Calendar are not in schism?

The insidious thing about Ecumenism and Syncretism is that it silently creeps upon one in the guise of doing good and of being charitable to those who are in heresy and in error.

I know because I used to attend those ecumenical prayer services with my Greek Orthodox Priest as I sang in the choir.
I slowly began to realize, however, that it was wrong to be listening to an Episcopalian or Methodist female priest who refused to say any politically incorrect terms like Father, Son, King, and Lord in the prayers that were given to her. And here she was praying on the Solea next to the Orthodox Priest. Her words caused a turbulent storm within my soul. And I realized that I had left Catholicism for what? Here I was praying with Catholics and Protestants. Why did I go through that painful catechumenate where I had to renounce the errors of Catholicism and then I found myself praying with them as if they had no errors? How ridiculous. How insane.

And this is what the MP is also doing when he sent his representatives to Assisi 2011. He is causing much turmoil in the minds and hearts of the Orthodox Faithful who are told that Catholics are in error, but that it is okay to attend services with then. Again, how ridiculous. How insane.

And this is why we are not growing. If only the faith of Worldwide Orthodoxy were more consistent with that of the ancient Orthodox faith.

"World Orthodoxy" is causing turbulence?  Have you seen the number of schism amongst you old calendarists?  Have you seen how almost no old calendarist body is in communion with any other?  Do you think that the existence of priests, and even bishops, who are acting out of line is enough to warrant schism?  Is this Orthodoxy?  Certainly not!  In True Orthodoxy - not Old Calendarism - the Bishops are accountable to Synods, to their brother bishops.  You Old Calendarists instead prefer to just declare everyone anathema who does not meet your leaders personal preferences.  It is YOUR "church" that causes turbulence and tumult.

While it's unfortunate that there is division among us Old Calendarists, we still refuse to enter into communion with a body that openly preaches heresy. When St. Maximus the Confessor was asked by the Monothelites, ""To which Church do you belong: to that of Byzantium, Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, or Jerusalem? All these churches and the provinces under them are in concord. If you belong to the Catholic Church, you must enter into communion with us at once, lest you forge a new and strange pathway and fall into unexpected disaster." The man of God wisely replied, "Christ the Lord acknowledges as Catholic that Church which maintains the true and saving confession of faith. But tell me: on what basis have all the churches, as you say, entered into communion? If it is on a foundation of truth, I do not wish to be separated from them."
St. Demetrius of Rostov, The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, vol. 5, p. 366

Even though not everybody in World Orthodoxy accepts or teaches the heresy of Ecumenism, the fact that it is a heresy and is openly taught and practiced by a numerous amount of clergy without any kind of punishment by fellow bishops is enough to warrant us to cease communion with World Orthodoxy, which is an Orthodox practice, not schism. Hopefully there comes a time that all of the Old Calendarists will recognize that we all share the same faith, as today we recognize both the synods in 4th century Antioch eventually had the same faith even though they were out of communion with each other, and can unite on that.

Although you obviously disagree with our position, hopefully you can understand where we're coming from.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Cavaradossi on March 16, 2012, 09:48:01 AM

I cannot answer all those questions.  I can only tell you where notice of his suspension was published by an official organ of the Roman Catholic Church.


Frankly, why should we be concerned with the schismatic and heretical pontifications of the Roman Catholic Church ?

What a hilarious statement to read from a schismatic.  Schism is schism is schism.  You are as much outside the Church as any Catholic, just ask St. Cyril.

How do you not know that you are in schism and we of the Old Calendar are not in schism?

The insidious thing about Ecumenism and Syncretism is that it silently creeps upon one in the guise of doing good and of being charitable to those who are in heresy and in error.

I know because I used to attend those ecumenical prayer services with my Greek Orthodox Priest as I sang in the choir.
I slowly began to realize, however, that it was wrong to be listening to an Episcopalian or Methodist female priest who refused to say any politically incorrect terms like Father, Son, King, and Lord in the prayers that were given to her. And here she was praying on the Solea next to the Orthodox Priest. Her words caused a turbulent storm within my soul. And I realized that I had left Catholicism for what? Here I was praying with Catholics and Protestants. Why did I go through that painful catechumenate where I had to renounce the errors of Catholicism and then I found myself praying with them as if they had no errors? How ridiculous. How insane.

And this is what the MP is also doing when he sent his representatives to Assisi 2011. He is causing much turmoil in the minds and hearts of the Orthodox Faithful who are told that Catholics are in error, but that it is okay to attend services with then. Again, how ridiculous. How insane.

And this is why we are not growing. If only the faith of Worldwide Orthodoxy were more consistent with that of the ancient Orthodox faith.

"World Orthodoxy" is causing turbulence?  Have you seen the number of schism amongst you old calendarists?  Have you seen how almost no old calendarist body is in communion with any other?  Do you think that the existence of priests, and even bishops, who are acting out of line is enough to warrant schism?  Is this Orthodoxy?  Certainly not!  In True Orthodoxy - not Old Calendarism - the Bishops are accountable to Synods, to their brother bishops.  You Old Calendarists instead prefer to just declare everyone anathema who does not meet your leaders personal preferences.  It is YOUR "church" that causes turbulence and tumult.

While it's unfortunate that there is division among us Old Calendarists, we still refuse to enter into communion with a body that openly preaches heresy. When St. Maximus the Confessor was asked by the Monothelites, ""To which Church do you belong: to that of Byzantium, Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, or Jerusalem? All these churches and the provinces under them are in concord. If you belong to the Catholic Church, you must enter into communion with us at once, lest you forge a new and strange pathway and fall into unexpected disaster." The man of God wisely replied, "Christ the Lord acknowledges as Catholic that Church which maintains the true and saving confession of faith. But tell me: on what basis have all the churches, as you say, entered into communion? If it is on a foundation of truth, I do not wish to be separated from them."
St. Demetrius of Rostov, The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, vol. 5, p. 366

Even though not everybody in World Orthodoxy accepts or teaches the heresy of Ecumenism, the fact that it is a heresy and is openly taught and practiced by a numerous amount of clergy without any kind of punishment by fellow bishops is enough to warrant us to cease communion with World Orthodoxy, which is an Orthodox practice, not schism. Hopefully there comes a time that all of the Old Calendarists will recognize that we all share the same faith, as today we recognize both the synods in 4th century Antioch eventually had the same faith even though they were out of communion with each other, and can unite on that.

Although you obviously disagree with our position, hopefully you can understand where we're coming from.

So you believe that the body of Christ is fractured amongst many different Old Calendarist groups which are not in communion (that is, in schism) with each other? Where in the fathers may I read of this ecclesiological concept that the body of Christ may be many, and that the succession of the Apostles may be many, so that there are many rocks upon which the Church is built? Is this not the very ecumenist heresy which the Old Calendarists use to justify their existence?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: searn77 on March 16, 2012, 11:50:04 AM

I cannot answer all those questions.  I can only tell you where notice of his suspension was published by an official organ of the Roman Catholic Church.


Frankly, why should we be concerned with the schismatic and heretical pontifications of the Roman Catholic Church ?

What a hilarious statement to read from a schismatic.  Schism is schism is schism.  You are as much outside the Church as any Catholic, just ask St. Cyril.

How do you not know that you are in schism and we of the Old Calendar are not in schism?

The insidious thing about Ecumenism and Syncretism is that it silently creeps upon one in the guise of doing good and of being charitable to those who are in heresy and in error.

I know because I used to attend those ecumenical prayer services with my Greek Orthodox Priest as I sang in the choir.
I slowly began to realize, however, that it was wrong to be listening to an Episcopalian or Methodist female priest who refused to say any politically incorrect terms like Father, Son, King, and Lord in the prayers that were given to her. And here she was praying on the Solea next to the Orthodox Priest. Her words caused a turbulent storm within my soul. And I realized that I had left Catholicism for what? Here I was praying with Catholics and Protestants. Why did I go through that painful catechumenate where I had to renounce the errors of Catholicism and then I found myself praying with them as if they had no errors? How ridiculous. How insane.

And this is what the MP is also doing when he sent his representatives to Assisi 2011. He is causing much turmoil in the minds and hearts of the Orthodox Faithful who are told that Catholics are in error, but that it is okay to attend services with then. Again, how ridiculous. How insane.

And this is why we are not growing. If only the faith of Worldwide Orthodoxy were more consistent with that of the ancient Orthodox faith.

"World Orthodoxy" is causing turbulence?  Have you seen the number of schism amongst you old calendarists?  Have you seen how almost no old calendarist body is in communion with any other?  Do you think that the existence of priests, and even bishops, who are acting out of line is enough to warrant schism?  Is this Orthodoxy?  Certainly not!  In True Orthodoxy - not Old Calendarism - the Bishops are accountable to Synods, to their brother bishops.  You Old Calendarists instead prefer to just declare everyone anathema who does not meet your leaders personal preferences.  It is YOUR "church" that causes turbulence and tumult.

While it's unfortunate that there is division among us Old Calendarists, we still refuse to enter into communion with a body that openly preaches heresy. When St. Maximus the Confessor was asked by the Monothelites, ""To which Church do you belong: to that of Byzantium, Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, or Jerusalem? All these churches and the provinces under them are in concord. If you belong to the Catholic Church, you must enter into communion with us at once, lest you forge a new and strange pathway and fall into unexpected disaster." The man of God wisely replied, "Christ the Lord acknowledges as Catholic that Church which maintains the true and saving confession of faith. But tell me: on what basis have all the churches, as you say, entered into communion? If it is on a foundation of truth, I do not wish to be separated from them."
St. Demetrius of Rostov, The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, vol. 5, p. 366

Even though not everybody in World Orthodoxy accepts or teaches the heresy of Ecumenism, the fact that it is a heresy and is openly taught and practiced by a numerous amount of clergy without any kind of punishment by fellow bishops is enough to warrant us to cease communion with World Orthodoxy, which is an Orthodox practice, not schism. Hopefully there comes a time that all of the Old Calendarists will recognize that we all share the same faith, as today we recognize both the synods in 4th century Antioch eventually had the same faith even though they were out of communion with each other, and can unite on that.

Although you obviously disagree with our position, hopefully you can understand where we're coming from.

So you believe that the body of Christ is fractured amongst many different Old Calendarist groups which are not in communion (that is, in schism) with each other? Where in the fathers may I read of this ecclesiological concept that the body of Christ may be many, and that the succession of the Apostles may be many, so that there are many rocks upon which the Church is built? Is this not the very ecumenist heresy which the Old Calendarists use to justify their existence?

Well in 4th century Antioch there were two synods not in communion with each other but today we recognize saints on both sides. More recently, ROCOR was not in communion with World Orthodoxy & yet today your Church considers them to have always been Orthodox. The ecumenical heresy teaches that those who are not Orthodox are still somehow, although maybe
 imperfectly, a part of the Church. So no, there is only one rock, not many, that the one Church is built upon.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 16, 2012, 11:51:56 AM
Uh-huh. So I suppose you accept without question that all those "saints" received "direct revelations from God" about us "schismatics"?

Read the life of Elder Ieronymos of Aegina.

Yes, I do accept the stories regarding the visions and revelations from God which these saints received when they were in great anguish concerning the calendar issue and passed much time in fasting, in tears, and in prayer, humbly seeking from God the resolution to the calendar issue.  Elder Joseph the Hesychast was a "Matthewite" Old Calendarist, and later joined the "Florinites", but he could not find peace with this arrangement and was in constant anguish until it was revealed to him that the “the Church is found in the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople".  After this was revealed to him, he experience a great deal of peace from above.  He then left the Old Calendarists, returned to the Church, and experienced much grace there. 

Elder Ephraim of Katounakia was himself a "Matthewite" Old Calendarist for many years and lived with a "Matthewite" elder on Mt. Athos for decades, but he was also in anguish regarding this schismatic position until it was revealed to him by God that the Church is with the Patriarch and not to be found in schism.  His Life relates that when he returned to the Church he always saw the Divine Grace consecrating the gifts into the Body and Blood of Christ, whereas when he was with the Old Calendarist it was as if there was a veil over his eyes and he could not clearly see Divine Grace during the consecration of the gifts. 

Elder Haralampos of Dionysiou was with the “Florinites” but also became convinced that this was a false path, and so he too returned to the Church and achieved great sanctity.

Elder Ephraim of Philotheou and Arizona was born in Volos and raised in an Old Calendarist church.  I believe Elder Joseph was still with the Old Calendarists when Elder Ephraim joined him on the Holy Mountain, but of course he too returned to the Church along with Elder Joseph. 

Why did these holy men all renounce their affiliation with the Old Calendarists and return to the Church and to communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople?  They were all holy men, men of prayer, who reached great sanctity after their departure from schism.  I have no reason to think that such stories are made up or in any way false regarding the visions and revelations from God which led to their return to the Church.

Regarding Elder Ieronymos, while serving as a priest in the Church of Greece in 1923 (before the calendar change), the consecrated Body and Blood of Christ appeared to him in the form of actual flesh and blood.  This frightened him greatly, and he never served the Divine Liturgy again after this.  It is true that he continued to follow the Old Calendar after the introduction of the New Calendar in Greece, but his Life clearly says that he never spoke out about the calendar change or encouraged people to leave the Church or join schisms over the calendar issue.  He served those who came to him regardless of whether they followed the New or Old Calendars.  His Life does not describe any revelations or visions that he had regarding the calendar issue, and indicates that he simply followed the Old out of preference but without condemning those on those on the New Calendar or promoting fanaticism.

Elder Philotheos (Zervakos) spoke out against the New Calendar and also against the fanatical Old Calendarists.  He struggled, prayed, and labored for the return of the Church of Greece to the Old Calendar and was very grieved that such a return was not accomplished during his life.  Wishing to repose on the Old Calendar, but not in schism from the Church, he invited Archimandrite Dionysios of Simonopetra on Mt. Athos to hear his confession and conduct his funeral on the Old Calendar.  Archimandrite Dionysios (spiritual son of both Elder Philotheos and Elder Aemilianos, and spiritual father of the nuns of the Entry of the Theotokos Monastery in Maryland under ROCOR) was and is in communion with the Orthodox Church. 


If you read the introduction to the edition of his published by HTM, you will find that in fact he did leave the State Church, which according to you is a schismatic act. That would make him a schismatic, too.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: jah777 on March 16, 2012, 04:57:42 PM
While it's unfortunate that there is division among us Old Calendarists, we still refuse to enter into communion with a body that openly preaches heresy. When St. Maximus the Confessor was asked by the Monothelites, ""To which Church do you belong: to that of Byzantium, Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, or Jerusalem? All these churches and the provinces under them are in concord. If you belong to the Catholic Church, you must enter into communion with us at once, lest you forge a new and strange pathway and fall into unexpected disaster." The man of God wisely replied, "Christ the Lord acknowledges as Catholic that Church which maintains the true and saving confession of faith. But tell me: on what basis have all the churches, as you say, entered into communion? If it is on a foundation of truth, I do not wish to be separated from them."
St. Demetrius of Rostov, The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, vol. 5, p. 366

Even though not everybody in World Orthodoxy accepts or teaches the heresy of Ecumenism, the fact that it is a heresy and is openly taught and practiced by a numerous amount of clergy without any kind of punishment by fellow bishops is enough to warrant us to cease communion with World Orthodoxy, which is an Orthodox practice, not schism. Hopefully there comes a time that all of the Old Calendarists will recognize that we all share the same faith, as today we recognize both the synods in 4th century Antioch eventually had the same faith even though they were out of communion with each other, and can unite on that.

Orthodox participation in the Ecumenical Movement has sadly been a source of much confusion and disagreement in the Orthodox Church and has done great violence to the ecclesiological, dogmatic, and canonical conscience and phronema of the Church.  I greatly sympathize with the Old Calendarist disdain for Ecumenism and innovation in general.  The Old Calendarists are right to have such disdain.  However, as St. Gregory Palamas and so many Fathers said, “nothing can be good unless it is done in a good way.”  It is right to reject syncretistic and heretical Ecumenism, but it must be rejected in the right way or else one ends up just as far from God as those whose actions one is opposing. 

The Old Calendar schism occurred in 1935 when three bishops left the Church of Greece and announced that the Church of Greece was in schism and without grace, even while the entire rest of the Church (even local churches who were still on the Old Calendar) recognized the Church of Greece as a grace-filled part of the body of Christ.  All three bishops came to regret this decision later.  Met Chrysostom of Zakynthos quickly repented and returned to the Church of Greece.  Met Germanos of Demetrias petitioned to be received back into the Church of Greece years later and was eventually buried by the Church of Greece.  Met Chrysostom of Florina made several unsuccessful attempts to be received back into the Church of Greece, and before his repose he pledged to the Church of Greece that he would not consecrate any other bishops and had no intention of starting a “rival Synod”. 

Today, Old Calendarists justify their schism by claiming that the Orthodox patriarchates now formally teach that there is not One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.  They say that they have broken communion with the Church because of heretical Ecumenism.  Heresy had nothing at all to do with the Old Calendarist schism, however, and so they graft themselves onto an erroneous foundation.  When this schism occurred, it was claimed that 16th century Pan-Orthodox Councils anathematized the New Calendar, but this claim was based on a forgery as even the Old Calendarist “Synod in Resistance” acknowledges.  These past councils condemned the adoption of the Gregorian Paschalian because this alone (and not the Julian Menologion) goes against the decrees of the First Ecumenical Council regarding the dating of Pascha and the importance of all Orthodox celebrating Pascha on the same date.  Sadly, the Old Calendarists based their schism on forgery and a completely erroneous and cacadox ecclesiology (as even Met Chrysostom of Florina came to see).

Today, Old Calendarists claim that Ecumenism began in 1920 with the Patriarchal Encyclical of that date calling for unity amongst Christians, and this encyclical mentioned the need for all Christians to be on the same calendar.  The Old Calendarists today argue that the original Old Calendarists saw the calendar change as the “first step” in forming a false union with Rome.  Yet, where did the first Old Calendarist hierarchs mention anything about ecumenism or the 1920 Encyclical?  It seems that nobody knew anything about the Encyclical until the 1960s or so.  And now we are quickly approaching 100 years since the introduction of the New Calendar and where did this dreaded false union with Rome happen that was supposed to follow the introduction of the New Calendar? 

The first hierarchs of the schismatic Old Calendarists all came to see that their actions in response to the calendar change were unjustifiable.  Yet, the Old Calendarists today claim to follow these first hierarchs and now claim to defend the Church against Ecumenism, yet their approach to Ecumenism and heresy is entirely foreign to the example of the Holy Fathers.  St. Mark of Ephesus, for instance, was surrounded by bishops who were eager to unite with the heretical Pope.  He knew that many bishops with whom he was in communion were fully prepared to commemorate the Pope of Rome in return for military assistance against the Turks.  If he thought as the Old Calendarists do today, he would have broken communion with his fellow bishops and started his own separate Synod long before the Council of Florence, condemning as “without grace” those who he separated from.  But what did he do?  He went to Florence with the unionist bishops, met with the heretical Latin bishops, discussed matters of faith, and only when the other formerly Orthodox bishops formally entered into union with the Pope did he break communion with those who had united themselves with heretics. 

As lamentable as it is that bishops today have called the Roman Catholics a “Sister Church”, even more lamentable is the fact that people lose their faith over such things and join schisms, having no fear of the words of St. Ignatius of Antioch that “no one who follows a man into schism will inherit the kingdom of God.”  The example of St. Mark of Ephesus and the other Fathers teach us to have no communion with heresy, they do not teach us to create schisms out of fear of some future false union with heresy. 

St. Maximus the Confessor is not emulated by today’s Old Calendarists in the least.  In his day, the emperor had established the heresy of monothelitism as an imperial doctrine.  It was obligatory that all Orthodox Christians adopt this heresy, and St. Maximus was tortured precisely for refusing to belief the heresy.  Today in the Orthodox Church, some participants (and certainly not all!) in the Ecumenical movement speak vaguely about the limits of the Church with the hope of winning over the non-Orthodox.  This is shameful indeed, but is not even remotely close to the bishops of the Church establishing a new teaching that Roman Catholics and other non-Orthodox are all part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.  While there have been unfortunate words and gestures, no local Church has fallen into heresy as happened in the time of St. Maximus. 

Furthermore, when monothelitism was introduced and mandated by the emperor, what exactly did St. Maximus do?  Did he immediately break communion with the entire Orthodox world and start his own church, declaring “devoid of grace” all who he separated from?  No, he sought out bishops who would stand with him and gather in council to condemn the heresy.  When the three Old Calendarist bishops broke away from the Church of Greece in 1935, they consulted with no other local churches before making such a perilous decision.  Consequently, nobody supported them and they found themselves isolated and cut off from the entire body of the Church.  When one of the bishops, Met Chrysostom of Florina, went to the Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1936 to elicit support for the Old Calendarists in Greece, the Patriarch received Met Chrysostom as a simple monk rather than a hierarch and chastised him for his completely erroneous ecclesiology and misunderstanding of the canons and their application.  Met Chrysostom changed his views and came to see that only a Pan-Orthodox Council of living bishops has the authority to declare a local Church to be in schism and without grace, but sadly Met Chrysostom never reunited with the Church. 

When Met Chrysostom reposed there were two competing Old Calendarist groups.  Today, there are more than 10.  The reason that the Old Calendarists cannot unite today is the same reason why the Protestants cannot unite.  Only the Holy Spirit can bring such unity, but the Holy Spirit dwells in the Church that they have left.  By condemning the Church as if was deprived of the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Old Calendarist further grieve the Spirit and deprive themselves of the means of salvation. 

Well in 4th century Antioch there were two synods not in communion with each other but today we recognize saints on both sides. More recently, ROCOR was not in communion with World Orthodoxy & yet today your Church considers them to have always been Orthodox. The ecumenical heresy teaches that those who are not Orthodox are still somehow, although maybe
 imperfectly, a part of the Church. So no, there is only one rock, not many, that the one Church is built upon.

Fourth century Antioch is another example of a historical situation that the Old Calendarists use to justify their position, but which has no relation to the reality of their own schism.  It is true that the Meletian schism was very complicated, that there were rival Synods, and that there was a disagreement between other local Orthodox churches and various saints regarding which Patriarch of Antioch was the canonical and Orthodox one.  The Church later resolved the matter in a council.  In the case of the competing Old Calendarist groups, they all cut themselves off from the Church voluntarily a long time ago.  No local Orthodox Church has communion with them or recognizes them as canonical and Orthodox.  There is no confusion or debate on the matter between local Orthodox Synods, and all agree that the many competing Old Calendarist groups are in an unlawful schism.

The Meletian schism lasted 55 yrs in all and occurred at a time when communication and travel was exceedingly difficult.  Communication probably had the most to do with why the confusion and associated schisms lasted as long as they did.  The Old Calendarists have been in schism now for 77 yrs, and have divided now into many individual groups that are isolated and separated from communion with anyone else, and this has happened at such a time when travel and communication has never been faster or easier. 

The situation with ROCOR during Soviet times is also in no way similar to that of the Old Calendarists today.  ROCOR was always recognized as Orthodox by other local Orthodox churches, and had particularly close ties with the Serbian and Jerusalem Patriarchates.  ROCOR did become increasingly isolated from the 1960s, mostly because of very questionable and uncanonical actions of ROCOR on the territories of other Synods, and because of ROCOR’s increasing concerns about Ecumenism.  Communion was never fully broken, however, whereas the Old Calendarists withdrew from communion with the entire Orthodox Church 77 yrs ago. 

Again, many Orthodox participants in the Ecumenical Movement have said and done things which are unacceptable from an ecclesiological and canonical position.  The Orthodox Church has not fallen into heresy, however.  The Old Calendarists were not established because of any claim regarding heresy, but rather on the basis of a cacadox ecclesiology, forged documents, and a complete misunderstanding of the canons and their application.  While I certainly understand and sympathize with the Old Calendarist objections to Ecumenism and the New Calendar, I do not agree with fighting cacadox ecclesiology with an equally cacadox ecclesiology.  Nor do I agree with the falsifications of history and deceptions used by many Old Calendarists to scandalize members of the Orthodox Church and justify their unlawful schisms.   
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: searn77 on March 17, 2012, 12:56:00 AM
You make it sound like the Greek traditionalists all of the sudden broke away from the Greek State Church and just all of the sudden proclaimed the State Church to have no grace, but in reality it took about a decade for this "schism" to happen, and it wasn't until after much persecution (and even martyrdom) by the Greek government and Greek New Calendarist clergy, and much consideration and pleading to the Greek State Church to return to the Orthodox calendar, that this happened. In reality, after the calendar change happened in Greece and the traditional Orthodox "Old Calendarist" movement began taking place, there were New Calendarist bishops who helped the Old Calendarists out when they were being persecuted. There were even bishops and other clergy that became Old Calendarists until they began to get persecuted from the government, as in which case they jumped back to the New Calendarist Church. There was in reality a lot of hopping back and forth with clergy and laity during the first decade of the schism. Which is why in my opinion I view it as a good protective measure to state that the Greek State Church had no grace, as it helped put an end to this hopping back and forth between the two Greek Churches and it showed that only where the Orthodox Church is can you be assured of the sacraments. Now no TOC synod, not even the Matthewites, state in their confession of faith's that grace left the Greek Church immediately when the calendar was changed. For a good reading on this issue I would recommend reading HOCNA's confession of faith and Met. Ephraim's letter that follows the HOCNA confession, which can be found on their website.

And yes, the Old Calendarists broke off originally due to a change in the calendar. It wasn't until later that the heresy of ecumenism has been recognized as the reason for this calendar change in the World Orthodox Church and for other other heretically ecumenical events that have taken place. I know that Met. Chrysostom did not consecrate any other bishops after him but to say that he tried to be received back into the Greek State Church I have never heard before. You're right, I do not think he wanted to create a rival synod with the Greek State Church, but in his mind, and in the mind of many Old Calendarists of the time, they thought that the other synods and Patriarchates of the Church would help support their Orthodox cause and bring the Greek Church back to an Orthodox calendar. They thought the Greek State Church would soon realize their mistake and return back to the Orthodox calendar. Sadly the opposite has taken place, with those in the Patriarchates and other synods accepting (or ignoring) what today we recognize as the ecumenical heresy.

The claim that the councils which anathemized the new calendar are "forgeries" is questionable, as there is actually no reliable proof which shows that it was indeed a forgery. And the whole reason why these councils at least anathemized the Gregorian Paschalion (if you believe that the anathema's against the Roman Catholic calendar was a forgery) was to keep intact the unity of the Orthodox Church. So when the whole Orthodox Church had begun using a united calendar, to introduce a foreign calendar into the Church for no good reason at all goes against the spirit of the councils.

I have honestly never heard the claim that today's Old Calendarist's believe that the Old Calendarists of the 20s and 30s thought that the calendar change was the first step towards a false union with Rome. However, since the new calendar was introduced, liturgical services have indeed been served with Orthodox and Catholic clergy together, the lifting of anathemas has taken place (for whatever reasons I do not understand), there has been a sort of semi-unity with the Non-Chalcedonians, and many heretical events taking place.

St. Mark of Ephesus did not have the same situation as the Old Calendarists of the 20s and 30s had. The Old Calendarists were highly persecuted by the government for voicing their belief that the Church should stick with the Julian calendar; they were beaten, arrested, and shaven of their beards. There's even an incident where a New Calendarist Bishop of Boston returned to Greece, went to an Old Calendarist Church, threw the chalice on the ground, ripped out the priest's (Hieromonk Theonas) beard, pushed him to the ground, and began kicking him, causing wounds which Fr. Theonas died from shortly later. So it wasn't as if they could just partake in a council with the New Calendarist bishops and work out this situation like Christians. The situation was too bad for this even to be considered happening at the time. Sure, there were some who thought that this council would take place, but sadly it never did, as it might have brought the Greek State Church back to the Orthodox calendar and save us from the situation we have today.

Regardless though, a council is not needed to declare a heresy. For example, during the 7th Ecumenical Council, the iconoclasts were already considered to be outside the Church even before the council took place. In the Council it states, "For they [the Iconoclasts] have dared to slander the God-befitting beauty of the sacred offerings, being called 'priests,' while in reality they are not." So it was acknowledged that the Iconocasts priests were being called priests from before the 7th Ecumenical Council, and that in reality the Iconoclast priests were not priests at all.

If you also read the 31st Apostolic canon it forbids a Christian from breaking communion with his bishop except when the bishop has offended against "piety and justice," which allows the Old Calendarists of the time to break communion with their synod. But again, they did not think of themselves as breaking off of the Orthodox Church; just severing communion with the Greek State Church until the time that the Greek State Church returns to the Orthodox calendar, which they did not see as taking that long.

And the 32nd Apostolic canon states, "As for those persons…who on account of some heresy condemned by the holy councils or Fathers withdraw themselves from communion with their president who preaches heresy publicly and with a bare head in the Church, such persons are not only not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a bishop before any conciliar or synodical verdict has been rendered, but on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied not bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the unity of the Church with any schism, but on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions."

Ecumenism is a hard to define heresy, but HOTCA defines it as "In its weakest form, Ecumenism holds that the Church of Christ is larger than the Orthodox Church, or that other churches posses some real, albeit imperfect, ecclesial status." This heresy goes completely against the fathers and councils of the Orthodox Church, and this heresy is openly preached and practiced by many bishops in World Orthodoxy, so the fact that the Old Calendarists haven't joined the World Orthodox is completely justified. I'm not saying that ecumenism is preached and practiced everywhere in World Orthodoxy as I've been to very traditional World Orthodox parishes, but the fact that these traditional parishes are in communion with others who openly preach this heresy is the reason why the Old Calendarists cannot enter in communion with those in World Orthodoxy who are more traditional. A kind  of "guilty by association" type of situation.

And the reasons not all of the Old Calendarists are not in communion with each other are due to persecutions, misunderstandings, and historical circumstances. Today things have been getting better than they were even a decade ago. Promising talks between synods have taken place, the RTOC and GOC under Met. Kallinikos had some promising talks with each other until some more recent events which took place in Serbia, the synod I am a part of has united with a Russian Catacomb Church, Greek Church, and a Bulgarian Church, so things are looking better than they were a decade ago. I have even heard from a GOC priest that after his church finishes their liturgy and the RTOC church in his area finish their liturgy, they gather together for a common meal. While certainly this is far from perfect, today the situation among the TOC synods are getting better.

I still disagree with you about 4th century Antioch. Sure, from your POV I understand what you have said. But from a TOC POV, the TOC is the true Church, not a schism from the true Church, as we do not view it schismatic to cease communion with a body which has introduced un-Orthodox ideas and practices into the Church. So I believe that while we are all not in communion with each other yet, we are still the true Orthodox Church, as in 4th century Antioch those synods were not in communion with each other but today we recognize saints on both sides.

The ROCOR had specific close ties with the Old Calendarists. In the ROCOR's earlier years, they were hardly in a position to contemplate and concern themselves with the calendar and with Ecumenism, as the Russians were trying to survive and stabilize a Russian Orthodox Church after escaping the persecutions. But when the dust began to settle, Met. St. Philaret issued the anathema against ecumenism and the ROCOR helped out both the Matthewite and Florinite synods and entered into communion with both of them for a time. You can even read what Fr. Seraphims words regarding the Old Calendarists and Ecumenism:
"Many of them follow the bishops of the few Orthodox jurisdicitions that have strong stands against the apostasy of our times: the Catacomb Church of Russia, the Russian Church Outside of Russia, the True Orthodox Christians [Old Calendarists] of Greece. But there are some left in other jurisdictions also, grieving over the ever more evident apostasy of their hierarchs and striving somehow to keep their own Orthodoxy intact;" Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future. 1983 edition, page 220

But as time went on and certain members of the clergy of the ROCOR starting becoming more ecumenical without being called to repent or repudiating what they thought, going against what ROCOR had stood for, that's when splits from ROCOR began happening and that's when unions with the ROCOR and the Old Calendarists began severing.

The ROCOR had close ties with the Old Calendarists as they recognized the "apostasy of our times." But again, the traditional Old Calendarists of the 20s and 30s did not know that others besides the Greek State Church and Ecumenical Patriarchate would fall into the apostasy of our times. To the contrary, they thought others, the Jerusalem Patriarchate for example, would help bring the Greek State Church back to the Orthodox calendar and restore unity and the Orthodox tradition. They did not have any idea that this heresy of ecumenism would spread throughout the Church. Even if you read their 1935 confession of faith, they only state that grace has left the Greek Church, not mentioning the other Churches. But again, you have to understand that there was a constant back-and-forth thing going in Greece at that time with the clergy and laity between the Old Calendarists and New Calendarists. The Old Calendarist view of the time was that the Greek State Church was in schism, not the Old Calendarists themselves, and according to St. Basil schismatics do not have grace in their sacraments, so it was a legitimate thing for the Old Calendarists to say and it helped clear some confusion and stop the hopping back and forth. But again, I would highly recommend reading Met. Ephraim of HOCNA's letter after their confession listed on their website which helps put this idea of ceasing to have grace into perspective. As again, grace is not like a light switch that just turns on and off. After the calendar change in Greece, the Greek traditional Orthodox fathers did not just suddenly break communion with all of World Orthodoxy and declare everybody as heretics and schismatics. History is not always as black and white as people try to make it out to be.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: searn77 on March 17, 2012, 01:44:06 AM
And please excuse my typos and bad wording in my last post. It took me some time to write and frankly I was/am tired. After I just read over it I saw quite a few writing mistakes.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: JamesR on March 17, 2012, 06:10:35 AM
For what it is worth, very soon I may be switching jurisdictions and attending an ROCOR parish which I discovered is closer to the apartment my family is moving into next month. I assume then that according to these statistics, I will most likely be one of the very few young people in a parish full of older people? I've actually found it easier to socialize with the elderly than with people my age.

EDIT: Are Russians really affected by annoying, American Protestant missionaries? From what I have gathered through my readings, the Russians do not seem like the type of people who are easily swayed by outside influence. I mean, all throughout their history they rejected Roman Catholic missionaries and many did not even want to accept Nikon's unnecessary Greek reforms back in the day. I imagine they would reject Protestantism for the most part as well?
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: jah777 on March 19, 2012, 08:05:35 AM
When I refer to the Old Calendarist schism, I am speaking specifically of the event of 1935 when three bishops of the Church of Greece separated from the Church of Greece, declared themselves the bishops of the Old Calendarists, and declared the Church of Greece to be in schism and without grace in its mysteries.  I certainly realize that this took place 11 yrs after the introduction of the New Calendar, but I do not necessarily consider “schismatics” those clergy and faithful who refused to accept the New Calendar after 1924 prior to the formal schism of 1935. 

During the first years after the introduction of the New Calendar, it is true that St. Nikolai of Zica in the Serbian Church, and perhaps other bishops from other local Orthodox churches, provided the Old Calendarists with chrism and supported them when they were without bishops.  St. Nicholas Planas, while still serving privately on the Old Calendar after the introduction of the New, did not agree with separating from or disobeying the bishops who introduced the New, but it is understandable why so many people at first rejected this change and protested against it. 

It is lamentable that those who continued to follow the Old Calendar were persecuted, just as it was lamentable that those who continued to follow the Old Rite after the Nikonian reforms were harshly persecuted.  During the time of this persecution, however, there was complete unity among the Old Calendarists until a separate hierarchy was formed and condemnations of the Church of Greece occurred.  It was only in 1935, when the three bishops joined the Old Calendarists and made such denunciations, that this united movement fell into disunity and lost the favor of other local Orthodox Churches and the grace of God.

There was in reality a lot of hopping back and forth with clergy and laity during the first decade of the schism. Which is why in my opinion I view it as a good protective measure to state that the Greek State Church had no grace, as it helped put an end to this hopping back and forth between the two Greek Churches and it showed that only where the Orthodox Church is can you be assured of the sacraments.

We cannot blaspheme the Holy Spirit to promote church attendance.  Three bishops in a Synod have no authority to declare an entire local Church to be schismatic and without grace.  A bishop can be declared deposed and in schism by the Synod to whom he is accountable, but an entire local Church can only be declared in schism and outside of the Church by the rest of the Church to which that local Church is accountable.  That is why only a Pan-Orthodox Council was competent to judge the matter of the Church of Greece after the adoption of the New Calendar.  After the introduction of the New Calendar in Greece, every other local Orthodox Church considered the Church of Greece to be part of the body of Christ and to have true mysteries.  For the Old Calendarist hierarchs in 1935 to declare true mysteries graceless when the whole Church recognizes their mysteries is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and nothing justifies such blasphemy.         

Now no TOC synod, not even the Matthewites, state in their confession of faith's that grace left the Greek Church immediately when the calendar was changed. For a good reading on this issue I would recommend reading HOCNA's confession of faith and Met. Ephraim's letter that follows the HOCNA confession, which can be found on their website.

In 1935, the three bishops who broke away from the Church of Greece declared the Church of Greece to be without grace.  Likewise, Abp Auxentius (who HOCNA joined in 1986 when they fled ROCOR to avoid facing spiritual court) in 1974 stated:
Quote
”The celebration of a Mystery and the giving of Holy Communion to new calendarists was forbidden from the time that the schism created by the State Church began. Therefore, it is necessary that you uphold this position without deviation, in obedience to the understanding of all that has been transmitted unto us by our God-bearing Fathers, and that they renounce and condemn every heresy and innovation, among which is the new calendar in the Greek Church, which became schismatic from its acceptance thereof in 1924 until the present, according to the very confession of the innovator, Archbishop Chrysostom Papadopoulos, and, as a consequence, its mysteries are deprived of sanctifying grace.”

I am very well aware of HOCNA’s position on “grace” and schism, but their position is pretty irrelevant.  Even before Holy Transfiguration Monastery fled ROCOR and hastily joined Abp Auxentius, they were critical of the Old Calendarist position on “grace” and the implications of the calendar change.  In 2003, HOCNA made an official statement on the subject of grace and essentially rejected the 1935 Confession that was at the foundation of the Old Calendarist schism, as well as the 1974 Confession of the very Archbishop that they joined!  They said,

Quote
”We believe and affirm that, as the Holy Fathers and Holy Canons teach us, according to
strictness there is no grace in the mysteries of those in heresy or schism. However, as we discern
from the incidents cited in the letter above, we see that we cannot speak of the precise moment
when God, in His wisdom and economia, withdraws His uncreated power and grace from the
mysteries of those who are being led astray.”

HOCNA here declares that they do not agree with those who they joined, for the Old Calendarists whom they joined clearly declared from 1935 on that the Church of Greece was indeed without grace in its mysteries by virtue of introducing the New Calendar.  Today, HOCNA is becoming increasingly irrelevant even in the Old Calendarist movement as they now consist of only 2 ruling bishops and 1 auxiliary bishop, all of whom received their formation in the same monastery (hardly a model for “catholicity”).  Recently, as you know, HOCNA lost 2 bishops and several parishes and clergy to those Old Calendarists who do indeed uphold the cacadox ecclesiology that the Church of Greece became schismatic and deprived of grace in its mysteries when the calendar was changed.

I know that Met. Chrysostom did not consecrate any other bishops after him but to say that he tried to be received back into the Greek State Church I have never heard before.

After declaring in 1935 that the Church of Greece was without grace, Met Chrysostom of Florina came to see that such a decision was entirely cacadox and erroneous.  In 1943, Met Germanus of Demetrias and Met Chrysostom of Florina (2 of the original 3 original Old Calendarist bishops – the third returned to the Church of Greece already) both petitioned the Church of Greece to be received back into communion. Their petition, however, was rejected. Met Chrysostom then petitioned the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. But because the Patriarchate of Jerusalem was in communion with the Church of Greece, and since the latter church had deposed Metropolitan Chrysostom in 1935 and reduced him to the rank of a monk, the Jerusalem Patriarchate informed Metropolitan Chrysostom that he could only be received in the rank of monk. 

This episode is referred to in a letter from the Old Calendarist Bishop Matthew of Bresthena to Met Chrysostom of Florina in a 1944 Encyclical.  By this time, Met Chrysostom had repented of the cacadox ecclesiology and affirmed that the grace of the Holy Spirit resides in the Church and those whom the entire (catholic or universal) Church recognizes as its bishops and clergy.  By breaking off from the entire universal Church, the Old Calendarist bishops cut themselves off of divine grace which resides in the Church.  Met Chrysostom himself stated this on June 1, 1944:

Quote
“... it is the whole Church, as the Treasury of grace, that establishes the Churches and endows them with the Mysteries and the grace of the All-holy Spirit, and not a certain number of individual laity and clergy who, owing to a disagreement on some ecclesiastical issue that is capable of being resolved [such as that of the calendar], have broken away from a recognized Orthodox Church, one that has not been stripped of its ecclesiastical validity or of the grace of the All-holy Spirit following a trial and sentence pronounced by the entire Church...”

“... The parasynagogue Bishops, who have a different opinion on this matter, fall into the heresy of Protestantism, and in celebrating the Mysteries in the name of a non-existent Church, or, to put the point better, of their personal Church, they are deprived of all grace, of which the Treasurer is the entire recognized Orthodox Church...”

-SNIP-

“This, you see, is why the parasynagogue Bishops of Bresthena and the Cyclades cannot have the grace of Orthodoxy or the right to impart this grace to those who follow them on this ecclesiastical downward slope of theirs, because they do not belong to the canonical Church, the sole Treasury of grace in an Orthodox sense.”

On December 11, 1950, in the national newspaper, “Bradyne,” and in his official periodical “Voice of Orthodoxy,” for the month of December, 1950, Met Chrysostom of Florina wrote:

Quote
"...The (state) hierarchy, for the sake of the authority and prestige of the Church, should suggest for one Metropolitan (of the state church) to pretend to be an old calendarist, and to become the head of the old calendarists, while controlling the struggle from within the canonical boundaries (of the state Church).”

Here, Met Chrysostom (who had declared the Church of Greece to be without grace in 1935) stated that the Old Calendarists are in schism from the Church, and to bring the Old Calendarist schismatics back into communion with the Church, the Church of Greece should have one of its bishops serve as the bishop for those who wished to continue serving on the Old Calendar.  He believed that the Old Calendar should be followed, but that schism from the Church of Greece because of the calendar change was impermissible.

Met Chrysostom had been in negotiations with Abp Spyridon of the Church of Greece regarding this matter, and in March of 1951 the “National Herald” published a statement from the Greek Minister of Internal Affairs regarding these negotiations:

Quote
“The negotiations… are going well and have reached the point that the former Bishop of Florina has completely recognized his error… The official Church has exceeded all limits in the concessions it has made. In time it would have rehabilitated the Old Calendar bishops, and ordained their priests… and recognized the sacraments accomplished by them as valid, and churches would have been offered for those who would want to celebrate according to the old calendar. Both the former Bishop of Florina and the other bishops (Germanus of the Cyclades, Christopher of Megara and Polycarp of Diaulia) agreed with all this, and, according to our information, their representatives, distinguished lawyers, had to formulate a corresponding act… Unfortunately, at the last moment irresponsible activists from the lay estate interfered… and influenced the weak character of the former Bishop of Florina, who rejected all that he had said earlier…”

So, in the end Met Chrysostom of Florina wished to join the Church of Greece and bring all of the Old Calendarists back into communion with the Church, but the Old Calendarists who were with him did not all support him in this decision.  The Old Calendarist bishops Christopher and Polycarp who were with him then, returned to the Church of Greece in 1954 without him, and Met Chrysostom himself reposed alone, outside of the Church, and without any fellow bishops around him.  He was encouraged by the Old Calendarist clergy to consecrate more bishops before his repose, but he refused, instructing them to return to the Church of Greece as Bishops Christopher and Polycarp had done.  He encouraged those with him to work with the other Old Calendarists under Bp Matthew of Bresthena toward reuniting with the Church and ending the schism.

You're right, I do not think he wanted to create a rival synod with the Greek State Church, but in his mind, and in the mind of many Old Calendarists of the time, they thought that the other synods and Patriarchates of the Church would help support their Orthodox cause and bring the Greek Church back to an Orthodox calendar.

It is true that when the three bishops in 1935 declared the Church of Greece to be without grace and in schism, that they believed the other local Orthodox churches would agree with them.  They were wrong, and today it is still they who are in schism and without grace. 

The claim that the councils which anathemized the new calendar are "forgeries" is questionable, as there is actually no reliable proof which shows that it was indeed a forgery.

There is not much on the subject in English, but this summary by the “Synod in Resistance” is perhaps the most detailed and informative:

http://www.synodinresistance.org/pdfs/2011/07/04/20110704aSigillion/20110704aSigillion.pdf

Why would an Old Calendarist group make this up if it wasn’t true?  The “Synod in Resistance” are not the only ones to make this claim, but their position is certainly significant since they themselves are Old Calendarists (though not as fanatical as the rest).

I have honestly never heard the claim that today's Old Calendarist's believe that the Old Calendarists of the 20s and 30s thought that the calendar change was the first step towards a false union with Rome.

In the problematic paper entitled “Why the True Orthodox are Truly Orthodox”, Fr. Maximos (Maretta) states:

Quote
”… it was in large measure because the calendar change was the first step in the union with the Papists and Anglicans that the [Old Calendarists] rejected it.”

Similar statements are found in practically every polemical work aimed at promoting Old Calendar schisms.

However, since the new calendar was introduced, liturgical services have indeed been served with Orthodox and Catholic clergy together, the lifting of anathemas has taken place (for whatever reasons I do not understand), there has been a sort of semi-unity with the Non-Chalcedonians, and many heretical events taking place.

The “lifting of the anathemas” was a very unfortunate but completely meaningless event.  Nobody outside of the Patriarchate of Constantinople ascribes any meaning to this act.  As it is claimed, the anathemas that were “lifted” by Patriarch Athenagoras were those made against Rome in 1054 in response the Bull of excommunication given to Constantinople by the Papal legates.  However, the Filioque was anathematized at the 8th Ecumenical Council under Patriarch Photios, which was affirmed by the entire Church (including the Pope of Rome at that time).  The Patriarchal Encyclical of 1848 acknowledged this fact that the Filioque was anathematized at this Council, and the Patriarchal Encyclical of 1848 was signed by the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.  Patriarch Athenagoras was not an “Eastern Pope” and had no authority to “lift” anathemas against the Filioque or any other heresy that was anathematized by the entire Orthodox Church.  So, this act is void and is only a shameful gesture that has no meaning for the rest of the Church.  The rest of the Church was not consulted prior to this empty gesture, nor has the rest of the Church rallied behind it.

Regarding joint services and the rest, this is all very shameful and unfortunate, but in no way connected to the change of the calendar.  Today the Church of Greece, who was the first local church to adopt the New Calendar, is perhaps the most vocal in opposition to compromise within the Ecumenical Movement.  But, again, Ecumenism is an entirely separate issue that is not in any way connected to the calendar change. 

St. Mark of Ephesus did not have the same situation as the Old Calendarists of the 20s and 30s had. The Old Calendarists were highly persecuted by the government for voicing their belief that the Church should stick with the Julian calendar; they were beaten, arrested, and shaven of their beards. There's even an incident where a New Calendarist Bishop of Boston returned to Greece, went to an Old Calendarist Church, threw the chalice on the ground, ripped out the priest's (Hieromonk Theonas) beard, pushed him to the ground, and began kicking him, causing wounds which Fr. Theonas died from shortly later. So it wasn't as if they could just partake in a council with the New Calendarist bishops and work out this situation like Christians. The situation was too bad for this even to be considered happening at the time. Sure, there were some who thought that this council would take place, but sadly it never did, as it might have brought the Greek State Church back to the Orthodox calendar and save us from the situation we have today.

Again, the way the Old Calendarists were treated was shameful, as was also the case with those who wanted to continue serving on the Old Rite after the Nikonian reforms in Russia centuries before.  I do not think, however, that it was impossible for the three bishops who left the Church of Greece in 1935 to lead the Old Calendarists, to have first consulted with other local Orthodox Churches regarding the patristic and canonical way to respond to what was occurring in Greece.  Before declaring that the Church of Greece was automatically in schism from the rest of the Church and without grace by virtue of adopting the New Calendar, these bishops should have first determined if other local churches actually agreed with them on this critical claim.  I certainly understand the difficulty of successfully convening a Pan-Orthodox Council at that time (particularly during Communism), but they could and should have consulted with other local church informally.   

It should be pointed out that other local churches had been consulted regarding the implications of adopting the New Calendar, and the other local churches agreed that such a change is not of dogmatic nature, would not contradict the canons as long as the original Paschalian was preserved, and would create no obstacle to communion.  These are the responses that Patriarch Meletios received when he wrote to the other local churches concerning the question prior to the 1923 “Pan-Orthodox” Congress, and this is what was also stated by the representatives of those local churches who did participate in the Congress. 

There is much regarding the 1923 Congress that the Old Calendarists twist for purposes of propaganda, and much could be said about this, but what I want to point out here is that the Church of Greece adopted the New Calendar only after consulting with the other local Orthodox Churches.  It is true that the 1923 Congress envisioned that all Orthodox churches would agree on whether to adopt the New or stay on the Old, and it is unfortunate that the Church of Greece adopted the New when other local churches decided to stay on the Old, but nevertheless they did consult with the other churches unlike the Old Calendarist bishops who created their schism in 1935 and declared the Church of Greece to be schismatic completely on the basis of their own self-declared authority. 

Regardless though, a council is not needed to declare a heresy. For example, during the 7th Ecumenical Council, the iconoclasts were already considered to be outside the Church even before the council took place. In the Council it states, "For they [the Iconoclasts] have dared to slander the God-befitting beauty of the sacred offerings, being called 'priests,' while in reality they are not." So it was acknowledged that the Iconocasts priests were being called priests from before the 7th Ecumenical Council, and that in reality the Iconoclast priests were not priests at all.

So you are saying that the adoption of the New Calendar is a heresy, and one comparable to Iconoclasm? 

In any case, we have to handle such phrases as “being called ‘priests,’ while in reality they were not” with great care.  There have been many instances in history where a saint will refer to a bishop as a “false bishop” or a bishop “in name only” while that bishop is formally recognized as a bishop by the universal Church.  A bishop can be a heretic or very immoral, and yet as long as the Church recognizes him as a bishop of the Church he serves grace-filled mysteries.  As a “false bishop” (by virtue of heresy or immorality), that bishop may very well be condemned by God at the Judgment, but only when and if that “false bishop” is anathematized and/or deposed by the Synod to which he belongs do the mysteries he serves become actually devoid of grace. 

Another way that a bishop, or synod of bishops, becomes deprived of grace in their sacraments is by actually going into schism; by actually breaking off from the universal Church wherein sacramental grace resides.  The three bishops in 1935 went into schism from the Church of Greece, and the whole universal Church recognized the Church of Greece as having grace-filled mysteries and not the Old Calendarists who departed into schism. 

If you also read the 31st Apostolic canon it forbids a Christian from breaking communion with his bishop except when the bishop has offended against "piety and justice," which allows the Old Calendarists of the time to break communion with their synod. But again, they did not think of themselves as breaking off of the Orthodox Church; just severing communion with the Greek State Church until the time that the Greek State Church returns to the Orthodox calendar, which they did not see as taking that long.

And the 32nd Apostolic canon states, "As for those persons…who on account of some heresy condemned by the holy councils or Fathers withdraw themselves from communion with their president who preaches heresy publicly and with a bare head in the Church, such persons are not only not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a bishop before any conciliar or synodical verdict has been rendered, but on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied not bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the unity of the Church with any schism, but on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions."

By “32nd Apostolic canon”, I believe you are referring to the 15th canon of the First-Second Council.  To apply this to the Old Calendarists, then you have to claim that the adoption of the New Calendar constitutes “preaching heresy”, which even the three bishops in 1935 did not claim.  In the 1935 Encyclical they condemned the Church of Greece for supposedly being “schismatic”, while acknowledging that they “have not erred in doctrines.”  Following Apostolic canon 31 was perhaps applicable to the Old Calendarists between 1924 and 1935, but does not justify the path taken by the Old Calendarists from 1935 on, nor does it justify their position today.  Withdrawing from one’s own bishop while awaiting justice is not the same as breaking communion with the entire Orthodox Church as the Old Calendarists have done.  There is absolutely NO canonical or patristic basis for the Old Calendarist schism as it actually took place in 1935 and as it exists at the present time. 

Ecumenism is a hard to define heresy, but HOTCA defines it as "In its weakest form, Ecumenism holds that the Church of Christ is larger than the Orthodox Church, or that other churches posses some real, albeit imperfect, ecclesial status." This heresy goes completely against the fathers and councils of the Orthodox Church, and this heresy is openly preached and practiced by many bishops in World Orthodoxy, so the fact that the Old Calendarists haven't joined the World Orthodox is completely justified. I'm not saying that ecumenism is preached and practiced everywhere in World Orthodoxy as I've been to very traditional World Orthodox parishes, but the fact that these traditional parishes are in communion with others who openly preach this heresy is the reason why the Old Calendarists cannot enter in communion with those in World Orthodoxy who are more traditional. A kind of "guilty by association" type of situation.

The Ecumenism that is protested by the Old Calendarists only began to develop in the 1960s.  What justification to the Old Calendarists have for being completely out of communion with the entire Church for the thirty to forty years prior to questionable participation in Ecumenism by various Orthodox churches? 

And the reasons not all of the Old Calendarists are not in communion with each other are due to persecutions, misunderstandings, and historical circumstances. Today things have been getting better than they were even a decade ago. Promising talks between synods have taken place, the RTOC and GOC under Met. Kallinikos had some promising talks with each other until some more recent events which took place in Serbia, the synod I am a part of has united with a Russian Catacomb Church, Greek Church, and a Bulgarian Church, so things are looking better than they were a decade ago. I have even heard from a GOC priest that after his church finishes their liturgy and the RTOC church in his area finish their liturgy, they gather together for a common meal. While certainly this is far from perfect, today the situation among the TOC synods are getting better.

I do not see the situation as you do.  The Synod that you belong to just fell apart.  The Synod you belong to entered into communion with two bishops who were in schism from another Old Calendarist group that was in schism from another Old Calendarist group, and the madness simply propagates.  RTOC was in dialogue with the “GOC-Kallinkos” but this dialogue disintegrated.  “GOC-Kallinikos” was in dialogue with HOCNA, then a couple bishops just left HOCNA to join “GOC-Kallinkos” and now these two groups that were very warm toward each other are now against each other (or rather what is left of HOCNA has turned even further away from “GOC-Kallinikos” than they were before).  When you look at the history of the various “True Greek” and “True Russian” groups, you just see exponential multiplication.  This is because the very foundation of these movements is sectarian, and they do not have the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit did not guide the three bishops in 1935 to condemn the Church of Greece in papal fashion, and neither has the Spirit been guiding the movement which is built upon this rotten foundation.

I still disagree with you about 4th century Antioch. Sure, from your POV I understand what you have said. But from a TOC POV, the TOC is the true Church, not a schism from the true Church, as we do not view it schismatic to cease communion with a body which has introduced un-Orthodox ideas and practices into the Church. So I believe that while we are all not in communion with each other yet, we are still the true Orthodox Church, as in 4th century Antioch those synods were not in communion with each other but today we recognize saints on both sides.

Again, the situation in Antioch in no way relates to the self-proclaimed “True Orthodox”.  In the Meletian schism, there were competing synods in one local area and other local Orthodox churches could not agree on which was the right canonical and Orthodox Synod.  While the competing synods were not in direct communion with each other, the different Synods remained in communion with the Church.  What is of critical importance here is that these competing synods in Antioch recognized the authority of the Church over them.  As long as the competing Synods recognized an ecclesiastical authority greater than their own local synods, the situation was able to be resolved, as indeed it was. 

In the case of the Old Calendarists, the Old Calendarist bishops who created the formal schism in 1935 acknowledged in their writings the authority of the other local churches (Patriarchates of Jerusalem, Antioch, etc.).  However, once it was realized that none of these churches agreed with their schism, the Old Calendarists no longer acknowledged the authority of any other local Church and began to divide amongst themselves.  Today there is a situation where numerous small, competing Synods have developed, and none of them acknowledge an ecclesiastical authority greater than themselves.  All of these groups have established churches in the territory of other local churches to demonstrate that they only recognize themselves as the Church.  With this kind of Protestant mentality, what kind of Pan-Orthodox Council or decision would they acknowledge?  None!  If all of the local Orthodox Churches and all of the Patriarchates throughout the world made a decision regarding them, they would not acknowledge such a decision because for them, only they have the truth and only they are being guided by the Holy Spirit.

A Pan-Orthodox Council to resolve the matter concerning the calendar would only have been possible if those who continued serving on the Old Calendar in Greece after the introduction of the New, believed in the catholicity of the Church and acknowledged in the universal Church an authority greater than themselves.  This hope was dashed in 1935, and the situation is now hopeless because the Old Calendarists today have at their foundation the 1935 Protestant and cacadox confession.

But as time went on and certain members of the clergy of the ROCOR starting becoming more ecumenical without being called to repent or repudiating what they thought, going against what ROCOR had stood for, that's when splits from ROCOR began happening and that's when unions with the ROCOR and the Old Calendarists began severing.

ROCOR’s relationship with the Old Calendarists was mistaken from the very beginning.  ROCOR did try to unite the two (at that time there were only two) Old Calendarist groups but without first understanding the ecclesiology that was at the foundation of the Old Calendarist schism.  The reason that Communion did not ever occur between ROCOR and the traditional Old Calendarists to any real extent is that once ROCOR came to understand the cacadox ecclesiology that was at the very foundation of these groups they could not agree with it.  ROCOR also came to see that the Old Calendarists were hopelessly sectarian and incapable of unity amongst themselves because of the ecclesiology on which they were established.  Of course, ROCOR did later enter into communion with the “Synod in Resistance” whose canonical foundation is the most problematic of all Old Calendarist groups, because their ecclesiology is much more Orthodox that the others.  Since ROCOR reunited with the MP, this Old Calendarist group also became cut off from ROCOR and the entire Orthodox Church.

Of course, we can only feel true sorrow for the state of the sectarians and their separation from the Church which is the Ark of Salvation.  We do live in very difficult times when the conciliarity and dogmatic conscience of the Church is struggling to recover from the blows inflicted upon the universal Church during the Soviet era.  Many prayers need to be said for the hierarchs guiding the Church at such a difficult time, and we must look to the recent saints and God-bearing elders for guidance on how to save our souls at such a perilous time.  It is true that we must resist the temptations to grow lax in our faith and in our struggle against the passions, but we must not leave wide open to the devil the other temptation to fanaticism and condemnation of others which is rooted in pride and spiritual delusion.  As the Fathers say, schism is worse than heresy and not even the blood of martyrdom can wash away the sin of an unjustified schism. 

The Old Calendarists did not break off from the Church because of heresy, but because they have separated from the grace of the Holy Spirit on account of the calendar, they do not have the ability to understand and properly respond to the issue of Ecumenism or any other challenge that the Church today faces.  Not having any connection with the Church, they are also completely powerless to help the Church at such a difficult time.  By their unjustified schism, they rather bring greater shame to Orthodoxy and allow our spotless Faith to be further blasphemed. 
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 19, 2012, 10:24:17 AM
Strictly speaking, the True Orthodox bishops in 1935 didn't condemn a whole Local Church. Rather, they condemned the innovating bishops in the name of the Church of Greece. The Local Church in question remained uncondemned, insofar as there remained bishops in that Church who upheld the doctrines and traditions of the Fathers.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: jah777 on March 19, 2012, 11:04:16 AM
Strictly speaking, the True Orthodox bishops in 1935 didn't condemn a whole Local Church. Rather, they condemned the innovating bishops in the name of the Church of Greece. The Local Church in question remained uncondemned, insofar as there remained bishops in that Church who upheld the doctrines and traditions of the Fathers.

It is the Old Calendarist position that in 1935 the entire Synod of the Church of Greece consisted of the 3 bishops (1 of whom, Met Chrysostom, had already retired) who rejected the New Calendar, while the 80 or so other bishops who adopted the New Calendar were "in schism".  Of course, the rest of the Church did not recognize these 3 bishops as the Church of Greece, so the claim has to be relegated to the spheres of fantasy and delusion.  Even Met Chrysostom and Met Germanus of Demetrias came to recognize their former claims as ridiculous and sought to reunite with the New Calendar hierarchy, so it is very bizarre for those who claim to follow them to maintain such ridiculous assertions.

In the 1935 Encyclical, the three Old Calendarist bishops stated:

Quote
"Thus, the current administrators of the Church of Greece, by their unilateral, uncanonical, and irresponsible introduction of the Gregorian calendar, tore themselves off from the entire body of Orthodoxy, and declared themselves in essence schismatics compared to the other Orthodox Churches, which stand upon the ground of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the Orthodox institutions and traditions, and upon the Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Serbia, Poland, the Holy Mountain [of Athos], the God‐trodden Mt. Sinai, etc."

According to the rest of the Orthodox Church, however, it was the Old Calendarists who in actual fact “tore themselves off from the entire body of Orthodoxy”.  Nothing else can be concluded.

I admit that it is very strange that the three Old Calendarist bishops speak of the introduction of the “Gregorian calendar”.  If you read anything written by the Church of Greece or the 1923 “Pan-Orthodox” Congress regarding the New Calendar, it is very clear that the Gregorian Calendar was not adopted but rather the Julian was shifted 13 days.  Everyone who attended the 1923 Congress agreed that the Gregorian calendar should not be adopted because doing so would be exploited by Rome to further their “Easter Rite Catholic” (to comply with forum rules) agenda.  It is surprising that these hierarchs would not be aware of this simple fact.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Jonathan Gress on March 19, 2012, 11:23:03 AM
Strictly speaking, the True Orthodox bishops in 1935 didn't condemn a whole Local Church. Rather, they condemned the innovating bishops in the name of the Church of Greece. The Local Church in question remained uncondemned, insofar as there remained bishops in that Church who upheld the doctrines and traditions of the Fathers.

It is the Old Calendarist position that in 1935 the entire Synod of the Church of Greece consisted of the 3 bishops (1 of whom, Met Chrysostom, had already retired) who rejected the New Calendar, while the 80 or so other bishops who adopted the New Calendar were "in schism".  Of course, the rest of the Church did not recognize these 3 bishops as the Church of Greece, so the claim has to be relegated to the spheres of fantasy and delusion.  Even Met Chrysostom and Met Germanus of Demetrias came to recognize their former claims as ridiculous and sought to reunite with the New Calendar hierarchy, so it is very bizarre for those who claim to follow them to maintain such ridiculous assertions.

In the 1935 Encyclical, the three Old Calendarist bishops stated:

Quote
"Thus, the current administrators of the Church of Greece, by their unilateral, uncanonical, and irresponsible introduction of the Gregorian calendar, tore themselves off from the entire body of Orthodoxy, and declared themselves in essence schismatics compared to the other Orthodox Churches, which stand upon the ground of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the Orthodox institutions and traditions, and upon the Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Serbia, Poland, the Holy Mountain [of Athos], the God‐trodden Mt. Sinai, etc."

According to the rest of the Orthodox Church, however, it was the Old Calendarists who in actual fact “tore themselves off from the entire body of Orthodoxy”.  Nothing else can be concluded.

I admit that it is very strange that the three Old Calendarist bishops speak of the introduction of the “Gregorian calendar”.  If you read anything written by the Church of Greece or the 1923 “Pan-Orthodox” Congress regarding the New Calendar, it is very clear that the Gregorian Calendar was not adopted but rather the Julian was shifted 13 days.  Everyone who attended the 1923 Congress agreed that the Gregorian calendar should not be adopted because doing so would be exploited by Rome to further their “Easter Rite Catholic” (to comply with forum rules) agenda.  It is surprising that these hierarchs would not be aware of this simple fact.

I don't believe the claim that the Julian calendar was shifted 13 days, for reasons given above, namely that the epoch of the so-called "revised Julian" is in fact identical to the epoch of the Gregorian, not the traditional Julian. Clearly, the bishops of the True Orthodox Church of Greece didn't believe this claim, either. The idea that the new calendar is simply a variation of the old is false, pure and simple.

Obviously, the "current administrators" being referred to consist of the innovators (including the first hierarch, Abp Chrysostomos), not those bishops, such as Met Chrysostomos and Met Germanos, who remained faithful to tradition. And the idea that the claim of schism was newfangled doesn't hold water, since that was precisely the conclusion Abp Chrysostomos of Athens had come to earlier, back in 1919, when he was commissioned to study the canonical consequences of a unilateral change of calendar. If one Local Church unilaterally changed the calendar, he rightly concluded that Church would fall into schism by that very act.

You never addressed my point that Elder Ieronymus, who you believe to be a saint, in fact died in schism, according to your own ecclesiology. Not that the validity of the True Orthodox Church rests on the ecclesiological status of this or that pious individual (cf Galatians 1:8), but you do seem to put a disproportionate amount of emphasis on the existence or not of "holy elders" in the various jurisdictions, so I would have thought you would want to consider this.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: jah777 on March 19, 2012, 12:34:18 PM
I don't believe the claim that the Julian calendar was shifted 13 days, for reasons given above, namely that the epoch of the so-called "revised Julian" is in fact identical to the epoch of the Gregorian, not the traditional Julian. Clearly, the bishops of the True Orthodox Church of Greece didn't believe this claim, either. The idea that the new calendar is simply a variation of the old is false, pure and simple.

I would recommend reading the following regarding the difference between the New Calendar and the Gregorian:

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/01/old-calendar-new-calendar-facts.html

The Acts and Decisions of the 1923 Congress are also available in English, and from this it is very clear that the Julian calendar was shifted 13 days and the idea of adopting the Gregorian was rejected.

And the idea that the claim of schism was newfangled doesn't hold water, since that was precisely the conclusion Abp Chrysostomos of Athens had come to earlier, back in 1919, when he was commissioned to study the canonical consequences of a unilateral change of calendar. If one Local Church unilaterally changed the calendar, he rightly concluded that Church would fall into schism by that very act.

You are completely distorting the words of Abp Chrysostomos of Athens.  In January of 1923, Abp Chrysostom said,

Quote
”No Orthodox Autocephalous Church can separate itself from the rest and accept the new calendar without becoming schismatic in the eyes of the others."

The Old Calendarists, including you, distort this to imply that adopting the new calendar makes one automatically schismatic.  Abp Chrysostomos, however, was expressing only the fear or concern that the Church of Greece would be considered schismatic by the rest of the Church if they adopted the New Calendar unilaterally.

It is important to realize that this statement occurred before the Church of Greece attended the 1923 Congress wherein it was confirmed by the other local churches that adopting the new calendar would not be an obstacle to communion between the churches as long as the Paschalian was maintained.  When the Old Calendarists went into schism because of the adoption of the New Calendar, it was they who actually became schismatic “in the eyes of the others”.  

The use of these words by Abp Chrysostomos to support the Old Calendarist position is another example of gross distortions used by them to justify the unjustifiable.  Meanwhile, they reject the words of the Fathers such as St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain who stated in a footnote to the 7th Apostolic Canon:

Quote
“To celebrate Easter after the 21st of March as we Greeks do, or after the 11th of March as the Latins do, is not a crime. But to split the Church asunder, is an unforgivable sin."

St. Nikodemos did not even consider the changing of the date of Pascha to be a justifiable basis for schism when the dating of Pascha was established by an Ecumenical Council, but today’s Old Calendarists believe themselves justified for creating a schism over the shifting of the Julian even when the Paschalian is untouched!

You never addressed my point that Elder Ieronymus, who you believe to be a saint, in fact died in schism, according to your own ecclesiology. Not that the validity of the True Orthodox Church rests on the ecclesiological status of this or that pious individual (cf Galatians 1:8 ), but you do seem to put a disproportionate amount of emphasis on the existence or not of "holy elders" in the various jurisdictions, so I would have thought you would want to consider this.

The true Church should continue to produce true saints – I do not think that this is an erroneous position.  In every age where there have been conflicts, schisms, and heresies in the Church, people have sought counsel from those who were renowned for their holiness and adherence to the truth.  For instance, the guidance of St. Anthony the Great was sought when Arianism was afflicting the Church, St. Symeon the Stylite during the Monosphysite controversy, etc.

Peter Botsis, the author of the Life of Elder Ieronymos that was translated by Holy Transfiguration Monastery, relates that Elder Ieronymos ceased serving as a priest before the introduction of the New Calendar because of the vision he had while serving the Divine Liturgy.  It was the Old Calendarist translators who claimed that his funeral was served by clergy under the Old Calendarist Abp Auxentius.  Whether or not this was the case, it is clear from his Life that he did not condemn the New Calendar Church of Greece, nor did he counsel those belonging to the Church of Greece to become Old Calendarists, nor did he express allegiance to any Old Calendarist group.  

According to Mother Nectaria (McLees), in the book “Evlogeite! A Pilgrim's Guide to Greece”  (pp.72-76):
Quote
[Elder Ieronymos] spoke frequently about the coming of Antichrist, and also warned that the planned change to the civil calendar would open the door to other untraditional changes in the Church. After the civil calendar was installed, he didn't join one of the old calendar groups, but stayed with the main body of the Greek Church although he always quietly celebrated the old Julian calendar dates.

The question I posed to you in a past message was whether you could share any information about any saint who was in communion with your bishops and held to the “no grace on the new calendar” ecclesiology that is confessed by your Synod.  IF Elder Ieronymos joined an Old Calendarist group (and I have never heard such a thing other than HTM’s claim that Old Calendarist clergy served at his funeral), then he certainly didn’t seem to believe your Synod’s ecclesiology.  He made it very clear that he followed the Old Calendar out of personal preference because it was the “right one”.  If he was an Old Calendarist and did not encourage those on the New Calendar to become Old Calendarist, I would think that most Old Calendarists would consider him a “false elder”.

I can provide a long list of contemporary saints who believed that the Old Calendarists were in error, many of whom received a direct revelation from God concerning this matter after much prayer, fasting, and anguish.  Can you really not provide a single example of a saint who was part of your Synod and agreed with your “no grace on the new calendar” or “new calendar = automatic schismatic” cacadoxy?  
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: searn77 on March 20, 2012, 03:12:44 PM
We cannot blaspheme the Holy Spirit to promote church attendance.  Three bishops in a Synod have no authority to declare an entire local Church to be schismatic and without grace.  A bishop can be declared deposed and in schism by the Synod to whom he is accountable, but an entire local Church can only be declared in schism and outside of the Church by the rest of the Church to which that local Church is accountable.  That is why only a Pan-Orthodox Council was competent to judge the matter of the Church of Greece after the adoption of the New Calendar.  After the introduction of the New Calendar in Greece, every other local Orthodox Church considered the Church of Greece to be part of the body of Christ and to have true mysteries.  For the Old Calendarist hierarchs in 1935 to declare true mysteries graceless when the whole Church recognizes their mysteries is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and nothing justifies such blasphemy.
   
After a decade of this schism between those who followed the Old Calendar and those who followed the New Calendar took place, the Old Calendarists believed the New Calendarists to have become schismatic, and according to St. Basil schismatics do not have sanctifying grace, so it was a legitimate thing to say. As regards to the other Orthodox Churches and Patriarchates of the time, I'll discuss below.

In 1935, the three bishops who broke away from the Church of Greece declared the Church of Greece to be without grace.  Likewise, Abp Auxentius (who HOCNA joined in 1986 when they fled ROCOR to avoid facing spiritual court) in 1974 stated:
Quote
”The celebration of a Mystery and the giving of Holy Communion to new calendarists was forbidden from the time that the schism created by the State Church began. Therefore, it is necessary that you uphold this position without deviation, in obedience to the understanding of all that has been transmitted unto us by our God-bearing Fathers, and that they renounce and condemn every heresy and innovation, among which is the new calendar in the Greek Church, which became schismatic from its acceptance thereof in 1924 until the present, according to the very confession of the innovator, Archbishop Chrysostom Papadopoulos, and, as a consequence, its mysteries are deprived of sanctifying grace.”

I am very well aware of HOCNA’s position on “grace” and schism, but their position is pretty irrelevant.  Even before Holy Transfiguration Monastery fled ROCOR and hastily joined Abp Auxentius, they were critical of the Old Calendarist position on “grace” and the implications of the calendar change.  In 2003, HOCNA made an official statement on the subject of grace and essentially rejected the 1935 Confession that was at the foundation of the Old Calendarist schism, as well as the 1974 Confession of the very Archbishop that they joined!  They said,

Quote
”We believe and affirm that, as the Holy Fathers and Holy Canons teach us, according to
strictness there is no grace in the mysteries of those in heresy or schism. However, as we discern
from the incidents cited in the letter above, we see that we cannot speak of the precise moment
when God, in His wisdom and economia, withdraws His uncreated power and grace from the
mysteries of those who are being led astray.”

HOCNA here declares that they do not agree with those who they joined, for the Old Calendarists whom they joined clearly declared from 1935 on that the Church of Greece was indeed without grace in its mysteries by virtue of introducing the New Calendar.  Today, HOCNA is becoming increasingly irrelevant even in the Old Calendarist movement as they now consist of only 2 ruling bishops and 1 auxiliary bishop, all of whom received their formation in the same monastery (hardly a model for “catholicity”).  Recently, as you know, HOCNA lost 2 bishops and several parishes and clergy to those Old Calendarists who do indeed uphold the cacadox ecclesiology that the Church of Greece became schismatic and deprived of grace in its mysteries when the calendar was changed.
   
I am not fluent in Greek, but from reading Abp. Auxentios' words from his 1974 encyclical, it doesn't seem to be saying that immediately the Greek State Church lost sanctifying grace in 1924. Only that this schism began in 1924 and as a consequence the Greek State Church has lost its sanctifying grace. He does not say that immediately in 1924 they lost sanctifying grace. Also, HOCNA clearly states that they adhere to the 1935 confession of faith, and they were taken in by Abp. Auxentios' synod, so to say that they reject the 1935 confession of faith (to which they respond by saying they do indeed believe in the 1935 confession of faith, and they declare why and how they believe in this confession) as well as Abp. Auxentios' 1974 encyclical is just false.

HOCNA is relatively small but to say that they don’t have the model for catholicity is false. I have heard arguments from Roman Catholics that they're more "catholic" then the Orthodox because they are bigger and easier to find throughout the world. If catholicity depended on being the most numerous and being found in the most places around the world, then you can proclaim that HOCNA is not catholic. But if being catholic (and in this instance being Orthodox Catholic), means that one has the correct faith, correct worship, and is the faith which pertains to the whole Church, than HOCNA is indeed Catholic.

After declaring in 1935 that the Church of Greece was without grace, Met Chrysostom of Florina came to see that such a decision was entirely cacadox and erroneous.  In 1943, Met Germanus of Demetrias and Met Chrysostom of Florina (2 of the original 3 original Old Calendarist bishops – the third returned to the Church of Greece already) both petitioned the Church of Greece to be received back into communion. Their petition, however, was rejected. Met Chrysostom then petitioned the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. But because the Patriarchate of Jerusalem was in communion with the Church of Greece, and since the latter church had deposed Metropolitan Chrysostom in 1935 and reduced him to the rank of a monk, the Jerusalem Patriarchate informed Metropolitan Chrysostom that he could only be received in the rank of monk. 
Abp. Chrysostom went to the Middle East and sought out the Patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem to help garner support in having a Pan-Orthodox council which condemned the new calendar, not to be received into their Church. Sadly this fell through. Met. Chrysostom came to believe that a Pan-Orthodox council was needed to solve this issue but unfortunately this Pan-Orthodox council never came to be. Because he sought out the Patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem to which Met. Matthew of Bresthena disagreed with (as he felt that adopting the New Calendar was a schismatic act in and of itself as even did many hierarchs in the Orthodox Church outside of Greece at the time), Met. Matthew broke communion with him and referred to him as former Met. Chrysostom or Monk Chrysostom.

There is not much on the subject in English, but this summary by the “Synod in Resistance” is perhaps the most detailed and informative:

http://www.synodinresistance.org/pdfs/2011/07/04/20110704aSigillion/20110704aSigillion.pdf

Why would an Old Calendarist group make this up if it wasn’t true?  The “Synod in Resistance” are not the only ones to make this claim, but their position is certainly significant since they themselves are Old Calendarists (though not as fanatical as the rest).
I didn’t say the Synod in Resistance made this up, I said the claim that they are forgeries is questionable, and one that I do not buy into.

I have honestly never heard the claim that today's Old Calendarist's believe that the Old Calendarists of the 20s and 30s thought that the calendar change was the first step towards a false union with Rome.

In the problematic paper entitled “Why the True Orthodox are Truly Orthodox”, Fr. Maximos (Maretta) states:

Quote
”… it was in large measure because the calendar change was the first step in the union with the Papists and Anglicans that the [Old Calendarists] rejected it.”

Similar statements are found in practically every polemical work aimed at promoting Old Calendar schisms.
Okay, now I understand better what you're discussing. Yes, the Old Calendarists of the 20s and 30s viewed the New Calendar with suspicion as the calendar of the Roman Catholics had been condemned by multiple councils. Also, Bp. Meletios Metazakis highly sought union with the Anglicans and even accepted their orders as valid in 1922. And the supposed “Pan-Orthodox” congress of 1923, which discussed changing to the “revised Julian” calendar and stated that "This reform of the Julian calendar is not a stumbling block to further change in the calendar that the other Christian Churches might like to make," actually discussed the possibility of union with the Anglicans and was even attended by a former Anglican bishop. So I can see why they thought that the Old Calendarists of the 20s and 30s viewed the adoption of the new calendar as the first step in union with Rome and the Anglicans. And even according to Met. Chrysostom of Florina, whom you believe to have eventually sought out union with the World Orthodox, claimed that the Polish and Serbian Churches of his time considered those Churches who would adopt the new calendar as “in essence schismatics” and refrained from prayerful communion with them.

However, since the new calendar was introduced, liturgical services have indeed been served with Orthodox and Catholic clergy together, the lifting of anathemas has taken place (for whatever reasons I do not understand), there has been a sort of semi-unity with the Non-Chalcedonians, and many heretical events taking place.

The “lifting of the anathemas” was a very unfortunate but completely meaningless event.  Nobody outside of the Patriarchate of Constantinople ascribes any meaning to this act.  As it is claimed, the anathemas that were “lifted” by Patriarch Athenagoras were those made against Rome in 1054 in response the Bull of excommunication given to Constantinople by the Papal legates.  However, the Filioque was anathematized at the 8th Ecumenical Council under Patriarch Photios, which was affirmed by the entire Church (including the Pope of Rome at that time).  The Patriarchal Encyclical of 1848 acknowledged this fact that the Filioque was anathematized at this Council, and the Patriarchal Encyclical of 1848 was signed by the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.  Patriarch Athenagoras was not an “Eastern Pope” and had no authority to “lift” anathemas against the Filioque or any other heresy that was anathematized by the entire Orthodox Church.  So, this act is void and is only a shameful gesture that has no meaning for the rest of the Church.  The rest of the Church was not consulted prior to this empty gesture, nor has the rest of the Church rallied behind it.

Regarding joint services and the rest, this is all very shameful and unfortunate, but in no way connected to the change of the calendar.  Today the Church of Greece, who was the first local church to adopt the New Calendar, is perhaps the most vocal in opposition to compromise within the Ecumenical Movement.  But, again, Ecumenism is an entirely separate issue that is not in any way connected to the calendar change. 
And again, I disagree, as I believe that the calendar change was indeed caused by Ecumenism. And I don’t believe it’s right to call the lifting of the anathemas a completely meaningless event, as it shows that the World Orthodox hierarchs are willing to disregard the faith and tradition in order to be ecumenically friendly with those who are outside of the Church, which is the major reason why the Old Calendarists remain separate from the World Orthodox Church.

Again, the way the Old Calendarists were treated was shameful, as was also the case with those who wanted to continue serving on the Old Rite after the Nikonian reforms in Russia centuries before.  I do not think, however, that it was impossible for the three bishops who left the Church of Greece in 1935 to lead the Old Calendarists, to have first consulted with other local Orthodox Churches regarding the patristic and canonical way to respond to what was occurring in Greece.  Before declaring that the Church of Greece was automatically in schism from the rest of the Church and without grace by virtue of adopting the New Calendar, these bishops should have first determined if other local churches actually agreed with them on this critical claim.  I certainly understand the difficulty of successfully convening a Pan-Orthodox Council at that time (particularly during Communism), but they could and should have consulted with other local church informally.   

It should be pointed out that other local churches had been consulted regarding the implications of adopting the New Calendar, and the other local churches agreed that such a change is not of dogmatic nature, would not contradict the canons as long as the original Paschalian was preserved, and would create no obstacle to communion.  These are the responses that Patriarch Meletios received when he wrote to the other local churches concerning the question prior to the 1923 “Pan-Orthodox” Congress, and this is what was also stated by the representatives of those local churches who did participate in the Congress. 

There is much regarding the 1923 Congress that the Old Calendarists twist for purposes of propaganda, and much could be said about this, but what I want to point out here is that the Church of Greece adopted the New Calendar only after consulting with the other local Orthodox Churches.  It is true that the 1923 Congress envisioned that all Orthodox churches would agree on whether to adopt the New or stay on the Old, and it is unfortunate that the Church of Greece adopted the New when other local churches decided to stay on the Old, but nevertheless they did consult with the other churches unlike the Old Calendarist bishops who created their schism in 1935 and declared the Church of Greece to be schismatic completely on the basis of their own self-declared authority. 
There is much regarding the 1923 “Pan Orthodox” Congress that the Old Calendarists have no need to twist as one can read about this congress on their own. But this “Pan Orthodox” congress was only scarcely attended by a handful of Orthodox bishops, with the deposed bishop of Greece Pat. Meletios Metazakis who had a very un-Orthodox background spearheading the congress. Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem refused to take part in this council and voiced their opposition after the congress concluded and half of the local Churches were not represented at all. Professor S. Troitsky commented on the congress and stated that the bishops present did not have the right to express their Church’s opinions on the topics that were being discussed as their local Churches had not yet formulated their decisions. The bishops present could only give their personal opinions, or at best the opinions of their synods who haven’t decided on the matters. Regarding this congress, Professor Troitsky stated that it was, “a private meeting of a few people, who had as their agenda the examination of various questions which troubled the Orthodox Church at that time, concerning which, they expressed their opinions.” So as you have stated that the Old Calendarists should have consulted other Orthodox Churches before declaring the state Church as schismatics, why wouldn’t Pat. Meletios have consulted with other Churches and not just a handful of bishops who couldn’t voice their local Church’s decisions on the matters discussed? And why would any Church go ahead and begin using the New Calendar when it would obviously bring disruption and disunity to the Orthodox Church and was rejected by many bishops and patriarchs?

So you are saying that the adoption of the New Calendar is a heresy, and one comparable to Iconoclasm? 
No. I’m saying that one does not need a council in order to cease communion with heretics. Today the Old Calendarists consider Ecumenism to be a heresy which can be found in the World Orthodox Church. So for the Synod in Resistance (who also regard Ecumenism as a heresy) to only consider the World Orthodox as ailing but not heretical (therefore as equal members of the Church) until a unifying Orthodox council takes place which will include both the World Orthodox and the Old Calendarists is simply not true. Heresy is always outside of the Church and never a part of the Church even before a council deems the heresy as such. So for the Synod in Resistance to claim that those who are in communion with heresy or who are heretics to simply be “ailing” members of the Church is not an Orthodox stance, which is why many Old Calendarists have issues with the Synod in Resistance. During the Iconoclast heresy the Orthodox broke communion with the Iconclasts before the 7th Ecumenical Council and then during the Council they stated that the Iconoclasts were already outside of the Church.

Now the Old Calendarists did not originally break communion with the State Church of Greece for reasons of heresy; they broke communion with the State Church because the New Calendarist bishops of the State Church had offended “piety and justice” which is mentioned in the 31st Apostolic Canon in the Rudder. Granted this canon can be twisted to allow for a break in communion for a variety of reasons, but the traditional Orthodox of the 20s and 30s viewed the change in calendar as a sufficient reason, and today we recognize the World Orthodox Church (which had accepted the new calendar) to be involved in the Ecumenical heresy, and as I have shown that one does not need to wait on a council in order to break communion with heresy, the Old Calendarists are justified in their breaking of communion.


In any case, we have to handle such phrases as “being called ‘priests,’ while in reality they were not” with great care.  There have been many instances in history where a saint will refer to a bishop as a “false bishop” or a bishop “in name only” while that bishop is formally recognized as a bishop by the universal Church.  A bishop can be a heretic or very immoral, and yet as long as the Church recognizes him as a bishop of the Church he serves grace-filled mysteries.  As a “false bishop” (by virtue of heresy or immorality), that bishop may very well be condemned by God at the Judgment, but only when and if that “false bishop” is anathematized and/or deposed by the Synod to which he belongs do the mysteries he serves become actually devoid of grace. 
If this was just a case where there was an immoral hierarch, or a hierarch who believed in heresy, I would understand your point. But the Ecumenical Heresy can be found throughout the World Orthodox Church to a greater extent than it just being one or even a few hierarchs.

Another way that a bishop, or synod of bishops, becomes deprived of grace in their sacraments is by actually going into schism; by actually breaking off from the universal Church wherein sacramental grace resides.  The three bishops in 1935 went into schism from the Church of Greece, and the whole universal Church recognized the Church of Greece as having grace-filled mysteries and not the Old Calendarists who departed into schism. 
Again I think this is a case where you’re painting this too black and white when in reality this was not the case.

If you also read the 31st Apostolic canon it forbids a Christian from breaking communion with his bishop except when the bishop has offended against "piety and justice," which allows the Old Calendarists of the time to break communion with their synod. But again, they did not think of themselves as breaking off of the Orthodox Church; just severing communion with the Greek State Church until the time that the Greek State Church returns to the Orthodox calendar, which they did not see as taking that long.

And the 32nd Apostolic canon states, "As for those persons…who on account of some heresy condemned by the holy councils or Fathers withdraw themselves from communion with their president who preaches heresy publicly and with a bare head in the Church, such persons are not only not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a bishop before any conciliar or synodical verdict has been rendered, but on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied not bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the unity of the Church with any schism, but on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions."

By “32nd Apostolic canon”, I believe you are referring to the 15th canon of the First-Second Council.  To apply this to the Old Calendarists, then you have to claim that the adoption of the New Calendar constitutes “preaching heresy”, which even the three bishops in 1935 did not claim.  In the 1935 Encyclical they condemned the Church of Greece for supposedly being “schismatic”, while acknowledging that they “have not erred in doctrines.”  Following Apostolic canon 31 was perhaps applicable to the Old Calendarists between 1924 and 1935, but does not justify the path taken by the Old Calendarists from 1935 on, nor does it justify their position today.  Withdrawing from one’s own bishop while awaiting justice is not the same as breaking communion with the entire Orthodox Church as the Old Calendarists have done.  There is absolutely NO canonical or patristic basis for the Old Calendarist schism as it actually took place in 1935 and as it exists at the present time. 
Again, the Old Calendarists of the 1920s and of 1935 broke communion with the Church of Greece in accordance with the 31st (not the 32nd) Apostolic Canon as can be found in the Rudder. Today’s Old Calendarists recognize Ecumenism to be a heresy so in accordance with the 32nd Apostolic Canon we are allowed to remain in our position of being out of communion with all of World Orthodoxy. If you choose to believe that there is no canonical or patristic basis for our breaking of communion with the Church of Greece and eventually all of World Orthodoxy I doubt I’ll convince you and I doubt you’ll convince me. And yes, I realize that you believe the Old Calendarists of 1935 had in reality broke communion with all of World Orthodoxy, but I do not see it that way as I believe in reality that this time period of the Church is not as crystal clear as you believe it to be.
The Ecumenism that is protested by the Old Calendarists only began to develop in the 1960s.  What justification to the Old Calendarists have for being completely out of communion with the entire Church for the thirty to forty years prior to questionable participation in Ecumenism by various Orthodox churches? 
Regardless of whether or not the Old Calendarists of 1935 recognized the Heresy of Ecumenism in the Church of Greece until many years later doesn’t devoid the fact that it was there. But as I have said they only broke communion with the State Church in 1935 in accordance with the 31st Apostolic Canon. You view them as breaking communion with the Orthodox Church when in reality I believe they were still a part of the Orthodox Church.


I do not see the situation as you do.  The Synod that you belong to just fell apart.  The Synod you belong to entered into communion with two bishops who were in schism from another Old Calendarist group that was in schism from another Old Calendarist group, and the madness simply propagates.  RTOC was in dialogue with the “GOC-Kallinkos” but this dialogue disintegrated.  “GOC-Kallinikos” was in dialogue with HOCNA, then a couple bishops just left HOCNA to join “GOC-Kallinkos” and now these two groups that were very warm toward each other are now against each other (or rather what is left of HOCNA has turned even further away from “GOC-Kallinikos” than they were before).  When you look at the history of the various “True Greek” and “True Russian” groups, you just see exponential multiplication.  This is because the very foundation of these movements is sectarian, and they do not have the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit did not guide the three bishops in 1935 to condemn the Church of Greece in papal fashion, and neither has the Spirit been guiding the movement which is built upon this rotten foundation.
The Synod I was a member of (the Milan Synod) has indeed fell as they have embraced the Ecumenical Heresy and have broken communion with the synods who they were in communion with. The Synod that I am currently a member of has not fallen apart at all, as we hold to an Orthodox confession and have remained united with those synods of whom the Milan Synod has broken from. Sure, there are still synodical divisions among the different TOC synods, but again, the situation is better than it was even a decade ago. These divisions are mainly due to persecutions, misunderstandings, and historical circumstances, not a lack of the Holy Spirit. And I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to guide the different TOC synods together. Unity has to be based on Jesus Christ and the faith that He has given us, as any other unity is not a true unity that I would want to be involved in.

Again, the situation in Antioch in no way relates to the self-proclaimed “True Orthodox”.  In the Meletian schism, there were competing synods in one local area and other local Orthodox churches could not agree on which was the right canonical and Orthodox Synod.  While the competing synods were not in direct communion with each other, the different Synods remained in communion with the Church.  What is of critical importance here is that these competing synods in Antioch recognized the authority of the Church over them.  As long as the competing Synods recognized an ecclesiastical authority greater than their own local synods, the situation was able to be resolved, as indeed it was. 

In the case of the Old Calendarists, the Old Calendarist bishops who created the formal schism in 1935 acknowledged in their writings the authority of the other local churches (Patriarchates of Jerusalem, Antioch, etc.).  However, once it was realized that none of these churches agreed with their schism, the Old Calendarists no longer acknowledged the authority of any other local Church and began to divide amongst themselves.  Today there is a situation where numerous small, competing Synods have developed, and none of them acknowledge an ecclesiastical authority greater than themselves.  All of these groups have established churches in the territory of other local churches to demonstrate that they only recognize themselves as the Church.  With this kind of Protestant mentality, what kind of Pan-Orthodox Council or decision would they acknowledge?  None!  If all of the local Orthodox Churches and all of the Patriarchates throughout the world made a decision regarding them, they would not acknowledge such a decision because for them, only they have the truth and only they are being guided by the Holy Spirit.
I have yet to see where all the other local Churches disagreed with the Old Calendarists of 1935. Just because they could not get two of the local Churches to help establish a Pan-Orthodox Council condemning the New Calendar does not mean that they were schismatics in the eyes of the Church. Sadly the Ecumenical Heresy has spread to the other Churches in communion with the Greek State Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate so now we are not in communion with these Churches as well.

Also, with regards to the Meletian schism, this schism shows that two synods can be out of communion with each other and still be a part of the same Orthodox Church which is the point I was making. I see your point though that the Meletian schism was able to get worked out by the Church. But the Church is not some sort of authority figure over the various synods. In the words of St. Ignatius, “Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” The Church does not have some sort of authority over the clergy and people; the Church consists of the clergy and the people. Today’s situation is indeed far worse than it was with the Meletian schism, but with God these synodical divisions among us can get worked out. We do live in a way more confusing time where the authority of the One Church is hard to recognize between the various synods that are all not in communion with each other. But this doesn’t mean that the Church ceases to exist among us. I recognize that you do not believe we are a part of the Church but I’m going to have to agree to disagree with you.

A Pan-Orthodox Council to resolve the matter concerning the calendar would only have been possible if those who continued serving on the Old Calendar in Greece after the introduction of the New, believed in the catholicity of the Church and acknowledged in the universal Church an authority greater than themselves.  This hope was dashed in 1935, and the situation is now hopeless because the Old Calendarists today have at their foundation the 1935 Protestant and cacadox confession.
The World Orthodox Church is not the Pope where those not in communion with her are not members of the Orthodox Catholic Church. Again, in the words of St. Ignatius, “Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”

ROCOR’s relationship with the Old Calendarists was mistaken from the very beginning.  ROCOR did try to unite the two (at that time there were only two) Old Calendarist groups but without first understanding the ecclesiology that was at the foundation of the Old Calendarist schism.  The reason that Communion did not ever occur between ROCOR and the traditional Old Calendarists to any real extent is that once ROCOR came to understand the cacadox ecclesiology that was at the very foundation of these groups they could not agree with it.  ROCOR also came to see that the Old Calendarists were hopelessly sectarian and incapable of unity amongst themselves because of the ecclesiology on which they were established.  Of course, ROCOR did later enter into communion with the “Synod in Resistance” whose canonical foundation is the most problematic of all Old Calendarist groups, because their ecclesiology is much more Orthodox that the others.  Since ROCOR reunited with the MP, this Old Calendarist group also became cut off from ROCOR and the entire Orthodox Church.
You are mistaken. ROCOR did not break communion with the Greek Old Calendarists because ROCOR recognized their “cacadox” ecclesiology; the Greek Old Calendarists broke communion with ROCOR because certain hierarchs of ROCOR were performing ecumenical activities which went against ROCOR’s staunch stance and anathema against Ecumenism. Also ROCOR experienced many divisions because of their ecumenical tendencies even after they called anathema to Ecumenism, so that today there a handful of synods who claim to be ROCOR. So it’d be more accurate to state that the Old Calendarists broke communion with ROCOR due to ROCOR falling away from their traditional anti-ecumenical stance.
Title: Re: The Russian Orthodox church Not spreading the faith
Post by: Fr. George on March 22, 2012, 02:59:07 PM
No. Do you reject the New Calendar Church because Elder Paisios made false prophesies?

I've come across a great article that discusses the apocalyptic so-called prophecies of the modern elders of Greece.

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2012/03/controversial-end-time-prophecies-by.html

It basically uses the words and writing of Elder Porphyrios to discount the veracity and necessity of the so-called prophecies while still maintaining the proper respect for the elders who wrote them.