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Author Topic: Father Seraphim Rose on "Traditionalist" Orthodox groups  (Read 1683 times) Average Rating: 0
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Matthew777
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« on: November 12, 2006, 06:09:16 AM »

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Judging from the way things were going, Fr. Seraphim predicted that the super-correct group would eventually stage a schism and end up as a narrow, isolated sect of its own. In his letters over the years, he stated this many times:

June 15, 1976: "The 'right wing' of Orthodoxy will probably be divided into many small 'jurisdictions' in future, most of them anathematizing and fighting with the others.... We must keep up the living contact with the older Russian clergy, even if some of them may seem to us a little too 'liberal'—otherwise we will be lost in the 'zealot' jungle which is growing up around us!"40
July 8, 1980: "We ourselves have felt for some time that Fr. ——— and others who share his attitude are heading straight for a schism, which now seems almost inevitable if he does not change his direction. Such a schism nobody needs; there are so many groups of 'correct' Orthodox in Greece now (none in communion with the others) that a new group will only prove the devil's power to divide Orthodox Christians."41

October 27, 1980: "I look with pain and sadness on this whole situation; ... but I am powerless to do anything about it.... The inevitable schism which they are now preparing (if they don't change soon) will be the last step in a process which only they can change."42

September 17, 1981: "Judging from the last outburst, the schism is close, and I'm afraid the 'silent majority' of our priests and laymen will only heave a sigh of relief when the troublemakers are gone—leaving behind them a bad harvest of ill will, and continuing their name-calling and hatred in a louder tone from their new 'jurisdiction.'

"May God preserve us from all of this! Please forgive my frankness, but I feel the time is very late, and anyone who can do anything had better do it now. I know God will continue to preserve His Church and I believe He will prosper the true Orthodox mission which is just beginning in our Church.... But the tragedy of souls caught in a self-willed schism will be incalculable."43

December 8, 1981: "How tragic that some are now leading their flocks (albeit still very small flocks) out of communion with the only people who can still teach them what Orthodoxy is and help them to wake up from their fantasies of a 'super-correct' Orthodoxy that exists nowhere in the world."44

Not long after Fr. Seraphim's repose, his prediction unfortunately came true just as he had written.

"All this will pass, like some horrible nightmare,"45 Fr. Seraphim remarked in a letter. Looking back at his support of the super-correct group in previous years, he wrote: "We feel ourselves badly betrayed.... All these years we trusted that they were of one mind and soul with us, giving everything they had for the cause of the English-speaking mission. But really, it seems that all this time they were only building for their own glory, cruelly abusing the trust of our simple Russian bishops, priests, and laymen....46 We fear that all our articles about 'zealotry' in the past years have helped to produce a monster!"47

Of course, there was disillusionment on both sides. The leaders of the new party, having been inspired to take up the zealot position in the first place largely thanks to the Platina fathers, assumed that the fathers would naturally join their movement and begin to take their directives from the Boston monastery. Some of them were truly disappointed when it became clear that the fathers were not going to follow their line. They had thought that Fr. Seraphim wanted absolute strictness just like they did, but in this they were wrong. Fr. Seraphim wanted Truth, which is on a deeper level altogether. "They have built a church career for themselves," Fr. Seraphim wrote, "on a false but attractive premise: that the chief danger to the Church today is lack of strictness. No—the chief danger is something much deeper—the loss of the savor of Orthodoxy, a movement in which they themselves are participating, even in their 'strictness.'... 'Strictness' will not save us if we don't have any more the feeling and taste of Orthodoxy."48
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/fsr_63.aspx

I know the affinity that Old Calendarists have for Father Seraphim Rose, and how they are willing to use him to support their beliefs, but I seriously doubt that he would have supported breaking oneself off from "World Orthodoxy." I may sound hypocritical as an Oriental Orthodox in making light of this, and you'd be perfectly justified in thinking so, but I'm honestly bewildered when Father Seraphim is used to promote something which he would have never approved of in the first place.

Peace.
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2006, 01:45:52 PM »

Holy people can be wrong.  Just FYI, Sts. Philaret of NYC and John of Shanghai both supported the Old Calendarists in Greece, there are even pictures of the saints with GOC bishops. 

Also, if I remember correctly, he didn't take a very comprehensive view of the Old Calendarists.  I think he only visited a few parishes and based his judgement on that.  You have to take many things into consideration when looking at what he wrote. 
« Last Edit: November 12, 2006, 01:50:14 PM by drewmeister2 » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2006, 04:35:02 PM »

Matthew,

Both editions of Fr Seraphim's life and works are seriously corrupted and inaccurate.  The former edition places too much emphasis on Fr Seraphim's alleged support of Old Calendarists and catacomb groups because his monastery was at that point--a decade after his repose--part of a fringe group under "Metropolitan" Pangratios of Queens (a child molester who was never ordained a bishop but claimed ordination from people who later denied it).

Now that the brotherhood is under the Serbs, they went to the other extreme and edited out all statements that were supportive of Fr Seraphim's relations with Old Calendarists.  This is why I often wonder how people learn anything about Orthodoxy solely via the internet: if you don't have a relationship with the people involved at least in some way you miss out on a lot of the context. I realize you have real contact with people in your Indian Church but even then, it doesn't seem to be beyond your local parish. My unsolicited advice to you is, "get out more." It's the same advice I'd give to anyone.  Do you ever call priests or bishops of other Churches for more information? I'm just curious. I do it all the time, and have learned a lot that way.

In the first edition, and I am not sure about the second, it mentions that Fr Seraphim visited "a monastery in Ohio" shortly before his death.  That monastery was St Gregory Palamas monastery, which is now a different monastery with different monks under the GOA but which was at that time the original location of the monastery of St Gregory Palamas now located in Etna, California and headed by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna.  Fr Seraphim was good friends with Archbishop Chrysostomos.

The "Old Calendarists" to which Fr Seraphim was opposed were the Panteleimonites in ROCOR who were forming a schism in that body and any Old Calendarist with an overly narrow viewpoint towards everyone else--those holding to the so-called light-switch view of grace. However, he was not generally opposed to all Old Calendarists and maintained friendships with several.

Thanks for allowing me to present you the full picture.

Anastasios
« Last Edit: November 12, 2006, 04:37:13 PM by Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2006, 06:26:17 PM »

Do you ever call priests or bishops of other Churches for more information? I'm just curious. I do it all the time, and have learned a lot that way.

I have phone conversations with the Russian Orthodox monks of All Merciful Savior Monastery (www.vashonmonks.com), and visit the Greek Orthodox Church near my house (www.holytrinityspokane.org). Today, I attended liturgy at the Greek Church, albeit not receiving communion, and then engaged in serious, polite theological discussion with Father Stephen and those who wished to discuss the similarities and differences between Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians.

The "Old Calendarists" to which Fr Seraphim was opposed were the Panteleimonites in ROCOR who were forming a schism in that body and any Old Calendarist with an overly narrow viewpoint towards everyone else--those holding to the so-called light-switch view of grace. However, he was not generally opposed to all Old Calendarists and maintained friendships with several.

There's a difference between following the Old Calendar, which is perfectly good, and separating yourself with those who do not. Honestly, if Father Seraphim were alive today, would he have become a part of the Matthewites or some other "Old Calendarist" group?
These quotes appear to be directly from the hand of Father Seraphim.

Peace.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2006, 06:36:33 PM by Matthew777 » Logged

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