OrthodoxChristianity.net
November 24, 2014, 01:17:54 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Major stumbling block for me  (Read 4512 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
cristoforos
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 13


« on: October 05, 2008, 12:41:01 PM »

Im going to share with you something that Im finding a major stumbling block on my road to Orthodoxy- namely the collaboration of the Russian Orthodox Church with the Soviet regime. Im completely aware that this is an emotive issue and unless one lived through those times then what right has one to comment. But still Im deeply troubled by it. Without being boastful in the slightest, I done my degree in history and politics (and focused a lot on Russian history) and am currently doing a masters degree in Russian and East European Studies- I have studied 20th century Russian history very, very closely. The ROC was devastated by the Soviets right from the off, it faced persecution of the severest kind- we are all aware of this. By the time  Sergius came to his agreement with Stalin during WW2 the Church was a shell of its former self, and I am certainly not going to judge Sergius for his actions. Some see them as unforgivable, some see them as pragmatic- it is not my place to comment.

I guess there are two aspects to my problem with this subject. Firstly, the continued collaboration of various high ranking church officials with the KGB right up to the fall of communism. I just cant see how this can be justified. I know they were faced with reprisals but the sheer depth of the collaboration was astounding. The KGB completely infiltrated the ROC to the point where serving priests and bishops were actually KGB agents. What really troubles me is the fact that this relationship seems to have continued to this very day, many of these people are still present in the ROC right now. Like him or loathe him there is no getting away from the fact that Putin, himself ex-KGB, has surrounded himself with ex-KGB allies and seems to rule over an extremely authoritarian system. A system in which the ROC, under Alexii II (who was also revealed as a KGB agent!) seems to walk hand in hand with. I just dont see how an ex-KGB agent (Alexii) can still be serving head of the Russian church.

The second aspect of my concern is the persecution of the Catholic Church under Soviet rule. Make no mistake about it, Stalin- for all his persecution of the ROC- absolutely detested the Vatican and Catholicism. He simply hated it, as did the rest of the Soviet leadership. The Soviets, during and after the war, used the ROC as a vehicle for supressing the Catholic faith in the Soviet Union and "Russifying" its population, most notably in West Ukraine with the Eastern Catholics. This policy, in fact, was merely a continuation of what had happened under the Tsars, the difference being the Tsars based their policy on a genuine belief in what they were doing being God's Will, whereas Stalin done it merely to meet his own political ends. Now my question is- why would the athiestic, Soviet regime (which I think we can all agree was nothing less than the work of the devil) be so hell bent on destroying the Catholic faith? I sincerely believe Stalin was doing the devil's work so why would the devil hate the Catholic faith above all others? And the ROC was an almost willing participant in this process. I just cant get my head around this.

Im sorry for going on but this issue really is important to me. I am really far down the road on my way to Orthodoxy from being an RC but this sticks in my mind. I have accepted the vast majority of Orthodox teaching but these issues remain. I would be very, very grateful if anyone could shed some light on all this for me, or give me an Orthodox explanation of these things. And there is no malice or insult intended at all in my post, I am totally genuine.

God Bless

Term modified to conform to OC.net policy.
~Veniamin, Free-for-All Moderator
« Last Edit: October 05, 2008, 01:06:31 PM by Veniamin » Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2008, 12:53:10 PM »

Dear Christophoros,

I hear you very well. To me, the fact that the ROC collaborated with the KGB is a big stumbling block, too; moreover, I know that at present, the ROC closely collaborates with Putin-Medvedev's regime, which I consider an evil regime.

However, our Church - while being a human body and, as such, necessarily ill, experiencing all sins and all infirmities of the human nature, - is also the Body of Christ. Her Head is not Patriarch Alexius II and not even the Ecumenical Patriarch, but only Christ Himself. He works in His Church, using us, imperfect, sinful humans, as His tool of salvation of everyone and everything.

Just look at some wonderful works of theology that were conceived in the mind of some faithful clerics of the ROC (Bulgakov, Kern, Kartashov, Meyendorf, Florovsky, Schmemann and others), as well as in the minds of her faithful laymen (prof. V. Lossky and others). One might say that those were all emigrants, who wrote when they settled abroad, mostly in France. Yet, even today and even in Putin-Medvedev's Moscow, there are some amazing ROC theologians and eclesiastical historians (e.g., prof. Valentin Asmus).

I am positive that Orthodoxy transcends politics. The Gospel, the Good News, after all, is principally not about establishing world empires - it is only about salvation of our souls. And the best in all of the earthly Orthodox jurisdictions, including the ROC, are doing just that.

G.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2008, 01:19:11 PM by Heorhij » Logged

Love never fails.
Veniamin
Fire for Effect!
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the South
Posts: 3,372


St. Barbara, patroness of the Field Artillery


« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2008, 01:07:22 PM »

Dear Christophoros,

I hear you very well. To me, the fact that the ROC collaborated with the KGB is a big stumbling block, too; moreover, I know that at present, the ROC closely collaborates with Putin-Medvedev's regime, which I consider an evil regime.

However, our Church - while being a human body and, as such, necessarily ill, experiencing all sins and all infirmities of the human nature, - is also the Body of Christ. Its Head is not Patriarch Alexius II and not even the Ecumenical Patriarch, but only Christ Himself. He works in His Church, using us, imperfect, sinful humans, as His tool of salvation of everyone and everything.

Just look at some wonderful works of theology that were conceived in the mind of some faithful clerics of the ROC (Bulgakov, Kern, Kartashov, Meyendorf, Florovsky, Schmemann and others), as well as in the minds of her faithful laymen (prof. V. Lossky and others). One might say that those were all emigrants, who wrote when they settled abroad, mostly in France. Yet, even today and even in Putin-Medvedev's Moscow, there are some amazing ROC theologians and ecllesiastical historians (e.g., prof. Valentin Asmus).

I am positive that Orthodoxy transcends politics. The Gospel, the Good News, after all, is principally not about establishing world empires - it is only about salvation of our souls. And the best in all of the earthly Orthodox jurisdictions, including the ROC, are doing just that.

G.

PoM Nominee!
Logged

Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl. ~Frederick the Great
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2008, 01:10:16 PM »

^^ I second that!! Heorhij, what a beautifully balanced, truthful, and grace-filled response to this very troubling question! Thanks, and blessings!
Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
cristoforos
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 13


« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2008, 01:13:43 PM »

Heorhij, thanks for your reply. I understand exactly what you mean about the Church being above human politics. Obviously the Vatican itself has a somewhat chequered past and I have defended it by saying similar things.

The fact that the ROC has produced so many wonderfully holy men and women, so many saints, is of great comfort to me. In fact I just finished reading the life of the holy starets Amvrosi of the Optina monastery, truly an amazing guy! I suppose the Church (whether RC or Orthodox) has always had to contend with human sin being a fact of life, even amonst its high ranking officials.

I guess whats bothering me, and I dont know about anyone else, is that I have strong belief that Russia will have a profound role to play in the destiny of the world, especially in the end times. I put a lot of stock in the visions and prophecies of saints such as Seraphim of Sarov, John of Kronstadt etc. St Seraphim's in particular clearly show that Russia will have a major role during the reign of the antichrist. Yet there is a commonly held view in traditionalist Catholic circles (where I am coming from) that Russia, while having an important role, it will be negative. Some even say Medvedev could be the AC, Putin has prepared the way for him and Alexii is the false prophet! I guess all this stuff is swirling in my head , making me really confused.

God Bless
Logged
ialmisry
There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
Warned
Hypatos
*****************
Offline Offline

Faith: جامعي Arab confesssing the Orthodox Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
Jurisdiction: Antioch (for now), but my heart belongs to Alexandria
Posts: 37,963



« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2008, 07:01:06 PM »

Im going to share with you something that Im finding a major stumbling block on my road to Orthodoxy- namely the collaboration of the Russian Orthodox Church with the Soviet regime. Im completely aware that this is an emotive issue and unless one lived through those times then what right has one to comment. But still Im deeply troubled by it. Without being boastful in the slightest, I done my degree in history and politics (and focused a lot on Russian history) and am currently doing a masters degree in Russian and East European Studies- I have studied 20th century Russian history very, very closely. The ROC was devastated by the Soviets right from the off, it faced persecution of the severest kind- we are all aware of this. By the time  Sergius came to his agreement with Stalin during WW2 the Church was a shell of its former self, and I am certainly not going to judge Sergius for his actions. Some see them as unforgivable, some see them as pragmatic- it is not my place to comment.

I guess there are two aspects to my problem with this subject. Firstly, the continued collaboration of various high ranking church officials with the KGB right up to the fall of communism. I just cant see how this can be justified. I know they were faced with reprisals but the sheer depth of the collaboration was astounding. The KGB completely infiltrated the ROC to the point where serving priests and bishops were actually KGB agents. What really troubles me is the fact that this relationship seems to have continued to this very day, many of these people are still present in the ROC right now. Like him or loathe him there is no getting away from the fact that Putin, himself ex-KGB, has surrounded himself with ex-KGB allies and seems to rule over an extremely authoritarian system. A system in which the ROC, under Alexii II (who was also revealed as a KGB agent!) seems to walk hand in hand with. I just dont see how an ex-KGB agent (Alexii) can still be serving head of the Russian church.

The second aspect of my concern is the persecution of the Catholic Church under Soviet rule. Make no mistake about it, Stalin- for all his persecution of the ROC- absolutely detested the Vatican and Catholicism. He simply hated it, as did the rest of the Soviet leadership. The Soviets, during and after the war, used the ROC as a vehicle for supressing the Catholic faith in the Soviet Union and "Russifying" its population, most notably in West Ukraine with the Eastern Catholics. This policy, in fact, was merely a continuation of what had happened under the Tsars, the difference being the Tsars based their policy on a genuine belief in what they were doing being God's Will, whereas Stalin done it merely to meet his own political ends. Now my question is- why would the athiestic, Soviet regime (which I think we can all agree was nothing less than the work of the devil) be so hell bent on destroying the Catholic faith? I sincerely believe Stalin was doing the devil's work so why would the devil hate the Catholic faith above all others? And the ROC was an almost willing participant in this process. I just cant get my head around this.

Im sorry for going on but this issue really is important to me. I am really far down the road on my way to Orthodoxy from being an RC but this sticks in my mind. I have accepted the vast majority of Orthodox teaching but these issues remain. I would be very, very grateful if anyone could shed some light on all this for me, or give me an Orthodox explanation of these things. And there is no malice or insult intended at all in my post, I am totally genuine.

God Bless

Term modified to conform to OC.net policy.
~Veniamin, Free-for-All Moderator

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
Elisha
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 4,461


« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2008, 08:34:01 PM »

Heorhij, thanks for your reply. I understand exactly what you mean about the Church being above human politics. Obviously the Vatican itself has a somewhat chequered past and I have defended it by saying similar things.

The fact that the ROC has produced so many wonderfully holy men and women, so many saints, is of great comfort to me. In fact I just finished reading the life of the holy starets Amvrosi of the Optina monastery, truly an amazing guy! I suppose the Church (whether RC or Orthodox) has always had to contend with human sin being a fact of life, even amonst its high ranking officials.

I guess whats bothering me, and I dont know about anyone else, is that I have strong belief that Russia will have a profound role to play in the destiny of the world, especially in the end times. I put a lot of stock in the visions and prophecies of saints such as Seraphim of Sarov, John of Kronstadt etc. St Seraphim's in particular clearly show that Russia will have a major role during the reign of the antichrist. Yet there is a commonly held view in traditionalist Catholic circles (where I am coming from) that Russia, while having an important role, it will be negative. Some even say Medvedev could be the AC, Putin has prepared the way for him and Alexii is the false prophet! I guess all this stuff is swirling in my head , making me really confused.

God Bless

Well Pat. Alexey better hurry up then, because he's fast approaching 80 yrs old!
Logged
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 32,903


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2008, 09:22:27 PM »

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Would you care to clarify what relevance he has to this discussion (as opposed to just name dropping without explanation).
Logged
BrotherAidan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,568

OC.net


« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2008, 10:41:57 PM »

Thank you for this excellent and thoughtful OP. I personally am disgusted that former KGB heads the ROC. Furthermore he is a stooge for the current former KGB led government.

« Last Edit: October 05, 2008, 10:42:42 PM by BrotherAidan » Logged
cristoforos
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 13


« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2008, 04:44:36 AM »

Yeah Im also a tad confused by ialmisry's post! What do you mean by "Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn"?

God Bless
Logged
LBK
No Reporting Allowed
Moderated
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 11,441


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2008, 07:26:27 AM »

Quote
I personally am disgusted that former KGB heads the ROC

What of the former Joseph Ratzinger who was in the Hitler Youth?
Logged
Thomas
Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 2,828



« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2008, 08:41:21 AM »

Please return to the topic presented or I will be forced to close this topic and/or transfer it to another forum.  Please address the  potential convert's angst at becoming an Orthodox Christian in view of the ROC Church's cooperation with the state government.

Thank you,

Thomas
Convert Issues Forum Moderator
Logged

Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas
LBK
No Reporting Allowed
Moderated
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 11,441


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2008, 09:27:24 AM »

An important point needs to be made:

It was standard practice for anyone in public office to be registered with the KGB to be considered "in good standing" by the Soviet authorities. There were, of course, a number of instances of priests or bishops who were indeed shamefully informing on members of their congregations, however, to classify all clergy as "KGB plants and spies" is drawing a long bow indeed. This is why I raised the analogy with the current Pope of Rome: a child of his generation could not but join the Hitler Youth, or else the consequences would be dire, to say the least.

Apart from the period in the 1920s and early 1930s, the so-called "renovationist period" of the post-revolution "Living Church", whose influence on established doctrine and church practice was short-lived and abortive, I can vouch for the liturgical integrity of the Soviet-era Russian Church. I have a considerable archive of liturgical materials, including sound recordings, from this period. All but one of these vinyl records were  released under the Melodiya label, the State-owned music recording and publishing house.

MP hierarchs and clergy may have been required to register as described, the liturgical texts used by the church during this period were identical (apart from hierarchical commemorations, which always vary between jurisdictions and dioceses) to those used by ROCOR. Therefore, what was read, chanted and sung at any Orthodox service during this period was completely in accordance with Orthodox doctrine and practice. To claim that heresies existed in the liturgical content used by the Soviet-era MP church is simply false. I challenge anyone to provide authoritative evidence of any MP bishop or priest who changed the text of any liturgical service to conform to Bolshevik "doctrines", or who preached Bolshevik "doctrine" ex cathedra, or that the authorities prevailed upon the clergy to do so.

In the post-1991 period, the MP has repeatedly expressed regret and repentance for any unconscionable conduct on the part of any of its clergy, and has repudiated "sergianism". There are many official documents which attest to this.

Logged
orthodoxlurker
Supporter & Defender of Fr Ambrose (Irish Hermit) - banned
Warned
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian - NOT a phanariote
Jurisdiction: Serbian Patriarchate under siege
Posts: 1,372


al-Saabir yaraa al-Hurriyah


« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2008, 12:31:58 PM »

Firstly, the continued collaboration of various high ranking church officials with the KGB right up to the fall of communism. I just cant see how this can be justified. I know they were faced with reprisals but the sheer depth of the collaboration was astounding. The KGB completely infiltrated the ROC to the point where serving priests and bishops were actually KGB agents. What really troubles me is the fact that this relationship seems to have continued to this very day, many of these people are still present in the ROC right now.

The key word above is seems, with no explanation and even no support for the premise. Statement about the clergy being "actually KGB agents" is simply presupposition - I'd ask about the status of clergy of various religions in USA forces in wars around the world. Are they (whatever religion they are) simply "agents"?

Quote
Like him or loathe him there is no getting away from the fact that Putin, himself ex-KGB, has surrounded himself with ex-KGB allies and seems to rule over an extremely authoritarian system.

Claim about "(extremely!) authoritarian system)" is pure speculation. It obviously depends on political views, but let me say I have no clue what facts would support such a claim, though I'm aware they are arising in certain circles in the west.

Quote
The second aspect of my concern is the persecution of the Catholic Church under Soviet rule.

Are you aware that Vatican was among the financiers of Bolshevik revolution, and that during the most severe persecution of Orthodox, immediately aftter the revolution, the Catholics were encouraged to seek converts in Bolshevik state?

Quote
The Soviets, during and after the war, used the ROC as a vehicle for supressing the Catholic faith in the Soviet Union and "Russifying" its population, most notably in West Ukraine with the Eastern Catholics.
...
Now my question is- why would the athiestic, Soviet regime (which I think we can all agree was nothing less than the work of the devil) be so hell bent on destroying the Catholic faith?

Though it might seems to look like what you wrote, that's actually not what happened.

The processes in western Ukraine were related to the facts that, er... "those in communion with ... whose common-name-by-which-they-call-themselves-we-are-prohibited-from-posting-here" were quite active supporters and participants of German Army advancing to east, with their clergy having an active role to bolster the support. After the liberation they lived to be treated the same way as other traitors. And that specific policy seem to be limited to the areas of Ukraine where the cause of it occurred.

If Soviet state wanted to destroy Catholic faith and if ROC was participant in this, there would be no RCC in Poland, Hungary, Czech, Slovakia, Romania, Lithuania, Estonia, Letonia... not even to mention Germany.

Quote
And the ROC was an almost willing participant in this process. I just cant get my head around this.

ROC hasn't done at that time, at that place, anything RCC hasn't been doing uninterruptedly for centuries.


Fixed quote tag  -PtA
« Last Edit: October 06, 2008, 03:59:25 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged

Curse the Pope, for he is the root and cause of these disasters! - St. Nektarios of Aegina

You don't get to circumvent your post moderation by calling out the moderators in your signature. ~Veniamin, Global Moderator
SolEX01
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Holy Metropolis of New Jersey
Posts: 11,662


WWW
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2008, 04:35:18 PM »

Im going to share with you something that Im finding a major stumbling block on my road to Orthodoxy- namely the collaboration of the Russian Orthodox Church with the Soviet regime.

Judas Iscariot collaborated with the High Priests.  Did that stop Orthodox Christianity in its tracks?  Did Satan take down the Orthodox Church? 

Xenophobia is a fear exploited by anyone for about, going back to the Mongols, 800 years give or take?  Did Christ express fear at being betrayed and seized?  No.  Neither should we, as difficult as the temptation can be.

I guess there are two aspects to my problem with this subject. Firstly, the continued collaboration of various high ranking church officials with the KGB right up to the fall of communism. I just cant see how this can be justified. I know they were faced with reprisals but the sheer depth of the collaboration was astounding. The KGB completely infiltrated the ROC to the point where serving priests and bishops were actually KGB agents. What really troubles me is the fact that this relationship seems to have continued to this very day, many of these people are still present in the ROC right now. Like him or loathe him there is no getting away from the fact that Putin, himself ex-KGB, has surrounded himself with ex-KGB allies and seems to rule over an extremely authoritarian system. A system in which the ROC, under Alexii II (who was also revealed as a KGB agent!) seems to walk hand in hand with. I just dont see how an ex-KGB agent (Alexii) can still be serving head of the Russian church.

The same thing has been alleged about the CIA and certain US based Catholic Cardinals.  One cannot serve God and Mammon and one cannot serve God and <Insert Intelligence Agency Here> if such allegations are true.  I think Patriarch Alexei II is a decent leader of His flock even as He disagrees with the EP and vice versa.  Again, if the Cold War is going to be fought through Patriarchs, only God can deal with this one, not us.

The second aspect of my concern is the persecution of the Catholic Church under Soviet rule. Make no mistake about it, Stalin- for all his persecution of the ROC- absolutely detested the Vatican and Catholicism. He simply hated it, as did the rest of the Soviet leadership.

If you read 1984, you can see how Vatican could go from Eurasia to Oceania in as little as a 2 Minute Hate.

The Soviets, during and after the war, used the ROC as a vehicle for supressing the Catholic faith in the Soviet Union and "Russifying" its population, most notably in West Ukraine with the Eastern Catholics. This policy, in fact, was merely a continuation of what had happened under the Tsars, the difference being the Tsars based their policy on a genuine belief in what they were doing being God's Will,

There is no God's Will behind Xenophobia; Otherwise, Peter the Great wouldn't have spent years in the West learning techniques to deal with the aristocracy back home.

whereas Stalin done it merely to meet his own political ends. Now my question is- why would the athiestic, Soviet regime (which I think we can all agree was nothing less than the work of the devil) be so hell bent on destroying the Catholic faith? I sincerely believe Stalin was doing the devil's work so why would the devil hate the Catholic faith above all others? And the ROC was an almost willing participant in this process. I just cant get my head around this.

Same answer, look back to 1984.

Im sorry for going on but this issue really is important to me. I am really far down the road on my way to Orthodoxy from being an RC but this sticks in my mind. I have accepted the vast majority of Orthodox teaching but these issues remain. I would be very, very grateful if anyone could shed some light on all this for me, or give me an Orthodox explanation of these things. And there is no malice or insult intended at all in my post, I am totally genuine.

Just picture Christ suspended on the Cross between Heaven and Earth, the Tree of Life, and try to put your concerns on that Cross.  As the cloud of Martyrs can testify that believing in Christ is the road to Life Everlasting.  For those who want to place their faith in Intelligence Agencies and political systems, they wiil receive their appropriate reward.   Cry  Cry  Cry
Logged
ialmisry
There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
Warned
Hypatos
*****************
Offline Offline

Faith: جامعي Arab confesssing the Orthodox Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
Jurisdiction: Antioch (for now), but my heart belongs to Alexandria
Posts: 37,963



« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2008, 09:19:27 PM »

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Would you care to clarify what relevance he has to this discussion (as opposed to just name dropping without explanation).

A.S. can be, and is, accused of all the sort of xenophobia, authoritarianism, anti-Vatican blah blah blah, as Alexei and company can be.  What he CAN'T be accused of is not standing up to the Soviet regime, so the issues the OP brings up are not going to be solved by a black and white approach.

I used to say about Alexis' predecessor Pimen (usually against ROCOR criticism) that yes, perhaps I would do things differently, but I have the luxury of not living in a totalitarian regime, and not have the responsibility of 40 million souls (and lives) in my hands.

So Solzhenitsyn .  He didn't like, as none should, the prospect of a Yugoslavia on the scale of Russia.  He bristled, as do I, at speechs of how "you can be Russian and be Catholic," which feining ignorance that you can be Polish, for instance, and Orthodox too.  I find no fault in this.

As for you problems on the treatment of the Vatican in Russia, have you seen this, for instance?
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15844.0.html

The difference between the Synod of Brest and that of Lviv?  Many Orthodox (including myself) admit the moral problems of Lviv.  I've yet to have anyone for the Vatican admit that ANYTHING wrone was done at Brest.

Those who mourn Lvov but celebrate Brest seem to adamently against recognizing that many did not wait for the Soviet to "reunite" them to the Mother Church:
[INDENT]In the 1890s, 145 years after Orthodoxy had ceased to exist in the Carpathians, a 'return to Orthodoxy' movement began, reaching a high point in the 1920s. Many Greek Catholics who became Orthodox were arrested for treason and a few were even executed by the government, with the Talerhof Concentration Camp5 and Martyr-Priest Maxim Sandovich's death in 1914 being the best known incidents. Meanwhile, the Russian Bolshevik Revolution was forcing Russians of the nobility and middle class to leave Russia, and many settled in the USA. These Russians arrived and began integrating into the American Russian Orthodox Church (the Metropolia) at precisely the same time that Carpatho-Russians in America were also returning to the Orthodox faith.6 Leading the charge was Fr. Alexis Toth, a former Greek Catholic priest who converted many to Orthodoxy (due to his initial efforts, over 50% of USA Rusyns are Orthodox). This American mixing further influenced events and persecutions back in the Carpathian homeland, where thousands of fleeing Orthodox Russians also settled, including monks who founded the Ladomirova Monastery[/INDENT]

And what could be motivating those Orthodox Rusyn?

[INDENT]....Later in 1991, there were major protests, including physical attacks and hunger strikes when it was decided to give the cathedral back to the Greek Catholics.  The Orthodox immediately set about to build the new Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross, under the guidance of Fr. Dmitrii (Dymytrij) Sydor, a Moscow Patriarchate priest (perhaps the most visible cleric in all modern Transcarpathia) who is extremely active in the Carpatho-Russian/Rusyn movement. The architecture of the new cathedral is based on the design of the famous and newly rebuilt ‘Cathedral of Christ the Savior’ in Moscow, which is the largest church in Russia. Currently, Orthodox believers are outraged at the impending construction of a new Roman and Greek Catholic cathedral complex in the vicinity of the Orthodox cathedral. So, they announced they would erect another church of their own in downtown Uzhgorod, right in front of the original Greek Catholic cathedral, tit-for-tat. The new church will be consecrated after St. Alexei Kabalyuk, a Rusyn Orthodox hero. Kabalyuk was born into a Greek Catholic family but converted to Orthodoxy, became a priest and played a major role in reviving Orthodoxy in Transcarpathia in the early 20th century. On the eve of WWI, Kabalyuk was jailed, and later was a major leader of the Carpathian Orthodox until his death in 1947. He was canonized in 2001, but as the primary Orthodox leader who assisted the Soviets in the 1946 liquidation, is offensive to the Greek Catholics.[/INDENT]
http://www.simkovich.org/religion.htm

Since the move of the center of the union of Brest to Kiev, will this be the next "stolen" Church up for "return?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Sophia_Cathedral_in_Kiev[/QUOTE]
« Last Edit: October 06, 2008, 09:23:54 PM by ialmisry » Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
NorthernPines
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 934



« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2008, 11:02:24 AM »

While I'm not an expert in Russian history, or Church history in general, the only thing I can say is that neither Rome nor Orthodoxy is totally clean of these types of sin. I've found that the issue you raise is something a lot of Catholics have trouble with when learning about Orthodoxy, but Rome's hands aren't clean from politics either, no matter what some apologists might say. In the end, from an Orthodox POV, Christ is our head, and no Bishop, or even a group of Bishops and priests, no matter how corrupt and sinful will bring down the Church.

When I was learning about Orthodoxy I dealt with similar issues (but about the Byzantine Church not the Russian Church) and it's union with the Empire, but the Church is not only a Divine institution, but it is also human, and humans are sinful and make terrible mistakes. The big question for me was did the faith continue on, despite all the bad human politics and sins . . . and the answer is yes. There were always people in the Church, no matter how bad the clergy and laity became, that spoke out against such wrong doings. And in the end, the faith prevailed. Orthodoxy's orthodoxy is reliant on any one bishop or Metropolis...and in the end even during Soviet times there were people who spoke out against what you refer to, even if it was a minority, just like St. Athanasius was in the minority during the Arian times.

That probably doesn't help, and maybe people better versed in Russian history will have better answers.
Logged
Papist
Patriarch of Pontification
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Byzantine
Posts: 12,359


Praying for the Christians in Iraq


« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2008, 11:39:05 AM »

Does anyone know where I can learn more about this topic?
« Last Edit: October 07, 2008, 11:40:53 AM by Papist » Logged

You are right. I apologize for having sacked Constantinople. I really need to stop doing that.
Thomas
Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 2,828



« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2008, 01:01:45 PM »

In  my reading of Church history East and West, Russian and Byzantine, the Church has always been in a rather uneasy alliance with the state.  In Early Christian Times, they prayed for pagan emperors and tried to be good citizens of Rome even as they refused to burn incense to the Emperor as God.  When Constantine the Great legalized Christianity, an uneasy alliance was formed that led to many issues that we still face both east and West about the relationship of Church and State. Most Christians would like to think that  our Political State would support our Christianity over other religions, our beliefs (marriage between man and woman alone, anti-abortion/pro-life stances, etc) as values of the State that would govern the issuing of Laws that we live under---the reality is that we have never been able to have a successful alliance with the Political State without compromise of the faith. 

In the West we see the problems and disarray as the Patriarch of Rome sought to assume political power of the State resulting in  schism and eventual protestant reformation. In Byzantium there was the appointment and dismissal of multiple Patriarchal Hierarchs at the whim of political rulers that gave the example to the Ottomans of how to rule the Rhum's under them by making the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople personally responsible for the Christian Rhum. In Russia, the Tsar Peter actually dissolved the Moscow Patriarchate and his succeeding Tsars governed the Orthodox Church through a Religious Procurate Office and a Synod of Bishops that he approved until the proper order of the Church was reestablished by the "white" Russians shortly before the Bolshevik Revolution.

The reality is that the alliance with the state has been the "Pandora's box" of problems within the Christian Church throughout history.

Thomas
Logged

Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2008, 01:58:35 PM »

In Russia, the Tsar Peter actually dissolved the Moscow Patriarchate and his succeeding Tsars governed the Orthodox Church through a Religious Procurate Office and a Synod of Bishops that he approved until the proper order of the Church was reestablished by the "white" Russians shortly before the Bolshevik Revolution.

Yes, except the term "White Movement" or "White Guard" had not appeared yet when the council of bishops restored the Moscow Patriarchy. If I recall correctly, that council was summoned in summer 1917, during the short tenure of the so-called Provisional Government of Russia ("Vremennoe Pravitel'stvo") (early March 1917 - early November 1917). When that Provisional Government was overthrown on Nov. 7 1917, its successors, Bolsheviks, declared themselves a "Red" government; to emphasize their opposition to the "reds," those multiple governments that took control in Finland, Estonia, the Don region, in the Kuban', in Siberia and elsewhere, called themselves "White."

Also, speaking of the relationships between Church and State in the Russian lands: they were hardly ever peaceful... Frictions between Tsars and Patriarchs or Metropolitans of the Russian Orthodox Church were very common. The decision of Tsar Peter I to eliminate the Moscow Patriarchate was perhaps influenced by his experience as a youth, when he watched the long struggle between his father, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, and the all-powerful Patriarch Nikon. The latter was, possibly, a mentally ill person with clear signs of "mania grandiosa." He ruled that people must adress him exactly the same way they addressed the Tsar, saying "Velikiy Gosudar'" ("Great Ruler"), and ordered that his seat in the Uspensky Cathedral, made of pure gold, be put next to the Tsar's throne, and be of the exact same dimensions as the latter. Nikon had a habit of interfering with absolutely everything Tsar Alexei did or planned to do. Finally, the Tsar, who happened to be extremely shy by nature (his common nickname was "Tishajshj," "The Most Soft-Spoken One"), secretly summoned a council of bishops in Moscow and had Nikon accused in some heresy and exiled.

The reality is that the alliance with the state has been the "Pandora's box" of problems within the Christian Church throughout history.

Very true.
Logged

Love never fails.
Orthodoc
Supporter & Defender Of Orthodoxy
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 2,526

Those who ignore history tend to repeat it.


« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2008, 05:52:36 PM »

Comment:   A system in which the ROC, under Alexii II (who was also revealed as a KGB agent!) seems to walk hand in hand with. I just dont see how an ex-KGB agent (Alexii) can still be serving head of the Russian church.

REPLY:

For the same reason that Polish Roman Catholic bishops who were die heart communist members accomplished high positions within that church after the fall of communism and remained as such until just recently -

==========

Don't let it ever be said that the RC's didn't have priests who belonged or sympathized with the Communist Party.
 
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/01/07/news/poland.php
 
WARSAW: The newly appointed archbishop of Warsaw, Stanislaw Wielgus, abruptly resigned Sunday at a Mass meant to celebrate his new position after admitting two days earlier that he had worked with Poland's Communist-era secret police.The revelation has shaken one of Europe's largest concentrations of devout Catholics and refocused scrutiny on charges of Communist collaboration by the some of its clergy even as the church supported dissidents trying to free themselves from the totalitarian yoke.......(open URL for the whole story)

==========

Re: Communist secret police in Orthodox and Catholic Churches
It looks like the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Warsaw
Poland, has in the past been a secret collaborator of the communist intelligence. Please see:

http://www.polskieradio.pl/polonia/article.asp?tId=46315&j=2

Gazeta Polska: Archbishop Wielgus a former communist spy

"According to the weekly Gazeta Polska, Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus, who is to succeed Cardinal Józef Glemp as the metropolitan of Warsaw, has in the past been a secret collaborator of the communist intelligence.

"Investigative journalists from the Gazeta Polska weekly have found documents from the communist archives, according to which the newly appointed archbishop metropolitan of Warsaw, Stanislaw Wielgus, collaborated with the communist secret services for over 20 years, informing them about the activities of the Catholic Church in Communist Poland.

"Tomasz Sakiewicz, editor in chief of Gazeta Polska:

'Our authors have found materials from the archives of Communist secret police which show us that Bishop Wielgus was a secret collaborator of secret communist intelligence. We are very sure that these materials are true. His cooperation lasted for 22 years. He was one of the most important collaborators of the communist intelligence in the Church.'

===========

There was a second resignation of a Polish Roman Catholic hierach at the time but the website has been erased!

----------

Regarding patriarch Alexi.  The following appeared in our diocesian magazine in 1995 -

In reply may I quote His Holiness from a 1995 issue of 'Alive In Christ' which also happens to be my diocesan quarterly -

This is in regards to Patriarch Alexi announcing the plans of rebuilding 'Christ The Saviour Cathedral' as an atonement for the Russian people turning away from God. The Patriarch states (at the laying of the cornerstone) -

"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." --Patriarch Aleksy II of Moscow

From the mayor of Moscow at the placing of the cornerstone -

The rebuilding of the church was the centerpiece of a huge renovation scheme in the Russian capital pursued by its mayor, Yuri Luzhkov. During a ceremony to lay the cathedral's cornerstone Luzhkov said "Let the reconstruction of the main cathedral stand as symbolic proof of hundreds of destroyed churches and millions of lost lives".

That is the main reason the Cathedral was rebuilt. It's also the reason that while the original Cathedral built in 1812 took 44 years. The rebuilding from start to finish took little less than 5 years. It was worked on 24 hours a day, seven days a week during that entire time period.

Patrairch Alexi also got down on his knees at the first 'Forgivness Vespers' after his enthronement at the beginning of Great Lent and asked forgiveness for sins committed during the 'Soviet period'.

=================

Orthodoc


   
Logged

Oh Lord, Save thy people and bless thine inheritance.
Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries.
And by virtue of thy Cross preserve thy habitation.
cristoforos
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 13


« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2008, 08:21:47 PM »

Firstly, thank you all very much for your thoughtful replies. Please believe me when I say I am not 'having a go' at the ROC- as I stated in my OP I firmly believe that unless you have lived under the conditions of militant, totalitarian communism then you certainly cant judge the actions of others who have. Also believe me when I say the answers posted have certainly made me think a little differently about my concerns.

The general consensus seems to be that the Church has always had sinners in its midst, it has always had members (even at the highest level) who put their own interests before God's-this can be said equally of the RC and the Orthodox Church. I completely agree with this line of reasoning. And there has always been this eneasy alliance between Church and state ever since Byzantine times- I guess thats the nature of being in the world, but not of the world. I suppose it is the sheer extent of the collaboration and, more worryingly, the infiltration that really concerned me. For example, how would you know your priest was real or a KGB plant? I would find that prospect terrifying- that serving priests are only in the Church as spies and agents.

With regards to Alexii- I dont for a minute believe he was/ is a believing communist. Under the Soviets, basically everyone in the national institutions had to be a card carrying member or they would get nowhere- it was just a sad fact of life and I accept that.
However, here is a man (Alexii) who had a quite fanatstic rise through the ranks of the ROC in an era, and under a regime, where this would be impossible unless you were well-conected or very useful to the Party. So the fact that he was able to gain promotion to the very top under the Soviets is a bit alarming. Lets face it, no one could reach that position unless they were given the green light by the Party. However, as has been stated, he has repented and begged forgiveness for what went on in those times, and again, who are we to judge the actions of those under such conditions?

Could I also just ask another question- do any of you put any stock in the idea of Moscow as the 'Third Rome'? The idea that Russia has a messianic destiny for the world?
Logged
Orthodoc
Supporter & Defender Of Orthodoxy
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 2,526

Those who ignore history tend to repeat it.


« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2008, 09:05:07 PM »

Comment:  However, here is a man (Alexii) who had a quite fanatstic rise through the ranks of the ROC in an era, and under a regime, where this would be impossible unless you were well-conected or very useful to the Party. So the fact that he was able to gain promotion to the very top under the Soviets is a bit alarming. Lets face it, no one could reach that position unless they were given the green light by the Party.
   
Reply:  Patriarch Alexy was elected Patriarch AFTER THE FALL OF COMMUNISM!  He was the first Patriarch to be elected in a free ballot.
Comment:  Could I also just ask another question- do any of you put any stock in the idea of Moscow as the 'Third Rome'? The idea that Russia has a messianic destiny for the world?
   
Reply:  To be honest with you I never put stock in it but the way things are going in the world today, I don't know.  While secularism and Islam is growing in the west while Christianity falters, Orthodox Christianity is having a fantastic rebirth in Eastern Europe.  Especially Russia.  So who knows.

Orthodoc   
   
« Last Edit: October 07, 2008, 09:07:17 PM by Orthodoc » Logged

Oh Lord, Save thy people and bless thine inheritance.
Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries.
And by virtue of thy Cross preserve thy habitation.
DanM
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 249


« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2008, 10:07:14 PM »

Comment:  Could I also just ask another question--do any of you put any stock in the idea of Moscow as the "Third Rome"?
Answer:  We never needed a first or a second Rome, so let's forget about the Third Rome.
Martyrs and saints--a different story.  Russia is truly the mother of martyrs in the 20th century. 
DanM
Logged
ialmisry
There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
Warned
Hypatos
*****************
Offline Offline

Faith: جامعي Arab confesssing the Orthodox Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
Jurisdiction: Antioch (for now), but my heart belongs to Alexandria
Posts: 37,963



« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2009, 01:51:18 PM »

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Would you care to clarify what relevance he has to this discussion (as opposed to just name dropping without explanation).

A.S. can be, and is, accused of all the sort of xenophobia, authoritarianism, anti-Vatican blah blah blah, as Alexei and company can be.  What he CAN'T be accused of is not standing up to the Soviet regime, so the issues the OP brings up are not going to be solved by a black and white approach.

I used to say about Alexis' predecessor Pimen (usually against ROCOR criticism) that yes, perhaps I would do things differently, but I have the luxury of not living in a totalitarian regime, and not have the responsibility of 40 million souls (and lives) in my hands.

So Solzhenitsyn .  He didn't like, as none should, the prospect of a Yugoslavia on the scale of Russia.  He bristled, as do I, at speechs of how "you can be Russian and be Catholic," which feining ignorance that you can be Polish, for instance, and Orthodox too.  I find no fault in this.

As for you problems on the treatment of the Vatican in Russia, have you seen this, for instance?
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15844.0.html

The difference between the Synod of Brest and that of Lviv?  Many Orthodox (including myself) admit the moral problems of Lviv.  I've yet to have anyone for the Vatican admit that ANYTHING wrone was done at Brest.

Those who mourn Lvov but celebrate Brest seem to adamently against recognizing that many did not wait for the Soviet to "reunite" them to the Mother Church:
[INDENT]In the 1890s, 145 years after Orthodoxy had ceased to exist in the Carpathians, a 'return to Orthodoxy' movement began, reaching a high point in the 1920s. Many Greek Catholics who became Orthodox were arrested for treason and a few were even executed by the government, with the Talerhof Concentration Camp5 and Martyr-Priest Maxim Sandovich's death in 1914 being the best known incidents. Meanwhile, the Russian Bolshevik Revolution was forcing Russians of the nobility and middle class to leave Russia, and many settled in the USA. These Russians arrived and began integrating into the American Russian Orthodox Church (the Metropolia) at precisely the same time that Carpatho-Russians in America were also returning to the Orthodox faith.6 Leading the charge was Fr. Alexis Toth, a former Greek Catholic priest who converted many to Orthodoxy (due to his initial efforts, over 50% of USA Rusyns are Orthodox). This American mixing further influenced events and persecutions back in the Carpathian homeland, where thousands of fleeing Orthodox Russians also settled, including monks who founded the Ladomirova Monastery[/INDENT]

And what could be motivating those Orthodox Rusyn?

[INDENT]....Later in 1991, there were major protests, including physical attacks and hunger strikes when it was decided to give the cathedral back to the Greek Catholics.  The Orthodox immediately set about to build the new Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross, under the guidance of Fr. Dmitrii (Dymytrij) Sydor, a Moscow Patriarchate priest (perhaps the most visible cleric in all modern Transcarpathia) who is extremely active in the Carpatho-Russian/Rusyn movement. The architecture of the new cathedral is based on the design of the famous and newly rebuilt ‘Cathedral of Christ the Savior’ in Moscow, which is the largest church in Russia. Currently, Orthodox believers are outraged at the impending construction of a new Roman and Greek Catholic cathedral complex in the vicinity of the Orthodox cathedral. So, they announced they would erect another church of their own in downtown Uzhgorod, right in front of the original Greek Catholic cathedral, tit-for-tat. The new church will be consecrated after St. Alexei Kabalyuk, a Rusyn Orthodox hero. Kabalyuk was born into a Greek Catholic family but converted to Orthodoxy, became a priest and played a major role in reviving Orthodoxy in Transcarpathia in the early 20th century. On the eve of WWI, Kabalyuk was jailed, and later was a major leader of the Carpathian Orthodox until his death in 1947. He was canonized in 2001, but as the primary Orthodox leader who assisted the Soviets in the 1946 liquidation, is offensive to the Greek Catholics.[/INDENT]
http://www.simkovich.org/religion.htm

Since the move of the center of the union of Brest to Kiev, will this be the next "stolen" Church up for "return?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Sophia_Cathedral_in_Kiev
[/quote]

I've come across some things on St. Alexei Kabalyuk, the first being interesting in that it is a contemporary source to his imprisonment in 1914, and the back to Orthodoxy movement (The Independent, Pages 73-1406, April 6, 1914)
http://books.google.ro/books?id=IajPAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&dq=st+alexei+kabalyuk&source=bl&ots=9oGQXoEtFX&sig=KAVkyfF4uB-IBwtnO2AWYC337wI&hl=en&ei=f3jPSoSFKoacMNHEyJUD&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3#v=onepage&q=&f=false
id=IajPAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&dq=st+alexei+kabalyuk&source=bl&ots=9oGQXoEtFX&sig=KAVkyfF4uB-IBwtnO2AWYC337wI&hl=en&ei=hnTPSsrKFo3eMYKeiZQD&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3#v=onepage&q=&f=false
http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/carp-rus.htm
http://www.rusyn.org/relkabaliuk.html
http://www.orthodox.ws/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20&Itemid=28
« Last Edit: October 09, 2009, 01:54:40 PM by ialmisry » Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
rwprof
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA now, Antiochian originally
Posts: 294



« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2009, 02:22:02 PM »

Dear Christophoros,

I hear you very well. To me, the fact that the ROC collaborated with the KGB is a big stumbling block, too; moreover, I know that at present, the ROC closely collaborates with Putin-Medvedev's regime, which I consider an evil regime.

However, our Church - while being a human body and, as such, necessarily ill, experiencing all sins and all infirmities of the human nature, - is also the Body of Christ. Her Head is not Patriarch Alexius II and not even the Ecumenical Patriarch, but only Christ Himself. He works in His Church, using us, imperfect, sinful humans, as His tool of salvation of everyone and everything.

Just look at some wonderful works of theology that were conceived in the mind of some faithful clerics of the ROC (Bulgakov, Kern, Kartashov, Meyendorf, Florovsky, Schmemann and others), as well as in the minds of her faithful laymen (prof. V. Lossky and others). One might say that those were all emigrants, who wrote when they settled abroad, mostly in France. Yet, even today and even in Putin-Medvedev's Moscow, there are some amazing ROC theologians and eclesiastical historians (e.g., prof. Valentin Asmus).

I am positive that Orthodoxy transcends politics. The Gospel, the Good News, after all, is principally not about establishing world empires - it is only about salvation of our souls. And the best in all of the earthly Orthodox jurisdictions, including the ROC, are doing just that.

G.

Beautifully said, sir.

Logged

Mark (rwprof) passed into eternal life on Jan 7, 2010.  May his memory be eternal!
Liz
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Church of England
Posts: 989



« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2009, 03:20:06 PM »

Im going to share with you something that Im finding a major stumbling block on my road to Orthodoxy- namely the collaboration of the Russian Orthodox Church with the Soviet regime. Im completely aware that this is an emotive issue and unless one lived through those times then what right has one to comment. But still Im deeply troubled by it. Without being boastful in the slightest, I done my degree in history and politics (and focused a lot on Russian history) and am currently doing a masters degree in Russian and East European Studies- I have studied 20th century Russian history very, very closely. The ROC was devastated by the Soviets right from the off, it faced persecution of the severest kind- we are all aware of this. By the time  Sergius came to his agreement with Stalin during WW2 the Church was a shell of its former self, and I am certainly not going to judge Sergius for his actions. Some see them as unforgivable, some see them as pragmatic- it is not my place to comment.

I guess there are two aspects to my problem with this subject. Firstly, the continued collaboration of various high ranking church officials with the KGB right up to the fall of communism. I just cant see how this can be justified. I know they were faced with reprisals but the sheer depth of the collaboration was astounding. The KGB completely infiltrated the ROC to the point where serving priests and bishops were actually KGB agents. What really troubles me is the fact that this relationship seems to have continued to this very day, many of these people are still present in the ROC right now. Like him or loathe him there is no getting away from the fact that Putin, himself ex-KGB, has surrounded himself with ex-KGB allies and seems to rule over an extremely authoritarian system. A system in which the ROC, under Alexii II (who was also revealed as a KGB agent!) seems to walk hand in hand with. I just dont see how an ex-KGB agent (Alexii) can still be serving head of the Russian church.

The second aspect of my concern is the persecution of the Catholic Church under Soviet rule. Make no mistake about it, Stalin- for all his persecution of the ROC- absolutely detested the Vatican and Catholicism. He simply hated it, as did the rest of the Soviet leadership. The Soviets, during and after the war, used the ROC as a vehicle for supressing the Catholic faith in the Soviet Union and "Russifying" its population, most notably in West Ukraine with the Eastern Catholics. This policy, in fact, was merely a continuation of what had happened under the Tsars, the difference being the Tsars based their policy on a genuine belief in what they were doing being God's Will, whereas Stalin done it merely to meet his own political ends. Now my question is- why would the athiestic, Soviet regime (which I think we can all agree was nothing less than the work of the devil) be so hell bent on destroying the Catholic faith? I sincerely believe Stalin was doing the devil's work so why would the devil hate the Catholic faith above all others? And the ROC was an almost willing participant in this process. I just cant get my head around this.

Im sorry for going on but this issue really is important to me. I am really far down the road on my way to Orthodoxy from being an RC but this sticks in my mind. I have accepted the vast majority of Orthodox teaching but these issues remain. I would be very, very grateful if anyone could shed some light on all this for me, or give me an Orthodox explanation of these things. And there is no malice or insult intended at all in my post, I am totally genuine.

God Bless

Term modified to conform to OC.net policy.
~Veniamin, Free-for-All Moderator


I read your post to my partner because it was interesting, and maybe his comment is worthwhile - he remarks that you're coming at a spiritual issue (your own journey into Orthodoxy) from a very political viewpoint, and this may not be the best way to resolve conflicts.

Quote
I suppose it is the sheer extent of the collaboration and, more worryingly, the infiltration that really concerned me. For example, how would you know your priest was real or a KGB plant? I would find that prospect terrifying- that serving priests are only in the Church as spies and agents.

Would it matter if your priest were a KGB plant? If he were indistinguishable from a good priest, then surely it wouldn't matter if he were KGB?
« Last Edit: October 09, 2009, 03:24:24 PM by Liz » Logged
ignatius
Baptacathadox
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Roman Catholic > Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA - Diocese of the South
Posts: 1,690


My Son Aidan... :-)


« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2009, 08:29:35 PM »

Grace and Peace,

Men have always done things that have offended virtue... in the East as well as in the West. It is not for us to determine who has been more victimized as if it is a sign of legitimacy. If you or I are going to enter into Orthodoxy it will not be because Catholics were more victimized than Orthodox in the USSR, it must be because of the Prayer, Fasting and Alms-Giving are truth and healing to our wounded natures. We must come seeking where the Holy Physician can be found. If we are still looking, then we still have not found Him where we are. This we much admit and not seek rationalizations. We must not cease until we find peace.
Logged

St Basil the Great (330-379 A.D.): “I think then that the one goal of all who are really and truly serving the Lord ought to be to bring back to union the churches who have at different times and in diverse manners divided from one another.”
believer74
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 99


« Reply #28 on: October 10, 2009, 12:56:39 PM »

Grace and Peace,

Men have always done things that have offended virtue... in the East as well as in the West. It is not for us to determine who has been more victimized as if it is a sign of legitimacy. If you or I are going to enter into Orthodoxy it will not be because Catholics were more victimized than Orthodox in the USSR, it must be because of the Prayer, Fasting and Alms-Giving are truth and healing to our wounded natures. We must come seeking where the Holy Physician can be found. If we are still looking, then we still have not found Him where we are. This we much admit and not seek rationalizations. We must not cease until we find peace.

THANK YOU!! Beautiful answer.
Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2009, 02:12:29 PM »

Could I also just ask another question- do any of you put any stock in the idea of Moscow as the 'Third Rome'? The idea that Russia has a messianic destiny for the world?

I was born and raised in the former Soviet Union (in Ukraine), and the Russian language was equally first to me, on par with the Ukrainian language. I have read a great deal of Russian literary classic in its original Russian, and I have always had a sense of deep admiration of Derzhavin, Kapnist, Kantemir, Karamzin, Griboedov, Pushkin, Lermontov, Baratynsky, Tyutchev, Annensky, Blok, Gumilyov, Akhmatova, Pasternak, Tsvetaeva, Zabolotsky, and many other great Russian poets, and of course of Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Aksakov, Garshin, Sologub, Bunin, Kuprin, Paustovsky, Kaverin, Solzhenitsyn, Erofeev, and many other great Russian prosaics. I admire Russian theatre, Russian classical as well as modernist art (painting), good Russian humor. I have an enormous respect for Russian philosophers and theologians such as N.A. Berdyaev, S.N. Bulgakov, L.S. Frank, P.A. Florensky, G.V. Florovsky, A.D. Schmemann, V.N. Lossky and others. I am absolutely at home, spiritually, with the great Russian "intelligentsia," with her spirit of non-conformism, intellectual and spiritual maximalism, bravery and stoicism. So, based on all that, YES, I do believe Russia does have a certain unusual, interesting destiny. She is a great country and she will of course remain that.

On the other hand, I am very deeply disturbed by the politics of expansion and Occidentophobia that has haunted the Russian Empire since its conception. I absolutely reject and hate the idea of Moscow being the Third Rome. I despise the present-day official Russian secular rulers as well as Orthodox hierarchs, and I and sincerely wish that some happy day Russia will come to her senses and stop the above mentioned expansionist and Occidentophobic pursuit, instead becoming one of the many nations of the world, each with their own unique face, unique contribution, unique history and meaning.
Logged

Love never fails.
zugu
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Agnostic Atheist
Jurisdiction: Bucharest, Romania
Posts: 2


« Reply #30 on: October 10, 2009, 09:29:38 PM »

As someone else said above, in order to have a "normal" life in the Communist bloc one had to be a member of the One Ruling Party. Each factory, each sports club, each church, each bloc of flats and each whatever was assigned some kind of propaganda officer from the Party HQ. In Romania, where I was born, dealing with the Party was something absolutely necessary in order to find a job, among other things.

The Communists gained power after WWII and, unlike the Bolshevik regime in Russia, allowed religion in Romania to exist. However, the newly formed intelligence arm of the Party, the Secret Police called Securitate ("security" in English), equivalent to the KGB, started enlisting members of the clergy, among others, as informants.

The ones who did not submit to the demands of the Securitate were thrown in jail, persecuted, tortured, killed, sent to hard labor, brainwashed, harassed, humiliated or exiled. There are many Orthodox priests, monks or simple believers who died for their faith in the Communist era and are hailed today as heroes and martyrs.

People did no confess all sins at the Confession, out of fear of the secret being broken by priests. Churches were demolished or moved to make place for "glorious", tasteless Communist architecture and factories. I cannot personally condemn these "traitors", because had I been born in the 50s, I would have probably bowed to the iron fist of the regime, too.

However (and this is very important), after the violent and bloody overthrow of the Communist regime in 1989, there was a popular demand that the archives of the Securitate be made public, so that people would find out who was responsible for making their lives a nightmare. While the regime changed, people in key positions were more or less the same. They clung to their seats and ushered the country into "democracy", while being opposed to opening the archives, invoking "national security".

20 years later only few politicians and public persons have been revealed as collaborators. While the ousted ones won't go to jail, as there is a general amnesty for them, wearing the collaborator label is a sure way to end your career, whatever it may be, along with your public life.

After 1989, the Church never admitted of willingly collaborating with the regime, but several Romanian Orthodox priests have publicly admitted their guilt. A prime example is Bishop Nicolae Corneanu, the current Metropolitan of Banat, who admitted his efforts on the behalf of the Communist Party, and denounced clergy activity with the Communists, including his own, as "the Church's prostitution with the Communist regime".

Before July 2006, when the matter made headlines again, The National Council for the Study of the Archives of the Securitate (CNSAS) has not made public any of the files of priests that collaborated with the Communist secret police, and has not responded to any requests by the civil society to reveal the truth in this matter. Historian Stejarel Olaru claimed in a TV interview in July 2006 that he has uncovered some documents that imply that the (now late) Teoctist, Patriarch of Romania was an agent of the Securitate. Rumors of this had circulated ever since the fall of the Communism. Right away a spokesperson for the Church denied that Teoctist has had any doings with the Securitate; the Church would not ask CNSAS to verify the information regarding the alleged connections between the high-ranking people in the Church and the former secret police, because "it would mean to give too much importance to this information".

Leonida Pop, an Orthodox priest who was striped of his priesthood in 1970s under Securitate's pressure (due to his views considered reactionary by the Communists), and who subsequently fled to West Germany where he worked for a while for Radio Free Europe, told BBC in 2006 that many leaders of the Church would not be strangers to collaboration with the Securitate. He said that during the Communist regime it was not possible to advance in the Church hirarchy without the consent of and collaboration with the Securitate. "I know a few Bishops, both former and present, which were devoted servants of the Securitate", Pop said.

In August 2008, CNSAS has announced that it had verified 260 representatives of religious cults, including 89 clergy of the Romanian Orthodox Church, for possible collaboration with the Securitate, and has found that 6 priests indeed have worked for the Communist secret police. CNSAS warned that "the number of priests that have collaborated with the Securitate is considerable, given the fact that verification in some cases is still under way". Among the confirmed cases of Securitate collaborators were five high prelates of the Romanian Orthodox Church: Nicolae Corneanu, Archbishop of Timisoara and Metropolitan of Banat, Pimen Zainea, Archibishop of Suceava and Radauti, Andrei Andreicut, Archbishop of Alba Iulia, Casian Craciun, Bishop of Lower Danube, and Calinic Argatu, Bishop of Arges. The sixth person was Sandi Mehedintu, priest at the Coltea Church in Bucharest.

The Orthodox Church in Russia is not the only one who bent to the will of a bloody dictatorship. The situation in Ukraine, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania and elsewhere was more or less the same.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2009, 09:31:40 PM by zugu » Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #31 on: October 10, 2009, 11:00:04 PM »

As someone else said above, in order to have a "normal" life in the Communist bloc one had to be a member of the One Ruling Party. Each factory, each sports club, each church, each bloc of flats and each whatever was assigned some kind of propaganda officer from the Party HQ. In Romania, where I was born, dealing with the Party was something absolutely necessary in order to find a job, among other things.

The Communists gained power after WWII and, unlike the Bolshevik regime in Russia, allowed religion in Romania to exist. However, the newly formed intelligence arm of the Party, the Secret Police called Securitate ("security" in English), equivalent to the KGB, started enlisting members of the clergy, among others, as informants.

The ones who did not submit to the demands of the Securitate were thrown in jail, persecuted, tortured, killed, sent to hard labor, brainwashed, harassed, humiliated or exiled. There are many Orthodox priests, monks or simple believers who died for their faith in the Communist era and are hailed today as heroes and martyrs.

People did no confess all sins at the Confession, out of fear of the secret being broken by priests. Churches were demolished or moved to make place for "glorious", tasteless Communist architecture and factories. I cannot personally condemn these "traitors", because had I been born in the 50s, I would have probably bowed to the iron fist of the regime, too.

However (and this is very important), after the violent and bloody overthrow of the Communist regime in 1989, there was a popular demand that the archives of the Securitate be made public, so that people would find out who was responsible for making their lives a nightmare. While the regime changed, people in key positions were more or less the same. They clung to their seats and ushered the country into "democracy", while being opposed to opening the archives, invoking "national security".

20 years later only few politicians and public persons have been revealed as collaborators. While the ousted ones won't go to jail, as there is a general amnesty for them, wearing the collaborator label is a sure way to end your career, whatever it may be, along with your public life.

After 1989, the Church never admitted of willingly collaborating with the regime, but several Romanian Orthodox priests have publicly admitted their guilt. A prime example is Bishop Nicolae Corneanu, the current Metropolitan of Banat, who admitted his efforts on the behalf of the Communist Party, and denounced clergy activity with the Communists, including his own, as "the Church's prostitution with the Communist regime".

Before July 2006, when the matter made headlines again, The National Council for the Study of the Archives of the Securitate (CNSAS) has not made public any of the files of priests that collaborated with the Communist secret police, and has not responded to any requests by the civil society to reveal the truth in this matter. Historian Stejarel Olaru claimed in a TV interview in July 2006 that he has uncovered some documents that imply that the (now late) Teoctist, Patriarch of Romania was an agent of the Securitate. Rumors of this had circulated ever since the fall of the Communism. Right away a spokesperson for the Church denied that Teoctist has had any doings with the Securitate; the Church would not ask CNSAS to verify the information regarding the alleged connections between the high-ranking people in the Church and the former secret police, because "it would mean to give too much importance to this information".

Leonida Pop, an Orthodox priest who was striped of his priesthood in 1970s under Securitate's pressure (due to his views considered reactionary by the Communists), and who subsequently fled to West Germany where he worked for a while for Radio Free Europe, told BBC in 2006 that many leaders of the Church would not be strangers to collaboration with the Securitate. He said that during the Communist regime it was not possible to advance in the Church hirarchy without the consent of and collaboration with the Securitate. "I know a few Bishops, both former and present, which were devoted servants of the Securitate", Pop said.

In August 2008, CNSAS has announced that it had verified 260 representatives of religious cults, including 89 clergy of the Romanian Orthodox Church, for possible collaboration with the Securitate, and has found that 6 priests indeed have worked for the Communist secret police. CNSAS warned that "the number of priests that have collaborated with the Securitate is considerable, given the fact that verification in some cases is still under way". Among the confirmed cases of Securitate collaborators were five high prelates of the Romanian Orthodox Church: Nicolae Corneanu, Archbishop of Timisoara and Metropolitan of Banat, Pimen Zainea, Archibishop of Suceava and Radauti, Andrei Andreicut, Archbishop of Alba Iulia, Casian Craciun, Bishop of Lower Danube, and Calinic Argatu, Bishop of Arges. The sixth person was Sandi Mehedintu, priest at the Coltea Church in Bucharest.

The Orthodox Church in Russia is not the only one who bent to the will of a bloody dictatorship. The situation in Ukraine, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania and elsewhere was more or less the same.

Not really. It is radically not the same because neither Ukraine nor Bulgaria nor (the former) Yugoslavia nor Romania, nor what you refer to as "elsewhere" claims to be THE leader of the world's Orthodoxy, while Russia, apparently, does. Also, all nations you mentioned were subject to the USSR's (of which Russia claims to be the successor) domination and complete control.
Logged

Love never fails.
Thomas
Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 2,828



« Reply #32 on: October 13, 2009, 04:42:08 PM »

Please remember that in the Convert Issues Forum we do not discuss or debate politics, please take those discussions to the proper private political forum. If you are not registered to use a private forum please contact our administrator Father Chris.

Thankyou,
Thomas
Convert Issues Forum Moderator
« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 09:31:38 AM by Thomas » Logged

Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas
EmperorConstantine
Acolyte and Pizza-Maker
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 51


St. Constantine the Great


« Reply #33 on: October 14, 2009, 02:23:18 AM »

The general consensus seems to be that the Church has always had sinners in its midst, it has always had members (even at the highest level) who put their own interests before God's-this can be said equally of the RC and the Orthodox Church. I completely agree with this line of reasoning. And there has always been this eneasy alliance between Church and state ever since Byzantine times- I guess thats the nature of being in the world, but not of the world. I suppose it is the sheer extent of the collaboration and, more worryingly, the infiltration that really concerned me. For example, how would you know your priest was real or a KGB plant? I would find that prospect terrifying- that serving priests are only in the Church as spies and agents.
In the Russian Church before Communism when one received Communion one would kiss the chalice and then the hand of the priest.  I believe that this is a common practice in the Orthodox world that has somewhat "died off" a little in America, or it may be limited to Russia and not the Greeks... hmm... can't remember... ah well.

Point is: in Russia they would kiss the chalice and the priest's hand at Communion.

I have heard that during Communism in the USSR if the people of an officially opened church knew that their priest was a bad priest than they would not kiss his hand during Communion and that everybody else would know that something wasn't right.

It would also make sense that if one lived right when the Communists first took over - 1910s-20s - than one should know one's priest very well.  Especially if he were somebody like Fr. Arseny.

I have also been told that upon entering a church in those days the babushki would feel the back of your neck for a chain which would only hold a cross.  Have a chain, you're good.  No chain, well, your suspect.

Quote
Could I also just ask another question- do any of you put any stock in the idea of Moscow as the 'Third Rome'? The idea that Russia has a messianic destiny for the world?
Who knows?

All I know is that the world will end someday when God feels like it.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 02:24:31 AM by EmperorConstantine » Logged
Thomas
Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 2,828



« Reply #34 on: October 14, 2009, 09:36:23 AM »

I want to thank all of you have responded to the question that cristoforos  asked. I am now closing this topic as it is becoming more and more political as I have read through the topic. This is always a difficult topic but your responses I believe have covered all sides of the issue. Thank You for your responses.

Thomas
Convert Issues Forum Moderator
Logged

Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas
Tags: Communism 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.189 seconds with 62 queries.