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Author Topic: The status of ROAC, etc., according to the Orthodox  (Read 9220 times) Average Rating: 0
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The young fogey
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« on: May 21, 2004, 02:32:56 PM »

In this thread, David said this topic belonged in Free-for-All so here's a go at it from somebody with no vested interest in the matter.

From my POV, not officially representing any of these groups, it seems that to the recognized Eastern Orthodox communion, groups like ROAC are not in the Orthodox Church.

Of course these groups themselves answer that they ARE the Orthodox Church and that the commonly understood Orthodox Church, which they call world Orthodoxy, isn't, at least anymore. Just like the Russian Old Believers do.

That said, I, and I think the Orthodox Church agrees, would see these groups as like the Russian Old Believers, both the separate church in Russia under Metropolitan Andrian of Moscow and the Priestless - making the same historical mistake, separating for minor differences and matters of politics, but still holding essentially the same beliefs and practices as the Orthodox.

Thus I, and I think the Orthodox Church agrees, have far more respect for these groups than silly vagantes like the Inclusive Orthodox Church in Hawaii or the Orthodox Catholic Church of North America with their women clergy and gay clergy.

And that, even though functionally their clergy aren't commonly understood Orthodox clergy (anymore in the case of those who left the commonly understood Orthodox Church), these groups easily could be reinstated into the Orthodox Church (as commonly understood) economically without reordinations.

FWIW, for argument's sake one could make a case for western Catholicism not recognizing these people's ordinations as they now stand as valid, because even though they accept 'lines of succession', etc., they also recognize the commonly understood (which I'll abbreviate as c.u.) Orthodox Church's power of the keys over their own people. So if a former Orthodox bishop, deposed by the commonly understood Orthodox, ordains a man a priest, then western Catholicism would agree with the c.u. Orthodox that at least functionally that man isn't a priest.

Sorry to read of Metropolitan Valentine's suffering and glad he is recovering. Though he has been deposed from the episcopate and I think the monastic state as well by the c.u. Orthodox (specifically ROCOR; I think his longtime former allegiance, the Church of Russia, may have dropped him from the rank of monk), I'm using his title and religious name here as a courtesy, much like I'd commonly call a United Methodist bishop by his title - Bishop Smith, for example - even though in my POV he isn't a bishop.

Wishing him a full recovery and safe trip home to Suzdal'.
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2004, 03:29:06 PM »

a very good and well-reasoned post Serge.  Thank you.  I agree completely.

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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2004, 04:24:07 PM »

Serge,

Quote
That said, I, and I think the Orthodox Church agrees, would see these groups as like the Russian Old Believers, both the separate church in Russia under Metropolitan Andrian of Moscow and the Priestless - making the same historical mistake, separating for minor differences and matters of politics, but still holding essentially the same beliefs and practices as the Orthodox.

I can understand the comparison, however it is not accurate.

While I think it is easy to sympathize with the situation of the Old Believers, ultimatly the grounds for their separation are not valid, hence "schismatic."  The Old Believers are correct in some of their arguments - the practices they maintained were just as old (if not older in some cases) than those contemporary in the Greek Churches, and were part of a legitimate, continuing Russian Orthodox Tradition.  However, as abrupt and ill conceived as one may argue the Nikodian reforms were, they were on an official level "authorized" to occur, and were not without precedent in the Church's history (they were in a way parallel to the early homogenizing of the liturgy in those areas that would fall under the influence of Constantinople - "rite after Patriarchate".)  Thus, it ultimatly became a "schism over praxis", and certainly not over praxis with incorrect doctrinal content (as the Old Believers would come to argue, to the point of making purely cultural variations into matters of dogma.)

The situation of the ROAC (and the Old Calendarists in general) is ultimatly a doctrinal issue, also with precedence - however the precedent is favourable (imho...an informed opinion, I'd argue, but obviously mine.)  While it is fundamentally an ecclessiological issue, the name for the heresy in question ("ecumenism") has it's tentacles in practically every other falsehood.

While it could be argued that there in the calendar issue  there is a purley liturgical matter even this has the same implications (argument as to why the calendar innovation occured, previous condemnations of the Gregorian calendar which for all practical purposes it immitates, etc.)  Of course, the "calendar issue" more directly affects the Greek Old Calendarists and similar bodies than it does ROAC.

A question I have for those who deny the legitimacy of ROAC (and the Old Calendarists in general) would be this - what would (in their/your view) constitute legitimate grounds for breaking communion with a heirarch(s) or local Church(es)?  It is clear that this has happened in the past ("we woke up to find the world Arian", et all) - so in the most general sense, what would it take?

- An attempt to "lift" the Church's anathemas of Papism?
- The habit of signing agreed statements which equivocate between Orthodox mysteries and RC rites, or which call for a cessation of the Church's mission towards Roman Catholics?
- Habitual trodding on of canons by activities which strictly speaking call out for deposition?
- The material union (and obvious equivocation of mysteries and ecclessial reality) of a particular local church (which all "canonical Orthodox" find themselves in communion with) with those who still refuse to admit the full legitimacy/ecumenicity of several Councils of the Orthodox Church (and explicitly reject the propriety of the teaching/symbol of one of them), complete with "canonical" clergy exchanges and the mutual surrendering of flocks under some circumstances?
- The mimicking of a calendar explicitly condemned on at least three occassions by Synods which have gained pan-Ortodox repute (and at the very least, were crafted by those local Churches which have no chosen to ignore them) for purposes clearly laid out in an official document of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (which can be read here).
- Declaring that the Church can be subservient to Godless authorities as a precept, and that the joys and sufferings of anti-Christs are those of the Church...with the additional requirement that even those abroad must submit fealty to such God-fighters?  Or perhaps persistant stubborness in refusing to admit the falseness of such an idea - even continuing to lionize it's originator rather than lament him?

etc., etc.

I'd also be interested in just why the above do not constitute grounds for breaking communion with their perpetraitors (and by extension, those who continue to maintain unity with such groups)?

Quote
FWIW, for argument's sake one could make a case for western Catholicism not recognizing these people's ordinations as they now stand as valid, because even though they accept 'lines of succession', etc., they also recognize the commonly understood (which I'll abbreviate as c.u.) Orthodox Church's power of the keys over their own people. So if a former Orthodox bishop, deposed by the commonly understood Orthodox, ordains a man a priest, then western Catholicism would agree with the c.u. Orthodox that at least functionally that man isn't a priest.

Though I think you'll recognize that what the RCC thinks of ROAC/Old Calendarists is probably the last thing those Churches are concerned with, I'm not sure if the above would be true in light of  RC teaching on the sacramental character imposed by "valid" ordinations/consecrations.  However, I suppose it's hard to say what's what in Catholicism anymore, so perhaps your argument could be correct.  Saying that however, I have a hard time believing, were an Old Calendarist (for whatever reason...I can hardly picture it, but who knows) to convert to Uniatism or go over to Latin Catholicism, that he would be re-ordained (regardless of what a particular "Orthodox Church" might think of Old Calendarist/ROAC ordinations to the Priesthood.)

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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2004, 04:39:51 PM »

The Old Believers think their differences with the commonly understood Orthodox are life-or-death matters of doctrine too!
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2004, 05:42:25 PM »

Serge,

Quote
The Old Believers think their differences with the commonly understood Orthodox are life-or-death matters of doctrine too!

I agree, they think this.  However, I think I made at least a reasonable case for why this is not so.  The Old Believers believe the distinctions of old Russian Orthodox liturgics were matters of dogma, being things received directly from the Apostles and inviolable - thus for them, to do otherwise would be like deciding the Divine Liturgy need be celibrated with gin and rice crispies treats from now on.  I think we both agree that not only is this incorrect, but it is a lamentably ignorant position for them to have held/hold.

OTOH, I'm very hard pressed to see just how the position of ROAC is even the least bit absurd, let alone comparably ridiculous to the mishapen liturgical memory of the Old Believers.  Some of my reasons are outlined in the previous response.

When you have time, I'd be interested in your thoughts on the other parts of said reply (what would be grounds for separation from a synod or heirarch, hypothetical situation of RCC receiving convert clergy from the Old Calendarists, etc.)

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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2004, 06:51:21 PM »

In regards to ROAC, my question would be: what was the compelling reason for them to go into schism from ROCOR?  Were ROCOR teaching a specific heresy?  Or was it more of a political machination.  If the latter (which I think is the case), than those who promoted this schism are in a dangerous and sinful position for engaging in the division of the body of Christ.  My take on this is that they are following the classical Protestant mindset of schism upon schism upon schism.  They are "Protesting" the administration and direction of ROCOR, and seem to have set themselves in the prideful position of being more Orthodox than the Ultra-Orthodox.
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2004, 06:59:33 PM »

Their defense, as far as I understand it, is that ROCOR accepted the "heretical" ecclesiology of the moderate old calendar Church of Greece which states that the "official Churches" still have grace.

Problem is, it doesn't take a genius to see that ROCOR has never considered "world Orthodoxy" to be heretical.
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2004, 07:30:54 PM »

Well put, theodore and Bogo.

Seraphim, ISTM your argument boils down to 'because I, Seraphim Reeves, say so'. But the c.u. Orthodox don't agree and I'm inclined to believe them in this case.

As for your list, I think most of those issues are matters of opinion among the c.u. Orthodox, among whom several opinions are allowed, which may or may not agree with yours.

As for whether the Pope's men would accept one of these groups' priests without reordination, I don't speak for them but my guess is no, based on the logic I laid out in my first posting. They say: (repeating myself) 'the Orthodox have the power of the keys over their own people; therefore, if the Orthodox withhold grace from these ordinations*, then we will treat them as invalid, even though if a bishop who left us did this we'd recognize the ordination'.

*As happened when Bishop Valentine left them and consequently they deposed him.
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2004, 07:40:34 PM »

He was not only Deposed but Defrocked as well, but unfortunatly he was not deflocked.

He has also been deposed and defrocked by the MP under whom he  was a hieromonk of long standing.

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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2004, 08:34:03 PM »

Theodore,

Quote
In regards to ROAC, my question would be: what was the compelling reason for them to go into schism from ROCOR?  Were ROCOR teaching a specific heresy?

In 1983, ROCOR articulated an anathema against ecumenism, which presumably at least applied to the ROCOR herself.  It was entered into the Synodicon of Orthodoxy, along with the Church's other condemnations of heresy.  Here is the wording of said anathema...

Quote
Those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that Christ's Church is divided into so-called "branches" which differ in doctrine and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed in the future when all "branches" or sects or denominations, and even religions will be united into one body; and who do not distinguish the priesthood and mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore, to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or who advocate, disseminate, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians, Anathema!

Embedded in this anathema is an articulation of genuine Orthodox ecclessiology, in which the grace of the Holy Mysteries cannot be divorced from their context (the Orthodox Church) and still be considered "genuine."

In 1994, ROCOR officially entered into communion with a group of Greek Old Calendarists who call themselves the "resistor synod", or "TOC" (True Orthodox Church), also less affectionately known as the "Cyprianites."  This group believes (like other Old Calendarists, including the party they broke away from and from which they received the episcopate) that "world Orthodoxy" is in heresy, but put forward the novel idea that local churches can be in heresy yet still somehow be real parts of the Orthodox Church.  Irregardless of what one wishes to make of this strange teaching of itself, for brevity's sake I will simply point out it is contrary to ROCOR's anathema against ecumenism, which clearly decries the idea that a heretical group still has holy mysteries and can be considered a part of the Church.  Indeed, it's a form of crypto branch theorism.  Besides entering into communion with these folks, ROCOR's leadership would make it explicitly clear that this move was done on the basis of a common ecclessiology - while the claim is dubious, the import is that ROCOR was claiming a simultude which was unacceptable.

For this reason, the Russian flock of ROCOR broke with ROCOR and organized itself as an independent body, eventually coming to be known as "ROAC" (Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church.)  The ROCOR in Russia (yes, it does sound odd, doesn't it?) were not the only ones to cease being involved with ROCOR over this - the same was true of the GOC of Greece, which had been in communion with ROCOR from the mid 60's onward.  The GOC, btw was always unequivocal in their position on "world Orthodoxy" - also, ROCOR's union with the Cyprianites was a double slap, since this was a group that had in fact been expelled from the GOC (and whose leader had at one time accepted the ecclessiology and views of the supposedly "more extreme" GOC of Greece.)

Quote
My take on this is that they are following the classical Protestant mindset of schism upon schism upon schism.  They are "Protesting" the administration and direction of ROCOR, and seem to have set themselves in the prideful position of being more Orthodox than the Ultra-Orthodox.

I think you're saying a little too much given how little about the situation you seem to understand.

While the divisiveness in all of this is very lamentable, unfortunately it is not uncalled for either (at least in the situation I'm addressing.)  However, there is much division amongst the Greek Old Calendarists which I will readily conceed is very depressing.  While what I will say does not justify that situation, it does make it a little easier to understand...

- The Greek Old Calendarists are arising from a turmoil not of their own creation, at least in large part.  Had the tragic change of the new calendar and the ill fated ecumenistic movement not taken off, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

- In the period prior to the legalization of Christianity, pettiness/misunderstandings very often did spill over the boundary of personal discord and affect relationships between local Churches, to the point of people hurling serious attacks at each other, and nit picking.  If some of the fervor left the Church when She was "legalized" (with many "converts of convienience" along with the penitent entering Her), at the same time this situation did provide some stability/homogeny to the Church's life - at their best, at least the Emperors did make people sit down and sort things out.  In a sense, the situation we find ourselves in now is increasingly resembling the infancy of the Church - and hence, some of the infantile behaviour.

It seems to be a common calumny for new calendarists to take their mark from the Papists, and accuse the Orthodox zealots of being "Protestant like".  Of course, there are many problems with this line of attack...

- the situation and reason for there being "Old Calendarists" are without parallel in the Protestant milieu; it is precisely a lack of original doctrine or theological creativity that is causing Orthodox to disavow relations with the EP and his communion.

- More importantly, implicit to the "you're Protestant-ish" line of thought is a fundamentally Papist concept of ecclessial legitimacy.  This being, you're "legit" if you're in communion with person/group "X".  While even most new calendarists have the sense to still see a problem with Papal maximalism, they unwittingly entertain the same way of thinking in their own context.  Thus "the Pope" is replaced with "the Ecumenical Patriarchate" or the "ancient Patriarchal Sees" or "the majority", etc.  There is nothing fundamentally different about this kind of thinking and Papist ecclessiology.  According to the Holy Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church, OTOH, the supreme criteria is truth - the apostolic, correct, faith is the bond of unity which makes it possible to claim to have "one Lord" and "one Baptism" (and Holy Mysteries in general.)  This is why historically, when asked "who is the head of your Church?" Orthodoxy has been unable to answer with a good conscience anything but "our Lord Jesus Christ" - for apart from Him, there is no Priest who we can say is automatically invested with infallibility, nor impeccability (so as to make his fall from grace and truth utterly impossible.)

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« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2004, 10:44:42 PM »

Theodore,In 1983, ROCOR articulated an anathema against ecumenism, which presumably at least applied to the ROCOR herself.  It was entered into the Synodicon of Orthodoxy, along with the Church's other condemnations of heresy.  Here is the wording of said anathema...Embedded in this anathema is an articulation of genuine Orthodox ecclessiology, in which the grace of the Holy Mysteries cannot be divorced from their context (the Orthodox Church) and still be considered "genuine."

And here is an elaboration of the mentioned 1983 anathema. This was written in 1984 by Archbishop Vitaly(note that Metropolitan Philaret does not protest this interpretation!), one year after the anathema was put in place. It describes the anathema as being purely of a local character, created with intention of safeguarding the ROCOR flock and serving as a warning to other Orthodox Churches:

By proclaiming this anathema, we have protected our flock from this apocalyptic temptation and, at the same time, have reluctantly put before the conscience of all the local Churches a serious issue, which sooner or later they must resolve in one way or the other. The future spiritual fate of the universal Orthodox Church depends on the resolution of this problem. The anathema we have proclaimed is de jure a manifestation of a purely local character of the Russian Church Abroad, but de facto it has immense significance for the history of the universal Church, for ecumenism is a heresy on a universal scale. The place of the Russian Church Abroad is now plain in the conscience of all the Orthodox. The Lord has laid a great cross upon us, but it is, however, no longer possible to remain silent, for continued silence would be like a betrayal of the Truth, from which may the Lord deliver us all!

Translated from the Russian from Orthodox Observer, No. 58 (April 1984).


Quote
In 1994, ROCOR officially entered into communion with a group of Greek Old Calendarists who call themselves the "resistor synod", or "TOC" (True Orthodox Church), also less affectionately known as the "Cyprianites."  This group believes (like other Old Calendarists, including the party they broke away from and from which they received the episcopate) that "world Orthodoxy" is in heresy, but put forward the novel idea that local churches can be in heresy yet still somehow be real parts of the Orthodox Church.  Irregardless of what one wishes to make of this strange teaching of itself, for brevity's sake I will simply point out it is contrary to ROCOR's anathema against ecumenism, which clearly decries the idea that a heretical group still has holy mysteries and can be considered a part of the Church.  Indeed, it's a form of crypto branch theorism.  Besides entering into communion with these folks, ROCOR's leadership would make it explicitly clear that this move was done on the basis of a common ecclessiology - while the claim is dubious, the import is that ROCOR was claiming a simultude which was unacceptable.

Cyprian's synod makes it a point to say they don't believe the "official" Churches to be heretical, but merely in error. Their "walling off" has taken place to serve as both a protection against the posibility of heresy, and as a warning.

As for ROCOR: They have never declared the "official" Churches to be without grace. Their acceptance of the GOC seems to have been a mistake which they corrected. Language barriers and a zeal to be one with other old calendarist "confessors" seems to have been the driving force behind any relations between ROCOR and the GOC. When ROCOR realized their mistake, they broke relations with the GOC, affirming the ecclesiology they have always held: That the "official churches" indeed do have grace. Why else would ROCOR have always concelebrated with Serbia and Jerusalem? There was never a break in these concelebrations. Why else would saint John of San Francisco have consecrated new calendarists together in concelebration with Romanian new calendar bishop  Theophilus?  Why else would ROCOR have written to the Greek Old calendarists in 1961 and said:

“Our Church retains the old calendar and considers the introduction of the new calendar a great error. Still, Her tactics were always to preserve spiritual communion with the Orthodox Churches which accepted the new calendar, since they celebrate Pascha according to the decision of the First Ecumenical Council. Our Church never declared the Ecumenical Patriarchate or the Greek Archdiocese of North and South America schismatic and did not cease spiritual communion with them.” ?

Why would would Archbishop Anthony have addressed the ROCOR Synod in 1974 with these words which received no objections:

We must in no way isolate ourselves, seeing around us—often imagined—heretics and schismatics. By gradually isolating ourselves, we fall into the extreme which our Metropolitans wisely avoided, we will reject the middle, royal path by which our Church has so far traveled, we will find ourselves a shorn church branch, and not the Church, witnessing the Truth freely and fearlessly!

And these words as well:

In the Serbian Church, standing guard over the Orthodox forces, is at this time the most-Orthodox Archimandrite Justin (Popovich), renowned throughout the Orthodox world. He raised his voice long ago against the temptation of ecumenism, denounced this movement in his recently-published book “The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism.” He denounced even the Serbian bishops who were weak in their defense of Orthodoxy. And when Patriarch German of Serbia became one of the representatives of the Ecumenical Council, what did this defender of Orthodoxy do? He did the same as our Metropolitan Anthony and Anastassy, whom he revered, did, he did not cease prayerful communion with his patriarch, he called no one a heretic or schismatic, he continued to submit to the hierarchy of his Church and commemorate his patriarch at each service. Why? He could have created a schism in the Serbian Church. Archimandrite Justin educated a whole generation of loyal, learned monks, who follow him without question, whom a part of the flock would have followed. But Father Justin does not do this, since the “unity of the Church” for him are not idle words, since he understands that schism in the Church is a greater sin than hesitation and waywardness in the faith of even the bishops of the Church. We have no sinless bishops, but the unsure, the wayward, the weak in spirit still belong to the Church, for Christ came not to heal the healthy, but the ailing, which is why He endured to the end the presence of Judas among the apostles, and at the Last Supper did not cease prayerful communion with him, giving the unworthy one communion.

And this, speaking of the former Metropolitan Anastassy of ROCOR:

Under Metropolitan Anastassy, until the most recent times, we prayed for the holy Orthodox patriarchs, though they were already ecumenists and observers of the new calendar. During his time a great and grievous event occurred in the Orthodox world: all the local Churches permanently joined the World Council of Churches. Metropolitan Anastassy did not waver. In the free world, only our Church rejected the ecumenical movement. What does this mean? It means that without unnecessary words and anathemas, the Free Russian Church condemned firmly and decisively ecumenism as an un-Orthodox movement! She chose Her own path in Orthodoxy, a special path, the only path. Metropolitan Anastassy was not afraid to remain alone on this road. Yet the courageous elder did not cease communion with anyone, did not declare anyone heretics, did not cast lightning and thunder, but invokes the fire of long-suffering upon those who fell into sin.


Now show me where Metropolitan Philaret declared Archbishop Anthony to be a heretic, not in accord with the teachings of ROCOR.  Show me one instance where ROCOR has declared the "official" Churches to be without grace? Show me where concelebration with the Serbs stopped.



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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2004, 10:45:43 PM »

Vagante is as Vagante does.  Seriously. In CO, they have a 32 year old Archimandrite, a hieromonk who was tonsured as a hegumen and to the great schema the very day he was first made a monk.  fr. Dionysi in Colorado Springs was ordained a Deacon and Priest all at once the first time he met the metropolitan in suzdal.  There are other examples I could say, but they would reveal confidences.  

This group may be close to Orthodoxy and seen as just schismatic by others or even as just plain old Orthodox by others, but in my book these examples and others proove it is nothing more than a vagante cult.  I say cult, because the group fits the textbook definition of a cult.  I believe Serge has said a few words about this at his blog.

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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2004, 12:39:06 AM »

I should clarify, that Dormition Skete follows Greek Practice when it comes to monasticism and so do not hold the Schema in teh same regard as it is traditionally viewed in the Russian tradition. It has been done on Athos for some time for a person to be tonsured to the great schema immediatly.  What I meant was, that the particular hieromonk had never even been a novice, but was tonsured a Hegumen in the great schema without having ever been a novice.  

As to the part about fr. Dionysi of Colorado Springs, my objection was based on the fact that prior to his ordination trip to russia, then Rdr. Dionysi had never met the Heirarchs who ordained him.  It was merely decided that he would come to russia get ordained and then scurry on back as quick as possible to the US where he whould have no brother priests to help bolster his spirits and no Bishop to help guide him without making long distance phonecalls to Russia.  

Do not the canons say "Quickly lay hands on no-one."

And what is up with having a 32 year old Archimandrite?!  Of course, the GOC at one time (and maybe still does) had Bishops under the age of 30.

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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2004, 01:57:18 PM »

Joe,

People have been consecrated and ordained many times before in a way that seems to go against the canons. St. Athanasius went from Archdeacon to Bishop at about the age of 30 (he also wrote two of his more famous and insightful treatises while in his twenties--something he surely would be condemned for doing today). St. Nektarios of Constantinople went straight from catechumen to bishop in a week! And there are plenty of other examples. The canons are guidelines, and it is the bishops (not sinful laymen like me, or catechumens like you) to decide how they are applied. A bishop decides who is spiritually mature enough, and who isn't. The thing I questioned OOD about the longest when I was asking him about the GOC was the consecration of these young bishops; I do not take the matter lightly. However, in the end, it is not our opinions that hold weight in such matters.
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2004, 02:01:36 PM »

Quote
note that Metropolitan Philaret does not protest this interpretation!

Based on some of his letters to people...

Note that Met. Philaret was much more open in private and was afraid to give his true feeling publically for fear of upsetting everything ROCOR had worked for (and thereby giving a victory to satan)! Note that Met. Philaret sometimes felt like he was fighting a losing battle and had to keep his peace, even as he saw things he thought were totally unorthodox! Note that Met. Philaret called the OCA and other schismatics and strongly condemned them--this hardly being the same type of mindset that Archbp. Vitaly had when he interpreted the anathema (so don't tell me that they were of one mind!)

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« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2004, 02:10:21 PM »

Quote
note that Metropolitan Philaret does not protest this interpretation!

Based on some of his letters to people...

Note that Met. Philaret was much more open in private and was afraid to give his true feeling publically for fear of upsetting everything ROCOR had worked for (and thereby giving a victory to satan)! Note that Met. Philaret sometimes felt like he was fighting a losing battle and had to keep his peace, even as he saw things he thought were totally unorthodox! Note that Met. Philaret called the OCA and other schismatics and strongly condemned them--this hardly being the same type of mindset that Archbp. Vitaly had when he interpreted the anathema (so don't tell me that they were of one mind!)

Smiley


Thank you Justin, for filling us in on Metropolitan Philaret's private feelings. It's funny how you seem to know his private feelings, but apparently the Synod of bishops surrounding him weren't aware of these feelings. It's funny how he's declared a saint and confessor by ROAC, but apparently was afraid to publicly confess his feelings, leaving us only with what he might have thought and what he wrote to a nun in a private letter on which to base his "real" feelings. The fact is, the private opinions of a bishop or Metropolitan, even if they are as strong as some would like to say, do not override the Synodal decrees of the Church.  I have yet to be shown evidence which points to ROCOR declaring "world Orthodoxy" graceless. That being the case, the "ROAC" has no justification for their existence.
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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2004, 04:26:50 PM »

Serge,

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Seraphim, ISTM your argument boils down to 'because I, Seraphim Reeves, say so'. But the c.u. Orthodox don't agree and I'm inclined to believe them in this case.

I find this assessment incredible, given that this is precisely how I'd characterize your "argument" on this - I've made some attempt to give a rationale for what ROAC is up to; you proceed with assumptions that you make no attempt to justify (unless "majority rules" can be counted as an argument of any sort.)

Quote
As for your list, I think most of those issues are matters of opinion among the c.u. Orthodox, among whom several opinions are allowed, which may or may not agree with yours.

That you believe this to be the case, is precisely the problem - it is also precisely why genuine Orthodox do not have communion with the ecumenists or pseudo-traditionalists.

The limits of the Orthodox Church are a "matter of opinion"?  Branch theorism is a legitimate theological opinion?  That heretics have the grace of the Holy Mysteries?  Are those legit "Orthodox opinions" as far as you're concerned?

Quote
As for whether the Pope's men would accept one of these groups' priests without reordination, I don't speak for them but my guess is no, based on the logic I laid out in my first posting. They say: (repeating myself) 'the Orthodox have the power of the keys over their own people; therefore, if the Orthodox withhold grace from these ordinations*, then we will treat them as invalid, even though if a bishop who left us did this we'd recognize the ordination'.

Like I said before, "who knows"; there's no telling what the RCC would do these days.  All I know is from older "pre-Vatican II" books on RC sacramental teaching (and what constitutes sacramental validity), this doesn't make sense.  But this is their affair, and ultimatly is of little consequence.

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« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2004, 05:15:11 PM »

Peter,

Quote
And here is an elaboration of the mentioned 1983 anathema. This was written in 1984 by Archbishop Vitaly(note that Metropolitan Philaret does not protest this interpretation!), one year after the anathema was put in place. It describes the anathema as being purely of a local character, created with intention of safeguarding the ROCOR flock and serving as a warning to other Orthodox Churches:

A few things.

1) I think you need to re-read what I had written.  To save you some trouble, I'll cut and paste it here for you...

In 1983, ROCOR articulated an anathema against ecumenism, which presumably at least applied to the ROCOR herself.

I think you jumped too fast, repeating the same tired (and ill reasoned) line which most defenders of ROCOR's new orientation tend to do whenever they see the anathema pointed to by their opponents.

With this said, given that the anathema does apply to at least the ROCOR herself being of a "local character" (which is obvious, in so far as it has yet to be ratified by any sort of pan-Orthodox synod...this is really stating the obvious), everything I've brought up still stands and needs to be addressed if this little dialogue is to have any value.  Some material facts being that the ROCOR was not in communion with the so called "canonical churches" from at least '65 onward (and their alleged "continuing communion" with both the Serbs and JP, aside from being incomprehensible given their severing relations with everyone else, is hardly undebatable - they have the appearance of unauthorized concelebrations and not a matter of polity, at least up into the 90's).  Why was this?  Their separation from the MP was old news...but why not the EP?  Why not those joined to the EP?  Why, quite the contrary, were they in communion with those on the "ground level" battling the EP (Greek Old Calendarists) who ROCOR had to know firmly believed the EP and their co-religionists were ecumenists and schismatics, and were also clear in their belief that these groups were "graceless"?  Address this, and I will certainly be all ears.

2) I think you need to re-read (then) Archbishop Vitaly's statement a little more carefully.  I'm starting to think that this oft quoted statement of his is never read carefully by those who site it.  In it he says the following...

- The anathema we have proclaimed is de jure a manifestation of a purely local character of the Russian Church Abroad, but de facto it has immense significance for the history of the universal Church, for ecumenism is a heresy on a universal scale.

Obviously the anathema is "local" in the sense Archbishop Vitaly indicates (for the reason I cited above); however, if valid (which he obviously understood it to be, as did ROCOR) it reflects something already recognized in the Heavens - namely, that ecumenism is a heresy...a heresy that the then Archbishop Vitaly also says is a heresy on a "universal scale."  Now, who is he talking about when he says "universal"?  Before answering that, consider just who ROCOR was not in communion with at that time, and who they were in communion with.  Discuss.

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Cyprian's synod makes it a point to say they don't believe the "official" Churches to be heretical, but merely in error. Their "walling off" has taken place to serve as both a protection against the posibility of heresy, and as a warning.

And this is precisely the problem with their ecclessiology and their whole notion of "resistance" - there is no canonical basis for severing ties with Orthodox Bishops in this manner.

Quote
As for ROCOR: They have never declared the "official" Churches to be without grace. Their acceptance of the GOC seems to have been a mistake which they corrected. Language barriers and a zeal to be one with other old calendarist "confessors" seems to have been the driving force behind any relations between ROCOR and the GOC.

This is too incredible to believe, and it depresses me that reasonably intelligent people can be so gullible as to believe this.  You really believe that ROCOR was this ignorant of the views of the Greek Old Calendarists?  Completely oblivious even to the views of the Matthewites, who they were actually seeking to reconcile with the Florinite Old Calendarists, with no semblence of expecting them to change their tune regarding the EP, the Greek State church or those in their communion?  I really cannot think of what to tell you beyond this, beyond asking you if you'd be interested in buying a bridge I have for sale...

Quote
When ROCOR realized their mistake, they broke relations with the GOC, affirming the ecclesiology they have always held: That the "official churches" indeed do have grace.

When they realized some 24 years (+) later?!  Incredible.

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Why else would ROCOR have always concelebrated with Serbia and Jerusalem?

Which of course, is not the case.  At least not in the sense you're casting the issue.

What is true, is that ROCOR's posture for a long time was one of silence, and an incredible lack of discipline within both the heirarchy and the clergy in general.  Thus, in one diocese you'd have a Bishop observing something resembling a sensible posture - only concelebrating with either the Old Calendarists or other ROCOR clergy.  In another diocese, something different.  There was even funny business at Jordanville - incomprehensibly, Archbishop Averky, despite his wisdom and good sense in so many other matters, "economically" allowed Non-Chalcedonians to use the seminary chapel for their services.  Of course, even that was a little too much, St.Philaret ordering that the Altar be cleansed with a service for dealing with spaces profaned by heretical ministrations.  Still, the point is, what some people in ROCOR are calling "precedent" is really long standing, uncorrected abuse.  Unfortunately, that lack of discipline (much like the failure of a parent to discipline their child) later on caused ruin.  This is true of relations with the ecumenists in general, and ROCOR's current course in relation to the MP (which is now being led by men who in the past, made it a happen of violating the instructions of the Synod and were in the business of fraternizing with MP heirarchs and clergy.)

Quote
Why else would saint John of San Francisco have consecrated new calendarists together in concelebration with Romanian new calendar bishop  Theophilus?

I would like the details of this.  I am aware that ROCOR had accepted, under their wing, Romanian Orthodox into the ROCOR and economically (there is no other way to assess this, since ROCOR clearly regarded the new calendar as improper) allowed them to continue on the new calendar, but I'd be interested in both the circumstances and time table for the events you're refering to.

Quote
Why else would ROCOR have written to the Greek Old calendarists in 1961 and said:

etc, etc.

Please note that I've made it a point to state that it was not until the EP attempted to lift the Church's anathemas against Papism, that ROCOR cut it's ties with her and those in communion with her.

Quote
Why would would Archbishop Anthony have addressed the ROCOR Synod in 1974 with these words which received no objections:

etc., etc.

Archbishop Anthony of Geneva is an unfortunate example of precisely the problem I was addressing.  From the passage you cited, and from other activities on his part (such as his continued activities in Europe, in particular continued concelebrations with new calendarists, which one can see is consistant with his chiding of more "extreme" views in the excerpts you've pasted in your post), it can be fairly said that this was the case.

Btw., do not be mistaken - I do not believe for a moment that ROCOR had been a monolith from 1965 onward.  St.Philaret's silence can justly be interpreted as an attempt to keep ROCOR together, precisely because of men like Archbishop Anthony.  However, such a tactic could not last forever; hence why when the crpyto-ecumenists or otherwise comprimised (or less prudent, like Metropolitan Vitaly) individuals assumed control of ROCOR, things began to deteriorate, and it became very obvious there were "two ROCORs" co-existing by a threadbare.

I fully understand this - and would argue only the one is legitimate (for previously stated reasons.)

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« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2004, 05:30:08 PM »

Peter,

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The fact is, the private opinions of a bishop or Metropolitan, even if they are as strong as some would like to say, do not override the Synodal decrees of the Church.  I have yet to be shown evidence which points to ROCOR declaring "world Orthodoxy" graceless. That being the case, the "ROAC" has no justification for their existence.

Given that you made such a silly speculation regarding ROCOR's alleged ignorance of where the Greek Old Calendarists really stood (which was truly incredible), I think "speculation" based upon known private correspondences of St.Philaret are hardly unworthy.

However, I do agree that such documents are of secondary value.  Interesting that you say this though (that suddenly private views are of little value), when I was trying to point the very same thing to someone on this forum about just the same thing (they cited St.Philaret's private view that a particular priest labouring in the MP was a man of God as evidence that ROCOR viewed the MP as a legit Orthodox Church.)  Memory fails me, but it may have been you who argued in this manner.

While not entirely separate from ROCOR's own recent history, I think some time needs to be spent separately addressing the following issue - whether or not one can legitimatly remain in communion with the EP, the Antiochians, or those in their communion?  I'd be very interested in seeing an apologetic for the "yes" side of that debate.

The reality is that out of a long period of silence (save for differing private opinions, and a lot of schinanegens on the part of individual heirarchs and clergy) in which ROCOR's official position regarding concelebrations was satisfactory, we have come into a period where ROCOR is explicitly taking sides with the men of little consistancy.  And this is a problem; and explains why those who were on the other side of the fence, have been leaving ROCOR in waves, and I predict will continue to do so depending on how their negotiations with the MP go.

That ultimatly explains why there is a ROAC.   And though premature (and for the wrong reasons) I think that explains the whole HOCNA situation.  While the whole sexual abuse situation is what set that off (wrong reason), what actually motivated a lot of those clergymen and laymen to leave ROCOR were things that were simmering in ROCOR getting ready to explode.  I'd say something similar about ROCiE as well (good basic reasons, improper manner of dealing with them...what Metropolitan Vitaly should have done was repented of what he had done, not pretended to reneg on his retirement, and join himself and his fellows with the ROAC...instead of simply creating more confusion.)

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« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2004, 06:56:13 PM »

Joe,

People have been consecrated and ordained many times before in a way that seems to go against the canons. St. Athanasius went from Archdeacon to Bishop at about the age of 30 (he also wrote two of his more famous and insightful treatises while in his twenties--something he surely would be condemned for doing today). St. Nektarios of Constantinople went straight from catechumen to bishop in a week! And there are plenty of other examples. The canons are guidelines, and it is the bishops (not sinful laymen like me, or catechumens like you) to decide how they are applied. A bishop decides who is spiritually mature enough, and who isn't. The thing I questioned OOD about the longest when I was asking him about the GOC was the consecration of these young bishops; I do not take the matter lightly. However, in the end, it is not our opinions that hold weight in such matters.

well I see your point.  Personally, I don't like getting into the issues of canons because it is not my place.  In fact all the Priests I have met don't even own a copy of hte rudder as they see it as only the Bishop's place to determine such issues.  

However, my point was that these people fit the traditional bill of vagantes--complete with lofty titles on the very young and rapid ordinations.

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« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2004, 07:42:15 PM »

BTW, for those who were confused by the original post of mine on the subject, the 32 year old Archimandrite I spoke of was fr. George of Dormition Skete in Colorado, and the man who was tonsured to the great schema and hegumen the day of his first tonsure was fr. Andrew.  Some have thought that the two I mentioned were the same person.

BTW, for the record, according to my sources fr. Andrew's wife is still alive and no she is not a nun.

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« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2004, 07:45:40 PM »

But isn't his wife mentaly ill? If I am not mistaken she left him, and he waited for years and years, but she just got more crazy.
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« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2004, 07:47:51 PM »

I do not know about this, but regardless he still has to have her permission to be tonsured a monk.

Also for the record, he had spent nearly ten years with the mathewites and thus an apostate from the eyes of ROAC just prior to being made a monk.

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« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2004, 07:49:37 PM »

also for those who don't know, fr. Andrew is formerly Fr. Michael Makalov of Bloomington IN.

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« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2004, 07:54:16 PM »

The ROAC website states:

Father Andrew (Maklakov), formerly Fr. Michael Maklakov, was born in 1953, the first of six children. He was raised in a Roman Catholic family, and wanted to enter the service of the Church from an early age. At the age of fourteen he entered the Carmelite Order and studied in their minor seminary. However, after the changes of Vatican II, he transferred over to the Ukrainian Uniate branch of Roman Catholicism. At the age of twenty, he was sent to Rome to study for the priesthood. However, after one year there, he became aware of Orthodoxy, and returned to the United States.

With the blessing of Archbishop Averky Taushev, he was baptized in Jordanville in 1975. A year later he became acquainted with Archbishop Andrei Rimarenko, who asked him to become his cell attendant, with whom he stayed until Vladika's blessed repose. Vladika Andrei instructed him in the Russian language, pastoral and dogmatic theology, and prepared him for the priesthood. Vladika Andrei sent him to Metropolitan Philaret for his examinations, which he passed. After the repose of Archbishop Andrei, Michael joined the US Air Force, and married Susanna Dickinson. They had two daughters, Elizabeth and Barbara. After his military service, Michael was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Gregory Grabbe on August 2/15, 1982. On the feast of Dormition of that same year, he was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Philaret at the Novo Diveevo Convent.

Father Michael's first assignment was at the Cathedral of the Ascension in Glen Cove, New York. Besides the parish work that he did there, he served as the Administrator of Diocesan Property for the Eastern American and New York Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. He also taught religion in the St. Sergius High School. He was also asked to move and reorganize the Synodal Candle Works from the Synod building in Manhattan to the Diocesan headquarters in Glen Cove.

In 1984, he was elevated to the rank of Archpriest and was transferred to Rome, Italy. A year and half later, he was transferred to Copenhagen, Denmark. In 1986, and in the years that followed, due to the turmoil within the ROCOR caused by Metropolitan Vitaly, Father Michael would strive to maintain the traditions he had learned from Archbishop Andrei by uniting with churches of the Greek Old Calendar Movement.

In 1999, Fr. Michael's wife of 19 years, who suffers from bipolar affectation disorder (manic depression), took his children and left him. Father Michael waited for her return for four years. However, after she married another man, he resolved to enter the monastic life and began searching for an appropriate place where he might realize this desire that had been with him since his childhood. His search ultimately led him to Dormition Skete and his return to the Russian Orthodox Church, under the omophorion of Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal and Bishop Gregory of Denver, of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church.

Father Michael was tonsured into monasticism by Bishop Gregory of Denver and Colorado on the Feast of the Lord's Meeting in the Temple, in the Cathedral of the Dormition, on February 2/15, 2004, being given the name Andrew, after the First Called Apostle. We wish Father Andrew success and God's grace in his new vocation, serving the Church of God.

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« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2004, 07:59:52 PM »

Manic Depression eh? a disease that is very easily treated with medication and almost never affects ones life this way? why on earth do I think we are not getting the real story on why his wife left?

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« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2004, 08:02:16 PM »

btw, bp. Greggory Grabb was also deposed by ROCA and for good reason.

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« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2004, 09:24:47 PM »

Frankly, I'm dubious.  We don't have the wife's side here and btw, There's no such thing as Bipolar Affectation Disorder.  The proper name for the medical condition is "Bipolar Affective Disorder"

Affectation means : a deliberate pretense or exaggerated display.

It's awfully convenient to put the blame on a person who can't defend herself. If she was mentally ill, why didn't he try to get custody of the children?

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« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2004, 09:41:23 PM »

We really don't have the full story from both sides. It would only be fair to hear the whole story, as told by him and his wife, before we could ever conclude anything.
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« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2004, 07:42:11 AM »

That's right. And the published account places the blame/cause squarely on the wife. What if she left because she was tired of the constant changes in church, locale, situations etc?  We don't know.  But "it's the wife's fault" doesn't cut it as full story.

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« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2004, 12:23:04 PM »

Joe,

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well I see your point.  Personally, I don't like getting into the issues of canons because it is not my place.

I have a hard time taking this protest of discomfort seriously, when this is precisely what you are doing in this thread.

Quote
However, my point was that these people fit the traditional bill of vagantes--complete with lofty titles on the very young and rapid ordinations.

And you fit the bill of being a reed easily blown by the wind - which, along with your relished airing (of what you perceive to be) "dirty laundry", have little (at least that I can discern) relevence to the topic of the thread itself.

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« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2004, 12:45:45 PM »

Joe,

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I do not know about this, but regardless he still has to have her permission to be tonsured a monk.

Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. (St.Matthew 23:24)

I find it interesting that you strain so much over perceived canonical abnormalities like this...problems which presumably explain your defection from the care of the ROAC.  Yet you seem to have no problem joining yourself to a Church which by it's own, explicit (and recent) admissions is essentially in communion with Non-Chalcedonianism (via the Antiochians), unrepented Sergianism (the talks between ROCOR and the MP are merely an administrative formality, if ROCOR is indeed in communion with the Serbs), and the pan heresy of ecumenism, which has only taken deeper roots in the last two decades, not lessened.

None of this seems to be of consequence for you - yet forgoing the consent of a mentally ill adulteress who has abandoned her husband, after his waiting several years for a reconcilliation...well, that seems to be a strike against ecclessial legitimacy!

Quote
Also for the record, he had spent nearly ten years with the mathewites and thus an apostate from the eyes of ROAC just prior to being made a monk.

I always find it interesting that the enemies of Orthodoxy, must always portray genuine confessors as being in possession of a harshness and severity which they generally lack.  For the record, he was received with repentence back into the Russian Orthodox Church - what more do you want?

In addition, "apostate" is a harsh term, considering that the issue with the Matthewites would seem to be one of schism, certainly not heresy let alone outright infidelity.  As of the present moment, both the Florinite and Matthewite Old Calendarists are actually agreed as to the condition of the "official" Greek church.  Hopefully this separation will be remedied soon.

Back to the point of Fr.Andrew's recent past - you leave out that prior to his going over the Matthewites (which can easily be forgiven as being the result of confusion and scandal, however wrong it was) he had served in ROCOR.  Given this, and that he was repenting of his association with the Matthewites... if he was properly desposed to entering the monastic vocation (as determined by his pastors, who I'd gander know more about his heart than you do), why not admit him?  If anything, perhaps a life of penance is fitting for him, since I do not doubt he (as we all should) has a lot on his heart.

Quote
Manic Depression eh? a disease that is very easily treated with medication and almost never affects ones life this way?

Having lived very closely with people with mental disorders (in particular, manic depression and bi-polar disorder), I can assure you that your flip solution does not always work out so neatly.  Yes, there are drugs, but first you have to get the person in question to actually get help and begin taking them!  Even if this does happen, there is the real issue that not every situation can be fixed with a pill.  It's very sad to see, and incredibly difficult to deal with for their families and friends, but it does happen.

Quote
why on earth do I think we are not getting the real story on why his wife left?

Umm, because you have a need to believe the absolute worst about anyone or anything associated with ROAC, rather than simply take Fr.Andrew's account of his unfortunate situation at face value?

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« Reply #32 on: May 23, 2004, 01:27:26 PM »

 Lips Sealed

One day, the fathers of the Scete assembled together to discuss Melchizedek and they forgot to invite Abba Copres. Later on they called him and asked him about this matter. Tapping his mouth three times, he said "Alas for you, Copres! For that which God commanded you to do, you have put aside, and that which He has not required of you, are investigating." When they heard these words, the fathers fled to their cells. - The Desert Fathers

And,

A brother at Scetis committed a grave sin. A council was called to which Abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to say to him, "Come, for everyone is waiting for you." So he got up and went. He took an old basket, filled it with sand, and carried it on his back. The others came out to meet him and said to him, "Father, what is this?" The old man said to him, "My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I come to judge the sins of another." When they heard this they said no more to the brother but forgave him. - The Desert Fathers
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« Reply #33 on: May 23, 2004, 03:12:13 PM »

I just love how you guys, who don't personally know this Father Andrew or his former wife at all, can just sit at your screens and GOSSIP about them and happenings in their lives and think "This is a legitimate subtopic in this thread".  There is nothing legitimate about gossip, much less gossip about a priest (whatever your opinions are about his actual status in the eyes of God).  

Stop it, if not for the site's sake, then for your soul's.
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« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2004, 11:18:55 PM »

The argument stands: it's the view of the c.u. Orthodox vs. that of people such as Reeves and Kissel.

I believe the c.u. Orthodox on the matter as I think any rational person does.

It's true in the Eastern tradition especially that canons can be and are bent and waived - blessed economy - but the original question remains: are the chaps described here applying the canons really Orthodox bishops at all? The c.u. Orthodox say no; the people under and identifying online with these men say yes, and among the only Orthodox at that. Just like Metropolitan Andrian's Old Believers and the Priestless Old Believers.

IIRC because the episcopate contains all the other major orders a man can be consecrated a bishop per saltum (I think that's the Latin phrase - it means 'by leap' or 'jumped up') directly from the lay state.

As for the nasty gossip about people, it seems to be the only thing the arguers on this thread have in common with born Orthodox Russians (but only when they're at their worst), on the phone tattling away: '-ù-+-¦-¦-é-¦ -ç-é-+, -+-+-¦-¦-é-¦ -ç-é-+...?'

Sergianism wasn't ideal of course but to claim that those who did it ceased to be the church would be the Donatist heresy.

As for relations with Rome, ROCOR sent observers to Vatican II around the same time Bishop Gregory (I’m using that title and name out of courtesy) went off the Orthodox church of his birth, the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, over relations with Rome.

(My guess, nothing more, is that the good men of that Synod looked up to the Pope as an anti-Communist stalwart, as the late Pius XII was that. This was also the ROCOR whose second leader, Metropolitan Anastassy, preached at St Paul's Anglican Cathedral in London, following the example of 19th-century Russian Orthodox in their friendly relations with the Anglicans. St Tikhon attended the consecration of the Episcopal cathedral in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin as a guest of honour, though of course he didn't participate liturgically.)

As for the limits of the church, that is a matter of opinion among the c.u. Orthodox. Over against the online rants of judgemental young boys who've been playing at Orthodoxy for only a couple of years and thus think they can judge the c.u. Orthodox, and even though I will say the Protestants are wrong about some things and call them on it (I admit, partly because it's fun to), I much prefer the mystical approach (that mysticism the Orthodox are rightly famous for) of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, a bishop in good standing of the Russian Orthodox Church in the early 19th century:

Quote
'Mark you, I do not presume to call false any Church which believes that Jesus is the Christ. The Christian Church can only be either purely true, confessing the true and saving divine teaching without the false admixtures and pernicious opinions of men, or not purely true, mixing with the true and saving teaching of faith in Christ the false and pernicious opinions of men' (Conversation between a Seeker and a Believer Concerning the Orthodoxy of the Eastern Greco-Russian Church. Moscow 1831, pp. 27-29). 'You expect now that I should give judgement concerning the other half of present Christianity,' the Metropolitan said in the concluding conversation, 'but I just simply look upon them; in part I see how the Head and Lord of the Church heals the many deep wounds of the old serpent in all the parts and limbs of his Body, applying now gentle, now strong, remedies, even fire and iron, in order to soften hardness, to draw out poison, to clean wounds, to separate out malignant growths, to restore spirit and life in the numbed and half-dead members. In this way I attest my faith that, in the end, the power of God will triumph openly over human weakness, good over evil, unity over division, life over death'.

(Source: this article by Fr Georges Florovsky, on the website of ROCOR Bishop Alexander.)

I dare say that extends to the nauseating alphabet soup of breakaway former Orthodox, though of course they don't reciprocate.

And I'm sure the good metropolitan would fall under multiple anathemas from this sophomore-class sobor of college- and post-college-age boys - -¦-ü-¦-+-+-¦-¦-Ã¥-ï -+-+ -ü-¦-+-¦-+-â -+-+-¦-+-+-Ä - who know all about Orthodoxy thanks to reading books. (And quickly use and dump people and parishes like wank-rags. That’s not gossip because they brag about it themselves. Rather like 'Star Trek' fandom, this seems to be a dysfunctional male thing.)

As I understand they say in the San Fernando Valley, 'Like, whateverrr'.
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« Reply #35 on: May 23, 2004, 11:38:42 PM »

Serge,

 Good points.  Smiley
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« Reply #36 on: May 24, 2004, 12:21:57 AM »

Peter,A few things.

 Why was this?  Their separation from the MP was old news...but why not the EP?  Why not those joined to the EP?  Why, quite the contrary, were they in communion with those on the "ground level" battling the EP (Greek Old Calendarists) who ROCOR had to know firmly believed the EP and their co-religionists were ecumenists and schismatics, and were also clear in their belief that these groups were "graceless"?  Address this, and I will certainly be all ears.

Metropolitan Florina, as I'm sure you know, never declared the official Churches to be graceless. This resulted in the Matthewite schism. After the Old Calendarist bishops died out,(Met. Florina in 1955) ROCOR consecrated new bishops based, naturally, on the assumption that these new bishops held the view of the "real" old calendarists- not the hardliner schismatics. This plan to consecrate new bishops backfired, as Archbishop Auxentios and Metropolitan Kallistos went separate ways in the late 1970's. Again the synod of Auxentios split (seeing a pattern here?) ...and then more schism follows. These schisms based largely, in not entirely, on the question of grace in the New Calendar Churches. Why did ROCOR support the "resistance" Old Calendarists who accepted the grace of the New Calendarists, and not the EP? Well, because the EP was going down the dead of road of harmful ecumenism. I'm sure also that the EP's acceptance of the "Living Church" in Russia played into this question.  ROCOR supported the moderate Old Calendarists for the same reason that ROCOR found itself in the place it did- because ROCOR believed itself to be a witness to the other Autocephalous Churches, but not separated from them.  The same sentiments that can be found in the Synodal decrees of ROCOR, Metropolitan Philaret's "Sorrowful Epistles", the living tradition passed down to the younger ROCOR generation from Archbishop Averky, Bishop Nektary, Saint John of San Francisco, et al. are the same sentiments which drove ROCOR to support a "witnessing" group of Greek Old Calendarists. ROCOR has always seen itself a witness to the Truth. This is evident enough in the 1974 address of Archbishop Anthony which I quoted.



Quote
2) I think you need to re-read (then) Archbishop Vitaly's statement a little more carefully.  I'm starting to think that this oft quoted statement of his is never read carefully by those who site it.  In it he says the following...

- The anathema we have proclaimed is de jure a manifestation of a purely local character of the Russian Church Abroad, but de facto it has immense significance for the history of the universal Church, for ecumenism is a heresy on a universal scale.

Obviously the anathema is "local" in the sense Archbishop Vitaly indicates (for the reason I cited above); however, if valid (which he obviously understood it to be, as did ROCOR) it reflects something already recognized in the Heavens - namely, that ecumenism is a heresy...a heresy that the then Archbishop Vitaly also says is a heresy on a "universal scale."  Now, who is he talking about when he says "universal"?  Before answering that, consider just who ROCOR was not in communion with at that time, and who they were in communion with.

They were in communion with Serbia and Jerusalem during this time. That's a fact. If this presented a problem for ROAC in 1994, they should have looked at the reason HOCNA left ROCOR in 1986- concelebrations with Serbia!

As for ecumenism being a heresy.  The Church Abroad defines ecumenism as the Branch Theory. Read again the anathema of 1983 and this will be obvious. Now, first and foremost, you'll be hard pressed these days to find a Jurisdiction which officially preaches the "Branch Theory". Perhaps some individuals in "high places" of Church position hold to it, but they are individuals, not Synods. ROCOR  presented this anathema as a wake up call to the heresy of the Branch Theory which was , at their time, being preached by some.  The wise bishops of ROCOR, being aware of Church history, understood that the first Ecumenical Council(and subsequent ones, I'm sure) did not get together at the first sign of a perceived heresy and kick everyone but a few thousand out of the Church! The Ecumenical Councils were a culmination of study and research of the heresies being preached in the Church at that time. Our Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils (feast day of the Fathers of the first Council is today, incidentally) turned to prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead them to the truth on these matters. But first, research and study had to be done, schisms and infighting had to occur, much research and study and prayer and fasting took place....before Arianism could be called a Heresy. ROCOR, in this Anathema and through Metropolitan Vitaly's clarifications of it, is calling for the Churches to "take a looK" at what ROCOR believes to be heresy, and start moving towards universal resolution.

Quote
What is true, is that ROCOR's posture for a long time was one of silence, and an incredible lack of discipline within both the heirarchy and the clergy in general.
 

I prefer to get my ROCOR history from those clergy who were in ROCOR 30 or more years ago. The vast majority of whom are still in ROCOR.



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« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2004, 03:10:48 PM »

Vagante is as Vagante does.  Seriously. In CO, they have a 32 year old Archimandrite, a hieromonk who was tonsured as a hegumen and to the great schema the very day he was first made a monk.  fr. Dionysi in Colorado Springs was ordained a Deacon and Priest all at once the first time he met the metropolitan in suzdal.  There are other examples I could say, but they would reveal confidences.  

So? You should read a history of Byzantium if you want to see some really wierd appointments, even to the level of Patriarch.

I refuse to condemn any Orthodox Church after delving into the history of the Church during Byzantium.
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« Reply #38 on: May 24, 2004, 07:16:07 PM »

Peter,

I am not judging the bishops in ROCOR, nor will I do so. I am not implying that I know better. I am simply saying what can be seen in Met. Philaret's letters. I don't understand why you are speaking against me when it is what Met. Philaret said that you have the problem with. I don't claim to know what Met. Philaret thought in his heart, I only claim to have read certain letters that seem to me to clearly disprove the picture often put forth of him today as some type of moderate. Smiley
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« Reply #39 on: May 24, 2004, 07:32:53 PM »

Justin and Seraphim,

Some words from a ROCOR priest:

(Of course, I was only the Secretary of the Diocese for six years under Metropolitan Philaret (1976-1982) and handled most of his correspondence during that time—I saw him and spoke with him on an almost daily basis, and was very familiar with his attitude toward the MP—he told me many times that he viewed the MP as consisting of 3 groups (basically the same as mentioned in the Furov report)—he wanted nothing to do with Group 1, but he certainly felt that Group 3 clergy were in spirit part of the Catacomb Church).

We should also remember that Metropolitan Philaret had been a clergyman in the MP for many years, and commemorated Patriarch Alexei (I). Do you think that he considered all of the Mysteries that he performed during that time as invalid?


Just a thought.
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« Reply #40 on: May 24, 2004, 07:49:23 PM »

A more complete Q&A exchange, including the info above:


+ + +

Further Q&A's regarding these issues. The answers were publicly posted to various email lists by Fr. Alexander:

Question: Grace is always, as we know, based on confession of faith, not on worthiness of the individual. The Moscow Patriarchate for all these years did not confess the Orthodox faith; indeed, it fought actively against it.

Answer: An amazing generalization.

The Moscow Patriarchate is a very large organization, consisting of 150 bishops, 30,000 priests and 100 million + parishioners.

Some within it perhaps did not confess the Orthodox faith. Others did.

It is my opinion, substantiated by the Furov report, that there was always a significant part of the clergy (including bishops) in the MP who struggled hard to maintain the Faith.

As you know, that report divided the bishops and clergy of the MP into 3 groups, depending on their willingness to serve the state.

I have no problem condemning the Group 1 bishops—these were the loyal agents of the atheistic government, actively working to destroy the Church.

But in addition to these Group 1 bishops, there were many others in Group 2 (the quiet non-resistors, but not active destroyers) and in Group 3—the ones who fought both openly and covertly to foil the attempts of the government to destroy religion.

Your comments do not apply to the bishops and clergy of Group 2, and especially not to Group 3.

We should be careful to avoid blanket generalizations. The Moscow Patriarchate is a very large tent, with a broad spectrum of views represented in it—from modernist to monarchist.

Actually, one of my fundamental points is that the ROCOR is also a very large tent, with a broad spectrum of views represented in it—from rabid fanaticism to very broad-minded thinking.

Question: What about the views of the ever-memorable Metropolitan Philaret? Did he not have the following to say from the published letter of Metropolitan Philaret to Protopriest Victor Potapov, June 26 / July 9, 1980:

"Why did this calamity befall Fr. Dmitri Dudko? Let's assume the best, not suspecting him of conscious collaboration with the KGB and betrayal of his convictions, but simply noting the sad fact that he did not endure, but was 'broken'; he capitualted before the enemies of Christ. Why? It would seem that he did display courage and daring; and then suddenly, such an inglorious end. Why?!

"Because his activity took place outside the true Church....

"I would also like to note the following. The Catacomb Church in Russia relates to the Church broad with love and total confidence. However, one thing is incomprehensible to the Catacomb Christians: they can't understand why our Church, which realizes beyond a doubt that the Soviet hierarchy has betrayed Christ and is no longer a bearer of grace, nevertheless receives clergy of the Soviet Church in their existing orders, not re-ordaining them, as one's already having grace. For the clergy and flock receive grace from the hierarchy, and if it has betrayed the Truth and deprived itself of grace, from where then does the clergy have grace? It is along these lines that the Catacomb Christians pose the question.

"The answer to this is simple. The Church has the authority in certain cases to employ the principle of economia—condescension. The hierarch Saint Basil the Great said that, in order not to drive many away from the Church, it is necessary sometimes to permit condescension and not apply the church canons in all their severity. When our Church accepted Roman Catholic clergy 'in their orders,' without re-ordaining them, She acted according to this principle. And Metropolitan Anthony [Khrapovitsky], elucidating this issue, pointed out that the outward form—successive ordination from Apostolic times—that the Roman Catholics do have, whereas the grace, which the Roman Catholic church has lost, is received by uniting [themselves to the Church] from the plenitude of grace present in the Orthodox Church, at the very moment of their joining. 'The form is filled with content,' said Vladyka Anthony.

"In precisely the same manner, in receiving the Soviet clergy, we apply the principle of economia. And we receive the clergymen from Moscow not as ones possessing grace, but as ones receiving it by the very act of union. But to recognize the church of the evil doers as the bearer and repository of grace, that we, of course, cannot do. For outside of Orthodoxy there is no grace; and the Soviet Church has deprived itself of grace."

Answer: This is actually quite good, Fr. X. I do not remember this letter, but I applaud you stepping up to the challenge and producing a document, which although not an official proclamation but a personal letter to a priest, does support your position.

(Of course, I was only the Secretary of the Diocese for six years under Metropolitan Philaret (1976-1982) and handled most of his correspondence during that time—I saw him and spoke with him on an almost daily basis, and was very familiar with his attitude toward the MP—he told me many times that he viewed the MP as consisting of 3 groups (basically the same as mentioned in the Furov report)—he wanted nothing to do with Group 1, but he certainly felt that Group 3 clergy were in spirit part of the Catacomb Church).

We should also remember that Metropolitan Philaret had been a clergyman in the MP for many years, and commemorated Patriarch Alexei (I). Do you think that he considered all of the Mysteries that he performed during that time as invalid?

Statement: The New Martyrs that were in communion with Metropolitan Sergius at the time of their death are to be viewed as compromisers, or in some way less than the Russian martyrs who died in resistance to Metr. Sergius. The compromisers gave their lives for the false Church.

Reply: Are you willing to state, unequivocally, that the struggle of these people was in vain, because they were, as a matter of conscience, unwilling to break with their hierarchy and enter into what they considered schism?

We're not talking about heretic Nestorians here. We're talking about the confessors of the Solovki concentration camp, who were being tortured, starved, and frozen to death. We know that out of the 100 bishops incarcerated in Solovki, 40 protested against the Declaration. That means that 60 did not, on serious, principled grounds. Does that make them heretics? And all of them—both groups, were eventually martyred. Do you wish to say that they did not earn their crowns?

Some of the New Martyrs and Confessors whom we commemorate at every service and who appear on the Icon of the New Martyrs never broke with Metr. Sergius. Metropolitan Peter did not. Metropolitan Agathangel did for a time, then returned and died recognizing Metr. Sergius. Archbishop Hilarion (the author of the Solovki Epistle) never broke with Metr. Sergius.

It happens to be the official position of our Church who glorified these Martyrs and Confessors even though they died in full communion with Metr. Sergius. Are you saying that the Church was wrong to do this?
+ + +

Fr. Alexander comments on a recent post by Vladimir Moss on the issue of grace in the MP (5-5-98, n.s.):

A few comments on the recent posting by Vladimir Moss regarding grace and on his previously disseminated "Open Letter" to me (which, by the way, he never had the courtesy to send to me directly, and which I read only after it was posted on the Internet, and some time after others had received it and made comments on it).

While there are certainly many statements, both official and private, that have been made during the past 60 years by the Synod of Bishops and its chief hierarchs, there has never been a single official statement declaring the Moscow Patriarchate to be without grace.

There are statements declaring the Moscow Patriarchate as an institution to be uncanonical, its acts invalid, and even statements calling the leadership of the Moscow Patriarchate apostates and traitors to the legacy of St. Patriarch Tikhon. But there has not been a definitive statement declaring the Mysteries of the Moscow Patriarchate to be invalid.

Let us compare this with the situation of Metropolitan Evlogy and his schism in Western Europe.

On January 13/26, 1927, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia formally suspended Metropolitan Evlogy and both his vicar bishops pending an ecclesiastical trial that was to take place at the next Council (Sobor) of Bishops.

On January 22/February 4, 1927, the Synod of Bishops sent a circular letter to all of the parishes in the Diocese of Western Europe in which it announced its decision of January 13/26 and exhorted the faithful not to commune with the suspended Metropolitan, keeping in mind that the validity of the Mysteries could be thus placed in doubt.

On August 26/September 8, 1927, the Sobor of Bishops convened an Episcopal Tribunal, comprised of twelve bishops to judge the case of Metropolitan Evlogy.

The Act of Sentence of Metropolitan Evlogy read, in part:

    "Every liturgical function performed by him is devoid of grace, the Mysteries administered by him are not Mysteries, and the ordinations he performs are anticanonical."

The Sobor once again appealed to the vacillating clergy of the Western European Diocese, threatening them with canonical penalties if they did not submit to the conciliar decision. Archbishop Seraphim, in the name of the Sobor, wrote a declaration to all of the faithful of the Western European Diocese that

    "it was absolutely forbidden, under pain of excommunication for schism, to remain in prayerfulcommunion with Metropolitan Evlogy, Archbishop Vladimir, Bishop Sergei and with their clergy, since the Mysteries administered by them were devoid of any benefit."

Now, that is an unequivocal declaration of the absence of grace.

Has there ever been a conciliar declaration by the Sobor of the Church Abroad similar to the above with regards to the Moscow Patriarchate?

The answer is a definitive NO.

All of the argumentation brought forth by Vladimir Moss regarding grace requires one to derive conclusions through some sort of logical process. For example, to think like this:

    "the Synod anathematized ecumenism in 1983, the Moscow Patriarchate is involved in ecumenism, therefore the Moscow Patriarchate falls under the anathema, therefore the Moscow Patriarchate is devoid of grace."

Or,

    "St. Patriarch Tikhon anathematized the bolsheviks in 1918, the Moscow Patriarchate subjugated itself to the bolshevik government, therefore the Moscow Patriarchate falls under the anathema, therefore the Moscow Patriarchate is without grace."

But these conclusions are, as I said, the result of the use of deductive reasoning, which is absolutely unnecessary when the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has had the ability to make a definitive statement declaring the Moscow Patriarchate to be without grace and its Mysteries invalid (just as it had done in the case of Metropolitan Evlogy)—and for sixty-one years it has not done so!

As was clearly stated in the letter of the newly-departed Protopriest Lev Lebedev (for whom I had the greatest respect—he may have even been a distant relative, since my father was also from the Kursk reagion) the faithful in Russia are divided on this issue. He wrote:

    "Hence for many people the question of the validity of the sacraments in the MP again became a question. The question became more acute when the heresy of ecumenism made its appearance in the MP in the 1960's. In our days it is the subject of heated discussions among members of the ROCA in Russia. Opinions are divided: some take the position enunciated by Metropolitan Kyrill in 1934, while others take the position of Vladika Joseph and the Catacomb Church. There is no sign of agreement. It is clear that only a special Council (Sobor) of the ROCA is competent, using the formulation 'It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us,' to resolve this question, which is too complex a matter to be addressed by ordinary reason."

This is my point exactly. The matter is "too complex to beaddressed by ordinary reason."

Then why are attempts being made by Vladimir Moss and others to use "ordinary reason" in order to prove their point?

Absent a definitive declaration on this issue by the only authority capable of making one (the Sobor of Bishops of the Church Abroad) all discussions and debates on the issue stay firmly in the realm of speculation and personal opinion (remember, one man's logical reasoning may lead to a different logical conclusion than that of another, since the underlying premises may be differently understood).

And the question of the validity of the Mysteries is far too important an issue—since it concerns the salvation of millions of souls— to leave to intellectual exercises and deductive logic.

Until the Sobor of Bishops makes a definitive statement declaring the Mysteries of the Moscow Patriarchate invalid (as it had done in 1927 with regards to Metropolitan Evlogy), it is fruitless to engage in intellectual discourse on the issue.  

With love in Christ,

Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
+ + +

When in his reply Vladimir Moss stated that Fr. Alexander's post was in error because it argued against logic per se, the latter replied:

Dear Vladimir,

Thank you for your latest post. I find little in it to disagree with. I, of course, am not opposed to logical thinking—we are, after all, rational beings. My point was simply that deductive reasoning cannot be substituted for unequivocal conciliar determinations.

Speaking of unequivocal conciliar determinations, it is interesting to note what occurred several years after that completely definitive statement of the Sobor of Bishops declaring the of Mysteries of those in the Evlogian schism as being invalid and without grace.

A bit of historical perspective, first.

There was much more to the Evlogian schism than just the fact of Metropolitan Evlogy breaking away from the Synod of Bishops of the Church Abroad and establishing his independent ecclesiastical organization (which later vacillated several times between complete independence, submission to the Moscow Patriarchate, and submission to the Ecumenical Patriarchate).

There were significant cultural, political, ideological, and theological issues that separated the two spheres of Russian Orthodoxy in Europe.

One was simply cultural bias— the Russian emigres in Paris considered themselves the creme de la creme of the Russian emigration, and looked down
upon the Russian emigres in the Balkans as second-class citizens.

Another was political. Metropolitan Evlogy was absolutely opposed to the Church Abroad taking a stand on the issue of the restoration of the monarchy in Russia, and especially on the stand that if monarchy were restored, then it must be restored to the Romanoff dynasty. (Actually, Metropolitan Anastassy shared Metropolitan Evlogy's on this point). Metropolitan Anthony, on the other hand, was adamant that the Church take a stand for the restoration of the Romanoff throne.

A third issue had to do with Freemasonry. Metropolitan Evlogy and his church were considered to be, to a certain extent, under the influence of Masonic organizations, specifically the YMCA (which continued to be the publisher of all religious literature put out by the Parisian Exharchate for many decades), and the RSKhD—the Russian Student Christian Movement.

And finally, there was a significant theological issue—the fact that the several prominent members of the faculty of St. Sergius Theological Institute in Paris were involved in the "Sophian Brotherhood" and espoused the heresy of "Sophianism" — the idea that there was another "female" hypostasis—namely "Sophia"—the Wisdom of God. This heresy was analysed by the renowned theologian, Archbishop Seraphim of Bulgaria, and was condemned by the Sobor of Bishops of the Church Abroad.

Add to this all the fact that there were many erudite supporters of Metropolitan Evlogy and that some very acrimonious letters and articles were published by both sides, and it easy to understand the depth of the rift between the two parts of the Russian Church in Europe.

As I had posted previously, the Sobor of Bishops unanimously and unequivocally declared, in 1927, that Metropolitan Evlogy and his clergy were outside the Church and that their Mysteries were null and void, and devoid of grace.

But let us see what happened later.

In 1935, when under the auspices of Patriarch Varnava of Serbia, a special convocation was held in Belgrade with the specific goal of reuniting all of the separated parts of the Russian Church that were abroad, Metropolitan Evlogy participated (as did Metropolitan Theophilus from the North American Diocese, which had also separated from the Synod). When Metropolitan Evlogy agreed to and signed the Temporary Statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia all of the sanctions that had been so unequivocally placed on him and his clergy just melted away. Set aside were all of the mutual acrimonious accusations and counter-accusations; set aside was the question of the restoration of the Romanoff dynasty; set aside was the issue of Masonic influence; set aside, even, was the question of the Sophianist heresy and the Orthodoxy of the faculty of St. Sergius Institute.

And, in a special resolution of the Sobor of Bishops, all Mysteries performed by the Evlogians while they were in schism were declared to be valid, and all ordinations performed by him and his vicar bishops were accepted as being valid, as well.

So, this lesson from history teaches us something very important. Metropolitans Anthony and Anastassy (who both participated in this special convocation) were very open to any overtures that would heal the rift in the Russian Orthodox Church—even to the point of nullifying the unequivocal canonical sanctions and declarations of the absence of grace in the mysteries performed by those in schism from the Church.

If we read Archbishop Vitaly's (Maximenko) description of task entrusted him by the Sobor of Bishops in 1934, we also must come to the conclusion that the Synod so wished to achieve ecclesiastical unity on this continent, that it was perfectly willing to gloss over the significant issues that had led to the separation of the North American Diocese from the rest of the Church Abroad. Archbishop Vitaly was explicitly told that he was to serve with all of the various ecclesiasticalgroupings on this continent, and that the Synod would support whoever would be elected at an All-American Sobor to head the Church here, no matter what jurisdiction that newly-elected hierarch would be from.

This bit of historical perspective clearly demonstrates the willingness of the Synod to open channels of communication and to forgive and forget past wrongs in order to reestablish and preserve the unity of the Church.

If the Synod could set aside "yako ne byvshii" (as if they had never been) absolutely categorical declarations of the absence of grace among the Evlogians, could in not be perceived as within the realm of possibility that such compassion could be extended to the long-suffering Christians of the Church in Russia, especially considering that no conciliar categorical declaration on the absence of grace among the Sergianists has ever been made?

With love in Christ,

Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
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« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2004, 12:25:05 PM »

Peter,

Quote
Metropolitan Florina, as I'm sure you know, never declared the official Churches to be graceless. This resulted in the Matthewite schism.

This is incorrect.

In 1935, realizing that the state Church was not going to back down from it's adoption of the "new calendar", several Bishops broke with it, formed themselves into a new Synod, and would declare the "official" state church to be in schism.

Heirarchally this remnant was established by three Metropolitans, one of whom was Metropolitan Chrysostmos of Florina.  Soon, knowing that the authorities would be after them (and this prediction was correct), they would consecrate four more Bishops (amongst whom was Matthew Karpathakes, father of the so called "Matthewites").  All of these Bishops would endure abuse at the hands of state authorities, instigated by the new calendarists, including imprisonment and exile.

After the begining of this persecution, some wavered.  Two of the four Bishops created by the three Metropolitans defected to the new calendarists, leaving the Greek Old Calendarists with five Bishops.  Of these, three would issue an encyclical just prior to their exile, not only re-affirming the new calendarists are in schism, but going further and saying they had forefeited the grace of the mysteries through this separation.

The confusion begins early on, in that at one time Metropolitan Chrysostmos (one of the three Metropolitans who left the state church over the calendar) and Metropolitan Germanos were of the opinion that the schism of the new calendarists was not an incurable one, believing that the dispute would be resolved in their lifetimes.  The remarkable growth of the Old Calendarists during this early period, and the still embryonic state of the ecumenical movement easily led to this appraisal.  Thus, the two Metropolitans were of the view that organically the Greek state Church's schism did not separate it from the Body of Christ, but simply put them in an anti-canonical situation which at worst, had moral implications for those responsible and those conscious of what was going on.

This is what created the separation between the "Florinites" and the "Matthewites", in that Bishop Matthew did not agree with this assessment, understanding the schism of the state church in the strictest terms.

However, there is a part of this that is being left out in your account.  In the summer of 1950, Metropolitan Chrysostmos (of Florina) rescinded any statements he had made prior to that time which had entertained the notion that the new calendarist Greeks were still somehow part of the same Church.  He publically repented of this, and essentially took the view that had been opined by the followers of Bishop Matthew.

Given this, the "Florinites" and "Matthewites" were materially of the same position from 1950 onward - well before ROCOR first made contact with the Florinite GOC.  This is precisely why ROCOR tried to act as peace maker between the Florinite and Matthewite Old Calendarists - because it knew the two both had the same beliefs, and the same assessment of the crisis beseiging the Orthodox world (really all that differed was their time table, and a lot of bad blood.)  Unfortunately, at the last minute, the Matthewites would pull out.

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After the Old Calendarist bishops died out,(Met. Florina in 1955) ROCOR consecrated new bishops based, naturally, on the assumption that these new bishops held the view of the "real" old calendarists- not the hardliner schismatics.

Of course, based on what I've just relayed to you, the above statement of yours an be seen to be incorrect.  The fundamental difference early on between the Florinites and the Matthewites had to do with their appraisal of the situation and it's seriousness - eventually, however, both would reach the same conclusions as time dragged on.

It's worth adding, that "Metropolitan" Cyprian of the "TOC resistors" was himself received by those who clearly understood the Greek state church to not only be a genuine schism, but now also to be a communion of heresy.  Whatever his reasons for holding his views about the new calendarists, at the very least he was disinegenous to pretend he was part of a "continuing" tradition of so called "moderate" Old Calendarists - the reality is that he had to turn on his mentors.

Putting all of this history (as important as it is) aside for a moment, I'd like to say something (as an "extremist" and "fanatic") which I think needs to be said.  It's been my experience that most Old Calendarist "types" (for lack of a better term) are not the superficial, "letter of the law over it's spirit" types which they are often made out to be.  Generally there is a willingness to overlook a lot, with the hope that love can cover a multitude of sins.  This is why, a certain level of ambiguity or disagreement on time tables, is tolerated amongst groups with very different histories.  For example, the Greeks new full well that ROCOR was much slower to cut it's ties with the EP and "world Orthodoxy" in general than they were, whether Florinite or Matthewite.   I also think few now would claim that ROCOR's witness, particularly amongst it's varying Bishops (who often seemed to be in the habit of "doing their own thing") was always unambiguous - there was a decided silence even in the upper heirarchy (St.Philaret included), which obviously was both perhaps an attempt to hold out hope in regard to the new calendarists-ecumenists, but also an attempt to keep ROCOR together.

But here we sit, now in 2004.  Not in 1935.  Not in 1950.  Not even in 1965, but 2004.  What is the state of things as of now?  Have things improved any?  Have the circumstances which caused ROCOR to decidedly isolate itself from "officialdom" in the first place improved?  I think that's a hard sell, particularly given what the Antiochian Patriarchate has done, and the continued "progress" of the ecumenist heresy (and it's anti-canonical manifestations both heirarcally, and organically amongst the laity).  Yet ROCOR (a church you obviously recognize) is moving towards reproachment.  I'm at a loss to see how this can be justified.  Even the Cyprianites are sorely scandalized by this (as they are by the now increasingly common affirmation that ROCOR has always, and is still officially in communion with the Serbs and JP - that is something they obviously were not aware of, when they entered communion with ROCOR, no matter how you slice things), and I don't doubt they too will cease relations with ROCOR in the near future.

After finishing this response, I'm going to post an article originally posted at the Cafe which expresses my own thoughts on this much better than I can.  Though authored anonymously, I've been told it was written by a Priest of the ROCOR a few years back.  However, I will post here an excerpt which I think is particularly good...

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Arius was the first prototype of the Anti-Christ. He denied that Christ was co-eternal with the father, that He was conceived at a point in time, and that the Holy Spirit came and abode in Him only at His baptism. Arius was a man of outstanding political and social skills, he was also a very strict ascetic, and lived a noteworthy ascetic life. His abilities to persuade those around him led to the adoption of the Arian heresy by almost the entire Orthodox world, including some significant influence in the sees in Europe, and northern Africa. The Byzantine Emperor leaned a sympathetic ear to him, and granted Arius many indulgences in the royal court. The spread of the Arian heresy occurred because most of the faithful had not had the opportunity to hear the arguments of those who opposed his teachings, and were mislead by Arius’s eloquent speech. The most noteworthy opponent of Arius was St. Athanasius of Alexandria. At the height of the Arian heresy only the faithful in Alexandria, and several other small communities in Asia Minor proclaimed the Orthodox faith correctly. It took the acts of the first ecumenical council to defeat and expel the false teachings of Arius and explicate the correct teaching of Christ’s divinity, as expressed by St. Athanasius. The question arises in the minds of many who read this history: "Was there any grace in the sacraments of those who were mislead by Arius, before the decrees of the 1st council".

At the time of the heresy St. Athanasius withdrew from commemoration of any bishop who espoused the Arian heresy. There was a period in Alexandria where there were more than one bishop in the city, and the faithful were in a state of confusion as to what Church they should attend, in much the same way the faithful are confused today. St. Athanasius was called a schismatic, a deceiver, and a false prophet by his Arian adversaries. However, St. Athanasius was not deterred by the multitude of scandals and calumnies directed against him. His understanding of the need to preserve the Orthodox faith pure and undefiled led him to the decision to not commune anyone that had even prayed in a church where the priest commemorated an Arian Bishop, without a full confession and renunciation of the heresy by the aspiring communicant. In this case we see that St. Athanasius withdrew from the "official" church until such time as the correct teaching could be espoused by the entire Church. He did not say anything about the efficacy of the sacraments of those who participated in ignorance, only that the grace of the sacraments was denied to those who understood clearly the teachings of Arius.

In exactly the same way we see "squabbling" Old Calendar jurisdictions cutting themselves off from those local churches that espouse an active participation in the Ecumenical movement. These Old Calendar jurisdictions bicker amongst themselves, and, as stated previously, bring much comfort to those who love the Church. For the fallen man sees squabbling and disarray, and like Pontius Pilate states "What is truth?" the enlightened man sees the action of the Holy Spirit honing and purifying a correct understanding of the heresy of Ecumenism, and the development of an Orthodox and God-pleasing doctrine that refutes this heresy and leads the faithful upon the path of a God pleasing and edifying life. May the Lord continue His work in His vine, cutting and pruning, grafting where needed, and saving us sinful wretches from the corruption of our passions. Glory be to God for all things! Many other examples from the history of the Orthodox Church can be given that demonstrate similar behavior by conscientious Orthodox Christians.

I know that most of the "extremist types" I've spoken to, hold out some hope that those who labour ignorantly amongst the ecumenists, are being cared for in extraordinary ways, perhaps in ways we cannot perceive.  Yet, because of their ecclessial allegiance, they still can only be received as those separated from the Church - at least with repentence, and often with Chrism (generally only those coming from amongst the most foul offenders are received with "strictness" or "exactitude", that is outright Baptism.)  I know there still clergy and laity being received into ROAC (for example) from the MP in precisely this way, and now (sadly) from ROCOR as well.  Of course this is quite lenient, and the situation is a bit different than the situation of St.Athanasios mentioned above (since in his case he was dealing most often with people who had been Baptized prior to the outbreak and rapid spread of the Arian heresy, or at a time when it was still quite fresh and ill understood.)  Yet if you pressed St.Athanasios himself as to what to make of the Arian heirarchies, or those who flattered them with their silence and friendship, he would have been compelled to answer in no different way that the Church Herself judges them...

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But as for those persons, on the other hand, who, on account of some heresy condemned by holy Synods, or Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president, who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly, and teaching it bareheaded in church, such persons not only are 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 union of the Church with any schism, but, on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions. (Canon 15 of the "First-Second" Council)

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« Reply #42 on: May 26, 2004, 01:08:05 PM »

Peter,This is incorrect.

In 1935, realizing that the state Church was not going to back down from it's adoption of the "new calendar", several Bishops broke with it, formed themselves into a new Synod, and would declare the "official" state church to be in schism.

Heirarchally this remnant was established by three Metropolitans, one of whom was Metropolitan Chrysostmos of Florina.  Soon, knowing that the authorities would be after them (and this prediction was correct), they would consecrate four more Bishops (amongst whom was Matthew Karpathakes, father of the so called "Matthewites").  All of these Bishops would endure abuse at the hands of state authorities, instigated by the new calendarists, including imprisonment and exile.



Believe what you will. Since you've leached onto the Vladimir Moss line, I'll post a reply to Vladimir Moss:


The Truth About the Greek Old Calendarists: A Review of V. Moss's Book

A Critical Review of Mr. Vladimir Moss's Recent Book on the Greek Old Calendar Movement
by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Auxentios


The Sacred Struggle of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece: 1919-1992 (Mayford, Woking, England: 1992), by Vladimir Moss, a small book privately published and bearing a copyright legend from "The Orthodox Foundation of St. Michael, Guildford," is a very slanted "history by rumor" of the Old Calendar movement in the Orthodox Church of Greece. While its author no doubt had good intentions in writing the book, he is neither an historian nor a theologian. This fact is particularly evident in his failure to use archival documents in ascertaining the actual facts regarding the recent vagaries of some elements in the Old Calendar movement—materials absolutely crucial to an objective study of the contemporary Old Calendarist witness both in Greece and in the United States—and his heavy reliance on quasi-historical and polemical materials written by the extremist Old Calendarists, both those formerly within the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and now in schism from that Church and those in other extremist bodies.

Mr. Moss's account of the early years of the Old Calendar movement is for the greater part accurate, though he has obviously not carefully read the extensive writings and private letters of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina, one of the founders of, and the chief apologist for, the Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece. Thus he finds "inconsistency" in the Metropolitan's attempts to balance his personal notion of "potential schism" among the New Calendarists against the largely unsophisticated desire by his extremist followers—most of whom, like the extremist Old Calendarists today, lacked the Metropolitan's theological education and acumen—to find canonical and historical precedents for declaring the Mother Church of Greece to be without Grace. A careful scrutiny of Metropolitan Chrysostomos' writings reveals that he held to an ecclesiology very similar to that of Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan, the erudite and brilliant Russian resister to the Sergianist trend in the post-Revolutionary Russian Church.

Chrysostomos firmly believed that the calendar innovation and the hidden ecumenical agendas behind it had placed the Greek Church in potential schism. He did not, however, believe that Church—which he served, until his retirement, as Metropolitan of Florina (in Northern Greece)—to be without Grace. When the Matthewite schism in 1937 and severe persecution of the Old Calendarists by the State Church of Greece prompted Metropolitan Chrysostomos to compromise his ecclesiology, he did so, by his own admission, painfully and for pastoral reasons alone. His deep knowledge of true Orthodox theology, which lies in the "gray" area of apophatic paradox and seeming contradiction, was lost on the artless legalism of untutored zealots who, however sincere, wished to distort the canonical and historical witness of the Orthodox Church. The rubrics of resistance came to be wasted on those who could not understand the subtlety of the complex question of schism and sacramental validity and who sought "black and white" answers in an area of Church thought—ecclesiology—which is shrouded in mystery and available only to those with the highest degree of spiritual discernment. Thus Metropolitan Chrysostomos acted in the only way that he could, with pastoral endurance, setting aside for the moment the intricacies of his own apologetic witness.

Mr. Moss makes it clear, in his book, that he does not believe that the Greek New Calendarists have Grace. Thus, not only does he avail himself of the sometimes perverse fabrications by which, regrettably, contemporary extremist Old Calendarists imaginatively tell their tales-and having been the object of some of this perversity, I can speak with boldness here—, but he finds himself sympathetic to these groups; viz., the Matthewites, under Archbishop Andreas of Athens, and the Old Calendarists under Archbishops Auxentios and Chrysostomos of Athens. His sympathy unfortunately leads him into wholly inaccurate statements, many of which, again, could have been corrected by an objective examination of the archival documents of the four Old Calendarist Synods in Greece. His portrayal of two lines of canonicity in the Old Calendar movement, one through the Matthewites and one through the Synod of Bishops which survived under Auxentios and then, after his deposition in 1985, Chrysostomos II, is a simple fantasy. Aside from the fact, as the author himself is forced to admit, that the Old Calendarists under Chrysostomos II do not recognize the validity of the Matthewites' "orders," and the Matthewites in turn consider the Bishops under Chrysostomos II to be without Grace, these Synods do not represent an unbroken chain of succession back to the original Old Calendarists.

The Matthewites, a tiny group within the Old Calendarist movement, have always been considered schismatics by the other Old Calendarists. Their belief that the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which consecrated Bishops for the other Old Calendarists after the death of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina, is without Grace led one of their most devout Bishops, Callistos of Corinth, to join the mainstream Old Calendarist movement, then unified under Auxentios, in 1976. Shortly after, in an attempt to end factionalism, to formulate a consistent ecclesiology, and to provide for a better educated clergy, new Bishops were consecrated by Callistos and Metropolitan Antonios, with the knowledge and, at least initially, the consent of Archbishop Auxentios. The older Bishops soon disavowed this move, subsequently represented by the extremist Old Calendarists as an attempt to take over the Synod by "secret consecrations," and Callistos was elected President of the Synod. Auxentios finally sided with the older Bishops, who in turn broke into two separate groups, one under Auxentios, the other under Gerontios. Thus the Synod under Callistos, who was later retired and replaced by Antonios, after the former wavered in his support of the moderate ecclesiological stand of the Synod, was by any objective standard the official Old Calendarist voice in Greece. Mr. Moss addresses none of these events in his book with any accuracy whatsoever.

Outside of these synods stood a number of Old Calendarist Bishops who had separated from Auxentios' Synod after its declaration, in 1974, that the State Church was without Grace, among these Metropolitans Petros of Astoria and Chrysostomos (Kioussis)—Petros specifically in opposition to the declaration of 1974, Chrysostomos for unspecified reasons. In 1985, all of the Bishops under Callistos (or, at that time, Antonios), except Metropolitan Cyprian and Metropolitan Giovanni, unilaterally decided, while Metropolitan Cyprian was in California (at our monastery, in fact), to join the Synod under Gerontios, which subsequently replaced Auxentios—despite the fact that he had not relinquished his position—and declared Metropolitan Chrysostomos (Kioussis) "Archbishop" and successor to the "Throne of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina." We must note, significantly, that Chrysostomos of Florina never claimed the Throne of the Mother Church, but considered himself the leader of a "resistance" movement within that Church. In fact, he always styled himself as the "former" Metropolitan of Florina, the State Church See, as we noted above, from which he retired before assuming the leadership of the Greek Old Calendar movement. In addition to availing themselves of the sizable treasury of Auxentios' Synod, the new Synod under Chrysostomos II—including all of the Bishops from Metropolitan Callistos' (Antionios') Synod (save Cyprian and Giovanni) and Metropolitan Petros and the new Archbishop, all of whom had opposed any move to declare the State Church to be without Grace declared the State Church to be without Grace (though Petros, who refused to sign the 1974 declaration to this effect, and Chrysostomos II, who did not publicly oppose the declaration, claim to hold, even now, private views that contradict their Synod's official stance on the issue)! The Synod also joined with Metropolitan Paisios, whom the Bishops under Metropolitan Callistos had deposed and whom Chrysostomos, Synod has of late designed to depose for his relations with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

During all of this, Metropolitans Cyprian and Giovanni remained loyal to the reforms of 1979, consecrated new Bishops, and elected Metropolitan Cyprian successor to Antonios, who had succeeded Callistos. In response to this, the Synod of Chrysostomos II, to which neither Cyprian nor Giovanni nor their new Bishops ever belonged, deposed Cyprian and his Bishops for ecumenism (a fatuous accusation), for believing that the State Church of Greece has Grace (which at least several Bishops in Chrysostomos II's Synod also claim to believe privately!), and for communing New Calendarists; without confession and proper examination (an absurd untruth). Interestingly enough, in announcing these depositions in its official publication, Chrysostomos' Synod was unable to name me of the Bishops over whom it supposedly had jurisdiction. Bishop Chrysostomos, Metropolitan Cyprian's Exarch in America and a recognized scholar of Greek ancestry, was described as a "Mexican"—a vile attempt at a racial slur, based on the fact that Bishop Chrysostomos uses both his Greek family name and the name which his family adopted while in Northern Spain-, and he and another Bishop were accused of being married. Such cheap character assassination is, of course, telling, and the ridiculous "depositions" that prompted it have no canonical or logical meaning. Moreover, the deposition of Archbishop Auxentios by Chrysostomos and the Bishops who joined him—oiled by the financial windfall occasioned by their control over the huge Church treasury formerly under Auxentios, which we earlier mentioned-was itself questionable, as evidenced by a careful examination of the deposition procedure. If Auxentios was less than wise to accept suspended clergy from the Russian Synod in Exile several years ago, and if indeed one believes that the direction of the Church was properly taken from him in 1979, there is, nonetheless, little to lead any prudent person to believe that the Synod under Chrysostomos "II" acted correctly in its actions against Auxentios or that it is, as Mr. Moss suggests, the canonical successor to the original Old Calendarist movement.

In the end, the Old Calendar movement in Greece is easy to understand. The Matthewites and the Bishops under Auxentios and Chrysostomos II all officially hold the same ecclesiology: that the New Calendar Church of Greece is without Grace and that they constitute the Church of Greece. The "True Orthodox Church," a title which distinguishes a Church in resistance which has walled itself off from a yet uncondemned but errant Mother Church, these extremist Old Calendarists take to mean the very Mother Church, the president of their synods claiming the Archepiscopal. See of the Church of Greece. According to their ecclesiology, then, the president of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, a Church in resistance having, in fact, the very ecclesiology of Metropolitan Cyprian, should call himself the Patriarch of Moscow. likewise, the Russian Church Abroad should accept neither the Baptisms nor the Ordinations of the Mother Church of Russia. Clearly, contrary to the conclusion drawn by Mr. Moss in his study of the Greek Old Calendarists—a conclusion prompted by his personal ecclesiology—, an objective observer could only recognize the viability of the Synod of Metropolitan Cyprian, since "canonicity" in the resistance (if one drops the claim that resisters constitute the Church which they resist) rests on proper ecclesiology, the very issue of the Old Calendarist resistance in the first place. For this reason, perhaps, the Old Calendar Romanian Orthodox Church, which is also in communion now with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, is officially a Sister Church of the Old Calendarists under Metropolitan Cyprian, recognizing only his Synod as the legitimate voice of the Greek Old Calendarist movement—a rather significant point of fact which places Mr. Moss's personal judgment against the ecclesiastical judgment of some very sober and thoughtful Orthodox traditionalists.

Mr. Moss makes some very interesting and insightful comments about the ecumenical movement, comments which need expression—though, we might suggest, with greater moderation. As I have said, he also very aptly describes the heroic struggle of the first Greek Old Calendarists. But his ecclesiological view is extreme, untenable, and conducive to views which prompt him to accept the self-justifying fabrications of the extremist Old Calendarists with whom he identifies as facts. They are not. They are at best distortions of the truth, at worst malicious prevarications. Moreover, to imagine that a few thousand Old Calendarists of a sectarian bent constitute the entirety of the Greek Church—however close to apostasy the ecumenists and New Calendarists may be—is to embrace a position which violates the nature of ecclesiastical resistance, since Godly resistance is undertaken to protect the Faithful and to call the errant back to right belief, not to condemn millions of ailing people prematurely and without every effort, even to the last moment, to save them from apostasy.

Finally, a subject so complex and delicate as the Old Calendar movement in Greece must be approached by mature, trained scholars and theologians and by spiritual men of singular virtue, and this in an objective spirit. As Father Florovsky, one of my own mentors, often said: "To speak about the Church demands that we are humble enough to set aside our own views and to submit ourselves to the truth. And to find the truth, we must be cautious and must add study to study and wisdom to wisdom." Mr. Moss can be commended for his great efforts, but his book lacks careful study and objectivity. I trust that he was innocently misled by his sympathies. Let us hope that others do not use his errors and interpretations without similar innocence.

From Orthodox Tradition, Vol. X, No. 2, pp. 39-44. This review originally appeared in the January 1993 issue of The Shepherd, published by the St. Edward Brotherhood, a monastic community of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in England.
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« Reply #43 on: May 26, 2004, 01:59:25 PM »

Serge,

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The argument stands: it's the view of the c.u. Orthodox vs. that of people such as Reeves and Kissel

Unfortunately, arguments from authority are the weakest sort, precisely because they are useless in situations where the two parties involved do not agree as to the authority of the one being cited.  Just as my using the "say so" of a Metropolitan Valentin or Archbishop Chrysostmos II of Athens would carry little weight with you, the "say so" of the heirarchs you point to holds little weight with me or those who have similar thoughts on these issues.  If that's the level you want to leave the debate at, that's fine - which also means we have nothing further to talk about then.

Orthodoxy is fundamentally a religion which argues from authority - that is the nature of "traditionalism", and according to the Holy Scriptures themselves, the genuine confession is preserved in tradition.  Whether it be the authority proven in power by Christ Himself, or the authority of ecumenical fathers, that is how "Orthodox argue".  With that said, if this discussion is to proceed, authorities that we both agree upon (generally those canons and persons who stand before this controversy began, or who even afterwards we should both recognize - particularly given your own ROCOR affiliation) should be cited.  But if you're not interested in this, then we should simply stop the discussion here, as it would be a waste of time (we'd just be talking past each other.)

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I believe the c.u. Orthodox on the matter as I think any rational person does.

Well, that's a matter of opinion, and one which will obviously only get an "amen" from the choir.

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It's true in the Eastern tradition especially that canons can be and are bent and waived - blessed economy - but the original question remains: are the chaps described here applying the canons really Orthodox bishops at all? The c.u. Orthodox say no; the people under and identifying online with these men say yes, and among the only Orthodox at that. Just like Metropolitan Andrian's Old Believers and the Priestless Old Believers.

While you compare them to the Old Believers, I'd compare them to St.Athanasios and those who rebuked the Arians.  Obviously such comparisons by themselves are not going to demonstrate anything other than what we personally opine.  That might make for interesting monologue, but once again, it will get us nowhere in terms of debate/dialogue.

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Sergianism wasn't ideal of course but to claim that those who did it ceased to be the church would be the Donatist heresy.

This is one of the big debates - is Sergianism simply an errant pastoral policy, or does it also have ecclessiological implications?  I think one's answer depends in large part on their level of awareness - fundamentally, taken on it's own terms, Sergianism has doctrinal (teaching) content, and it is errant.

However, if one wishes to dispute that (and I know it has been), it is hard to argue that it is not apostacy.  At the very least, ROCOR's fight with the MP (and that which continues in ROAC) was between an Orthodox Church in exile and apostate heirarchs, who essentially bought their lives at the price of their souls.  Is that an irreperable situation?  Of course not - that would be Donatism (refusing under any circumstances to receive fallen Christians back into the Church).  However, where is the repentence?  The repudiation of Sergianism?  This has yet to occur.  Sadly, what is happening is that those who were in a position to restore a heirarchy to the Russian people, no longer expect it - they do not perceive themselves as accepting the reptence of fallen men, but as re-joining a legit heirarchy which itself represents one part of the "Russian Orthodox Church."  This is indefensible, besides being a slight towards those genuine Russian Orthodox who found themselves in gulags by the connivance of their "bishops".

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As for relations with Rome, ROCOR sent observers to Vatican II around the same time Bishop Gregory (I’m using that title and name out of courtesy) went off the Orthodox church of his birth, the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, over relations with Rome.

It's worth noting that ROCOR also broke off ordinary relations with the ecumenists at this time, and began formalizing it's relationship with the Florinite Old Calendarists (who despite misinformation posted in this forum earlier, were not essentially of the same outlook as the TOC-Cyprianites at that time).  Thus, your report has to be framed in it's proper context.  Strictly speaking, sending observers to a gathering is not a problem (though depending on the circumstances, can be imprudent or unseemly.)

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My guess, nothing more, is that the good men of that Synod looked up to the Pope as an anti-Communist stalwart, as the late Pius XII was that.

Though it's hard to guess, this doesn't sound unreasonable.

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This was also the ROCOR whose second leader, Metropolitan Anastassy, preached at St Paul's Anglican Cathedral in London, following the example of 19th-century Russian Orthodox in their friendly relations with the Anglicans. St Tikhon attended the consecration of the Episcopal cathedral in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin as a guest of honour, though of course he didn't participate liturgically.

While what you relate here is strictly speaking not inaccurate, I think in light of later developments needs to be framed in proper context.

As you're probably well aware (though others reading this might not be) there have long been Anglicans who understand themselves to be "Catholic" in their beliefs, do not identify with Protestantism, and even have a self understanding of their history which they'd say makes them "pre-Papist" western Catholics/Orthodox in terms of their beliefs and allegiances.  These "high churchmen" in reality are a minority, and they find themselves in a strange position (more so now than ever), since the truth is that Anglicanism is officially, avowedly Protestant.

In the late 19th/early 20th century, many such Anglicans were approaching often uninformed (both from the get go, and as time went on, due to the misrepresentations of these Anglicans themselves) Orthodox heirarchs, trying to broker some reproachment with the Orthodox Churches of the East.  Obviously these Bishops were quite friendly towards those they perceived (due to what these folks were telling them) to be sound on the basics, and well disposed toward the faith of the Orthodox Church, and were attempt to move towards some kind of reconciliation founded in truth.

Of course, the rest of the story is that these relations eventually fell through, precisely because they were built upon misrepresentations of the Anglican communion.  Had the high churchmen been the norm in Anglicanism, something may have came out with it - but because this was not the situation, it went nowhere.

This context, and what ultimatly resulted from those contacts between High Church Anglicans and the Russian Orthodox Church, are important things to recognize, lest one falsely conclude that there is some simultude between the activities of Godly men (like St.Tikhon, who died for the Orthodox faith and the integrity of the canonical Russian Orthodox Church) and what we see now in the "ecumenical movement" and it's various official organs.

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As for the limits of the church, that is a matter of opinion among the c.u. Orthodox.

There are two separate issues which could easily be mixed up in such a discussion.  One would be whether or not the Holy Mysteries exist outside of the Orthodox Church.  The other, would be whether or not "group X" is a part of the Orthodox Church.  Those are two different (though obviously related) discussions.  For the moment, I will address the first issue only.

Heresies

At the very least, bare headed heresy excludes someone from the Church.  "Heretics" are not members of the Church.  What then is to be made of heretical "mysteries"?

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"We ordain that a bishop, or presbyter, who has admitted the baptism or sacrifice of heretics, be deposed. For what concord hath Christ with Belial, or what part hath a believer with an infidel?" (Apostolic Canons, XLVI)

"Let a bishop or presbyter who shall baptize again one who has rightly received baptism, or who shall not baptize one who has been polluted by the ungodly, be deposed, as despising the cross and death of the Lord, and not making a distinction between the true priests and the false." (Apostolic Canons, XLVII)

"But the heretic cannot sanctify oil, seeing that he has neither altar nor Church. It is not possible for there to exist any chrism whatsoever among the heretics. For it is obvious to us that oil can by no means be sanctified among them for such worthy use. And we ought to know and not ignore that it has been written: "Let not the oil of a sinner anoint my head," which the Holy Spirit even long ago declared in the Psalms (140:6); lest anyone be tracked down and led astray from the right way and be chrismated by the heretics, the enemies of Christ. ...Furthermore, how shall he who is not a priest, but sacrilegious and a sinner, pray for the one who was baptized, when the Bible says, "...God does not hear sinners; but if one is a worshipper of God and does His will, him He hears" (Jn. 9:31)? We understand remission of sins as being given through the Church. But how can one give what he does not himself have? Or how can one do spiritual works when he himself has not received the Holy Spirit? For this reason he who comes over to the Church ought to be renewed, so that within [the Church] he be made holy by the holy, as it is written: "You shall be holy, even as I am Holy, says the Lord" (cf. Lev. 19:2; 20:7). And thus he who was deluded in error—being a man who, coming to God and seeking a priest, yet under the sway of error joined a sacrilegious [imposter]—might in the Church's true baptism put off this very error. For to accept with approval those whom the heretics [and schismatics] have baptized is to endorse the baptism they administer. For one cannot be only partially capable. If he had the power to baptize, then he could also impart the Holy Spirit. But if he was incapable of giving the Holy Spirit, in that being outside [the Church] he does not have it to begin with, then he does not have the power to baptize anyone who might come to him." (Canon I of the Synod of Carthage (258) Affirmed and Upheld by the Sixth Ecumenical Council)

Rationale

While much, much more could be cited in terms of canonical and certainly patristic teaching on this subject, it is worth while to stop for a moment and explore the rationale behind the Church's teaching regarding heretical sacraments.  While Roman Catholicism eventually developed a system of "sacramental validity" which made the "reality" of a sacrament involve the meeting of certain conditions (matter, form and intent), this is not Orthodox teaching.  While those conditions are not totally without merit (particularly matter and form - if service books are being followed, "intent" can be assumed), there is another qualifier - namely, ecclessial context.

The Church is not simply a spiritual reality, but a visible one, like the Incarnate Christ - not simply the Divinity Who for our benefit only sometimes acquires a chimeric/phatasmic "appearance", but God Almighty Who has truly and really assumed the nature of man.  He is both true God and true man, two natures.  The same is true of the Church - neither one nor the other, but both.  With that said, the Holy Mysteries cannot be piecemal torn from the Church and yet somehow be used "validly."  Yes, the service books can be taken, as can the chalices, tables and church edifaces - and sadly, even the human bodies and souls.  But the idea that the Holy Spirit can have His hand forced by the ministrations of the priests of baal is an absurdity.  Those who trade the truth for a lie, are not going to receive God's help in this, nor can they.

As for your excerpt from Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, I can only offer the following observations.

Quote
'Mark you, I do not presume to call false any Church which believes that Jesus is the Christ. The Christian Church can only be either purely true, confessing the true and saving divine teaching without the false admixtures and pernicious opinions of men, or not purely true, mixing with the true and saving teaching of faith in Christ the false and pernicious opinions of men'

This is the opinion of a senior heirarch, not a holy canon, or the teaching of a great father.

In addition, this can be said to be a matter of "the glass is half full" as opposed to "the glass is half empty".  By saying he is unwilling to call any church "false", he can only mean entirely false since by his own words they confess falsehoods.  Saying that they are not "entirely false" is of course, stating the obvious, and I do not take exception to it.

Quote
'You expect now that I should give judgement concerning the other half of present Christianity,' the Metropolitan said in the concluding conversation, 'but I just simply look upon them; in part I see how the Head and Lord of the Church heals the many deep wounds of the old serpent in all the parts and limbs of his Body, applying now gentle, now strong, remedies, even fire and iron, in order to soften hardness, to draw out poison, to clean wounds, to separate out malignant growths, to restore spirit and life in the numbed and half-dead members. In this way I attest my faith that, in the end, the power of God will triumph openly over human weakness, good over evil, unity over division, life over death'.

In other words, silence - which if the situation allows for it, is a nice luxury.  Last I checked, none of the "extremists" were condemning people to hell either.  There is a big difference between recognizing the Holy Mysteries are inseperable from the Holy Church, and pretending to know with certainty what the fate of non-Orthodox (whether heretic or pagan) is, for good or bad.

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« Reply #44 on: May 26, 2004, 03:10:27 PM »

More info:

In 1937, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina, when asked whether the State Church still possessed sacramental Grace, replied that, although it was wrong in accepting the New Calendar, nonetheless it still possessed Grace, for it had not been condemned by a pan-Orthodox council. This statement caused division; Bishops Matthew and Germanos separated themselves from Metropolitan Chrysostomos, tragically weakening the strength of the Old Calendar movement. A positive event occurred however, in 1945, when Bishops Polykarpos of Diavleia and Christophoros of Megara were reunited to Metropolitan Chrysostomos, followed, in 1950, by Bishop Germanos of the Cyclades.
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« Reply #45 on: May 26, 2004, 04:33:30 PM »

Peter,

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Believe what you will. Since you've leached onto the Vladimir Moss line, I'll post a reply to Vladimir Moss

While we all rest upon the shoulders of giants (or at the very least, rely on the histories of others), I'm getting the sneaking suspicion that your polemic is a case of "making it up as we go along."  At the very least this doesn't seem to be a subject you're overly familiar with, which would include your willingness to quote parties that I highly doubt you yourself would be in agreement with under other circumstances.

As for this being the "Vladimir Moss line", perhaps it is (though this is by accident, since I do not recall ever referencing anything he wrote on this topic as a source) - however what I know about the Old Calendarists (and what I've relayed) is actually the result of speaking with Florinite Old Calendarists themselves.  Metropolitan Cyprian's synod in reality is a very small factor in the over all "Old Calendarist" movement (for those who believe numbers matters, which seems to be at least a few people.)  If I'm guilty of totting the "Vladimir Moss" line (which is untrue, but letting this pass), then it would seem you're guilty of almost exclusively relying upon the Cyprianites for your history of the Greek Old Calendarist movement - an unwise move since he and his synod are basically unrecognized by most Old Calendarists and his explanations do not mesh well with their own self understanding.

The glaring omission, which unfortunately makes the Cyprianite position seem harmonious with the Florinite tradition, is that the Metropolitan Chrysostmos himself re-appraised the seriousness of the calendar innovation or the consequences of the flowering ecumenical movement.    This is simply not true, and none of the unfortunately quarrelsome parties that make up the "Florinite" Old Calendarists (save Cyprian's party) reflect this ommission.

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« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2004, 07:07:01 PM »

The Old Believers thought they were following St Athanasius too when they broke with evil 'world Orthodoxy' in the 1600s for crossing themselves with two fingers and the thumb, 'the claw of Satan'! (Bwah-ha-ha-ha!)

I don't represent ROCOR. What I find interesting is that those who are steeped in ROCOR either aren't online posting away or if they are online - like ania, for example, from a Russian priestly family worthy of respect - they don't act like Mr Reeves and his friends. They're not rabbiting on about the sects' favourite issues.

Your response, Mr Reeves, regarding Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow and St Tikhon doesn't make any sense. According to the logic you use, the Russian Orthodox Church has been part of evil 'world Orthodoxy' for a long time, at least since the 1800s when they began fraternizing with Anglicans at all in any 'context'.

And you still sound like a Donatist.

So the sects and the little boys playing Orthodox online still look at best like the Old Believers and the c.u. Orthodox win their argument.
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« Reply #47 on: May 30, 2004, 07:33:13 PM »

Serge,

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The Old Believers thought they were following St Athanasius too when they broke with evil 'world Orthodoxy' in the 1600s for crossing themselves with two fingers and the thumb, 'the claw of Satan'! (Bwah-ha-ha-ha!)

Obviously comparing and contrasting the situations of either the ROAC or the Old Believers will go nowhere, before more basic issues are discussed - which is what I have been trying to do, however miserably.

Quote
I don't represent ROCOR.

Well, in a small way you do, given you are a member of the clergy in ROCOR (the last time I checked, Readers were tonsured and numbered amongst the clergy, no?)

With that in mind, I'd like your take on the following, which came from your Church some 21 years ago...

Those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that Christ's Church is divided into so-called "branches" which differ in doctrine and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed in the future when all "branches" or sects or denominations, and even religions will be united into one body; and who do not distinguish the priesthood and mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore, to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or who advocate, disseminate, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians, Anathema!

This is of course ROCOR's Anathema Against Ecumenism, which at least at one time (it's probably still there, despite the events of recent years) was read with the Church's other anathemas on the Sunday of Orthodoxy in ROCOR parishes.

Given your status as a cleric in ROCOR (though you'd think being a simple layman in ROCOR would be sufficient in matters like this), can I assume you are in agreement with the anathemas of your own church?

Quote
Your response, Mr Reeves, regarding Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow and St Tikhon doesn't make any sense. According to the logic you use, the Russian Orthodox Church has been part of evil 'world Orthodoxy' for a long time, at least since the 1800s when they began fraternizing with Anglicans at all in any 'context'.

It's funny that you presume to force me into a mould (including a "logic") which obviously does not fit given my own self expressed opinion on the examples you brought up.  Could it be you're disappointed that these examples are not the pro-ecumenist magic bullets you've taken them to be?

Quote
And you still sound like a Donatist.

Then you obviously do not understand what Donatism was.

Quote
So the sects and the little boys playing Orthodox online still look at best like the Old Believers and the c.u. Orthodox win their argument.

And so ends your pretense of offering a "reasoned, non-partisan look at the subject".

Seraphim
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« Reply #48 on: May 30, 2004, 10:27:41 PM »

Quote
Obviously comparing and contrasting the situations of either the ROAC or the Old Believers will go nowhere, before more basic issues are discussed - which is what I have been trying to do, however miserably.

I couldn't agree more that trying to talk to you is a waste of time. This thread is really for the benefit of new visitors and of those Orthodox, like ania for example, I do respect. You are neither Orthodox nor somebody I respect.

Quote
This is of course ROCOR's Anathema Against Ecumenism

The relevance here is that it shows some people in the Orthodox Church happen to agree with you. But that doesn't answer my last point, that there are and have been for some time - at least since Met. Philaret of Moscow's time, the early 1800s - people in good standing and of high rank in the Russian Orthodox Church who believe quite differently.

Again, since according to the worldview of ROAC that taints a church as being part of evil 'world Orthodoxy', that makes 19th-century Russian Orthodoxy bogus so where does that leave ROAC?

Just as an academic exercise on this board I'm trying to show that according to the logic of all the c.u. Orthodox taken together (with their opposite opinions on your favourite subjects cancelling each other out), ROAC doesn't make sense.

To quote you:

Quote
It's funny that you presume to force me into a mould (including a "logic") which obviously does not fit given my own self expressed opinion on the examples you brought up.

And, quoting me, to bring up somebody who does identify with ROCOR and whom I do respect:

Quote
What I find interesting is that those who are steeped in ROCOR either aren't online posting away or if they are online - like ania, for example, from a Russian priestly family worthy of respect - they don't act like Mr Reeves and his friends. They're not rabbiting on about the sects' favourite issues.

Moving right along:

Quote
And so ends your pretense of offering a "reasoned, non-partisan look at the subject".

No pretence, old man. I did offer such. I also don't take you seriously.
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« Reply #49 on: May 30, 2004, 10:50:38 PM »


As for whether the Pope's men would accept one of these groups' priests without reordination, I don't speak for them but my guess is no, based on the logic I laid out in my first posting. They say: (repeating myself) 'the Orthodox have the power of the keys over their own people; therefore, if the Orthodox withhold grace from these ordinations*, then we will treat them as invalid, even though if a bishop who left us did this we'd recognize the ordination'.

*As happened when Bishop Valentine left them and consequently they deposed him.

Catholics have been known to receive deposed Orthodox clergymen.  cf. "Father" David Anderson.
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« Reply #50 on: May 30, 2004, 11:22:17 PM »

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Catholics have been known to receive deposed Orthodox clergymen.  cf. "Father" David Anderson.


As I'm just a passing outside observer of the Anderson situation I have no idea of the timing of all that. It may be as you say, that the OCA dropped him before the Ukrainian Catholic Church picked him up.

One way around that is the Ukrainian Catholics could say they were applying economy! Just like if, for example, the clergy of ROAC wanted to (re)join the c.u. Orthodox - as I said before, I reckon the former Orthodox clergy among them would just be reinstated without any reordination, even though they'd been deposed, and those men they'd ordained probably would be accepted retroactively in their orders - 'the church is supplying any grace that may have been lacking in the valid form' might be how they'd put it.

But if a bishop, priest or deacon has been dropped by the Orthodox, not been picked up by them and so is just floating out there on his own or in some sect not recognized by the Orthodox, then I think what I said stands - the Vatican recognizes the Orthodox' power of the keys over their own people so until either they or the Orthodox pick him up, functionally he's not a bishop, priest or deacon.
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« Reply #51 on: May 31, 2004, 03:20:32 AM »



As I'm just a passing outside observer of the Anderson situation I have no idea of the timing of all that. It may be as you say, that the OCA dropped him before the Ukrainian Catholic Church picked him up.

One way around that is the Ukrainian Catholics could say they were applying economy! Just like if, for example, the clergy of ROAC wanted to (re)join the c.u. Orthodox - as I said before, I reckon the former Orthodox clergy among them would just be reinstated without any reordination, even though they'd been deposed, and those men they'd ordained probably would be accepted retroactively in their orders - 'the church is supplying any grace that may have been lacking in the valid form' might be how they'd put it.

But if a bishop, priest or deacon has been dropped by the Orthodox, not been picked up by them and so is just floating out there on his own or in some sect not recognized by the Orthodox, then I think what I said stands - the Vatican recognizes the Orthodox' power of the keys over their own people so until either they or the Orthodox pick him up, functionally he's not a bishop, priest or deacon.

The OCA never had him - he belonged to the Antiochians before he got dropped/deposed/suspended/whatever for leading the charge to leave w/ Hardenbrook.

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« Reply #52 on: May 31, 2004, 10:54:05 AM »

Elisha,

I understand why you think that but I know that Fr David Anderson was an OCA priest, not an Antiochian one. Not only was he in the OCA but he is also a star graduate of St Vladimir's Seminary where he was the prot+¬g+¬ of Fr Alexander Schmemann. He was only on loan to the Antiochians at SS. Peter and Paul, Ben Lomond, California. When the unpleasantness happened between that church and their bishop, I think he was sent back to the OCA. It was a blow to them and particularly to SVS when he left.
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« Reply #53 on: May 31, 2004, 11:24:25 AM »

[When the unpleasantness happened between that church and their bishop, I think he was sent back to the OCA. It was a blow to them and particularly to SVS when he left. ]

That is true.  Fr Anderson was originally either a Byzantine Catholic or a Ukrainian Catholic who converted.  He was considered an expert in Liturgics.  So when the former EOC joined with the Antiochians Metropolitan Phillip asked he be loaned to the Antiochians to teach Liturgics to the new Orthodox Christians. Metropolitan Theodosius agreed to it.

Fr Anderson was sent to Ben Lomond which was considered as the 'mother church' of the former EOC at the time.  He did wonders there.  I attended Liturgy there and was spellbound by the beauty.
Many of the practices being used were from the early church.  When I was there, even though there was no Bishop present, the Liturgy began with all the Priests and Deacons in the middle of the Church.  They remained there until the 'little entrance when the Gospel was taken through the 'Royal Doors' and placed on the Altar.  The remaining part of the service was now done in the Sanctuary. (I understand this was one of the practices they were told to get rid of.)

The problems started to occur when the new Antiochian Bishop came into that diocese.  He was from the middle east and was not familiar with many of the slavic practices used in many of the Antiochian churches (most of which used things from both the Byzantine and Slavic traditions).  Metropolitan Phillip also wanted more uniformity of practice amongst the Antiochian Churches.
Fr Anderson, along with many others fought the imposed changes and were excommunicate for being disobedient to both the Metropolitan and diocesean bishop.

At this point Metropolitan Theodosuis went to bat for Fr Anderson.  Reminding Metropolitan Phillip Fr Anderson was only on TEMPORARY assisgnment to the Antiochians.  As personal favor he asked Metropolitan Phillip to rescind the excommunication of Fr Anderson and release him back into the OCA.  Metropolitan Phillip complied and Fr Anderson was brought back to the OCA UNDER THE DIRECT AUTHORITY OF METROPOLITAN THEODOSIUS.  

The straw that broke the camels back was when one of the Deacons from the group that was excommunicated died.  Fr Anderson wanted to serve at his funeral.  Metropolitan Theodosius told him he could attend but could not serve.  Reminding him the the Deacon had been excommunicated and was still under an edict by a canonical bishop which had to be honored according to the canons of the Church.

Fr Anderson responded by once again disobeying another Bishop(the third) and serving the funeral after which he returned to the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

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« Reply #54 on: May 31, 2004, 11:44:46 AM »

One minor correction, if I recall rightly:

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That is true.  Fr Anderson was originally either a Byzantine Catholic or a Ukrainian Catholic who converted.

I don't think he was in the Ukrainian or any other Byzantine Catholic Church to begin with. Rather he was a Roman Catholic layman who converted and then went to SVS and became a priest in the OCA.
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« Reply #55 on: May 31, 2004, 11:06:33 PM »

The timing of this is a bit obscure, so bear with me. Never mind the whole issue of what exactly ecumenism actually means; the Protestants don't agree, so why should anyone accept an Orthodox definition of it? It's our word, not theirs.

But be that as it may, the impression I get is that ROCOR's "ecumenism" predates Valentine by some years. And since it is a property of truth to be objective, "ecumenism" was a heresy before it was declared to be such.

So where does the grace come from? The theory that you can get grace from out of a graceless body by "correcting" their errors is utterly Protestant; it simply doesn't work in Orthodoxy. So how can ROAC have grace?
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« Reply #56 on: May 31, 2004, 11:39:01 PM »

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The theory that you can get grace from out of a graceless body by "correcting" their errors is utterly Protestant; it simply doesn't work in Orthodoxy. So how can ROAC have grace?

An excellent point, Keble!
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« Reply #57 on: June 01, 2004, 04:14:51 PM »

Keble,

Quote
But be that as it may, the impression I get is that ROCOR's "ecumenism" predates Valentine by some years. And since it is a property of truth to be objective, "ecumenism" was a heresy before it was declared to be such.

Ecumenism as a heresy, obviously, has always been incorrect.  Quite true - the ancient canons make such obviously clear (calling for the deposition of heirarchs who confound the Baptism of the Church with the "baptism" of heretics.)

As for old "ROCOR Ecumenism", I've yet to see this validated as being a matter of fact.   St.Tikhon working to receive some High Church Anglicans into the Russian Orthodox Church (unfortunately, it never panned out) under a "western rite" accommodation hardly smacks of the ecclessiastical equivocation which characterizes heretical ecumenism.

Quote
So where does the grace come from? The theory that you can get grace from out of a graceless body by "correcting" their errors is utterly Protestant; it simply doesn't work in Orthodoxy. So how can ROAC have grace?

This line of speculation is unnecessary, given that there is not a problem to begin with.

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« Reply #58 on: June 01, 2004, 04:20:07 PM »

Quote
St. Tikhon working to receive some High Church Anglicans into the Russian Orthodox Church (unfortunately, it never panned out) under a "western rite" accommodation hardly smacks of the ecclessiastical equivocation which characterizes heretical ecumenism.

He was a guest of honour sitting with the clergy in choir at the consecration of the Episcopal cathedral in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. There's a photo of him there.

Surely this would damn him as an evil 'world Orthodox'Gäó to ROAC. Then again, disaffected boys playing Orthodox today always know better than real pre-revolutionary Russian Orthodox bishops.
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« Reply #59 on: June 01, 2004, 04:27:25 PM »

Quote
He was a guest of honour sitting with the clergy in choir at the consecration of the Episcopal cathedral in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. There's a photo of him there.

That would surely put him in league with half of the heirarchs on that "Kiss of Judas" page on the ROAC site, wouldn't it?
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« Reply #60 on: June 01, 2004, 04:31:03 PM »

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That would surely put him in league with half of the heirarchs on that "Kiss of Judas" page on the ROAC site, wouldn't it?

A punto, signore.
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« Reply #61 on: June 01, 2004, 06:22:53 PM »

Keble,Ecumenism as a heresy, obviously, has always been incorrect.  Quite true - the ancient canons make such obviously clear (calling for the deposition of heirarchs who confound the Baptism of the Church with the "baptism" of heretics.)

I'm not going to touch the "baptism" crack here because then I'd have to go into the history of the Western theory on this, and I have better things to do.

Quote
As for old "ROCOR Ecumenism", I've yet to see this validated as being a matter of fact.   St.Tikhon working to receive some High Church Anglicans into the Russian Orthodox Church (unfortunately, it never panned out) under a "western rite" accommodation hardly smacks of the ecclessiastical equivocation which characterizes heretical ecumenism.

But the facts are against you. The current hostility between Anglicans and the Orthodox is a recent development. The historical pattern is that of classic ecumenism: mutual respect coupled with acknowledged separation.

Quote
This line of speculation is unnecessary, given that there is not a problem to begin with.

Well, apparently there is a problem. What we've seen here is a repeated pattern of you personally having to abandon "worthies" when you've been confronted with the fact that they didn't agree with you. You had to do it earlier with Seraphim Rose, and now you're going to have to do it with the sainted Tikhon. Eventually you will be trapped into simply denying the truth about some figure, or not having enough "Orthodox" hierarchs left to attach ROAC to. SO how do you justify it?
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« Reply #62 on: June 07, 2004, 04:22:54 PM »

Joe, that's also factually incorrect, since I was there for the whole thing.  He was supposed to be under Fr. Vladimir Shishkoff's spiritual direction, who had supported AROC for years even then....  when the Skete came in, he put himself under Dormition Skete's direction, with the ok of the Metropolitan, on the basis that an Archimandrite is of "higher rank".

You are also neglecting the fact that they had been communicating for months.
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« Reply #63 on: June 09, 2004, 01:44:18 AM »

Vagante is as Vagante does.  Seriously. In CO, they have a 32 year old Archimandrite, a hieromonk who was tonsured as a hegumen and to the great schema the very day he was first made a monk.  fr. Dionysi in Colorado Springs was ordained a Deacon and Priest all at once the first time he met the metropolitan in suzdal.  There are other examples I could say, but they would reveal confidences.  

This group may be close to Orthodoxy and seen as just schismatic by others or even as just plain old Orthodox by others, but in my book these examples and others proove it is nothing more than a vagante cult.  I say cult, because the group fits the textbook definition of a cult.  I believe Serge has said a few words about this at his blog.

Joe Zollars

Ladies, Gentlemen, and assorted others:

I apologize for this post and subsequent ones.  It was sinful for me to engage in such slanderous gossip and I beg your forgiveness.

Joe Zollars
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« Reply #64 on: February 13, 2005, 03:55:16 AM »

I also apologize for my posts on this thread. What a mess.
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« Reply #65 on: February 13, 2005, 11:24:48 AM »

I'm not sure what caused the new post to an old thread, but since this popped up I stopped and read it.  Just want to comment on the issue as to whether or not the Catholics would be likely to accept the ordained status of an Orthodox presbyter who was out of communion with his own former Church - and, unfortunately, the answer is generally "yes".

The theological praxis of Catholics and Orthodox as to the validity of orders and the dependent issue of the validity of sacraments differs significantly.

There are basically two theories of apostolic succession and, in most instances, the application of the theory held by a given Church effectively determines the validity accorded to claimed presbyteral and episcopal orders and, ipso facto, the validity of sacraments administered by those claiming to possess valid orders, whether presbyteral and/or episcopal (putting aside issues as to form and intent, since if there is no validity to the orders of the sacrament's minister, other considerations are of no consequence to either Church).

If the orders claimed to be possessed are themselves invalid, the sacraments derived from him who claims to possess orders will, in turn, be invalid if the sacrament is one which requires administration by an ordained minister - essentially any except baptism in extremis in either the Catholic or Orthodox Churches and marriage in the Latin Church, which deems the couple to be the ministers and the presbyter to be a witness.

The Augustinian theory effectively holds that valid episcopal ordination confers an indelible character that is not affected by any schismatic or heretical act or excommunication taken in response thereto or for any other reason. Accordingly, a validly ordained priest once validly ordained to the episcopate retains his capacity to exercise that order, though he may have been deprived juridically of the office or jurisdiction by which he performed episcopal acts. The latter considerations affect only the licitness of his acts.

The Cyprianic theory effectively holds that a valid episcopal ordination is affected by schismatic or heretical acts and by excommunication taken in response thereto or for any other reason. Accordingly, a validly ordained priest once validly ordained to the episcopate retains his capacity to exercise that order only so long as he continues in communion with the jurisdiction under the authority of which he was ordained to the episcopate (or such other jurisdiction into which he may have subsequently been accepted) and is exercising the office or jurisdiction by which he has the right to perform those acts. There is no distinction made as to licitness.

The Catholic Church adheres to the Augustinian theory; the Orthodox Churches to the Cyprianic theory, (although the latter have been known to exercise oekonomia in application of it to instances in which schismatic bodies have returned to communion).

Frankly, the Augustinian theory has been or certainly has become a thorn in the side of the Catholic Church. It effectively assures that all manner of independent hierarchs, both those who pursue their perceived vocation with spiritual and intellectual honesty and those who are episcopi vagante in the most perjorative connotation accorded to the phrase, can sleep at night with at least a modicum of assurance that they possess valid episcopal orders, unless form or intent are at issue. The time-honored practice in the so-called "independent" Catholic and Orthodox movements of garnering multiple episcopal consecrations or, subsequently, being re-consecrated sub conditione is effectively a means of leveraging the Augustinian theory.

Most such hierarchs operate on the premise that "more is better" or "there has to be at least one good one here somewhere". With most having an episcopal genealogy that traces back through an average of 30 ancestral lines of succession, from a combination of dissident Latin Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox hierarchs, they can feel reasonably secure. Those lines which cannot be proven valid because there is serious doubt as to the validity of one actor (e.g., the so-called Melkite-Aneed Line) can and do feel comfortably buffered by Duarte and Thuc Lines.

People sometimes point to subsequent acts by bishops of these "Churches" which break faith with Catholic doctrine and erroneously perceive these as breaking the line of apostolic succession. For instance, no bishop, regardless of the validity of his episcopal orders, can validly ordain a woman. But, that he did so would not invalidate his subsequent ordination of a man, with proper intent and according to proper form. So, it is possible to go rather far afield theologically yet still retain apostolic succession.

None of this is to say that all such entities have valid orders or sacraments. As an example, the Liberal Catholic Church is certainly suspect, but an inordinate amount of effort has to be put into tracing and verifying or rejecting such when presbyters or hierarchs of these Churches are received into communion.

The Orthodox Churches, relying on the canonically legal status of the hierarch conferring orders (his status in communion with a recognized jurisdiction to which the Church accords canonical status), have a much simpler task before them in assessing validity and, since they do not make the distinction of licitness, the end result is clear-cut.

Given its historical ties to the Cyprianic theory, it stands to reason that the Orthodox would not accord validity to Catholic orders or sacraments and that any do so must be seen as an exercise of charity or oekonomia on their part, applying a measure of recognition to the common historical origins of Catholicity and Orthodoxy.

The potentially most ironic consideration here is that, applying the Augustinian theory, the Catholic Church in some instances could likely find itself in the position of accepting the validity of presbyteral and episcopal orders, and, consequently, sacraments, of "independent Orthodox" (and by that I do not mean those essentially mainstream Orthodox Churches which are typically termed "non-canonical" or "of iregular status", but those of the so-called "independent movements") whom the Orthodox themselves would, rightfully, never deem to be of their Communion, under even the most liberal of interpretations.

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #66 on: February 13, 2005, 02:20:00 PM »

Augustinian and Cyprianic theories are useful categories, Neil, but as the neighborhood devil's advocate I would like to point out that Thuc's ordinations in the Catholic Church were ruled invalid and oftentimes "independent" Orthodox get accepted at some point "as is."  But the two general trends are much as you have stated them.

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« Reply #67 on: February 14, 2005, 12:41:10 PM »

Just want to comment on the issue as to whether or not the Catholics would be likely to accept the ordained status of an Orthodox presbyter who was out of communion with his own former Church - and, unfortunately, the answer is generally "yes".

Actually, a question came up in the EWTN canon law question and answer section about the validity of certain Protestant service where, according to the poster, an Orthodox priest "confected" the Eucharist.  I responded to that particular question and answer with my own ideas, and asked a question about whether or not Catholics would recognise the priesthood of someone defrocked by the Orthodox--do they accept it because it was a valid ordination, and so conferred an "indelible mark" on the soul, or do they reject it because they accept the authority of Orthodox bishops over their people?--and the canonist seemed to say that the Catholics would regard such a man as the Orthodox themselves regard him. 
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« Reply #68 on: February 14, 2005, 01:15:30 PM »

Augustinian and Cyprianic theories are useful categories, Neil, but as the neighborhood devil's advocate I would like to point out that Thuc's ordinations in the Catholic Church were ruled invalid and oftentimes "independent" Orthodox get accepted at some point "as is." But the two general trends are much as you have stated them.

Dustin,

You're right about Thuc. He's a bad example, as the question of his mental status raised issues with respect to intent and has generally caused his ordinations to be questioned, with validity not accorded to the majority of them.

As to "independent" Orthodox, I think we are talking about apples and oranges. I'm not thinking of folks like the TOC or any of the "schismatic", "non-canonical", or "irregular" Churches. I had in mind the true vagante, like THEOCACNA, the Nasrani Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and others of that ilk.

I know of no recent instance in which such "presbyters" or "bishops" from those types of Churches were accepted "as is" by any canonical Orthodox Church (nor even by any of the schismatic, etc. Churches). (There were a very few instances, many decades ago, in which folks from some such entities were accepted, but this was back at a time when their episcopal ancestry from Bishop Aftimios Ofiesh was still very fresh in terms of time.)

Phil.

I think I read the exchange of which you're speaking.

I disagree with the canonist, unless you approach it from the perspective of "would" Catholics accept him? - where "would" has the sense of "be willing to" - to which the answer is hopefully, "no". However, were they to accept him, history suggests that he would be found to have valid orders. I've seen some odd folks cross the Tiber and have validity accorded to them. (I've also seen a few of the same going the other way and accorded validity under the guise of oekonomia.)

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #69 on: February 14, 2005, 02:24:00 PM »

Neil,

You might be surprised what has occurred if you look deep enough Wink  I was thinking more of Ofiesh who qualifies as a vagante in my book but who once was a legitimate Orthodox bishop.

Thuc was crazy that's true, so it's a bad example.

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« Reply #70 on: February 15, 2005, 03:47:38 AM »

You might be surprised what has occurred if you look deep enough Wink I was thinking more of Ofiesh who qualifies as a vagante in my book but who once was a legitimate Orthodox bishop.

Dustin,

Not anywhere near as surprised as you think  Wink - vagantes are a long-time specialty of mine.  I agree with you wholeheartedly as to Ofiesh, but glad you said it first as I've gotten tired, over the years, of the battles with folk who will defend him as legitimate to the bitter end  Roll Eyes.

Many years,

Neil

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« Reply #71 on: January 10, 2011, 09:05:23 PM »

You might be surprised what has occurred if you look deep enough Wink I was thinking more of Ofiesh who qualifies as a vagante in my book but who once was a legitimate Orthodox bishop.

Dustin,

Not anywhere near as surprised as you think  Wink - vagantes are a long-time specialty of mine.  I agree with you wholeheartedly as to Ofiesh, but glad you said it first as I've gotten tired, over the years, of the battles with folk who will defend him as legitimate to the bitter end  Roll Eyes.

Many years,

Neil


LOL. To the bitter end of the argument, or to the bitter end of his life?

My understanding is that Ofiesh isn't really the culprit, but the bishop he consecrated as bishop of Washington, D.C. and the Western Rite, Igantius Nichols.
http://orthodoxhistory.org/tag/ignatius-nichols/

Nichols seems to be the one laying hands on all sorts of vagantes.  Ofiesh seems to have stopped laying hands on anyone after Nichols, and his consecration I would say was valid at the time. It is only shortly after Nichols consecration that both Ofiesh and Nichols earned their deposition, and hence there inability to consecrate within the context of the Orthodox Church any longer.

btw, much of Nichols schismatic progeny ended up back in Orthodoxy.
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