After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY


The Fruit of the Tree

A tree is known by its fruit.

It seems to me that the rebellious hierarchs of the Metropolia/OCA have been repeatedly involved in scandals of one kind or another since separating themselves from St. John of San Francisco and the Russian bishops of the old ROCOR. As an example of the consequences of the Metropolia schism, I met an old woman some years ago who had been a pillar of her OCA parish for decades and had attended divine services regularly for years. Yet, to my great surprise, she had never even heard of St. John of San Francisco!

Several OCA hierarchs were involved in some sort of financial/embezzlement scandal during the past decade. It was this scandal, as I understand it, which lead to the rapid promotion and appointment of Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) as first hierarch of the OCA recently. And, since his election, Metropolitan Jonah has called upon the OCA to relinquish its autocephalous status. More recently, an OCA hierarch in Canada was accused of sexual misconduct with parishioners.

Most concerning of all about the OCA "tree" has been the close involvement of the hierarchs of the Metropolia/OCA, including Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen), with the KGB-appointed hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate, even back in the days of Stalin, Kruschev, and Brezhnev.

Can a bad tree yield good fruit?

The Dread Judgment Sermon of St. John of San Francisco

Also see this version
older version of this sermon from Orthodox Life magazine 1985


Today Is The Sunday of the Dread Judgment, and it is natural for us to speak of the Dread Judgment and of the signs of the end of the world. No one knows that day; only God the Father knows; but the signs of its approach are given in the Gospel and in the Revelation [Apocalypse] of the holy Apostle John the Theologian. Revelation speaks of the events at the end of the world and of the Dread Judgment principally in images and in a concealed manner; but the Holy Fathers have explained it, and there is an authentic Church tradition that speaks to us both about the signs of the approach of the end of the world and about the Dread Judgment.

Before the end of life on earth there will be confusion, wars, civil strife, famine, and earthquakes. Men will suffer from fear; they will expire from the expectation of calamities. There will be no life, no joy of life, but a tormenting state of falling away from life. There will be a falling away not only from life, but from faith as well: when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth? [Luke 18:8]

Men will become proud and ungrateful, denying the Divine Law: together with a falling away from life there will be also a dearth of moral life.

There will be an exhaustion of good, and a growth of evil. The holy Apostle John the Theologian, in his divinely-inspired work, the Revelation, also speaks of this time. He himself says that he "was in the Spirit," which means that the Holy Spirit Himself was in him when the fate of the Church and the world was revealed to him in various images, and that is why it is God's Revelation.

He represents the fate of the Church in the image of a woman who, in those times, hides in the wilderness: she does not show herself in public life, just as in Russia today.

Those forces that are preparing the appearance of Antichrist will have a leading significance in public life. Antichrist will be a man and not the devil incarnate. "Ann" is a word meaning "old," or it means "in place of" or "against." That man wants to be in place of Christ, to occupy His place and possess that which Christ ought to possess. He wants to possess the same attraction and authority over the whole world.

And he will receive that authority before his own destruction and that of the whole world. He will have a helper, a Magus, who, by the power of false miracles, will fulfill his will and kill those that do not recognize the authority of Antichrist. Before the destruction of Antichrist, two righteous men will appear who will denounce him. The Magus will kill them and their bodies will lie unburied for three days, and Antichrist and all his servants will rejoice exceedingly. Then suddenly, those righteous men will resurrect, and the whole army of Antichrist will be in confusion and horror, and the Antichrist himself will suddenly fall dead, slain by the power of the Spirit.

But what is known about this man, Antichrist? His precise ancestry is unknown. His father is completely unknown, while his mother is a defiled, pretended virgin. He will be a Jew from the tribe of Dan. There is an indication of this, in that Jacob, when dying, said that [Dan], in his posterity, would be a serpent by the way.. .biting the heel of the horse (and the rider shall fall backward) [Gen. 49:17]. This is a figurative indication that he will act with craftiness and evil.

In Revelation, John the Theologian speaks of the salvation of the sons of Israel, that before the end of the world a multitude of Jews will be converted to Christ; but the tribe of Dan is not included in the enumeration of the tribes that are saved.

Antichrist will be very intelligent and gifted with the ability to deal with people. He will be charming and affectionate.

The philosopher Vladimir Soloviev worked extensively on this subject in order to present the advent and the personality of Antichrist. He made careful use of all relevant materials, not only Patristic, but also Muslim, and produced a very striking picture.

Before the advent of Antichrist, his appearance is already being prepared in the world. "The mystery is already at work" [cf. II Thess. 2:7], and the forces preparing his appearance struggle above all against lawful royal authority. The holy Apostle Paul says that Antichrist cannot appear until "he that restrains" is removed. John Chrysostom explains that "he that restrains" is the lawful, godly authority.

Such an authority struggles with evil. The "mystery" working in the world does not want this; it does not want an authority that wars against evil; on the contrary, it wants an authority of iniquity, and when it succeeds in bringing this about, then nothing will stand in the way of the coming of Antichrist. He will be not only intelligent and charming: he will be compassionate, he will be charitable and do good, for the sake of consolidating his power. And when he will have strengthened it sufficiently, so that the whole world acknowledges him, then he will show his real face.

He will choose Jerusalem as his capital, because it was here that the Saviour revealed His Divine teaching and His Person, and the whole world was called to the blessedness of goodness and salvation. But the world did not accept Christ and crucified Him in Jerusalem; while under Antichrist, Jerusalem will become the capital of the world that has recognized the authority of Antichrist.

Once having attained the summit of power, Antichrist will demand that men acknowledge his attainment as something to which no other earthly power and no other man could possibly attain, and he will demand that men bow down to him as to a superior being, a god.

Soloviev describes well the character of his activity as Supreme Ruler. He will do what pleases men, on the condition that they recognize his Supreme Authority. He will let the Church function, and allow her to hold Divine services, he will promise to build magnificent temples — provided he is recognized as the "Supreme Being" and that he is worshipped. He will have a personal hatred for Christ. He will live by this hatred and will rejoice at seeing men apostatize from Christ and the Church. There will be a mass falling away from the faith; even many bishops will betray the faith, justifying themselves by pointing to the splendid position of the Church.

A search for compromise will be the characteristic disposition of men. Straightforwardness of confession will vanish. Men will cleverly justify their fall, and an endearing evil will support such a general disposition. Men will grow accustomed to apostasy from the truth and to the sweetness of compromise and sin.

Antichrist will allow men everything, if only they "fall down and worship him." This is not something new. The Roman emperors were similarly prepared to grant the Christians freedom, if only they recognized [the emperor's] divinity and divine supreme authority; they martyred Christians only because they professed: "Worship God Alone and serve Him Alone."

The whole world will submit to him, and then he will reveal his hatred for Christ and Christianity. Saint John the Theologian says that all who worship him will have a mark on their forehead and right hand. It is not clear whether this will be an actual mark on the body, or if this is a figurative expression of the fact that men will acknowledge in their minds the necessity of worshipping Antichrist, as well as submit their wills to him. And when the whole world manifests such a complete submission — of both will and conscience — , then the two righteous men [already] mentioned will appear and will fearlessly preach the faith and expose Antichrist.

Holy Scripture says that before the coming of the Saviour two "lamps," will appear, two "burning olive trees," "two righteous men." Antichrist will kill them by the power of the Magus. Who are these men? According to Church tradition, these are the two righteous who never tasted of death: the Prophet Elias and the Prophet Enoch. There is a prophecy that these saints, who had not tasted of death, will taste it for three days; but after three days they will resurrect.

Their death will be a great joy for Antichrist and his servants. Their rising three days later will bring them unspeakable horror, terror and confusion. And then will come the end of the world.

The Apostle Peter says that the first world was created out of water and perished by water. "Out of water" is also an image of the chaos of the physical mass, while "perished by water" is [an image] of the Rood. And now the world is reserved unto fire.....The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up (II Peter 3:7-10). All the elements will melt. This present world will perish in a single instant. In an instant everything will change.

And the sign of the Son of God will appear, that is, the sign of the Cross. The whole world, having willingly submitted to Antichrist, "will break out in lamentation," Everything is

finished. Antichrist is slain. The end of his kingdom, the end of the war with Christ. The end, and accountability for one's whole life, an account to the True God.

Then, from the mountains of Palestine, the Ark of the Covenant will appear. The Prophet Jeremiah hid the Ark and the Holy Fire in a deep well. When they took water from that well, it burst into flame. But the Ark itself they did not find.

When we look at life today, those able to see, see that everything foretold about the end of the world is being fulfilled.

Who then is this man — Antichrist? Saint John the Theologian figuratively gives him the name 666; but all attempts to understand this designation have been futile.

The life of the contemporary world gives us a fairly clear understanding of the possibility of the world burning up, when all the elements shall melt with fervent heat. Atomic fission gives us that understanding.

The end of the world does not signify its annihilation, but its transformation. Everything will be changed, suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye. The dead will resurrect in new bodies — their own, but renewed — just as the Saviour arose in His Body, and on it were the traces of the wounds from the nails and the spear; but it possessed new properties, and in this respect it was a new body. It is unclear whether this will be an altogether new body or that with which man was created.

And the Lord will appear on the clouds with glory. How will we see Him? With our spiritual eyes. Even now, at death, righteous people see that which other people around them do not see.

The trumpets will sound, loud and powerful. They will trumpet in men's souls, in their conscience. Everything in the human conscience will become clear.

The Prophet Daniel, speaking of the Dread Judgment, relates how the Ancient of Days, the judge, is on His throne, and before Him is a river of fire. Fire is a purifying element. Fire scorches sin, it burns it up, and woe also burns it up; if sin has become natural to a man, then it burns up the man himself as well.

That fire will flare up inside a man: on seeing the Cross, some will rejoice, while others will fall into despair, confusion, terror. In this way, men will immediately be separated. In the Gospel narrative, some stand to the right of the Judge, some to the left — their inner consciousness separated them. The very state of a man's soul casts him to one side or the other, to the right or to the left.

The more consciously and persistently a man strives toward God in his life, the greater will be his joy when he hears the words: "Come unto Me, ye blessed"; and conversely, those same words will call forth the fire of horror and torment on those who did not want Him, who fled or fought or blasphemed Him during their life.

The Dread Judgment knows no witnesses or charge-sheets. Everything is recorded in men's souls, and these records, these "books" are open. Everything becomes clear to all and to oneself, and the state of a man's soul assigns him to the right or to the left.

Some go to joy, others to horror.

When the "books" are open, it will become clear to all that the roots of all vices are in man's soul. Here is a drunkard, a fornicator; some may think that when the body dies the sin dies as well. No; the inclination was in the soul, and to the soul the sin was sweet.

And if [the soul] has not repented of that sin and has not become free of it, it will come to the Dread Judgment with the same desire for the sweetness of sin and will never satisfy its desire. In it will be the suffering of hatred and malice. This is the state of hell.

The "fiery Gehenna" is the inner fire; this is the flame of vice, the flame of weakness and malice; and there will be [the] wailing and gnashing of teeth of impotent malice.


√ Abbots and Abbesses of our Time

√ an online Reader Services Horologion is available here 

√ Archibishop Averky blog is making a debut.  Please help me gather the writings of Archibishop Averky that have not already been published by SJKP.   

News Sharing:

email from Rdr. Daniel
OCA in further turmoil, at it's highest levels, plus......

This is mainly about 'The Orthodox Church in America', the new 1970  name for the old North American (Russian) Metropolia, ( in schism from the Church Abroad since 1922-23 when Met. Platon (Roshdyestvensky) made his shameful & deceitful  schism and separated it from the lawful jurisdiction of the Church Abroad) &  when in 1970 it accepted it's 'autocephaly '(independence) FROM! the KGB controlled Moscow Patriarchy. By doing that, in 1970,  the Metropolia recognized the MP....as THE valid Russian Church ,and in reality, made itself SUBSERVIENT to it! a great coup and victory for the communist  Kremlin. Recently, since the 2007 underhanded  capitulation of the ROCOR/MP under Met. Lavr-Shkurla, now  Met. Hilarion-Kapral, ALSO to Moscow, both it and this OCA are mutually, under the loving care and 'holy'  direction of the MP, 'The Mother Church'. And recently, both churches are coming closer and closer to each other, and to their Mother Church.
More and more, we see the bad fruits of this....relationship. It seems to mean more and more chaos, and a disintegration of their churches, from the top down. Especially so, is this clear, with the OCA....which has been in the pocket of Moscow since 1970
OCA Met. Jonah (Paffhausen) was long ago, a very close student/admirer of the MP, and a dear friend to it.
In recent days, he has been openly calling for his OCA to give up it's 'autocephaly',  and become a full/direct PART of the Moscow Patriarchate!.
That same direction, seems what is the Kremlin's  game plan for ROCOR/MP also.
Rd. Daniel in Oregon

"Met. Jonah placed on leave of absence by Synod"........
(& info about his VERY close co-operation with Moscow, etc.)-

Especially read ALL the information here, about Met. Jonah's close work with his beloved MP, and his ever  growing personal power-trip he is on, (just like his mentor, Pat. Kyrill-Gundaev) ,and the growing negative OCA reaction to this, etc.

When will the membership of Met. Hilarion-Kapral's ROCOR/MP also start to wake up?....as to who EXACTLY they submitted themselves to, in May of 2007, with that shameful 'ACT'? "Autonomy"?....what a joke, when one is dealing with a hang-over neo-soviet (communist) regime in Moscow!!!

"News from across the Orthodox world"..........
(interesting info about MP Pat. Kyrill's new...palace, etc.)-

Russia Today, America Tomorrow

-from Russia's Catacomb Saints
St. Joseph of Petrograd

... Even so, he who looks for the Church in the Soviet Union today finds—a hole in the earth, a deep wound in the Orthodox Russian people that is not at all hidden by the false front of the Moscow Patriarchate. But is the situation so very different in the free world? Here voluntary apostasy, renovationism and heresy have achieved much the same result as the coercion of the atheist regime in the USSR. Behind the glittering facade of almost all the free Orthodox Churches, with their "ecumenical" triumphs—is a gaping hole in the earth, all the abyss of difference that exists between the "official" apostates and the "simple mortals:" the saving remnant of Orthodox faithful of many nations. Even now these faithful are being driven into the voluntary catacombs of separation from the ecumenist heresiarchs, gathering around the few truly Orthodox bishops who remain. Thus the Divine Head of the Church prepares them for the greater trials that seem to lie ahead. The prophecy of the holy and clairvoyant Elder Ignaty of Harbin, made some 30 years ago, no longer seems remote:

 "What began in Russia, will end in America"
But if such terrible days be truly upon us, even Orthodox America—so weak, so inexperienced, so naive—has all that is necessary to face these days in the example of Metropolitan Joseph and the True Orthodox Christians of the first land to experience the fearful yoke of satanic atheism ...

---∞ ∞ ∞---

... There were "Sergianists" at that time as there are today, who, even while admitting that it was the best element among the clergy and faithful who went over to the side of the "Josephites," nonetheless accuse and condemn them for their "pride" in believing that they represented the true Orthodox Church of Russia. The statements of Metropolitan Joseph, it is true, are extremely outspoken, absolutely uncompromising in principle, and unsparing of persons. But those who find "pride" in such words are perhaps simply unaware of the critical urgency of the issues involved. 

When the Church is being betrayed and the faithful led astray, it is no time for compliments and polite "dialogues," nor for placing "sympathy" above truth. 

For courageous souls the knowledge that every word may bring prison and death only increases their boldness in speaking the truth without embellishments. And thus it has always been in the Church of Christ; Her outspoken defenders are hymned as champions in the Church's song of praise. Significantly, the righteous polemic of Metropolitan Joseph and his followers has emerged again in the contemporary Soviet Union in the writings of Boris Talantov and other outspoken critics of the Sergianist hierarchy. By comparison, the criticisms of Sergianism in the Russian diaspora are quite mild and charitable ...


Old Photo of St. Philaret

Jurisdictional Ecumenism

A definition of jurisdictional ecumenism as expressed informally by the editor of NFTU, a jurisdictional ecumenist news website

April  2009
Posted by Dcn Joseph Suaiden MondayApril 13, 2009

"...Think of the ROCOR before this wonderful union ... as the ship guided by the Holy Canons, and all of a sudden she veers off path to an unscheduled port.  A pirate hangout, if you will, or a well-known den of well-armed thieves.  People are jumping off and hitting the lifeboats, smaller, but safer.  Whether ROAC, ROCiE, ROCiE-A, ROCOR-A, the RTOC, and RusOC, the Greek or othe OldCalendarists, everyone's on a lifeboat and telling the poor blighted fools to jump off the ship as it is now getting hujacked.  (It has since been pillages and put on an auction block for sale..)

NFTU's policy in dealing with all the True Orthodoc Churches is to support 'everyone on the lifeboats'. and not a particular one..." 

from Joanna's notepad:

The premise of jurisdictional ecumenism is that none of the groups that come out from ROCOR are schismatic or uncanonical:  All are valid, and all they need to do is acknowledge each other's validity and to unite either creating one whole new Church or as sister Churches in communion with each other.  This premise is actually the opposite of what each of the groups believe, since to each of them no other group is canonical except their own. 

Each of the groups believing they are the only canonical group is a characteristic of the super-correct.  But it is actually closer to the truth than jurisdictional ecumenism,  because "the Church is One" and can not be divided.  Only one of the groups can be the true One.  And at the same time, one of them has to be the true One.

So, then, which is the One?

It is not quite accurate to say "the ship guided by the Holy Canons".  The Church is guided by the Holy Spirit.   Logic (human reasoning) drowns out the ability to recognize the Church in spirit.  The canons do not guide the Church so much as they are "carried" by Her, same as with the Bible.  Trying to find the true Church by figuring out which one is following the canons the best is sure to fail.  Because following the canons does not make a true Church.    Following canons is a characteristic, a result, of a true Church.

So, then, how to learn to recognize the Church in spirit.  Seek first the Kingdom.  Only God can show you the truth hiding in this sea of lies we live in.

   Satan has hidden Christianity among false religions.
   Satan has hidden Orthodoxy among false Christianities.
   Satan has hidden "true" Orthodoxy among false Orthodoxies.
and now:
   Satan is hiding God's One Holy Church Militant among divided "true" Orthodoxies.
This latter is being called:  jurisdictional ecumenism.


There exists a certain unity among the so-called "true" Orthodox churches that does not include Holy Communion.  One unofficial spokesman for the Milan synod has even been reported as saying, off record, that for the "trues" to be in communion is not necessary, because they are united by a common purpose, i.e., anti-ecumenism.

Yes, there is a unity there.  It is a certain kind of unofficial old calendar "club" [into which the Milan Synod desires to be accepted ].   But the old calendar can no longer be used as a guide for determining "true".  After all, the KGB-run Moscow Patriarch  and the Soviet-front Milan synod both use the old calendar.  So do some OCA parishes, and Platina – both in world-orthodoxy.

We can see that this invisible unity is a fact, but this unity is not of a holy spirit.  Instead, it is of the same spirit that unites the heterodox denominations.

Note From Fr. Gregory

I hope all of you who are isolated and unable to be in services in church regularly have copies of the Lenten Triodion,  that you may better keep the lenten services at home, at least for Sundays and major weekdays.  If not, now would be a good time to get one.  

You would also, certainly, benefit from the Synaxarion of the Lenten Triodion and Pentecostarion (available on the SJKP website) and/or the considerably more expansive Synaxaristes for the Triodion and Pentecostarion (not yet cataloged, $55 each volume).

A False Understanding of Orthodoxy

The apostasy of our times, to a degree unique in Christian history, is proceeding not primarily by false teachings or canonical deviations, but rather by a false understanding of Orthodoxy on the part of those who may even be perfectly Orthodox in their dogmatic teaching and canonical situation. A correct "Orthodoxy" deprived of the Spirit of true Christianity—this is the meaning of Sergianism, and it cannot be fought by calling it a "heresy," which it is not, nor by detailing its canonical irregularities, which are only incidental to something much more important. 
-from Russia's Catacomb Saints

Regarding the Title of the Patriarch of Jerusalem

"Bozshestvenoyeh Blazshesvenstvo Patriarch"

In Russian (actually, Church-Slavonic - a language much older than Russian, and linked to ancient Church-Greek) the term "Bozshestvenoyeh" is translated into "Divine" in commonly accepted English-LITURGICAL usage, and is commonly used for the "Divine Liturgy"; but if one makes a LITERAL translation from the Russian into plain English, it has to come out as, 'most Godly-heavenly' or something to that VAGUE meaning (really too cumbersome/confusing  to use for English speaking people).
And, then, the word, 'Blazshesvenstvo' is in plain English, (Yego-His) "Blessedship" or  Beatitude.
Some Orthodox patriarchs have also, 'His All-Holiness' as their titles, which to western/modern ears, sounds blasphemous, and way out of order, as, 'Only God is Holy', etc.
Lesser leading bishops, are called, 'His Beautitude' or 'Most Blessed', such as for heads of autocephalous churches, etc.
Remember too, our Orthodox Church is in reality, a GREEK church, and Greek-language and CULTURE- especially the defining Byzantine Glory Period, is THE main language and culture of our Orthodox theology, of most of the Church Fathers, of the Bible itself, and also of many of our Orthodox CUSTOMS, such as with these Byzantine grand titles for our bishops and patriarchs, etc.
And also, when TRANSLATING anything Orthodox from the original Orthodox languages, such as from Church-Slavonic ("Russian") or Greek, or whatever, into western modern languages, there are many problems, as we are dealing with CROSS-CULTURES and different VALUE systems.
For instance, to English-ears and culture, (heavily influenced by heterodox and Protestant ideas), for a man to have the first name of 'Jesus', or 'Christos', as some Greeks or Hispanics have, sounds like BLASPHEMY! and is offensive to us and upsets our English-cultural sensitivities, as also, Russians do not use these sacred names as first names for men.
Also, in Russian, when one is addressing an Orthodox bishop (from the Russian usage), we are to say, "Dear Holy Master", and in church we sing the Greek, "(God grant ) Many Years to Our Beloved DESPOT!" ...Eis polla yeti despota! (which even the Russians have always kept in the original Greek and not translated it into Slavonic).
Yet in modern usage, a 'despot' is a very evil tyrannical person, not someone whom we can LOVE or obey!
And, I am sure, that Greek or Slavonic Orthodox liturgical texts or titles, etc., translated into MODERN Portuguese or Spanish, also must have some problems.
Such are the differing cultural problems, in the modern world, but too, even in past centuries, these cultural problems existed, and yet the Church moved forward and preached the Gospel to all.
Also, one has to keep in mind Orthodox theology and THEOSIS!  Yes, only God is 'Holy' (totally holy), but humans, the saints, who ATTAIN to a certain lesser  DEGREE of holiness, 'theosis' or 'deification', etc. THROUGH asceticism/repentance/shedding of the passions of the flesh and our sins,  ...which is the WHOLE aim of the Orthodox Christian life in Christ... they (we) SHARE in a measure of His holiness, His VIRTUE.  Because otherwise, how would they (we) FIT/belong into HEAVEN? ...where ONLY THE SANCTIFIED CAN DWELL, with God and His saints-?
"Holy things are for the holy!" as it declares in the liturgy!
"You are called to be saints!" says Apostle Paul".
We give such holy titles to our bishops, (as we do to the Theotokos and our saints, and to holy PLACES/holy images and objects, which have been MADE holy, by HOLY USE! etc.) because we EXPECT them, the clergy, we want to encourage them, to emulate and copy the holiness of God, TO BE HOLY!!!, because we truly believe that our Orthodox Church IS VERY HOLY!
Our Orthodox mentality is very very obsessed with HOLINESS, i.e. the sanctification of our souls and bodies and of everything around us, this entire material world, with the transforming SAVING power and virtue of God, the re-calling of the fallen creation, back to the Kingdom of God, to that pre-Fall of Adam, back to the original Paradise of the Garden of Eden.
Rd. Daniel in Oregon


√ Fr. Victor comments on Patriarch Ireneus

√ Daily Courier comments on Patriarch Ireneus

We Are in Communion With Imprisoned Patriarch Ireneus

09.02.11. Законный Патриарх Иерусалимский Ириней подтвердил единство Поместной Иерусалимской Церкви с Русской Православной Церковью Заграницей под омофором Митрополита Агафангела и благословил поминать свое имя на Великом Входе. Титул Патриарха Иринея: Его Божественное Блаженство Патриарх Святаго Града Иерусалима и всея Палестины, Сирии, Аравии, всего Заиорданья, Каны Галилейския и святаго Сиона.
09.02.11. The lawful Patriarch of Jerusalem, Ireneus, confirmed the unity of the Local Jerusalem Church with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad under the omophorion of Metropolitan Agafangel, and he gave a blessing for his name to be commemorated at the Great Entrance. Partriarch Ireneus' title: His divine beatitude, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine, Syria, Arabia, all of Transjordan, Cana of Galilee and holy Sion.
Official website:  http://www.gopoj.org/

Considering the Old Ritual in ROCOR

Orthodox Life, Sept-Oct 1983

A New Old-Ritual Parish
the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

A very significant event for the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad occurred on Sunday 11/24 July, 1983 in Erie, Pa.  On that day a large and thriving parish of Old Believers was fully united with the Church.  Archbishop Laurus of Syracuse and Holy Trinity, together with Bishop Alypy of Cleveland and many other clergy, participated in the long and moving services, which were performed according to the Old Rites of the Russian Church.   This included -- for the first time for this parish, which was formed in 1919 -- the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

These Old  Believers were the "Priestless" variety, which has not had the priesthood and the Mysteries since the 17th century.  At that time, Patriarch Nikon decided to correct the liturgical books used in Russia.  There were many differences, from place to place, as well as between Russian and Greek usage.  In fact, considerable change had taken place in the Greek texts since the time they were translated into Slavonic.  There was no major principle at stake in the change -- the doctrines remained the same -- but over the years, liturgical practice evolved along divergent lines in Greece and Russia.  The same trend has also continued since the time of Nikon:  the Greek service books of one hundred years or more ago are much closer to their Slavonic counterparts than are the current editions.

As a result, the reforms did not succeed in unifying Greek and Russian texts or customs, and it appears that they even introduced some new discrepancies:  in some points the old version agrees with the Greek text, but in the new does not.  The one thing accomplished therefore, was to create a rift between those who used the two translations.

The situation began to improve when the All-Russian Council was called in 1917 in Moscow, largely through the efforts of Metropolitan Anthony [Khrapovitsky] and his successor, Metropolitan Anastassy.  They often served according to the old, pre-Nikonian church books and did much to foster mutual respect and charity between the two groups.  Their labors in their regard were renewed by our own Synod of Bishops in 1974, when by a ukase [declaration] the Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad declared that the ancient customs and rites were Orthodox; that the anathemas imposed on the Old Believers were lifted, and that the old rite could be used in certain cases.  In this declaration, marked by its spirit of charity and motivated by a real desire to mend an unfortunate rift in the fabric of Russian life, the Synod appealed to all to forget the past and its offenses and change their attitudes toward one another.

After a long study of the schism and the Church, one young member of the parish of Erie, Pimen Simon, left a successful law practice to devote himself to his future flock as a nastavnik, or reader.  He made contact with the pastor of the Synodal church in Erie at the time, Fr. Theodore Jurewicz, a young iconographer, who welcomed the opportunity to study and utilize the ancient icons that filled the Old  Believer church.  Later, especially on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Fr. Pimen became more acutely aware of the loss entailed by the Old  Believer position in being separated from the Holy Mysteries of the Church.

At first, the general reaction to his insight was a subdued one, but like a true pastor, he guided and educated and exhorted his parish with words of understanding, so that the decision to reunite with the Church became an almost unanimous one.  [As always, in cases of major changes, a small group decided to continue in their former practices.]

Once the decision was made, matters moved quickly to their culmination through the help of many, including Fr. Dimitry Alexandrov,  well known for his tireless efforts in behalf of the Old  Rite.  The change required not only the ordination of a priest, but the addition of a sanctuary to the back of the prayer house, which had been designed so that the rear wall was covered with icons, in place of a traditional iconostasis.

After he and his family were united to the Holy Church through Chrismation on June 24/July 7, the Feast of the Birth of the Forerunner and Baptiser, St. John, Fr. Pimen visited Holy Trinity Monastery to be ordained deacon by Archbishop Laurus.  It was then arranged that on July 11/24, the Feast of the Equal to the Apostles, Princess St. Olga, Archbishop Laurus would consecrate the newly constructed sanctuary and ordain Fr. Pimen to the priesthood.  Fr. Pimen then used the Dormition fast to chrismate and prepare his flock for their first communion.  On the Sunday of the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, almost the entire parish partook of the Divine Mysteries for the first time in their lives.

The parish will continue to hold services in the Old  Rite in both Slavonic and English languages.  Thus the restoration of the priesthood at the Church of the Nativity and its return to communion with the Church is of benefit to all sides.  The Old  Ritualists once again have the fullness of the sacramental life, and those who follow the newer books will have an inspiration and access to a rich, edifying, and purely native tradition of great antiquity.

Concerning the Old Ritual

The Decision of the Council of Bishops
the Russian Church Abroad

The Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has considered the question of the attitude of the Russian Church to the customs and rites which She observed in former days, known by the general name of "the Old Ritual," and contained in the liturgical books printed before the middle of the 17th century; and also the interdicts and anathemas which were imposed by the Moscow Councils of 1656 and 1667 and by individual persons in respect of the observation of these customs.


1.  The Orthodox Church has long ago permitted a diversity of local customs in conditions of unity in the truth of the faith;

2.  The Old Rites do not express any unOrthodox teaching of which the participants of the above-mentioned councils accuse them;

3.  The anathemas pronounced by these councils were the cause of many disasters for the Russian Church and led not to peace in the Church, which was the aim of their authors, but to the schism and falling away from the Church of many adherents to the Old Rituals, to a fruitless polemic on the question of ritual, in the midst of which intolerable "slanderous expressions" were employed by both sides, and also to the persecution of those who held differing views, as a result of which many zealots of the old rites suffered;

4.  The old rites comprise a part of our common ecclesiastical and historical heritage which should not be eradicated;

5.  From the year 1800, the use of the Old Rituals was permitted by the Russian Church, and the interdicts on active members were lifted and revoked;

6.  In the last century, the Russian Church, headed by Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, took steps to revoke the anathemas on the Old Ritual but this was not achieved due to misunderstandings;

7.  The Pre-Council of 1906 in which Metropolitan Anthony actively participated resolved to petition the future local Council "to revoke the anathemas on the two-fingered faithful as they were imposed because of bad feelings" and "to rescind them just as the Council of 1667 rescinded the anathemas of the Hundred Chapter Council on those who did not use two fingers in their devotions";

8.  The Council of 1917-1918, although it did not formulate a conciliar act concerning this question [since it had no possibility of peacefully concluding its business], still it resolved, on the testimony of Metropolitan Anthony to rescind these anathemas, to accept into our Church the Old Ritualists bishops at the rank they then held and provide Old Ritualist bishops for the Orthodox Old Ritualists, but patriarch Tikhon, shortly after his accession to the patriarchal throne, appointed the first Orthodox Old Ritualist bishop [who was subsequently martyred] as bishop of Okhten, Simon [Shleev], a defender of the old rites and supporter of the rescinding of the anathemas.

9.  Their Beatitudes Metropolitan Anthony and Anastassy themselves repeatedly served according to the old books in the Orthodox Old Ritualist Churches.

10.  The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad, by a decree dated August 26/September 8, 1964 recognized the old rites as Orthodox and blessed the use of them by those who so desired;

11.  The Third Council Abroad, with the participation of the clergy and laity, persistently requested the Council of Bishops to lift these anathemas --

Now the Council of Bishops 
of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad 

1.  To consider the ancient liturgical customs and rites contained in the service books of the Russian Church before the middle of the century as Orthodox and salutary;

2.  To consider the interdicts and anathemas imposed in the past on those who adhered to these customs, by the Councils of 1656 and 1667, and also by certain individuals who took part in the councils, because of misunderstandings, as null and void and rescinded;

3.  To permit the use of the old rites by those who wish to observe them and who are in communion with the Orthodox Church, provided however that this does not result in any confusion in the church life of existing parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad;

4.  Not to demand from those Old  Ritualists who wish to be accepted into liturgical communion, and renunciation of the old rites and acceptance by them of contemporary rites.  Also, to appoint priests for them and, if necessary, bishops who will be obliged to observe accurately the ancient ceremonial;

5.  To call the Old Ritualists on their part to respect our rites as worthy and of equal honour as the old;

6.  While grieving over the split that occurred and, in particular, over the persecutions inflicted on the adherents to the old rites, the Council of Bishops, however does not consider that it has the right to judge concerning the responsibility of the separate individuals for what took place, since all the participants have long ago appeared before the judgment seat of God to Whom they had to give an account for their deeds.   The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has never participated in inimical actions against the Old Ritualists.  Therefore, the Council of Bishops appeals to them to forget those previous offences and injustices and instead of remembering this evil, consider rather how to so arrange their church life in exile in the best way for the salvation of Christian souls;

7.  The Council of Bishops calls on all Orthodox Christians not to resume, out of imaginary zeal for Orthodoxy, unnecessary disputes over ritual and in particular, not to repeat the intolerable and censorious expressions , since both rituals have been sanctified.  Such expressions, whensoever and by whomsoever they were used in the past, the Council of Bishops rejects and considers rescinded.

+Metropolitan Philaret
President of the Council of Bishops
12/25 September 1974
New York

Do We Laugh or Do We Cry?

A RocorRefugee received this email today:

Subject: a newkgb/mp hq ?
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2011 20:04:55 -0600

this is from the pro-Moscow rocor/mp yahoo page

millions of euros will be spent to build the new kgb spy
headquarters in Paris, and so MP can keep tabs on their church friends and
and the kgb can infiltrate their European friends ...

one of the dummies on their yahoo page proudly posted this so all could
vote and show their loyalty to the cause ........
"Some modern designs for the new Russian Orthodox Church in Paris!
These are the 10 finalists."
(Fantastic possible designs/models, with French text):

Russian clergy to be able to run in elections

The three-day council gathered to solve the most urgent issues for the church and society, including the possibility for clergy to occupy political posts.
07:27 03/02/2011

The Bishops Council of the Russian Orthodox Church on Wednesday allowed priests to run in elections in exceptional cases.

The three-day council, the Church's top administration body, gathered in downtown Moscow's magnificent Christ the Savior Cathedral to solve the most urgent issues for the church and society, including the possibility for clergy to occupy political posts.

Normally, priests cannot be nominated to run in elections to any legislative power bodies. This time, a document was adopted that contains a reservation.

The reservation says "exceptions from this rule can only be made when election of hierarchs or clergy to a legislative power body is caused by the necessity to oppose forces, including those schismatically minded or those of other faiths, who try to use elections to power bodies to fight the Orthodox Church."

However, priests will still be banned from becoming members of any political parties.
MOSCOW, February 3 (RIA Novosti)