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


Forgiveness Sunday

from Joanna's notepad

Forgiveness does not mean that the consequences of the offense are erased.

Let's say a convert repents his former life and gets baptized.  This imaginary convert is covered with hellish tattoos, and he had at one time paid for his girlfriend to have an abortion.  When he comes out of the baptismal waters, are the tattoos washed away?  Is the dead baby brought back to life?

When I forgive you your offenses against me, it does not mean that I trust you again, or that I forget what you are capable of, or that I give you another chance, or that I might let you back into my life.

When I forgive you it means that I am not in anyway trying to punish you, or to "teach you a lesson," or hoping to see your "correction" even for your own sake.   It means that I tell God that I will not stand with your accusers on Judgement Day – that I will not help the demons try to drag a soul to hell.  And I pray to your Guardian angel and tell him, that if the demons try to accuse you of your offense against me, then your Angel can reply that the offense is forgiven.  If I do not hold it against you, then it is useless to the demons.  Further, I pray to God that you go ahead of me into the Kingdom, as one less undeserving than I.

You already have my forgiveness – whether you ask or not, whether you apologize or not, whether you change or not.   My forgiving you depends only on me. 

Prayer Request

From St. Edwards Brotherhood
Newly Departed

Dear all, bless!

We have just heard that Nadezhda passed away today at about four o'clock in the afternoon.  A priest was with her today to say the prayers for her departure. Please remember her in your prayers - through her whole life she was a faithful member of the Church.  After her long suffering, may her rest now be with the Saints and her Memory Eternal.

Please pray also for Michael, her husband, and their sons, Nicholas, George, Alexander and Peter, and for her sister, Xenia, and brother, Alexander, that they may be comforted in their bereavement.

In the love of Christ,

Fr. Alexis

Holy Unction Scheduled

Holy Trinity ROC in Astoria, NY with the Blessing of Vl. Andronick will have the Sacrament of Holy Unction or Soborovnye take place on Friday March 9, 2012 at 6pm.
Thank you,  Fr. Wsewolod

Funeral for Maria

Hieromonk Makary sends a report on the funeral of Maria Grigorevna Pashkovskaya, mother of our dear Metropolitan Agafangel:

Today at the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael in Odessa the funeral service of the handmaid of God Maria was conducted by Hieromonk Mefodii. 

In addition to Metropolitan Agafangel were three other priests besides myself, Archpriests Vasilii, Vitalii and Viacheslav and numerous parishioners and friends of the newly departed Maria.  Also there were Abbess Alexandra and nuns from the convent of St. John of Shanhai and San Francisco who sang spiritually and beautifully, adding immensely to the solemnity. 

The interment was at a local cemetery in Odessa.  The mercy meal [pominka] was at the cathedral and many shared memories of the departed.  Unknown to many, Vladiko's mother was an inspiration to him to dedicate his life in service to the church.  Also, Vladiko cared for his bedridden mother at home.  Especial mention should be made of Mother Raphaela and Igumenya Alexandra who supported Vladiko and did an enormous charitable good work in caring for her in difficult circumstances.

Eternal memory to handmaid of God Maria. 
Hieromonk Makary

Memory Eternal

Hieromonk Makary sends us sad news from the Ukraine

"Sad news to report, Maria, the mother of our Metropolitan Agafangel has passed away today.  Lord, grant her rest with the saints and angels.  She was lovingly and dutifully cared for by her son, our Metropolitan.  May we all offer heartfelt condolences to His Eminence on this sorrowful occasion."


√  •Reminder: Divine Liturgy in English this coming Saturday Feb 25 ten a.m. Holy Trinity Church, Astoria.  Thank You for attending.  Sub-deacon Ilarion

"Knock knock, Mr. Putin and Pat. Kirill II, the past, your past is coming back to haunt and perhaps bite you both. The old Soviet Communist bag of tricks isn't working anymore.  Lies, murder, corruption and persecuting enemies real or perceived no longer are acceptable . The day of reckoning is coming."

Remember: you are a son of the Church

FW: SHARING: Earthquakes near Mt. Athos-some damage/cross at top of Mt, Athos, slides downwards-
And more earthquakes predicted- 
1) on http://orthodoxy-news.livejournal.com  (in Russian, but this can be put through the google-translate to get an English version)-
2)Also on orthodoxy-news, "Trying to make Athos open to women" (also in Russian, but this too can be translated)-


√ See MAGNIFICENT photos: the raising of the shiny new domes on top of Roca Church dedicated to St. John in the Ukraine.  Item dated 15.02.12

Resources for Upcoming Services

Pochaev Monastery

a holy place of Orthodox pilgrimage for a number of centuries

Daniel Sharing: "Pochaev" Monastery, (in Russian narration) – very long film of it's history, etc.

And because I understand only a little of the Russian narration, I do not vouch for whatever all is said in this, however, all of the historical re-enactments and various other depictions, provide a basic picture of this miraculous place in Orthodox history.

Here the Virgin Mary visited and appeared in an apparition and left her foot print in the stone, which is there to this day, plus the appearance of her miraculous icon.  And over the centuries, there are countless recorded other miracles.

This very holy place, among the most holy in all the Orthodox world, though founded by the Orthodox, was taken from Orthodox hands at least for two long periods (under Polish rule it was taken by the Uniates, who had it for a long time).   Now  it appears to be run by the MP (?); still it remains a very holy place, to all Orthodox people.

The scenes of the place, as it looks today, and of the miraculous icon, alone make it worth viewing this long very well done presentation, even for those who cannot understand the Russian.
Rd. Daniel

Sermon by Father Victor Dobroff

January 1/14, 2012

From Holy Trinity Church, Astoria, New York-
Shared by Sub-deacon Illarion Marr. 

+In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Dear brothers and sisters, today is a special day.  Today we celebrate three feasts.  First of all, we are celebrating a major Holy day-the Circumcision of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are also celebrating one of the greatest saints of Orthodoxy and I would even say, of the whole Christendom, Saint Basil the Great.  And, thirdly it is the New Year according to the Julian Calendar - Happy New Year!   
Speaking about St Basil the Great, I only want to say two things, because our Sub-Deacon Ilarion will distribute the life of St Basil the Great to you so you will get familiar with the life of Saint Basil. Today you may have noticed that the singing was longer, truly today was an unusual liturgy -  the liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, which we celebrate in the Orthodox Church only ten times a year. Today happened to be one of those days. This service is very intense spiritually and the prayers of the priest are significantly longer compared to the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom which we are all accustomed to. The prayers are intense and I am sure everyone present here felt the power of the service. We have the Icon of St Basil here in the middle of the church but also today when you will come to venerate the cross I will bring out our Holy Altar table cross which contains the Holy relics of St. Basil the Great. I personally felt that he was concelebrating today and that he was present with us. So when you come to venerate the cross today please remember what kind of cross this is.  That is the only thing I would like to say about Saint Basil today – the rest you will read in the distributed material.

Today we are also celebrating the Circumcision of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many Orthodox Christians have questions as to why do we celebrate the Circumcision of Jesus Christ?  They say: "We live in the New Testament - we don’t circumcise as this is an Old Testament practice. What is even the point of celebrating this day in the Orthodox Church?"  Dear brothers and sisters, this happens to be one of the most important events in the Church that we celebrate.  As a matter of fact, when you hear the dismissal of The Holy Liturgy, you'll hear words: “…Who on the eighth day has deigned to be circumcised for our salvation…” The Church says that this event was important for our salvation - that the circumcision of Jesus Christ served us to receive salvation! So what is the nature of this feast then?  
As you know, the circumcision was established before the Law was given in the times of Abraham.  Patriarch Abraham was the first to enter into a covenant with God and the sign of that covenant was circumcision. Later, his ancestors and, in particular, Moses received the Law of God and we tend to consider this to be the beginning of the Old Testament. The Old Testament, however, started not from Moses and not from the Sinai Law. The Old Testament started much earlier and the Covenant between God and man was with Abraham and was established through circumcision. So how does this affect us today and what the circumcision is all about?  
First of all, in the New Testament Church circumcision is actually continues! Every one of us is circumcised. You remember Jesus Christ said, “I came not to break the Law but to fulfill it”  In Slavonic, in Greek, and in English the meaning of the word fulfill is not only meant to obey but also to fill something up like a vessel. And that is the meaning of the circumcision in the New Testament. As a physical sign it was given to the Old Testament believers, starting from Abraham, and it continues on, but in the New Testament times it is filled with a deep spiritual meaning and grace. In the New Testament when we are baptized, the Holy Baptism serves as a replacement for the circumcision.  
Physical circumcision is done in the flesh, and the Holy Baptism is the circumcision in spirit and heart, and that’s why everyone here present is circumcised. That’s why there should not be anything antagonistic  for us, the  Orthodox believers towards circumcision because we all happen to be circumcised too. We are circumcised in our hearts as it was taught by Saint Paul and the Holy Fathers. 
The circumcision in the Old Testament times was performed on every newborn male child on the eighth day. Why the eight day?  Because the number eight has a very special meaning. If you recall, it is written "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day".  According to the teaching of the Orthodox Church and the Holy Fathers, we currently live in the Seventh Day and the Eighth  Day has not yet come.  The Eighth Day is the Day of salvation, the Day of eternity which will come on the Lord's Day with His second coming. On that Day the righteous will enter into the life eternal. We say Sunday is the first day of the week because Saturday is the seventh day-the sabbath, the day on which the Lord rested. While we live in the "Seventh Day" period we count Sunday as the first day of every week and Saturday as the seventh.  But when the Lord's Day comes and the age of the Seventh Day ends, Sunday will open up as the eternity of the Eighth Day.  Usually Christians come to church on Sundays, which is a depiction of the Lord's Day to come. The Lord Jesus said: "I am the Alpha and the Omega" - that is, the beginning and the end, and so is the Lord's Day, Sunday - is the first day and the eighth day simultaneously.

So what is the meaning of the circumcision and what is the reason to celebrate it?  What is so special about this day?  As I have already mentioned, it is because we are all circumcised.  That’s the first reason why we celebrate the circumcision of our Lord.   
But another reason is that on the Eighth day after His Birth Christ was circumcised so it is a depiction of His coming and fulfillment of His mission: according to the Holy Fathers number seven is the sign of fulfillment, in this case  - fulfillment of task and the sign of the time. Therefore Jesus Christ fulfilled His duties which His Father put upon Him and entered into eternity.  
On the other hand, when Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day, He joined Israel.  And what is Israel?  Israel is a mystical body. There is nothing national about Israel. Israel is a group of believers chosen by God who love God. That is, those who live in a special union with Him. Therefore, you can say "Israel" or you can say "Church" interchangeably.  
The Old Testament Israel was not fully united with God. Abraham was in a covenant with God, but Israel was not in a union with God as the Church today.  We truly do receive God as those of us, who received Holy Communion today, we entered into complete union with Him.  We partook in the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ, and we know that the Trinity - our God, is indivisible -wherever there is Jesus -  there is the Father and there is the Holy Spirit as well.  Receiving Christ we are receiving God, we are receiving the Holy Trinity and the "Grace upon Grace" – the Grace of the New Testament. We, the New Testament Israel, are constantly living in a state of grace because we are in a complete union with God which was impossible for most Old Testament believers with the exception of a few holy people who were especially chosen by God. 
When we go home and we open our favorite book, the Holy Bible, we see the Old Testament and the New Testament - all in one book. Why aren't  we using only the New Testament?  So why do the Orthodox Christians use both the Old Testament and the New Testament Scriptures?
Because the Wisdom of the Bible says that "There is nothing new under the sun". 
And if we are the true Israel of God, we are a continuation of the Old Testament Israel and it is imperative that we indeed have a connection.
If we do not have a connection with the Old Testament we are just self-proclaimed believers and self-proclaimed prophets. 
Therefore, we have to have union with the Old Testament, somehow to be in the union with Abraham, so that the promise given to Abraham will also relate to us.
When Jesus Christ received circumcision, He joined the Old Testament Israel, so the Giver of the New Testament, received Old Testament baptism. And that is the connection, the link - Jesus Christ is the link between the New Testament and the Old Testament Church.
That’s why every one of us may consider himself a complete and full member of the Old Testament Israel because through Jesus Christ the New Testament Israel and the Old Testament Israel are indeed united.

Yet there is another reason why today is a major Feast Day.
This day has great significance for the end times.
There is a tradition in the Church of Jerusalem, which goes back to the very beginning of the Christian Era: In the last days, when the antichrist will sit on his throne in the rebuilt temple of Jerusalem, on this very day when Jesus Christ received His circumcision, it will become known - and we don’t know how - it remains a mystery and nobody knows how - but it will be revealed, that the antichrist is an uncircumcised man and a descendant of the tribe of Dan.  
The King of Israel, the Messiah, which the jews were waiting and waiting for all this time until now, cannot be a descendant of any other tribe than the tribe of Judah.
He must be a descendant of King David and He must be a member of the nation of Israel and therefore must be circumcised. 
And on this very day, in the not so distant future, it will be revealed to the jews that the one that they have accepted as their messiah is an uncircumcised descendant of the tribe of Dan, that is - he is not the Messiah!  
The jews on this very day will turn away from the antichrist!
Instead of being apostles and servants of antichrist the jews will become servants of Christ Jesus and they will recognize Him as the True King of Israel, as the True Messiah, the True circumcised Israeli, True descendant of King David!  
That is why we are going to celebrate this feast day in our Church until the very last days, because this day is the essential day for salvation.  
As mentioned earlier today, it is also the New Year and this day will become truly the New Year for jews when they accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah.
Today Jesus shed first drops of His Precious Blood for humanity and that first Blood of circumcision was shed for Israel. 
And that’s why the gift of salvation, which was offered first to jews on this very day more than two thousand years ago, is still awaiting the day when they will understand and accept the Grace that was offered and will come aboard the Ark of Covenant –  the Ark of Salvation, which is a True Church of Christ.
Amen.  **If you wish to hear Father Victor's sermons in the future you may do so at the next Divine Liturgy in English on Saturday February 25th at 10 a.m. at Holy Trinity Church 25-36 37th Street Astoria N.Y. - Astoria Boulevard subway stop**


Notice who was given a special chair in front of the iconostas.

New Order of RocorMP

Ladies and Gentleman, the new order of ROCORMP

This is a copy-paste from the internet forum Paradosis:

> From: penelopelezontier
> To: orthodox-tradition@yahoogroups.com 
> Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
> Subject: [paradosis] Wisdom Gleaned From Father Seraphim Rose
> The life of self-centeredness and self-satisfaction lived by most of todays Christians is so all-pervading that it effectively seals them off from any understanding at all of spiritual life; and when such people do undertake spiritual life, it is only as another form of self-satisfaction. This can be seen quite clearly in the totally false religious ideal both of the charismatic movement and the various forms of Christian meditation: all of them promise (and give very quickly) an experience of contentment and peace. But this is not the Christian ideal at all, which, if anything, may be summed up as a fierce battle and struggle.
> Orthodox Christians! Hold fast to the grace which you have; never let it become a matter of habit; never measure it by merely human standards or expect it to be logical or comprehensible to those who understand nothing higher than what is human Let all true Orthodox Christians strengthen themselves for the battle ahead, never forgetting that in Christ the victory is already ours.
 Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, CA, 1979.
> ...Orthodox Christians of these latter times are indeed spiritually sleeping and desperately need to be awakened by a trumpet of the Spirit like Saint Symeon [the New Theologian]. Those who are Orthodox by birth and habit are not those who will inherit the eternal Kingdom of Heaven; they must be awakened to the conscious fulfillment of Christs commandments and a conscious reception of God's Holy Spirit, as Saint Symeon so eloquently taught.
> ...For Saint Symeon, as for all true Orthodox Christians, theology is life; the true words of God which speak to the Christian heart, raise it from its sloth and negligence, and inspire it to struggle for the eternal Kingdom, which may be tasted in advance even now in the life of grace which God sends down upon His faithful through His sanctifying Holy Spirit.
Preface to The Sin of Adam and our Redemption: Seven Homilies by Saint Symeon the New Theologian; St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, CA, 1979.
> As to the fatalism of those who believe that man must be a slave to the spirit of the age, it is disproved by the experience of every Christian worthy of the name, for the Christian life is nothing if it is not a struggle against the spirit of every age for the sake of eternity.
> man's freedom has been given him to choose between the true God and himself, between the true path to deification whereon the self is humbled and crucified in this life to be resurrected and exalted in God and eternity, and the false path of self-deification which promises exaltation in this life but ends in the Abyss. These are the only two choices, ultimately, open to the freedom of man; and upon them have been founded the two Kingdoms, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Man, which may be discriminated only by the eye of faith in this life, but which shall be separated in the future life as Heaven and Hell. It is clear to which of them modern civilization belongs.  The old commandment of Thou shalt, says [Nietzsches] Zarathustra, has become outmoded; the new commandment is I will.
> In the Christian life, the old self with its constant I will must be done away with and a new self, centered in Christ and His will, be born.
> Christian compromise in thought and word and negligence in deed have opened the way to the triumph of the forces of the absurd, of Satan, of Antichrist. The present age of absurdity is the just reward of Christians who have failed to be Christians.
> It is futile, in fact it is precisely absurd, to speak of reforming society, of changing the path of history, of emerging into an age beyond absurdity, if we have not Christ in our hearts; and if we do have Christ in our hearts, nothing else matters.
"Subhumanity: The Philosophy of the Absurd" in The Orthodox Word, Platina, Sept.-Oct. 1982.
> We must not artificially isolate ourselves from the reality of todays world; rather, we must learn to use the best things the world has to offer, for everything good in the world "if we are only wise enough to see it" points to God, and we must make use of it. Too many people make the mistake of limiting Orthodoxy to church services, set prayers, and the occasional reading of a spiritual book. True Orthodoxy, however, requires a commitment that involves every aspect of our lives. One is Orthodox all the time every day, in every situation of life or one is not really Orthodox at all. For this reason we must develop an Orthodox worldview and live it.
"Living an Orthodox World-View", a lecture given at the St Herman Summer Pilgrimage, Platina, CA, August 1980; Orthodox America, Aug.-Sept. 1982.

Peter Chaplain  wrote:
> You have quite a large amount of material that you want to teach us. I have been taught to be careful about whom I listen to concerning religion. So I'm sure you won't mind answering one simple question? Who is your bishop?
> Thank you,
> Peter Chaplain


From: "bobkrainiak"


I believe Penelope stated that she is attending an Antiochian parish or mission or whatever and makes pilgrimages to a Serbian monastery.

Is presentation of the writings of Father Seraphim (Rose) now a trigger for presenting "papers" and "bonafides"?

I will give you Fr. Seraphim's Bishop(s) since that is the material being presented:

1). St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
2). Archbishop Tikhon of San Francisco, whose relics were once reported to be incorrupt and myrrh streaming
3). Metropolitan Anastassy of ROCOR, whose relics were once reported to be incorrupt
4). Metropolitan Philaret, Confessor, whose relics were once reported to be incorrupt [and it is now confirmed -jh]
5). Archbishop Anthony of San Francisco, a righteous and holy man
6). Bishop Nektary of Seattle, a zealous preacher of Orthodoxy and a spiritual son of Holy Elder Nektary of Optina
7). Bishop Sava of Edmonton, a Serbian holy and ascetic bishop
8). Archbishop Leonty of Chile, a zealous and true Orthodox pastor

All of these Bishops approved the content presented. They were the authentic voices of ROCOR.

But you seem to want to suppress the material?  Ladies and Gentleman, the new order of ROCOR[MP].

Robert Krainiak

A Collection of Bell-ringing videos

Bells of Holy Trinity:

My peal - the Danilov monastery Мой звон в Свято-Даниловом:

The Famous Big Bells Around Europe:

Church or Cathedral Bells Around Germany:

Красный звон:


Sunday bells ringing in Koptevo, Moscow Russia:

 Елена Грандова (г. Рига, Латвия) _ Москва, 2009 г. Russian bells:

Καμπάνες Άγιον Όρος Church Bells of Mount Athos 2011:

Pascha Bells in Jerusalem:

A bell study: Comparing Orthodox styles of bells and bell ringing

Yaroslav bell ringing'

Note: These are two good examples of the special English style of bell ringing, and of the typical sound of English bells., what pitches/notes  they seem to prefer, etc.  This style, is called, 'Change Ringing'.

York Minster Bells on tuesday Practise 29th. August 2000

Bells of Tewkesbury Abbey

Multiple Choice

In his autobiography, Alvin Karpis mentioned his young friend and neighbor who was also his music student: 

"... to my surprise, he learned quickly.  He had a pleasant voice and a pleasing personality, although he was unusually meek and mild.  He never had a harsh word to say and was never involved in an argument."
About whom was Alvin Karpis speaking?

a.  Richard Nixon
b.  Fr. Seraphim Rose
c.  Hulk Hogan
d.  Charles Manson


An Orthodox Life

short biography of newly-reposed Vladimir

Dear friends!
I’ve already told many about my father’s death, and to all who have responded I heartily thank them for the compassion and the prayers. The funeral [chants] and the burial were held on February 1 [New Calendar] – the day of my parents’ wedding. Yesterday I came back home to the monastery (Lesna Convent) and I gradually became involved in all obediences and work. Whoever is interested, below I include an obituary, which was distributed after the funeral [chants].

For my dad and brother:
Vladimir Konstantinovich Molchanov 
August 23, 1915 – January 28, 2012

On Saturday morning, January 28th, 2012  at the age of 97 after  his long and eventful life, my dad died – Vladimir K. Molchanov.  I ask for prayers for the repose of his soul.  My dad was an extremely gentle, kind and affectionate man.  Many knew him, respected and loved him.

He was born in Kharkov, July 23rd, 1915.  My grandfather served there as an officer with the railroad, and in the years of the White movement formation he helped the white soldiers and officers move to the south, as well as resolve problems with food and weapons supply.  He evacuated along with the White Army via Crimea during the Great Exodus and ended up in Serbia.  My Grandma and Dad stayed in Kharkov until the wife of Gen. Denikin, with whom my grandfather had worked a lot, did  help them go [abroad] to Belgrade – some time in the 1920's.  By that time my grandmother's sister, having parted with her husband – a white officer – was [already] a prominent Bolshevik, a [lady] commissioner [komissarka] and she strongly persuaded my grandmother to stay, but my grandmother did not want my father to grow up fatherless, so she went along with him to Serbia under the protection of the blessed King Alexander, who has done so much for the Russian White emigres.  My dad went to the Belgrade Russian high school, he was a few years younger than Andrew and Leo Bartoshevich, the would-be bishops Anthony and Leontius of ROCOR.  My dad remembered Metr. Anthony (Khrapovitsky), he also visited Khopovo, where our Lesna monastery was [back] then and to where Russian children were often moved.  Perhaps he saw the Rev. Ekatherina, our founder, who was especially fond of children, but my father could not remember this.  After high school he enrolled with a medical faculty and was already finishing his studies when World War II began.  Dreaming, like all the white emigration was, of Russia’s liberation, my dad joined the organization of NTS, which sent young people into German-occupied territory of the USSR, with the aim of organizing societies [circles] resisting the Soviet government.  Dad made it to Kiev.  He told how he was literally being enticed from the street and asked to be the godfather at baptisms in churches that opened up then.  In his old age he recollected  it all and worried that he had agreed so light-heartedly to this, and he never remembered the names even of all these numerous godchildren.  Then my father was sent to Minsk, where he was arrested by the Germans.  He sat in jail for almost a year and nearly died of typhus and starvation.  In prison, he came to conscious faith, before that – like he used to say, he observed everything inertly, by tradition rather.  My dad managed to go [out – abroad] from Minsk to Poland, where he lived for several months after prison, and after the prison he visited Fr. Konstantin Soloviev, whose sons were also NTS members.  After the war Fr. Konstantin chanced into France and he was appointed by St. John of Shanghai to a parish in the town of Pau, and later lived and died at our monastery, in Furka.  His Matushka [Hegumenia] remained at the monastery and became nun Natalia.  My dad met her again when he came to visit me for the first time in 1983.  Later my dad hoped to fight in the ranks of the Vlasov [soldiers], but by that time it was all coming to an end.  He got into the terrible bombing by the Americans of [the town of] Pilsen, where many of the Vlasov soldiers were killed.  There he was saved through a miracle through my mother, who was the personal secretary of the chief of staff of Gen. Vlasov. She escaped from a burning car, as her boss heard her praying loudly to the Mother of God.  Strangely or not, my father remembered her.

After the war, my father lived in Germany, in Lübeck and in Hamburg, and helped Br. Nathanael (Lvov) and Archim. Vitaliy (Ustinov, the future Metr. Vitaliy) save the Russian refugees from being forcefully handed over to Stalin under the Yalta agreement.  In 1949 he went to America, to Chicago, where at the expense of his almost finished medical education he began work as a lab assistant.  He did not much like Chicago and America in general, so he decided to return to Europe.  On his way he paid a visit to acquaintances in New York, where he met that very same girl who got out of a burning  car in Pilsen.  My mom – by God's grace –who had escaped arrest and extradition as an employee of the Vlasov movement, and had by the time already settled in New York and had brought over my grandfather and his second wife (my grandfather’s first wife – my grandmother, Countess Elizabeth Samburova, who died in Germany at the very beginning of the war) and his children, his son Kostya included (the future Fr. Konstantin Fedorov).  My father fell in love passionately and forever, and they were soon married.  During her first pregnancy, my mother got into an accident, and the first born, my brother Alexander, was born very ill and mentally retarded.  Our little Sasha died tragically in 1960 at the age of 7 and was one of the first to be buried at the new Russian cemetery at the Novo-Diveevo monastery, (New York), which then was being arranged by Fr. Adrian Rymarenko (the future Archb. Andrew).  He read [chanted] Sasha’s burial service and was then very much supportive to mom and dad, so they always remembered him with gratitude.  Dad loved dearly and mourned for Sasha and he greatly suffered because of his death.  “I thought then I would never smile [again]”, - I remember him saying to me once.  I remember how in my early childhood together with my brother and me he prayed every morning and evening for little Sasha and asked for his prayers for us, the little ones.  But there was no time for much mourning, because by the time we who were further born, the twins Kostya and Liza, [so] there was a need to support the family.  My dad went back to study again, he gained a master’s degree (magister) in microbiology and became the head of a laboratory in a large eye and otto-laryngitis hospital in New York, the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.  He worked there 31 years till his very retirement.  The entire hospital there loved him very much and respected him, from cleaners through to surgeons they knew “Wally”, as they called him.  In our child years we loved during – while on holidays – to go to his work place, dad allowed us to “help" him – throw some pills in different liquids, as if we, too, were “doing analyzes”.  At the same time my father graduated from the Institute of Slavic languages, he was writing a big work on the philosopher Skovoroda.  On the side of all that, was a typical émigré life of the 1960-70-s: [namely] teaching Russian language and history at the church school and at courses for senior scouts with the ORYR organization, anti-communist activity with the NTS, distribution of books of the “Posev” [seeding] printing house, he worked with the “Orthodox Case” [Pravoslavnoe Delo] community, which collected information about faith persecutions and tried to help the believers in the USSR.

In the 1970's my father became seriously much more involved in the church life, he read a lot of church history, he regretted that in his youth he was attracted – but did not go onto the church line [path] and did not become a priest.  He even was a little jealous of our purely ecclesiastical childhood.  I remember him telling me – with deep regret, during his first visit to me at the (Lesna) monastery, “And I had to live for 70 years until I learned what the Jesus prayer is…”   I remember with what [great] interest he asked about the talks that Metr. Philaret had with the youth, and back then I was foolishly thinking, “What for is he digging into our youth doings?”  By that time he was completely disillusioned with the NTS and with the idea of political resistance to communism, his resistance became rather more spiritual and prayerful.  But certain things he never understood in full.  The glorification of the Tsar-Martyr, for instance, he never really accepted genuinely, he accused Nicholas II for Russia’s collapse.  In those years, my father became very close to Fr. Alexander Kiselev, whom my parents remembered as early as from Germany, during the Vlasov movement.  Fr. Alexander supported me a lot and helped my father when I in 1981 I decided to join a convent.  Then Daddy still failed to understand [this], he was very much worried and crying a lot, he reproaching my mom for raising fanatics.  And I was then hoping so much that Daddy would understand at least the aspiration to devote oneself to some work, because he, too, at that age abandoned all in order “to save Russia”.  Fr. Alexander had many talks with my father, he directed his reading, and then my father came to know what deeper spiritual life is, he came to understand and love monasticism.  He and Fr. Alexander parted because of the attitude towards the Moscow Patriarchate, with dad unable to reckon it a genuine Russian Church.

Becoming a pensioner [upon retiring], my dad more and more often frequented church.  I remember how the Presanctified Liturgy and other Lenten services moved him, and these [exactly] he was never able to attend prior to retirement.  He began helping the Synod of ROCOR, he worked with the Trusteeship.  At a certain point [in time] Metr. Vitaliy, even persuaded him strongly to accept holy orders and he wanted to appoint him head of the household at the Synodal House.  [Then] “I could become the chief prosecutor" – my father was joking later.  There were also opportunities to travel.  My father visited old people in Germany, he visited me at the monastery on several occasions, and together with mom, they made two pilgrimages to the Holy Land.  When the USSR collapsed and ROCOR parishes opened up in Russia, they made two big trips into Russia.  They enjoyed seeing the restoration of churches and monasteries, but unlike many other immigrants, they wanted to see catacombniks and meet with those who converted to ROCA.  They visited our parishes in Moscow, in St. Petersburg, when they were still holding liturgies at the Novodevichy Convent, to our communities in Kursk and to the monastery of Matushka Schema-Hegumenia [abbes] Macaria in Voronezh.  My father visited also his native Kharkov, he searched out his native house and found family members, and  he dreamed of returning to his homeland.

But the years had taken their toll.  My dad began to weaken, got ill.  In time they found early stages of bowel cancer, his eyes were operated on,  his heart was treated, etc.  My mother even hid information from him about the impending union of ROCOR with the MP, for fear this would upset him too much and that he may not survive [the news].  The Lord judged otherwise, and in April 2004 my mother died.  To dad this was the severest [possible] blow and in many ways the end of his life.  “I was supposed to be the first [to go]” – he kept on repeating when my mom died.  Dad wept long for her almost every day and found comfort only in prayer for her and hope to see her soon in the life to come.  His last years were decorated by the son’s devoted love and care, who almost completely devoted himself to looking after his father.  I was able to visit them only occasionally, while Kostya was constantly with him and did everything he could to ease his old age and to comfort him.  My mom did not live to see the union, and dad had to make a choice.  In May 2007 he abandoned the parish and the priest, [which and] who he was very fond of, and became a parishioner of the Holy Trinity parish in Astoria, with Fr. Vsevolod Dutikow.  No matter how grievous the falling out with friends and family was, the striving after the church truth was dearer.  The last and most important task in life remained – to prepare for death. Dad started ‘govet’ [fast strictly] as often as possible, and while he had strength – he prayed every day for hours and read spiritual writings.  By the end of 2011 his strength began to fade noticeably, and by Christmas, it became clear his end was near.  I managed to see my dad on Epiphany, Kostya and I helped him prepare for the last time for Holy Communion.  In a week, he quietly and peacefully passed away.

“I am an image of Thine ineffable glory, but carry the wounds of sins”, the funeral hymns say.  God’s servant Vladimir managed to acquire Christian love and humility, with all his heart he strived after the Lord.  I believe that the All-merciful Lord, Who – according to  [St. John] Chrysostom, “kisses both the giver and the intention” – shall accept and have mercy on him. Eternal memory to you, my dear father.

 (Russian original text)
There is a photo from the LESNIANAKA...
OF THE FAMILY - +VLADIMIR and son and daughter (nun Ephrosinia) 
 hence - the caption: "with my dad and brother"   –trans.

Vladimir Djambov, Eng
00359.885.455.189 - M/cell
00359.2.855.62.62 - H
En <> Bg translation, interpreting

Who Speaks For Orthodox Christians?

Recently, the secular press has been filled with glowing accounts of meetings between Roman Catholic popes and various 'Orthodox leaders' – often giving the impression that a 'reunion' between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Chruch is just around the corner.  The secular press, most western Christians, and perhaps not a few Orthodox fail to realize that NO ONE person or office speaks for Orthodoxy in anything remotely resembling the sense in which the pope speaks for the Roman Catholic Church.

The proclamations and actions of even the Patriarch of Constantinople remain solely his own, unless they truly reflect the 'conscience of the Church' – something determined not by numbers ('majority rule' is alien to Orthodox Christianity as is the absolute rule of a 'Vicar of Christ', as the pope is styled) but by FAITHFULNESS to the tradition and teaching of the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church – to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.  If any Orthodox Christian betrays this trust – be he bishop or patriarch – he thereby sets himself outside Orthodoxy and outside the Church.

The temptation to 'make peace' with heresy and schism is nothing new to Orthodoxy.  For centuries, there have been powerful political advantages to be found in alliances with various 'Christian nations' and powers of the West, and the present state of world affairs is no new one from that perspective.  A survey of earlier incidents of this sort would be out of place here; suffice it to say that they have occurred – but that true Orthodox Faith, the Church, has endured in spite of them.  At times, such 'ecumenical' ventures have involved even one or more of the great patriarchal sees (such as that of Constantinople).  In these cases, the faithful have simply turned their backs upon the betrayers of the Faith – as indeed, the canons of the Church require them to do.

Who, then, DOES speak for Orthodoxy?  There can be no satifying answer to this question for the legalist western mind – to which the Christian Faith is fundamentally alien.  The Patriarch of Constantinople (recognized in principle by all Orthodox as the 'first among equals' of bishops, the spiritual and sacramental descendants of the Apostles) does not.  All the patriarchs taken together, even if they be in complete agreement, do not.  Not even a 'pan-Orthodox Council', such as some propose to assemble, can be said in advance to do so.  Only after the fact can it be determined whether such a council (or, for that matter any council) actually has proclaimed and upheld the True Faith.  (More than one instance of a 'legally and properly constituted' council which betrayed the Faith – and subsequently was rejected by the Church – can be found.)

There can be no institutional guarantee of a particular voice as the authentic voice of the Church – precisely because the Church is not an institution (even though it functions in and through institutional modes); it is the living Body of Christ.  Only the test of faithfulness to the living Tradition of the Faith can ascertain whether the voice and actions of any person or body purporting to speak for the Church is in fact doing so.

The recent actions of the Patriarch of Constantinople would not seem to pass this test; by implication they endorse the departures from the true Faith of the Roman Catholic Church (and, by significant numbers of some other western 'Christian' bodies).   Already, significant numbers of Orthodox Christians have disassociated themselves from this voice.  If and when implication becomes assertion, no doubt far larger numbers will follow suit.

This is not, however, to introduce a 'numbers game' answer to the original question.  There have been numerous times in the Church's history when the vast majority of those who claimed the title 'Christian' or even 'Orthodox' were in fact heretics (the present perhaps being no exception).  In the end, Orthodoxy has always triumphed – though it has sometimes taken generations.  It is entirely possible that the decades to come may see a situation in which true Faith is upheld only by scattered handfuls of the faithful, with all the 'big names', all those able to command the attention of a numbers-and-titles conscious society, apostatizing – standing part – from the Faith and the true Church.  Some say it is already happening or has happened.

Living Orthodoxy March/April 1980

Prayer Request for a Marriage

Dear Friends in our Lord Jesus Christ, our daughter Monica will be married to Nikolai (a Serbian Orthodox) on Sunday week.  Although I am unable to serve at the wedding - I ask for your prayers for Nikolai and Monica so they will have a salvic married life and raise a Christian family. 

unworthy protodeacon Basil from Canberra 

Sermon By Fr. Andrei Erastov

23 Jan/5 Feb, 2012 - New Martyrs

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

We celebrate today the memory of the New-Martyrs of Russia. Last November was a 30th anniversary of their canonization. In 1981, in New York at the ROCOR Synodal cathedral of the Mother of God, Metropolitan Philaret presided over the celebration to the New-Martyrs, the inspirational service of which was composed by Archbishop Anthony of San Francisco. 

THIS 30-years anniversary is an important milestone, but in what circumstances do we celebrate it? Another anniversary is approaching: 5 years of the union of ROCOR with the MP, the union which marked the end of its spiritual freedom. 

What does it mean to glorify saints? Do they need human praise, they who have eternal, heavenly glory? – To glorify saints means to participate in their struggles, though not in real life, but through our love of the saints, through our admiration of their courage and patience. 

In the Kontakion of the saints we sing: “O ye new passion-bearers of Russia… beseech Christ Who strengthened you that we also, whenever the hour of trial finds us, may receive the gift of courage from God. For ye are a model for us that venerate your struggle, for neither tribulation, prison, nor death could separate you from the love of God.” (Kontakion) 

“Beseech Christ…that we also, whenever the hour of trial finds us, may receive the gift of courage from God.” And in the prayer to the saints there is a similar request: “And inasmuch as it is possible that at any moment unexpected trials might befall us, beg ye for us of the Lord the gift of courage.” 

Such was the state of mind of the ROCOR 30 years ago. Let us remember the political situation in the world at that time: constant expansion of atheistic communism, on one side; on the other side, widening antichristian movement in the western world. Both made people think that persecution of the Church could come even to the free world as well.  

But what happened 25 years later? Unexpected trials did befall the ROCOR, but not in the form in which they were anticipated. And she fell, she renounced all: her history, her ideals, her great hierarchs. But how could this happen? Were they tortured, persecuted? - Not at all. They did it of their own will. 

How could it happen, that the Church which glorified the New Martyrs, which was preparing to follow them on the way of martyrdom, suddenly became a church of traitors? How could it happen that those who were raised in the Church in spiritual freedom and truth willingly submitted themselves to lies? 

All this happened before our eyes; and it is important that we may comprehend it. 

The union with MP was secretly plotted and pushed through by a little group of bishops and influential priests; as for others they silently obeyed, willingly or not. They forgot that army-like obedience, obedience regardless of one’s conscience, is out of place in the Church; it is false obedience. Such false obedience spiritually and morally destroys the person. The absolute obedience, regardless of one’s conscience, is the main principle of sergianism. 

Undoubtedly, the outward betrayal became possible, only having been preceded by the inner betrayal. The union was possible only because the clergy of ROCOR had become similar in their spiritual character to the clergy of the MP whom they joined, i.e. they had become sergianists; otherwise the union would be impossible. 

Sergianism, while preserving all outer forms of church life, rejects the most vital: confession of truth and spiritual freedom. In sergianism compromise and lie becomes the foundation of church life. In essence, sergianism “is a betrayal of Christ based on agreement with the spirit of this world” – as Fr Seraphim Rose puts it.

As a result of the union ROCOR has drowned in endless lies. They are lying constantly, in words or in writing, directly or indirectly, and the source of their lies is sergianism: 

It is interesting how they denounce themselves in their own documents. This is what they write in “the Statement from the Chancery of the Synod of Bishops”, recently published on their official website: I quote - “The Synod building has for decades served as the symbol of the lone free voice of the Russian Orthodox Church, a function which has since changed.”  

Look how much hypocrisy there is in these few words. It is true that they no longer express the free voice of the Russian Church, but let us ask the hypocrites: Why don’t they express the voice of the Church? Maybe there is no demand for such a voice? Or does Patriarch Kirill now express this voice, and from what time has he done so?  

But let us look at what they write further: “The need for an efficient administrative center… has grown since ROCOR now participates in the life of the entire Orthodox Christian World”. 

True, they have entered into active communion with World Orthodoxy. But what about ecumenism, through which such communion was severed in the past? What happened to ecumenism, where did it disappear? Or is it no longer a heresy? Then, who pronounced anathema to ecumenism in 1983? - There is no answer for these questions. 

When they read the service of the New-Martyrs (if they still use the service, written by Vl. Anthony), do they realize that they denounce themselves?  

For example, about St Agathangel, the Metropolitan of Yaroslavl’ and his clergy, it is said in the canon of the martyrs: “Your withdrawal from your brethren, who did not stand for the truth of the Church, was a joy to the angels. You did not wish to subject yourselves to impiety.” So, if one’s separation from sergianists caused joy to the angels, then didn’t the union with sergianists cause sorrow to the angels? Indeed, it was a great tragedy of universal consequence. 

Were we right when we cut ourselves off from them 5 years ago?

- The answer is simple: it is impossible to be with God and with lie. “Lying lips are an abomination before the Lord” (Prov. 12, 22). Where lie reigns, there is no God, but the devil, the father of lie (John 8). 

One has to make his choice. The New-Martyrs made their choice: sufferings and death in this world so as not to lose union with God in eternity. 

The word “martyr” comes from Greek “martys”, which means “witness”. Life is the most precious thing we have, thus, if there is someone who is ready to die for his faith, it means that there is something more important than this temporal life. The New-Martyrs by their sufferings and death witnessed that there is God and eternal life; they witnessed the lie of sergianism, which saves earthly life and wellbeing for the price of renouncing truth and conscience. 

We should emulate the New-Martyrs and, in the measure of our strength, be witnesses of Church truth.          Amen

A RocorMP Partyline Brush-Off

"Another instance of avoiding the real issues of compromising the faith and covering with platitudes."

An interview with RocorMP priest John Johnson appeared on a Washington D.C. news site yesterday.  It has since been removed, for some reason, but can be viewed in the cache.

Credo: Rev. John Johnson
By: Liz Essley | 02/04/12 8:05 PM
Examiner Staff Writer | Follow on Twitter @lizessley

     Tucked away in a sleepy Northwest D.C. neighborhood is an unexpected sight: a golden onion dome, sitting atop the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Inside, walls covered with ornate icons dazzle visitors, and the smell of incense lingers from Sunday worship. The Rev. John Johnson, one of the priests at the cathedral, is perhaps equally unexpected. The 45-year-old black management consultant converted to Orthodoxy after a spiritual journey that included growing up Baptist, hitting a spiritual "rock bottom" and exploring Catholicism. He became a priest nearly five years ago after feeling a call to serve others.

What drew you to Orthodoxy?
     The feeling that something was lacking. I was looking for something liturgical. I was actually considering becoming Catholic, which was one of the stations on my spiritual journey. When I came to an Orthodox church and experienced the liturgy, there was a feeling of finally being home. That feeling has stayed with me. That to me is what it means to be a Christian, the feeling that I am home, even here on Earth.
     One of characteristics of Orthodoxy is that it's a full-body experience, and that's part of what drew me, too. Within the Christian West, worship tends to be a spiritual or an emotional thing. Within Orthodoxy, the entire person worships. It's not an intellectual exercise; it's not an emotional state; it's coming into the presence of God with all of who you are.

Why is beauty in an external, sensory form so important to Orthodox worship?
     One of the criticisms leveled against the Orthodox is that we have all of this finery in the church, that it's materially a very rich church. But all of that serves a purpose, because when we think of God, we think of God as being the author of all that is good and all that is beautiful. What you see in an Orthodox church -- the iconography, the vestments that the clergy wear -- is meant to call to mind that as splendid as these things are, the God who created them is infinitely greater and more beautiful and more splendid. This is but a pale shadow of what is to come.

How has being Orthodox changed you?
     I've become more aware of the presence of God in everything around me and in everyone. When we look at the icons, we're reminded that living people are also icons, that living people also bear the image and likeness of God. Just as we venerate the icons, we really should venerate one another. That's one of the biggest changes in me -- that no matter how much I may not like a person, no matter how much I may detest what somebody has done, nonetheless I'm called to love them. Because in loving them, I'm loving the image of God that resides in them.

The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia recently reconciled with the church in Moscow. Has the church at large recovered from the Soviet era? What scars remain?
     Healing is a process. The church was in subjugation for 80 years. As with anything, it's going to take time for the people to recover. There are people who are going to have to rediscover their Orthodoxy. What was a church in the catacombs has become a church that is able to worship openly now, and so people are reacclimating to that.

Is it important to you that you are one of only a few African-American Russian Orthodox priests?
     No, not really. I tend not to look at things from a racial perspective. I look at people as people. So it's not really something that occurs to me very often. What does occur to me is that there's a need to bring that which has been given to us to people who don't necessarily have leanings toward an ethnic church. In this area there is a large Hispanic contingent. Perhaps in the future we will see more liturgies in Spanish. I would love to see that.

At your core, what is one of your defining beliefs?
     God is love. Belief in God is not merely a slavish adherence to the rules. It's participating in the joy that is knowing God, that is knowing Christ. And that is what being a Christian should be. It shouldn't be being dour because you're worried about sin. We obviously have to deal with sin and the consequences of it, and that's a portion of our life in Christ, but it's not the sum total. A Christian's life should be a life of joy as well.

Note the part about the RocorMP union.  This seems to be the canned answer to the sorrow and disenchantment that many RocorMP folks are experiencing as they watch their church commit one atrocity after another.   Hidden inside this canned answer is a reproach: "Don't be impatient."  This is psychological manipulation.

Princess Elizabeth's Enthronement

R.D. Sharing:

Video-Proclamation of Princess Elizabeth's Becoming Queen

Of historical interest, upon this very day, [Jan. 24/Feb. 6], of the jubilee celebration of her reign- 

"High Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary"-

(before this historic video starts to play, there is a stupid car commercial video!)