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



√  California CPS has too much power

√  cute little bug: snakefly – beneficial insect for garden

Memory Eternal

Archpriest Lev Lebedeff
Memory Eternal
April 16/29, 1998

† † †

Odessa parish escapes MP

Reader Daniel sharing

New parish (leaving from the MP), Joins our ROCA, with it's priest 

04.28.13 On the Feast of the Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem, has joined our church (left from the MP), Holy Trinity Parish in the village of the Trinity-Lyubashevsky in the district of Odessa, Ukraine, with it's rector, Archpriest Gennady Molchanov-Jur. ...

Mark Your Calendar

St. Nicholas Convent Feast Day
Schedule of Services 
May 1 thru May 26
Summer Activities

Remote Parish in Russia receives a visit from Priest

from Internet Sobor
April 22, 2013


What does a Liturgy mean for those who live at a 500 kilometers´ [311 miles] distance from the nearest church?

It is the excitement you feel as soon as you learn that the long-awaited meeting with the priest will take place on the next weekend.

It is the joyful bustle and trying to rearrange everything in your house that just for two days must by all means become a church.

It is the trepidation you feel while awaiting the encounter with the Sacred and worries about batyushka hurriedly driving to us at night along "RF-ian" roads, almost impassable in spring.

It is our utter imperfection desperately trying to discipline itself in search of internal enemies we call sins.

It is the sincere joy and, let us hope, the no less sincere tears at the moment of the long-awaited liberation of the soul after the confession at the lectern.

It is our unprofessional chanting full of mistakes of which we are ashamed.

It is the moment of Truth: the Holy Communion and... Silence.

And then - conversation at the trapeza, questions, answers and the so dear and familiar eyes of the priest whom we all regard as our spiritual father and friend at the same time, even if this does not exactly square with the notions of correct ecclesiastical behaviour; and, at parting, a feeling of regret for questions unasked and words unsaid.

On 21 April 2013 we had experienced all this once again. There are not many of us, just one family in a small provincial town in Central Russia, but on that day we felt, once again, that we were not alone, but part of the Church of Christ.

Ilya, Irina, Gali, Anna, Maria

21 April 2013, the town of Makaryev, Kostroma gubernia, Russia

Translator's notes:

Just a few footnotes for Non-Russians: 1. "Gubernia" is the old administrative unit abolished by the Bolsheviks after their revolution and replaced by "oblast´" (region). It has never been revived (but, illogically enough,since the "Perestroyka" each "oblast´" is once again headed by a "gubernator" /governor), so in this letter it has a pleasantly archaic tinge.  2. "RFia" (from "RF" - the abbreviation of "Russian Federation") is the name used by all true Russian patriots for the post-communist entity falsely called "Russia". 

kindly translated by Nellie

Memory Eternal

Bishop Daniel of Erie
April 26, 2010

Four short years before Bishop Daniel's repose, he wrote in a letter to a member of the flock on ROCOR letterhead concerning the Rocor&MP union:

excerpts from the letter:
dated June 29, 2006:

... Although there are many independent, so called autocephalus, orthodox churches, the Orthodox Church is one, it is the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church" to which we belong.  Because we are part of that Church, all talks of "unification", as something to be achieved, are vain talk.  If we are orthodox, we are already part of the "one Church".  We should not strive for "unification" as a goal in the future, for we already do have a unity in faith.

Then why all this noise about "unification"?  It can apply only in things of secondary importance, such as administration.  And this is where the great danger lies – by beautiful words like "unification", we may be led to administrative union with Moscow Patriarch – something we should try to avoid at all costs, because this "unification will eventually become subjugation.

... I am glad that our point of view – yours and mine – has also its supporters, but what is more important, this "unification will never take place, because the Moscow Patriarchate will never agree to break its ties to the World Council of Churches, which is desired by us, and so we shall be able to keep our present-day status of independence.  "Independent" is a more modest word that "autocephalous", but it means basically the same thing.

I think that there is room for improvement in our relations with the Moscow Patriarchate – after all, this is the jurisdiction to which most of the Russian Church now belongs, but there should be no "unification" of our church with the Moscow Patriarchate, because of the danger mentioned before, that this "unification may turn to subjugation.  It is no accident, that the word "independence" is carefully avoided by the other side, when speaking about the future of our church, in case the "unification" takes place, because they want us be dependent on them, and not vice versa.  Our church is small and can be easily "gobbled up" by a large church, such as the Moscow Patriarchate.  We should be very careful not to permit it.

... Personally I was undecided as to what should I do, if the so-called "unification" takes place.  Finally I decided not to make any plans, unless something happened, which could neither be accepted nor corrected, and to postpone making decisions to such time.  Thank God, this has not happened, and with His help we can continue to live independently with our "Polozheniye" as our constitution indefinitely.  I will also advise other members of our church, if they ask me, what is to be done in this situation, not to take rash steps, because our church is under protection of God and His Christ Who could think of such an easy solution of such a seemingly hopeless situation?  We can accept all the beautiful words in favor of unity, but this is the unity of faith, that we, the orthodox, have anyway.  But, we do not have to sacrifice our independence and can keep our "Polozheniye" as the constitution of our church.  We have the right to be independent as one of the orthodox churches, and we have enjoyed it for almost a century.  Our independence is perfectly canonical.  Although it was considered temporary in the beginning, it was because no one could foresee the length of time we would spend outside our original home.  The church authorities, which gave us our present status, showed remarkable foresight in making us independent, but no one can be expected to have a foreknowledge of future events.  Who could expect the Soviet regime to last that long?  We have to be very careful in our relations with post-communist state and and church – there is much in them that goes back to communist times – even the present-day patriarch had been appointed by the Soviet government.  To think that he had been freely elected under the Soviet government is childish nonsense.

May God preserve you and all His Church from any snares of the enemy.  Sincerely yours in Christ

(Bishop Daniel)

Ecumenism is false union

How it destroys:

If Christians join with the WCC, they lose Christianity.  Christ is not the only God in the WCC.

If Orthodox join with the heterodox, they lose Orthodoxy.  The Orthodox Faith is no longer the only right worship.

If ROCOR goes into communion with uncanonical jurisdictions, she loses canonicity.   The canonical continuation of ROCOR would cease to exist.

Who is it who wants to wipe the Church off the face of the earth and cause Her to go into non-existence?  See how sneaky he is?  Ecumenism sounds all sweet and loving on the surface.  But under the smooth talk is deadly manipulation.

Thank God we have a Synod who understands this, and preserves our canonicity.  Many Years to our ROCOR bishops!

Diocesan Meeting Minutes

Diocesan Meeting of the Eastern American and New York
and Syracuse and Nikolskiy Dioceses
March 28\16, 2013 

The meeting was held on the grounds of the Tolstoy Foundation in Valley Cottage, New York, USA.
Attendees: The Most Reverend Agafangel, Metropolitan of Eastern American and New York (Meeting Chairman), Archbishop Andronik, Bishop Joseph, Archpriest Vsevolod Dutikow, Archpriest Gregory Kotlaroff, Fr. Gregory Williams, Fr. Nikita Grigoriev, Fr. Daniel Meschter, Mother Agapia, Fr. Anthony Gunin, Fr. John Hinton, Fr. Andrew Frick, Dcn Fr. Dmitriy Dobronravov, Tatiana Rusiecki, Eugene Vernikovskiy and Dimitri Gontscharow.
The meeting began at 9:30 AM with the prayer, “O Heavenly King.”
Eugene Vernikovskiy and Dimitri Gontscharow were elected secretaries for the meeting.
  1. General report by the Chairman.
  2. Reports by all attending rectors on their parishes.
  3. Fundraising for the Synod residence.
  4. Tithes for the needs of the Synod.
  5. The Holy Land.
  6. Report by the Pilgrimage Organizing Committee.
  7. Seminary in North America.
  8. The failure of the Canadian and Syracuse dioceses to fulfill their obligations.
  9. Report by the Diocesan Secretary.
  10. Report by the Diocesan Treasurer.
  11. Other.

  1. Chairman’s report:
The new church Internet site, Internet Sobor, is regularly updated and many people have viewed the site.  The Odessa cathedral has begun live transmissions of some of its services.  We should continue using multi-media to allow people to know more about us and our activities.  Parishes are encouraged to submit news and photos from their various services and events.
We strive to continue the traditional teachings and practices of the Church Abroad.  We remain tolerant within measure of various strains within the church. 
Fr. Nikita asked about a recent article questioning the emergence of “Cyprianism.” He added that we speak often about maintaining the traditions of the ROCA, but teachings such as that of Met. Cyprian are new developments and are not part of the Church’s traditions.
The Chairman explained the Church Abroad suspended relations with the Old Calendar Greeks when they were split internally by various divisions.  It was decided at that time to maintain cordial relations with them, but not to interfere in their internal affairs and allow them to resolve their divisions.  Recently, two of the largest Old Calendar groups have begun talks to resolve their differences and unite.  The Chairman added that some of the views held by Abp. Cyprian were held by some of the members of the episcopate and clergy of the Church Abroad at that time.  He noted that the Greeks themselves have moved away from the views of Abp. Cyprian and have returned to a more traditional approach, which is in line with the positions of the Church Abroad.  Those in the ROCA should consider the views of Met. Cyprian as personal opinion.  Most important, we need to discuss any issue that arises to avoid tension among us.  We should all strive to be tolerant and considerate of each other to maintain good relations among the clergy.
Dcn. Fr. Dmitriy asked how to combat the secular influences our children are exposed to in schools.  The Chairman said our parishes must do everything possible to have religious classes to educate them on proper morals.  To that end, youth conferences such as those held at the St. Nicholas Convent by Mother Agapia are extremely important and should be supported by parishes, laypeople and clergy.
Fr. Andrew explained there is an Old Calendar Greek parish in North Carolina which no longer has a priest and is interested in joining us.  One of their members may be a suitable candidate for priesthood at some point, and in the meanwhile, priests from our Holy Ascension parish in Fairfax, Virginia, could visit them.  Is it permissible to accept them and how?  The Chairman said our Synod has agreed that parishes from other traditions should be considered, if they hold to the same general principles.  As they grow closer to us, we can explain the need to base their parishes on the Normal By Laws of the Church Abroad and adopt our liturgical practices.
Resolved: to allow Bishop Joseph and his clergy to provide pastoral care and guidance to this Greek parish.
  1. Rectors’ reports:
Abp. Andronik reports great progress has been made in the renovation of the Mountain View building.  Synod meetings can now be held there in the future.
B. Joseph says his parish now has two priests, Fr. John Hinton and Fr. Andrew Frick.  The parish has outgrown its premises and is looking for a larger space. 
Fr. Gregory Kotlaroff says the warden and senior sister of his parish have resigned due to their advanced ages.  New members for these positions have not been found yet.
Mother Agapia says Fr. Anthony Gunin’s legal status has been resolved and they now have a full schedule of church services.  They are eagerly anticipating the arrival of Fr. Anthony’s family from Russia.
Fr. Gregory Williams’ English-speaking parish in America is small but thriving.  His two parishes in Haiti continue to prosper and are well attended.  His school in Haiti is rated one of the best in that part of the country, has a full schedule of classes and has over 300 students.  Donations are needed for the continued support of the school and parishes.
Fr. Nikita asked about current conditions in the Boston parish.  Fr. Vsevolod explained that the rector, Fr. Dmitriy Amelchenko, is unable to conduct a regular schedule of services due to his commitments at work and family health issues.
All clergy present asked that Met. Agafangel notify them in advance of any pending visits to America to allow them to purchase airline tickets at the best price.
Resolved:  To offer Fr. Dmitriy the opportunity to serve in Astoria or Valley Cottage when he is in the area and available.  The Diocesan Dean, Fr. Vsevolod, will contact Mr. John Rigas, A Greek-American in Boston who made his church available for services in the past, to seek his agreement to hold services there again.  Clergy from both dioceses will develop a schedule to have someone serve there at least once a month.
Met. Agafangel will notify the clergy way in advance of his arrival to allow them to make travel arrangements.  Met. Agafangel’s next visit will occur in October, 2013.  Matushka Irina Dutikow and Diocesan Secretary Dimitri Gontscharow will develop a schedule in consultation with the clergy to allow Met. Agafangel to visit as many parishes as possible.
  1. Fundraising for the Synod residence:
It remains preferable to locate the Synod residence in or around New York City to allow easy travel and exposure to as many people as possible.  In order to make the monthly funding of the residence possible, a parish will be established around it.  To end, Met. Agafangel has issued an ukase announcing the formation of a parish dedicated to the Holy Myrrhbearing Women and a list to which potential members may add their names. 
Resolved:  Funds will continue to be gathered for the Synod residence.
  1. Tithes for the needs of the Synod:
Met. Agafangel reminded all present of the need for regular submission of tithes to allow the operation of our Church and its Synod.
Resolved:  The clergy of both dioceses will do more to ensure the regular submission of tithes to the dioceses, which will in turn submit their tithes for the needs of the Synod.
  1. The Holy Land:
Archpriest Roman Radwan, the rector of the St. George the Victorious church in Nazareth in the Holy Land joined our jurisdiction last year and is in dire need of our support.  There are other priests in the Holy Land who are also interested in joining us.  We are the only jurisdiction that supports Jerusalem Patriarch Irineos, who is under house arrest.
One of the sections of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society needs someone to help them resolve certain land issues in the Holy Land and may contact us towards that end.  Mother Agapia, who has extensive experience in the region, advised great caution and recommended no direct involvement.
Resolved:  To continue the old tradition of the Church Abroad to collect money on the feast day of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) for the Holy Land.
To organize a trip this year to the Holy Land by Met. Agafangel, possibly accompanied by Mother Agapia, to become more familiar with conditions there.
  1. Report by the Pilgrimage Organizing Committee:
Abp. Andronik and Mother Agapia reported one pilgrimage to the Holy Land was conducted in 2012, but none are planned for this year. 
Resolved:  To advertise upcoming pilgrimages more widely and far in advance to allow more people the opportunity to sign up.
  1. Seminary in North America:
No progress has been made yet on the establishment of a ROCA seminary in North America.
Resolved:  Met. Agafangel will issue an ukase directing Mother Agapia to establish a ROCA seminary in North America.
  1. The failure of the Canadian and Syracuse dioceses to fulfill their obligations:
Abp. Andronik explained that two of the three parishes do provide tithes to the Canadian diocese.  The Blessed St. Xenia parish in Ottawa, Ontario, was waiting for legal issues to be resolved to allow them to officially submit their tithes.
The Chairman reported that during his last visit to the Ottawa parish they agreed that the parish would set aside $100 every month for the needs of the Canadian Diocese.  The funds would be given to Abp. Andronik at each of his visits to the parish.  Treasurer Alla Ivask agreed to be responsible for this.  It appears they have no intention of doing this, and during Abp. Andronik’s visit to the parish before Lent, they not only did not provide the gathered funds, but also did not pay for Abp. Andronik’s travel expenses.  Fr. Oleg also promised to provide reports of activities at the parish for our Internet sites, but has not done so a single time.
Resolved:  Diocesan Secretary Dimitri Gontscharow will contact  Alla Arionova-Ivask of the Kanata parish for an update.
  1. Report by the Diocesan Secretary:
The Diocesan Secretary reminded the Chairman that many of the clergy are eligible for awards and elevation in their ranks.  He also needs suitable blank templates for church gramoty (merit certificates).
Resolved:  The Secretary will provide a list of eligible clergy to the Chairman before the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Synod.
The Chairman will take on the project of developing suitable blank templates for church gramoty.
  1. Report by the Diocesan Treasurer:
Provisional Diocesan Treasurer Dimitri Gontscharow provided a financial report for the EA&NY Diocese for 2012.  Abp. Andronik provided a financial report for the Syracuse-Nikolskiy Diocese for 2012.  Both dioceses are able to cover the expenses of their respective dioceses.
Resolved:  To accept both financial reports.  The clergy agree to do more to cover the printing and mailing costs of various church publications.
  1. Other:
Recent open letters sent by Fr. Elias Warnke and Fr. Andrew Kencis were discussed.  Everyone present agreed completely with the points made in both letters and that more must be done to develop the spiritual life of our North American parishes.  
Resolved:  All North American clergy will try to visit each other more often, schedules permitting.  Fr. Vsevolod hopes to visit the Edmonton parish in June.  Everyone fervently hopes Fr. Elias will be able to join us at Mt. View in July for the consecration. 
All present conducted a collection for the ROCA Pension Fund which was established at the last diocesan meeting in October, 2012.
Resolved: All clergy will make collections in their parish on the feast day of the Holy Myrrhbearing Women dedicated to the ROCA Pension Fund.  The feast day is the second Saturday after Pascha (May 19th this year).
The meeting was concluded at 4: 15 PM with the prayer “It is Truly Meet.”
Meeting Chairman 
Metropolitan of Eastern American and New York
Meeting Secretaries
Eugene Vernikovskiy
Dimitri Gontscharow

Brand New! Born Today!

Orthodox Baby Boy

Welcome to this world!

here he is with his sister

1986 Epistle of Metropolitan Vitaly

from Orthodox Life Vol. 36, No. 4 July-August 1986


To the Beloved Pastors of Our Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
and Our Pious Flock

The ark of our Church has entered the stormy sea of life.  The blows of frenzied, cruel waves now cause its entire frame to quake.  The sea itself is filled with perilous submerged reefs.  We are hemmed in on every side.  In the local press, abusive articles directed against the Synod of Bishops are constantly appearing.  The Soviets are attempting to negotiate with the Israeli government, so that, in exchange for easing Jewish emigration, it would receive all the Russian property in the Holy Land without exception, including our possessions as well.  The most absurd rumors are being circulated throughout the emigration: our entire episcopate is being accused of factionalism, while at the same time they accuse us of fanaticism, intolerance, and backwardness; others, on the other hand revile us for supposed liberalism, for infidelity to the sacred canons.  They avidly watch our every step, our every move; they listen to our every word, thinking to find for themselves fresh evidence on which to base accusations against our Church and her archpastors and pastors.  In the future, in all probability, we can expect organized slander against the entire hierarchy and against each bishop individually.  I will answer all of this clamor with the words of the holy Apostle Paul, which I cited in my eulogy at the burial of Metropolitan Philaret: "By honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as chastened, and not killed, as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things" (II Cor. 6:8-10).  In these words the Apostle Paul described the characteristics of the eternal path of the true Church of Christ, and we are happy to walk this path.  We give thanks to the Lord for all things – for slander and for praise, for threats and even for the coarsest abuse.

To console all the faithful children of our Church, I affirm that I am speaking the truth, as before the Lord our Chief Shepherd Himself, when I sat that our entire episcopate is faithful to Christ and His Holy Church; we are all as unanimous and united as ever; all of our faithful clergy, not stinting in their efforts to labor selflessly in the field of Christ, are honorable and in concord; and the grace of the Holy Spirit has not deserted us in His holy gifts of serene joy and repose of soul, despite the sea which rages around us.  Our Church enjoys internal and external freedom, such freedom as it has possessed but rarely in nearly its entire history.  Let us thank the Lord over and over again that by His almighty aid alone we are able to utilize this great gift of freedom, without bending our knee to the dubious values and powers of our age.

And you, our flock beloved in Christ, we ask, we beg you, to intensify your struggle of prayer, to keep unfailingly all the days of fasting prescribed by the Church, to pray for us, your archpastors and pastors, and to trust us.

Your well-wisher and unworthy intercessor,

Metropolitan Vitaly,
President of the Synod of Bishops
of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

An earlier epistle from the same year lists these bishops:


√ Reader Daniel Sharing:
   "... Metropolia did not have the spiritual maturity and clerical depth to accept the heavy burden of autocephaly ..."

Peek into the Pentecostarion

Now is the time to order the Pentecostarion

A Peek into the Pentecostarion:

Fr. Valery's house attacked

by violent Moscow police
April 16

original Russian

machine English:

Jurisdictional Ecumenism

from Joanna's notepad:

speaking of members in our ROCA...

If somebody thinks that the RTOC is a valid jurisdiction, then they might conceivably someday join the RTOC.

If somebody thinks that the ROAC is a valid jurisdiction, then they might conceivably someday join the ROAC.

If somebody thinks that the ROCIE is a valid jurisdiction, then they might conceivably someday join the ROCIE.

But we who see our ROCA under Vladyka Agafangel as the sole valid continuation of the ROCOR are most likely to stay, even when it can mean enduring deprivation, neglect, or maybe even abuse. 

Private Library Sale

old ROCOR books from a pre-1957 library
the seller is the grandson, known to us 

Fr. Seraphim was a son of ROCOR

from Not of This World
Chapter 52 – Zealots of Orthodoxy
page 381

... In the face of the apostasy of Orthodox Churches, Eugene felt that he had to bring more people into the fold of the Russian Church Abroad, which he saw as one of the last holdouts against compromise; and he wrote many letters towards this end. ...  Eugene was to learn through bitter experience, however, that the deceptions of the times were not so simple or clear-cut that they could be solved by just "joining the Russian Church Abroad."  He was to learn that there could be a peculiar kind of liberalism within the most conservative churches, and a peculiar kind of Sergianism within the most anti-Communist ones. 

 In later years Eugene was to put it this way:

"The heart of Sergianism is bound up with the common problem of all the Orthodox Churches today – the losing of the savor of Orthodoxy, taking the Church for granted, taking the 'organization' for the Body of Christ, trusting that Grace and the Mysteries are somehow 'automatic.'  Logic and reasonable behavior are not going to get us over these rocks; much suffering and experience are required, and few will understand."


SIR Bishop Ambrose Interviewed by RC journalist about the Free Serbian Church

MP says RocorMP is forgetting its Russian-ness

English Liturgy at Mountain View


Sunday April 14 Divine Liturgy in English at Mountain View

Dear Friends and Supporters

Vladyka Andronik was very pleased that 40+ souls attended.  It was inspiring to hear the choir sing and a wonderful trapeza was prepared for all.  

Fotos and Vladyka's sermon to follow.  The next Divine Liturgy in English at the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors Church at Mountain View will be on Sunday May 12, Mother's Day. 

The Great Canon Thursday

For those who are unable to attend the Church Services or understand Slavonic:    It is read Wednesday Evening April 17.  Wine and Oil is permitted on Thursday April 18 the commemoration day of Saint Andrew as well as Wednesday April 17

The Great Canon
Thursday of the Fifth Week of Great Lent
Also available in PDF  and RTF formats

Life of St. Mary of Egypt

Church Typicon

How to Keep the Church Typicon

The Question of Uniformity in the Church Services Discussed 
at the Council of Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad 1951 
by Archbishop John (Maximovitch)

The divine services and rites of the Orthodox Church, having as their foundation one typicon and preserving commonality in all that is substantially important, are extremely different one from another in practice.  Not only are the customs of different countries and local Churches different, but even in the bounds of a single region, sometimes even in a single city, the customs vary greatly in churches located close to each other.  More than once the question has arisen regarding the introduction of a single common abbreviated typicon which would be mandatory for all churches.  However, what may be only a theoretical decision may be in reality impossible to carry out and even harmful if attempted.  The difference in the carrying out of the Church typicon comes about as a result of he strength of customs that have taken root.  Sometimes these customs have deeply sensible meanings, but sometimes the meanings are quite nonsensical; thus, they remain because of the zeal and determination of those who carry them out.  Without a doubt, we must take into consideration that which has been accepted as sanctified custom; that is, what has been accepted from antiquity as having been established and which has entered into the consciousness not only of the clergy that carry it out but of the laity as well.  However, we must give considerably less weight to that which is only common practice; that is, to that which is merely a habit of those who carry it out, not having an inner meaning and not having entered into the consciousness of the laity.  We must hold onto the first as long as they are of benefit to our activity, as long as they do not contradict the Church typicon.  As for the latter, one may give only a common rule: the closer it is to the Church typicon, the better.  Our Church typicon is not a compilation of dead rules and it is not the fruit of some abstract desk work, it was imprinted on the spiritual experience of holy ascetics who came to fully understand the depths of the human spirit and the laws of the spiritual life.  

The Holy Fathers themselves experienced the battle with the infirmities of soul and body, as well as the means for their healing; they came to understand very well the path of prayerful podvig and the power of prayer.  The Church typicon is a guidebook for training and schooling in prayer and the more it is adhered to the more benefit is derived from it.  In the case of the inability to fulfill all that is laid out in the typicon, we must fulfill all that is in our power, on the one hand, to fulfill the principal characteristics for a given service unchanged in its composition and that which maintains its identity separate from others.  On the other hand, we must try as much as we can to fill in those parts of the service, which, changing according to the day, express the meaning and reason of the commemoration of the day's event.  Divine Services combine in themselves prayer, which is lifted up to God by the faithful, the receiving of God's grace in communion with Him, and the instruction of the faithful.  The latter consists of teaching through reading in the divine services and hymns, catechism, and instruction in the Christian life.  The divine services in their composition contain all the fullness of the dogmatic teaching of the Church and set forth the path to salvation.  They present invaluable spiritual wealth.  The more fully and precisely they are fulfilled, the more benefit the participants receive from them.  Those who perform them carelessly and who shorten them by their laziness rob their flock, depriving them of their very daily bread, stealing from them a most valuable treasure.  The shortening of the services which comes about through lack of strength must be done wisely and performed circumspectly in order not to touch that which should not be tampered with.

Specifically, at Vespers Psalm 103 must be read in its entirety; if it is sung it is allowable to sing only a few verses, but with majesty.  Preferably, the verses of Psalms 140, 141, 129, and 116, which begin with the words "Lord, I have cried," will always be sung in full, all of the stichera absolutely.

On the prescribed days it is necessary to read the Old Testament readings and to perform the Litia.

Matins must be served in the morning.  Serving Matins in the evening, except for when the All-Night Vigil service is held, is not allowable because, by doing this, essentially the morning service, which is very necessary for the faithful, is abolished; even a short church attendance in the morning has a beneficial effect on the soul, while sanctifying and giving direction to the whole day.  The Six Psalms are not to be shortened; also it is necessary to read the Lauds psalms in their entirety.  Reading should not take the place of singing except when there is absolutely no one who is able to sing, since the effect of singing is much stronger than reading and very seldom is reading able to substitute for singing.  Do not dare to leave out the Theotokia after the Troparia and other hymns, for in them is given the foundation of our faith – the teaching of the incarnation of the Son of God and of the Divine Economy.

Archbishop John June 13/26, 1966 Palo Alto California

The Hours must be served exactly without omissions, as they are already so short.  All three psalms of each Hour must be read, as well as the assigned Troparia and other prayers.  At the end of each Hour special attention must be given to the prayer, which expresses the meaning of the sacred event commemorated at the given hour.

Liturgy must be served, if impossible daily, then at least on all Sundays and Church Feastdays, without taking into account the number of faithful that are able to attend the service.  The Liturgy is the Bloodless Sacrifice for the whole world and it is the priest's duty to serve it when required.  it is positively forbidden to skip any part of the Service Book (sluzhebnik).  It is also necessary to fulfill the given hymns for the Liturgy.  Included are Psalms 103, 145, and 33: if Psalm 103 is shortened because of its length (although it is better not to do so), then in any case Psalm 145 must be sung from the beginning to end, except for the days in which both of them are replaced by the antiphons.  Psalm 33 is replaced only during Bright Week by the singing of "Christ is Risen"; as for the rest of the year, it is to be read or sung in view of its edification and there is no justification for its omission.  Those troparia which are appointed for each given Liturgy are to be sung and in their proper order, since they are the festive part of the Liturgy.  The Church typicon also refers to preserving accurately the order of the Epistle and Gospel readings.  If this is adhered to, then throughout the whole year, in those churches where the services are held daily, the Gospel, as well as Epistles, will be read in its entirety.  That order requires that the cyclic reading be read necessarily; its replacement by the festive readings happens only on great feastdays, but even then the cyclic reading is not omitted; it is read on the preceding day, together with the ordinary readings: on medium rank feastdays the consecutive and festive readings are read.  The reading of only the festive readings, that is, with the omission of the ordinary, is called "irrationality" by the typicon because when this is done the whole meaning of the division of the readings in the specific order is transgressed and those who do this show their lack of understanding (of the meaning of the divisions).

The remaining sacraments, as in all of the order of services in the Book of Needs, also must not be shortened except for dire need, and even then only by adhering to all that is essential and the order of the service, remembering one's accountability before God for the damage done to the souls of the flock by one's negligence.  Everyone, while celebrating divine service, must fulfill it more precisely and with better execution so that, bringing spiritual benefit to others, he himself in the Day of Retribution may be likened to the servant who brought forth the ten talents and hear: Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things.

Published at Holy Trinity Monastery 1951
translated by seminarian Akim Provatakis

Orthodox Life no. 4, 1991

Fr. Alexander Update

Dear Friends and Family,
As many of us may already know, Fr. Alexander Iwaszewicz, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been held in a maximum security jail in Uruguay since November , 2012. In accordance with the Uruguayan legal system, Fr. Alexander was incarcerated before even having a trial related to a money laundering charge. In other words, he was arrested on suspicions alone. He has now been awaiting a trial for nearly half a year under dire conditions with no resolution in sight.
There are many unanswered questions revolving around his arrest. For instance, why has he placed under such dismal living conditions? Why has there not been a trial date set yet? Why was he deprived of his family, parish, and community around him that he serves as a priest when there is no substantive evidence against him?
I am forwarding a well put-together call for action, proposed by Mr. John Granger. In it, he provides example letters for making the case for Fr. Alexander’s freedom to consulate and Embassy representatives (with their contact information included). John has also compiled background information on the prison conditions in Uruguay, why Father Alexander was arrested, online petitions in support for his freedom, and how to support continued prison visits to Father Alexander, which have been instrumental in sustaining his morale.
Please scroll down…
With thanks in advance,
Marina Soubotin
ACTION ITEMS: by John Granger
1. Demonstrating a Sustained Interest in Fr. Alexander’s Well-being at the Prison
We can call the prison and send packages to Fr Alexander, which requires some effort and expense (addresses and numbers below). We may help Fr Alexander easily and effectively, too, by sending email letters to the Uruguay Embassy and to that country's consular offices in major US cities. I attach a sample letter for your cutting and pasting beneath this note and the email addresses of Uruguay's American Embassy and consular offices. We can help protect Fr Alexander, speed his trial and his release, by demonstrating to Uruguay officials that Americans are concerned about his condition, safety, and his treatment in the Uruguay justice system.
2. Writing Letters of Support
Thank you for taking the time to write electronically the Embassy and one consular office today to ask for a report on Fr Alexander's situation and why he is being held. We are called to help the helpless...; let us reach out to those incarcerated unjustly and held arbitrarily in a nightmarish prison that is considered an international scandal. Pray for Fr Alexander's safety and early release, please, share this email with as many friends as you can, and send a few emails today to the addresses below."
Sample letter to Uruguay Embassy, United States, Washington D.C.
Email: uruwashi@uruwashi.org
Website URL: www.uruwashi.org
Subject Line: Fr Alejandro Iwaszewicz Dorado
His Excellency Dr. Carlos Pita
Ambassador of Uruguay
Uruguay Embassy, United States
Dear Honorable Ambassador,
I write today to ask for a report on the status and safety of an Orthodox priest imprisoned in a Montevideo jail. Fr Alejandro Iwaszewicz Dorado has been held there without trial on charges of money laundering since late 2012. We friends around the world are concerned about his situation and want to know when he will be brought to trial, why he is being held in the prison he is, and if there is anything that can be done to guarantee his well being and speed his release.
Thank you in advance for sending me any information you can about Fr Alejandro's situation and his future. He is being held at this address: Alejandro Iwaszewicz Dorado, MODULO 8, SECTOR A2, Cell 13, COMPEN-COMCAR, Ruta 1 km 20, Ciudad SANTIAGO VAZQUEZ, DPTO. MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY.
[Full Name
The American Ambassador to Uruguay is the Honorable Julissa Reynoso. An email letter to her at the American Embassy in Uruguay should be addressed 'Her Excellency' and as above before sending to MontevideoACS@state.gov. Please ask her to make inquiries into the incarceration of Fr Alejandro.
Sample Letter to Uruguay Consulates, United States
· Chicago, IL Email: consulado@uruguaychicago.org
· Los Angeles, CA Email: conurula@conurula.org
· New Orleans, LA Email: uruleans@cox.net
· NY, NY Email: conuruyork@conuruyork.org
· San Francisco, CA Email: urusanfra@aol.com
· Miami, FL Email: cgmiami@mrree.gub.uy
· Houston, TX Email: embamb@att.net
· Fallon, NV Email: dchenley@adelphia.net
· Salt Lake City, UT Email: utahconsul@aol.com
Subject Line: Fr Alejandro Iwaszewicz Dorado
Examples of letters:
Consulate Official
Uruguay Consulate, [Name of City]
Dear Sir or Madam,
I write today to ask for a report on the status and safety of an Orthodox priest imprisoned in a Montevideo jail. Fr Alejandro Iwaszewicz Dorado has been held there without trial on charges of money laundering since late 2012. We, friends around the world are concerned about his situation and want to know when he will be brought to trial, why he is being held in the prison he is, and if there is anything that can be done to guarantee his well being and speed his release.
Thank you in advance for sending me any information you can about Fr Alejandro's situation and his future. He is being held at this address: Alejandro Iwaszewicz Dorado, MODULO 8, SECTOR A2, Cell 13, COMPEN-COMCAR, Ruta 1 km 20, Ciudad SANTIAGO VAZQUEZ, DPTO. MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY.
[Full Name

Heavenly Guidance

A Walk In Washington, D.C.

Fr. Makary shares:
This is a GREAT video -- short but to the point.
Take A Walk In Washington, D.C.
3 minutes

the teaching of St. Ignaty Brianchaninov:

“Apostasy is permitted by God; do not be tempted to stop it with your feeble hand... distance yourself, and preserve yourself from it; and that will be sufficient of you.  Know the spirit of the times, study it, so that you may avoid its influence as much as possible.”

Moscow Steps Up Efforts to Seize Russian Church Property Abroad

Voice of Russia report here, April 10:
French court confirmed Russia's ownership of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Nice

– – – ∞ ∞ – – –

Reader Daniel Sharing

On the Cathedral in Nice, France"-given to the Putin Government/MP-! 
Lengthy astute comments by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna, followed by a Paul Goble commentary on this event.

From: Archbishop Chrysostomos 
Subject: "Behind their dark glass the mad own nothing." The decision in Nice, France.
Date: 13 April 2013

To: Exarchate Clergy, Faithful, and Friends
From: Archbishop Chrysostomos

Evlogia Kyriou.

A Day of Infamy.

Let me see. "I looked into Putin's eyes and saw a man of God and a friend of Orthodoxy." So I was told by a clergyman of my acquaintance. I have often thought to myself, reflecting on his comment: "…or was it a man posing as a friend of the Church and a minion of the Tempter offering worldly recognition for ecclesiastical spoils?"

In my spirit of doubt, let me share with you the following:

See, below, Paul Goble's report on the victory of Putin and his KGB cronies—leaders of an immoral Oligarchy built on the blood of the Martyrs who perished during (and after, truth to be told) the Bolshevik Revolution claiming to be one with the leaders of pre-Soviet Russia (there must be many graves filled with fierce activity across the Russian world today)—who are now the "owners," after a long court battle for its ownership, of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Nice, France, which was built with personal Tsarist funds.

It is interesting that the Russian State and not the "Universal Patriarchate" of the "People of God" (in the case of the decision rendered in Nice, the local congregation) and their Bishop holds ownership over Orthodox Churches. Are we, then, subjects of the state or the faithful members of the Church of Christ when we capitulate to Orthodox bodies that are state-run or state-authorized, even when the sponsoring states are neither wholly committed to the strict traditions of Orthodoxy nor actual defenders of its precepts? The truthful answer to this question is terrifying. Its ramifications echo throughout the Orthodox Church today.

The issue raised by the events this past week in Nice is not, in essence, the ecclesiastical dispute behind the two sides vying for ownership of the Nice Cathedral. These are trivial technicalities in the face of the real issue, which should not be obfuscated by these secondary issues. The issue is one of Scriptural proportions: What is owed to Caesar (even when Caesar claims that he owns what is God's) and what belongs to God?

Given the anti-religious, secular bias of the EU and the French courts (something that is not absent from American courts today, we would be wise to observe), one should not be surprised at the legal outcome of this case. The claim, however, that those who held government positions in the Soviet Union, which had a stated anti-religious policy, are now, after the collapse of that entity, the inheritors of the state whose leaders (monarchs) the same collapsed state brutally murdered—this is beyond understanding.

Whether or not one recognizes or opposes the Moscow Patriarchate, is it possible to equate the corrupt Oligarchy of a former KGB agent with Imperial Russia? Is it possible to state, again, that his Oligarchy owns Orthodox Churches, over and above the faithful and their chosen Bishop, and that it is at the pleasure of the state that the faithful are allowed to worship in the Churches that it owns?

Even if such a prerogative was claimed by a state, such as pre-Revolutionary Russia, in which Orthodoxy was the state religion, can this be so in Putin's Oligarchy, which, by the terms of its Constitution, has no official state religion? His Oligarchy is the inheritor, not of the Russia of the Tsars, but of the tyranny the U.S.S.R.—a state run by genocidal, anti-religious thugs and madmen who were avowed enemies of the Orthodox Church and the murderers of untold numbers of its clergy and monastics.

Have we all lost our minds, that we do not see the clear picture of hypocrisy and criminal misrepresentation here? Have we set aside our morals? Has the lesson of history been wholly lost on Orthodox believers?

No Orthodox Christian, regardless of his jurisdictional political leanings, could look at this decision as anything but an assault against decency.

Again, I reiterate: the issue raised by the travesty in Nice is not one of who rightly or wrongly lost the suit. Nor is it merely one of the anti-religious bias of contemporary courts and such legal deficits. It centers on the claim that Churches built by the Russian Imperial government somehow belong to the inheritors of Soviet terror and on the absurd and false assumption that Putin and his government  are the continuators of Tsarist Russia, his ugly and perverse personal history and the acts of the murderous state in which he was reared and which he served as a secret agent notwithstanding.

We have truly given up our  brains along with our souls, if we can accept such a claim as anything but insanity. The late Penelope Fitzgerald, the superb English novelist, penned a line that the present inheritors of the remnants of the Soviet Union, atheists and thugs turned "believers" and Orthodox Church owners, would do well to remember: "Behind their dark glass the mad [ultimately] own nothing."

Paul Goble's excellent report can be found at:

Window on Eurasia: Moscow Steps Up Efforts to Reclaim Russian Church Property Abroad
Paul Goble
            Staunton, April 13 –Russian Orthodox churches constructed abroad before 1917 belonged to the Russian state, lawyers say, and consequently, as a recent French decision about the Orthodox Cathedral in Nice confirms, the Russian government has every right to reclaim all of them as its state property, a Russian activist in France argues.
            Such an expansive reading of the Nice decision suggests that some in Russian church and political circles believe they can increase their efforts to gain control of these churches, efforts that would further weaken independent Russian Orthodox congregations abroad and give Moscow control of some extremely valuable real estate in key cities around the world.
            On Wednesday, a French appeals court ruled in favor of the Russian government’s claim that it and not the Orthodox congregation at Nice is the legal owner of the St. Nicholas Cathedral in that southern French city, thus apparently ending a decade of controversy and a four-year-long legal proceeding, although a further appeal is possible.
            The Russian Service of Radio France International featured interviews  with Dmitry Litvinsky, a Franco-Russian lawyer, and Nikita Krivoshein, a Russian émigré activist, about the implications of this case (russian.rfi.fr/rossiya/20130411-vopros-o-pravoslavnom-sobore-v-nitstse-sozdaet-pretsedent-dlya-rf and russian.rfi.fr/rossiya/20130411-nikita-krivoshein-vse-tserkvi-postroennye-v-xix-veke-russkoi-imperiei-v-evrope-dolz).
            Litvinsky argued that the Nice case was “above all” about financial interests and control over a specific piece of property, but he added that no one could ignore that it also had religious consequences because the court’s decision means that the Moscow Patriarchate rather than the Universal Patriarchate will have control of the facility.
            When property for the Nice church was purchased in 1865, the lawyer continued, it was the position of the Russian state that the property belonged to Tsar Aleksandr II “personally.”  The Orthodox community of Nice disputed that, but neither the French court of first instance nor the appeals court accepted its argument.
            The French court followed the international legal principle of “legal continuity” of states, a principle that “means that even when there are significant political and economic changes in a country, such as a change of regime which brings new people to power, the state as such does not cease its existence.”
            The Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991, he noted, but “today the Russian Federation acts as the official legal successor of the USSR both with regard to its obligations and also concerning its possible claims.” And at the same time, the Russian Federation is “the legal successor of both the USSR and the Russian Empire.”
             Krivoshein offered an even more expansive reading of the French court’s decision on the Nice facility.  On the one hand, he suggested that Moscow had tried to reach an accommodation with the Orthodox community there. But on the other, he said that it is the Russian state rather than the Russian church whose interests are most directly involved.
            Asked to explain this and why the Russian government rather than the Moscow Patriarchate had brought suit in this case, he pointed to the legal situation that existed before 1917 when the state and church were not separate and when the state was the owner of all property used by the church.
            Now that the Russian state has won this case, Krivoshein added, it will retain ownership even though it will allow the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate to use it. That, of course, will further entwine the state and the church in Russia and give the state an even larger voice in church affairs, despite the provisions of the Russian Constitution.
            He added in conclusion that in his view, “all churches built in the 19th century by the Russian Empire in Western Europe should undoubtedly be returned to their lawful owner, that is, to Russia,” including such prominent facilities as the Aleksandr Nevsky Cathedral on the Rue Daru in Paris, an indication that Moscow is set to become more active in this sphere.