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


False Reports about Esphigmenou

"It appears Greek government officials are trying to cover up their complicity in these lawless and criminal activities by spreading false reports to media outlets," 

Internet Sobor:

mainstream media:

Photos St. Philaret of New York

Prepare for the End of the World

Resolution of the Council of ROCOR Bishops
Concerning Preparation for the End of the World

Orthodox Life 1989 #2
Translated from Church Life, Nos. 1-2, 1984

Many have now noticed signs which point to the imminent end of the world.  Some scientists have already determined that this is probably the result of an old world that has passed its prime and they even guess when the end might come.  Other people study the prophecies in the Bible, and read into them the end of contemporary political life.  These people foresee the advent of a world-wide crisis and the last days.  Meanwhile, for us the times and seasons have not been revealed.  The Lord has only warned us concerning those events which will preceded the end of the world saying, "Take heed that no man deceive you.  For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many."

In addition to the appearance of various false messiahs, there is now talk concerning the birth and preparation of a more serious pretender who will occupy the position of world-wide false messiah.  At this time we cannot positively confirm anything except that signs have appeared according to which we can expect the appearance of the "son of perdition" in the very near future.  This will take place soon after the unification of the whole world in a single world government.

It is not accidental that the Lord, according to the ways of His Providence, does not reveal to us these details in the fullness.  For us it is sufficient to know that we have already entered into that period of history which in all probability pertains to the imminent appearance of Antichrist.  This means that we must be spiritually prepared.

What compromises this preparation?  It consists in the strengthening of our spiritual powers so that we develop the ability to resist the temptations of the Antichrist.  Many of these temptations, such as the weakening of faith, the deification of mankind, the betrayal of faith in a single true Church because of a desire for humanistic religious union in a false church, already stand before us, preparing even Orthodox Christians to follow Antichrist along these paths.

What should we do besides observing the signs of the times?  We have to train ourselves, our flocks, and all Orthodox families in the firm belief that our Lord has given us the blessing of belonging to the One, True Church.  As in the beginning of its existence, the Church today represents a minority.  But the True Church is not determined by having the majority of believers on earth as its members.  The True Church consists rather of those people who are faithful and devoted to it.  This faithfulness is not an easy task, it demands firm faith, spiritual strength, and devotion to the truth in a world around us which is foreign to Christ.  In the face of those temptations which already exist, and those to come, we must direct all our spiritual and mental powers toward preparation for any temptation.

The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, 1984

Sermon on the Holy Fathers of the First Council

Protodeacon Basil Yakimov shares this

... And here is Father Nikita's Sermon on the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council - long but most edifying and spiritually fulfilling:  

year 2013
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Dear brothers and sisters,

Today we are celebrating, as always on Sunday, the Resurrection of our Lord, but today is also a very special Sunday because it actually falls between the Ascension of our Lord into Heaven and the coming down of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  This is, in fact, a rare event and it even coincides with the feast of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council.   This is a very late season of Pascha and for that reason we have sort of a constellation of great feasts that fall on this day.
So it is a very special day when we commemorate the Apostles being gathered in that secret room where Christ told them to wait.  When Christ ascended into the Heavens, He told the disciples to go and gather and be together and pray in one room until the Holy Spirit would come down on them.  And that is what they did.  They sat for ten days, from the Thursday of the Ascension until the Sunday when the Holy Spirit did come down, 10 days later,  and that was  Pentecost.  And that is what we will be celebrating next Sunday, God willing, the Descent of the Holy Spirit.  But for these ten days, including today, the Apostles sat in that room and waited for the Holy Spirit to come down. 

And this really emphasizes to us the uniqueness and specialness of the Holy Church of Christ.  The Holy Church is not just a teaching. The Holy Church is not a philosophy.  It  is not even  a lifestyle.  The Holy Church of Christ is literally like a new nation.  It’s a nation that is made by God in his own image.  It is a nation that is separate from the world.  In the world, we have many different nations but they are all of the world.  And yet God himself came down and made a whole new nation and this nation is eternal.  This nation will not die and perish and its history will not rise and fall like all great empires eventually rise and fall and go into oblivion, into history.  But this nation that God is creating, and has created, will live forever and will never decay but will inherit the eternal kingdom of God.  This is a separate nation, just as every nation on the earth is a separate nation from the others.

In other words, if you want to be an American, you have to be recognized by the government and go through certain procedures to be an American.  And when you are an American you have your duties and responsibilities, and you have your privileges, and your advantages, but you are an American when the government recognizes you and then you are an American.  Then you are an American.  Just because you are living in some other country and think like an American and consider yourself to be an American, does not mean that you are an American.  You have to actually go through a process  by the American government in order to be actually made an American and then you are an American.

It’s the same with the Church and this is one of the problems that exists in the world right now.  The people do not know what the Church is.  They think it is basically up to everyone to determine their own church and their own criteria. They think that they’re in a Church, so then they are in a Church and that everybody has their own understanding of the Church.

But it is not like that.  God made only one Church and He made the Apostles in charge of it.  And the Apostles made rules and there are a lot of Apostolic rules that most of the world has not even heard about.  But those are the rules by which a person becomes a member of the Church and then remains a member of the Church if they maintain and live up to their responsibilities.  Then they are a member of the Church.  And then they are a member of this special group of people that God has called out of the world and made into His Church.  And as we heard in the Gospel reading today, wherein the Apostle John describes how Christ prayed to God the Father right before He went to the Cross.  He says that He prays not for the world and this is very significant to realize this, that Christ Himself says, I do not pray for the world but I pray for those whom Thou has given Me out of the world.
So this is that group of the Apostles that He has given Him out of the world and then He says I pray not only for you but I pray for those who will come to believe in Me, from your teaching, from your word.  So it is not enough to just believe in Christ, you have to actually go through a process to become a member of this special group that Christ has called our world, called the Church.  So this is the group that He prays for.  He says I do not pray for the world, I pray for those whom My Father has given Me out of the world.  And that is the Church and that’s a very special and separate group.

It does not mean that they can’t live in the world and be perfectly good citizens of every country, but it means that they are a special group that has been called out of the world to become a part of this nation that is destined for eternity, to be members of the Kingdom of God.  It is a new nation, a new kingdom that God is making and we are all called to be a part of that.

So we really need to understand that the borders and the boundaries of the Church are not fuzzy and blurry, and they are not subjective and they are not up to everybody’s interpretation.  This is why we are celebrating today the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Councils who actually met for the first time in the Church’s history when the persecutions were all officially stopped and the Church had for the first time an opportunity to gather the whole Church all together and that happened in the year 325 in the city called Nicea in what is now in the region of Greece and Turkey.

When those people gathered, there were 318 Bishops that gathered, they defined exactly what the Church is.  One of the definitions of the Church was the Creed, what we call now the Creed.  It is the prayer that we say every day.  I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible... and all the rest.  And that I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and in the Church.  Those are the definitions and they said no one is to add or subtract anything from this definition of what we believe in.  And that faith ... that is the fence that basically defines our Church, that faith.  If anyone does not believe something in there, in the Creed, then they are not part of the Church.  Or if someone believes something extra, in addition to what that is not in there, then they are not part of the Church.  So this is kind of the boundary of the Church and they defined that.  These are the Fathers we are glorifying today - because that Church only came to be when the Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost.  Then that same Holy Spirit created the Church through the Apostles and the Fathers gathered in Nicea.

 And this is why we believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.  And this is the definition that the Church defines itself as.  First of all, it defines itself as one, not many churches.  So there is only one Church, one God and one faith.  The Church defines itself by the Holy Spirit as being only one and then it defines itself as being Holy because the Holy Spirit lives in it and breathes in it and guides it.  And then it is Catholic means it is not just dependent on any one person but it is universal.  It means the decisions are made by the Holy Spirit and all of the Church when it is gathered.  It means Sobornost in Russian and Catholicity in Greek.  It means the whole universal Church gathers and the Holy Spirit speaks through the whole Church not through just any one individual.

So that’s how the Church has always been defined as being Catholic in the sense of universal.   All the decisions are made by the Holy Spirit through the whole Church being  gathered together, not one individual.  And then it is Apostolic and Apostolic means that not anyone can decide to make a Church on their own.  The Church was made by the Apostles and whatever the Apostles defined the Church as,  and how they guided it, that is how the Church is conducted.  And nothing has changed from that.  And there is only one Church that has remained that way, that is, Apostolic.  There is only one Church that has always been One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and that is the Church that is known as the Holy Orthodox Church.

Orthodox means right believing.  Like an orthodontist or an orthopaedic surgeon, it means they setting things straight and right.  And orthodox means rightly glorifying God, rightly as opposed to wrongly.  So there is only one Church, one right way.  And the Church is not up to personal interpretation ...  where one can choose to worship this and not that.

The Church is not like that, it is like a nation with its rules that were made with the Apostles and the Holy Spirit and that is what defines us.  This is what we are celebrating today and we are getting ready to celebrate a week from now.  When the Holy Spirit comes down on Pentecost - it is actually the birthday of the Holy Church, the Apostolic and One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.  And this is the Church that we are very fortunate to be members of by the grace of God. 

And this is a Church that is open to everyone.  It’s not that it’s very exclusive.  It’s exclusive in the sense that only those who believe correctly and who are willing to abide by the definitions and the rules of the Apostolic Canons of the Church are members of the Church.  And anybody who wants to, can be, and everybody is invited.  It is open to everyone.  But like Christ said, many are called but few are chosen.  People themselves do not want to be members of the Church.  Those people who do not want to be and want to make their own Church on the side, those are not members of the Church.

So only those who abide by the grace of the Holy Spirit and the Canons of the Church are members of the Church.  And those are the ones that Christ says, I pray for not for the world but for those that You have given Me.  And those will be the ones who will inherit the Kingdom if they follow Christ to the Cross.  If they take up their cross and follow Christ.  And it’s not just enough to be a member of the Church, you have your responsibilities.  You have to actually live the life of the Church, and that is, you have to take up your cross and follow Christ.  

Christ says, not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will inherit the Kingdom.  Because on that day when He comes for the second judgment, many will come to Him and say, but Lord we preached in your name, we’ve done miracles in your name.  And He says, I will say to them, truly I say to you “I have never known you, depart from me, I do not know who you are”.

Now that is a very scary thought.  So let us not fool ourselves into thinking that we are followers of Christ just because we belong to a church.  We have to belong to the Church in spirit.  Not only by definition ... that we’re Orthodox and have been baptized, we have to actually belong to the Church in spirit.  And, to be in spirit, we have to worship God in spirit and in truth.  That means - do not admit any hypocrisy, do not admit any guile into your life and into your faith, do not bear false witness, basically fulfill all the commandments of God and love your neighbor as yourself and God with all your heart.  And that way, when there is a temptation, you know you have to take up your cross and follow Christ to the Cross.  Then you will be a true member of the Church and you will be a member of the group that Christ has defined as a new nation for whom He has prepared an eternal kingdom.   Amen

Sermon for: Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council
June 16, 2013  at: Church of the New Martyrs of Russia, Mountain View, NY 
by: Father Nikita Grigoriev

Optina Elder Barsanuphius on Football

Orthodox Life 1989 #3

A Conversation with The Elder Barsanuphius of Optina 
About Holy Communion, Temptation, and Football
(Taken from Optina Hermitage and Its Epoch by I.M. Kontzevitch)

At 3:30 p.m. we attended vespers, at 8:00 Evening Prayers, and then immediately went to sleep since we had to rise at midnight for Matins.  By the prayers of Batiushka we prepared for Communion without difficulty and received the Mysteries at the early Liturgy.  We then went directly to the elder for tea.  He received us joyfully, giving thanks to God.  He served us and (in the conversation which followed) warned us that sometimes on the day one receives Holy Communion one suffers from a heavy feeling.  He advised us to pay no attention to such a mood and not to be depressed, since on such occasions the devil especially arms himself against the communicant and acts on him by means of hypnosis.  Batiushka added that hypnosis is an evil, unchristian force.  By using hypnosis the devil troubles the clergy when they serve the Liturgy.  The devil cannot draw near to the altar table, which is surrounded by angels and, therefore tempts them with blasphemies and doubts.  By prayer and God's help these thoughts are chased away.  The same tactics occur in the game of football, which has just appeared in the world . . .  Do not play this game, and do not go watch it being played because this game has also been inspired by the devil and the consequences of it will be very unfortunate.  After tea Batiushka sent us out for a walk.  He advised us against sleeping during the day after we had received Communion.

On Football
R. Monk Hilarion

The devil especially acts upon us (by means of a form of) hypnosis . . .   The same tactics occur in the game of football, which has just appeared in the world . . .  Do not play this game, and do not go watch it being played because this game has also been inspired by the devil and the consequences of it will be very unfortunate.
Elder Barsanuphius of Optina

On 15 April 1989 at Hillsborough, England 93 people died and roughly 200 were injured when thousands of ticketless, young fans were admitted to a soccer stadium already filled to capacity with a crowd of 54,000 people.  At English football grounds the area behind the goals called the "terraces," is allocated for standing room only.  Therefore, it is possible to squeeze in extra spectators.  It is on the "terraces" that the trouble, which has made English football notorious, usually occurs.  Designed to prevent clashes between opposing groups of supporters and to control hooliganism, the "terraces" are more like high-tech prison compounds, with their high steel-framed fences, brick walls, and remote control televisions, than the setting for sport and relaxation.  It was onto the already packed terraces at Hillsborough that police, moments before the beginning of the game, allowed several thousand additional fans to surge.  Despite the presence of riot police and police on horseback outside the stadium they claimed afterward to have opened the gates for fear of the consequences of having to deal with this disappointed and angry mob of young Liverpool supporters.  The surge of these extra spectators caused pandemonium inside.  Most of the dead, pushed further and further forward to the steel-enclosed cul-de-sac were suffocated or crushed to death up against the retaining fences.

Soccer disasters are nothing new nor are they a uniquely British phenomenon.  In this decade alone, from Mexico City to Katmandu in Nepal, more than 250 fans have died violent deaths and many thousands have been injured while "enjoying" this pastime.  England particularly is noted for spawning a whole new subspecies of violent, psychopathic soccer hooligan.

It was, however, in Lima, Peru in 1964 that the worst disaster so far occurred when 318 fans died in violent rioting during an Olympic Games qualifying match.  In January 1971, 66 people died in Glasgow, Scotland; in 1985 another 53 died and 211 were injured as fire swept through a stadium in Bradford, England, while two week later in Brussels 38 people died and 400 were injured trying to escape stampeding British hooligans.  In March 1988, 77 people were trampled to death as fans panicked during a freak hailstorm in Katmandu.

While everyone deplores the atrocities when they occur, no one wants to take the measures to stop them.  Why?  Because soccer has become a multi-billion dollar business.  The commercial value of the sport has become so enormous that no one involved can conceive of interrupting the flow of receipts.  Soccer has simply outgrown the limits of a normal sport, appealing as it does so strongly to man's lower animal nature.  As the sport has grown it has become commercialized and its fans have become true "fanatics" (the origin, after all, of the word fan), more and more possessed by a passion for violence and destruction – after all, they are playing to a world-wide audience.  And just to get in the right mood for the game, they destroy the trains and boats which ferry them to the location of the matches.  The nights before and after the games are given over to drunken rampages through the streets as in Dusseldorf, Germany last June where over 500 visiting fans were arrested over a two day period.

It is interesting to note that as far back as the Middle Ages the city fathers of London were forced to ban the progenitor of the game of football because of the uproar it caused in the city.

 the clairvoyant elder is speaking about the hypnotic effect of the game
herein lies the demonic element in football

Regrettable though all these factors may be, it is not the occasional outbreak of blind violence or tragic accident about which the clairvoyant elder is speaking when he warned his spiritual children against having anything to do with the game of football.  He is speaking rather about the hypnotic effect of the game.  Herein lies the demonic element in football – be it American football or English football (soccer).  The hypnotic effect of these games is seen in the consequences it has for the psyche of its devotees.  They become obsessed with the game.  The are mesmerized not only while watching the matches on television or in the stadium but also at other times.  Their lives and their thoughts become focused on soccer or football even to the point of ignoring their own safety and the safety of others.  What is more, the hypnosis that the devil casts over football's devotees makes them incapable of anything spiritual.  When the matches are on such people are willing to give up the most important things in their lives in order to see them.  And when the games are over they continue to live their obsession.  Magazines, newspapers, and television feed their fixation, while the cult surrounding the lives of the game's heroes approaches that of pagan worship.  How many countless millions of people have been drawn into this diabolical net is impossible to tell but can be guessed at when one hears of the astronomical sums advertisers are willing to pay the television networks for a few moments during the intervals in the game to air their products.  The attention of these millions of souls is completely enrapt in the cult of the game.  Herein lies the hypnotic obsession about which the Elder Barsanuphius was speaking, when so many souls are stolen from God because of football.

The truly prophetic words of the Elder are only now being made clear.  What we see today on the terraces of European football grounds is only a symptom of the much worse spiritual cancer which has now gripped the Western psyche.  And its reason?  – Our abandonment of the Church and our rejection of God.

Maklakov (a.k.a. Pavlovski) tries to pull a fast one

Rumors of "uniting the fragments"
trying to suck ROCA into a false unity

found on Internet Sobor:
"Bishop" Andrew Pawlowski, Managing Autonomous Church [ROAC] parishes in the U.S., reports on its talks with the bishops of ROCOR (A) [ROCA] and RIPTS [RTOC]

The video is in Russian.  The comments are not clear enough through the machine translator.  It is nearly impossible for English-speakers to understand.  A HUMAN-English translation of the text portions of the Internet Sobor post [including comments] –but not the video – is provided below at the end of this post.

So, what is going on here? 

This is a video made by a trouble-maker ROAC bishop Andrew Pavlovski/Maklakov who has publicly criticized our synod's decision to retire Bishop Joseph, which retirement Bp. Joseph himself requested, on his own.  He has teamed up with a RTOC bishop trouble-maker, Stephan Sabelnik, to cause a schism in our Church.  And it is possible they may succeed in causing a number of our weaker members to leave us.

The "talks" were nothing more than informal afternoon tea get-togethers which have been purposely misrepresented by the trouble-makers as being something more. 

Below are some of Reader Daniel's comments on this video and the situation.  But first, please remember and reread the firm stand of our synod as our Metropolitan expressed in the recent meeting minutes concerning the fragments.  This reassures us that we will not enter into a false union with the fragments. 

from the minutes of the recent bishops session:
May 28, 2013

... The Chairman spoke of a small number of people who came over to the ROCA from other jurisdictions.  Interest remains in our Church, even in Russia, though the clerics there are afraid of joining us for fear of reprisals; as in Udmurtia, where a parish that was insignificant to the MP suddenly became the target of persecution from the MP and local authorities.  The Trinity parish in the Odessa oblast joined us along with their rector, Fr. Gennadiy, after they suffered reprisals for refusing to sign over the parish house as the private possession of the ruling archbishop.  Deacon Victor Zavodov joined us from the RTOC, where he was well respected among the clerics.  Signs of the RTOC breaking down can be seen, especially after the “self-re-baptism” of Bishop Germogen, and it is possible that we will see more of them coming over to us.  Subdeacon Kirill of the ROCA(V), who was well respected there, joined us.  ROCA(V) Bishop Anastasy (Surzhik) issued statements on dogma that will make it difficult for him to remain in that jurisdiction.  The Chairman believes that Bishop Anastasy is the only one we can deal with in the ROCA(V), but negotiations may be hampered by our insistence on ordaining their clerics anew.  To that end, we need to determine the details of the first canonical bishop ordinations in ROCA(V) completed by Bishop Varnava.  There are witnesses who were in the church that claim that Met. Vitaliy was not present.  Then we could see to what extent ekonomia can be applied in the receiving of individuals from that group into our Church ...

from ReaderDanielSharing blog:
found on: http://internetsobor.org ... the original Russian article, video, with comments.
COMMENT: He reports about his (secret-) 'talks with ROCA and RTOC bishops'.
(WHAT is really 'secret' these days!??? ...answer: NOTHING!), but the one who reveals and makes public such 'talks' of bishops, is guilty of violating confidences.  Which in itself, makes us wonder as to what are his real motives in all this malicious double-dealing, including his outrageous interferences in our internal ROCA church matters, as with our Bp. Joseph's recent self-asked for retirement.  And this award goes to ROAC (bigmouth/interferer in others' churches) ROAC 'Bp. Andre Maklakov'!... the very author of his ROAC's pathetic and lamentable false 'anathema' on our ROCA and on our sister SIR Synod, neither of which, with our other sister Romanian and Bulgarian sister churches, are 'heretics'.  How pathetic!... He never misses an opportunity to speak ill of our Met. and our ROCA.
And some misguided souls want our ROCA to unite with him and his uncanonical ROAC?NEVER!!!

ROAC's public criticism of us was published on Portal Credo ru in Russian.  The link to it is copied in this post:
Something one of our clergy said months ago echos in my mind: 

English translation of this article about Maklakov with two anti-Maklakov negative comments
Human translation kindly provided by Vladimir Djambov
"Picking up the fragments"

The Russian language video speech of Maklakov has not been translated.  Here is the introductory text and comments of the post on Internet Sobor on July 22, 2013

Bishop Andrew of Pavlovsk, Managing (Hierarch of) the ROAC parishes in the U.S., reports on his talks with hierarchs of ROCOR(A) and RTOC

Correspondent: Administrator; incl. on July 20, 2013. Posted in Alternative Orthodoxy (Views: 78)
Tags: ROAC, Russia (RF), Suzdal

“Gathering up the fragments" of TOC of Russian tradition in America. Bishop Andrew of Pavblovsk, Managing (hierarch of) the ROAC parishes in the U.S., reports to the XVII Congress of the Suzdal diocese of ROAC on his discussions with the hierarchs of ROCOR(A) and RTOC, July 17

+1 # The former Suzdal Diocese of ROCOR –[READER MARTIN-commenter]  R07/20/2013 19:23
Well, indeed, To put all the blame on are those “Cyprianites” ...
This is why until this day ROAC has not been able to unite with the RTOC-RTOCA, ROCA (V-V), ROCA (VA), ROAC (G-1), ROAC (G-2), RosOC (D), RosOC (V) , RosOC (A) and the [like] other fragments.

It’s very easy [convenient] for them to shoot from behind the corner with anathemas and articles, but they have neither the courage nor the honesty to sit down at one table and discuss those issues which in their opinion “separate” us from those “heroes” [bogatyrs] and “peacemakers”.

Cut [down] [humble down] then we’ll come to a settlement, ...
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
+2 # RE: Bishop Andrew of Pavlovsk, Managing Hierarch of the ROAC parishes in the U.S.,[ROCA-commenter]reports on his discussions with the hierarchs of ROCOR (A) and RTOC – ROCA 20.07.2013 19:22
Of course, what that man says is terrible. He has in practical terms anathemized all the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, Metropolitan Vitaly (as one praying with “Cyprianites”). It turns out according to his logic that since 1994 the Church of Christ has ceased to exist inasmuch as ROCOR – falling into heresy – ceased to be.
He “forgot” about the fact that bp. Gregory (Grabbe) concluded his life within the bosom of ROCOR, which [the latter] Andrew Maklakov has just anathemized.
Why would he lie that “Cyprianism” teaches that the Church can enliven with [the help of] the heresy that has already been condemned by the Ecumenical Councils?
One can only hope that that man has never understood a thing (and most likely this is how it is). This is the only thing that could at least somehow justify him.
Of course, no holding of negotiations [talks], and even [no] discussions is possible with him. All the more [so], this would also be a relief to him because he, poor, has been tortured by persuasions and invitations to dialogue[s].
I think the time of gathering the “fragments” is over even [though] it has never started [at all] – each one went their separate [own] ways.

Have you been to Mountain View yet?

Two Articles
The Eternal Beacon of Faith.
One more parish in the church abroad.
By Pyotr Koltypin-Wallovskoy
Russian Orthodox Religious and Cultural Center

Recently we received an invitation to a partial consecration of yet another church, dedicated in this instance to the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.  My wife and I decided we must attend such an important celebration of our Church Abroad.

It reminded me how Russian immigrants in the 1920’s and 1930’s began building churches throughout the entire diaspora with funds provided by the faithful.  No matter how the conspirators from Moscow tried to hamper these efforts and “extinguish the icon lamps” of the true Church, the churches continued to be built.

In 2007, the Russian intelligence agencies were able to convince a part of the clergy of the Church Abroad to join the Moscow Patriarchia. A considerable part remained loyal to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and the legacy of its First Hierarchs, Metropolitans Anthony, Anastassy, St. Philaret and Vitaly. In our Church, led by Metropolitan Agafangel and 12 bishops, with around 135 priests and 120 parishes scattered throughout the whole world and Russia, the number of such “inextinguishable icon-lamps” is ever greater and greater.  So now we are invited to yet another festive consecration of a new church, a new “inextinguishable icon-lamp.”  

As you pass through the center of the village of Middleburgh in New York State, a very beautiful, hilly landscape opens before you. From far away you can see on one of the hills the golden cupola of our Orthodox Church with a beautiful, historic Orthodox Vladimir cross. The cupola was designed by the architect S. Nikitin. The cupola was erected under the technical supervision of Oleg Mikhaylovich Rodzianko. A graceful two-story building with 35 rooms abuts the church, surrounded by many acres of land, and contains the Russian Orthodox Religious and Cultural Center, only three hours away from New York City.

Here, on the evening of Saturday, November 24, 2012, with a large number of faithful in attendance, Archbishop Andronik (Kotlaroff) and Rev. Victor Dobroff performed the partial consecration followed by vespers. The choir under the able leadership of choir director Mark Kotlaroff sang wonderfully and embellished the service, creating a special prayerful feeling.

As you enter the church, you sense the cozy layout of the large church. This church is larger than the one in the Jordanville monastery. It also has excellent acoustics and the voices of the priests are easily heard by everyone standing in the church. Your eyes are drawn to the elegant wooden iconostasis which was carved by hand. A master carpenter with many years of experience worked on it for an entire year. Most of the main icons on the iconostasis were painted in the Rublev style by iconographers from Russia.  The beauty of the church’s interior is quite extraordinary.

On the next day, Sunday, November 25, 2012, at 10 AM, Divine Liturgy was served in the newly-consecrated church by Archbishop Andronik, along with Archpriest Nikita Grigoriev, Rev. Victor Dobroff and Rev. Anthony Gunin. Many families with children were in attendance and it was joyous to have so many younger people present.

After the liturgy, Archbishop Andronik invited everyone to join in the luncheon. It is worthy to note that we Russians who live in foreign lands far from our homeland and who have preserved our faith for decades, do not forget out history, traditions and especially our Russian cuisine.  A Lenten soup with mushrooms was served to the monastics and clergy during the luncheon along with a tasty fish and piroshky (patties) with cabbage and mushrooms.

Everyone else was served a soup, turkey, piroshky with meat and mushrooms, syrniky (fried cheese pancakes) and tasty tender potatoes. All the food was prepared by the sisterhood of the church.  What a pleasant surprise it was when the directors of the Center announced that the Mayor of the village of Middleburgh, Mr. Matthew Avitabile, who is Greek Orthodox, had sent an official letter of congratulations on the occasion of the consecration of the church and had promised to help our Church in its missionary work and in its various events.

The director of the Center, Yuriy Georgiyevich Lukin, spoke at the luncheon and expressed his profound gratitude to all the volunteers who devoted many hours and hard work in the renovation and construction of the church and the Center’s building. Mr. Lukin also thanked deeply all the craftsmen; the architects, carpenters, electricians and other specialists who had devoted and continue to devote many hours on improvements in the entire complex.

The administration of the Russian Orthodox Religious and Cultural Center has announced that the full consecration of the church and Center is scheduled for July 20–21, 2013.

After the services, the church and the building will be open to visitors from near and far. A Russian festival with a concert of Russian music is planned on those dates.

Have you been to Mountain View yet?
If you have not been to Mountain View yet – well, then, go!
By Matushka Joanne Grigoriev

Even when I am just driving past Mountain View, along Rte 145, on my work-related travels, my heart rejoices.  As I near the bend in the road, my heart begins to lighten and my mood brightens.  As I catch the first sight of the majestic estate up on the hill, I feel an involuntary smile and a feeling of comfort.  And now the glorious, new, golden cupola and Orthodox Cross shining over the valley not only witnesses to all those driving by, it reinforces and strengthens all those who come especially to visit.

You see, I stood for over two decades, every week, in the once glorious bastion of truth, the once coveted ark, in Jordanville. And yes, like all of us, when it finally happened, I mean – the betrayal, I grieved deeply.  It was numbing for years.  Loss is one thing.  Betrayal is worse.  Loss happens.  Betrayal is carried out.  

We were willing to lose property.  We were not willing to betray Christ. By God’s grace and mercy, we did not “go along” on that final day of signing.  Everyone made their choice, whether they admit it or not. That day was a historical day of choice.

During those days, weeks, months and years after that sorrowful day, I would often recall how the Apostles and believers must have felt during those 3 days immediately following the crucifixion of our Lord.  What confusion mixed with sorrow.  Those were, undoubtedly, dark and unsure days.  

And what did the believers do through those most terrible days?  Indeed, that day of the horrible and ignoble crucifixion of Jesus Christ, our God, was certainly the most awful day in the history of the world: what did the believers do?  Those who were able, followed through.  The myrrh bearers kept watch by night and wept.  Joseph of Arimathea requested permission to bury the Lord’s body.  He and Nicodemus went by night to tend to the body, bringing oils and myrrh for the burial rites.  These are the tasks, caring tasks, that must follow death.  Through the numbing, calamitous and fearful events, these brave and sober saints carried through.  We sing to them and about them every Pascha.  Their story within the great events leading to the Resurrection of Christ is one of deep courage and faith.

And, so now in current times, as the days and months have turned into years since that terrible day, we continue to follow through, doing what needs to be done, when and how we can.  Scattered parishes have struggled and still struggle to stay together, first serving in homes, then finding office buildings to rent and then progress to the bigger plans of building a Church.  Others have spent much time, money and emotional energy defending Church properties in court.  And, yet others have purchased lands and buildings with the intent to create once again, places for us to gather and be together, pray together, identify together, re-grow and grow together.  

Mountain View is one example.  What a good thing.  Here is another modern day example of following through with patience. Here is another wonderful work in progress.  Every time I visit, dear Vladyka Andronik shows me the work being done.  And, oh my – only the best will be brought in to this new symbol, this new bastion of ROCA.  I am reminded of the efforts of wealthy 19th century Russian merchants and nobility who would build churches and institutions, sparing nothing, for the Glory of God.

Need I describe the renovation work in progress?  The Church itself, dedicated to the New Martyrs of Russia, has the newly carved and incredibly beautiful cherry wood iconastasis, new marble and oak floors, and the vaulted blue ceiling has a majestic chandelier hanging.  Renovations in the great residence halls are continuously ongoing with new floors, baths, walls, windows: This place is really becoming a place!

There is a small pond – you can even swim or fish!  And, I like to walk through the forest up the mountainside listening to the happy song birds.  Closer to the buildings you can hear the goats and chickens alternatively bleating and clucking.  During the summer, there is the abundant vegetable garden to tend.  

Here, really is a bright light.  This is a place.  A really substantial, magnificent place. To be sure, it is a work in progress, and, will be so for a while.  But wow– it is ours!  Glory to God. Here is a place again.  We all accepted, back on that terrible day, that we would lose physical properties for the sake of staying True to Christ.  And now, after many years, we have a place again – a place suitable to become a center.  It is an impressive place – with the potential to “follow through”.  

I was happy to learn that, in addition to the regular Slavonic Divine Services, there will be English Services held once a month in Mountain View.  I hope you will be able to go! Spend the night: there are plenty of rooms with beds.  If you can’t make it this month, go next month... or any time in between.  If you have not been to Mountain View yet – well, then, go!

Church of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia
2781 State Route 145, Middleburgh, NY 12122

New Attack on Esphigmenou


MOUNT ATHOS, GREECE – Under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, the Greek government has deployed armed police to forcibly remove the peaceful and defenseless monks of the Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou from their monastery property in Karyes. Armed police are on the scene and roads to the building have been blocked by Greek Police vehicles in anticipation of the planned assault. The police have given the monks a deadline of today,12pm local time to vacate or face an armed assault.
The Greek government has authorized the use of force to resolve a religious dispute after failing to starve the monks into leaving their monastery during a decade-long blockade. For a number of years they have denied the monks deliveries of food, medicine, heating oil, and access to medical attention while simultaneously subjecting them to a non-stop campaign of official harassment and intimidation.
This waste of taxpayer dollars has continued unabated during the financial crisis that has rocked Greece and crippled social services to the poor and for which the UN has criticized the Greek government for falling behind on its human rights obligations.
Under the Greek Constitution, the Greek foreign minister is responsible for the administration of government on Mt. Athos and has ultimate authority on the orders to use armed police there.
The monks have repeatedly requested dialogue with the Greek government as well as Patriarch Bartholomew of Istanbul to resolve this dispute. The Patriarch has refused to aid in the peaceful reconciliation of this dispute and has encouraged the government to take action against the monks.  In September, 2012 the government deployed special riot police MAT and EKAM to the peaceful monastic community in a failed attempt to remove the same defenseless monks.
Mount Athos is the autonomous spiritual center of The Orthodox Church, where the monks are considered defenders of the faith. The Esphigmenou Monastery established in the first millennium, is where the great St. Gregory Palamas was abbot, and where St. Anthony left for Russia to establish Orthodox monasticism. Its remoteness and rugged natural beauty attracts pilgrims and tourists alike, who come to see the art and architecture of the Byzantine Empire.
For over one thousand years the monastery has provided a place of prayer and peace for those who chose the monastic life.  It is now threatened with extinction.
For more info please contact John Rigas  at comments@esphigmenou.com
Friends of Esphigmenou

Update Fr Alexander Iwaszewicz

Due to changing  Fr Alexander Lawyers the hearing will not occur today as first thought.  Instead see message below from Matushka Liza. 
I wanted to let you know that we did change lawyers.
They have already visited Fr Alexander ‘s prison 2 times, and next week will be presented to the Judge.
God grant that these lawyers correct the mistakes and achieve an early release for Father Alejandro.
Thank you very much to all for your prayers!
With love in Christ.
Elizabeth( Matushka)

New Deacon Matthew Keil

Axios! Axios! Axios!

St. Sergius Church, Valley Cottage, New York

Newly-depart priest George

Memory Eternal  Priest George Sachewsky

From: Vladimir SKOK
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 3:10 PM
To: dutikow
Subject: Fr. George Sachevsky repose
Hello Matushka
Fr. George Sachevsky, Rector of the Resurrection parish in Toronto, which came under ROCA a few years after the ROCOR-MP Union, passed away today. Vl. Andronik administered to him a few days ago. 
News is limited, but it appears that the funeral will be tomorrow, Friday at 9:00 at the church. I assume it is advanced, so that Vl. Andronik can quickly return to Mountainview, given the plans for the concentration of the Royal Martyrs church there this weekend.
Vechnaya Pamyats
vladimir skok
ottawa canada 

Mountain View New Website

From: sokiran 
Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
To: dutikow
Subject: new site http://www.mvroc.org/
Добрый вечер!
Хочу сообщить Вам, что стал доступен новый интернет-ресурс, информирующий о
событиях и мероприятиях, происходящих в Православно-культурном центре
Восточно-американской Епархии (ROCA).
Интернет.адрес: http://www.mvroc.org/
Сайт ещё не полностью закончен и многое ещё нужно создать, но нам хотелось к
освящению нашего храма открыть хотя бы то, что уже сделано.
Будем рады, если Вы смогли бы разместить информацию о нашем сайте в Ваших
информационных рассылках..
Сокиран Сергей.

From: sokiran
Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 
To: dutikow
Subject: new site http://www.mvroc.org
Good evening!
I would like to inform you that now available a new online resource which informs
events and activities taking place in the Orthodox Cultural Centre
Eastern American Diocese (ROCA).
Internet.adres: http://www.mvroc.org
Site is not completely finished, and much more to create, but we would like to
sanctification of our church open at least what has been done.
We will be glad if you could post the information on our site to your
informational mailings ..
Thank you.
Sokiran Sergei.

Photos for sale

Original Photos (2): Metropolitan Anastassy (1873-1964) c. 1950s-early 60s?


The Meaning of the American Metropolia's Autocephaly

The Meaning of the American Metropolia's Autocephaly
Answer to Metropolia Fr. Joseph Pishtey
Orthodox Life 1970 #1

The Canonical and General Meaning of the Agreement between the Moscow Patriarchate and the American Metropolia in Regard to the Autocephaly of he Latter
Archpriest George Grabbe
Consultant to the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, director, Public and Foreign Relations Department

The official announcement of the American Metropolia signed by Protopresbyter J. Pishtey in the paper Novoye Russkoye Slovo of December 6, 1969, puts an end to the confusing tumors and guesses regarding the agreement of the afore-mentioned Metropolia and the Moscow Patriarchate.  Rumors are replaced by more definite, although perhaps not yet quite comprehensive, information.

The announcement of Father J. Pishtey presents that agreement as giving the Metropolia a firm canonical grounding and as opening the way for "calm ecclesiastical construction, peace and canonical clearness."

All this might be true, within limits, if the American Metropolia were the only Orthodox Church on American territory and if she would be receiving her autocephaly from a genuine Russian Orthodox authority.  Be that as it may, this agreement, without in any way affecting the status of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russian, is an event which will inevitably have a bearing on the interrelation of the Churches of various jurisdictions in America, and therefore deserves our close analysis.

– – – • – – –
the talks were conducted not openly but in great secrecy
– – – • – – –

Rumors about talks between the Metropolia and Moscow have been spreading for some time.  However, before the publication of the present official statement under the signature of Fr. Pishtey, no official news had been given to the people.  Although Father Protopresbter says that everything has been done "in an ecclesiastical way, openly," it is difficult to agree with him.  Nothing was made known to the people either about the talks of Metropolitan Leonty with Metropolitan Nikodim in 1963, or about the meetings with him which followed later in New York, Geneva, and Tokyo.  Big delegations were travelling to far-away countries, the Grand Council of Bishops was approving the basic points of the agreement, and yet neither in the newspapers, nor in the publications of the Metropolia itself, was there even so much as a word said about it.  Despite what Fr. Pishtey writes, the talks were conducted not openly but in great secrecy.  Even now, the official information does not mention the names of those who took part in these secret talks.  Those names and some other details have become known only at the last moment, a few days before the ratification of the agreement, and not from the announcement of the Metropolia but from the Novoye Russkoye Slovo.

How can one explain this secrecy?

Apparently it has not been so easy to explain to the public at large the crucial fact of meetings with such an odious personality as Metropolitan Nikodim.  It can be said that among those people who were at least a bit informed about the situation of the Church in the U.S.S.R., there is a general conviction that he and other persons active in the Moscow Patriarchate's Department of Foreign Relations are definitely agents of the Soviet Government.  In this regard, Metropolitan Nikodim is the most odious person in the Moscow Patriarchate.  News of meetings with him before attention could be drawn to news of some big success on the part of the Metropolia could give rise to scandal, protests, and revolt in persons with a more developed sense of spiritual decency.

However, the whole affair of granting autocephaly to the American Metropolia is colored by the very active participation and even initiative of this particular agent of the Soviet Government – who, even if he wished, could in no case do anything in the matter without direct instructions from his political authorities.

Much has been written about how dependent the Moscow Patriarchate is on the Soviets.  In particular, the American Metropolia's specialist in canon law, Professor A.A. Bogolepov, writes very explicitly about this dependency in his book The Church Under the Domination of Communism (Munich, 1958).

He shows with clear proofs that the system employed by Moscow "has a striking impact on the system of the selection of the personnel of clergymen of the Church and serves as the best rebuttal to the popular statement that the Orthodox Church is allegedly enjoying freedom of internal administration" (p. 42).  The same author notes that the Moscow Patriarchate always "supports the basic political aims of Communism" (p. 78).  He writes that,having overcome the schism of the Living Church and the "Renovationist" movement, "the latter leaders of the Patriarchal Church could find no other means of keeping her in existence than to go beyond the transitional formulas of Patriarch Sergius and basically to accept the political beliefs of the Living Church" (79).

One must add that the control of the Soviet authorities over the foreign policies of the Patriarchate is even stronger than their control over its administration in their own country.  There can be no doubt, therefore, that if Metropolitan Nikodim has taken the initiative in starting talks with the American Metropolitan and if he has brought these negotiations to an actual agreement, this has been done with the knowledge of the Soviet authorities all along and agreeably to their directions.  However, the instructions of such active communist-atheist agents are always aimed at the subversion and destruction or the utilization of the Church, not her constructive gain.  That there would be any independent action on the part of the Metropolitan Nikodim directed to aiding the Church and not in conformity with the aims of the atheistic Government is incredible.  For him it would be the equivalent of suicide.

Therefore, when we analyze the significance of this granting of autocephaly, we must bear this aspect of the case in mind, although the lack of information and the realization that certain secret may exist, makes it in many ways difficult for us to appreciate the situation fully.  However, I will speak later about the gains of Moscow in this affair.  At present I wish to evaluate the canonical and other implications of this act and its significance for the life of the Church in the United States.

It will be useful here to recall the decision of the Synod of Bishops dated 6/19 June, 1969, which was published at that time.

"A Church is called autocephalous if it unites all the diocese in a certain territory and has at its head a Patriarch, elected by his own Bishops, and independent of any other Church.

"Historically, autocephaly has been recognized in the case of Churches which have satisfied these conditions, yet without haste, when they have attained definite maturity with no doubt as to the capability of the Church in question to administer itself and to develop while firmly maintaining Orthodoxy.  The recognition must first of all come from the Mother Church, namely, the Church which has founded that Church and reared it.

"Orthodoxy was originally planted in America by the Russian Church.  However, the various national singularities of immigrants from different countries impelled them to unite into special parishes, later forming diocese under the jurisdiction of various Churches.

"Although the Orthodox population in America has grown during the last ten years, still it is a minority and is largely dispersed throughout the country.  This is a great obstacle for the formation of a special 'American piety' in the way that, in its time, Greek, Russian, Serbian, or Bulgarian piety was formed and blessed the life of Orthodox nations.  On the contrary, the Americanization of the parishes usually does not merely introduce the use of English in the Liturgy and sermons, but also introduces the influence of the surrounding un-Orthodox population into the current life of the Church.  Under these conditions, the influence of Mother Churches with stable traditions is a beneficial tool for maintaining Orthodoxy.  This is the reason that none of the Autocephalous Churches until now has been in a hurry to grant independence to their dioceses in America.

As far as Russian dioceses are concerned, no final canonical decision in regard to them can be canonically taken before the restoration of a normal order of life in the Church of Russia.  No part of the Church of Russia in America can be recognized as being autocephalous without the consent of the Mother Church.  The Moscow Patriarchate, as a body supervised and practically directed by the godless Government, cannot be recognized as the lawful representative of the Church of Russia.  Even if only out of consideration for the suffering of that Church we may not take decisions which unquestionably require her blessing.  Such acts as the appropriation of a title signifying autocephaly, or the introduction of the new calendar rejected by Patriarch Tikhon, are therefore acts which it is impossible to recognize as being legal."

The official statement of Fr. J. Pishtey completely ignores the existence of the Catacomb Church in the U.S.S.R., free from the coercions of being governed by the communists.  It recognizes as representatives of the Russian Church only those who are selected and permitted to act in that capacity by the Government.  It also ignores the existence of other Orthodox Churches in America whose membership is mainly composed of American citizens and who often use English more liberally than it is used in the parishes of the Metropolia.  It is well known, for instance, that Metropolitan Ireney personally does not speak English. The American Government, on the other hand, has never regarded the Metropolia as the only representative of the Orthodox Church in this country, and in that capacity used to invite the Inauguration of Presidents Archbishop Iakovos, not Metropolitan Ireney.  Therefore the Metropolia is by no means more "American" than the other Churches in the United States.  The composition of he dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, as well as the Greek and Serbian Churches, also includes many Bishops and schools.  And as far as monasteries are concerned, the Metropolia with its two very weak monasteries is far behind our Church.  Monasticism is always a symptom of the level of the spiritual life of a Church.

Theoretically one could speak about the possibility of having autocephaly for the Church in America if its life were sufficiently developed and united  However, the Metropolia is far from being the majority among the Orthodox of this country.  The Greek Archdiocese alone is larger and better organized.  The most important thing is that America is still a missionary territory on which several Orthodox dioceses of various Churches are existing at the same time.  This situation is without historical precedent, but its existence is a fact of history.  Under these conditions, to declare one of these dioceses an autocephalous Church for the whole of America is a canonical anomaly, a meaningless act without precedent, which cannot expect to receive recognition of all the autocephalous Churches – with the exception of those founded and directed by Moscow.

Protopresbyter J. Pishtey quotes the alleged opinion of Patriarch Tikhon in regard to the possibility of autocephaly in America in the future.  However, at that time – namely, before 1919 – there was no large number of various national Churches in America.  All the existing churches were under the jurisdiction of the Church of Russia.  Only later did the Greek, Serbian, and Syrian dioceses arise from it.  The Serbian Churches received the blessing of the late Patriarch to start their separate organization and have their own Bishop.  Thus was started the process of forming separate dioceses of various national Churches.  Only recently has the idea been voiced that a reverse trend should begin, but it is far from meeting with unanimous support.  The dissenting opinion of our Synod of Bishops has been quoted already.  As far as the other Churches are concerned, there are various views even by those whose Bishops take part in the so-called Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops [SCOBA*].  The American Metropolia will hardly bring joy to its colleagues in the Conference by its hasty declaration of autocephaly without paying any attention to them.  As is evident from the documents published in Diakonia in its third issue, 1969, the Rumanians think that autocephaly must first be granted to all the particular national Churches which would unite themselves later.  This means that for some time America would be the territory of several autocephalous Churches.  On the other hand, some think that first all the Churches should unite under the jurisdiction of Constantinople and then receive autocephaly from her.

One can say beforehand that the Greek Archdiocese, the largest and strongest diocese in America, would regard it as a disgrace and suicide to be subordinated to Metropolitan Ireney.  However, recognition of the new autocephaly by the Patriarchate of Constantinople would logically require that the Archdiocese join the already existent Church with its claims to priority and to being the American Church.*

* Since this article was written, the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the question of autocephaly has been made public.  In a letter to Patriarch Alexis of Moscow, Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras stated that "if the Holy Church of Russia, so beloved, in spite of our brotherly entreaty and recommendation, and in spite of our every hope, should proceed with the realization of the proposal now being planned to announce the autocephaly of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in America, then this Throne will neither recognize nor enroll this Church in the Diptychs or in the Sacred Catalogue of the Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Churches.  Accordingly, we would label as uncanonical this Church, which you would choose to proclaim autocephalous.  In this connection also, this Throne will take any other action needed to secure canonical order." 

In that case the Greek Archdiocese becomes no more than a missionary organization on her territory.  The Serbians and the Syrians also would hardly agree to such humiliation.  Therefore the recognition of the new autocephaly in the near future is sure to come only on the part of Churches in communist states – the satellites of Moscow.  One can hardly expect such recognition on the part of the ancient sees of the Greek Patriarchs, the Church of Cyprus, or the Church of Greece.

Now, what does the Metropolia win by receiving autocephaly from Moscow?

As is well known, the Metropolia has always had an unpleasant feeling of canonical inferiority since the days of Metropolitan Platon and since she left the Church Outside of Russia in 1946, and ten years of peaceful life in her fold.  From the moment when the Metropolia at the Cleveland Sobor recognized the canonicity and legality of the Patriarch of Moscow was head of the Mother Church, but instituted no relationship with him, she testified to her own uncanonicity.  That is why Father J. Pishtey in his statement expresses joy on account of the "canonical elucidation" of the situation.  It also seems that the Metropolia has been worried that some lawsuits might be instituted against her from Moscow, which would find her powerless owing to the Cleveland decision.

By establishing a relationship with Moscow, the Metropolia is also strengthening her position in the World Council of Churches, where the influence of Moscow is becoming more and more predominant.  There are reasons to think that the present agreement was not reached without the cooperation of the World Council of Churches.  At any rate, the meeting with Metropolitan Nikodim in Geneva took place under the auspices and with the assistance of the World Council of Churches.

Statements from Moscow to the effect that the  hierarchy and clergy of the Metropolia were suspended, have created a certain obstacle for her in her relations with other Churches.  The agreement with Moscow and the cancellation of these acts make the situation easier for the Metropolia in that respect.

However, for all these privileges a big price has to be paid.  First of all, the Metropolia has to drop its name "Russian."  That could be rather painful to many people.  The other shortcomings of the agreement from the Metropolia's point of view are, at the same time, gains for Moscow's side – gains which prompted her to initiate the talks and to put Metropolitan Nikodim in the position of "benefactor" to the Metropolia.

Until now the Metropolia has been regarded by everybody as Russian, and it has been a handicap for the Moscow Patriarchate in her international relationships that a large block of parishes, claiming to belong to the Church of Russia,has no relations with her, thus testifying to the fact that the situation of that Church is not normal.  Beginning with the greeting sent by Metropolitan Ireney to Patriarch Alexis in 1967 the situation changes.  Now it can be said that this part of the Church of Russia does not find the Moscow Patriarchate so much dominated by the atheistic Government and so much its mouthpiece as to justify abstaining from relations with it.  The American hierarchy, so to say, issues Moscow a certificate of respectability and of recognition for such renowned agents of the atheistic Government as Metropolitan Nikodim and his colleagues, as if they were bona fide representatives of the Church.  The Metropolia is therefore morally obliged to have further relations with them: to have an exchange of greetings and visits, to celebrate Liturgies with them, to receive them as guests in its churches – closing her eyes to the fact that they are puppets in the hands of the Soviet police-officer Kuroyedov.

Moscow acts as if she is a benefactor of the American Church, but actually all that she loses is a residing Bishop in America.  However, those parishes of the Moscow Exarchate which do not wish to be incorporated into the Metropolia will be under the administration of a Bishop from the U.S.S.R., and will stay under the jurisdiction of Moscow for an indefinite period of time.  But Moscow has always had trouble appointing a Bishop to America because such Bishops used to be permitted to enter the country with a visitor's visa only, for a limited period of time,  These parishes will present a support for Moscow with which the Metropolia will have to deal for rather a long time, at east while the Patriarchate is negotiating for the recognition of the autocephaly by other Churches.  A Soviet Bishop will be able to come here in connection with the situation of his parishes, and the Metropolia will have to receive him as a guest of honor from the Mother Church.  Moscow will always be able to find reasons for visits of high-standing hierarchs in connection with the World Council of Churches, etc., and it will be very difficult for the Metropolia to abstain from communion with them although they may not be welcome the people.

The Metropolia will, to a large extent, be neutralized by all this, and if she should later wish to raise protests against the persecution of the Church in the U.S.S.R., she will have to act very cautiously so as not to offend those from whom she has accepted autocephaly, and not to admit openly that she has accepted it from a poisoned source.

Moscow also gets the recognition of being the Mother Church of the Church of Japan.  Thus channels will be opened for reaching a field which is very important for Soviet infiltration in the Far East.  The Foreign Relations Department of the Patriarchate will soon be widely developing its cultural relations with the local Church, which the Soviet Government was eager to have long ago.

Therefore the agreement with the American Metropolia brings much profit to Moscow.  The seeming advantages attained by the Metropolia will be poisoned by fraternizing with unquestionable Soviet agents, and by some dependence from it while the Moscow Patriarchate is negotiating with other Churches in the Free World.

New York, N.Y.
November 25/December 88, 1969

– – – • – – –
SCOBA, to which world orthodoxy gives such great significance, reproaching us for not belonging to it, actually is in no way a canonical organ.  The Russian Church Outside of Russia was invited to take part in these conferences; however, our Church refused to send representatives there after clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate were invited.  "We never and nowhere will sit at one table with them; by this our spiritual communion with the Universal Church is not broken."
– – – • – – –

An Answer to Archbishop John and Fr. Joseph Pishtey
Archpriest George Grabbe

According to an old Russian proverb, "there is no evil without good."  "Good" out of "evil" lies in the fact that the argument over American autocephaly has brought before Russian Orthodox people the question of the nature and course of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Unfortunately, Rev. Protopresbyter J. Pishtey, who signed the official explanation of the American Metropolia in the paper Novoye Russkoye Solovo for Jan. 18, and Archbishop John Shahovskoy, in the same issue, went from the principal topic of discussion to personal attacks, which do not add convinciveness to their arguments.  We will neither go onto such a level nor react to it in the same tone.

About the substance of the matter the following can be said:

1. The "Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America", [SCOBA*] to which Fr. Pishtey gives such great significance, reproaching us for not belonging to it, actually is in no way a canonical organ if only because some of its members deny the canonicity of others and are not in liturgical communion with them.  The Russian Church Outside of Russia was invited to take part in these conferences, and I personally have attended some of them.  However, our Church refused to send representatives after clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate were invited there.  We never and nowhere will sit at one table with them; by this our spiritual communion with the Universal Church is not broken.

2. The Eastern Churches usually understood that in the Russian Church, as a result of the communist dictatorship, there is a special problem.  Therefore, with the exception of one particular occurrence, they have not placed the question on the level of strict observance of the principle that the declaration of the Moscow Patriarchate on our suspension supposedly obliges them also not to have communion with us.  Despite the recognition of the Moscow Patriarchate by these Churches, our communities in the East continued and continue to be on good terms with the local ecclesiastical authorities.  Our priests substituted for absent Greek priests, and Greek clergy more than once helped serve our parishes.  During the time of existence of the Church in Exile, our prelates often took part in the consecration of bishops for other Churches, and their bishops took part in our consecrations.  In 1955 the Patriarch of Alexandria asked Metropolitan Anastassy to take part in the consecration of a bishop for his Church.  In 1964 the Greek bishop Dionysios took part in the order of designation of Metropolitan Philaret as Bishop of Brisbane, and the year before last Metropolitan Ignatius of the Church of Antioch participated in the consecration of Bishop Nicander.

3. Until 1922 the Church Outside of Russia, despite the incorrect reference of Father Pishtey, was run not by the Synod of Bishops, but by the Higher Church Administration.  This Administration was abolished in fulfillment of the decree of Patriarch Tikhon, although all the bishops, including Metropolitan Eulogius and Metropolitan Platon, recognized that the decree was forced.  They also recognized that with termination of the possibility of normal relations with Moscow and the disorder of the Patriarchal Administration, the conditions mentioned in the Regulation of 7/20 October, 1920, demanding a special conciliarily governed organization, had come into effect for the Church in Exile.  But canonical church units are not formed with the right of independently leaving them for each hierarch at his own discretion and at any time.  Even considering that Metropolitan Platon and Eulogius had the right not to enter the Council in Exile and the Synod, still, already being part of this jurisdiction, they could not arbitrarily leave the Church in Exile without breaking basic canonical rules.

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At the Cleveland Sobor the Metropolia recognized the MP as valid, and then began to lose lawsuits to Moscow.  Having recognized the Moscow Patriarchate as a normal Church authority, the Metropolia became powerless before it.
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4.  At the Conference in Sremski-Karlovci in 1935 Metropolitan Theophilus immediately stated that he recognized the validity of the decree of 7/20-X-1920, and therefore it was easy for Metropolitan Anastassy to reach an agreement with him.  After returning from the Conference in America, Metropolitan Theophilus told the reporter of the Novaya Zarya: "Our Church life is settled, a solid canonical foundation has now been put under her."  At the Cleveland Sobor [1946] the Metropolia abandoned this foundation and began to lose lawsuits to Moscow of which Archbishop John makes mention.  The last lawsuit in Philadelphia was lost during the negotiations for autocephaly late last year  Having recognized the Moscow Patriarchate as a normal Church authority, the Metropolia became powerless before it.  Our Church was successful in lawsuits in Germany and Argentina specifically on the basis of her rejection of this position.  The duration of our set-apart position does not have the significance Archbishop John gives it.  The Position on administration and court worked out in 1935 was called Temporary, not in the sense of indefinite non-permanence, but in hope of a restoration in the future of normal Church administration in Russia.  A temporary special canonical position can continue for a long time, as was the case, for example, in the location of the Church of Cyprus on the territory of the Patriarchate of Constantinople due to the barbarian invasions in the reign of Emperor Justinian II, bringing into effect the 39th rule of the Sixth Ecumenical Council.  On the basis of this rule the Serbian Church gave us the rights of a separate jurisdiction on her territory.

5. Church life in the U.S.S.R. is very complicated and to use one measure for judgment of all the bishops and priests, is for us abroad, impossible.  We can judge only questions of principle and separate, more sharply outstanding personalities.  As regards the Far East, after the occupation of China by the communists, the Russian hierarchs, accustomed to independence, were shortly abolished by deportation from there.  Our present Primate [St. Philaret of New York**], then an archimandrite, bore much oppression and even attempts on his life as a result of his bold sermons and absolute refusal to accept a Soviet passport.  At the first opportunity he entered into correspondence with us, witnessing his unchanging loyalty to Metropolitan Anastassy.  The bishops in the Far East were led into the jurisdiction of Patriarch Alexis [MP] by means of deceit about the supposed changed position of religion in Russia, the death of Metropolitan Anastassy [1964] and liquidation of the Church in Exile.

6. The Church in Exile, not wishing to have any communion with hierarchs whom there is every basis to consider in complete obedience to the soviet atheists, none the less never brought forth specific judgments over all the clergy in the U.S.SR., as is unfoundedly claimed by Archbishop John and Fr. Joseph Pishtey, basing themselves entirely on the articles of individual persons expressing their private opinions,  we know, however, that strict control over ecclesiastical appointments creates an artificially selected group and that with every year in the Moscow Patriarchate there should be less clergy maintaining their independence.  Thus, only Archbishop Germogen alone out of the few who disagreed with the anti-canonical changes introduced by order of the civil authorities into the Stature on Administration of the Patriarchate, remained faithful to his position and to this day is deprived of a see,  The prominent priest who performed the heroic act of baptising Svetlana Alliluievna, as apparent from her writings was not in favor at the Patriarchate.  "The church authorities in Moscow were unfriendly to him," she writes (Only One Day, p. 257).  Was it not because there was no one she could trust her life to that she stopped going to church after his death?

7. Archbishop John and Fr. Pishtey, blinded by general recognition of the Moscow Patriarchate, forget the way of the confessors outside of the Moscow Patriarchate.  Their voices have reached us, but were not published for obvious reasons.  Our spiritual union with them is witnessed by our commemoration of "the Orthodox episcopate of the persecuted Church of Russia."  The autocephalists, on the contrary, call us to communion not with the persecuted or catacomb hierarchy, but with the hierarchy of the Moscow patriarchate, which submits to manipulation by the atheists. 

* What is SCOBA?

** Life St. Philaret