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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in The Revniteli Society of the Canonical Orthodox's LiveJournal:

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    Friday, January 1st, 2021
    12:01 am
    Wednesday, December 30th, 2020
    11:35 pm
    LAITY Signing the EPISTLE, Continued / Подписавшие ПОСЛАНИЕ МИРЯНЕ, Продолжение:
    LIST #3 LAITY (Same considerations govern as before) Total 801-1059 persons / СПИСОК №3: МИРЯНЕ (Управляют те же условия, что и раньше) Всего 801-1059 человекa: Read more...Collapse )
    Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
    9:04 pm
    №162: Assignments and Transfers of ROCA clergy

    APPOINTMENTS AND ASSIGNMENTS OF ROCA CLERGY:

    By the Decree 21 (2008) of the North American Diocesan District,

    Priest Oleg Mironov has been accepted as clergyman of the above District and appointed to the parish clergy of the Cathedral of the St. Blessed Xenia of St. Petersburg in Ottawa, Canada.


    By the Decree 22 (2009) of the North American Diocesan District,

    Hieromonk Vassiliy (Konstantinovich) and Honorable Sister Evfimia (Orlova) have been, pursuant to their request, accepted as clergy of the above District and assigned to serve at the Holy Ascension Skete in Fallbrook, California.

    Monday, January 5th, 2009
    12:37 pm
    №161: Christmas Epistle by Archbishop Andronik
    CHRISTMAS EPISTLE BY THE MOST REVEREND ARCHBISHOP ANDRONIK, 
    Bishop of Ottawa and North America

    “What shall we offer You, O Christ, who for our sakes have appeared on earth as a man?”
    Sticheron to the Lord, proclaimed at the vigil before the feast of the Nativity of Christ
     
    Congratulations on the Nativity of Christ and the 2009 New Year (N.C.)!
     
    To you, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, honorable pastors, clergy, and the faithful flock of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, I direct my greeting and congratulations upon the glorious and salvific feast day of the Birth of our Lord in the flesh!
     
    Once again, on this day, our thoughts return more than two thousand years back to the cave in Bethlehem to witness the event that which is sacred to all mankind – the Coming of the Lord, our Jesus Christ, to this world.
     
    Like the Star of Bethlehem, our Mother Church, the Church Abroad, has brought us to this joyful event and with the Magi we bring to the Christ Child in place of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, our spiritual gifts, cleansed by fasting, and we glorify the Most Blessed Empress and Mother of God.
     
    In awe and with song we glorify the wonder before our eyes, the Nativity of Christ, and we offer the Christ Child our profound gratitude for all of God’s blessings that have been bestowed upon the Church Abroad.
     
    The year past, 2008, will remain an epochal year in the history of the Russian Church.  By the Grace of God, the ruin wrought on our Holy Church in May 2007, on par with that manifested by the Herodians, was overcome in this year for all time.  Slowly and with fidelity to the canons, all the elements of the Church Administration of the Church Abroad were restored; the Vth All-Diaspora Council was convened and concluded; the Synod of Bishops and Council of the Church Abroad were re-established; and the Chairman and First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad was elected – the Most Reverend Agafangel, Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York.
     
    Our Nativity joy is further heightened by the fact that the honorable episcopate of the Church Abroad was further enlarged:  the Most Reverend Georgiy (Kravchenko) was named to the Bolgrad cathedra, the Most Reverend Joseph (Hrebinka) was named to the Washington, D.C. cathedra, and two bishops joined the ROCA from the “Tikhon-Seraphim-Gennadiy” branch of the Russian Catacomb Church – Bishop John of Buinsk and Bishop Afanasiy of Vologodsk.
     
    The vessel that is the Church Abroad has weathered the storm through the intercessions of St. John of Shanghai and Holy Hierarch St. Philaret (who was glorified during the Vth All-Diaspora Council), for which we thank the Lord, born those many years ago in Bethlehem.
     
    Sadly our joy is not complete, as several of our brothers have recently left the redemptive haven of the Church Abroad.
     
    Again, I appeal to all our former brethren, brothers and sisters, who left the Church Abroad at various times and under various circumstances and who may now find themselves in various “jurisdictions,” return, for God’s sake return to the Church.  Leave behind your hurtful aspersions, pride, and enmity and may all of us here on earth join together in the angels’ joyful singing:
     
    “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests!”
     
    + Humble Andronik  Archbishop of Ottawa and North America

    Friday, January 2nd, 2009
    1:43 pm
    №160: Putin-Medvedev's government raids Stalin-era documents...

    Stalin-era files raided

    By Charles Clover in Moscow

    Published: December 26 2008 19:36 | Last updated: December 26 2008 19:36

    One hundred thousand witnesses to the terror of Joseph Stalin's rule are
    stored on 12 computer hard disks compiled by Memorial, a Russian human rights
    group based in St Petersburg. Several terabytes of data include thousands of
    hours of audio histories, digital versions of faded photographs, video evidence
    of mass graves. With a few computer keystrokes, one could retrieve a faded
    denunciation written by a son against a father, or hear a ghostly voice
    reciting a forced confession or naming her "co-conspirators".

    It is the most complete public record of one of the most terrifying periods
    of modern human history, and mysteriously, it was also the target of a raid
    by Russian police on Memorial's headquarters on December 4.

    Irina Flige, director of Memorial's office, says the police raid was not an
    accident or a case of mistaken identity. She believes that the work of her
    organisation in exposing and publicising Stalin's crimes has become the target
    of a government effort to whitewash the past and justify in theoretical terms
    the continued existence of a strong authoritarian state. "It is a war over
    memory," she says.

    "The front line" between despotism and democracy in Russia, she adds, "runs
    through the past".

    St Petersburg police have still made no public statement on the Dec 4 raid.
    At noon that day, nine policemen, including two wearing black face masks,
    came to Memorial's headquarters and stayed six hours combing through the office.
    Police said they were after information about an article that was published
    in an extremist newspaper, which Ms Flige says her organisation had nothing
    to do with. Police have not responded to requests to clarify their motives.

    Ms Flige says the only thing the police were interested in was the
    computers. "They knew what they were looking for," she says.

    She says she has no proof that the raid was a deliberate attempt to
    intimidate her organisation, only a series of coincidences: it happened the day
    before a three-day conference in Moscow devoted to Stalin's memory, the first ever
    in Russia, which was organised jointly by Memorial and the Yeltsin Fund, set
    up in memory of former president Boris Yeltsin.

    It also coincided with an unprecedented public offensive against groups such
    as hers by Kremlin-backed intellectuals who charge Memorial with distorting
    Russia's history in order to undermine Russian patriotism. In the Dec 9 issue
    of Russkiy Zhurnal magazine, Gleb Pavlovsky, a Kremlin-backed political
    scientist, attacked Memorial as "an unsuccessful attempt at political memory" and
    complained that Russia was vulnerable to "foreign" conceptions of its
    history.

    "Russia, not having a memory policy, has become defenceless before
    defamatory projections and aggressive phobias. Not having become a subject with its
    own memory, Russian society stands before the threat of becoming an object of
    foreign projections," he said.

    Russia's government has never officially undertaken the project of finding
    the dead and marking the mass graves of Stalin's terror. At its height, in
    1937-38, between 600,000 and 2m are estimated to have died. Unlike other
    post-communist counties in Europe, which opened secret archives to all who wanted to
    view them, Russia only sporadically allowed experts into the inner recesses
    of its secret police files.

    Now, according to Ms Flige, whatever openness there was is being rolled
    back, and the task of keeping the memory alive has fallen to private groups such
    as hers.

    "Memorial pioneered the history of the Stalinist repressions," says Orlando
    Figes, a University of London historian who worked with Memorial to do the
    research on his recent book The Whisperers, an account of the private lives of
    several families during the years of Stalin's reign. "It's not so much the
    loss of an archive, which is replaceable. Most of it is backed up. It's the
    signal that it's sending out to intimidate Memorial, to intimidate the public.
    Because they're dependent on people coming forward to volunteer their
    stories."

    Mr Figes said he believed the raid was meant to intimidate the organisation.
    "It's a sign, not necessarily of a concerted campaign, but there are clear
    signals coming from the top echelons of government that there is a new
    official view of the Stalin era as something basically positive, and unofficial
    memories that challenge this are seen as somehow &shy;unpatriotic."

    Echoes of Stalinist rhetoric are still to be found every day in Russia, such
    as on Dec 14, when the government announced it would seek to expand the
    legal definition of treason. The next day, the daily Kommersant newspaper ran a
    blisteringly ironic headline, announcing "Betrayal of the Motherland is
    Everyone's Affair".

    The article reported that the changes to the law could be construed in such
    a way as to widen the definition of treason "to include anyone who criticises
    the regime".

    Critics charge that the Russian state under Vladimir Putin, the former
    president – now prime minister, has begun to rehabilitate the dictator, as part of
    its attempt to roll back democratic freedoms. A 40-part documentary film
    released last year, for example, presents a whitewashed view of the Stalin era,
    and a new teaching manual, by historian Aleksander Filipov, glosses over the
    horrendous death toll of Stalin's reign and describes him as an "effective
    manager" without whom Russia would not have won the second world war.

    In a widely publicised meeting with history teachers last year, Mr Putin
    made it clear that Russian history should be taught in a positive light. He said
    Russia's history "did contain some problematic pages. But so did other
    states' histories
    ...We have fewer of them than other countries, and they

    were less terrible than in other nations. We can't allow anyone to impose a
    sense of guilt on us."

    Describing how the battle over history intersects with the modern-day
    confrontation over freedom and civil liberties in Russia, the authors Dmitri Furman
    and Pavel Palazchenko wrote in the Moscow newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta
    recently, "The ideology of the strong state has constructed its own 'historical
    narrative': Russian history is seen as a set of long periods of power and
    stability under strong central authority, broken up by short periods of chaos,
    after which the country is rebuilt by a strong regime."

    Memorial's 12 hard drives are essential for any attempt to reject this
    thesis, increasingly prevalent in government and intellectual circles in Russia.
    Jana Howlett, who teaches history at Cambridge university in the UK,
    participated in the Dec 5 conference on Stalin's memory. She said: "At the conference
    there was a very real sense that what we were talking about was not just
    Stalin, what we were talking about is today, that the thirties are just around
    the corner again."

    Millions killed

    Joseph Stalin, one of history's most murderous dictators, ruled the Soviet
    Union from 1922 until 1953. He oversaw the collectivisation of agriculture and
    the mass industrialisation that brought huge gains in Soviet productivity,
    but at an immense price in human suffering.

    He executed millions in the Great Terror of the 1930s when the Communist
    party was purged of "enemies of the people". The exact number of his victims
    remains controversial but most historians give a consensus figure of at least
    20m.

    Stalin led his people to victory against Nazi Germany after which the Soviet
    Union expanded its empire. Many elderly Russians look back to his rule with
    nostalgia, as a time when the country was powerful and law and order
    prevailed.

    (Copyright The Financial Times [London] Limited 2008)
    Sunday, December 28th, 2008
    12:28 pm
    №159: Vlad. Bukovsky's good interview on the death of "Alexis II"...
    Interview by the "Dziennik" of Vladimir Bukovsky on the Death of "Alexis II"

    From "Dziennik," Poland, December 8, 2008.

    Reporter Artur Ciechanowicz interviewed the Russian writer and
    dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, who is currently living in London.

    Artur Ciechanowicz - What will be the consequences in Russia after the
    death of Aleksy II?

    Vladimir Bukovsky - Why should the death of a government functionary
    lead to some consequences?

    A.C. - Perhaps because this "functionary" , as you call him, led one of
    the more important forces in the country, the Orthodox Church.

    V.B. - You're kidding. It was clear that Aleksy II's boss was
    Vladimir Putin. The Russian Orthodox Church is one of many government
    institutions. Stalin, after all, transformed it into a department of
    the KGB. And nothing has changed since then.

    The real Orthodox Church was destroyed in the 1920's of the last
    century. When Wolrd War II broke out, Stalin realized that Russians
    will not give their lives for him or the criminal system of the GULAG.
    They will die without any doubts for their homeland and to protect
    their faith. Notice that Stalin was not a cosmopolitan communist
    during the war, but a fervent patriot. Do you know what he called the
    citizens during his radio appearences? "Brothers and sisters." Not
    "comrades." That is why he needed the church. That is the whole
    point of it.

    A.C. - The war ended, but the church continued to exist.

    V.B. - It was a great tool for keeping track of the people. Who could
    people trust more than a priest? Only the majority of these priests
    were KGB agents. Just as Aleksy II was. Secondly, it was an
    effective means to poison the souls of the believers with communist
    propaganda.

    A.C. - What role does the Church have in contemporary Russia?

    V.B. - The KGB men, who rule Russia today, decided to make the
    Orthodoxy one of the props for their government ideology. You see
    priests at every celebration, at every meeting, and all the
    politicians talk about God every chance they get. That's a little
    strange. Orthodoxy is a soft and liberal religion. It's not suited
    for ideology. Besides, seeing Putin and his gang cross themselves in
    churches disgusts me. People who look like unrepentant murderers
    should not go to church. It's unseemly.
    Saturday, December 20th, 2008
    12:49 pm
    №158: Putin rattles his saber and issues commands "on destabilization"...

    Putin warns against any
    "attempt to destabilize Russia"

    Sat Dec 20 2008, 8:08 AM   AFPNEWS

    MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned that any attempt to destabilize Russia would be firmly dealt with as the country marked its national day on Saturday by honouring the security services.

    "Any attempts to weaken or destabilize Russia, damage the country's interests and its citizens will be toughly suppressed" Putin told a meeting of top security officials and spies in the Kremlin Friday night.

    Putin, himself a former KGB officer, did not specify who might pose a threat to Russia but the message could be addressed both to Western security services and opposition at home.

    His remarks were in the same vein as his hawkish speech last year when he accused the opposition of seeking to turn Russia into a "weak, ill" state.

    As the economic crisis broadens in Russia, avoiding mass-scale social unrest is a top priority for the Kremlin.

    Putin said he was counting on security officials to focus their efforts on preempting the "very possibility of carrying out terror acts" in Russia as well as on their "active work in other priority directions too."

    "These are countermeasures against corruption, organized crime, fighting narcotics aggression against the country's citizens. And also protection of economic security," he said in comments published by the government on its website.

    Under Putin, Russia's president from 2000-08 and widely believed to remain in control of the country, security officials have become notoriously influential and gained top posts in the administration.

    Saturday's national security workers' day is better known as Chekist Day, after the Cheka, the precursor of the KGB, which was founded on December 20, 1917 by Felix Dzerzhinsky, head of the feared secret police.

    As president Putin personally attended the holiday receptions and heaped praise on security officials.

    On Saturday, the national television Channel 1 was scheduled to broadcast an annual prime time concert in honour of the day.

    Human rights activists have charged that Russia is on its way to becoming a police state. Last week Putin's government sent a new bill to parliament that would allow the authorities to prosecute critics.

    President Dmitry Medvedev, who is a lawyer by training, did not attend Friday's reception and sent his chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin instead to read out a letter.

    In his missive, Medvedev said security officials helped battle terrorism, counterintelligence activities and economic crimes.

    "Peace of mind and stability in our society directly depends on the efficiency of solving such tasks," Interfax quoted Naryshkin as saying.


     
    Thursday, December 18th, 2008
    1:51 pm
    №157: A long but interesting discussion of the various questions, evidently troubling some...
    RESPONSE TO BLOG:

    Dr. Magerovsky,

    There is one issue that continues to trouble me. We both agree that Vladika Laurus took part of ROCOR into schism. Now, before Vladika Laurus, the Synod of Bishops had Metropolitan Vitaly as the helm of the ROCOR. Did Metropolitan Vitaly preside over any false councils? If the answer is no, then what about the Council of 1990, which specifically said that the two bishops that Vladika Agafangel accepted through hirotesia, can only be accepted through ordination (thus, NOT finding their ordinations actual)? How can this contradiction happen?

    We know that canons can use ikonomia in some instances, where love is infused into the words of the Church’s laws to assuage and withhold the fullness of the law, for Truth’s sake. Now, if you can, please answer me this. Can a handful of bishops change any decisions of a Council of bishops, if we agree that the Council was not a false one? If the answer is yes, then please show me, where in Church history this has taken place. 

    Lastly, the God’s Church on earth is made up of bishops, clergy and the laypeople. Sobornost is when there is a unity in Truth between all three components. The bishops, are the head. I don’t disagree with this. But, the head needs the body to move and for anything to happen. Likewise, the bishops cannot forget that they have a flock that they must guide and always shepherd towards salvation. Also, the flock needs to have trust in the shepherd. IF there is no trust, then no matter how well intentioned a shepherd is, he will not succeed without this trust. 
     
    Now, I have said all this about trust in the shepherd because of what Vladika Agafangel has been doing and saying and allowing to be said. In May of 2007. he was the only bishop in ROCOR who did not join with the MP. I would say his trust factor went up in the eyes of those who didn’t wish to follow Vladika Lavr into the ready hands of Putin, Alexei 2 and the FSB. Later on, Vladika Agafangel says that his goal is not to search for union between the various splinters of ROCOR (like the Tihonovtsi and Vitalievtsi). Then, he says nothing when challenged about Father Viktor Dobrov saying that "We will not look at the past resolutions of ROCOR as some kind of "sacred cows". If we have to change, rewrite or entirely omit some issue from past resolutions of ROCOR, we will do so." (Remember, a secretary of a Okrug doesn’t have a personal opinion...when he writes on the internet, everyone knows who he is and his word is weighed more than that of others). Thus, one can only interpret that Vladika Agafangel agrees with these sentiments! (please show me otherwise)
     
    All these contradictions lead one to suppose many things. I earlier spoke of trust for the shepherd from his flock. How, pray tell, after watching a bishop in the face of Laurus, lead many of the flock astray (and we knew him and trusted him), how are we supposed to follow a bishop, that we in the abroad parishes barely know, who constantly contradicts himself?

    elmager 2008-12-16 01:46 pm (local) (от 68.197.15.140) (ссылка)

    I have the following to say to your very reasoned question. First of all, the Church is a living human organism, created and administered by people, not "saints", who are known to make mistakes. Therefore nothing ever is firmly stated as the absolute truth. We always have to qualify our actions as something "that appears to us as the truth, but we don't know for sure", otherwise we are simply not honest with ourselves. For some, that is taken for granted, for others--happily ignored. And those who insist that some Church actions are correct--come hell or high water--as stated by the enactors, are paying attention only to one half of the human dilemma. The Church Fathers have met this problem head-on and provided for the ability to correct an error in their various organizational schemes. I think you see where I am driving. Whether it is the Sobor or the PSECA, there are provisions to be able to alter or modify or even abruptly change and abolish enactments of the previous like Councils or Authorities. That is a "sine quam non".
     
    Specifically to your point, the 1990 Finding of the Council of Bishops or ROCOR, acting on what we know now as insufficient or even erroneous data, supplied by Bp.Lazar, an interested party to the dispute, stated that "correctness of the consacration or ordination of bishops in question needs to be established before any further decision on them is made". This was later misinterpreted by the Lazar group as an announcement of the impossibility to enter into communion with them. This is what is known to me of the affair. So to your question, "can properly consecrated canonic bishops change rules or positions made earlier by other like bishops?" The answer unequivocally is yes, they can, provided they occupy the same or like position in the administration of the Church. And in this case, they certainly did.
     
    As to your question about "false councils presided over by vlad. Vitaly", I find it--forgive me--a little bit childish. Don't you remember his age in 1990 or later? By all reports even then, he had some periods of lucidity, while others were totally erased from his memory. He also constantly was under great strain and incessant pressure of the pro-MP clique in the very Synod he was presiding over. Can you reasonably expect him constantly to remain perfectly lucid even then, at all times?
     
    You raised also a very good point concerning trust. Trust is the mortar that holds the entire Church edifice together. It actually should have been raised by you first. Because without trust you cannot have a "church", you can have a motley of like-minded individuals but not a Church. Therefore, when such doubts as you have expressed even arise, it is an indication that something is not right in this edifice. For they indicate an inherent distrust of those authorities who have to be trusted "ab initio", before you even start the worship. And that is what I find sorely lacking.
     
    I am sorry I have to end approximately half-way through your very good and reasoned series of excellent questions. I wish there was someone to whom I could direct you for the rest of the replies. I'm not a clergyman, just a 74 year person who has seen his share of human misery. Look into this position on my site, perhaps I'll be able to return and finish what I've started.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________(Continuation)

    Tell me, why are you so concerned about the acceptance of these two bishops? What, besides putting a square peg into a square hole and a round one into a round one, concerns you so? They will continue to serve their distant parishes and have little or no connections with any of us. Or is it you, who are apparently uncomfortable if something is not demonstrated to you as absolutely correct?

    Let us assume for a moment that our bishops committed an error with those two. How does it affect our worship? Have they lost something? They have only committed a very human mistake, such as they will probably commit many times over again--because it's very human to commit errors. Judging by what I know, they haven't, but what was the crime if they did, not maliciously, but unknowingly? Because of this, suddenly our merciful God becomes a punishing Jehova? No, the problem is definitely not with the bishops, but with their detractors who see only punishments for their mistakes and not merciful acceptance of their mistakes by their would-be fellow beings. I find this attitude as all wrong. Luckily, it concerned only 3 people out of 46. Our Church law is mitigated by Church mercy because we all are human. And those who do not believe so, do not belong in our Church. They are there by mistake.

    Generally speaking, you’ll agree that events that befell the Russian Church in years 1917 to the present, cannot be said as being "normal". Therefore, some allowances have to be made, and you have to account for the real conditions that existed then. In the abnormal conditions that it has operated from, say, 1918 on, there could be no regular issuance of various letters of credence customarily given to its clergy members. The "catacomb" conditions and the real risk of death prevented that. There are countless writers attesting to that, both in Russian and English. So to demand strict observance of various rules extant in "normal" times is both unwise and unreal. Therein lies, I think, the crux of the matter. For some reason, the "alleged opponents" of the bishops in question, as well as the 1990 Synod of ROCOR, have very conveniently forgotten about that.

    As far as chirotonia and chirotesia are concerned, what I have been taught in school is that chirotonia is the full rite of consecration (in case of a bishop, performed by two or more bishops), and chirotesia is the rite performed when it is impossible to determine whether the previous chirotonia (which apparently is obligatory) was properly done. Therefore, obviously, since they performed a chirotesia, they apparently had indications that some form of chirotonia was performed. But, ironically, all that is the province of bishops who are solely responsible for all consecrations AND DEFINITELY NOT THE LOWLY CLERGY OR LAYMEN. They play in it no role and, if they interfere with such matters, are interfering not lawfully and not in their own business. THAT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER.

    As to you question of where actually reversals of church policy have taken place I, not being a historian of the church, cannot state, but what I can do is to surmise that if no prohibitions of such practices are clearly stated in church documents, they are, in fact, accepted. Also, since provisions in the statutes of various church bodies are frequently made for change and/or abolition of many outdated practices, such—apparently—is the customary behavior of the Church.

    I do not quite understand your not understanding of two quite separate but very logical positions of Vlad. Agafangel. The first one was that we cannot possibly seek direct and immediate union between us and the various uncanonical "splinter groups" that emerged from ROCOR’s betrayal of its traditions and its eventual merger with the MP. Because virtually all of these groups appeared as raskoly or canonically illegal splintering-off of regular church entities. There are ways, some of them—quite involved, in which this can be done, but they are apparently not much to the liking of many of these groups. The second was a general statement that we will not make "sacred cows" (a Hindu expression) out of outdated or erroneous positions of our predecessor, the former Synod of ROCOR. One position does not have any connection with the other, and is based on my previous extensive discussion. There is beautiful proverb in Russian: "the berries grow in my garden, and I’ve got an uncle living in Kiev". In other words, one has nothing to do with the other and there’s simply no connection between the two.

    I also surmise that Fr. Victor’s positions are in agreement with Vlad. Agathangel’s, and if they are not, the latter will so signify. I, frankly, find no contradiction between them. And also, by becoming the diocesan Secretary, Fr. Victor did not renounce any of his personal rights or positions. As presumably an American, you should know that whatever is written under his signature and without the heading or logo of the Diocese is his personal opinion and is solely his, and what’s on its letterhead or bears its logo—is his position as the Secretary. I trust that is also self-evident. Well, I think I’ve tried to answer most of your questions.


    12:34 pm
    №156: Interesting news from the Russian Federation...

    Russian treason bill could target Kremlin critics      

    By DAVID NOWAK,
    Associated Press Writer
    Wed Dec 17, 3:18 pm ET

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking at a meeting in 
    AP – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gestures
    while speaking at a meeting in Moscow, Wednesday, Dec. …

    MOSCOW – Under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, people who fraternized with foreigners or criticized the Kremlin were "enemies of the people" and sent to the gulag. Now there's new legislation backed by Vladimir Putin's government that human rights activists say could throw Russia back to the days of the Great Terror.

    The legislation, outspoken government critic and rights activist Lev Ponomaryov charged Wednesday, creates "a base for a totalitarian state."

    Government supporters and Kremlin-allied lawmakers said the bill — submitted to the Kremlin-friendly parliament last week — will tighten up current law. Supporters say prosecutors often have trouble gaining convictions because of ambiguities in the definition of state treason.

    The bill would add non-governmental organizations based anywhere in the world that have an office in Russia to the list of banned recipients of state secrets. The government has repeatedly accused foreign spy agencies of using NGOs as a cover to foment dissent.

    Critics warned the loose wording will give authorities ample leeway to prosecute those who cooperate with international rights groups.

    Under current treason statutes, some NGOs are not considered "foreign organizations," meaning a person who passes a state secret to an NGO might not be considered a traitor.

    Some of Russia's most prominent right activists, including Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alexeyeva and Civic Assistance director Svetlana Gannushkina, said the bill in fact gives authorities the power to prosecute anyone deemed to have "harmed the security of the Russian Federation."

    It is "legislation in the spirit of Stalin and Hitler," the activists said in a joint statement — legislation that "returns the Russian justice to the times of 1920-1950s."

    During the 1930s, Stalin oversaw a sweeping crackdown that came to be known as the Great Terror. Millions were accused of being "enemies of the people," convicted by farcical courts based on hearsay and anonymous allegations, and executed or sent to the vast system of prison camps known as the gulag.

    The legislation expands the definition of treason to include damaging Russia's "constitutional order," and "sovereignty or territorial integrity."

    The activists believe each proposed addition cynically targets potential threats to the Kremlin, shattering what remains of civil society in Russia.

    Activists said expanding the term "constitutional order," would effectively outlaw opposition protests. "Territorial integrity" would forbid anyone from calling for independence or perhaps autonomy, an issue of particular concern in the volatile North Caucasus where Chechnya is located.

    The bill broadening the definition of state treason is the latest in a series of measures taken since Putin's rise to the presidency in 2000 that have systematically rolled back Russia's post-Soviet political freedoms.

    Rights group say that rollback has shown no signs of stopping since Putin, a former director of the KGB's main successor agency, became prime minister and his protege, Dmitry Medvedev, assumed the presidency.

    The legislation will likely to be quickly approved by parliament — which the Kremlin needs, Alexeyeva said, because of fears that the country's collapsing economy will spark mass unrest.

    "The people ruling the government are afraid of the reaction of its citizens to their inability to cope with the crisis," she said.

    In a separate development Wednesday, Russia's upper house of parliament passed legislation that would end jury trials for those facing charges of terrorism and treason. Instead, they would face a panel of judges.

    The bill's authors say the change was necessary because they claim juries have acquitted many suspects despite strong incriminating evidence. Critics denounced the bill as a blow to democratic principles.

    As president, the widely popular Putin oversaw a series of measures that tightened the Kremlin's control over Russia's political life and civil society. He backed legislation ending popular elections of regional governors and tightened rules for political parties.

    The Kremlin also sharply restricted independent media, leaving just a few outspoken radio stations and newspapers with limited audience reach, and has curtailed the work of non-governmental groups.

    Since taking over as president in March, Medvedev has called for fighting corruption and ending "legal nihilism" in the courts, but has made no indications that he would ease any of Putin's policies.


     
    Thursday, December 11th, 2008
    5:39 pm
    №155: Interview by the "Dziennik" of Vladimir Bukovsky on the death of "Alexis II".
    From "Dziennik," Poland, December 8, 2008.
    Reporter Artur Ciechanowicz interviewed the Russian writer and dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, who is currently living in London.
     
    Artur Ciechanowicz - What will be the consequences in Russia after the death of Aleksy II?
     
    Vladimir Bukovsky - Why should the death of a government functionary lead to some consequences?
     
    A.C. - Perhaps because this "functionary", as you call him, led one of the more important forces in the country, the Orthodox Church.
     
    V.B. - You're kidding.  It was clear that Aleksy II's boss was Vladimir Putin.  The Russian Orthodox Church is one of many government institutions.  Stalin, after all, transformed it into a department of the KGB.  And nothing has changed since then.
     
    The real Orthodox Church was destroyed in the 1920's of the last century.  When Wolrd War II broke out, Stalin realized that Russians will not give their lives for him or the criminal system of the GULAG.  They will die without any doubts for their homeland and to protect their faith.  Notice that Stalin was not a cosmopolitan communist during the war, but a fervent patriot.  Do you know what he called the citizens during his radio appearences?  "Brothers and sisters."  Not "comrades."  That is why he needed the church.  That is the whole point of it.
     
    A.C. - The war ended, but the church continued to exist.
     
    V.B. - It was a great tool for keeping track of the people.  Who could people trust more than a priest?  Only the majority of these priests were KGB agents.  Just as Aleksy II was.  Secondly, it was an effective means to poison the souls of the believers with communist propaganda.
     
    A.C. - What role does the Church have in contemporary Russia?
     
    V.B. - The KGB men, who rule Russia today, decided to make the Orthodoxy one of the props for their government ideology.  You see priests at every celebration, at every meeting, and all the politicians talk about God every chance they get.  That's a little strange.  Orthodoxy is a soft and liberal religion.  It's not suited for ideology.  Besides, seeing Putin and his gang cross themselves in churches disgusts me.  People who look like unrepentant murderers should not go to church.  It's unseemly.
    1:03 pm
    №154: Fr. Nikita (Grigoriev) on "Sergianism" at Vth All Diaspora Sobor

    Report to the 5th All Diaspora Council of the ROCA. 17/4. 11. 08

    Priest Nikita Grigoriev

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

    I was assigned the task of amassing materials on Sergianism in order to present a report to the Sobor in November of this year. Some of us have a cynical attitude toward this issue and consider this issue to be overly complex to warrant examination; furthermore given that the Church Abroad did not come to a final determination on this matter over the course of eighty years, given the brevity of the Sobor it would be impossible to resolve it now. Therefore it should not even be raised.

    But for many of us this seems erroneous. Sergianism split the Russian Church, and this schism, to the great tragedy of Russia, persists to this very day. Sergianism is not merely a false teaching concerning the relations between the Church and the civil regime. In fact it is multi-tiered. Contemporary Sergianism in general is an entire system of false notions regarding the Church implying that it is a corporeal and earthly political organization on which an earthly, political and not spiritual church is based.

    Sergianism basically began with a false understanding of the relation of the Church to persecution. Thank God, at this time the fierce persecution against the Church has temporarily ceased, but from prophesies we know that more persecution is to come, and that it will be even more ferocious than under the Bolsheviks. If those days are not cut short by God, no one shall be saved.

    Therefore it is imperative while we have this precious opportunity, to confirm in a conciliar manner, what is acceptable according to the teaching of the Church, during times of persecution and condemn those things which are impermissible and unacceptable for the Church and that alienate the individual from Her.

    It is imperative that this be done not to save the Church from annihilation, but to save the souls of its members from perdition, for this is the sole responsibility of the Church; secondly it must be done so that by having clearly exposed the falsehood of Sergianism, we may help those who remain in it to reject it. This is the only means by which one may help in abolishing the Sergianist schism in the Russian Church, which greatly impedes the spiritual rebirth and re-establishment of a Russian Orthodox state.

    After the revolution in Russia a brutal persecution against the Church was launched. This persecution was unprecedented in the history of the Church not only in scale and intensity, but mainly because the theomachistic state set its goal as the complete and unconditional annihilation of the Church, and not only the Church, but in general all faith in God. This objective was pursued relentlessly without regard for even any accords reached with the Church. This is clearly evident in Lenin’s wording of his letter to "Members of the Politburo - strictly confidential", March 19, 1922. "The confiscation of valuables, particularly from the wealthiest lavra’s, monasteries and churches, must be conducted with ruthless resoluteness, unconditionally without hesitation for any reason and within the shortest time possible. The larger the number of reactionary bourgeoisie and reactionary clergy we manage to execute in this operation, the better." (Kremlin Archives in two books: Book 1 - The Politburo and the Church 1992-1925, M. Novosibirsk; "The Siberian Chronograph", 1997, p.143).

    Throughout almost Her entire history, beginning with Christ and His Apostles, the Church was subjected to persecutions. Following the teaching and example of Christ, the Apostles and countless martyrs and confessors, the Church always recognized only two standards of behavior toward the persecutors - either martyrdom or flight from the persecutors.

    Christ Himself, starting from the first days of His earthly life, fled from persecution to Egypt. And so, it would not be the only occasion when He fled from persecutors until finally His time had come for death on the Cross. Christ taught us also likewise: "When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another; for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." (Matt. 10:23). And so, martyrdom for Christ is glorious and valorous, but not all Christians are worthy of it.

    The second alternative while facing persecution is to flee from the persecutors into the catacombs or to another city, in other words out of the country and this is completely permissible and acceptable for the Church, according to the guidance of Christ Himself.

    But Christ never taught that in time of persecution we must join up with the persecutors in order to save our lives or save the Church from annihilation.

    Such "conduct" absolutely excommunicates the individual from the Church of Christ

    The Soviet regime consistently demanded that Patriarch Tikhon not only recognize it but declare complete and unconditional loyalty on behalf of the Church. Having realized the nature of this satanic regime, the Patriarch once stated: "I have come to the conclusion that the limits of loyalty which the soviet regime demands of me, lie beyond the limits of loyalty to Christ." And therefore the Patriarch signed nothing of the sort. Two hours prior to his blessed repose, Metropolitan Peter brought the Patriarch a declaration composed by Tuchkov for signature. From the neighboring room in the hospital where the patriarch lay, Patriarch Tikhon’s distraught voice was heard repeating, "I cannot do this, I cannot do this". Shortly thereafter the Patriarch reposed.

    Metropolitan Peter assumed the position of locum tenens (lit. "place-holder," a person who temporarily fulfills the duties of another, ed.) of the Patriarch immediately after the funeral of Patriarch Tikhon, since the other two locum tenens appointed by Patriarch Tikhon, Metropolitans Agafangel and Kyrill, were in exile at the time.

    Metropolitan Peter also demonstrated firmness and refused to sign the declaration. Fewer than nine months later, Metropolitan Peter was arrested and twelve years later (after eight years in solitary confinement) he was executed.

    Soon after the arrest of Metropolitan Peter, the deputy locum tenens, Metropolitan Sergius assumed office. Shortly afterwards, Metropolitan Kyrill, who was one of the three locum tenens appointed by Patriarch Tikhon himself, returned from exile. When Metropolitan Kyrill requested that Sergius yield to him his lawful position as head of the Russian Church, Metropolitan Sergius refused to do so. In this fashion, Metropolitan Sergius unlawfully retained power. But this was to be only the beginning of Metropolitan Sergius’ lawlessness.

    In 1927, a schism occurred within the Russian Church. The cause of this schism was the "Declaration" of Metropolitan Sergius. In essence this was the same Declaration which Patriarch Tikhon and the locum tenens of the Patriarch, Metropolitan Peter had refused to sign, but which Metropolitan Sergius signed in its new and much embellished form.

    At this point it must be noted that ten years prior, just after the February Revolution, Metropolitan Sergius spoke favorably in reference to it and expressed his hope that in the near future something similar would occur in the church. One must also not overlook the fact that Metropolitan Sergius had for an extensive period of time been head of the Renovationist Church which was strongly supported by the Soviet regime if only for the purpose of causing a split in the Church. It was only after it became obvious that the people did not follow the renovationists, that Metropolitan Sergius returned to the Orthodox Church through public repentance.

    In his "Declaration," Metropolitan Sergius stepped over precisely those limits of loyalty to Christ of which Patriarch Tikhon had spoken not long before. Met. Sergius declared and announced, on the Church’s behalf

    In general, the entire "Declaration" is replete with falsehood and connivance. Starting with the appeal, "let us express on the part of all the people our gratitude to the Soviet Government for such attention to the spiritual needs of the Orthodox population", the declaration continues to call everyone "not in words but by deed to demonstrate themselves to be loyal to the Soviet authority, and yet they may remain zealous adherents (of Orthodoxy)" and later completely identifies the interests of the Church with the interests of the Soviet Union, as the homeland. Near the end, the declaration states "Now, when our patriarchate, in carrying out the will of our reposed Patriarch (a blatant lie), decisively and irreversibly embarks on the path of loyalty, those persons of an indicated mindset will have to either overcome their convictions… or not impede us…".

    Having betrayed the Church, the leadership of which he had usurped, thereby subjecting it to the complete control of the Bolsheviks, Metropolitan Sergius made the Church a tool in the hands of the theomachistic regime, whose goal at the time was the complete extermination of that very Church. At the time, the Soviet regime did not yet realize that a church under the complete control of Soviet rule could be very useful and began to annihilate the Church with even greater force, with the aid of that same Declaration.

    Metropolitan Sergius assembled a small group of bishops (including some former renovationists) and created his Synod which adopted and ratified his Declaration. The Soviet regime supported this Synod.

    The majority of bishops did not support and did not accept the Declaration of Met. Sergius. Given the circumstances at the time, they had not the ability to convene a Sobor and condemn the Declaration in a conciliar fashion, but each one individually condemned it in personal statements and letters to Met. Sergius. They called the Declaration of Met. Sergius a betrayal of the Church, a denial of Christ, heresy, and a continuation of the renovationist schism which Patriarch Tikhon had anathematized in 1922.

    As an example, I will cite only one excerpt from a letter by Bishop Viktor Ostrovidov of Izhesk, which reflects the typical opinion of many others to the "appeal" of Met. Sergius, ie. his Declaration. Bishop Viktor writes: "..from beginning to end it is filled with egregious lies and it is for the faithful a soul-disturbing mockery of the Holy Orthodox Church and our witness-bearing for the Truth of God. Furthermore, through the betrayal of the Church of Christ so it can be abused by "outsiders", it is the most sorrowful renunciation of the Lord Savior Himself. This sin, to which the word of God attests, is no less than any heresy or schism, but incomparably greater for it casts man directly into the abyss of perdition…. As much as was within our power we preserved both ourselves and our flock so as not to be participants in this sin, and for this reason we returned the "appeal" (declaration) to you. For acceptance of the "appeal" (declaration) would have been evidence before God of our indifference and complacency toward the Most Sacred Church of God - the Bride of Christ."

    Almost 90% of all parishes rejected the Declaration and sent it back unsigned. Metropolitan Peter (to whom Met. Sergius should have been subordinate according to Church canons) forbade Met. Sergius from proclaiming it on behalf of the Church. Many others (including Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky, Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd, Metropolitan Kyrill of Kazan and many others attempted to bring him to his senses by sending him letters begging him to reject it. But Met. Sergius did not respond to the letters and stubbornly persisted, as a result of which the majority of clerics of the ROC ceased to commemorate him and rejected him from Eucharistic union.

    Such "behavior" (as it was termed by a certain Church Abroad bishop at a sobor in Nayack) was always categorically and firmly condemned by the Church as a denial of Christ. Such "conduct"can be understood and empathized with, but it can not be justified or even extolled as being wise - this is completely impossible.and such a person may only be received back into the fold of the Church through a specially instituted order of repentance. Even after repenting, such a person is only permitted to commune of the Holy Mysteries only on his death bed.

    Based on all this, one may assume that ROC had immediately already condemned the Declaration of Met. Sergius and the "sergianism" as it began to be called at the time, which followed after the Declaration. A conciliar condemnation of the Declaration and Sergianism, given the circumstances at the time was practically impossible in the Soviet Union. The Declaration and Sergianism in the USSR were condemned by the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, for which they were arrested, exiled, shot and tortured to death. They attested to the falsity and unacceptability of the Declaration and Sergianism by their martyrdom for Christ. There can not be a stronger or clearer condemnation than this, for it immediately resulted in martyrdom. We can now adopt this condemnation of the Declaration and Sergianism by the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia on a conciliar level and we must declare it on a conciliar level.

    Those who signed the Declaration and joined with Met Sergius temporarily saved their lives, for at the time the Soviet regime strongly supported them. But I emphasize temporarily because during Stalin’s purges in the late 1930’s, all were systematically killed, "loyal" and "unloyal", church and secular people, and even almost all the Bolsheviks by whose own hands the revolution and subsequent crimes were carried out. "He who takes up the sword shall perish by the sword." teaches Christ, as well as that which directly relates to those who followed after Met. Sergius: "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matt. 16:25). By the beginning of WWII, there remained only four bishops and very few open churches in the USSR.

    God will judge Met. Sergius, not we. But we are responsible to expose and condemn the sin which Met. Sergius committed. The Declaration is first and foremost the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This lie before God and before the Church constituted the foundation of the entire construction of the Sergianist church and became the guiding principle in all its future development and in all its future affairs. Conceived from falsehood, lies and sinister cunning became absolutely natural for it. To rid itself of cunning or to separate truth from lies is inexpressibly difficult for it, for it is organically tied with falsehood.

    Here is an amazing parallel with the Old Testament Church during the time of Christ. Having stated at Pilate’s judgment seat that "we have no king save Caesar" the Jewish high-priests renounced Christ and doomed themselves forever to be in service to the prince of this world in the face of a perpetually foreign, pagan King. Nevertheless, through this they had achieved finally from the civil authorities a death sentence for Christ and His followers, so that the high-priests could maintain their power over the Church and, hence, over their people.

    Likewise, Met. Sergius and his collaborators, the new high-priests, renounced Christ by declaring their complete loyalty to not only a pagan government, but one which was plainly theomachistic, and thereby achieved a death sentence for the followers of Christ who did not wish to "break" their consciences, as well as to hold on to their newly acquired power over the Church. By disdaining the Church’s (and therefore God’s) power, the new high-priests of the Russian Church proclaimed their unconditional loyalty to the Soviet regime and thereby they also doomed themselves and the misfortunate people who followed them to eternal subservience to the prince of this world personified by the Soviet regime and any subsequent reincarnation of this godless authority.

    Just like the Jewish people, the Russian nation will not be able to cast off this "yoke of all yokes" and return peace and prosperity to their country until it repents sincerely and strongly "not in word but in deed" for the renunciation of Christ, the murder of the anointed one of God and for the betrayal of Christ’s Church into the hands of the godless authorities. This means there must be an immediate renunciation of Met. Sergius’ Declaration which specifically and visibly contains all these sins, and clearly and unconditionally condemns it as being unacceptable neither for the Church nor for the Russian people.

    Before concluding, it is necessary to touch upon the topic of ecumenism, since it is now inexorably linked with contemporary sergianism. In order to justify their emergence, contemporary sergianists (resorting to the typical cunning in the spirit of the scribes) offer a purely ecumenical "branch theory".

    First and foremost, they needed to substitute the idea of a "schism" with the notion of "separation". According to a prominent contemporary apologeticist of Sergianism, "In order to achieve this substitution, not only was an enormous psychological change required… In essence Church canons have no experience of the practice where two church groups coexist without Eucharistic union, yet are equally bona fide. This desired substitution not only requires that a definition be found which would satisfy all, but also it requires some boldness in the area of canons and church history. All previous severances of Eucharistic union had always implied the existence of a correct and incorrect (guilty) side." It simply seems unbelievable how renovationism attempts to cover up its tracks with even greater renovationism in order to justify itself. The text continues: "We still face the task of finetuning this definition (separation), of comprehending it, and if possible finding a more suitable term. This was the manner of existence of several parts of the Church which developed along parallel paths without the presence of outwardly expressed Eucharistic union, yet still managing to wholly preserve the inner unity of the Church". The previous quotation is precisely an exact exegesis of the "branch theory" on which the contemporary ecumenical movement is based.

    This lie, that supposedly inner unity as a whole among those who remained faithful to the Orthodox Church and those who followed Met. Sergius was preserved is clearly refuted by the New Martyrs who had rejected the Declaration and for precisely that reason they went to their death. But those who signed the Declaration in 1927 were not arrested, but on the contrary, enjoyed the support of the regime even though that support would be short-lived. As was already stated above, in the late 1930’s during Stalin’s purges, everyone was arrested and executed indiscriminately including even those Sergianists who were "loyal" to the Soviet state.

    Even Met. Kyrill who at the outset of the sergianist period (immediately after the release of the Declaration) was more circumspect and mild in his expressions regarding Met. Sergius. But in March of 1937 he wrote that now it had become clear that Met. Sergius is departing from the Orthodox Church and, therefore, the Orthodox must not have any interaction with him.

    The idea of "inner unity in the absence of Eucharistic union" was concocted only recently when the decision was made to unite ROCOR to the MP. In order to accept such a purely ecumenical idea, "an enormous psychological transformation" was required. In order to absorb such an enormous transformation in the people’s psychology, it was imperative to somehow erase the difference between the Orthodox and the Sergianists from a historical perspective, that is, the difference between those who did not accept the Declaration and those who did (the followers of Met. Sergius).

    The glorification of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia by the MP was an enormously helpful tool in this regard. Many people were overjoyed by this glorification, perceiving in it a major step in the right direction by the MP, despite the supposed contradictions, or one might say "conflict of interest" between the New Martyrs and sergianism. But apparently there are no conflicts here. According to the Sergianist glorification, among the new martyrs are included even those who signed the treacherous and blasphemous Declaration of Met. Sergius. And these are not isolated individual cases, but on the contrary, an overwhelming majority (more than 80%) as stated by the MP protopriest in charge of this matter.

    Certain complaints are in vain, that currently within the MP there is almost no reverence for the Holy New Martyrs. This action (glorification) had been taken not so much to satisfy a correspondinge level of spiritual demands within their church, but more likely to facilitate this needed "enormous transformation" in the psychology of the Church Abroad toward the MP. According to the words of the same MP apologeticist quoted above, during the signing of the Declaration "an individual could either accept or not accept the path of compromise proposed by Met. Sergius, but we equally revere the new martyrs and HIS supporters (Met. Sergius), as well as the non-commemorators or followers of Met. Joseph (Petrovikh)"

    That says it all. What is all the preoccupation with schisms? Apparently those abroad who are the enemies of the people need the idea of schisms. It is they who do not wish to recognize their own Mother Church. And thus the ideology was launched and proceeded step by step. It is not by coincidence that Russians are such chess masters. Sentimental patriotism played its role, as usual, and suddenly all former obstacles to unification seemed to melt away. Here one must not forget in connection with this "patriotism for the homeland", the words of the Savior, Christ God Himself "he who loves mother or father more than me is not worthy of me". Undoubtedly, one must also remember that "he who loves his fatherland more than me is not worthy of me".

    In conclusion I would like to touch upon what occurred before our very eyes within the Church Abroad. This was nothing more, nothing less than an enamoration and fall directly into sergianism. Great means and effort were applied in order to on one hand entice the "abroadniks" with illusions of the spiritual rebirth of the "mother church", sentimental patriotism, money where it was required, and even ecumenism specially baked according the "abroadniks" taste: "we have not nor have we ever had any schism, but simply, you see, a temporary parting of the ways due to historic circumstances."

    But simultaneously, on the other hand, there was pressure and threats of a total obliteration of the Karlovatsky, schismatic, Church Abroad. Along the lines of this approach there were aggressive seizures of monasteries, endless lawsuits in order to gain possession of Church Abroad parishes, and the flooding of Abroad parishes and monasteries by employees of the MP. But the naïve "abroadniks" couldn’t quite realize this somehow.

    The episcopate of ROCOR, however, knew everything quite well. During litigation in court over the property of a certain Abroad parish, an attorney asked Met. Laurus "and what would happen if you did not join the MP?" to which Met. Laurus responded: "they would kill us".

    Here you have it - Sergianism not in words but precisely in deed. In conclusion I repeat that the basic, perhaps unverbalized idea of sergianism: "when the Church is threatened by the danger of annihilation, it is permissible and acceptable to submit to any compromise with falsehood, even to the point of joining up with the persecutors for the sake of preserving the Church and saving it from annihilation."

    Dear fathers and brothers, participants of the Sobor, for the sake of the salvation of the souls of the flock entrusted to us for which we will answer to Christ at the coming Judgment, and for the sake of averting the current and coming temptation from our flock, let us adopt and confirm the witnessing to the truth of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia and let us declare from the Sobor that the Declaration of Met. Sergius and sergianism which followed it are a lie and apostasy from Orthodoxy, and therefore is condemned and rejected by the Church of Christ.

     

    , complete and unconditional loyalty to the Soviet theomachistic regime.
    12:23 pm
    №153: Documents of the Vth All-Daspora Sobor--the "Act"
     

    Definition of the Fifth All-Diaspora Sobor on the non-acceptance of the Act of canonical communion with the ROCOR- MP of May 4/17, 2007.

    Basic reasons for non-acceptance of this document by us are the following:

    1. In the course of the negotiation process preceding the signing of this document two problems have not been resolved in a satisfactory manner, problems that had always separated us and the ROCOR-MP , namely the Declaration of 1927 with the Church policy founded upon it, and participation of the Moscow Patriarchy in the heresy of ecumenism.
    2. The document itself was not subjected to a proper examination procedure and approval by the Sobor, and is therefore not canonical.

    Signing of the document became tantamount to the rejection of traditional ecclesiological principles of ROCA. In its relationship with the ROCOR-MP, the Church Abroad always insisted on overcoming the two basic problems which separate us. The first is the so-called "sergianism", the second is participation of ROCOR- MP in the heresy of ecumenism anathematized in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

    Only if these obstacles are removed will it become possible to restore unity of Russia's Church at a Local (Pomestnyi) Sobor.

    It is precisely these issues which provoked main disputes during the preceding (2006) Fourth All-Diaspora Sobor in San Francisco.

    In the final Resolution the actual idea of reunification was approved by the delegates in the spirit of Sobornost, but only at a propitious time in the spirit of Christ's Truth. A propitious time to restore unity depended, however, on the overcoming of "sergianism", leaving the World Council of Churches by the ROCOR-MP and cessation of its ecumenical activity. In so doing, the delegates definitely renounced the first draft of the Resolution which provided for an immediate establishment of eucharistic and administrative unity with the Moscow Patriarchate.

    In this manner, the "Document on canonical communion" did not receive conciliar approval either at the Fourth All-Diaspora Sobor, or at the Sobor of Bishops which followed it later. The supporters of the unscrupulous unification of ROCA with the MP did not manage to achieve a legal transfer of authority rights with respect to this Document even as far as the Synod is concerned.

    Nevertheless in September of 2005 the ROCA Synod of Bishops approved this Document on their own self-granted authority, even despite the disagreement of two permanent members of the Synod (Archbishop Hilarion and Bishop Gabriel).

    Based on the above, the Fifth All-Diaspora Sobor of the ROCA Defines the entry of Metropolitan Laurus' Synod into communion with the Moscow Patriarchate as a non-canonical action.

    Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
    3:05 pm
    №152: Memorandum on the admission of the "sekachovtsy" Bishops...

    Memorandum
    on the acceptance into the body of the ROCA of the "Sekachovtsy" bishops


    [of the Russian Orthodox (Catacomb) Church]
      1. The ROCA Synod of Bishops during the time of Metropolitan Philaret decided on November 26\December 7, 1977, to accept 14 priests of the Catacomb Church in their existing clergy rank. For the next 14 years, this did not raise any questions for anyone. In 1990, due to the views of ROCA Bishop Lazarus (Zhurbenko) on matters within the Catacomb Church in Russia, the ROCA Sobor of Bishops declared in its Determination on May 2\15, 1990, in Item #6, that: "The Sobor cannot recognize the canonical authenticity of the ordination of these catacomb clergy," which rescinded the decision of the ROCA Synod of Bishops made on November 26\December 7, 1977. Similarly, the ROCA Synod of Bishops in 1990 decided due to the absence of canonical succession of bishops in this group that "it is not possible, in light of the absence of necessary documentation (which may not have been submitted), to recognize the proof of apostolic succession and the canonical ordination of these underground bishops." Along with this, "the ROCA Synod of Bishops have decided that these ordained clergy (priests and deacons), who desire to establish relations with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, must resolve their canonical status by ordination (if they have no canonical obstacles to this action) by a bishop recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad" (Chancery Memo of the ROCA Synod of Bishops numbers 4\77\133 from August 2\15, 1990). It is important to note that while not recognizing the ordination of the catacomb clergy, the Synod of Bishops offered to perform a chirotesia of them. They refused at that time due to the strained relations with B. Lazarus. They have now agreed. In this way, in accepting the "sekachevtsevs" through chirotesia in 2008, we are fulfilling the decision of the Synod of Bishops of 1990 to resolve their status in our Church.
      2. The passing years have shown that when we do not appreciate the special circumstances of the shattered church during that awful time and the brave witness of the catacomb bishops and we employ a theoretical approach not based on the Gospel and stress the letter instead of the spirit of the church canons in this matter, the unity of the Russian Church does not benefit and only worsens the problems within it. The "sekachevtsevs" lived in the USSR and sought a genuine catacomb bishop and did not "run" to the MP to be ordained. They were compelled during the communist reign to do what they had to do and did not have any other choice. Bishop Seraphim (Pozdeev) ordained Bishop Gennady alone, because there was simply not another second catacomb bishop. In approximately 1974-1975 in Tbilisi, B. Gennady met in prison with the Georgian Metropolitan Malhas and other bishops, who were allowed to serve liturgy on Pascha in a separate room. All the bishops decided to elevate B. Gennady to metropolitan. After he was released from prison, even Met. Gennady’s close friends thought he agreed to this simply for earthly reasons. One day, immediately after the Eucharist, the Bishop said, "I just took in the Body and Blood of Christ and stand before the altar table with a cross and you still don’t believe me? How can I lie in such circumstances?" and he explained that there was no possibility to invite eyewitnesses and there was no way he could provide a certificate of his ordination. Similarly, to prove by way of documents that during a time of horrible persecution and the collapse of the church whether Seraphim Pozdeev was a bishop or not was simply not possible. But their efforts in the USSR deserve our respect and maximum economia. This is in sharp contrast, by the way, to the "followers of Met. Vitaly." For example, Segey Kindyakov single-handedly ordained Bishop Varnava (who was later defrocked) with Met. Vitaly present and not participating in the ordination. After Met. Vitaly left and against his will, the two of them then ordained Vladimir Tselishchev. This is an outright violation of the canons. Even so, for the sake of peace and a unified Church, we are prepared to heal this wound on the body of the Church. "We do not seek to vanquish our brothers, but to join with them again, as our separation grieves us." (St. Gregory the Theologian Word No. 41 "On Holy Pentecost") The "sekachevtsevs" deserve so much more of our respect. Our church has followed and should further follow the example and inspiration of Met. Philaret and Archbishop John (Maximovitch), who were always open to those who, desiring their salvation, ran to our Church, and not maintain a spirit of animosity and sectarianism, which is so prevalent now among the many "true jurisductions."

      3. The disastrous schism in ROCA, which was building for many years, finally occurred on May 17, 2007, initiated by the former hierarch Metropolitan Lavr and other bishops that followed him. The Provisional Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority under the chairmanship of the Most Reverend Agafangel, Bishop of Taurida and Odessa and ruling bishop for Buenos Aires and South America was formed on June28\July11, 2007, in New York, based on the resolution passed by a meeting of the ROCA parish representatives. It was established as a temporary ROCA church authority in the period between sobors and is governed by the "Status of ROCA," which was ratified by a decision of the ROCA Sobor of Bishops on June 5\18, 1964. As the Provisional Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority of the ROCA, and consisting of 4 bishops, the ROCA PSEA has all the canonical authority of a Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority (ie. Synod) of ROCA. It is consistent with rule 11 and rule 15 of the "Status of ROCA," which state that, "In the inter-sobor period, all urgent and important matters that should be decided by a Sobor (ie, a sobor of bishops), are decided by the Synod of Bishops with the participation of all the ROCA bishops." In line with all of this, since the ROCA PSEA has all the canonical authority of a Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority (ie. Synod) of ROCA, it can, in accordance with rules 26 & 29 of the "Status of ROCA," make decisions as to how and to what extent economia is used to accept clergy from other jurisdictions. Therefore, having accepted the bishops of the Catacomb Church, the "sekachevtsevs," into the body of ROCA through economia and chirotesia, the ROCA PSEA did not exceed its authority and for the sake of the Church and desiring peace and unity in the Church, it did not violate the letter or spirit of the Holy Canons and previous ROCA decisions.

    Bishop Georgiy
    Secretary to the ROCA PSEA

    2:41 pm
    №151: A letter about our current problems from an American convert...
    Subject: About Your Questions/Points to Me Recently, -Etc.
    Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2008 01:55:11 -0700

    Monday Oct. 21/Nov. 3-n.s., 2008
     
    Dear XXXXXXX,
     
    Well, in our recent phone conversation you brought up a number of questions. Normally one's parish priest should  be able to answer a number of those questions.

    Perhaps, if you email our Fr. Victor Dobroff (Secretary to Vladyka Andronik)), with a concise list of your basic questions, he might be able to point you in the right direction. He is more fluent in Russian, but he can also respond in English. His main problem, is that he is a super busy man. He has a secular job to support his family, for one problem of his time.

    Why not ask him: what is the purpose of our upcoming Sobor V?...he is: presvictor@yahoo.com
    I know, that it has nothing to do with.....previous hopes.....of (somehow!)...uniting all anti-MP people/jurisdictions. That is totally impossible!, even if we had an Orthodox Emperor to by his force, to convene such a "Land-Sobor".

    NOBODY CAN! BRING TOGETHER INTO ONE CHURCH ADMINISTRATION....All the fragment groups or people. That cannot EVER happen! Nor, should it happen, as there are plenty of those folks who are, not Orthodox in their beliefs or practices. But, sure, the one thing that 'we' have in common, is our anti-MP positions, and upon that,...individual people CAN work together, I believe.

    Our Sobor V is to continue with our church's organization and it's strengthening, so that we can better serve Orthodoxy and God. Our Vladyka Agafangel....as with our other bishops, do not have the POWER to force anyone to join us, nor do our bishops have the authority to FORCE these other 'fragment' groups, to obey Orthodox canons (which means: most of them have ZERO valid episcopates, hense our church CANNOT 'unite' with them,) ...it is THEY who must find a way to obey Orthodox canons and Faith. Thus, all that you or I CAN do, is to...on our local parish level, make individual laity from those groups...to feel that we LOVE them, and that they should not be affraid to come and be with us, and to eat with us...i.e. Christian Hospitality, etc.

    Vl. Agafangel...never-the-less, has tried and tried and tried, to reach out a hand of friendship to all. His hand has been burned by many of them.(i.e. their clergy).

    This recent reception into our church of those two catacomb bishops/their flocks, is PROOF that Vl. Agafangel IS TRYING to reach out.

    Tikhon Pasechnik and all of his sub-'bishops' do not possess valid consecrations, mainly (but not exclusively, the sole reason being because that they are invalid bishops) because of their schism's founder, the validly-deposed "Abp". Lazar Zhurbenko, who....created TWO! schisms, after he was deposed by our ROCOR. Tikhon Pasechnik is his successor. (and possessing no valid consecration)

    Two of Tikhon Pasechnik's bishops, a Dionisy and an Iriney....have petitioned to our Vl. Agafangel to come into our church. This matter, Vl. Agafangel has stated he wishes to bring up at our coming Sobor V. Again, this is but MORE proof, that our Vl. Agafangel is trying! to bring together as many AS HE CAN/BY ORTHODOX CANONS.


    Regarding your question to me: No! there is no indication that Tikhon Pasechnik has requested our church (i.e. Vl. Agafangel) to attend our Sobor V, ...or...that his request has been turned down. His church last weekend had THEIR sobor in their Odessa cathedral....and they did not invite our bishops, for one point.(but they, being not a valid church, were almost certain that our bishops would not attend!)


    But as to why! anyone would think such a strange thing, I do not know. To me, it sounds like just more criticisms of our Vl. Agafangel, from our rivals, the Pasechnik crowd. Beware of believing what they say! 
    That group, i.e. their clerical-structure, is NOT a valid Orthodox church!  But, our ROCA is!

    Of course, it would be wonderful, if SOMEHOW (by magic?) that group COULD be made...right. Perhaps YOU have such a magic-wand that would make it all....right? I do not.


    For now, all that we CAN do, is to keep our church's doors open, to individuals of their clergy and laity....who choose themselves, to come into our church, in a canonical way, and thus to be obedient to our lawful canonical bishops. In some cases, that means their 'bishops' being re-consecrated by our bishops.

    Oh well, I will end for now, as you won't have the time at your work, to read much more.

    Be careful, Xxxxxxxx, who or what you believe about these controversial church issues, as our church is being attacked by many liars, and also many well-intentioned folks are...confused as to the real facts.


    To my studied understanding and belief: our Vladyka Agafangel is the SOLE lawful/canonical continuation of the Russian Church Abroad. There is no other!

    Peace to you!
    Monday, November 3rd, 2008
    9:28 pm
    №150: Trouble in our churches in Australia--police are called quel riots...
    Battle between Serbian Patriarchate and ROCA-PSCA
    over Church in Australia
     

    This article shows openly how much argument is involved in the escape from "official" Orthodoxy-- do any of our readers think there would even be a fight here if there was no property involved (property which wasn't originally owned by the Patriarchate anyway)? What is amazing is always, from the beginning of the Old Calendarist movement to now, how enthusiastic the interlopers are to interrupt a liturgy. NFTU

    (theage.com.au)
    A Serbian Orthodox priest is taking Supreme Court action to stop his congregation from sacking him and evicting his family from the parish residence.

    In a letter to Father Nedeljko Milanovic in June, the executive board of the Saint King Stefan Decanski Church told him his presence was "no longer acceptable" and he had three months to vacate his church, school and residence.

    In an affidavit filed with the court, Father Milanovic said he was a casualty of the board's decision to secede from the church hierarchy in Serbia and its nominated bishop in Australia, Irinej Dobrijevic.

    Father Milanovic, a supporter of the Serbian-appointed bishop, was "respectfully reminded" to leave, in a letter from the board's solicitors on eviction day, September 30.

    When he refused to do so, saying his dismissal had not been sanctioned by the bishop, electricity to the parish residence was cut off. The church had already been locked three weeks earlier, leaving parishioners to gather around the gate to pray on Sundays. On October 12, the stand-off turned ugly. The board had appointed a new parish priest, John Smelic, who was due to celebrate his first liturgy. Mr [Fr. --ed.] Smelic said in an affidavit that after preparing for the service, he was praying when a man came in and yelled: "What are you doing?" and tried to remove him from the altar.

    His assistant, Toma Banjanin, 81, said a group of men in the church told him and Father John to leave, shouting: "Out, out, you are defrocked, we want our priest Milanovic."

    "I told them to leave Father John alone, that they are committing sacrilege by disrupting the service, and I have come in peace to Sunday prayer," Mr Banjanin said. "One answered: 'I don't know you, I never saw you in my life you old monkey.' "

    Church board secretary Milos Vujatov said about 12 police arrived, some with riot gear, to break up an angry mob of about 50 "strangers to the parish" in the church grounds.

    Mr Vujatov said a former parishioner threatened to kill him, and about a week later he found a wooden cross bearing his name in the church grounds — "a well-known Serbian message that I will be murdered".

    In the Practice Court late last month, Justice David Byrne ordered the church to allow Father Milanovic to remain in the parish residence, and the priest not to enter any other church buildings, before a trial scheduled for next week.

    Sunday, November 2nd, 2008
    1:08 pm
    №149: Just came out--HOT OFF THE PRESS--English translation of his Russian book...

    A NEW Shocking Book About ROCOR

     
    KGB-FSB's NEW TROJAN HORSE:
        AMERICANS OF RUSSIAN DESCENT

    by Konstantine Preobrazhensky

     
    PUBLISHED BY GERARD GROUP INTERNATIONAL, INC. 
     224 PAGES ILLUSTRATED

     
    "CHURCH TAKEOVER WITH KREMLIN'S SUPERVISION " 

    "The light language of this book and a lot of new facts 
    make it not only interesting, but also very easily read, 
    like the novels by Russian writers."
     
    Very Reverend Igor Hrebinka, ROCA 

    "A first look at the old stories should not be left unheeded". 
    Oleg Kalugin 
    former KGB Major General
     


    "This book is an extremely valuable contribution to the 
    efforts of investigation of treasonous activities among the 
    hierarchs of the 
    Russian Orthodox Church Outside Of 
    Russia (R.O.C.O.R.)now attached to the Moscow patriarchate." 
    Eugene L.Magerovsky, Ph.D. 
    Colonel, Strategic Intelligence, U.S. Army, retired 
    Professor of Russian History 


    "This book addresses one of the unforeseen developments 
    of the consolidation within the 
    Russian Orthodox Churches 
    that can have significant counterintelligence implications 
    for the United States and the 
    Western world." 
    "It is not incredible to contemplate how 
    Russian 
    intelligence
     can very cynically use even Russian Priests 
    to implement its intelligence agenda."
     
    Paul M. Joyal 
    Director, P.S.S at National Strategies, Inc
    Former Director of Security for U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence 

     
    "Preobrazhensky's book can be called a work of an 
    investigative journalist who has studied the  development 
    of a church takeover with his own eyes, and comments 
    on it - all this emanating from his own work experience 
    in the KGB. For those who lived under the Soviet regime, 
    it is difficult to doubt Mr. Preobrazhensky's deductions". 

    Novoe Russkoe Slovo 
    Russian Language Daily in New York 

     
    Single copy $15 plus $5 shipping & handling ($20 total) 

    MasterCard and VISA accepted | ALL ORDERS MUST BE PREPAID 

    To Order IN THE US, make check or money order to:

    St. John of Kronstadt Press

    1180 Orthodox Way
    TN 37095-4366    

    (The web-site of the press is: http://www.sjkp.org
    which can ALSO be used as a way to order this book).

     
    For larger orders  or orders outside the USA, please inquire by email or telephone:
    Phone:  (615) 5...
    Email:  frgregory@sjkp.org


    12:43 pm
    №148: A bit outdated but still current---Our problems are still with us...


    Wednesday, September 07, 2005

    MIT: Konstantine Preobrazhensky: 
    Laurus & the KGB

    (ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF HIS BOOK HAS COME OUT IN PRINT AND IS AVAILABLE FROM "ST.JOHN OF KRONSTADT PRESS">, LIBERTY, TN >R)

    1. The Obscure Metoche (Podvoriye)

    What money went into building the Jordanville Monastery’s Metoche in Moscow suburbs? Whenever you address this question to the Russian йmigrй in America, they show you all their white teeth in wonderment: they never even heard of a metoche or anything… Some did eventually hear a rumor or two about either an office or Laurus’ exquisite dacha near Moscow.

    Anyway, the Podvoriye has a precise address - settlement Veliaminovo, Istra District, some 20 miles from Moscow’s center along the Novorizhskoye Highway. It is a very prestigious recreational retreat where no aliens are admitted. The place is inhabited by high-rank embezzlers of public funds and rich "New Russians", many having close ties with the Mafia. Neighboring on the Jordanville Metoche is a grand mansion of a vodka baron.

    The Metoche is a vast three-level mansion plus a spacious attic and includes an inner church splendidly decorated by archbishop Alipy (see photos). Experts estimate its cost at around a million dollars, especially if we throw in the sums in bribes that are known to be part and parcel of everyday life in Russia.

    There is a telephone in Podvoriye bur very few know its number. Hence Nikolay Savinov, a ROCOR priest who picked up the phone, was all courtesy at first. He explained that the Podvoriye was built in the year 2000 but so far has been operating as a private house, illegally. He also readdressed me to vladyka Laurus for a blessing for a comprehensive interview.

    A nice private home that was, whence you are relayed to America which is here viewed with a more and more hostile attitude as days go on. Besides, Laurus is not listed among the owners of this building, the formal owners being a group of four other clerics of the Church Abroad.

    The accrediting of a Podvoriye of a foreign-based Church presupposes full communion with the Moscow Patriarchate. According to the rules of the Foreign Relations Department of the MP, only the Rector can be sent in to serve in the Metoche while the rest of the clergy must be local. It should be brought to mind that ROCOR does not as yet enjoy liturgical communion with MP, yet the Podvoriye had been completed more than 5 years ago. Has someone been so indiscriminate as to throw such a big sum of money to the winds?

    With but little hope did I dial the number of the Jordanville Monastery to reach metropolitan Laurus and was put through immediately! On duty at the telephone that night was an US-born monk who did not speak a word of Russian and fortunately had never before read any of my articles on the KGB operations in ROCOR. Had there been some one of the Russian novices or monks openly working for Moscow, I would not have had one chance to get connected to Laurus I saw it as God’s provenance.

    Initially Laurus was as hearty as ever.

    - The Podvoriye is not open yet, he commented, when will it be? When we settle things.

    - When did the Podvoriye appear in its present form? – I asked.

    - A few years ago.

    - Will it be opened officially after eucharistic communion has been established with MP, I asked.

    - Perhaps a while later, -specified Laurus,-we need men. The problem will hopefully be discussed at one of the meetings of the Two-Sided Commission.

    However, when I asked to explain to me if the presence of the Podvoriye was canonically tenable, Laurus showed signs of apprehension: "What do you need that for?". For an article, I answered frankly.

    -This is not to be mentioned! – snapped back Laurus, and the interview was over.

    Last time I got a similar response was at Russian Communists’ Headquarters.

    The news of the Podvoriye must meanwhile have reached the Russian Authorities, especially the FSB whose business is to carry on a close watch on the US organizations operating in Russia. Why then hide it from the Church people? Can there be any secrets in Church?

    Anyway, they would be facing a difficult task trying to explain to the ROCOR believers why should they have had to begin building a Representation already in the middle of the 90’s when no sign of a rapprochement with MP had yet been in sight! Most certainly the whole business had been negotiated back then secretly, without knowledge of the parishioners. Hence also the official discussions which started off in 2003 have not been anything but a fake, a deception of the working class, as they used to say during the Soviet era. This portends a scandal.

    A Moscow archpriest Mikhail Ardov once told me that in the already distant 1994, he came to Jordanville and proposed they printed his book which exposed the sergianist nature of the MP. Laurus did not bless this publication. They are telling now that at those times they were cautious about publishing works by unknown writers from Russia lest they do them wrong. But Fr Mikhail was then a clergyman of ROCOR and was even receiving funds from her for his church. It is now clear that the reason for denial lay in something else.

    Archpriest Sergiy Klestov, a New Yorker, narrated a story of how he rebuked Laurus for his participation in the Moleben in company with Alexis II in May of 2004 on the Butovo firing range premises near Moscow where thousands had been shot as part of Stalin’s reprisals in mid 30’s.

    How dared you, Vladyka, - he said, - serve together with the Sergianists at the place of death of the New Martyrs, in which a share of guilt was on the Sergianists themselves? You mixed up them and the traitors of Christ!

    -I did not put on my vestments, retorted Laurus rather naively.

    -Do you think it does matter to the martyrs, whether you were in vestments or not?,- continued Fr Sergius, but received no answer from Laurus

    Laurus had long thought of relocating to Russia and built this castle in Veliaminovo precisely for this purpose, - I was told by a prominent Moscow priest serving under the omophorion of Metropolitan Vitaly who knew and communicated with Laurus closely ever since his first visits to Russia in early 90’s. Laurus’ business has always been to stifle any initiative directed at the improvement of ROCOR position in Russia, - he went on, - at that time, many MP clergymen with a status came to see him in order to explore the possibility of their joining the ROCOR. He took every measure to discourage them from making this step. He received outsiders with all possible courtesy but as courtly did he see them off, normally with no result. With the insiders he would be impolite, often pretending he was weary or something, thus exhibiting a cute discrimination.Two words were lacking in his vocabulary, yes and no.During the first years after the collapse of the Soviet regime, there were many excellent church buildings everywhere that had no owners. Given a slight effort any of them could be appropriated at no charge. Laurus however sabotaged any such endeavor, and I could give examples. A jesuit smile usually overshadowed his face whenever the question was raised, a stain of double-dealing in life. The most striking example ever was his reluctance to ask for a superb, early 20th century church in the village of Byokhovo, near the world-famous Polenovo estate, which by the time had been standing unoccupied for at least 8 years. The church could have become a gem of the Russian Church Abroad in Russia. Supposing Laurus is an agent of Moscow, commissioned with unleashing subversive activities within the Church Abroad, his behavior finds adequate explanation, - my interlocutor concluded with a sad sigh.

    He further told me, that several years ago, when the health of Alexis II deteriorated sharply, the "orthodox KGB-ist" and banker Pugachev and businessman Boris Jordan who had serious business going on through the mediation of the Patriarch, feared he would die before they could get their transactions cleared and decided they could persuade Putin to promote their friend Laurus to the position of the Patriarch of Moscow. They went on to do this via Putin’s political technologist Gleb Pavlovsky, and as a token of their good wishes and as consolation bought a villa in Switzerland for the ailing Alexis.

    The wealthy Jordan family had always maintained close relations with Laurus. Boris’ father, the late Aleksey Borisovich, set up a foundation in 1999 for promoting cadet movement in Russia. Yet he did not do it under the auspices of ROCOR as would be logical, but under the MP, canonical intercommunion with which had yet been out of question at the time. The Movement does not propagate the spirit of the White Guard, its leaders being none other but the soviet communist-minded generals. Can it do any good for the Church Abroad? What does Laurus think about it all?

    There are many strange features in the bios of many hierarchs of ROCOR which lead one to think of the KGB. For example, who can tell how archbp Mark, a native of German Democratic Republic (the Soviet-occupied part of the divided Germany) and its army officer, managed to defect to the West in the 60’s. He could not have done this legally. Why also the KGB let him go quietly out of jail in USSR where he had landed for smuggling in a load of anti-soviet literature in mid 70’s, when the law stipulatedsevere punishment for what was then considered as subversive activities against the regime. I have included my understanding of these strange episodes in my article "The Two Mysteries of Archbishop Mark".

    Laurus too has had some strange episodes in his CV. I mean his regular visits to his relatives in the communist Czechoslovakia.

    -Well, it was not the USSR he went to, - somewould try to acquit Laurus.

    Alas, alas! Just the same thing! Simply because all the intelligence agencies of socialist countries had a unified system for registering the arriving US nationals. If anything, the KGB would not let a former citizen of the "bourgeois Czechoslovakia" and a patent antisovetchik go without a close watch. Laurus was certainly listed as one such activist, considering that all members of the Church Abroad had been nicked as "activists of the йmigrй anti-soviet center" in the KGB lingo.As soon as one such "activist" applied to the Czech embassy for a visa, a call immediately flew Moscow-ward over the "VCh" secret phone line:

    -Would you like to make good use of him/her? –

    To Moscow-based KGB-ists this phrase implied a possibility for promotion in rank or receiving a medal or order. No such person could go uncatered for: some degree of harm just had to be inflicted, whether it be recruiting, blackmailing, or anything. By hook or by crook he or she were to be discouraged from visiting the blessed land again. They called it "putting a person on the list for operative processing".

    Laurus was "processed" every time he visited Czechoslovakia, and every time returned safely, and received his visa with no trouble. They say he had no trouble even after 1968, the year when Soviet troops had been moved into Czechoslovakia and the regime had become even more dreadful. In those years my parents often went to Karlovy Vary resorts on vacation on the invitation from the Czech KGB, and on returning my father used to tell me about the hard time the Czech chekists had combating the inner enemy. Laurus could not but be "approached" by our comrades not only from the local KGB but also from the Soviet agency whose huge filial in Prague outnumbered their local colleagues.

    It is rumored that Laurus’s brother was holding a high position in the Czech Communist Party. One requirement a party functionary had to meet absolutely was that of "ideological purity". He was not to have a brother who was an anti-Soviet priest, and an American too! His only excuse to any rebuke was that "my brother is one of us; those who need to know it, know it".

    2. The American Law is no Obstacle for the KGB

    It is a tradition in KGB to give presents to higher-ranked officers, and this tradition goes back to the Stalin’s time. What may be a worthy present to Mr Putin for overpowering the Church Abroad? The chief resident of the Russian Intelligence in Washington has been racking his head lately over this crucial problem.

    Whereas the answer is self-evident: the St John the Forerunner Cathedral in the heart of Washington. It will be a symbol of the victory of Russians over America, which used to seem to be a perfectly unattainable task some time before, a bastion of Russia’s strategic interests under the very nose of the White House! Putin will walk into the place not as an honorary guest but as the master. Like he walks into the big church of Christ the Savior in Moscow, the official church-house of Russian Authorities.

    Let Mr Bush perform his master’s duties in the White House, while our Russian Mr President will do the same just a few steps away from him, upon a small spot of homeland in the hostile American environment. Imagine the propagandistic impact this will have in Russia! Putin’s presidential tenure will be sure to extend to more than one term!

    The parishioners as yet feel secure, being sure that they own the church building and that the American Law protects them. But no, the KGB will NOT take them to court. It will take recourse to other methods, illegal but effective. Westerners grow up with a conviction that the law has an invincible power. We Russians are not so sure. It won’t be hard to substitute the parish activists: they are few and the KGB is as powerful as ever.

    Many are wont to rely excessively on the institute of what they call a "board of trustees", thinking the Board would present a wall of bricks to any enemy’s attack. But the trustees are living people like you and me. Some would eventually develop a deep, and strange, infatuation with Mr Putin, like many ROCOR priests have done recently. Others, not as ready for a compromise, will be rendered harmless by different means. The field for the KGB operative activity is vast here.

    The spy-post in Washington (located, incidentally, not far from the church, in the Russian Embassy) will be busy writing a multi-page plan of operations, will receive enough "resources", as they elusively call them in the Agency, to implement it, and will start action.

    To capture the church, the mechanism worked out at the election campaign in Chechnya, where Russian soldiers are voting instead of the Chechens, will be used. In Washington the voters will be the officers, of both sexes for all that. Like locusts they will appear as it were from nowhere under the guise of emigrants, and will vote passing of the church into the Russian ownership. All foreign federal assets belong to the President’s Administration, that is to say, to Putin personally. Just to play up to him, the KGB will spare no effort, all the way to a war, the military action in Chechnya being one example.

    Under Putin, the intelligence agencies feel dizzy from utter impunity. The unawaringly complacent western leaders are ready to forgive anything to their friend Volodya. Will they come to senses when they know he had made them accomplices in his crimes?

    The chekist-parishioners will act knowingly, in accordance with the adopted plan. They will donate to the church fund such sums in comparison with which those of the true parishioners will look meager. During the last seven years the defense budget in Russia has grown five-fold, and it is not usual to save when it comes to meeting the Homeland’s needs. The true parishioners will eventually develop a sense of resentment and protestation at such cheeky behavior and will certainly turn their proud backs on them, as is considered normal in America. And this would play exactly into the hands of the KGB! The church capture operation will be performed in a clumsy and brutal manner, but is not the capture of the entire Russian Church Abroad being currently performed in just this manner?

    Every Russian knows the truistic proverb that "there is no grip against a crow-bar", but it has to be explained to an American.

    -Here is a big church in Washington for your personal needs, Comrade President! We recently took it over from local morons, - will be the report to Putin of the chief intelligence resident, and Putin will give an approving smile. The resident will get a Hero Star on his chest.

    Soon afterwards, Putin will tell Bush with a tender feeling in his voice:

    -I am so glad, George, that now I have my own church in Washington. I so much like praying there at nights…

    Bush will nod his head respectfully: of course, the freedom of religion is first priority in the US. And then he will go on to compliment Putin, saying he perceived the soul of a true Christian in him.

    Americans will let the attachment of the Church Abroad to the Russian Intelligence go unnoticed. They will not see in the process anything but a problem of inter-church relations. Smiling radiantly, American lawyers will watch the church being handed over to their anti-terrorist coalition ally. Because the letter of the law will be observed, and also because KGB agents may occasionally be met among American lawyers as well.

    The US Authorities are not only hesitant about interfering in church affairs; they usually show signs of panic every time there is a chance of wounding somebody’s religious sentiments. By contrast, in Russia they do not have such fears, but behave in religious organizations authoritatively as if they were elephants in a crockery shop.

    The clergy currently at work in the Cathedral will be wiped away by the powerful tempest. It will be Putin’s personal guards who will take over power here, like they do on all presidential premises. They will dismiss foreign priests, as they will not have access to state secrets.

    I foresee their indignation and questions addressed to their new masters. Under Putin, however, the law enforcers have got the habit of not treating their subjects very considerately; time and again they may hit you with a gun butt. ROCOR priests who delighted in Putin so much previously, will come to know from personal experience the boorish manners of his subordinates. They will be just as helpless in front of them as many rank-and-file Russian people are. They will finally realize that is not the Moscow Patriarchate that the Church Abroad will have been united with.

    When he attends Divine Services in the ancient Dormition Cathedral in the city of Vladimir, Putin unabashedly stands in the Czar’s corner. Why not build a replica in the Cathedral in Washington? Perhaps as a token of the forthcoming re-establishment of the Russian Monarchy. Some of the Russian йmigrй will all but salute such a development. The builders will be the jacks-of-all-hands of the KGB of course.

    As he will stand there, Putin will experience a revengeful glee for the reason that the Cathedral had decades before been founded by the uncompromising foe of the Soviet regime, St John of San-Francisco.

    3. The Abuse of St John of San-Francisco’s Blessed Memory

    It began when the hierarchs of the Church Abroad engaged themselves in treacherous dealings with Mr Putin. At a meeting in New York in September of 2003 they presented him with an icon of the New-Martyr Grand Princess Elizabeth, the sister of Empress Alexandra. Why not of our saint hierarch John of San-Francisco, - inquired many attendants of parish meetings, -there would be more logic in that! The official interpretation was as follows: one of Putin’s numerous mansions is the Novo-Ogarevo castle, which had been expropriated from the Grand Princess by Bolsheviks in 1917. This explanation cannot but sound humiliating. Putin’s chekist predecessors cast Princess Elizabeth out of her castle, subjected to tortures and death – and for all this Putin receives her icon as a gift! The gift would have meaning had Putin denounced KGB’s bloody history and all its crimes. No way, today’s chekists are heroes once again.

    The true reason was different. Archbishop John of San-Francisco was always outspoken in his anti-soviet and anti-communist attitudes, and such men are instinctively disliked in Putin’s Russia. They would rather accede to the politically neutral figure of Princess Elizabeth as the hallmark of the Church Abroad, who had not had time enough to do anything against the communist regime.

    On July 3, 2004, an icon of St John suddenly fell down from an analogion where it had been lying peacefully in the Joy of All Who Sorrow Cathedral in San-Francisco where his relics repose. The glass of the icon case cracked. This happened precisely when Fr Peter Perekrestov (who is now more frequently called Comrade Perekrestov) was telling the guests of the 11th All-Diaspora Conference of the Young Orthodox that "we ought to leave the past behind us and go forward". The falling of the icon was a sure sign from God that Saint John would not agree with this statement.

    I came across a video recording of a discussion of this event, which took place during the Patron Saint’s Feast-Day in St Serafim of Sarov Church in Sea Cliff, NY, the first of August. Metropolitan Laurus was present at the discussion, and his reactions were very revealing.

    The first to speak was the young priest Fr Seraphim Gan. With a lachrymose voice he made every effort to persuade the congregation that this was no sign at all, just a mere coincidence, a result of the wind blast outdoors. It was with a heavy feeling that I watched this young priest telling lies. And it was part of his effort to promote the idea of a union with Moscow. Oh, many were orations of this type that I had listened to at Party conferences in the Soviet Union!

    Archpriest Sergiy Klestov, the Rector of the parish, delivered an indignant speech of rebuke.

    -Can and may we ever leave our past history behind? – said he excitedly, - We are successors to the St Patriarch Tikhon, to the New Martyrs, and are we to denounce all this? Disavow Vladykas Anthony Khrapovitskiy, Anastasias the First Hierarch, Averky and Filaret? When the icon fell…we were given a great sign…and it is a sin to laugh about it…

    All during the rebellious speech, Laurus was nervously eating something from the table and soon afterwards left the meeting. Not long after that, Fr Sergiy was ousted from the parish. Fr Seraphim Gan was appointed as the new Rector. No comment…

    The advocates of a Unia with Moscow are characteristically prone to lies and behind the scene intriguing, very much as though they passed training with the soviet party apparatus. For instance, Archpriest George Larin of Nyack, NY, recently paid a visit to the ailing Archbishop Alipy of Chicago who is known not to have sympathy for MP, and threatened him with forced resignation and custody in the Jordanville Monastery if he would as much as let out a squeak against the Union.

    Lies and coercion are devil’s devices, are they not?

    By God’s connivance, it was precisely the San Francisco where Saint John’s relics repose which was to become the hotbed of the defeatist policies. This must have been the result of the long-term expert spying activities of the KGB residents in SF. No wonder then that the All-Diaspora Local Council which is expected to decide the matter, is planned to take place here and not in New York where the Synod is stationed. Can, however, one imagine a higher degree of disrespect for the blessed memory of St John, when right over his relics they will solemnly announce that his much beloved Church Abroad is surrendered to the Stalinist MP.

    It will be not long before they also bury General Denikin (one of the central figures of the White Guard resistance to the communist revolution) under the communist red banner in Moscow. Putin will be much pleased when they play the Bolshevist Party hymn over his grave. Thus will a short red-haired boy born to a poor workers’ family satiate his class hatred.

    Saturday, November 1st, 2008
    11:31 am
    №147: Full translation of Fr.Dobrov's article on the "sekachevtsy".

    On the matter of the canonical standing
    of the catacomb episcopate
    of the Tikhon-Pozdeev-Sekach branch
    of the true RTOC.

    Fr. Victor Dobroff,
    Secretary of the Diocesan Regional Council
    of the North American Diocese of ROCA

    The joy of the faithful members of the Church Abroad at the acceptance of the catacomb bishops of the Russian TOC (True Orthodox Church), Bishop Ioann (Zaitsev) and Bishop Afanasiy (Savitsky), into the body of the Council of Russian Eminences under the omofor of the ROCA was overshadowed by those who are opposed to unity in the Church and who fool others, who are not informed of Church matters. These people initiated a broad campaign of innuendo even claiming that the ROCA PSEA and its episcopate has lost its canonicity by entering into union with a "dubious" episcopate that is without apostolic succession.

    It must be stated that the PSEA did not enter into a union with a "dubious" episcopate of some minor jurisdiction."ROCA has always and will continue to consider itself a part of the Russian Local Orthodox Church and one with the Catacomb Church." To avoid any temptation, the two genuine bishops of the Russian TOC were accepted through chirotesia and the PSEA clearly accepted under its omofor Orthodox bishops who belong, just like the ROCA episcopate, to the same Russian Local Church of Patriarch-Confessor Tikhon.

    The matter of the canonical status of the two bishops was thoroughly examined and their acceptance into communion with the PSEA was not the result of a hasty decision, as it is being portrayed by some. The Most Reverend Soforniy (Musienko), at the behest of the PSEA, researched the canonical status of the Tikhon-Pozdeev-Sekach branch of the Catacomb Church in Russia for almost an entire year before the canonical acceptance of the "Sekachevtsevs" took place.

    The possibility of joining with the "Sekachevtsevs" was discussed within the ROCA before and not just once.  In point of fact, the fourth ROCA hierarch, Metropolitan Vitaly of Blessed Memory, was prepared in 1990 to enter into Eucharistic communion with the Pozdeev-Sekach branch of the TOC without any preconditions; while at the same time, others, who were under the influence of the unsubstantiated claims of Bishop Lazarus (Zhurbenko), considered it absolutely necessary to remedy the status of the catacomb ordinations through chirotesia.

    As regards the ways in which the "Sekachevtsevs" were accepted into union with the ROCA, there are two Decisions -- one from a Sobor and one from a Synod.

    In May, 1990, the ROCA Sobor of Bishops considered the proposal to enter into communion with the "Sekachev" episcopate in their existing clergy rank (ie. without chirotesia) and Decided that based on the archival information available to the ROCA Synod, they cannot categorically recognize the canonicity of the "Sekachev group."

    This decision at the Sobor was made due to the scant information available in the archives of the Synod and before the archives of the KGB were opened and made possible the determination that the Pozdeev-Sekach branch of the Catacomb Church in Russia can be traced back to Patriarch St. Tikhon. The decision of the Sobor was also influenced by the declaration of Bishop Hilarion (Kapral), the secretary of the ROCA Synod at the time, that he had documents somewhere that proved conclusively that the "Sekachevtsevs" were not canonical.  As it turned out later, these "documents" of Bishop Hilarion was a letter he received from "catacomb" Bishop Lazarus (Zhurbenko).

    As a result, the lack of official documentation of their ordination, such as an authorized certificate (the existence of such a certificate in the USSR, if found, would have threatened its owner if not with a death sentence, then at least many years in prison; which is why such certificates were not issued in the catacombs), and the anti-Sekachev efforts of Bishop Lazarus (Zhurbenko), halted the natural union of one of the most populated Russian catacomb branches of the TOC with the ROCA, due to doubts of canonicity from the side of the ROCA.

    An explanation and clarification of the ROCA Sobor Decision of May, 1990, regarding the way in which the Pozdeev-Sekachevtsevs could be brought into communion was provided for in the Determination of the August session of the ROCA Synod later in 1990, which said

    "the ROCA Synod of Bishops cannot determine the validity of the apostolic succession and the canonical ordination of these underground bishops in light of the absence of (or not provided by them) legitimate proof (ie. authorized certificates - ed.) As a result, the ROCA Synod of Bishops declares that the clerics with the ordination specified above who desire to enter into communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad must establish their canonical status by the laying on of hands from bishops recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad."

    It is not by chance that the Synod Determination says:

    1.                          the clerics with the ordination specified above   you do not call people clerics and ordained that do not have apostolic succession, but only those who have it, but may yet have to be confirmed completely.  Such an instance occurred when a ROCA bishop, Bishop Varnava (Prokofiev), secretly ordained as a bishop in the USSR (without an authorized certificate, I believe) the future founder of the schismatic RTOC, Lazarus (Zhurbenko). His ordination was not proper from a canonical standpoint, and to complete it, a chirotesia needed to be performed, which was done to Lazarus much later, in the Synod Cathedral in New York during his first visit in the US.

     2.                          establish their canonical status  in the cases of self-ordained episcopates, that is where apostolic succession is not present, the ordained individuals do not possess a sort of canonical status. To establish it, that is to correct the canonical status, is possible only when it exists and needs to be completed through chirotesia. Therefore, the ROCA Synod Determination of 1990 does not deny the presence of a certain canonical status in the bishops of the Pozdeev-Sekachev TOC.

     It then becomes apparent that the ROCA Synod Determination of 1990 requires that the "sekachevtsevs" need to be accepted through chirotesia. That how this ROCA Synod Determination was understood at the September session of the ROCA PSEA.

    Therefore, the acceptance into the body of the Council of Russian Eminences of the ROCA jurisdiction of the "sekachev" bishops Ioann (Zaitsev) and Afansiy (Savitsky) enacted by the PSEA in September, 2008, through a conciliar chirotesia performed by the entire ROCA episcopate adheres strictly to the letter and spirit of the Sobor and Synod Determinations of ROCA from May and July of 1990.

    Many years have passed since the ROCA Synod Determination of 1990 and certain important facts regarding the origins of the "sekachev" episcopate which were not known earlier in ROCA or were cast in doubt by the adherents of the lazarus schism have now become known.

    We can now say without a shadow of a doubt that the "sekachevtsevs" trace their apostolic succession and origins through Bishop Seraphim (Pozdeev) back to Holy Patriarch of All Russia Tikhon.

    Interesting facts about how Bishop Seraphim (Pozdeev) became the lawful head of the Russian TOC after his release from the Solovetsky camps, and the bishop ordination by him of Gennady Sekachev, even though it was done by him alone due to the circumstances, was performed with the agreement of other catacomb bishops, and that Metropolitan Gennady Sekach had close contact with the ROCA episcopate when he was ordained a priest by a future bishop of the ROCA, Bishop Leonty (Filipov), and other matters of interest may be gleaned from the short biographies provided below of Schema-bishop Seraphim (Pozdeev) and Metropolitan Gennady (Sekach).

    Seraphim (Pozdeev)
    Bishop of Smolensk
    Vicar-Bishop of All-Russia Patriarch Tikhon
    Schema-Bishop of the Russian Catacomb Church

    Mikhail Aleksandrovich Pozdeev (his secular name) was born in 1874 to an ancient aristocratic family. He refused to emigrate after the Revolution, became close to Patriarch Tikhon, and with his blessing, became a novice.  On April 5, 1925, he was secretly ordained by the Patriarch to be the Vicar-Bishop of the Smolensk diocese  There was no documentary proof of this ordination, which led it to be cast in doubt by Bishop Lazarus (Zhurbenko) and the ROCA Sobor of Bishops in 19990, but it was later confirmed by opened archives of the Smolensk KGB.  (Apparently, this doubt was the primary basis for the ROCA Sobor and Synod to question whether apostolic succession existed in the Pozdeev-Sekachev episcopate.)  Two or three months after his chirotonia (ordination), he was arrested before he could reach the city where he was to serve.  From then on until1946, he spent 21 years in the prisons and camps of the Soviet Union; first in the Kemerov prison, where he was imprisoned until 1939; then in the Gomel prison on death row; then he was sent to Moscow to the Butirsky prison, where the chekists tried to recruit him; and from there he was sent to the Kemerov prison camp.  In 1935, as related by his spiritual children, he saw an angel while in a fever and the angel said he will be "released from prison and do much good for the Church."  At the end of 1939, Bishop Seraphim was in the Solovetsky prison camp with other bishops.  There they made a promise that whoever will be released will be led by God to head the Russian True Orthodox Church, and that turned out to be Bishop Seraphim.  From 1946, he lived in exile in the Orenburg oblast.  He was arrested again in 1952 and sentenced to prison for 25 years.  This imprisonment was spent in one of the prisons in Central Asia.  There he became acquainted with Bishop Gavriil Chimkentsky and Bishop Aleksandr Pruzhansky.  In 1956, at the age of 82, he was released, because of the condition of his health.  He lived in Buzuluk in the home of Vasiliy and Olga Dimitiriev.  There he was visited by the future proponent of schism and founder of the "RTOC,: F. I. Zhurbenko, who asked to be ordained a priest.  Bishop Seraphim declared that F. I. Zhurbenko was a sodomite and told him to leave.  (All the catacomb bishops who were asked to ordain F. I. Zhurbenko refused, as they were concerned that he was a "rat"  and a sodomite.  This forced him to be ordained by MP Bishop Veniamin Novitsky, instead of by catacomb bishops.) Bishop Seraphim died on May 3\16, 1971, at the age of 91.  He is buried at the cemetery in Buzuluk.  Before he died, he received the schema and was named  Antoniy. The fact that Bishop Seraphim was released in 1956 because of his health has been falsely portrayed by the vengeful F. I. Zhurbenko, and later by his followers, as a betrayal of the church and that he was released only after he cooperated with the government, which has not been substantiated by the archival documents of the KGB.

    Gennadiy (Sekach)
    Schema-Metropolitan of the Russian Catacomb Church

    Grigoriy Yakovlevich Sekach (his secular name) was born in 1897 in the village of Akulino in Belarus to a merchant's family.  His uncle, Anfim, was a hieromonk in a nearby monastery.  Grigoriy was only three, when his father died.  After the mother died, there were 8 children left.  Grigoriy was taken in by his aunt, Hegumena Pavla and he lived with her in a monastery until he was 20 years old.  When he was 11, he became ill with tuberculosis of the bone in his right leg and spent nine years bed-ridden.  After he recovered in 1917, he visited the Pochaev Lavra, where a starets foretold that he would become a bishop.  He traveled about the country.  In 1924, he hid Bishop Simeon Mozyrsky and several other monks who were escaping from the Renovationists in his basement.  He was arrested in 1929 and sentenced to 10 years in a work camp.  He was sent to the Solovetsky Prison Camp, and later, transferred to the city of Kirovsk in the Murmansk oblast to build a power plant.  He escaped in 1938, returned to Belarus, and lived under an assumed name.  He visited Schema-Archbishop Antoniy (Abashadze) in Kiev and received a blessing from him to marry.  He married Anna and had three children.  He was arrested again in 1939 and sent to the Gomel prison, where he met Bishop Seraphim (Pozdeev) for the first time.  He was later released.  During WWII, he found himself in territory occupied by the Germans and joined the Ukrainian Autonomous Church.  In 1943, he was ordained a deacon, and in the same year, he was made a priest on the Feast of Annunciation by the bishop of Zhitomir, Bishop Leonty Fillipov (who became a ROCA bishop later) in the city of Mozyr.  After the war, he openly served in an active church in the village of Novoropsk in the Bryansk oblast.  He served in the jurisdiction of the MP Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk, Pitirim (Sviridov) (who died in 1963).  In 1958, his clergy permit was revoked and he was dismissed from the MP for teaching religion to children.  He went to Chernigov, where he visited starets-schema-archimandrite Lavrenty of Chernigov (Proskuro), who recommended that he become a novice (and it seems he tonsured him himself).  He established a monastery with about 30 novices and a house church in the city of Shchors in the Chernigov oblast.  In 1962, he left for New Athos and established several hidden male and female monasteries in the mountains.  He opened several house churches in houses bought specifically for that purpose in the city of Tkvarcheli and opened an illegal school of theology.Along with his two assistants, Fr. Grigoriy and Fr. Feodosiy, he traveled all over the USSR, gathering up young people with an interest in religion and bringing them to Abkhazia as acolytes.  In 1967, he was arrested again, imprisoned, and later released on amnesty.  He then returned to New Athos.  In 1969, he was chased out of there by the authorities and moved to Tkvarcheli.  In May 1971, he arrived in Buzuluk to see Bishop Seraphim (Pozdeev) (Schema-Bishop Antoniy) three days before his death and Bishop Seraphim ordained him a bishop without designating his cathedra (which was done routinely for catacomb clergy, though others accuse the "sekachevtsevs" of violating the canons by doing this!)  Friends of Gennadiy insist that he received a "confirmation certificate" by mail (ie. approval of his ordination) signed by Bishops Aleksandr of Pruzhansk, Germogen (Golubev), Alfeya of Barnaulsk, and Gabriel of Chimkentsk, all long-standing, verified catacomb bishops.  Unfortunately, no copies of the certificate exist, which was also used by Bishop Lazarus (Zhurbenko) in an attempt to discredit Bishop Gennadiy, implying there was no apostolic succession present.  Upon his return to Abkhazia, Bishop Gennadiy continued to establish secret religious groups and monasteries.  In the 1970's, he founded 3 monasteries in Ukraine, 4 in Belarus, and 2 in the Kuban region.  Together with Bishop Alfeya of Barnaulsk, who was also a disciple and confidante of Bishop Seraphim Pozdeev, Bishop Gennadiy performed the initial bishop ordinations.  This proves the existence of at least one "confirmation certificate" of Bishop Gennadiy's ordination by Bishop Seraphim Pozdeev and the proof of the lawfulness of Gennadiy Sekach's bishop's ordination, since Bishop Alfeya would not have agreed to perform ordinations with a self-ordained bishop.  At least 12 bishops were ordained by the two of them.  Bishop Gennadiy continued to serve in the Caucasus region, bribing the local authorities to avoid persecution.  Like the startsy of the past, he traveled with a coffin.  In 1975, he was arrested once again at the age of 78 and sentenced to 4 years in prison.  He was sent to the prison hospital in Tbilisi.  He was later transferred to the prison in the city of Kutaisi.  On Pascha in 1977, he was elevated through a second ordination in prison to metropolitan by Met. Malkhas of Kutaisi, who was a nephew of Bishop Simeon Mozyrsky (whom Bishop Gennadiy had hid in his basement many years before), and two other archbishops of the Georgian Catacomb Church   Archbishop Guramey and someone else, both of whom were in prison for 30 years already.  By all accounts, this is verified, but there is no certificate to prove that this second ordination, which remedied his ordination by one bishop, Bishop Seraphim, took place.  All the participants have since passed away, which would explain why the ROCA Synod of Bishops issued their Decision of how the "sekachev" clergy can be accepted, and on that basis, compelled the ROCA PSEA to accept the bishops of the Tikhon-Pozdeev-Sekach branch of the Catacomb Church only by chirotesia to confirm their ordinations.  In October, 1977, a starets of 80 by then, he was released and returned to the Caucases.  From 1978, he lived in Elista.  In 1978, he was arrested in Elista, but then released.  He then moved to Belarus.  Sometime in 1979-1980, he received the schema.  He actively brought believers from the MP under his omofor, and did not reject the idea that Grace worked among the MP.  Catacomb believers attest to a number of miracles and healings from him.  Together with his two assistants, Met. Grigoriy and Met. Feodosiy, he created the so-called "Mobile Synod," in which Gennadiy had the deciding vote.  In his remaining years, the illness in his legs plagued him and he lived together with Met. Grigoriy and Met. Feodosiy in northern Caucasus in the city of Mostavaya in the Krasnodar region, from where they led the catacomb church and performed new ordinations.  Schema-Metropolitan Gennadiy died on April 19\May2, 1987.  Today, the "sekachev" diocese includes 15 archbishops, ministering to a flock of almost 500,000 people. They do not have titles or cathedras, and during the ordinations, they are simply proclaimed bishops, since the future fate of those involved is not known.

    P.S. I hope that this information eases the doubts of those who, because of the dearth of verified facts about the Tikhon-Pozdeev-Sekach branch of the Russian TOC, chose to believe rumors spread by enemies of the Church Abroad and having joined with them in their opinions, tempted the faithful and brought ruin to our Church from within.

    Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
    12:35 pm
    №146: CONCLUSION OF THE SOBOR DOCUMENTS (p.3 of 3)


    Vth ALL-DIASPORA SOBOR (Church Council)
    (This page will contain documents pertaining to the Vth All-Diaspora Council.)

    Proposed Council Determinations

    1. Directive

    2. Opening Ceremony

    3. ROCA PSEA Declaration of the Opening of the Vth All-Diaspora Council

    4. The Council Schedule

    5. The Order of the Services for the Opening of the Council

    6. The Council Agenda

    7. List of delegates

    Commentaries related to the forthcoming Sobor:

    1. Fr. Andrey Trachuk - Some comments on our spiritual priorities. (Translation omitted)

    2. A Letter from Archpriest Igor Chitikov and the Parish Council of the Church of St. Andrew Stratelates and Bishop Agafangel's Answer.

    Directive

     To convene the Vth All-Diaspora Council with the participation of the clergy and laymen.

    I.

    1. This Directive is for the convocation of the Vth All-Diaspora Council with the participation of the clergy and laymen.
    2. The All-Diaspora Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad will be based on the Word of God, the Holy Canons, and the legal provisions of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as the legal provisions set forth by the Bishops’ Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
    3. The Vth All-Diaspora Council with the participation of the clergy and laymen will be held at the Comfort Inn Hotel in Nanuet, NY, USA.
    4. The ROCA PSEA Chairman will open, close, and chair the Council.

    II.

    Attendees of the Vth All-Diaspora Council:

    1. The Vth All-Diaspora Council with the participation of the clergy and laymen will be made up of:
      1. the episcopate of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad;
      2. clergy and laymen, who have been elected according to the rules of the All-Diaspora Council;
      3. representatives of parish schools;
      4. guests invited by the ROCA PSEA Chairman;
      5. representatives of the local organizational committee;
      6. according to accepted tradition, all delegates of previous Councils, who have remained loyal members of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and who are not under church censure;
    2. Every Council delegate has the right for one vote.
    3. The agenda of the All-Diaspora Council is tentatively decided by the ROCA PSEA, and later, at the Council, by the Bishops’ Council.
    4. The determination that the All-Diaspora Council was held properly will be made by the ROCA Bishops’ Council.

    III.

    The General Meeting of the All-Diaspora Council:

    1. A binding quorum will be considered when half of the delegates to the All-Diaspora Council are present.

    IV.

    Regarding the Advisory Council and committees of the All-Diaspora Council:

    1. The Advisory Council of the All-Diaspora Council is composed of the Council Chairman, the Vice-Chairman (with the office of presbyter), the Senior Secretary and his assistants, and who are all elected by the Bishops’ Council.
    2. The Advisory Council of the All-Diaspora Council determines the procedures for the meetings, carries out directives of the All-Diaspora Council, and if necessary, has the power to conclude the Council and also has the authority to decide all questions.
    3. The Bishops’ Council establishes the following committees:
      1. Credentials Committee, which will verify the credentials of all delegates arriving at the All-Diaspora Council, as well as informing the Meeting of who is present and who is absent.
      2. Tabulating Committee, which tallies all votes during voting.
      3. Editorial Committee, which prepares drafts of resolutions, epistles, and other documents as directed by the Meeting, and also, confirms official releases of the All-Diaspora Council to the press.
    4. The members of each committee will be confirmed by the Bishops Council of the All-Diaspora Council.

     V.

    Procedures for discussing issues at the All-Diaspora Council.

    1. The Vice-Chairman officiates at each meeting, leading the discussion, and if necessary, admonishes speakers. If a speaker is warned twice or more, he can suspend a speaker’s right to speak.
    2. Each delegate will be allowed no more than 5 minutes to speak during a discussion of any issue at the All-Diaspora Council.
    3. Each delegate has the right to speak out no more than two times on any one topic.
    4. A delegate who wishes to speak, may allot his time to another delegate only once.
    5. All-Diaspora Council delegates are obligated to conduct themselves in a Christian manner, with respect for others, and not use any sharp or offensive words or expressions during discussions.
    6. All issues at the All-Diaspora Council will be decided by a majority of votes.
    7. The Chairman has the right to ask for a closed vote, using ballots.

     VI.

    The Bishops’ Council at the All-Diaspora Council.

    1. All the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad are members of the Bishops’ Council, which can meet as needed during the proceedings of the Council.
    2. The Chairman of the Bishops’ Council is the Chairman of the ROCA PSEA.

     VII.

    The Secretariat of the All-Diaspora Council.

    1. The Bishops’ Council names the Senior Secretary and his assistant for the All-Diaspora Council.
    2. The Secretariat handles the minutes of the All-Diaspora Council.
    3. The Secretariat continues its work until the end of the All-Diaspora Council, after which it prepares all the documents of the Council and submits them to the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops.
    4. The Secretariat also contains an administrative office, which is organized by the Senior Secretary of the All-Diaspora Council.

    Draft

     Directive of the ROCA PSEA on the opening of the Vth All-Diaspora Council.

     
    Agenda of the Vth All-Diaspora Sobor(Council)



    Delegates of the Vth All-Diaspora Sobor

    • Determination about the Supreme Church authority in the ROCA.
    • Ruling on the Act of Eucharistic Communion of May 17, 2007.
    • The canonization of Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky), Hierarch of the ROCA.

     

    EPISCOPATE

    Most Reverend Agafangel, Bishop of Taurida and Odessa

    Most Reverend Andronik, Bishop of Ottawa and North America
    Most Reverend Sofroniy, Bishop of St. Petersburg and Northern Russia
    Most Reverend Georgiy, Bishop of Bolgrad
    Most Reverend Ioann, Bishop of Buinsk and Volzhsk
    Most Reverend Afanasy, Bishop of Vologodsk and Velikoustyuzhsk

    AUSTRALIAN DIOCESE

    Hegumen John (Shmelts)

    Protodeacon Vasiliy Yakimov
    Aleksey Serdtsev

    SOUTH AMERICAN DIOCESE

    Archpriest Vladimir Shlenev

    Archpriest Georgiy Petrenko
    Fr. Aleksandr Ivashevich
    Fr. Vladimir Petrenko

    EASTERN AMERICAN DIOCESE

    Archpriest Wsewolod Dutikow

    Fr. Daniel Meschter
    Fr. Nikita Grigoriev
    Protodeacon Iov Chemerov
    Deacon Dimitri Dobronravov
    George Gerasimowicz
    Mark Kotlaroff

    WESTERN AMERICAN DIOCESE

    Archpriest Aleksy Mikrikov

    Fr. Elias Warnke

    CANADIAN DIOCESE

    Fr. Andrew Kencis

    Hieromonk Arseniy (Manko)
    Vladimir Skok
    Nicholas Timtsenko
    Aleksey Freis

    ODESSA DIOCESE

    Archpriest Valery Alekseyev

    Fr. Leonid Plyats
    Fr. Aleksandr Martynenko
    Hieromonk Methodius (Gerb)
    Aleksandr Mutilin
    Yuriy Sosyurko
    Georgiy Sakharuta
    Sergey Savchenko

    ST. PETERSBURG DIOCESE

    Fr. Aleksandr Shchipakin

    Reader Mikhail Balashov

    VOLOGDA DIOCESE

    Fr. Aleksandr Lipin

    CENTRAL RUSSIAN ADMINISTRATIVE DISTRICT

    Archpriest Valery Kravets

    Archpriest Oleg Mironov
    Hieromonk Nikon (Yost)
    Fr. Valery Leonichev
    Monk Diodor Pashentsev
    Reader Aleksandr Khitrov

    PRE-SOBOR COMMITTEE MEMBERS

    Archpriest Igor Hrebinka

    Archpriest Gregory Kotlaroff
    Archpriest Sergey Klestov
    Archpriest Konstantin Busygin
    Fr. Victor Dobrov
    Dimitri Gontscharow
    Peter Koltypin
    Nikolai Tchertkoff

    DELEGATES OF PREVIOUS ALL-ABROAD SOBORS

    Archpriest Igor Chitikov

    Reader Daniel Olson
    John Herbst
    Andrey Kotchoubey
    George Schidlovsky

    MISSION REPRESENTATIVES

    Archpriest Gregory Williams

    REPRESENTATIVES OF ORGANIZATIONS

    Evgeniy Magerovsky
    Oleg Rodzianko
    Sergey Sauer

    SOBOR GUESTS

    Most Reverend Cyprian, Bishop of Oreoi

    His Eminence Vlasie, Metropolitan of Slatioara and Suceava
    Most Reverend Photii, Bishop of Triaditza
    (and those invited by them to
    accompany them)________________________________

    A Letter from Archpriest Igor Chitikov and the Parish Council of the Church of St. Andrew Stratelates
    and
    Bishop Agafangel's Answer.

    His Eminence
    Most Reverend
    Bishop Agafangel
    PSEA Chairman

    October 5\22, 2008
    Hieromartyr Phocas

    Your Eminence, bless,

    The Parish Council of the Church of St. Andrew Stratelates in St. Petersburg, Florida, met on October 5, 2008, and reviewed the current status of our parish.

    After the Act was signed, our parish remained with its bishop, the Most Reverend Bishop Gabriel, who spoke out, as you had, against the signing of the Act. Our rector, Archpriest Igor Chitikov, wrote and spoke about the unlawfulness of the Act and called for the dissolution of ROCA. After the Sobor of Bishops, we were finally convinced that the bishops who had left ROCA would not return. Then when our beloved Bishop Gabriel was removed from the Synod administration and transferred to Canada, we made the difficult decision to leave ROCOR(MP).

    We carefully investigated the circumstances of your censure and saw that the game-playing of the "two ukazes" was symptomatic of the cheap "political strategies" of the functionaries of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. Unfortunately, those who never lived or worked in the former USSR, often do not see or understand what is truly occurring there. For us, the entire last year was a year full of political maneuvering. Before we knew it, we found ourselves in a ROCOR MP which had become a banal, post-Soviet department outside of Russia.

    We are deeply grateful to you, that you understood our circumstances and took us under your omofor. Yet we have concerns regarding the forthcoming Vth All-Diaspora Sobor. We are troubled by the following issues:

    1. In our opinion, ROCA has fulfilled its mission. What grounds are there to create a church body outside of the borders of the Homeland, similar to the many divisions in the Greek Church based on the calendar? Would it be more correct for the parishes in the US and Canada to integrate into the bodies of the lawful churches here?

    2. What is the basis for the canonization of Metropolitan Philaret? What documentation exists for this? How does one become familiar with this documentation? Who makes up the committee for canonization? Since when is Met. Philaret more venerable in the Church Abroad than Metropolitans Anastasy or Anthony?

    The reason we are writing this letter to you was the decision to include our parish in the ranks of parishes in Bishop Andronik’s diocese. We believe this was done prematurely. We did not make any requests to Bishop Andronik, since there was no administrative district here in our Church before May 17, 2007. We turned to you not as the head of some new church body, but as the only ROCA bishop (out of the ones listed on May 17, 2007) who did not agree with the "Act of Eucharistic Communion." We do not consider the MP to be our enemy. But we firmly believe that there is no one in North America who has the right to force us to be an "Embassy of Russia" (in the words of Archpriest V. Potapov). On the other hand, we are even more worried about becoming part of another orthodox schism.

    Your Eminence’s humble servants,
    Archpriest Igor Chitikov and the members of the Parish Council

    ________________________________________________

    Dear Friends in Christ Fr. Igor and members of the Parish Council!

    You brought me great pleasure that you react in an engaged and straight-forward manner to events transpiring in the Church. This is a testament to your concern for your salvation, which can also help us to see and recognize our possible errors.

    The questions which you pose to me should be decided rightly only at a Sobor. I can only give my personal opinion of them.
    1. My personal opinion can be summed up by saying ROCA will fulfill its mission only then, when a lawful and free Local Sobor of the Russian Church is held at which ROCA will have to give an account of all the time of its existence as a part of the Russian Church separated from it because of political events, and whose dogma was changed due to these events. Our founding bishops, along with all those who split with Met. Sergey (Stragorodsky), considered such sobors to be the supreme administrative bodies of the ROC and we are subject likewise to them. We are not self-contained and exist independently only until the situation of the entire Russian Church is finally settled. Before we consider the matter of "integrating into the bodies of the lawful churches here," we should, I believe, carefully consider these bodies, and if possible, develop good relations with them. Only after that, should we consider your question. We do not have the right to make decisions that will lead to confusion among our flock and push our now much smaller Church to the edge of schism. We should be able to prove and explain the correctness of any of our decisions. All decisions must be made at a sobor and we should learn how to obey decisions made on a sobor level.

    2.
    A final decision about the canonization of Met. Philaret must also be made at our Sobor. The grounds for it are: the incorruptible remains of the holy man, the many miracles resulting from praying to him (these accounts were even printed earlier in Pravoslavnaya Rus (Orthodox Russia)), his disciplined and ascetic life, as well as his steadfastness in confessing the Orthodoxy of the Holy Fathers. Accounts of the miracles are being gathered and will be presented at the All-Diaspora Sobor. This reverence of Met. Philaret does not diminish in any way our love and respect for Metropolitans Anastasy or Anthony.

    The decision to accept your parish was made personally by me, because of the desire of the parish to engage in missionary activities. Therefore, the final status of the parish must be decided together with you and Bishop Andronik, since the parish is located in territory under his authority. In spite of this, I pledge to you that the status will not be imposed upon you. It will be confirmed only with everyone’s agreement. This is spelled out in our list of parishes.

    Yours in Christ,
    +Bishop Agafangel

    October 7\September 24, 2008 – Holy Protomartyr and Equal-to-the-Apostles Thecla


       
      Monday, October 13th, 2008
      12:38 pm
      №145: CONTINUATION OF THE SOBOR DOCUMENTS (p.2 of 3)

      (CONTINUATION, p. 2 of 2)

      Draft

       Directive

      To convene the Vth All-Diaspora Council with the participation of the clergy and laymen.

       I.

      1. This Directive is for the convocation of the Vth All-Diaspora Council with the participation of the clergy and laymen.
      2. The All-Diaspora Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad will be based on the Word of God, the Holy Canons, and the legal provisions of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as the legal provisions set forth by the Bishops’ Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
      3. The Vth All-Diaspora Council with the participation of the clergy and laymen will be held at the Comfort Inn Hotel in Nanuet, NY, USA.
      4. The ROCA PSEA Chairman will open, close, and chair the Council.

       II.

      Attendees of the Vth All-Diaspora Council:

      1. The Vth All-Diaspora Council with the participation of the clergy and laymen will be made up of:
        1. the episcopate of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad;
        2. clergy and laymen, who have been elected according to the rules of the All-Diaspora Council;
        3. representatives of parish schools;
        4. guests invited by the ROCA PSEA Chairman;
        5. representatives of the local organizational committee;
        6. according to accepted tradition, all delegates of previous Councils, who have remained loyal members of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and who are not under church censure;
      2. Every Council delegate has the right for one vote.
      3. The agenda of the All-Diaspora Council is tentatively decided by the ROCA PSEA, and later, at the Council, by the Bishops’ Council.
      4. The determination that the All-Diaspora Council was held properly will be made by the ROCA Bishops’ Council.

       III.

      The General Meeting of the All-Diaspora Council:

      1. A binding quorum will be considered when half of the delegates to the All-Diaspora Council are present.

       IV.

      Regarding the Advisory Council and committees of the All-Diaspora Council:

      1. The Advisory Council of the All-Diaspora Council is composed of the Council Chairman, the Vice-Chairman (with the office of presbyter), the Senior Secretary and his assistants, and who are all elected by the Bishops’ Council.
      2. The Advisory Council of the All-Diaspora Council determines the procedures for the meetings, carries out directives of the All-Diaspora Council, and if necessary, has the power to conclude the Council and also has the authority to decide all questions.
      3. The Bishops’ Council establishes the following committees:
        1. Credentials Committee, which will verify the credentials of all delegates arriving at the All-Diaspora Council, as well as informing the Meeting of who is present and who is absent.
        2. Tabulating Committee, which tallies all votes during voting.
        3. Editorial Committee, which prepares drafts of resolutions, epistles, and other documents as directed by the Meeting, and also, confirms official releases of the All-Diaspora Council to the press.
      4. The members of each committee will be confirmed by the Bishops Council of the All-Diaspora Council.

       V.

      Procedures for discussing issues at the All-Diaspora Council.

      1. The Vice-Chairman officiates at each meeting, leading the discussion, and if necessary, admonishes speakers. If a speaker is warned twice or more, he can suspend a speaker’s right to speak.
      2. Each delegate will be allowed no more than 5 minutes to speak during a discussion of any issue at the All-Diaspora Council.
      3. Each delegate has the right to speak out no more than two times on any one topic.
      4. A delegate who wishes to speak, may allot his time to another delegate only once.
      5. All-Diaspora Council delegates are obligated to conduct themselves in a Christian manner, with respect for others, and not use any sharp or offensive words or expressions during discussions.
      6. All issues at the All-Diaspora Council will be decided by a majority of votes.
      7. The Chairman has the right to ask for a closed vote, using ballots.

       VI.

      The Bishops’ Council at the All-Diaspora Council.

      1. All the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad are members of the Bishops’ Council, which can meet as needed during the proceedings of the Council.
      2. The Chairman of the Bishops’ Council is the Chairman of the ROCA PSEA.

       VII.

      The Secretariat of the All-Diaspora Council.

      1. The Bishops’ Council names the Senior Secretary and his assistant for the All-Diaspora Council.
      2. The Secretariat handles the minutes of the All-Diaspora Council.
      3. The Secretariat continues its work until the end of the All-Diaspora Council, after which it prepares all the documents of the Council and submits them to the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops.
      4. The Secretariat also contains an administrative office, which is organized by the Senior Secretary of the All-Diaspora Council.
      (CONTINUATION AND CONCLUSION FOLLOWS)
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