Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Voice of Dissent

Well we all knew that there has been opposition inside ROCOR and some of the more extreme Old Calendarist groups to the rapprochement with Moscow. Just how widespread this dissent is remains to be seen. Those who are dissenting though have been quite vitriolic in their language. A major question will be how much of this is hot air and venting, and how much of this is "I am walking if this happens." Again we will have to wait and see. My guess is that outside of the monasteries the dissent is not all that widespread. But that’s an educated guess at best. One point in the diatribe below that has a certain ring of truth to it is the complaint that the IV All Diaspora Council may have been window dressing. That is to say that its assent to reunion was a forgone conclusion. I have heard from other (more reliable) sources that ROCOR was careful in selecting delegates to the council. But be that is it may, the deal is done except for dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. Below is a translation of an article posted in I am not all that certain how long that will be up so I am copying the entire article below. The essay may be read here for those wanting the source.

ENGLISH VERSION: The Sobor Resolution: A Masterpiece of Ambiguity

The resolution of the ROCOC Sobor published in San Francisco on May 11, 2006 is a masterpiece of ambiguity, and a tissue of deception and lies.

It begins: "We, the participants of the IV All-Diaspora Council, having gathered in the God-preserved city of San Francisco, in the blessed presence of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, and the holy relics of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco, in trembling recognition of the duty laid upon us, in obedience to our Archpastor, Christ, with complete trust and love of the pastors and laity to our First Hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, and the Council of Bishops, attest that as loyal children of the Holy Church, we shall submit to Divine will and obey the decisions of the forthcoming Council of Bishops."

But how can one say in advance that the forthcoming Council of Bishops will express the Divine will? One cannot. Therefore this sentiment is both rash and impious. Moreover, it is a lie: because we already know that several participants in the Sobor have already declared unequivocally that they will not obey the decisions of the forthcoming Council of Bishops if it declares in favour of union with Moscow.

The resolution continues: "We archpastors, pastors and laymen, members of the IV All-Diaspora Council, unanimously express our resoluteness to heal the wounds of division within the Russian ChurchвЂ"between her parts in the Fatherland and abroad. Our Paschal joy is joined by the great hope that in the appropriate time, the unity of the Russian Church will be restored upon the foundation of the Truth of Christ, opening for us the possibility to serve together and to commune from one Chalice."

This is another lie, because many participants in the Council, including the majority of the bishops, have already shown themselves not in the slightest degree interested in healing the wounds of division with, for example, ROCiE under Metropolitan Vitaly, ROAC under Metropolitan Valentine, RTOC under Metropolitan Tikhon, not to speak of Catacomb Synods such as that of the Seraphimo-Gennadiites. As far as I know, not a word about union with any of these Synods has been uttered officially at the Council.

"Hearing the lectures read at the Council, the reports made by the Commission on negotiations with the corresponding Commission of the Moscow Patriarchate, and the various points of view expressed during the discussions,..."

Has the point of view disagreeing with union with the MP been allowed expression at the Council? No, it has not. Rather, not only has the agenda and preparation for the Council been carefully rigged: the expression of dissenting opinions has been ruthlessly suppressed. So: another lie.

"we express our conciliar consent that it is necessary to confirm the canonical status of the Russian Church Abroad for the future as a self-governing part of the Local Russian Church, in accordance with the Regulations of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia currently in force."

The Russian Church Abroad has always been part of the Local Russian Church, in accordance with its own Statute and Patriarch Tikhon's Ukaz no. 362. So what new is being said here? Only that "the Local Russian Church" is to be identified with the Moscow Patriarchate. But the resolution cannot say that aloud because the Regulations of ROCOR do not say that it is part of the MP. So again: ambiguity and deceit.

"From discussions at the Council it is apparent that the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in the World Council of Churches evokes confusion among our clergy and flock..."

The first unambiguously true words so far uttered by the resolution...

"With heartfelt pain we ask the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate to heed the plea of our flock to expediently remove this temptation."

What does "expediently" mean? Before or after union with the MP? That is the question. Is the resolution saying that it will not enter into union with the MP until the MP leaves the WCC? No - at this late stage in the union process the bishops would not be so bold as to lay down conditions to "his All-Holiness". So what does this "heartfelt" plea amount to? Nothing more than a plea. Which the MP is at complete liberty to ignore completely.

"We hope that the forthcoming Local Council of One Russian Church will settle remaining unresolved church problems."

What? So the problems have not been sorted out yet?! And they cannot be sorted out before "the forthcoming Local Council of One Russian Church" - that is, when ROCOR is already part of the MP?!

This is an alarming confession of failure. All these commissions, and years of talks, still leave major problems unresolved.

The honourable course, therefore, is to stop the process of union until the problems are resolved. But no: the resolution wants to join the MP first, then sort out the problems - when, of course, they will already be insoluble.

"Bowing down before the podvig [spiritual feats] of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, glorified both by the Russian Church Abroad and by the Russian Church in the Fatherland, we see within them the spiritual bridge which rises above the abyss of the lethal division in the Russian Church and makes possible the restoration of that unity which is desired by all."

So the resolution wants to bow down before the podvig, not only of the true martyrs glorified by ROCOR, but also of the false "martyrs" glorified by the MP?! Not only St. Joseph of Petrograd, whom the MP refuses to glorify, but also of the man who seized his see unlawfully, whom the MP has glorified! Shame!

"And we, the members of the IV All-Diaspora Council, address our brothers and sisters in the faith in our renascent Homeland with the Paschal hymns: "Pascha! Let us embrace each other joyously!"

O shame! So you will embrace Putin, your brother, the KGB agent and Freemason, and his All-Holiness KGB Agent Drozdov, while refusing to embrace your former brothers and sisters in the catacombs who refuse to follow your lying path!

So is there no encouragement to be drawn from this resolution? No. The resolution is weak and ambiguous, but its very weakness and ambiguity show that those who wrote it are looking fearfully over their shoulders at their opponents, whose number is clearly increasing. The proof of that is the phrase: "it is necessary to confirm the canonical status of the Russian Church Abroad for the future as a self-governing part of the Local Russian Church". What they mean is: "we want ROCOR to join the MP". So why do they not say that unambiguously? Because they are afraid. Even now they cannot say openly what they want to do. And then comes the desperate plea about the WCC, and the admission that serious problems remain which can be resolved only when the union process is already completed. These are the words of desperate men...

If the union of most of the ROCOR bishops with the MP cannot now be averted, there is still good hope that a large part of the flock of ROCOR can be rescued from the maw of the heretical false-church.

Dr. Vladimir Moss


Young fogey emeritus said...
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Young fogey emeritus said...

For years my guess has been that most of the Russians in ROCOR - except some of the very old who fled the Communists, haven't been back and still don't quite believe the USSR is gone - are happy to reunite with the Russian Church, whilst the crazies among the converts will splinter off as they already have been doing. IIRC Dr Moss is one of those extremists and non-Russians who've passed through ROCOR on their way to true-believer sectarianism (like a modern-day re-enactment of the Priestless Old Believers), which scratches some psychic itch of theirs. They make a lot of noise online. I think many/most rank-and-file ROCOR people, older Russians, don't read the Internet or write on it.

Anonymous said...

But is that is so, why is it those that live in Russia, the ROCOR clergy in Russia are so against union? Trult, if anyone knows the MP, it would be them, not Americans who never lived under the Russian goverment.

Anonymous said...

Actually ALL of the Old Calendarist groups are against the union, from the "moderate" Cyprianites to the "extreme" Matthewites and ROCiE, the later of which is made up mostly of ethnbic Russians who have been back to Mother Russia.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the no votes in the sobor were all Russian bishops that either live or have recently been to Russia. I wonder if any of the pro-union commenters have lived in Russia or been there recently?

Anonymous said...

Interesting thread!

Young Fogey, didn't you once flee the MP and then recently flee the ROCOR yourself, where you were a clergyman, only to return to one of your former heterodox religions of Protestant Anglicanism or Roman Catholicism? If so, you can hardly speak ill of those that leave the MP, the ROCOR or even Orthodoxy for that matter since you, yourself are a 'church-jumper' like Dr. Moss.

Of course, Dr. Moss has actually been to Russia and even lived there for a spell, unlike you.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Comments are more than welcome. But I ask that polemics and the Ad Hominum be avoided when discussing or debating a point.

C. Wingate said...

Well, some degree of ad hominem is hard to avoid, considering Moss's history as a purveyor of dubious assertions. For example, he is clearly the locus of the "Deathbed Confession" claim, which research by my wife and myself indicates is untrue.

Anonymous said...
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John (Ad Orientem) said...

I must again remind posters that polemics and Ad Hominum attacks are not appropriate. If you can't address the point being discussed then don't post. The comment I just removed was way over the top and of a nature that I regard as being unnacceptable on a Christian forum.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I think Serge has renamed himself John again, making this all the more confusing when speaking of Johns! LOL!

John (Ad Orientem) said...

No it was you. And you can keep changing your name and playing your childish and immature games but lets not pretend that this is anything other than that. Your repeated disrespect for the rules I have set up as the owner and moderator of this blog, and your extremely un-Christian comments require me to ask that you refrain from posting on my blog in the future.

Yours in Christ,