NOT in accord with Orthodoxy
... one interesting and timely resolution from the 1978 Roca Council of Bishops:
The Western rite in its present form was introduced after the apostasy of the west from the Orthodox Church and is not in accord with the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church with which it had been united for the course of many centuries. It does not reflect the Orthodox Church's liturgical tradition.
Thus, it does not satisfy converts to Orthodoxy when they familiarize themselves with it to a greater degree, and has nowhere enjoyed success. In consequence of the above, the Council of Bishops does not recognize it as possible to permit the Western Rite in the Russian Church.
It might be time to start a list of the vigante Milan [promotes the western rite] parishes that have been received by the RocorMP since the union. Here is a start:
1. Hmonk Aidan Keller, Austin Texas
2. Abbot David Cuthbert Pierce, Jacksonville, Florida
3. Abbot Sergei Armstone
4. Hmonk George Grubbe
5. Hmonk Christopher Wolfgang
6. Hmonk Anthony Goode, Zion Hermitage, Watertown, Wisconsin
7. Priest Michael Dunstan, St. Brigid of Kildare, Starksville, Mississippi
8. Protopresbyter Fr Juan Carlos Rios was received by Met
Hilarion at the ROCOR/MP Synod Cathedral in early July 2011 (civil
calendar), Kissimmee, FL
9. Archimandrite Nectarios, Holy Royal Martyrs Skete
[associated with Holy Protection Mission in Kissimmee] -July 2011
10. Priest Robert Bower, South Bend, Indiana, 9th August 2011
11. & 12. There are two more in conversation at this time.
Here is the list from the Wiki, which has not been updated to include Florida, and must include western rite parishes from other places besides Milan:
• Christ the King Orthodox Church – Tullytown, Pennsylvania – ROCORMP
• Holy Cross Orthodox Church; – Seymour, Indiana – ROCORMP
• Holy Mother of God Orthodox Church – Maylene, AL – ROCORMP
• Our Lady of Glastonbury Orthodox Church – Hamilton, Ontario – ROCORMPMP
• Saint Ambrose of Milan Orthodox Church; – Putnam Valley, New York – ROCORMP
• Saint Benedict Orthodox Church – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – ROCORMP
• Saint Cuthbert's Orthodox Mission – Pawtucket, Rhode Island – ROCORMP
• Saint James of Jerusalem Orthodox Church – Hanceville, AL – ROCORMP
• Saint John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church – Carlsbad, CA – ROCORMP
• Saint John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church – Des Moines, IA – ROCORMP
• Saint John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church – Simcoe, Ontario – ROCORMP
• Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco Orthodox Church - Peoria, Illinois - ROCORMP
• Saint Joseph the Wonder-Worker Orthodox Church – Marion, MI – ROCORMP
• Saint Katherine of Alexandria Orthodox Church – Pelion, South Carolina – ROCORMP
• Saint Mary the Virgin Orthodox Church – Barrie, Ontario – ROCORMP
• Saint Michael and All Angles Orthodox Church – San Antonio, Texas – ROCORMP
• Saint Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church; – Bush, LA – ROCORMP
• Saint Patrick's Chapel – Northville, Michigan – ROCORMP
• Saint Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church – Kenosha, WI – ROCORMP
• Saint Dyfan Monastery Mission, Hobart, Tasmania – ROCORMP
• Saint Eanswythe Mission – Bournemouth-Christchurch – Dorset – ROCORMP
• Saint Nectan Mission – South Molton – Devon – ROCORMP
Monasteries and hermitages
• Ascension Orthodox Monastery, Riverview, Florida, United States –; ROCORMP
• Christminster/Christ the Savior Monastery – Hamilton, Ontario, Canada – ROCORMP
• Saint Petroc Monastery – Cascades, Tasmania, Australia – ROCORMP
• Holyrood Hermitage, Jacksonville, Florida, United States – ROCORMP
• Hermitage of the Holy Theotokos - Odessa, Texas - ROCORMP
For study: ROCOR Newsletter in 1979, #21- (long and full of many many important issues and about the rich past history of ROCOR)
"Department of Public and Foreign Relations of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
Newsletter #21 January -February, 1979"
concerning the shadiness of the R-fragments
...valuable personal historical knowledge, of Met. Aga., about ROAC and RTOC - not complimentary to them, and indicating a KGB link of Lazar-Shurbenko, etc.
The following documents was found in the case [KGB] files that are stored in the Department of Religious Affairs, in the file of the Holy Russian New Martyrs and Confessors parish:
To: V. Konovalov.
In connection with the liquidation of the Odessa diocese of the Russian True-Orthodox Church and [with] the creation of a liquidation commission, we apply for rfescinding the registration of the Holy Russian New Martyrs and Confessors Parish as a legal entity.
novice Galina Sinenko
This statement is from the first half of the 1990s, which indicates that Archbishop Lazarus wanted to i) liquidate the registered by myself diocesan RTOC administration, ii) deprive me of my right to enjoy the status of a legal entity (inasmuch as I was rector of the said parish), and iii) do so with the help of KGB, as far as the religious affairs empowered Mr. Konovalov was at that time reporting to the 5th (I think) department of the KGB. Can this possibly look [anything] like actions of the genuine catacombniks?
(5 Comments) -
Disgrace! It is necessary to post a scan of the document. And where is now the aforesaid monk Gerontius?
The said Hmonk Gerontius is a [now] deceased ROAC bishop. A good man – he has asked me for forgiveness even in [due] time when he tore away from RTOC. And the other signatories are [all] people gentle and simple, gently carrying out the will “of the father who sent them”. Their quantity expression was in practical terms all the Archbishop Lazarus’ supporters at that time (remaining in the shade was about the same number). A scan is possible – but is it necessary? For me this is an arduous topic.
I wonder how come you have access to KGB archives of the department on religious affairs?
The Department of Religious Affairs was transferred from the KGB under the management of the state administration of the district. Now they are dealing with ordering the documents – and so they have asked us what kind of a statement is to be found in our file.
Kindly translated by:
Vladimir Djambov, Eng
00359.885.455.189 - M/cell
00359.2.855.62.62 - H
En <> Bg translation, interpreting
The Union is Ironclad
> Also, you will see the DREADFUL and DEMONIC disgusting stone 2-figure
> statue, erected somewhere in Russia, of Pat.
> Sergius-Stragorodsky ....with ....Met. Laurus-Shkurla! ....depicted as
> ...heroes, ...soviet 'saints' one supposes, and which group statue, should
> also have in it's center, Joseph Stalin? ...because all three of these devils,
> 'saved/re-united Russia'-? etc. (really but more proof of by whom and why
> that ROCOR-MP 're-union' was engineered).
> This dreadful statue photo is also on orthodoxy-news...
> There is a document being passed around among us written by
> RocorStudies about Archbishop Leonty of Chile. Do not trust anything
> that comes from this source.
> RocorStudies is a RocorMP modern intellectual Parisian think tank and
> rewriter of history. It was founded right after the union to justify the union.
> Here is what Reader Daniel says:
> Yes, I just read this, and it sounds VERY fishy and a pro-Moscow
> historical propaganda rewrite-
> Warning: This appears to be a pro-MP revisionist propaganda story on
> the life of departed illustrious old-ROCOR Hierarch, Archbishop
> Leonty of Chile.
> Though, I may be wrong in my assessment here, after reading this text,
> I greatly fear that this is but another example of what the 'new
> scholars' at captive Jordanville are now doing-rewriting and
> corrupting the original historical records of the old ROCOR, to fit
> the new pro-union template, to please the Kremlin bosses, etc. ...i.e.,
> as if to prove, that most if not all departed ROCOR hierarchs,
> were ....in actuality .....somehow, if secretly, loyal to the MP
> and/or to communist-controlled regime running Russia, etc.
> Therefore, I urge those who read this version, to beware of
> this ...untrustworthy biography.
> It seems SO slanted.
> Just my humble opinion.
> Rd. Daniel Everiss in Oregon
Also somebody we know living in Chile who knew Archbishop Leonty [and has not been asked for permission to be identified or quoted here] has read the article and says it is slanderous.
None of us should be visiting that Rocor Studies website, certainly not without wearing Level A Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
√ Great pictures of Bulgaria
√ Shocker photos:
RocorMP "Western rite" clergy of Met. Hilarion Kapral
Also showing ROCOR/MP Bishop Jerome (Shaw) dressed as a western bishop- (he looks like a stylish Roman Catholic mitired bishop).
Quite astounding photos, which in the old pre-union ROCOR, did NOT in the long ago past, permit 'western rite', and which strongly condemned it.
(Even the OCA, has never permitted it) -
And, most Orthodox, world-wide, also rejected it.
Note: But, this is the new-ecumenist-ROCOR/MP, apparently eager, no doubt under orders from headquarters in Moscow, to join Rome, just as it's boss desires to, the KGB subservient MP. This is the first step, it seems.
Anonymous clergy comment: Odd thing is that most seem mixed rite - the Bishop has a panagia on and no ring; some have ryassas and Russian crosses. It seems a complete hotch-potch. I suppose because Western Rite is now inherently flawed and they are just patching things together.
√ The Mystery of Iniquity is making rapid progress..
√ from Ilarion Marr:
Dear Friends of Divine Services in English!
Please join us at the next Divine Liturgy - Saturday July 30 - at ten a.m., commemoration of Saint Marina the Great Martyr [Saint Margaret in the West] Holy Trinity Church 25-36 37th Street, Astoria - there is an icon of Saint Margaret in the Church. Subway Station: Astoria Boulevard
Your desire to hear Services in English is very important to the growth of our small Mission.
We thank you in advance for your kind presence and support at this Divine Liturgy and love for God and the Holy Orthodox Church! Father Macarius will be serving.
In the meantime here is the life of Saint Marina [Margaret] commemorated this Saturday July 30th/Jul 17 Julian calendar. Come and hear spiritually enriching sermons by Father Macarius to carry you through in your daily life. May God Bless You in your efforts.
√ Community library opens
Community of New Martyrs and Confessors
P.O. Box 24633
San Jose CA 95154
Dear brothers and sisters!
We are happy to announce that our library is ready for the most part. Due to limitations in space, its further enlargement will be based on specific criteria. Anyone wanting to make a donation can contact the director for a list of needed books.
Lord save us!
Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia Community
of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad regarding the acceptance of the “Moscow Patriarchia” parishes under the authority of the ROCA Synod of Bishops.
Since doubt and questions still persist regarding our acceptance of the parishes in Udmurtia as parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate under the authority of the ROCA Synod of Bishops, I decided to provide this clarification.
It is quite apparent that those whom we are used to calling the Moscow Patriarchia are actually not deserving of that name, since that name can only be used by the Local Russian Church.
There can be no doubt that as a result of persecution the Local Russian Church split into the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, the Catacomb Church and the church subservient to the Soviet regime, led in 1943 by “Patriarch” Sergey (Stragorodskiy). His enthronement was never recognized by the two other parts of the Russian Church – the Catacomb Church and the Church Abroad. In spite of that, this church entity applied the name “Moscow Patriarchia” to itself and
unfortunately over time it became the accepted term. Our Russian Orthodox Church Abroad never recognized and does not recognize to this day the false-patriarchs of this false-patriarchia which were assigned by the Soviet regime. ROCA First Hierarch Metropolitan Anthony considered this part of the church to be schismatic and without grace. Subsequent First Hierarchs were of the same opinion.
To this day, the Church Abroad is the only legitimate Church Administration, formed by a decree of the Supreme Church Authority. As a result of persecutions, the Catacomb Church was unable to retain its Central Administration (which existed in the period of 1927 to 1937, when Metropolitan Joseph headed such a Central Administration). After 1927, the Administration of the so-called Moscow Patriarchia was always considered uncanonical, since it had deviated from its redemptive role and its members were not elected by the Church, but assigned by the atheistic regime.
After the schism of 2007 in ROCA, a completely new period began in relations between the Russian Church Abroad and the so-called Moscow Patriarchia, characterized by an utter lack of hope of uniting the two parts of the Russian Church on the level of the hierarchs. Though we continue to await the repentance of the episcopate of the Moscow Patriarchia for the heresy of ecumenism and the sin of sergianism, we conduct the affairs of the Church without the hope that
this repentance will occur. The priests that we accepted and will accept henceforth from that church entity, which continues to contain that heresy, sever all relations with their former church superiors and recognize the ROCA Synod of Bishops to be the sole canonical administrative entity in the Russian Church. Any other legitimate Church Administration can be established only by a higher church entity. In this case, it is a Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has not been convened since 1918. We do not intend to nor are we capable of establishing administrative entities either for the Catacomb Church or the Moscow Patriarchia, as we do not have the authority of a Local Council of the Russian Church. Similarly, we cannot recognize as canonical any other administrative entities that arose of their own accord within the Russian Church.
The ROCA Synod of Bishops, having acknowledged the existence of the two other parts of the Russian Church, considered it proper to accept under its care representatives of these parts of the Russian Church until a Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church can be convened, which has the sole authority to select the legitimate administrative entity for the entire church. We await the convening of a legitimate Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church and are preparing to present an account of our actions and humbly accept its judgment of us.
Odessa, July 12\25, 2011. Martyrs Proclus and Hilary.
"... As to our Saint, he incessantly warned his flock to avoid all communion in spirituals with any who were separated by heresy from the communion of the church, and not so much as to enter into their churches or meeting houses, much less to join with them in prayer, even though any one should be so unhappily circumstanced as to be confined during his whole life to a place where he could never see a catholic priest, or receive any of the holy sacraments; for, said he, as the laws of God and man forbid any one, who has a wife living, to cohabit with another woman, how distant or for how long a time soever his lawful wife may be separated from him, so he who has been espoused to Christ in the Catholic Church, cannot without the crime of spiritual adultery, upon any pretext whatsoever, engage himself in the communion of heretics ..."
Faith And Delusion
by Fr. Nikita Grigoriev
"Unexpected eye-opening clarity"
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Faith
Chapter 2 "In the beginning..." [Gen. 1:1]
Chapter 3 The image and likeness of God
Chapter 4 The Meaning of the First Commandment to Adam
Chapter 5 The Temptation and Fall of the Proto-human
Chapter 6 Limitations and the Chastisement of Man
Chapter 7 The First End of the World and a New Beginning
Chapter 8 A New Earth
Chapter 9 A Special Nation is Singled Out
Chapter 10 The Church of Christ
Chapter 11 Christian Apologetics
Chapter 12 Knowledge of the Faith
Chapter 13 War Waged Against the Church by Satan
Chapter 14 Rome Falls Away
Chapter 15 The Effects of Rome's Schism
Chapter 16 The Fruits of Schism
Chapter 17 Humanism
Chapter 18 Scholasticism
Chapter 19 The Fruits of Scholasticism
Chapter 20 The Reformation
Chapter 21 The Orthodox East
Chapter 22 The "Calendar Question"
Chapter 23 The Spiritual Fruits of Gregorian Reform
Chapter 24 The Renaissance
Chapter 25 Scientific Methodology
Chapter 26 The Cult of Science
Chapter 27 The Age of Reason and Enlightenment
Chapter 28 Deism of the 18th Century
Chapter 29 The Cases of Deism
Chapter 30 The Consequences of Deism
Chapter 31 Naturalism and Materialism
Chapter 32 The Threshold of Atheism
Chapter 33 The Embryonic Stage of Evolution
Chapter 34 Darwinism
Chapter 35 Evolution
Chapter 36 The Spiritual Consequences of Evolutionism
Chapter 37 Communism and Capitalism
Chapter 38 The First Half of the 20th Century
Chapter 39 The 1960's
Chapter 40 Eastern Influence
Chapter 41 The Development of Technology
Chapter 42 The "New Age" Movement
Chapter 43 The Orthodox Church
Chapter 44 Ecumenism
Chapter 45 The Spiritual Delusion of the anti-Christ
excerpt from Chapter 18:
Scholasticism was an attempt to rehash Divine Revelation through the use of logic. It is based on the faith in the ability of the human mind to penetrate and comprehend the essence of God and the creation of the world. The main founder of Scholasticism is considered to be Anslem, Archbishop of Canterbury, and its emergence is dated from the end of the 11th century, immediately after the falling away of the West from the Church of Christ.
The main objective of Scholasticism was to prove the existence of God through logic. For an Orthodox Christian it is important to understand that such proof, in principle, is impossible for the following reason: faith in God has at its origin, an act of man's will. Faith in God pertains exclusively to the spiritual realm where the moral notions of good and evil prevail. Freedom of will, to believe or not believe in God is the basis of true faith. Only complete freedom of will, to believe or not believe in God imbues faith in God with a moral and spiritual value and endows man with the dignity as a being created in the image of God....
...Scholasticism was not a spiritual undertaking but a purely intellectual one. It attempted to explain Divine Revelation through Aristotle's system of logic. It attempted to adjust the boundless, Holy will of God to conform to the syllogisms of Aristotle's formal logic. Consequently, theology was reduced from its spiritual stature to the level of an intellectual dispute, where cunning argumentation and ability to dispute prevailed.
True theology is an attempt by the theologian to convey that which was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit in his prayerful interaction with God. This is an attempt to describe in words the height and depth of Holiness which are inexpressible in words. Theology is based on the personal experience of God's Holiness which has been attained by the fellowship with God of the theologian himself.
But when the West followed Pope Leo and separated from the Church, it lost its ability to commune with God, which comes only through the Grace of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, Who abides in the Church. Very soon after that, a genuine understanding of God's Holiness was utterly lost in the West...
Fr. Nikita makes a parallel between Adam after his fall and Rome after its fall: the characteristics of the progression of descent after being severed from the source of grace. Today we can see that both world-orthodoxy and its flip-side, the super-correct, suffer from symptoms of scholasticism. World-orthodoxy is continually churning out Protestant-style sermons, forming new "societies," adopting policies to address contemporary issues, and rewriting history. The super-correct start with some premise, then misuse facts/quotes/events to it pour out an avalanche of logical debate arguments proving or disproving where grace can or can not be. All of it from both sides is confined to the intellectual and academic.
But, back to my review: Fr. Seraphim Rose would certainly endorse Faith And Delusion. I would gift it to anyone right along with Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future.
See You Tube in English:
For ordering information go here:
From Vl. Agafangel's blog
July 12, 2011
Several of our priests received the following:
June 3/16 , 2011
Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos "Surety of Sinners"
Dear Fr. ...
With this letter, we notify you that in accordance with the ruling of the Synod of Bishops on May 16, 2011, you have six months starting from the receipt of this ukase to return to the body of the Russian Church Abroad and to your lawful hierarchy. After six months, at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Synod of Bishops, the matter of your defrocking will be considered.
With love in the Lord and well wishes for your swift repentance and return,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
That ends the letter.
The following are some of Met. Agafangel's comments on the Forum:
1. Unfortunately, our former brothers who joined the MP did not become examples there of loyalty to the Lord and Holy Tradition, but turned out to be lackeys who obey Moscow in every way. It is peculiar to threaten a cleric with censure after the priest has not been in their jurisdiction for almost five years (actually 85 years, since 1927). They are so filled with spite and powerlessness that soon they will reach the stage of even threatening "censure" after they die.
2. We will definitely discuss this matter at the next Synod.
3. This is not his idea. Due to the strength of his character (or weakness to be more exact), he is fulfilling the wishes of his master. As usual.
When ROCOR(MP) united with the MP, it left the Royal Path and joined with World Orthodoxy. Many went into World Orthodoxy along with it. Others went into various Super-Correct ("True") Churches. And a remnant remains on the Royal Path, recognizing ROCA under Agafangel as the sole valid continuation of ROCOR.
See Satan's church forming.
The aim of ecumenism has different levels.
1. to dissolve Christianity into all religions
2. to dissolve orthodoxy into heterodoxy
3. to dissolve the Royal Path into pseudo-orthodoxy
Guard the Pearl !
Fall neither to the left [world-orthodoxy]
nor to the right [true/traditional/super-correct].
√ Search for EOB books - updated list
√ Prayer Request for Bluffton nuns - trouble from a R-fragment
Here is a specific example of narcissist manipulation of Orthodox people. The narcissist is a member of the Milan synod. In this example he is manipulating a SIR bishop.
My observation is that if narcissists do manage to worm their way into a Sister Church, they can not stay very long. Truth just automatically squeezes them out. But they are made welcome in the Milan synod and quite content to stay there. That is my observation. (I have 4 cases in mind.)
after a short break, the next work weekend with Yura will be this weekend, July 9/10.
(Next work weekend after this date: July 23/24)
Please write to email@example.com if you plan to attend and what food items you want to bring.
(July 9/10 - lenten fare
July 23/24 - no fast)
Thank you for your help!
after a short break, the next work weekend with Yura will be this weekend, July 9/10.
(Next work weekend after this date: July 23/24)
Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend and what food items you want to bring.
(July 9/10 - lenten fare
July 23/24 - no fast)
Thank you for your help!
THREATS TO FATHER SERGEY KONDAKOV IN UDMURTIYA, RUSSIA
Archpriest Sergey Kondakov, one of three Moscow Patriarchiya priests in
Udmurtiya, Russia who decided in May to come under the omofor of
Metropolitan Agafangel, has been facing constant threats. A man entered
Father Sergey's church June 24 and handed him a black card, saying that
Father Sergey and his family had little time left to live. According to
Father Sergey's blog, this incident occurred after a "well known
Protopriest" asked for the help of a major criminal figure in fixing "the
problem" created by Father Sergey's decision to leave the Moscow
Patriarchiya and join ROCA. Father Sergey received a phone call from
that Protopriest June 27 in which he promised to "smash his(Father
Sergey's) head and to smear around his brains." When Father Sergey
informed the Protopriest that the call was being taped, he threw down the
phone. You can read about these incidents and other developments in
Udmurtiya in Russian at Father Sergey's blog:
A REMINDER OF WHO WE ARE
Father Sergey Kondakov and his fellow priests in Udmurtiya joined ROCA
because of their disgust with the practice of sergianism and ecumenism by
the Moscow Patriarchiya (MP). It is worth recalling that the Russian
Orthodox Church Abroad was created because the early Fathers of the church
considered the subservience of then-Metropolitan Sergey to the Bolshevik
authorities MP unacceptable. (Such subservience came to be called
sergianism.) Later, as the MP embraced ecumenism, the Russian Orthodox
Church Abroad also condemned that. At the 4th All Diaspora Sobor in San
Francisco, nearly all delegates expressed their concern with the MP's
ecumenical activities. Advocates for union
claimed that by joining with the MP, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
could better influence the MP to turn from ecumenism. The insincerity of
that claim was evident when, after union, not one ROCOR-MP bishop defended
MP Bishop Diomede, who was condemned by an MP Synod for criticizing MP
sergianism and ecumenism. Just last month, ROCOR-MP provided another
reminder when its bishops issued an encyclical. The encyclical says that
"one outcome of our (ROCOR-MP's) unification with the Moscow Patriarchate
was the normalization of relations with other Orthodox Churches. Although
as a result of prior rivalries between the MP and ROCOR and other reasons,
relations with a majority of the Churches has been absent de facto for
decades now, they were never broken off de jure, and therefore no formal
restoration of them is required. ROCOR, as an inseparable part of the
Russian Orthodox Church, is in Eucharistic communion with all of the
remaining canonical Local
Once again, it is clear that the hierarchs of ROCOR-MP, the
engineers of the premature union with the MP, are not visibly concerned
about the ecumenical practices of World Orthodoxy. ROCOR-MP has been
swallowed, ideologically if not yet administratively, by the MP. It is
left to ROCA to witness the truth of Orthodoxy.
Service to St. John S&SF
The Akathist composed by Fr. Seraphim Rose
can be inserted between Canticle VI and VII of the canon
The prayer after the akathist is read at the end of Liturgy/Typica
What was Vladyka John to us?
by Fr. Vsevolod Alexandrovich Reyer
Brazil, South America
Orthodox Life September/October 1966
On Friday, July 8, having returned from lunch to my office, I learned from my Brazilian workmate that Senior Ivan had just phoned to inform me that Archbishop John of Shanghai passed away in San Francisco, and that a panihida would be served for him on Sunday after Divine Liturgy in our Indianapolis church.
"This is incredible" -- was the first thought. Was this possible? Some kind of inner voice said: it's simply irreconcilable that life would continue without Vladyka! How is it that I continue to olive? In times of sickness, despair, grief, and serious emotional crisis I would no longer be able to call upon our intercessor and man of prayer for comfort and aid, whom as we know, God heeds. Throughout all of the last thirty years this had been so. Was this possibility now ended, and so suddenly? And not just for me alone, but for tens -- possibly hundreds -- of thousands of people, and not only Russians and Orthodox Serbians, but also foreigners of other faiths, whom God had brought to him for assistance with prayer and spiritual comfort.
What then was Vladyka John to us?
Of this I would like to inform my dear countrymen, or people who are simply interested in his personality, people who did not come to know him, or those who, by reason of a smear campaign and the spread of incredible rumours, had a false impression of the best Russian Orthodox bishop, a convinced anti-communist, who was a decoration of our Orthodox Synodical Church Abroad. So, as to give at least a slight idea of what we lost with his departure from this life, I want to give at least some information about his person.
Vladyka was literally the soul of all our community efforts in Shanghai. He was the inspiring force and head in the building of churches, the hospitals, the orphanages, the home for old women, the girls' high school, public diner, etc. There was not a single welfare or cultural enterprise in which he did not take part. The possibility was simply unthinkable of organizing anything without his participation and blessing. Vladyka lived our life. He often visited and took direct part in the life of our emigre institutions. He, despite bad weather, and often late at night as well, visited the sick and stricken, hospitals, orphanages, and homes for the aged, so as to bring words of comfort and be convinced that all was well. You could often see him walking along the streets of Shanghai in rain or storm to visit some poor or sick in their corners in strange quarters. Visits to prisons and mental homes constituted part of his regular occupation.
I am not writing from the words of someone else but because I used to meet him myself, both at a late hour and in bad weather, walking along with staff in hand, his cassock billowing in the wind, to bring the love of Christ. "Where are you hurrying, Vladyka, in this weather?" He would reply, "Oh it's not far from here. I must visit so-and-so." And when I took him there in my car, then this "not far" often turned out to be between two and three kilometers.
After the close of World War II, in 1946, the Soviet Consul in Shanghai directed his efforts toward transferring Orthodox churches and emigre church enterprises into the arms of the Moscow Patriarch. Vladyka John instantly came to the emigres' aid and, notwithstanding the political atmosphere favorable to the opposition, retained many of them by his authority and personal presence. Thus it was with the Cathedral, with the domestic church, at the home for the aged women, and in accordance with his instructions everything was prepared with the authorities for the return of the Monument Church under the control of the Church Abroad. After the seizure of our church by bolshevik-siding Russians in Tsingtao, Vladyka was able to obtain from the Chinese authorities the right to celebrate periodically Divine Services with those clergy who remained loyal to our Church.
In 1949, prior to any departure from Shanghai, I decided to devote the Pascha holidays in serving Vladyka John, and after the Holy Pascha Matins offered myself and my car at his disposal. Here I became convinced at first hand of what Vladyka meant to the homeless, the sick, and the imprisoned. How much happiness and comfort was brought by him to these unfortunate people! Vladyka only had no time to visit rich homes and rich festivities. But all knew that we had a go-between and a defender in times of sorrow and disaster. We could casually come to Vladyka with any of our doubts both in the religious as well as political spheres, and would receive not a set text-book answer, but a calm and convincing explanation which gave us satisfaction. We saw in him only a kind, loving heart. The only thing with which Vladyka could not reconcile himself and which sometimes made him lose his self-control was the casual, disrespectful attitude toward the partaking of the Holy Mysteries, when women came with painted lips to partake of Christ's Body and Blood, or to kiss the Cross, on which are depicted Christ's Agony on the Cross.
Before the seizure of Shanghai by communist armies, we clergy and a group of emigrants talked Vladyka into leaving for the U.S.A. for the purpose of taking all possible measures for the saving of those emigrants who were unable to leave China in time. News was received that their further evacuation had been halted and despairing accounts were received of the hopeless situation in which Russians who had been evacuated to the Philippines now found themselves. Vladyka, after some hesitation, left Shanghai for the purpose of fulfilling his pastoral duty. Upon arrival in Manila, he obtained an audience with the Minister for Internal Affairs and insisted he take steps to better the position of Russian refugees who were living there under abnormal living conditions on an island subject to constant battering by destructive typhoons. Vladyka John was assured by the Minister, in my presence, that everything possible would be done by the Philippine authorities toward this end after which Vladyka proceeded to the camp of his flock, where he acquainted himself with the state of affairs on the spot. Here Vladyka became convinced that under existing conditions, the further stay of Russians on the island could become the final stage in their existence, and therefore he soon left for the U.S.A. to seek ways for their evacuation to a country where they might find normal conditions for a peaceful life.
We know the following from an open letter to "Russkaya Zhizn" ["Russian Life"] under the heading, "An Answer to the Slanderers":
"Vladyka John in the United States obtained access to the White House and himself personally insistently appealed for assistance for his Tubabaoites, and he achieved the passage by Congress of a Bill, granting us the privileges of "displaced persons." So here we are in America, on our own feet, having become home-owners, holding jobs and American citizenship."
So as to make clear to the reader just what we had in Vladyka and what we saw in him, I will quote an extract from another letter to the editor of the same newspaper under the heading of, "A Letter from Australia":
"Involuntarily comes to mind the Shanghai of the end of 1945 when the first Americans arrived and my son brought home three American pilots to visit with us. We had dinner, sat down, and talked. The subject was, of corse, the war, which had only just ended. The eldest of the piolots, turning to me and to my late husband, said, "You have here in Shanghai, a great man of prayer, thanks to whom you did not suffer!" To my incredulous question as to whom he was referring, he replied, that during the war they had already been ordered to bomb Shanghai and were warming up their planes for the flight when the order was suddenly cancelled. "We know that someone was praying for you very strongly, praying for your salvation," said this pilot. In my mind, as well as in the thoughts of my husband [as we confirmed later] flashed out one word -- Vladyka. Only he could by his prayers invoke the Lord to grant that this cup pass us by. And no matter to whom I came to mention this, all as one man named our beloved, deeply-respected Pastor."
My wife and I left Shanghai on the same ship as Vladyka. The military transport ship "General Gordon" was hastily rebuilt into a passenger liner, but even in the first-class cabins, between ten and fifteen people were put. With my wife in her cabin was an acquaintance, a Jewish lady, Mrs. D. During a conversation with my wife she asked whether she was aware of the fact that Batiushka John was sailing with us on the same boat. My wife understood that she was talking about Vladyka since there was no Orthodox priest by the name of John on the ship.
This lady recounted the following happening: it once happened that the son of this lady's close friend, herself also a Jewess, fell sick, and no matter how she tried to cure him, all was to no avail. She was on the verge of despair. Then she was informed that the Russians had a Batiushka John, who served in the cathedral, and by whose prayers many were being cured. She went to the cathedral and waited until Vladyka began to leave the church after services. She approached him and asked him to pray for her son, whom she called Misha, so as not to let Vladyka know that he was a Jew. Vladyka looked at her and said: "I will pray for Moisha." Soon after this boy's health began to improve. [Misha is a Russian nickname for Michael,; Moisha is a Jewish nickname for Michael.]
A nurse from Shanghai's Jewish hospital told s of another case. During Pascha week, Vladyka arrived at the hospital to visit those of the sick there who were Orthodox Christians. Walking by one of the rooms, he stopped in front of a partition having a bed upon which an elderly Jewish woman was dying. Her relatives were already awaiting the end in the waiting room of that same hospital. Vladyka raised the cross over the partition and loudly proclaimed, "Christ is risen!" The dying woman regained consciousness and asked for water. Vladyka went to the nurse on duty and told her, "The sick lady wants a drink." The hospital personnel were amazed at the change which had occurred in the woman who had been on the verge of death. In short course she became well again and was signed out of the hospital.
So as to more clearly depict the personality of Vladyka John, I give here an extract from an article by Bishop Nicholas Velimirovich, a popular and respected Serbian archpastor, about Vladyka John. He asks:
"Who then is this man? This former Belgrade newspaper boy, weak in body, with clear eyes and smiling face. After World War I he would come each morning to the building of the Patriarchate, crying, "Paper! Paper!" We bought papers from him, but none of us suspected that even before emigrating to Serbia he had graduated from the highest institute of learning in Russia: the College for Cadets in Poltava and the Faculty of Law in Harkov. He sold newspapers and upon these slight earnings supported himself and his relatives. He then completed the theological institute in Belgrade, took his monastic vows and was a professor of Beetol theology in my Ohrida-Beetol Diocese. In 1934 he was appointed Bishop of Shanghai and sent to China . . .
"He visited hospitals with an Icon of St. Naum of Ohrida and read prayers to sick Chinese. Many were healed as evidenced by signed declarations from doctors. While still in Beetol, he became well-known as a great faster and man of prayer. Each day he celebrated Divine Liturgy. He never slept in bed. No one ever saw him angry nor heard from him a wrong word. Nowhere did he point ouut the sins of others or his own good qualities. He was ever humble, friendly, ready to serve all. During the course of his two-year stay in New York City he received less than forty dollars a month. This was his entire salary. People, it is true, out of respect for him, brought him gifts in the form of food and clothing, which he immediately handed out to others. One winter I concelebrated Divine Liturgy with him in the Bronx Russian church. He then accompanied me out into the street. He was wearing a light cassock made of Chinese silk.
"A fine cassock you have there Brother John, and it sits well on you," said I casually to him. No sooner had I said this than he began to take off his cassock to give it to me. I was astonished and ran away. That cassock was someone's gift to him in memory of Shanghai. Such a man was he -- and only he. He does not secure his future and does not worry about it. The well-earned love of the people -- this is the surest bank which guarantees God's servant with the highest interest, both in life and after death. And what about John's legendary self-abnegation, a truly holy self-denial? About each one he worried more than about himself, which is why all worried about him. Thanks to generosity in our time and self-denial, he is everywhere given a send-off with tears and met with joy: alike from Beetol to Shanghai, as from Shanghai to America, and from America to Europe. A living saint -- this is exactly what people are saying about him from the Balkans to the ends of the earth."
Bishop Nicholas further continues, "I have often been put to shame before my betters, but must admit that I have never felt myself so insignificant as I have in front of Vladyka John, because in every virtue and in every Christian perfection he overtakes as does a rider on horseback the one on foot. I cannot reach his spiritual height."
"Why aren't there any saints in our time?" asked a girl from the summer camp for children in the Monastery of St. Sava in Libertyville, looking at the faces of old saints in church. "There are, my girl, there are," I replied.
"And there will be until the end of time. There are and there will be, because saints are Christ's sons, and Christ is Almighty. Only those who are the most holy are the most scarce, like gold among sand, and they do not stand out but even conceal themselves, may daughter. The sand is the foundation, bt the gold glitters." Thus does Bishop Nicholas Velimirovich end his characterization of Vladyka John.
There were the thoughts and memories which arose from within my during a panikhida for our dear man of prayer and holiness, Vladyka John, in Indianapolis in San Paolo on July 10, where we Rssians gathered after hearing of his death. During the service the feeling of loss ceased being acute. The impossibility of further contact by letter lost all meaning. According to Vladyka's instructions, his ties with us will not be broken after his death, and we can continue then, too, to ask him for aid before the Throne of the Most High, with the knowledge that the Lord hears His friends and that we have not lost this spiritual tie.
It is true, we have been denied forever the possibility of serving, of helping our Defender in the earthly life, all of whose wishes were directed toward our well-being.
The Lord has called him to Himseolf, and is this not because we are unworthy of him, did not deserve him and did not protect him from being hurt, when this was our duty? May the Lord and Vladyka forgive us for this.
August 10, 1966