Wednesday, October 15. 2008
Does anybody else find it strange that a retired Bishop of the OCA is serving Liturgy with a Priest and Deacon, both under suspension by the OCA, without a care for any consequences?
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No. We're talking about the OCA.
#1 Fr. Oliver Herbel on 2008-10-15 21:20
"No. We're talking about the OCA"??? I would point out to you that the decision to ignore the suspensions was made by a Bishop of another jurisdiction, not by anyone in the OCA. That the Serbian Orthodox Church would choose to disregard the clear demand of the Sacred Canons is disgraceful, but what in the world do you expect anybody in the Central Church Administration to do about it? Yes, there should be a protest to Belgrad; but if a suspension is ignored, how likely is it that a protest would be heeded? Our Holy Synod can and likely should suspend Bishop Nikolai for serving with suspended clergy. But given the situation, wherein +Nikolai is effectively under the canonical protection of the Serbian Bishop in Australia, our Synod's action would be little more than spitting into the wind. Bottom line: if a given Bishop chooses to let suspended clergy serve with him, only the Holy Synod to which he belongs can bring him to heel....and that obtains even if we go so far as to break canonical communion with the Church of Serbia.
#1.1 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2008-10-16 13:58
Fair enough, Father, but the question was whether it seemed "strange" and to that, I still say, "No. We're talking about the OCA." The OCA is awash in "strangeness" it seems, so it does not strike me as "strange" that here is yet another example. Further, the question was about whether it seemed "strange" that there were people serving without "a care" for consequences. How can that seem strange? Someone within the OCA not fearing ecclesiastical consequences? Hmmm, sounds like "same old, same old," to me.
I accept your point concerning the Serbian Orthodox Church. How they will choose to address the situation as time goes on, I do not know. I have been told that there is opposition to Bishop Nikolai on the Serbian synod, but how that all plays out, I am in no position to predict.
Still, should the OCA be ignored, that should not seem "strange" to us, either. There are many sectors of Orthodoxy that do not respect the OCA as a truly autocephalous Church and those sectors overlap even into jurisdictions that would look upon the OCA with a more sympathetic eye. All of this, you know, I realize.
Whether it strikes us as "correct" or "right" is one thing, but "strange"? Goodness. Strangeness abounds--for ALL of Orthodoxy.
#1.1.1 Fr. Oliver Herbel on 2008-10-16 21:26
The suspensions of Fr. Panteleimon and Fr. Isidore have been reported by Mark Stokoe, and I certainly have no reason to doubt his reporting. I would also note both have been removed from the list of clergy on the OCA website. However, there has yet to be any official publication of the suspensions. That is, the suspensions have not appeared in the OCA paper's "Official" section (unless there are issues not available on the website), nor is there anything on the OCA website about them. Perhaps this oversight, along with the lack of official protest, is a contributing factor to the situation in Australia? Fr. Isidore also served in at least one GOA parish in the Midwest after his reported suspension.
Yes, there is a newer issue. The Summer 2008 issue is out in print, but not on the website. On the inside cover, it lists both of them as being on suspension as of May 13, 2008.
#220.127.116.11.1 Anonymous on 2008-10-21 21:15
"Does anybody else find it strange that a retired Bishop of the OCA is serving Liturgy with a Priest and Deacon, both under suspension by the OCA, without a care for any consequences?"
No. It's called "business as usual", and as such is not strange. Irregular or improper, yes. Strange, no.
#2 Overseas Observer on 2008-10-16 02:13
1. The new website regarding Romanian unity is roeanews.org (not roeanews.info).
2. Whatever their previous background, Hdn. Panteleimon's family was received into canonical Orthodoxy when he was a child. Even though not baptized Orthodox as an infant, he essentially grew up Orthodox. (I went to seminary with him and knew him.)
(Editor's note: ROEAnews.org is, in the words of its homepage " in its devolpemental stages" therefore OCANews.org did not reference it, since it has no content at the moment. As to Deacon Pantileimon, another poster has a clarification.)
#3 A priest on 2008-10-16 05:42
Like it or not (and I'm sure most won't), the reality is that for the Ecumenical Throne and most Orthodox Churches throughout the world, the OCA has only been accepted as 'canonical' because it is the "daughter of the Moscow Patriarchate"---and the autocephaly has never been approved. Hence canonical suspensions and other decrees from its metropolitan or 'Holy Synod' are not worth a whole heck of a lot in many Orthodox circles. That's the reality sandwich...untasty though it may be.
In His great mercy,
#4 Fr. Pius on 2008-10-16 06:44
Then why accept him as a legitimate bishop, since he was consecrated by the OCA?
#4.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2008-10-16 11:52
As awful as it may sound, if others don't recognize us, then why would we recognize them?
I think its that simple.
To that, when we officially recognize a part of Orthodoxy, it should be publicized on our website.
Seems tit for tat, but until there is mutual recognition, there can be no unity.
Perhaps part of the vision of the OCA needs to be whom we recognize and whom recognized us made as public as our finances.
#4.2 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-10-17 17:31
Us not recognizing, say, Jerusalem would be a great idea if there was some reason for them to care if we didn't recognize them. Us not recognizing them would just put us further into the abyss.
#4.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-10-23 16:40
Dear Brother Editor,
The canonical process of the Church is almost EXACTLY the same as the legal process of most democratic states...including our own USA. This country is 200+ years old---so the Church, which is over 2000 years old---should be more progressive??? I grant you that what you are saying is true, but, by the same token, those who are suppose to be under suspension by the OCA should have been given this while they were still in Alaska by the bishops who were charged with investigating the situation...or BEFORE they 'fled jurisdiction.' Once the horse is out of the barn...it's wishful thinking to say, "What we should have done is..." Again: the proper channel NOW is to go to the Patriarchate of Serbia. Fr. Philip (above) is saying almost the same thing as I...what we do NOW is what is important. The canons have all the necessary framework to do the job---they are an outline and a good one which is capable of being adapted to most of our situations. The basic rights of everyone is being guarded here. "If you have something against your brother---go to him" The best time to do so is when he's still around...not after he's booked out to Australia or Greece or wherever. A little pressure from Serbia will assure all that the bishop in Australia will not be so friendly with his former OCA guests.
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
(editor's note: Well, we can at least agree that lack of timely action is a problem!)
#4.3 Fr. Pius on 2008-10-19 13:20
It would be better to 'get it right' since so many are avid readers. Mark wrote: "By his apparently contradictory reference to ***life from childhood in the Orthodox Church, even though he is not from a traditional Orthodox background***, Deacon Panteleimon may have been referring to his background in the Holy Order of MANS prior to his reception into the OCA."
I will take a stab at it - but forgive me if I get it wrong also, as I am doing this from memory. It is my recollection that Panteleimon was baptized the same day as I was - July 2, 1988. So that puts him in the 8 year old range if I remember correctly. The transition to Orthodox Prayers and Catechesis began a couple years earlier, so he had some childhood as an Orthodox Christian. He was not in the HOOM, his father had been, but resigned from HOOM prior to marrying. rather his parents belonged to the Christian Community of Portland (one of the 'church congregations' founded by HOOM; to serve those who were not in HOOM) prior to joining the Church with their family.
(Editor's note: thanks for the clarification, although the distinction between being in the HOOM, resigning, then being in one of the "church congregations" founded by HOOM, prior to joining the Church, may be lost on many. Wouldn't it have just been easier to say for the Deacon to say that he was baptized into the Church as a schoolchild?)
#5 Priest Damian Kuolt on 2008-10-16 08:12
With respect to your comment at the end of Fr. Damian's message, Mark, I would add one additional point. That is, the 1988 baptisms which Fr. Damian writes about were not done in one of the Orthodox Churches, but in the group led by a defrocked Greek priest, the so called Metropolitan Pangratios Vrionis, who was also convicted abuser of minor boys.
I think I am correct about this:
For an authentic canonical suspension, the letter of suspension must be delivered into the hands of the cleric and he must sign for it...otherwise, there is no suspension. This has been canon law forever. The cleric in question must also have the opportunity/recourse to 'Church trial'...without which, it is also ilicit. Of course the reception of a cleric (especially a bishop) withOUT canonical release is also totally improper/ilicit and can (and should) be brought before the legitimate Church authorities in Serbia. It seems to me that the OCA Holy Synod should write a formal protest to Patriarch Pavle and the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church. That is the way to do this correctly---not publishing something on a website---that does nothing. The Church of Christ has a solid and legitimate canonical order and that order must be followed.
Fr. Pius, priestmonk
(Editor's note: So as long as a priest keeps moving, or leaves no forwarding address, the Church cannot suspend him? Or should spend its resources trying to track him, sorry, chase him down? Surely we can come up with a better system in the age of international travel and instant communications, and I must assume we have. But let me suggest this to you: instead of quoting old canons from the age of agriculture, why don't you sit down with like-minded souls and update some, reflecting the realities of the age of the internet?
#5.1.1 Fr. Pius on 2008-10-19 10:57
What consequences? Do you think the Serbian Church gives a hoot what the OCA thinks? This is the same Serbian Church that recognized ROCOR for 70 years while the rest of the Orthodox world didn’t. I don’t think they care one iota about what we think about Bishop Nikolai and his entourage. If they want him, God bless them.
FYI, closed sessions of the Holy Synod do have minutes but often given the sensitive nature of those deliberations if decisions are reached only the decisions may be part of the public minutes. Two common examples during closed sessions are considerations of depositions of clergy and the vetting process of candidates for the episcopacy.
Here is why I think the matter of the Alice Woog firing was irregular. The SIC never had subpoena authority compelling Dr. Woog to testify (nor anyone else for that matter). Nor at any time did the SIC invoke the New York State clause, nor did the MC at anytime invoke the New York State clause requiring her to testify as a member of the MC.
If the MC would have invoked the New York State clause, which they did not, and then if Dr. Woog refused to testify, using that clause as the basis for her termination would be understandable. However since the MC did not make Dr. Woog aware of the clause beforehand nor stipulate it in any way as part of her job description, using the clause after the fact as a basis for her termination is irregular and thus grounds for dispute by Dr. Woog and at least review by the Holy Synod. One MC member says that such a discussion by the Holy Synod, “shows a lack of cooperation” on the part of the Holy Synod with the MC. However, if the MC can’t cooperate within its own body, then it becomes the responsibility of the Holy Synod to resolve a dispute if they so wish given that the last time I checked the Holy Synod holds the ultimate responsibility for the life of the Church, not the MC.
All Dr. Woog is apparently asking for is to be reinstated given the irregular grounds and method employed to terminate her from the MC so she can go to the AAC, finish the term she was elected by the entire Church to complete and then stand down since her term ends at the November council. The Holy Synod can reinstate her since she was an at-large delegate. However if the MC wishes to dispute this decision and thus expose the Church to another lawsuit, then the MC should know that their actions could be viewed as fiscally irresponsible by putting the OCA in further legal and fiscal danger thus using the same New York State clause against all the members of the MC if she prevails in an unlawful termination lawsuit against the MC.
Sadly, sometimes the Church must use lawyers and the courts to protect herself. However, in this case, there is no good reason to further risk our shaky Church finances, nor our plummeting reputation in the world to answer a lawsuit that simply reinstating Dr. Woog can solve.
(editor's note: Or, given that all members of the Council voted to cooperate fully with the SIC, and then Dr. Woog, by her own choice, did not, one could easily argue the alternative. But thanks for showing us the thought processes behind the question. The decision to remove her was largely meaningless in a practical way, as she chose not to be present at the meeting anyway, and as you point out, the only subsequent meeting she will miss will be a dinner meeting. It has much more meaning as a sign of the MC's resolve to hold itself responsible though. So, in the end, it is about Dr. Woog's ego, and the MC's decision to hold itself accountable, if it is going to hold others so, and the Synod's spending its time on silly issues when such major ones confront us.
If Dr. Woog's bruised ego wants to take this to court, it is her choice, but it does not argue well that the rules, rather than her ego, are of primary concern here. Moreover, since the MC voted unanimously to dismiss her for cause, one has to wonder why she would want to return to that body, which will, no doubt, be cold? In the end, it is the typical Kondratick era device: deflect, divert, and deny the real issues by focusing on personalities and meaningless gestures. One can only hope such is but one of the last gasps of a sad and dismal era, of which she, as a member of the unlamented Admin Committee, was such a major part.
Finally, you missed the point about my question concerning Bishop Nikolai. Let me be more clear. While I respect the Serbian Church and have much enjoyed my visits there, as you say, they are little concerned what any other Orthodox Churches think. I would reciprocate the indifference about these matters. What I do care about is what the OCA Synod of Bishops thinks about one of its retired members serving with suspended clerics of the OCA apparently without concern for consequences. If a priest did that he would be suspended himself - are the rules different for hierarchs, even retired ones? That is my question.)
#6 Anonymous on 2008-10-16 09:19
If ego is the basis of your argument regarding Dr Woog, then I would say that the bigger ego on the MC is that of Gregg Nescott who championed the move against Dr Woog and thus settled a long-standing FROC grudge he has waged against her for 30 years. Indeed ego did play a part but not her's but his. And that is the most silly waste of time in that it was inflicted both on the MC and on the Holy Synod.
(Editor's note: As a point of fact, Mr. Nescott did not make the motion regarding Dr. Woog's dismissal, it was made by Fr. John Reeves. Moreover, it was carried unanimously. The only resolution regarding the SIC report made by Mr. Nescott was the final one of the session, thanking those who would be leaving or possibly leaving the Council for their work over the past three tumultous years. This included many with whom he has disagreed with on multiple ocassions. So, to suggest that the Council somehow "bends" to the will of Mr. Nescott only demonstrates you have never been to one of the meetings.)
#6.1 Anonymous on 2008-10-16 21:19
Dr. Woog took a political gamble that Metropolitan Herman would somehow squash the entire SIC effort, or that the SIC didn't matter.
The politics of truth, honesty, and candidness won.
Let her sue. It won't go far. What are her damages? ZERO.
I never had her pegged as a Kondratick crony [and still don't], but I questioned her actions after the removal on multiple occassions. To that I got a fun phone call from her suggesting any problem I had with her was to be discussed one on one. As a tangential third party observer, doesn't it seem odd to any of you that Alice Woog would call me and tell me to shut my mouth about my observations?
No good reason a good hearted accountant from Minnesota should have ever gotten that phone call when all I questioned were the absent accounting policies and the misuse of restricted funds dating back to 2001 and why Alice Woog was apparently against open dialogue.
Unless, of course, open dialogue would result in the facts coming forward that there was an effort to sign the Martin Drive property over to Father Bob.
The Synod must certainly understand it cannot and must not reward Dr. Woog's silence towards the SIC and phone calls to people like me asking me to shush with reinstatement.
It goes far beyond the politics of pleasing me and the people that met the demands of the SIC to the simple facts of what is right and wrong.
It was wrong for Alice Woog to deny the SIC an interview. It is that simple.
#6.2 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-10-16 21:25
The reasoning Anonymous presents above applies to an employee of the OCA, but does it apply for a member of the board of directors? Is not a member of the Metropolitan Council more akin to a corporate director rather than an employee?
#6.3 Mark C. Phinney on 2008-10-17 02:26
"this is the same Serbian church which recognised ROCOR for the last 70 years wile the rest of the Orthodox world didn't".Sorry,you are mistaken here.The Serbian church did recognise ROCOR from its beginnings in 1921,however, the rest of the Orthodox world,including the Four Ancient Patriarchates did in fact recognise ROCOR and served with it up to almost 1970.This is documented.Only the MP for obvious political reasons didn't recognise ROCOR.After 1945,when Eastern Europe fell under Soviet influences, of course,the local churches there could no longer serve with ROCOR,but the Serbs still did.Also,when in the rectory of ROCOR Holy Trinity Church in Windsor,Ontario last year,I found a local newspaper article from the 60's.Among the local clergy vested and concelebrating were ROCOR'S Fr. Sergei Schukin and OCA(known as the "Metropolia"before Autocephaly) Fr.Lukian Steciuk AND Bishop Victorin of the Romanian Patriarchate,among other clerics.True,it wasn't a Liturgy(I believe it was the blessing of a cemetery).However,shortly after Metropolitan Ireney was elected Metropolitan of the Metropolia in 1965,ROCOR'S Metroplitan Philaret was his guest and concelebrated the Liturgy with him at St. Sergius Chapel in Syosset!This information comes not from a ROCOR source ,but from "Diakonia" a now-defunct Greek Catholic publication which hardly could have been biased in favour of ROCOR,given ROCOR'S traditional hard line against Rome.If ROCOR in fact was in schism from Moscow for all these years,why was it perfectly OK for both the American and Paris Russian Metrpolias to also refuse to accept the MP?If there cannot be a "Church in Exile",why was it OK for Constantinople to have a Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Exile,an Estonian Church in Exile, and a Polish Church in Exile all under her Canonical protection?
(editor's note: Look, people, the canonical wars are officially over, and everybody won. Let us rejoice and be glad in that. )
#6.4 Anonymous on 2008-10-19 16:22
I agree with Mark Stokoe's editorial on the third episcopal letter of apology, and +Seraphim's letter to his diocese. The tone may be improving, but there is still a complete lack of specific admission and personal apology. Group letters won't cut it when specific hierarchs wrote intimidating letters to whistleblowers and lied about the depth of the scandal and their knowledge of it. The thing is, I think most faithful would allow trust to begin to rebuild, IF ONLY OUR HEIRARCHS AND THOSE NAMED BY THE SIC REPORT WERE TO INDIVIDUALLY ADMIT WHAT THEY KNEW, WHEN THEY KNEW IT, ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE AND SINCERELY APOLOGIZE IN SPECIFIC FOR THOSE SINS OF OMMISSION/COMMISSION.
Generalized "apologies," especially when accompanied by pious-sounding put-downs of those who call for repentance, are more of what we do not need. We need concrete, personal admission and repentance at this AAC. This includes Administrative Committee members and Syosset administrators over the past decade. Without this public honesty, we will not move forward, but instead will continue to be under the cloud of distrust and disunity.
At this crucial AAC we need to see each of our Holy Synod stand up and admit what they knew, and apologize for doing nothing about each instance of their receiving information. Letters should be sent by the Preconciliar Commission or the Metropolitan Council to everyone named in the SIC report, requesting their presence and public admission and apology/explanation at the first Plenary session of the AAC.
A clergy friend put it well: "Even though each letter has progessively included more acknowledgment of ineffectual oversight on the part of our bishops than the previous one, each of these letters hardly contains a real sense of confession and repentance for over a decade of passivity and even collusion... Each apology is accompanied by an equal amount of self-defensive posturing." The letter of +Seraphim to his diocese is a "dreadfully convoluted 'pastoral letter' that should never have been issued in its present form."
This clergy friend concludes, "Perhaps we can view the actual writing of such letters as 'progress' in the right direction, but the painfully obvious lack of true confession and repentance in each only highlights how much more ground needs to be covered for true recovery of integrity and sound leadership among our current hierarchs. I spoke recently with someone who is quite familiar with Japanese culture. I asked this person what sort of actions would follow upon such admissions on the part of executives/leaders within that cultural context. I was informed, that as a group they would all immediately resign out of a sense of both shame and honor. Do we no longer even have any expectations concerning such time-honored attributes as 'shame' and 'honor?' These recent letters from the Holy Synod may be attempts to 'pre-empt' some tense and potentially volatile demonstrations of anger and disappointment from occuring at the upcoming Council. Clearly, 'too little, too late' is on the minds of our hierarchs."
I believe if we do not directly and honestly deal with this scandal at the upcoming AAC, including requesting those named to come forward and apologize or explain themselves, we will never be over it. This AAC is given to us by God as an opportunity to truly be an autocephalous, American Church which addresses its own problems and corrects its own leaders. Whether we deal or not deal with this crisis openly and require honesty from its perpetrators is much more important than a Metropolitan election, as important as that is.
We've only got three weeks left. Let us call for all bishops, Syosset officers, and Administrative Committee members to "come clean," repent, accept their discipline, and let's begin to move past this mess.
Father Mark Hodges
Thank you Fr. for your thoughts on confession etc.
However it seems much simpler than that to me........
1. If I have embezzled from my non-profit, I shouldn't be working for it anymore in any capacity as I am untrustworthy.
A.. as a bishop certainly not-- as a priest,probably not either as I don't have the common sense to know right from wrong, so leadership (spiritual or otherwise) is probably not a career option.
2. If I have embezzled, watched embezzlment, or covered up for embezzelment I should have to try and pay back the money.
3. If I admit I did it there is a good chance that ...
A. I'll have to make financial restitution and.......
B. I just might have to go to jail too.
So it seems obvious we are going to hear NO real admissions.
AS for my part in all this I work on forgiveness daily but am hampered by personality defects that slow the process down a bit. Pray for me.
#7.1 Emily Newbury on 2008-10-16 20:49
Why does this site continue to bring up Bishop NIKOLAI only to bash him, Fr Isidore, and (now) Fr Panteleimon? Why can't you just leave them alone? Why not post information about the good things he's doing in Australia? Is it because you don't want to know, or want others to know?
GIVE THE BASHING A REST!!!
(Editor's note: I do not think that reposting a story in full from the Serbian Orthodox website is "Bashing" anyone. Nor is asking a reasonable question. But then, maybe asking questions is bashing if the answers are disturbing....)
#8 anonymous on 2008-10-16 13:46
Based on his disgraceful record in Alaska, we can only pray that the faithful in Australia are spared any "good things" at the hands of His lamentable Grace. One hopes that the Serbs have the sense to keep him far away from any financial instruments. Mortgages, for instance.
#8.1 Scott Walker on 2008-10-16 22:44
"Does anybody else find it strange that a retired Bishop of the OCA is serving Liturgy with a Priest and Deacon, both under suspension by the OCA, without a care for any consequences?"
Not really - whilesoever the whiff of Byzantine "establishment" mentality is still abroad.
They seem to think that some Emperor like Constantine, Theodosius, or Heraclius will be there to intimidate their opposition into inaction.
Or even worse, like Pope Damasus in Rome, have the still-fully-pagan Imperial police there to eliminate that opposition.
They have yet to realise that the whole Church - both Western and Eastern is living in a "post-Constantinian" (or should that be "pre-Constantinian"?) world ever since 1967.
In Australia, ROCOR for many years enjoyed the "fraternal friendship" of Serbia to keep it connected to world Orthodoxy.
In recent years, as they surveyed the local Serbian scene, they saw decay slowly infiltrating, and sadly, came to the conclusion that reconciliation with the omophor of Moscow would be the only way forward to maintain their desire to be at the heart of canonical Orthodoxy.
There was significant local concern at this move, and its apparent abandonment of the Serbs (after all, can the Karlovtsky Synod be easily so marginalised?) and their "hospitality" for so many years.
Recent events, possibly with this one as its apotheosis, have proved ROCOR right.
Even this year, many Serbs came to Russian midnight Pascha Services, and their numbers in ROCOR Churches are slowly but steadily increasing. I have personal experience of this.
The local Australian Serbian Church is still simmering with the recent "amalgamation", and this may well exacerbate these tensions, leading to a realignment of many Serbian parishes.
Stay tuned to the Australian Slavic Orthodox scene, as as developments here may well leave the "little local difficulties" of the OCA in the shade. Expect to see the local Serbian Church play a leading role in this drama.
#9 John Battye on 2008-10-16 14:35
To Father Thomas Hopko and others who are advising a selection of Bishop Hilarion I would suggest extreme caution.
I am a former parishoner of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, London, UK , now returned to America.
With the backing of Moscow, Bishop Hilarion played a very prominent role in the opening phase of the pastoral tragedy that continues to afflict the Orthodox Church in the UK. The mean spirited and divisive tactics I witnessed during those times I hope I never have to witness again in any organization.
One could contact Bishop Basil or Father John Lee via www.exarchate-uk.org for further information and guidance and the London Times archives would also yield details. John Bennett
#10 John Bennett on 2008-10-17 11:07
As I have sought to explain in previous postings on this site, the notion that Bishop Hilarion "played a prominent role in the opening phase of the pastoral tragedy that continues to afflict the Orthodox Church in the U.K" is fundamentally flawed.
The original Russian Patriarchal Diocese of Sourozh was very much the creation of Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) more than fifty years ago. Throughout most of this time he walked a very fine line between fidelity to the Patriarchate under Soviet captivity and the creation of a numerically tiny but ethnically diverse "diocese" (approx 600 adults in the mid 1990's) ,including a number of British converts. As is often the case in church life, some in this group became comfortable with their own smallness and over emphasised their distinctiveness from the wider Orthodox world both in Britain and abroad. This sadly led to the rejection not only of the increasing influx of new Russians after the fall of communism but also of large numbers of British converts from the early 1980's onwards. The latter found alternative homes either with the Greek Orthodox Church, the Antiochians or ROCOR.
At different times over at least the past twenty years attempts were made to overcome this isolationism from the wider Orthodox world, usually resulting in expulsion from the Diocese and vilification of the persons concerned. Bishop Hilarion stands in a long line in this regard, but was by no means the first. Surely this process was painful for all concerned.
If people in the USA are genuinely interested in hearing all sides of the story they should visit not only the web site mentioned by John Bennett but also ww.sourozh.org to get a feel of the vast majority of the Diocese (both clergy and laity) who did not follow Bishop Basil. They could also look at the web site of the Russian Patriarchal Parish in Oxford, www.stnicholas-oxford.org. The St. Nicholas Parish is the continuation of the Moscow Patriarchal Parish in Oxford who did not wish to follow Bishop Basil (also resident in Oxford) in separating from the Diocese established by Vladika Anthony of blessed memory. The continuing Moscow churches are loyal to his memory and vision of a multi ethnic Diocese, whilst also experiencing the blessing of being connected to a larger mother church.
#10.1 Nicholas Chapman on 2008-10-18 18:53
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