I remember so clearly the warmth and kindness expressed to me by Bishop Valerian in 1976 as we sat down together by the fireplace in the living room of the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania. Bishop Valerian spoke with me about the monastic life to be like 'a family'. His words were simple, kind and direct. This was the year of the American Bicentennial. Bishop Valerian held a very firm and clear view of a United Orthodoxy. The Monastery and the work of Mother Alexandra (Princess Ileana of Romania) were all directed toward a United Orthodox Church embracing all people and all nations.
It should be our duty to not only repeat and defend Bishop Valerian's
vision of a World Orthodoxy in cooperation and unity, but to continue the work supporting the vision.
Recently I have read the book by Ion Pacepa.
Red Horizons: The True Story of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescus' Crimes , Lifestyle, and Corruption. Pacepa specifically states Nicolae Ceausecu discussed and made a plan with his advisers to target Bishop Valerian with dysinformation about Trifa's role with Nazis and to do it to target and break up the growing church in America, and to discredit Bishop Valerian.
It's not rocket science, but basic love between peoples and groups to work together for mutual good. Bishop Valerian's message 'to be like family', we should repeat, act on and honor and disregard all other distractions holding us back from working together to make a Unity in love and respect for all peoples to be equally cared for in an Orthodox Church as family.
Archbishop Valerian Trifa was a kind and loving father figure who could answer the phone and solve problems and respond to challenges. As a professional journalist he had the talents to write, edit and author articles of simple and clear messages of Orthodox Christian Education or to contribute to a scholarly journal. Any attempt to pull down Archbishop Valerian's authenticity and treat it as something else goes against the foundations of sweat and patience and work put in to lay a foundation of unity for an American Orthodox Church and for a vision of United Orthodoxy.
I respect your work Alexander as historian to keep the truth and rightful memory of Archbishop Valerian Trifa intact as it is important to all Orthodox Christians in defining and defending the Orthodox Faith as One.
Matushka Carol Bacha
I think Fr. Taru's quotes from his article about Archbishop Valerian as presented here are ignorant and sad. However, not knowing anything about Fr. Taru or his writings other than the few lines presented here, I would not be so quick to judge or make any larger assumptions about Fr. Taru or that it is some kind of greater conspiracy led by the Romanian Patriarchate. Maybe these statements do reflect his convictions, or maybe he just read it somewhere else and had poor judgment in using it here without checking into it more thoroughly. I think it would be irresponsible to make assumptions, and I think that Mr. Nemoianu goes way off base in his commentary.
I find it unreasonable and foolish to invent some sort of "scandal" that the JDC committee members did not respond to a few lines in some newspaper in some foreign country. Is that their job? I don't think so. I would think it is up to the Episcopate Chancery through those repsonsible for PR or communications to respond to such a situation if they are aware of it. I mean really, what's next? Will he blame the JDC committee for some old baba catching a cold in a drafty old church in Bucharest?! You can see this pattern throughout his past reflections and it just doesn't make sense. It just looks to me like "the consistency or irrational hate".
I wish he would have stayed focused on the issue of correcting the wrong that was done by Fr. Taru's words. From everything I've heard and read, Archbishop Trifa was a good man who dealt with extremely difficult times the best he could. Let's focus on educating people about the truth rather than respond with more ignorance.
It would be appropriate to reflect on....Wood here. Originally from Connecticut and was befriended by the Bishop of NE. Only spent one semester at SVS and mysteriously was taken under the wing of RSK and was placed in Moscow. Never having a formal theological degree, mysteriously he acquired one from the Moscow Theological Academy. It was only a matter of time....)
Well said anonymous.... Rumors of significant issues were left unresolved for several years. Amazingly, after +Jonah went to Russia and was treated like a prince by the archimandrite all the heat was off. Once again, our illustrious +Jonah was provided the opportunity to act and didn't (much like the whole +Seraphim issue (which is still unresolved at last count)).
I hope and pray for Archimandrite Zacchaeus. These recent events are probably for the best.
America is really STILL the great hope for Orthodoxy. Russia coming out of 75 years of State Atheism in 1991, only reverted to Orthodoxy as experienced in Czarist Russia in 1800. Even today, 20 years later, Orthodoxy in Russia is still backward and theologically immature. And yet, they and all the Orthodox in Eastern Europe want to "control" Orthodoxy in America. What is sad about this, is that the Orthodox in America had a clearer vision of who they were in the 1960's than today. There is NO reason we haven't had a united Orthodox Church in America - the bishops have held this back. The entire movement recently of the "Episcopal Assemblies" to bring unity under + Bart has even stalled - WHY? The Greeks and Antiochians have finally realized, THEY are the only one's with $$$ to support the process. Certainly nothing will come from Russia.
Bishop Valerian knew the importance of a united, American Orthodox Church and worked toward this along with Met. Antony Bashir. The Metropolia were hesitant until Fr. Schmemann woke them up. However, today, we are all back to hiding in our own little enclaves and reverting to increased foreign nationalism - ridiculous! WHERE IS THE AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH? WHAT IS IT? Who are all these foreign bishops trying to control OUR destiny? AND, what does Orthodox Canon Law say about foreign bishops trying to control territories & churches outside their local authority?
Wasn't Bishop Valarian Trifa deported from this country?
(Editor's note: Technically, he left as part of an agreement with the Justic Department. The issue was, as I remember, whether he was ever a member of the Iron Guard. As the student organization he belonged to was subsumed into the Iron Guard, as were all student organizations at that time, the answer to the question would have to be same as the Pope's belonging to the Nazi Youth as a former member of the Catholic Youth organization. True, but the relevance is debatable. The late Archbishop lived an interesting and colorful life, that is for sure: be he always denied the charges leveled against him that he participated knowingly in a putsch that resulted in a pogrom before the war in Romania.)
+ Valarian was involved in the youth movement in Romania under the Nazis, but this was self-preservation as it was with many. This was a far cry to being responsible or involvement in "the final solution."
I always found Valarian Trifa's life story an interesting one. i remember exchanging emails with Archbishop Nethanial a number of years ago . If my memory serves me the Archbishop compared the Iron Guard in Romania during
World War II to the American boy scouts which is laughable.
The whole Valarian Trifa story is very well documented. Numerous links and resources are available on the internet.
Don't believe everything you read on the internet, or see on TV.
People who fought in Romania during WWII were labeled as Nazis because they were not on the side of the Allies. But most were simply trying to keep the communist Russian forces from taking over their country. Would Americans not defend their country if attacked?
(Editor's note: The political/social realities of 70 years ago are difficult for us to understand, and debating them here won't resolve anything. The writer is correct; the same analogy applies to Finland. Not all Finns were Nazi's, even though they were allies in fighting the Soviet Union's aggression. That doesn't mean some were not Nazi's though.... Discernment here, as in the Church, is necessary. Whatever the Archbishop's role or actions, etc., should not be used to challenge to the present legitmacy of the ROEA, any more than the open collaboration of some in the Romanian Church with the former Communist regime should cast aspersions on its current standing. We are not responsible for the actions of our parents or grandparents: we are responsible for our choices. We must make them wisely.)
The "REAL" issue is: Do you want full, independent control of your own American church or turn it over to foreign bishops? Orthodox Canon Law says that you should have your own control, not foreign bishops. In fact, no foreign bishop has any "REAL" authority outside their own "LOCAL" territory. To say that the Russian Pat. or Greek Pat. or Antiochian Pat. has a diocese in America is NON-CANONICAL. And if non-canonical, then all of these diocese and local bishops can tell these foreign bishops to take a hike.
I do not in any way question the difficulties that the Romanian people suffered during those horrific times...It is easy for us to be armchair historians rather than having lived that reality. I am uncomfortable with the seeming anti-semetic statesments of the archbishop even when he was in exile in Portugal. But then...... The Lutherans must have to constantly deal with Martin Luther's words
As a suggestion for your website could you put a search engine for the comments section sow e can search for posts?
(Editor's note: I don't believe this antiquated system allows that in an of it itself. I had a google search some years ago, but it disappeared during some minor upgrade and I have never re-installed it. )